Wisdom for the credit crunch from Dickens:
“My other piece of advice, Copperfield,” said Mr. Micawber, “you know. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and—and, in short, you are for ever floored. As I am!”
Friday, October 30, 2009
Sorry I'm not around, I'm working on a few projects - but hope to get back "here" at the weekend.
Meanwhile here is a few bits of video of my year so far, my SIL's 50th, some shots of Lewis, the harvest, North Berwick, Edinburgh, Munch, the "big garden" Cottage borders that I help plan and layout last winter and this Spring, Sally Evans' bees, waterfalls etc, etc.
I can't wait for tomorrow night to see the Indigo Girls. While I like and love a lot of music written by younger people it is really good to be able to hear lyrics written by women of your own age.
Today I'm looking at prints of pictures that I've just got back to try and decide which ones to get backed/mounted for a competition. I hate this stage of the process, because I'm my own worst critic and half the time I just pick the shots to pieces and lose heart. But this time I need to decide right away and then get them off to the framers, otherwise I'm going to miss the deadline.
Last night I went to see Janet Paisley in Edinburgh. She was reading with some Ukrainian academics who have translated one of her collections and a novel into their language. It was an interesting to hear the Ukrainians speak about the act of translation, and about how poetry and humour are essential requirements in this mixed-up, beat-up old world of ours. We also noticed that their poetry books are printed in a small diary like style, which they said was standard there, as it saved on "resources" and also meant that they could be easily transported and read on the bus or tube. Maybe we should give the format a whirl here, it might boost poetry sales.
And N has mentioned to me that her good friend Flick is writing a blog called, "Cancer Travels" - if you can please look in, as she is an inspiring woman, who is not lying down to the disease. Her blog is here .
Meanwhile here's the girls with some middle-aged angst:
Yesterday I had a perfect autumn day with two fairly new friends. I showed them round my garden and was amazed that they were amazed at my gardening knowledge, which I tend to just accept as normal and everyday. I then took them to one of my favourite beaches, which is a sort of open secret here in East Lothian. It has a castle on a cliff, a tiny harbor hewn out of solid rock and the Bass Rock off shore. It's the sort of place you could imagine Enid Blyton basing a Famous Five book on.
I'm also quietly developing my obsession with huts with the aid of this site, Shedworking, which it devoted to all things small and temporary. Sometimes I think I missed my calling in life........
Sorry I'm not posting, I find I'd rather be outdoors using my hands at the moment. I think the new pond has inspired me, and with my son's help I've given the garden a major overhaul, putting down 2 tons of new gravel on the paths, including the greenhouse, and clearing some areas and planting some new things.
I also feel a low level of unease,even with devolution,as the UK drifts inexorably towards another Tory Government.
And I hate how gullible we seem to be about a two-party system which allows one party to stay in power long after it has run out of steam and then switches wholesale to the other lot again, expecting something better.
David Cameron is just the Tony Blair of 1997. I bet he'll even be spouting on about "A New Dawn" any day now! This morning the radio had a hilarious sketch comparing politicians speeches to the lyrics of musicals, including High School Musical, which has Osbourne's favourite line about us all being "in this together"!
Yesterday in Edinburgh there was a march to celebrate a demonstration and march 100 years ago by Scottish women seeking the vote. I wonder what they would make of our progress and the issues we currently face?
My new hero is Helen MacArthur, the round the world yachtswoman, who has said that she now intends to stay on dry land and try and live as sustainably as she does at sea. She spent some time on the islands of South Georgia, seeing at first had our impact on the environment and the plight of some of the wildlife, not least the albatross, and it made her vow to move on to this new challenge.
I know it is really hard to take the long view of life when you are trying to pay the mortgage, feed the kids and clear up cat sick, but unless we each start looking at how we each live our lives I fear this game is already a bogie.
Politicians and endless legislation, which is often unenforceable, because we are not prepared to pay the price of policing or administering it, are only part of the solution, and more often than not the biggest part of the problem.
I watched the BBC 4 series on technology, about a family going back to live with 1970s technology,and I was amazed to learn that this family of five had something like 6 televisions, two computers and 4 laptops. I can see the need for laptops, but the number of TVs amazed me.
This slump is the result of a loss of confidence in consumerism, it would be good if recovery was seen to be something more than just getting us to flex our plastic again - not that some of us could ever afford to flex it much in the first place.
OK, mump and sermon over!
I see the Indigo Girls next week, this is a favourite song of theirs that I sing when digging:
Clearing webs from the hovel A blistered hand on the handle of a shovel Ive been digging too deep I always do I see my face on the surface I look a lot like narcissus A dark abyss of an emptiness Standing on the edge of a drowning blue
I look behind my ears for the green And even my sweat smells clean Glare off the white hurts my eyes I gotta get out of bed Get a hammer and a nail Learn how to use my hands Not just my head I think myself in a jail Now I know a refuge never grows From a chin in a hand And a thoughtful pose Gotta tend the earth If you want a rose
I had a lot of good intentions Sit around for fifty years And then collect a pension Started seeing the road to hell And just where it starts But my life is more than a vision The sweetest part is acting After making a decision Started seeing the whole As a sum of its parts
And I look behind my ears for the green And even my sweat smells clean Glare off the white hurts my eyes Gotta get out of bed Get a hammer and a nail Learn how to use my hands Not just my head I think myself in a jail Now I know a refuge never grows From a chin in a hand And a thoughtful pose Gotta tend the earth If you want a rose
My life is part of the global life Id found myself becoming more immobile When Id think a little girl in the world Cant do anything A distant nation my community And a street person my responsibility If I have a care in the world I have a gift to bring
I look behind my ears for the green Even my sweat smells clean Glare off the white hurts my eyes I gotta get out of bed Get a hammer and a nail Learn how to use my hands Not just my head I think myself in a jail Now I know a refuge never grows From a chin in a hand And a thoughtful pose Gotta tend the earth If you want a rose
I was looking at some Harris pictures today and this popped out at me, I suppose because it is blowing a gale here right now. I used the Lensbaby to get the shot and cross-processed it - I like the watery effect, I hope you do.
And I caught a late night programme on Scott Walker and was reminded of this song, which I've not listened to for years
I'm a bit lost for words at present. Every once in a while you need to get down to sorting out the dross of life, and I'm doing quite a lot of that at present, so I've not been feeling very communicative or creative.
Our telephone line upped and died last week and we had to get the telecoms man out to fix it. It turned out to be the line coming into the house from a pole three gardens away, and the whole lot had to be replaced. The guy wasn't sure if the line had been accidentally snipped by the neighbour's tree surgeon or whether it was just fair wear and tear.
Then the boiler decided to play up, which it does most years when the mercury suddenly dips, and we woke up to no heating or hot water, and I had to hang around waiting for next repair man.
In between I've been to Glasgow to help my MIL unpack some more things from storage. She is upset because it looks like the auction house which sold some of her furniture has gone belly up in the recession, without paying her for some of the things they sold for her. She's finding it all very upsetting, and that isn't helping her dementia. We're just trying to be sanguine about it, on the basis that we would have had to pay for storage had it not gone for auction, and that it would have cost a fortune to truck it somewhere else to be sold.
On the upside the TV company gave me a small cheque for the pond project, so I've bought a new wheelbarrow, which is light and well balanced, so I should be able to push it around more easily than the old one, which had a flat tyre and was about as old and clapped out as me! And I've been planting some hardy perennial seeds, grasses and verbena bonariensis, to over-winter in the greenhouse and plant out next year. I'm also going to get a ton of beach gravel delivered to top up paths - a job for my son, but I haven't told him yet so shhhh.....
I also did a really good workshop with Janet Paisley down in Hawick on Saturday, as part of the Eildon Tree 10 year birthday celebrations. She was funny and warm and gave us a couple of excellent exercise to do. And the drive down, through the autumn Borders countryside, was wonderful.
These are two photographs I took yesterday, when I just grabbed the camera and headed for the hills -as I just needed some fresh air and space to clear my head. I really love black and white, and this time of year seems to suit it. The sky was really wild up there, and the light was going, but I quite like the moody darkness.