I am grateful to Mary Colwell for drawing my attention to THIS article from the New York Times. One paragraph in particular resonated with me:
[QUOTE] I have been increasingly conscious, for the last 10 years or so, of
deaths among my contemporaries. My generation is on the way out, and
each death I have felt as an abruption, a tearing away of part of
myself. There will be no one like us when we are gone, but then there is
no one like anyone else, ever. When people die, they cannot be
replaced. They leave holes that cannot be filled, for it is the fate —
the genetic and neural fate — of every human being to be a unique
individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own
I can remember being asked if I would give a presentation at a forthcoming conference and I declined. When they asked me why, I said it was because I had nothing to say. They looked baffled, but it was true: I saw no point in talking for the sake of talking. Things are very different in my scrotage: nowadays it's difficult to STOP me talking.
[In order to pass the time between sneezes, I just composed and posted the following email to my grandchildren, who are variously in Auckland NZ, San Diego CA and Florida]
predicted, the snow has returned. Haddenham is a whiteout again.
Fortunately I ordered a large quantity of salt last winter so I can keep
vital pathways clear, though it's never difficult to find an untreated
icy patch on which to slip, fall and crack a kneecap.
not surprising that "fenitis" has set in: you wake up in the dark, it's
dark again by late afternoon; when the sky is overcast, it's even dark
during the day. The weather is unpredictable, but the chances are we
will have one or more of the following on any day: precipitation, cold,
nasty winds, plagues of frogs.... Even when the sky is blue and the sun
is showing, the brass monkey sits in the porch fearing for its
bonus of all this is that at least you know you will not escape nasty
aches and pains, and, if you are really lucky, a cold or a bad chest
infection, leading to a visit to a doctor with a name like Ngondo or
Jalfrezi, who will agree that you don't look well and prescribe a course
of tabasco, paracetamol and little coloured beads.
am not going to ask you lot how you are, because I know how you are:
tormented by warm pleasant days, balmy nights, wall-to-wall sunshine.
I will write again soon: I don't see why you should escape my misery.
PS I lied about the plague of frogs. The rest is, of course, entirely true.
There is a new housing development in the village, and we were asked to visit to advise on providing Swift nesting accommodation. As you can see, I went well prepared.
The meeting took place in a Portacabin and we didn't go onsite at all.
But at least I was highly visible at all times, and nothing shat on my head.
move was revealed during a discussion on free speech during BBC Radio
4’s “Today,” following last week’s terror attacks in Paris.
“I’ve got a letter here that was sent out by OUPto an author doing something for young people.” Presenter Jim Naughtiesaid. “Among the things prohibited in the text that was commissioned by OUPwas the following: Pigs plus sausages, or anything else which could be perceived as pork.
if a respectable publisher, tied to an academic institution, is saying
you’ve got to write a book in which you cannot mention pigs because some
people might be offended, it’s just ludicrous. It is just a joke,” he
The move was condemned by Muslim Labour MP Khalid Mahmood, the Times reported.
ludicrous,” he said. “That’s absolute, utter nonsense and when people
go too far that actually brings the whole discussion into disrepute.”
OUPdefended the move by saying it needs to make its books available to the “widest possible audience.”
It is in the nature of
blogs and bloggers that long silences occur. There is always a
reason, but in my case, I would like to reassure my readers that
“rumours of my death are greatly exaggerated”.
Years back when I was
very much on the lecture circuit, I was asked to give a talk at an
upcoming conference where I had in the past given presentations. I
declined saying that I had nothing to say. It sounds a bit brutal but
it was true. I see no point in talking for the sake of talking. So my
blog has been quiet lately because, frankly, nothing of interest has
happened - though I could scream reams about some things that are
going on in the world.
Anyway, this is a note
to respond to a follower, Chris, who asked me about something from
one of my blog postings. I had written that my first attempt at
kissing a girl was when I was about five, and the victim of my
advances was Margaret Benbow, the youngest of the three children who
lived in the farm opposite. She spurned my advances, quite properly.
It seems that Chris was a regular playmate of Margaret Benbow and has
asked me what happened to her. Given that I left my natal village of
Hadley some sixty years ago, it is not surprising that I have no
answer. In fact, not only has Margaret Benbow disappeared from my
view, but so has the village of Hadley, long buried under a lumpen
wen called Telford.
If any of you wish to
know more of my doings, you could always take a peek at the Action
for Swifts blog at actionforswifts.blogspot.com. The coming year
promises to be even busier with more nextbox projects and lots of
Happy New Year to Chris
and all, may your best day in 2014 be your worst day in 2015.