Jess

Jess in Potatoes 2016_2

…would lie on the warm earth around my growing vegetables

Our black and white cat Jess died today.

Death comes in many guises and for Jess it came neither brutally, in the way in which he caught mice and even small rabbits nor did it creep into the bones and sinews stealthily, but peacefully lying the warm sunshine minutes after his last feed. Mid-afternoon, he had entered through the open patio glass door and whined his usual miouw which said, ‘I want food.’ I fed him and resumed reading outside in the warm spring sun. The grandchildren came home from school to granny’s treat, a Malteasers cookie, and then they ran outside to play. Four-year-old Ivy loved to stroke Jess. His smooth black coat was irresistible to her. Normally, she would stalk the cat and, occasionally, it would yield to her gentle touch as she had learned from an early age to be gentle. ‘Nanny, Jess is not moving.’ Continue reading “Jess”

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Old School

parliament

… disadvantaged politician who might just have wider appeal as Prime Minister than any narrow-based public schoolboy?

Chapter One 

1 February 2016

Pembrokeshire, home to the wild cliffs of west Wales and castles from the time of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn…’ Deirdre Fairbrother snapped the radio button off. She’d heard too many wonderful Pembrokeshire stories, if it was so wonderful, why didn’t more people live there.

Outside, the morning light which could often be fickle was clear and luminous. It shone into her artist’s studio. She liked days like this for she was alone with her oils and canvas with nothing on her agenda except a visit to her aged mother later in the afternoon. Loading her horsehair brush with a mixture of chrome yellow and magenta previously stirred on her palette, she touched the canvas again, and again more strongly, before standing back to observe the subtle change in her summer landscape. The season was well past now, but as usual she worked with care at her rediscovered joy. Bit by bit, she was starting to rekindle her original love of painting which she had foolishly set aside when she and Peter had started their family thirty-six years ago.

The shrill sound of the telephone disturbed her painting. She put the brush on the easel, walked out of the studio down a cold corridor to the hall and picked it up. Half past nine on a Monday was an odd time for a call. The words ‘West Albion Care Home’ were enough. She knew what they were going to say and her knees weakened. As she listened to the caller say, ‘I’m sorry, your mother has died,’ she put her hand behind her onto a chair and lowered herself, still holding the receiver. Mute with shock, she was unable to reply. Her ninety-two-year-old mother had been hanging on for weeks, but nothing could ever prepare one for the actual moment when someone announces that one’s mother is dead. Continue reading “Old School”

The Meaningful Brexit Vote.

Meaningful Brexit Vote

The declaration: Lost by 344 votes to 286, a Majority of 58, the Nos have it.

15 January 2109, Lost by 432 to 202, a Majority of 230; 12 March, Lost by 391 to 242, a Majority of 149; 29 March 2109, Lost by 344 votes to 286, a Majority of 58. What now?

Parliament has today voted down our Government’s proposal to leave the European Union for a third (and probably final time). Watching from the sidelines, it is not pretty. Continue reading “The Meaningful Brexit Vote.”

A View from the Boundary

brexit

The great thing about watching sports, like cricket, is that from the boundary spectators can see the whole panoply of the game develop before their eyes, whereas the players in the middle can only see a limited perspective, just the bowler, or just the batsman, for example. So it is with politics and our problem with leaving the European Union.

We, the great unwashed, are on the boundary seeing the whole picture on our televisions, social media pages, and newspapers whereas the players (or politicians) have their vision limited by party loyalties, constituency considerations and their own innate beliefs. Continue reading “A View from the Boundary”

Referenda and the ‘People’s Vote’ on the Final Brexit Plan

brexit

Michel Barnier must be under as much pressure as Prime Minister May….

The first ever referendum related to an electoral procedure. It was ordered by the General Court of Massachusetts in 1641. It was embodied in an order passed on June 2, which set forth that “The freemen were growing to so great a multitude as will be overburdensome to the country, ” and “the way of proxies is found subject to many miscarriages.” The Court proposed, subject “to the advice and consent of the freemen,” that “every ten freemen,” in each town, should “choose one to be sent to the Court (of Elections) with power to make election for all the rest.” The order provided that the Deputies should “carry the copy hereof to the several towns and to make returns at the next Court, what the minds of the freemen are herein, that the Court may proceed accordingly.”

As there is no evidence that the proposed plan of voting by tens was ever tried, it would appear that “the minds of the freemen” were adverse to it. However, no return of the votes can now be found.

It marked the way for referenda.

Continue reading “Referenda and the ‘People’s Vote’ on the Final Brexit Plan”

Yanny or Laurel – the death of the spoken word?

Geschichte / Deutschland / 19. Jh. / Wilhelm I.  / Deutsch-französischer Krieg 1870-71 / Emser Depesche

Bismark cleverly manipulated the words. He altered the Ems Telegram sent originally by Heinrich Abeken…

On 16 May 2018, the BBC television news finished with an unusual item. Perhaps, the producer was fed up with stories about the antics of Donald Trump, or the atrocities wrought on innocent populations by ISIS or the perennial BREXIT machinations by the British political elites. So Auntie or the Beeb, (or 2LO London calling, for older listeners) played a short sound clip and asked the viewers to identify it. The screen went white as the sound was played accompanied by a digital signature, a series of bars above and below a single line like some crazy barcoded xylophone.

It caught my attention and I listened ears back and alert for the sound. I heard the single word ‘Yearly.’ Continue reading “Yanny or Laurel – the death of the spoken word?”

Double Standards

double standards 2

Natalie Portman or Sarah Lane?

It’s all about perception, so they say.

We installed French windows in the downstairs lounge below our bedroom.  But each morning, since early April, we have been awoken by loud tapping noises. What was it? The cat demanding that we should feed him now that the sun had risen. Someone throwing stones at our windows? Or was I hearing things? The repeated tapping annoyed and disturbed me and, worse, my wife. I couldn’t ignore it. Reluctantly, for now in retirement I am never one to rise early, I knew I had to find out the reason and that would involve getting up. At first, I was confused and could not understand what was happening. I got up and put on my dressing gown in a semi-comatose state without a clear or definite idea of how to solve the problem. I had a vague idea that somehow I must stop that damn noise. No sooner had I opened the door to the lounge than the explanation was clear. It was a case of double standards. Continue reading “Double Standards”