A good place to live...

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

the small black dog is definitely brilliant!

We took the small black dog with us on two longer car-journeys recently.
Heading for Guildford [2 1/2 hours drive away] we brought with us her food, and a plastic squash-bottle of water, to give to her at her usual mealtime. Halfway there, we could hear a persistent, light clicking sound from the car-boot. No squeaking, panting, or restless sounds, so we puzzled slightly, unable to identify the noise.
Just before our destination we found a good place to stop and let her air her fur. Opening the boot we found...
That amazingly clever little dog had **unscrewed** the plastic lid on the water container, and taken about a third of it, **without spilling any water**
Heaven knows how she did it, as the lid was on tightly, since you don't want it falling over while driving. and heaven knows how she got the water out of its very narrow neck without spilling it, or knocking the container over...
Presumably the clicking sound was her very gentle twisting open the bottle lid, little by little, as there were tiny dents in it, not large bite-marks.
On the earlier 'longer drive' she had done this same unscrewing - was it a fluke? had the bottle top been loose and 'wobbled' off? but clearly now she has repeated it, this is something she has taught herself, and jolly clever it is too! Her answer to boredom?!
Life is full of surprises!

Creativity and work - the tensions?

A new blog, by Hamid Ismail, the world service writer in residence, asked how we might strike a balance between work and creativity: my response is that there was an advertisement some years ago that 'inside every fat person is a thin one struggling to get out' and I wonder whether this actually applies, now, to would-be-creative people. The pressures of work, which we have made for ourselves [people work longer hours, to earn more, and do not seem to be 'better off'] allow less time for creativity, only for de-stressing... It would be interesting to know whether this is reflected in the variety of films on offer - either through total sales [both of seats and of DVDs], or through the subject matter.
Balance - I write poetry, on the back of envelopes, small pieces of paper, and some survive, and some give pleasure. I have a private wish that one day they could be published. Meanwhile, working hours and family needs actually have a good effect - the words form in my mind, and are compressed onto paper [when I find something to write with] when I can hold onto them no longer.
I look forward to reading the blog; and hope he gets a varied and interesting following - and that we shall learn from him, not only about creativity and its tensions, but also about his surviving links with Uzbekistan, a beautiful and desperately threatened country.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

down with the new - already?

Listening to the Today programme, with its immediate and lamentable reaction was a shock: thanking Peter Hennessy for his informed comments, Evan said we’ll speak again “when this fails” and was rebuked by PH.
How about a short honeymoon period: encouragement, not immediate assumptions of failure.
Perhaps the media can include something of this hope – which the country must long for after all the energy and tension of the past weeks – to allow space for what is to come. Financial decisions will attract criticism, whatever happens, how good it would be to support the new government, and acknowledge that there are people in politics who do genuinely put their country first: David Cameron has convinced us he is such a man – give him encouragement.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

The election still 'hangs'

we have watched and listened, voted, and waited; now the tired potential leaders must talk it through and reach some conclusion. It is a puzzle of significance - can they remain above party politics and consider solely the good of the country?

The temptation is set out repeatedly by the reporters: if LibDems don't join forces with Labour, they will miss their chance of PR voting reform. They have no such assurances from the Tory party, who favour re-distributing constituencies, ie allocating MPs to a specific number of voters - seems fair to me! If they ever dreamt of PR they know they could never be re-elected; so it is not an option.

Even at the risk [?] of letting Vince Cable take over the Exchequer, there must be a real agreement, the country cannot wait. The stock markets cannot wait, either, for clear evidence that some definite action is to be taken to deal with the enormous deficit - the size of which the electorate simply do not understand.

apparently research among the state bureaucracy - swollen so enormously under Labour - shows that more than 50% believe that further spending was realistic; not cuts, which were expected to be natural wastage, or extra economies - wow! we are in for some major shocks! if people honestly do believe that, they don't read their papers, and of course, being part of a Labour organisation, they believe what they hear from Gordon Brown.

Interesting, he has gone to Kirkcaldy for the weekend - clearly, he had waited long enough in London for Nick Clegg to contact him, and wasn't waiting around any longer.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

The day the world...changed?

It is a day of waiting, with all the portentousness that invokes. A grey, lowering sky, the lack of a breeze, a stillness without birdsong - all the physical symptoms of an impending thunderstorm.

And at the end of today, or perhaps tomorrow morning, we shall hear what our Election has achieved. All the people who vote, elect an MP, and out of those MPs a government is formed. Which party 'wins' this poisoned chalice [with the economy as the aconite in the cup] will have a truly thankless task: who could wish to start out on a great new adventure with such a horrific burden.

T Blair, with his New Labour visions of a different future, never got beyond the idea that with so much money in the kitty, and the rosy prospects which a careful Tory government had produced [policies aside, the country was reliably affluent] all he really had to do was throw money at everything. and when that money ran out, then borrowing ever larger sums to continue this illusion of successful 'investment'.

How 'unfair' [Labour's great slogan of fairness in this campaign] that an incoming government has to deal with this appalling, mind-blowing debt, before it can even begin on its own programme for the country's well-being.

the one sensible suggestion has been to call in the IMF straight away so that any blame for Greek-style insurrection against the inevitable cuts, would not land on a government and spoil their future achivements.
24-hours .. we shall see.