The book is better

Only a couple of weeks ago I read A Legacy of Spies, published last year; as ever with le Carrè, having to concentrate hard on the intricacies of the plot while drooling with appreciation at the vibrancy of his descriptions, both of people and places. And now I have almost finished re-reading Smiley’s People – written 40 years ago and as intriguing as ever. Continue reading “The book is better”

The End of an Era

Merkel is finished. Ihre Zeit ist Vorbei. It was fairly obvious after last year’s election that she was a spent force. It took months for a zombie government to be cobbled together, a zombie government in which Merkel threw many shiny bobbles in the general direction of the Social Democrats only for neither of the two parties to be able to agree on much or for any direction, clear or otherwise, to emerge. Continue reading “The End of an Era”

Where am I?

I landed on an island 12 October. I spent a few days there and visited someone I’ve known for years. After a few days, I travelled by an exceptionally fast — and famous — train to the mainland. I continued on an island journey first to the industrial heartland and a city with a great merchant tradition before taking a journey to the ancient capital where I had a proper tea. I travelled by express train across plains and through hills to a coastal town famous for its preserved buildings and rich traditional culture. I am now sitting near the centre of the country surrounded by high peaks.

Bugbear #2

Confidential information
It’s in a diary
This is my investigation
It’s not a public inquiry 

Dire Straits, Private Investigations

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a cookie too far. You can’t even access their official site without agreeing to the regulations! Every visit to a new website is taking an extra click. GDPR! It’s a click too much.

Bugbear #1

I, I, I must be getting old
There’s a fire and a fury
driven deep into my soul
It’s the helplessness that comes
from being under your control

Roger Taylor, The Unblinking Eye.

Anytime something bad happens the politicians bring out their sympathetic faces and they all read from the same script. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard them gravely say “This is a terrible tragedy.”

I’m racking my brain to think of any other kind of tragedy. A good tragedy? A funny tragedy? A favourable tragedy? Sooner or later some MP will utter “a tragic tragedy”. Can see it coming.

Full-colour horror story

The 1914/18 war was  always in monochrome; and film footage always depicted armies marching in double time, gesticulating like robots. But all that has changed, thanks to the modern technology Peter Jackson has deployed to shocking effect. I cannot imagine the reality of blood and guts in the trenches when the whole picture is revealed. Lest we forget? After this we never will.

Beautiful Brisbane

We arrived in Brisbane early on a Saturday and were met by the aunt and uncle of the young appendage. They had moved with their 2 sons to QLD at about the time I had last been there. I had not known them at the time, but have since become very good friends despite the distances that separate. It was an emotional moment, especially for the girl child and her aunt. Continue reading “Beautiful Brisbane”