2008 — 13 June: Friday

Midnight rolls around again. Tonight's picture of Christa is from about June 1974 and shows her having just arrived back at the Old Windsor vicarage in her car.1 A sight that uplifted my heart and heart rate, I can tell you. She was a beautiful woman, wasn't she?

Christa arriving back at the vicarage in Old Windsor

A walk (to the north east of Old Alresford, in and around Wield Wood and Lanhams Upper and Lower) is lined up for later this morning; report to follow. G'night.

Gloomy news...

... despite the sunniness of the morning so far. Fuel distribution strike. Chap murdered over supermarket queue jumping. Five soldiers killed in five days in Afghanistan. And that splendid chap and ex-editor of the Sun reportedly fancies his chances in the next bye-election. Now that really would be a waste of public money. Me? A cynic? Never!

There's a moving piece here by Theodore Dalrymple (always worth reading) on the pains of memory. Stuff like this rings very true:

I regret to say that I was not a very good student, not being gifted in the right fashion and, to be honest, not very conscientious either. I wish now that I had been more attentive, but at the time I was only intellectually aware, not emotionally aware, that time's arrow flew in one direction only. I still thought my life was so long that there would be time for everything, and that no omission on my part would have lasting or irrecoverable consequences.

Theodore Dalrymple in New English Review

Couldn't have put it better myself. As I've discovered, Life is best understood (if at all) backwards, but can only be lived forwards. Definitely time for breakfast. And another cuppa. (It's 08:24.)

Right. Minor (tiny) wobble, courtesy of Roberta Flack. Lunch packed, boots uncovered, choice of clothing made. Time to spin those wheels. It's 09:27 already. Off we go.

Back home

In fact (just over ten hours later) not merely back, but foody-shopped, evening mealed, and email-caught-upped. The weather remained thoroughly benevolent for our walk, though clouds started piling up somewhat. About 7 miles, I believe, what with a minor back-track at one point. It's all very well having a GPS unit with a track programmed in, but one has to inspect it from time to time, too. Some muddy patches, noticed too late to tuck the trousers into the socks, but — what the heck — it will brush off when dry, he asserted confidently. As for the evening meal, that was dealt with in the email to NZ niece2 #1 who's been back in Italy since April:

Tonight, for example, I'm pigging out on a pair of Bramley apple Charlottes (use by 12 June) that have just been done to a turn in the oven as pud, with beef in red wine with spinach and mash that's shortly going into the microwave... (The person who invented ready meals deserves the Nobel prize IMHO.) It's the shopping and other chores I find thoroughly detestable. And don't get me started on the loneliness! Christa was extremely efficient and well-organised. I can be, but our areas of expertise were often poles apart. Just one of the many reasons we were so well-matched, I guess.


Here's a picture you've possibly never seen, Mich, from deep in the vaults. That's you in your Aunty Christa's arms, your Mum, and your cross-dressing Uncle (I was wearing a jacket belonging to Christa), with what looks suspiciously like flared trousers. (Well, it was early 1975 — mid-way through the decade that taste forgot.)


That elusive damselfly of love... dept.

We didn't see much wildlife today (apart from cows, young bulls, and quite a well-hung cart horse) but after we'd finished running the HD DVD version of Joe Kane's essential "Video Essentials" test disc through his 1080p 52" Samsung back at the ranch — fascinating — Mike kindly passed along the six raw shots he managed to get of that same beautifully iridescent damselfly last Sunday over in Minstead. Here's a montage:

All the same bug

Odour of (non-)sanctity... dept.

I'd remarked to Mike earlier how impressed I was by the healthy gurgling sound from his kitchen sink (doesn't take much to impress me, does it?) and how rapidly it emptied. I thought, in passing, that maybe its vertical elevation had a bearing on this, but (of course) an unclogged U-bend has a much greater influence. Last time I unclogged our kitchen sink's U-bend here in Technology Towers, I can remember fishing out (among other things, like marbles) several wooden lollipop sticks (I think I know at whose feet I can, as it were, point the finger of blame for these). So this evening, having fortified myself with a cuppa and a strong cheese sandwich, I cleared out the Christa detritus (an amazing array of bottles of bleach, de-greasing stuff, scrubbing pads and brushes) from beside the "under the sink" waste bin (which I also cleaned), popped a plastic bowl under the pipework, and (taking a deep breath) unfastened the U-bend.

Yuk! It was a job well overdue, I'm ashamed to say. And there's a distinct satisfaction to be derived from such a job when it's over. Now all I hope is that the hand-tightened pipework is once again watertight. No cracks about "the sweet smell of success" even if it was a good movie.



1  Which — notice — sported a "D" for "David" badge on the back!
2  And to whom I must apologise for my strange spelling of "philosophical".