2009 — 5 January: Monday

Tonight's picture demonstrates an unexpected advantage of the "bump" in the late stages of pregnancy — as a dinner tray!

Christa (and Peter!) in Old Windsor, in early 1980

G'night, at 00:27 or so.

Speaking of dinner...

... I prepared the next crockpot this morning to the sound of Melvyn Bragg describing Charles Darwin's "beetlemania". Preparation takes about an hour (or, if I take every possible shortcut, about sixty minutes) so I'm now skulking upstairs waiting for my appetite for breakfast to recover, answering emails, wondering where the very light dusting of snow has gone, and considering whether it's time to get dressed. 10:06 — is this the life, heh?

Slightly scary moments...

... as I finally get around to upgrading the level of WinSCP that I use to access my remote web server. But it upgraded in situ and all works again with all my port settings, directory paths and password remembered and replicated, thank goodness. Nice software. 26,126,395 users can't be wrong!

I mentioned the new book by Diana Athill. There's a nice interview piece with her...

One of the authors whose writing style she most admired was Jean Rhys. "Jean used to simply say that she was trying to get it like it had really been. To get it right," she says. This is the hallmark of her own work. She uses metaphor rarely and perfectly, suggesting, for instance, that scarlet lipstick can make older women look "like a vampire bat disturbed in mid-dinner". "Jean used to say, 'Cut, cut, cut, cut,' and she was right," Athill says. "Accurate writing means accurate thinking."

Kira Cochrane in The Guardian

Lads who lunch...

Back, after treating Len to a lunch in the (local) "Hut".1 The place has changed, and is much improved. Afterwards, Len took me round to his place to show me the latest technology he thinks I should be spending my pitiful IBM pension on. (It's two years to the day since I left the world of wage slavery.) So, as I listen to the sublime Concerto for Orchestra by Bartok, dare I browse for details of the Logitech Duet, its controller, and a silent Linux Media PC (hang on! Haven't we been here before???)

I was sent a link this morning about a chap who, returning from a party dressed as Thor, surprised a burglar. It stirred memories of the only little ditty I know about that particular deity:

Thor, the God of Thunder
Was riding on his filly.
"I'm Thor!" he cried,
The horse replied:
"Then where's your thaddle, thilly?"


I confess I do not immediately think of The Sun as my source of news. (Though, in the first week after it had metamorphosed from the Daily Herald in September 1964 (?) I bought it every day because it was serialising Isaac Asimov's story "Fantastic Voyage".)

Grumpy old man...

Oh heck. I've just shouted angrily (and not for the first time) at the BBC's bizarre "Beyond Belief" programme (or, to be more precise, some of the fatuous opinions oozing glibly from it). Science can say "how", while only religion can say "why"... Well, I know how Christa died. I've yet to discover a "why" I can understand! Perhaps Radio 3's "Night Waves" will be more to my taste? It will be featuring the chap — Paul Martin — who wrote the book (about sex, drugs, and chocolate, i.e. pleasure) described here. Definitely time for my next cuppa and blood-sugar level boost. Chocolate, anyone?

Not as pleasurable as it could have been, and preceded by an interview with a revolting writer whom I shall not name. However, ex-Postie Stephen Law is an extremely unrevolting writer turned philosopher — I bought his "Xmas files" in November — whose blog is also very interesting. And thoughtful.



1  Last time (indeed, the only other time) I ate there was with Peter when Christa was ill (a few hours ahead of me) with what turned rapidly into the double pneumonia that nearly killed the pair of us back in February 1991.