Saturday, 4 December 2010

12 September Days in B, F, CH, D, A & I.

Here it is: 12 September Days, etc:
http://picasaweb.google.com/SumDoood
I recommend the "Slideshow" option,
then Pause and click forward.
Captions are optional, of course.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Welsh Bordering

Here it is: Welsh Bordering.

http://picasaweb.google.com/SumDoood

I recommend the "Slideshow" option,

then Pause and click forward.

Captions are optional, of course.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

An Afternoon in Octumbria

Here it is, An Afternoon in Octumbria.


http://picasaweb.google.com/SumDoood



I recommend the "Slideshow" option,
then Pause and click forward.



Captions are optional, of course.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Friday, 27 August 2010

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Arlo Guthrie


Went to watch Arlo Guthrie's gig in Holmfirth (W. Yorks., UK), last night. I'm still so into it I won't tell you any more until the euphoria has gentled down a bit. But, no, he didn't sing Alice's Restaurant (the soundtrack to a film that enormously influenced the way I've thought about so many things since 1970), saying with a grandfatherly grumpiness,

"There's a good reason some songs are on a record".


In storyteller mode.




Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Vietnam / Afghanistan



Yeah, come on all of you, big strong men,

Uncle Sam needs your help again.

He's got himself in a terrible jam

Way down yonder in Afghanistan

So put down your books and pick up a gun,

We're gonna have a whole lotta fun.


And it's one, two, three,

What are we fighting for ?

Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,

Next stop Afghanistan;

And it's five, six, seven,

Open up the pearly gates,

Well there ain't no time to wonder why,

Whoopee! we're all gonna die.



Well, come on generals, let's move fast;

Your big chance has come at last.

Gotta go out and get those freaks —

How else will the world inherit the meek?

And you know that peace can only be won

When we've blown 'em all to kingdom come.



And it's one, two, three,

What are we fighting for ?

Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,

Next stop Afghanistan;

And it's five, six, seven,

Open up the pearly gates,

Well there ain't no time to wonder why

Whoopee! we're all gonna die.

Huh!



Well, come on Wall Street, don't move slow,

Why man, this is war au-go-go.

There's plenty good money to be made

By supplying the Army with the tools of the trade,

Just hope and pray like Christians can

And stick it to the Taliban.



And it's one, two, three,

What are we fighting for?

Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,

Next stop Afghanistan.

And it's five, six, seven,

Open up the pearly gates,

Well there ain't no time to wonder why…

Whoopee! we're all gonna die.



Well, come on mothers throughout the land,

Pack your boys off to Afghanistan.

Come on fathers, don't hesitate,

Send 'em off before it's too late.

Be the first one on your block

To have your boy come home in a box.

And it's one, two, three

What are we fighting for ?

Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,

Next stop Afghanistan.

And it's five, six, seven,

Open up the pearly gates,

Well there ain't no time to wonder why,

Whoopee! we're all gonna die



Adapted from the original "I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag" (aka Vietnam Rag), Words and Music by Joe McDonald




Monday, 16 August 2010

A Sunny Sunday in Lancaster, UK

    The breakfast time sky formed a ceiling of childish blue before sliding to the ground like a spread sheet of gold as rich as one might see on the finest morning on a French campsite. 

    Passing midday and smothered in laziness, we drove into that little North of England city, parked free on a central cobbled square, walked down a cobbled street passing a range of genuinely historic buildings and into a restaurant where, being half of all the customers, we chose a table next to the big front window. The (optional cheeseless) pizza tasted as good as any pizza anywhere.

    Much of the afternoon passed hammock-bound in our back garden, hiding from the sun in the summerhouse (it doubles as our only dining room), other-worlded in headphones, mp3 player shuffling for summery playlists.

    Evening slid into a rusty sunset with a limey green afterglow, a hint of dew, the dance of bats, a drift of honeysuckle and a near-golden half moon.

    Tomorrow's forecast is fine, so fine that, based on the experience of recent years, these two days will probably be our whole summer.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Efficiency is (the) Key?

Yesterday I cycled into town to get a spare mortice key cut and to buy a new watchstrap. My watch is not trendy or even good looking, but it's twelve years old and astonishingly reliable. And Chinese.  Anyway, I didn't go to any well known firm (rhymes with Timpsons), because I'd read that our local Green Party (of which I'm a not spectacularly active member), had successfully proposed an effective plan to keep open the market hall in Lancaster. Besides, I'm generally quite determined to avoid big firms and to give my small amount of business to a local person.


The friendly chap in the market had only one strap which matched my conditions: not metal, not leather. It seems to be OK, but rather smaller than I'd've liked.

I rode home. The new key was completely useless. Well, as a key it was, although it might've made a good something else. I rode back and the woman at the stall had a go at improving my key.  I rode home. The newly modified key was completely useless. I rode back and the bloke started all over again. I rode home. The new key worked.


Now, I wasn't particularly busy and I do need the exercise, but three journeys to get one key cut? That's a long way from being efficient, isn't it. What if I'd been some poor old biddy with bad legs and no reliable neighbours to run errands for me? Not so long back I made several trips to a local bike shop after a brand new tyre had exploded at 110 psi when its limit was 120. The firm replaced the tyre free of charge, and fitted it, but refused to replace the exploded inner tube.

Is there anywhere in the world where people can get proper compensation for the inconvenience entailed in exchanging shoddy goods, or services?

Wingless Angels


Monday, 9 August 2010

In reply to those who want to "Keep Jesus Christ in our Schools".

Why, when this world is already so very wonderful, might there be any good reason to imagine anything which does not exist? STOP IT!


All so-called gods are imaginary. There are no gods. There is no evidence of any god(s) anywhere. GET REAL.


Base your values on things that are. Be kind, be fair and keep on trying to ensure that your existence causes minimal harm to anyone and to anything.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Grantchester Meadows, my mini Floyd-fest.


"And a river of green is sliding Unseen beneath the trees Laughing as it passes Through the endless summer Making for the sea..."

In April this year I visited Grantchester Meadows (Cambridge, UK). 200m away the Cam looking very green was sliding by..........

Not caring that I might look a little odd, cocooned in my headphones with my mp3 player in my back pocket, I walked along the Cam and through the meadows as events flashed in and out of focus across four decades.

15 July 2010: Only yesterday I went back with Jo. She enjoyed the mp3 experience too.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

RESPECT. Or not.

Respect is over-rated, don't you think, assuming thinking might still have some limited value?

Respect is, and always was, very close to fear, and fear still impels us to behave with (or as if with), respect towards groups and individuals who often do, or support the doing of, really very, very bad things.

So-called political correctness is much entangled with issues of respect. What use is misplaced "correctness"? Or misplaced "respect"?

"Respect where it's due" is a concept with which we'd surely do well to become familiar. Again.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

God save me from the porkers.

COUNTY by John Betjeman

God save me from the Porkers,
God save me from their sons,
Their noisy tweedy sisters
Who follow with their guns,

The old and scheming mother,
Their futures that she plann'd,
The ghastly younger brother
Who married into land.

Their shots along the valley
Draw blood out of the sky,
The wounded pheasants rally
As hobailed boots go by.

Where once rabbit scampered
The waiting copse is still
As porker fat and pampered
Comes puffing up the hill.

"A left, a right! Well done, sir!"
They're falling in the road;
"And here's your other gun, sir".
"Don't talk, you're here to load."

God save me from the porkers,
The pathos of their lives,
The strange example that they set
To new rich farmers' wives.
 
Apart from any god's ability to save anything, he got it right.

No Smoke without......

In 1965 Herb Alpert released Spanish Flea and in an end of term concert everyone in my primary school (at Highnam, Glos., UK), played along on an assortment of percussion instruments (castanets being by a long way the most popular), encouraged by a new and enlightened(?) headmaster.


The headmaster owned a Mini, was a magistrate and felt unable to explain adequately to precocious(?) me why a good and kind workfriend of my dad had been repatriated to Jamaica for possession of one "jazz cigarette" (as they were probably called in those relatively far off days).

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Around Applecross



Three days campervanning. About 150 images from the Highlands of Scotland. Click the image then choose "Slideshow".
Then "F11" for a full screen view.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Match your Vote to Policies.





Four dead in Ohio, four dead in Ohio, four dead in Ohio...........

Is this why, in a not so roundabout way, we allowed our country in 2003 to join the US in a war against Iraq?




Neil Young's "Ohio" performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Spending £97bn on new nuclear weapons?

We are in the deepest recession since World War II and facing some tough choices. Our essential public services are all being lined up for cuts, along with crucial programmes to secure clean, safe energy to power our homes and businesses.


But the easiest cut of all - cutting out plans to build new nuclear weapons - is being ignored by our politicians.


With an election imminent, it's time to remind our politicians they work for us - and polls consistently show that most of us don't see the need to waste vast sums on a doomsday machine.


Tell all your parliamentary candidates that you don't want to waste £97 bn on new nuclear weapons at: http://cut-trident.greenpeace.org.uk/


Parliament's Achievements. Or not.

The Last Parliament from Green Alliance on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

The Water Table


Filmed at home in Penarth, South Wales in July 2009 Philip Gross reads two poems about the Severn estuary from his T.S. Eliot Prize-winning collection The Water Table, 'Sluice Angel' and 'Atlantis World'.





Other books by Philip Gross: Changes of Address; Mappa Mundi; The Egg of Zero; The Wasting Game

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Urge to Go - Joni Mitchell.





I awoke today and found the frost perched on the town,
It hovered in a frozen sky then it gobbled summer down.
When the sun turns traitor cold
And all the trees are shivering in a naked row
I get the urge for going, but I never seem to go.

I get the urge for going
When the meadow grass is turning brown,
Summertime is falling down and winter is closing in.

I had me a man in summertime,
He had summer-colored skin
And not another girl in town
My darling's heart could win,
But when the leaves fell on the ground
And bully winds came around, pushed them face down in the snow
He got the urge for going and I had to let him go.

He got the urge for going
When the meadow grass was turning brown,
Summertime was falling down and winter was closing in.

Now the warriors of winter they gave a cold triumphant shout
And all that stays is dying, all that lives is getting out
See the geese in chevron flight flapping and a-racing on before the snow,
They've got the urge for going and they've got the wings, so they can go.

They get the urge for going
When the meadow grass is turning brown
Summertime is falling down and winter is closing in.

I'll ply the fire with kindling now, I'll pull the blankets up to my chin,
I'll lock the vagrant winter out and bolt my wandering in,
I'd like to call back summertime, have her stay for just another month or so,

But she's got the urge for going and I guess she'll have to go.
She gets the urge for going when the meadow grass is turning brown
And all her empire's falling down.







(Read it next autumn too).

This Land is My Land? An Old Fashioned Not-Given Right Not Rightly Assumed.

This land’s not your land, this land’s not my land
From California to the New York Island,
From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land wasn’t made for you and me.

As I was walking that ribbon of highway
I saw above me that endless skyway,
I saw below me that golden valley,
But this land wasn’t made for you and me.

I've roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
And all around me a voice was sounding,
But this land wasn’t made for you and me.

When the sun came shining and I was strolling
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
A voice was chanting and the fog was lifting,
But this land wasn’t made for you and me.

This land’s not your land, this land’s not my land
From California to the New York Island,
From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land wasn’t made for you and me.

When the sun came shining and I was strolling
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
A voice was chanting and the fog was lifting,
But this land wasn’t made for you and me.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Bicycle cargo trailer. And driftwood.

Last autumn, having had no replies to a couple of over-optimistic wanted ads, I bought a new cargo trailer via eBay. It cost £65 (w p&p from Germany), is well built and has an enormous load capacity of 220lbs = 100kgs = 15st (ish).




On the flat and empty, but with its lidded canvas "bag" fitted, it makes me drop 2 or 3 gears. Very fully loaded with driftwood it makes me drop 4 -5 gears. On steeper hills I drop to my crawler gear and sweat like a waterfall. The tyres are rated at 35psi. I immediately took them to 40. It's important esp. with a heavy load to make the trailer nose-heavy. This might occasionally cause the bike's front wheel to want to lift off the road, but that's much better than contending with the annoying and difficult rocking motion which can develop if the load is evenly balanced or heavier at the back.

A cycle path runs along the estuary shoreline where there's a lot of driftwood. It's not so far from home and I can get out and back with a lot of wood in little more than an hour. I take with me a small bow saw and, because I'm only 2 - 3 miles from the city centre, 3 cable bike locks so I can lock the bike to the trailer and both to something else, and then wander away.

Once I'm home any seaweed which comes along with the wood gets put into the compost bin. I use the chainsaw to get the wood down to stove length and because it's nearly all dry I bring some of it straight into the house where for several days it gives off a pleasant, fresh and salty smell.

I imagine the trailer will double as a garden wheelbarrow occasionally.

A bicycle trailer, post manufacture and delivery, and heating with (free) biomass together amounts to some useful carbon footprint shrinkage, I think.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Wolfgang's Vault, My, oh, my......

Five weeks earlier with two schoolfriends I'd stood about 8ft back from the stage and watched The Rolling Stones play in The King's Hall at Bellevue, Manchester. Mick Taylor was on top form, Billy Preston was amazing (and his band which included Mick Taylor), and Keith looked in many respects frighteningly close to very nearly dead. I have this gig on a semi-officially released CD, but you can listen to it here:


Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Winter '62 - '63 (the coolest since 1740)

I'm sure we had some days off school in rural Gloucestershire, but when we went back we made ice slides as long as the whole sloping playground, as BIG as commerical runways along which we took turns to be towed by friends either side in the grippier snow. The bruises were enormous. And what about the firey cold pain under your skin which became so much worse once we got back into the warm?

Drifts outside our isolated house were 7 (seven) feet high and extended 20 yards or more from the wheatfield, through the laid hedge and across the wide verge and the road too.


Two coal fires, no radiators even in a modern house, no double glazing, of course, thick ice inside the windows, (cold lino floors), handknitted mittens and balaclavas........ But those weather conditions amounted to one of the most sustained periods of excitement ever!


That xmas I'd been given a sledge made by my dad in clumsy secrecy in the outhouse. The runners were recycled staves from a 5ft high barrel. Although strongly made, I don't think it was a very good sledge but good fun, all the same and I still quite often wonder how I slid below the lowest strand of that barbed wire fence and only lost my hat.

Here's a website dedicated to the winter weather of 1962 - 63.

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