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.
Which country would you more strongly recommend visiting on holiday, Zimbabwe or Namibia?
In spite of the hordes of grockle barbarians invading Dorset’s tranquil, rolling hills and beaches peace prevails.This delicate balance is under threat as Wessex faces a Viking invasion next week. How will Wessex respond? Will we survive? Watch this space…
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.
I’ve long been fascinated by gradual decline and decay. Being in possession of a melancholic temperament myself, it’s had its distinct appeal. It’s why I like ghost towns, and places that, while not quite there, are shadows of their former selves. The USA has a number of places like that. Continue reading “Decay”
May 2018 has been a squalid month in statecraft. No, not because Trump tweeted something even more asinine than usual. In fact, this has nothing to do with Trump, North Korea, Malcolm Turnbull (At least directly) or even Alex Salmond. Continue reading “A Squalid Month in Statecraft”
I am a cynic. I’ve seen too much ugliness and been around too many people who have experienced infinitely worse than I ever will to be anything but. I am also well past the illusion that “my side” is somehow more virtuous. Continue reading “Hypocrisy and Filthy Lucre”
I’ve often heard that those under about 35 will be the first generation to be poorer than their parents. This, my, generation will be “generation rent” — those who cannot afford to buy a house, will struggle to live to the same standards as their parents. This, it is said, is proof of a broader societal failure. Continue reading “Wrong Priorities”
Well, this wasn’t supposed to happen. The Tories have been in power since 2010. The hapless/hopeless/charmless/unloved/useless Toxic Tess’s government has a 29pc approval rating. Saint Jeremy of Islington walks on the Thames every day on his way to Parliament. The enthusiasm of young voters will make historical gains inevitable. Wandsworth, Westminster and Barnett will go Labour causing a Tory collapse in all parts of London, blah, blah, bloody blah. So far, neither party has done especially well but the Tories have held their own. That Labour are so desperate to spin an underwhelming performance as a great success makes one wonder if Saint Jeremy is even more useless and Toxic Tess.
When I was in California I noticed a profound change from just half a year earlier. Continue reading “Drift”