Monday, September 27, 2010

Not the Children of men

No colour in this film!

Spouse has just suggested we watch The Children of Men  at 9pm. I have  soundly refused. Its a great film, Ive seen it before.  Its an even better book by PD James, infact one of her very best. I've always loved Science Fiction , and this dystopian story , where the youngest person in the world is 18 years old, and the elderly are taken off in trips round the harbour to death  has a completely believable story line. I even think that all the milk we drink these days must be so  full of hormones that I cannot see why Organic milk isn't more popular. No Children are born in the world of this story, and I worry now that barrenness is a part of our  true world today.  Are we slowly poisoning our Human Race to infertility today in the west?
I would have watched the film again, but I am really not in the mood for the darkness , gloom and misery before the happy ending. The music is great, lots of Taverner and Mahler and Handel  but I' ve had enough of cult  films for a while. I am ready for a re -run of 'The African Queen' or Sleepless in Seattle,or maybe even 'Pretty Woman'.
We have seen 2 films this weekend you see. The first one was  Soylent Green. Why had I never heard about this film before? Where have I been hiding my curiosity and film search mind.  After all I managed to persuade spouse to buy other unlikely DVD's . Soylent Green managed to pass me by in the 70s. I had not even heard of it until someone in our homegroup lent it to us with Topsy Turvy, the story of G and S.(when our daughter was doing Broadway Pirates. This film sure puts the Day of the Triffids in the shade, and believe me you will never eat Lasagne Verdi ever again. Second film of the weekend was Gran Torino, another tale of misery , woe and darkness  but hope and light overcome.
There is only so much wretchedness I can watch at one go. So I will go back to my Redwall book, a tale of murder and villainy , where mice and hedgehogs and badgers are the good guys, and weasels, stoats and rats are the vermin evil do-ers. So thats all right then.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Harold Gower Bruce (22.09.1910-27.11.75) Born a 100 years ago Today

This picture of my father was taken in August 1970. 
He spent a few days with me in London, staying at my flat. He didn't know London well, and I had the privilege of showing him around. 
We took the River boat to Greenwich and walked around The Royal Naval College, seeing all the Marine pictures he so loved. The view from where he stands in this picture , high above the River Thames and not far from the Royal Observatory and the Greenwich Meridian  is spectacular for London , matched only by the view of the River from the Star and Garter at Richmond or the downstream view from Westminster bridge. You see, my father loved views and Ships. Every morning ,from his bedroom window, in our Sutton on Hull home, on a hill called Riseholme,  he would get out the Telescope and look across with it to the docks. He would call to us what he could see, spotting the marks and icons on funnels as we spot logos on trainers. The Hull Daily Mail would confirm or inform his viewing. He always turned first to the the Sailings and What's in Dock page of the paper first. 
Our childhood Saturdays or Sundays would often include a drive to Paull  or King Georges Dock to watch the ships in and out .In 1953 we all waited by the riverside in Paull  to  wave to Great Aunty Julia ,  sailing  into Hull from New York.  The ship was the Wilson Lines  Rialto.(5000tons). Aunty Julia came for a visit , but stayed for 7 years until her death.
We were all disappointed when a barrier was erected at Paull, as it meant one could no longer sit in the car and watch the river traffic, as the view was gone. Ship watching involves often hours of expectant waiting.  My father knew all the vessels, from the Humber Pilot  launches to his favourite (Ellerman)  Wilson liners, plying trade across to Scandinavia, Rollo, Volo, Bravo, Borodino, etc . My grandfather had sailed as engineer with Wilson Lines in its golden days. I have all his Ships Papers still.

We followed all the development of King Georges Dock. Father would explain all the changes to us, we learned about Lockpits and the Plimsoll line, welcomed the new Roll-on Roll-off ferries , and marvelled at the danger of the dockside, the machinery and smells of churned up oil slicks, and the water  which Father always called muddy umber. These dockside visits would not be allowed now, in the interests of Health and Safety, but they were jewels in a childhood, remembered , taken out , looked at and put quietly back.
Here is one of my fathers own paintings, he did it especially for me, and it is my treasure -the view from Drypool Bridge in 1970.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

King of Clouds

It doesn't really matter if I've got the name wrong. I have looked in my Cloud Collectors handbook and decided that whatever its name might be , Cumulonimbus or not ,this cloud was part of my life for 5 minutes as the train from York to Kings Cross gave me chance. I marvelled at its natural Beauty.
I don't really care how the planet came into being, or how the Earth fits into the scheme of things. There might not even be a scheme of things. There might be a chaos of things. I know what I believe, and that it is that the  infinity of time and  space is too big for me to even think about . I now think I know that we are not living on a flatworld held up by four elephants, that we will not be offered the choice of a red or blue pill to the Matrix, that the world was not created in 6 days of the 24 hours we have now, but I might be wrong. I could think about these things for years, but no amount of equations, discussions and Hadron converters will ever convince me that these are going to add value to my life .
My teflon frying pan was a useful by -product of Space exploration, but I have gone back to a Wok. Richard Dawkins is providing people with something to talk about. 
Even if we are forced to become an underground Church I believe that nothing is more powerful that an Omniopotent, Almighty and Omnipresent YHWH For the first time in my life those long words of Thomas a Kempis (1380-1471) resonate.

Laud and honor to the Father,
laud and honor to the Son,
laud and honor to the Spirit,
ever Three and ever One,
consubstantial, co-eternal,
while unending ages run.

I cannot make any argument for or against my beliefs. I am not clever enough to weigh things up ,and present lucid and logical statements backed up by facts, or  theories of facts. My only certainties are supernatural answers, occurrences and interventions in my life ,not explained by rational. I know what I believe.

This church of St Andrews, Woodwalton  which is only an Adlesdrop glance from the same train as the King  of Clouds puts my whole belief into perspective. This friendless Church whose website invites one to become a friend of a Friendless Church, seems to typify the waste of time in keeping and maintaining an idea that a church is bricks and mortar, when to me a church is a place to keep out the rain as one gives Glory to God. Yes , it is a charming landmark, nearly at Peterborough. That is all it is. It might as well be a Travelodge or a Train Spotting  centre.

So here is the King of Clouds before I passed it by. It Beckoned. I Responded.

Monday, September 06, 2010


I've had a couple of reading weeks.Sounds as if I'm on study leave, but no, I'm on strike!Therefore I have time to read.
I used to hear my mother and aunt say they were not enjoying cooking. They had been feeding the hordes for so long that they had actually run out of enthusiasm and ideas. I never thought I would get to that stage in domestic life myself.
  • I have always enjoyed making curries , taking all day roasting the spices, making naans, chopping the herbs, stirring, and savouring.
  • I have always enjoyed pouring over my Be-ro cookbook 1930 and producing Melting Moments, Rock buns and Shrewsbury biscuits.
  • I have always enjoyed making the Sunday Lunch, sitting through Morning service and wondering if the oven was high enough or too high.
  • I have always enjoyed getting out the Mouli and blending the soup, and adding the last minute lovage.
Well I've had enough.    I have been reading  this summer. A salad has been flung together for dinner, but now I have reached my Crisis. It is time to start back on cooking. The long summer of family and friends have all gone back to work or school. I am about to start the rest of my year where housework has to restart, after garden meals, chalet meals, no mess except on rainy days, and spouse happy with the carpet sweeper.  The cat is now trailing garden debris into the warm house after months under the acanthus, the garden chairs are losing their afternoon reading appeal as the shadows lengthen and I hear the call of stews, casseroles and spinach and rice pies. So I have thrown down the gauntlet. I do not want to cook. I do not want to shop. I do not want to do house work. I WANT TO READ. I want to sit quietly and be enthralled. 
I want to carry on reading as I have done all summer. It has  been good for me, I have not been stressed. I have slept well all summer. I have not had any  flashing light migraines. I have  dozed in the greenhouse with the gentle business of hoverflies and  spiders and woken in time to spring into action as family return from beach or bus. I have caught up with my Reading groups list. My brain has benefited from a mind stretch.
I have read some very good books. The Winter Vault by Anne Michaels comes top for all round joy of the written word. I always do a few quick read Jane Austens, as Mills and Boon to me, girl gets the man in the end with good grammar. I would never have read Old Filth but for my Reading group, read it in a day, oblivious to visitors and calls to kitchen. Kate Atkinsons new Jackson Brodie novel with the forgettable name is the best of them yet.

But I have rediscovered Redwall. 
As I searched for my collection of the Kate Atkinson novels next to my Lindsey Davis  novels I found my Redwalls. I realised that I had not even opened Eulalia, bought in 2007 and still have Loamhedge to read.

So I am on  strike! I do not want to cook , I want to read.

Spouse can do beans on toast and I can fling together salads, even winter salads.

Either its because I haven't actually read any Brian Jacques for 4 years, or Eulalia was a splendid contrast to the reads of the last 6 weeks,but I am hooked again. Its Loamhedge next, and then there are 2 more to buy.


Sunday, September 05, 2010

The Creed

Asbo Jesus  created this . He says just what I feel ! Click to enlarge