2008 — 9 September: Tuesday

Just finished watching the new Coen brothers film, No country for old men, which is a powerful piece. (I was tickled to recognise Barry Corbin [from "Northern Exposure"] in it, and amazed to hear Kelly Macdonald's faultless West Texas accent. She was in the Richard Curtis film "The girl in the café" with Bill Nighy.)

It's now 01:09 and time for tonight's picture of Christa, from August 1996 during our holiday in New York. It shows her with Peter, and our hostess Carol:

Christa, Peter and Carol in Croton on Hudson, New York, August 1996


The rain in Spain...

... has emigrated here, it seems. It's 09:47 and I'm awake in time to listen to the second chunk of "Making money". What strange stuff it is. Time is infinitely more valuable, and ever more so.

For the first time since she died, I have dreamt about Christa, who somehow returned (although somehow we both knew it was a temporary return without explicitly talking about it). It was lovely to see her, hug her, and chat. That's exactly what I miss most, of course.


That naughty "Onion" is poking fun at Darwinic pilgrims. I love the idea of being filled "with an overwhelming feeling of logic." Good stuff.

"It's a stain on a wall, and nothing more," said the Rev. Clement McCoy, a professor at Oral Roberts University and prominent opponent of evolutionary theory. "Anything else is the delusional fantasy of a fanatical evolutionist mindset that sees only what it wishes to see in the hopes of validating a baseless, illogical belief system. I only hope these heretics see the error of their ways before our Most Powerful God smites them all in His vengeance."

Anon in The Onion

"Vengeance" is such a loving concept, don't you think? Compare and contrast the stance of AC Grayling with his Origin of the Specious. It's very hard not to warm to a chap who can write a phrase such as "that cancer of the contemporary intellect, post-modernism". As for the idea that being educated by Jesuits "tells you how to reconcile the irreconcilable" — priceless!

The (tree) roots of coincidence

I remember, as clearly as if it were only yesterday, mentioning my need to trim the trees that Christa was wont to disport in in days of yore. I'm now (13:41) awaiting the return of Mr Hughes who (in days of yore) was wont to do some of the more heavyweight lopping. He knocked coincidently on the door just this morning, wondering if maybe we felt it was time for another trim. He was, of course, blissfully unaware of Christa's death. Anyway, dodging out between rain showers, I've fortified myself with some cash from what I still think of as Christa's account, and await the return of the chainsaw. I do hope the presence of another tree surgeon's name stuck to the side of the fridge doesn't mean Christa had decided against Mr Hughes for further work, but it's too late to ask her now...

It's 14:11 and the arboreal trimming has just started. And now, at 15:15, the loppers have lopped and left, leaving me £250 lighter. Christa would probably be partly pleased and partly appalled. There's a return bout to attend to soffets, some fascia boards, and the two remaining sets of wooden window frames come the next fine weather. House maintenance; what an ongoing nightmare!

Lost weekend

As one of the twenty or so people, worldwide, who bought the Godley & Creme triple LP "Consequences" back in late 1977, I suppose I'm now free to admit that I made my own edited version of just the musical portions, cutting out the strange narration sections by Peter Cook. Turns out the record company Phonogram did exactly the same, ruthlessly cutting it down to a single album's worth. And that's what has just been dropped off by the genial gent to whom Mr Postie mistakenly delivered my latest CD. So I can now supplement the first album on one of my earliest minidiscs:

Today's blast from the past

I'd forgotten it featured Sarah Vaughan on the track "Lost Weekend". It's been combined with their following album "L". ("Does getting into Zappa mean getting out of Zen?" Good question!) Great stuff. And it's now performing a very useful "cheer David up" function after the rather harsh-looking garden surgery. (I remember Christa also being upset after one of our earlier tree-lopping episodes, and me comforting her.) Trouble is, she's no longer here to comfort me, dammit. Oh well, it's 16:31 and the rain remains as dreary as ever. (But at least I'm not in the office...) Time for my next cuppa, methinks.

In other news... dept.

My main co-pilot reports (unbelievably, which probably means it's true) that his wife's car failed its "MOT" today because two of the symbols on a number plate were 0.5mm too close together. Another piece of Euro-folly? As he says: "Laws is laws" I was told by the MOT Man with a Vernier gauge. Sometimes one can be intolerant of tolerances.

It's going to take a large dose of "Maestro" to soothe me tonight, I think. My red eye, by the way, is almost back to its normal mad stare. Well, 75 minutes and 33 seconds1 of musical therapy has just ended. To my delight, I've also just discovered that the "Mallard" album you can see on that early minidisc has been reissued as a "two for one" CD, too, so Mr Amazon has just been given his next task. What a rascal, heh?

I don't know about you, but I always know when I've made a bad decision if — when I reverse it — I feel tremendous relief. (Of course, reversing isn't always an option.) I've just reversed my decision about the next round of house maintenance, and feel a tremendous relief. As does Christa, I suspect. C'est la guerre. Having just got back from a Waitrose supplies run, it's time (18:52) to feed the inner man yet again. Is there no end to his appetite? At least there seems to be an end to the rain, for the moment. We're (still) hoping for another walk tomorrow, possibly in the New Forest.

Oh dear! The lip-sync on the HD feed (digital satellite) of "Maestro" is badly out; it's fine on the SD (BBC 2) feed (digital terrestrial). Still, who's going to notice? And, as I said back here, Sue Perkins was the deserved winner. Good.



1  I can still remember the first CD I bought (on holiday with Christa in Germany) that (at the time) "broke" the playing time record at 71 minutes 9 seconds. It was Beethoven's Ninth, with an Austrian conductor (Otmar Suitner) waggling his speedy stick in front of the Staatskapelle, Berlin in June 1982. Rumour has it, of course, that Sony chairman Akio Morita originally specified CDs to have a playing time sufficient to hold this particular symphony.