2010 — 25 December: Saturday

Seasonal greetings to my reader. Something within me finally snapped1 and, as a result, I've spent the first few minutes of Xmas clearing piles of books off the dining table, in readiness for their next resting place. I have "had it up to here" (as it were) with some aspects of my slob bachelor lifestyle. Now that the rest of the house2 is more or less tidy after the year's grand mal upheavals of plumbing and floor covering and what have you I reckoned it was about time for me to reclaim the dining room.

Now, of course, I'm knackered. G'night.

I can't say that...

... a starting temperature, this morning, of -4C feels very enticing but I'm off for a little local ramble in a couple of hours over in Winchester. At least it's not snowing :-)

Xmas #4 without Christa, Xmas #2 without a Terry's chocolate orange (since they changed the formulation), but I still have my trusty cuppa. Ho-ho. It's 08:37 and uniformly grey and dull-looking out there.

Just as I slam off "The Archers" before its theme tune kicks off an ear-worm, so I twitch the dial hastily away from the pious and generally patronising "Thought for the Day" (never knowingly from an atheist, of course) that the BBC chooses to inflict on this Untied Kingdom (sic). While I knew the infallible chap was due to spout his piece (maybe still is due, I dunno) I have/had no intention of tuning in. Besides, the good Prof Dawkins has said it so much more neatly than I would:

That's right. The creator of the universe, sublime inventor of mathematics, of relativistic space-time, of quarks and quanta, of life itself, Almighty God, who reads our every thought and hears our every prayer, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God couldn't think of a better way to forgive us than to have himself tortured and executed. For heaven's sake, if he wanted to forgive us, why didn't he just forgive us? Who, after all, needed to be impressed by the blood and the agony? Nobody but himself.

Ratzinger has much to confess in his own conduct, as cardinal and pope. But he is also guilty of promoting one of the most repugnant ideas ever to occur to a human mind: "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Hebrews 9:22).

Richard Dawkins in The Guardian

My first delighted splutter of the day, frankly. [Pause] Recall Dilbert's inventor (in God's débris — a free PDF file) concluding that the only ambition that could possibly satisfy an omnipotent (etc etc) creator would be to engineer its own destruction. Of course, Asimov took a different approach, having the literal last word from the ultimate "descendant" of his "Multivac" computer in his favourite short story "The Last Question". ("Fiat Lux" indeed.)


Elisabeth Beresford (just died, at 83 or 84) was the daughter of the chap (JD Beresford) who wrote the excellent 1911 übermensch tale ("The Hampdenshire Wonder"). She was herself the creator of the Wombles. Small world!

I'm back — obviously — from my icy (and in some places nastily slippery) rambles around Winchester, capped by a deliciously civilised smoked salmon lunch. And I shall be returning in a couple of hours for our defiantly untrad Xmas meal and maybe a film or two. I must remember to pick up my boots, too. I may yet be needing them this winter. It's 16:23 and stubbornly below freezing out there. Brrr. [Pause] There was some fine music on the portion of the Jazz Library round-up of the year I managed to catch, ending (very nicely) with a track from the Jan Garbarek album that was simply outstanding.

Back again

Tonight's film ("I'm not scared") was superb, and is by the chap — Gabriele Salvatores — who made "Mediterraneo"; a film that's in my collection but not yet in my visual memory. (Mind you, Mike bought "I'm not scared" three years ago and has only just got that pesky round tuit himself. So it's not just me.)

It's now 23:36 and, last time I looked, a shivery -7C with added fog. Nice.



1  Not before time.
2  Drawing veils, of course, over what was Christa's study — still partially full of storage cartons of her stuff — and what is still, from time to time, Peter's room — still well-stuffed with stuff overflowing from what was my stuff-filled study.