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.

Not a Happy Announcement

Some of you may still remember Terrible Turk from MyT days yore. He was acerbic, at times abrasive but, in the end, a true gentleman. He was a product of the early post-war years, a man who craved moral and social certainties and certitudes. He had a good career, 30 years in the Middle East for the US Geologic Survey with sojourns into South and South-East Asia. After his retirement, he settled in small-town Virginia where he became a fixture of the local social scene.

He was on my case for years, most recently because of my preference for stepping away from academia and moving, at least partially, into private industry. He was convinced that academia needed at least a few people who weren’t certifiable Bolsheviks amongst its ranks.

You may have noticed that I have discussed him in the preterite. This is no accident. I was informed less than half an hour ago that he has passed away. After a spirited battle with cancer, one that required having his bone marrow removed and replaced, Atropos did her grim deed.

Harrumph

I really can’t moan about life in Dorset. People are nice to me and I’ve been accepted into the community. The locals find me to be endearing, a bit like one of those dogs that’s so ugly that it’s almost cute and madder than a box of frogs as an added bonus. Or, at worst, I’ve been accepted like a bad harvest or a squall the night before the biggest night of fishing. In relatively short order I was given a part-time position with enough hours to pay for my daily expenses — including my Waitrose and hand roasted coffee/hand blended tea tendencies. The landlady has made me her substitute innkeeper. She lets out rooms. In her absence, I will manage the house and sort out the housekeeping.

The only thing that sometimes gets to me is the same thing that gets to many people here. It’s bloody boring. Not to worry. I will go to Japan in October with Viking-type chum. That will be interesting. In a country where everything is said in allusion and euphemism, I will have to mind someone from a country where anything short of the most brutal honesty is considered a major character flaw. Before then, I will fly to Liverpool for a long weekend. Having taken our OZ’s recommendations into serious consideration, I’ve booked a room in L4 within minutes of the Sanctum Sanctorum.