Conspicuous consumption

Yes, dear reader, it’s a tradition. A society wedding like tomorrow’s is larger-than-life, extravagant to a fault and (dare one say) more than a little vulgar. And that’s only the bride’s mother. At least our favourite iconoclast, Prince Philip, seems likely to avoid her altogether. Will he want to sit next to her? He’ll decide when he wakes up. Camilla has already made her choice – to stay away, citing other ‘duties’. Luckily for his new in-laws, the groom is able to keep them in the manner to which they have always aspired. Jolly good match, what, what?

Log on?

It was  picture-postcard romantic to live deep in the beechwoods in a thatched cottage built for the game-keeper in the mid 1800s, wood-smoke curling up from two tall chimneys every morning as the mist cleared in the Spring sunshine.

But these days our little friends Elf and Softy are daring to point out that even the newest, tightest, most efficient woodstoves pump invisible particles into the rooms they heat. And this time they are absolutely right! Much to the chagrin of the green wellie brigade and other country dwellers with a preference for traditional heating.

I acquired ‘solid’ evidence during the Viking years. First, a dripping nose which coincided exactly with winter sojourns at home; second, the state of the fly screens which we needed in the woods and which were yellow with smoke-dust after a few months’ use (there was no dust outside in the woods!).

So before you chuck another log on, you might want to think again.

Goodness me

I can’t help thinking I’m an egalitarian. The word seems to connote more or less what I stand for, morally speaking. It cements the aims of all those who want to lift our species out of the life old Hobbes described as natural: ”solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”. But ever since the Americans crystallised the principle – ‘all men are created equal’ – plenty of gainsayers have ensured that some are more equal than others. They have used pseudo-science, pseudo-religion and pseudo-economics to justify their belief in the subjugation and humiliation of other races and creeds. Not to mention politics where we witness so-called social democrats identifying members of their clubs who have unsuitable views about equality.

Of course the best strategy for my opponents is to deny the principle – which in their book gives them licence to deny their hypocrisy, their dressed-up inhumanity, their sense of innate superiority. Their  tribes just play their cards more skilfully, they’ll say; and devil take the hindmost. But I can’t hope St Peter will deal with them in the end; so many of his adherents agree with their flawed conclusions. I just want them to know they can’t fool everyone with their arguments.

Lost and found

Where did you get it? I won it. I picked it up. I came across it. Answers that might denote its less-than-conventional origin. Personally I avoid any event resembling a flea market but millions of people love ’em. It’s the thrill of the chase and the improbable but tempting idea that treasure might be there for the picking.

So perhaps I shouldn’t be shocked to read that someone found an elegantly packaged glass bottle, presumed it was perfume, presented it to his lady-love……….and poisoned her with a deadly nerve-agent. But I am. Yes, it’s the antidote to serendipity. Someone will probably calculate the odds against the man’s ill-fortune. But I doubt it will spell the end of garage sales or expeditions with metal-detectors – or the temptation simply to snag things lying around the town.

There is nothing like a Dane

I came across a Grauniad leader this morning – and had to read it twice. Is this about Denmark, with the happiest people in the world?

I suppose the biggest difference a non-Dane notices over there is that most of the folk in the shopping centres (except perhaps in the few cities) are discernibly descended from Scandinavian stock. Compare that to most British towns. But there is another major difference. Since WWII we have grown used to seeing and living cheek-by-jowl with incomers of all races and persuasions; they are part of our landscape. I hate the word ‘integration’ but I would say they play a part in our society which most of us recognise and no longer resist, as we did at first. But the Danes are still where we stood after WWII! Hence the existence across that small country of 56 ‘ghettoes’, as described in the article, linked below.

After my second reading, I have had visions of PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen playing our favourite Viking, King Canute (never mind the spelling), as portrayed in fake news as a megalomaniac resisting the waves. I hope I’m wrong.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/08/the-guardian-view-on-forcible-integration-in-denmark-this-cannot-end-well