2010 — 5 September: Sunday

Another placeholder ahead of Big Bro's arrival in a few hours from now. Just 156 cartons remaining to bring back and unpack. And I'm also now one third of the way through Season #5 of West Wing.1


What time do you call this?

Not even 08:30 and there's yet another hired Ford on my drive. It's Sunday, dagnabbit. One cuppa and one network connection should keep him quiet while I get on with stuffing my next culinary masterpiece.

This chap shares my keen interest in 3D photography. It takes all sorts. Actually I may scan in a couple of my prints from the late 1960s just for fun. They were in carton #178, oddly.

It seems John Lanchester's book ("I.O.U. Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay") on the recent (and ongoing) global financial wobbles could well be worth a read. The NYT reviewer certainly thought so. As did the WSJ one. But Amazon UK is currently showing the updated paperback as unavailable. And some of the US readers are scathing.

In other words, it's the cupidity, stupid. Even Alan Greenspan, arguably the most substantial institutional player in the history of the present crisis, settles on greed as the answer. In 2008, after two decades as head of the Federal Reserve (where his insistence on low regulatory standards and lower interest rates helped inflate the credit bubble), he had a revelation on par with Saul on the road to Damascus. There was "a flaw in the model...that defines how the world works." That flaw was greed: the "self-interest of lending institutions" failed to protect shareholders, much less customers.

The evident irony is that greed — the self-interest of individuals, spread across the society — is exactly what's supposed to make capitalism work. This is a tenet of classic liberalism, raised to a fundamentalism by Ayn Rand and her protégé Greenspan. And while Lanchester rakes Greenspan over the coals for this contradiction, he can only do so halfheartedly. They basically agree on the cause of the current crisis. Greed done us in.

Joshua Clover in The Nation

I bought lunch...

... so Big Bro's paying for some choccies for dear Mama — our next port of call. It's 13:49 and the drizzle has stopped. [Pause] And, at 16:10 he set off back to London clutching my 2006 road atlas but spurning the dominatrix-in-a-box since he claims not to be good at using them. The next part of his whistle stop, fun-packed week is a trip up to the now empty house with daughter #3 to sort out what he and his wife want to ship down to NZ before handing the remaining contents all over to a local hospice charity shop. The single thing I wanted was a small Venetian print (from — or so I'd always assumed — an original by Giovanni Antonio Canal, aka Canaletto) on a dinner placemat that my parents had had framed back in the 1960s. I love the perspective in it:


It seems to be a view of the Grand Canal looking east, but I haven't confirmed that yet.

After our visit...

... Big Bro agrees dear Mama seems to be settling in OK2 and, as we both suspect any place more oriented to "customers" with dementia is very unlikely to be as congenial, that's where we're both content to have her stay unless / until the mighty NHS offers an alternative solution that the care-home forces us to accept.

Just time to chill down the morning's crockpot as I'm off over to Winklechestershire again for a meal and a film just a few minutes from now, courtesy of Mike and Bryan.



1  Grand stuff.
2  Today was actually the first time he's seen her since she moved into the care-home. We did both see the room, however, back in July.