2008 — 30 November: Sunday

Eighteen months ago we started turning the back garden pond into a low-maintenance bog garden. Tonight's picture shows her salvaging some of the oygenators (which are still thriving both in a few scattered buckets, and in the bungalow's pond):

Christa and the pond, 5 May 2007

Again, just look at that smile!

G'night, at 00:02 or so.

Happy Anniversary...

... to the seven occupants of the bungalow! And isn't it a splendidly wet one this morning, too? As for my NZ chum (trying in vain, I gather, to view last night's "Boris" when not in the UK) I shall ask around... But first, tea, and something a bit warmer than jim-jams. And something other than NPR's "Car Talk", as it's a bit distracting. On with Winamp and the new playlist. As long as it drowns out the sound of the rain1 on the skylight...

It's enough to make your eyes water... dept.

I made it all the way to the final paragraph, however, and its delicious phrase:

In a way, the focus on Hitler's alleged sexual abnormality becomes the missing testicle of the German nation: the monocausal monorchid exculpation for the guilt for mass murder. Let's not encourage it.

Ron Rosenbaum in Slate

Again, I wonder what Christa would have made of this. We tended to avoid discussion of the second world war though we both couldn't help noticing it seemed to obsess some family members in the UK, at least. All but one of whom have now departed, as it were, to meet their makers. Speaking of which, I've been sent an amusing piece that suggests (rather like Orwell's Animal Farm) "four wheels good, two wheels bad":

However, many people are making the switch because they imagine that having a small motorcycle will be cheap. It isn't... In other words, your small 125cc motorcycle, which has no boot, no electric windows, no stereo and no bloody heater even, will end up costing more than a Volkswagen Golf. That said, a bike is much cheaper to run than a car. In fact, it takes only half a litre of fuel to get from your house to the scene of your first fatal accident.

Jeremy Clarkson

Delighted as I am...

... by the playlist, it's time for "Private Passions", which is basically an upmarket variation on "Desert Island Discs". (I am continually surprised by the effects of a well-shuffled playlist. I've just made the transition from Scott Walker's "Duchess" to "Snake charmer" by the Bhutan Philharmonic. Find me the DJ prepared to do that.)

Which reminds me, on 15th May 2004 Christa and I were down in Abbotsbury in the sub-tropical garden, and I whimsically asked Carol (who has connections to an arboretum in New York somewhere) in a note on the next day whether she could get us a cutting of the Himalayan white (or blue, opinions vary) pine tree. Pinus Griffithii (although opinions vary on that, too, offering Pinus wallichiana, and Pinus excelsa, inter alia). We saw one and liked it a lot. We both felt that anything that looks that much like a tree-dwelling hedgehog deserved a place in our garden:

Bhutan pine

This takes me back...

I had a two-week holiday in Orkney (Shapinsay, to be more precise) in the summer of 1959. Check this out. I'm told it was a hot summer of water shortages in the UK. It rained nearly every day where we were, and the rain is mostly horizontal up there. On an evening fishing trip in a rowing boat I experienced chattering teeth for the first time.

To know me...

... is to know my immense admiration for GB Trudeau's "Doonesbury". I may just have pinpointed a future purchase:


Not that I expect it to be particularly full of laughs. That damnable Amazon! Time (15:38) for another cuppa.

If a job's worth doing...

... it's obviously worth putting off for a while. I mentioned here (where I nestedly mentioned here) a none-too-small pile of radio recordings on minidisc that I needed to sort out and label. Given the high capacity of these lovely little devices, you can have the devil's own time trying to find something if you don't keep on top of your archive.2 Well, here I am at 23:38, still (as it were) at it. To think I used to typeset and stick on tiny little labels, too. I'm now making do with neat hand writing. Life's too short, as I keep saying to Christa!

There have been, of course, the odd distractions: making stuff to eat, reading the latest Ubuntu newsletter (and consequently browsing and ordering a book and [since I was there] a few bits of music from the aforementioned damnable Amazon), listening to the "Freak Zone" and Guy Garvey's "Finest Hour", nipping over the road with an older Ubuntu book to stave off an incipient panic attack in the bungalow, making cups of tea, giving in and re-plumbing in my third minidisc recorder upstairs to help in this insane task. Even simply getting distracted listening to the stuff I'm merely supposed to be listing. Oh, the life of the mildly obsessive-compulsive completeist, heh?



1  We were always very glad we couldn't quite afford the slightly larger houses around here back in 1981. They have their bedroom windows as skylights, and we never realised how noisy raindrops could be! The fact that they all have winding steps up to their front doors (they are basically split level designs well adapted to quite steeply sloping ground) is another usability feature that shows up badly come "bin" day.
2  Though the BBC's own archives are several orders of magnitude more troublesome, as I was reading earlier today, here. Fascinating, to those of us with a certain set of proclivities.