Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Where our learned conviction leads us, always will stupidity follow; like a hound at heel. It will dog our every move predicating all our actions. We must walk into days with an open mind and light heart; free of the burdens of tomorrow. For concerns of the future written from the frame of the past will surely drag us down into the deep; subsume us in guilt and make us hate without ever the chance to know why. In life’s bittersweet game we will always catch more joy with honey than vinegar.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The most terrible consequence to me was the impotence of it all. I knew had to accept this outcome, but knowing this I still could not understand why; though ever yet it was certain. A bitter pill to swallow indeed was defeat. I tried to assuage this conclusion; even appeal to whatever higher powers might be listening; but nothing made any difference. A life that had been lived in so much hope; now to end only in humiliating defeat while the victor laughs at my end was a truly terrible proposition to accept. I knew I could never accept the finality of this end; being bested by my bitter adversary, so I did nothing and the spear prevailed and passed though my hauberk*

 *A long, often sleeveless, tunic made of chain mail. It was originally intended as protection just for the neck and shoulders but it developed into a longer tunic in the 12th and 13th centuries.

 As it did so the sword flew from my hand at the incantation from the loremaster and I was finally outdone. The terrible power of the spell threw me to the ground. There I lay like some ant in the dirt and before sight and sound left me I saw the tip of his spear rise above me before he thrust it down hard into my side. The force of the blow and dark magic were united in the hate of the loremaster. I could never remember such a pain and this increased when I saw the look of faith in his face as he withdrew the spear roughly. For a moment I questioned how I could ever prevail against such a determined foe who believed so absolutely in the rightness of his cause; a cause that to the wise was now only deserved of cruel tyrants of old. This foe wished death on all who did not follow his belief or welcomed his own glorious death in the pursuit of his goals as equally acceptable.

The war spears of the Kabalust are designed with back facing barbs and as the tip tore out I knew it had done more damage leaving me than entering. Already the poison was working and the face of the loremaster dimmed save the one last memory of his smile as he raised the spear to strike at my heart. Such is the way of the Kabalust to enjoy the kill by disabling the victim first so that he might know he had been slain to the greater purposes of the dark lord. Of all things strangest then to my companions was that a great bear should appear; seize the loremaster by the neck and fling him roughly aside. There he lay with his neck broken, no more the emissary of hate, only some small goblin loremaster bereft of dark power; broken and battered and now lost to the ages despite all his beliefs.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The bear picked me up and all I remember was her warm fur smelling robustly of mushrooms and honey. I was hardly awake and yet I will never forget her tenderness. She cradled me in her arms like one of her cubs and took me deep into the heart of the mountains. I know no more; only that which has been told to me later. For miles she must have borne me on two legs; though the pain must have been very great to her in walking so. There high above the battle I had fought and lost, she laid me to rest on the ground. For three weeks she watched over me. I do not know how she fed me and perhaps it is best not to dwell on such subjects, but I learnt she was so very patient. I feverish and close to death must have been barely logical; oh, how she must have endured such nonsense from my lips and yet in fleeting lucid moment I saw her encounter with the wolves. She fought them off, though she was hurt by it. She did not think to consider the cost, the reason or the end. She taught me in that short time that life is not a choice but a gift. Question all you may the intricacies of living and the methods of dying but remember this; you will all die and it will not matter that you lived; only what you left behind in the deeds and hearts of those around you.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Now if i could only find that box of wax crayons who know what could happen

The Scream, one of the most alarming paintings of all time, is expected to fetch more than $80m (£50m) when it goes under the hammer this spring.
The only version of Edvard Munch's iconic painting left in private hands will lead a sale at Sotheby's in New York this May as the market for big-name artists shows no sign of receding.

Silly money and jokes aside this is a very strange painting almost like watching a headache. One feels pain looking at it.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Oh well time for work - off for a bath now but luckily i'm not having it here. One tough Russian or what?

This is really clever but the ads are a bit annoying on the link. The picture below is to illustrate it but for it to work you need to click on the link.

This painting is truly remarkable. Even more amazing though, is that the canvas has been computerized. When you click on the link below, a much bigger version of the computerized painting appears. Run your cursor over the people. The program tells you who they are - every single one of them. BUT (click on a person) and you obtain the individual’s life history.


Sunny but cold but then it's only February.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Leavened air rises from under the leaf and needle forest floor and scents the air in eucalyptus and resinous delight. Oh to awake in such a place is bliss on a summer’s morning when the world awakes and yet has never fully gone to sleep. I had slept with the crickets restless in the heat and fell to slumber in a dream watching wheeling stars above. I awake in this aroma of all that seems good and right within the world. For now at least there is no pain in the living. The wound is not open now but dry and clean covered over in a paste of herbs and from dirt. How could I know that while I slept the badgers came and cleaned it with a tincture of saliva, thyme and wormwood? They had kept me safe through my long night of pain.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I've been pampered and cleaned and shaved and messed about with today - I might look pretty but i'm not happy. Love Robbie xxx

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A first step into the night leaves a savour of the sunlit calendar untouched. It sits within a memory of the time spent withal in the desire to see another day. It holds tightly in the memory of all of us waiting for the light to herald persistence in survival. See the sun rises greater now in a riotous birth that stimulates the sap of man into a coercive fortitude. No matter the age, no matter the lost vigour to the seasons passed. We wait and slowly the world answers; it whispers with majesty and reverence, wake up and step into the coming spring. Who, but the enemies of nature can refuse its siren call? I am awake and waiting and each evening the vista lightens more to joy.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The mist closes around the path like a demon hovering near the living in the hope of spiriting one of them away. It wreathes false hope and mischief in a trail of ethereal wishes that chase away the living to warmth hearths and yet I linger here like an echo of a life that is almost spent in its purpose. I shiver in the mist like a leaf on the cold northern wind and now; how I wish it were once again the spring.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Took these tonight while out with Robbie. Very slippery out tonight with paths no better than sheet of ice. Even Robbie ended up spreadeagled at one point like Bambi on the frozen lake.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Bank of England announced a third dose of electronic money creation to boost the flagging UK economy. Expressing concern that the eurozone crisis, together with George Osborne's austerity programme and a rationing of credit, will stifle growth in 2012, the Bank said it would expand its quantitative easing programme (QE) by £50bn over the next three months.

It has now pumped £325bn, equivalent to about a fifth of GDP, into the financial system since Britain plunged into recession three years ago.

Here we go again and reading some of the comments in the papers is so funny. QE is the financial rape of middle England, the old and the future generations. By the time it all goes belly up (and it will,) the few elite that benefitted will be long gone to their tax havens.

Selection of comments

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and hoping/wishing for a different outcome. Quantitative easing has been tried repeatedly by the Bank of England and by any standard or measure has not worked. I can see no rational reason how or why it should work this time.

Quantitative easing will have a calamitous outcome for this country in the long term, spiralling inflation and very, very high interest rates.

If it prudent for the government and the Bank of England to print money in hard times, then it must be logical for the individual to print money for themselves when they are hard up or have no money.

When you hold such corrupt philosophic principles, you can't help but get the economics wrong.

Ignorance is not immoral, but being unwilling to learn from experience is; it becomes a crime when the people who refuse to learn are dictating the economy with an iron fist. Hooray !! Let´s print more money ! Never mind the lessons of history. Apparently we are the first civilisation to successfully debase a currency and thereby create jobs and wealth. Alchemy at its best.

Instead of giving QE money to the banks, why not give every family in the UK 10,000 pounds. Seven thousand per average family to pay off their debt and three thousand to spend and give the economy a boost?

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Savoury quiche
The best quiche in my opinion is made with double cream and ewe's milk cheese. Don’t make low fat healthy versions as they don’t work. Just eat smaller slices.
Line a large quiche dish with shortcrust pastry. I use a 13 inch dish.

Crumble or dice finely 100g of mature cheddar and 100g of Ossau-Irati ewe’s milk cheese. For me it is important not to grate the cheese.
Whisk lightly 3 eggs with enough double cream to make the liquid up to 300ml. Season well with pepper and a small amount of salt (remember the bacon has loads.)
For fillings (it is important that all fillings are partly cooked before adding to the quiche) for me these 3 work the best but the skies the limit really

1. Lightly fry 200g good quality smoked dry cured bacon and when cool roughly chop.
2. 100g smoked salmon and 100g fine asparagus. Save the tips of the asparagus and fry the remainder chopped in a little butter. When cooked add the smoked salmon.

3. 200g broccoli lightly poached.

Mix savoury ingredients with the cheese and add to quiche dish. Pour over egg and cream mix and add the asparagus tips, small sprigs of broccoli or tomato slices to the top and bake at 170C (fan) 180C non fan oven, 325 F or gas mark 3 for approx 40-45 minutes.
It is important not to overcook a quiche to preserve its texture. It should resemble a firm omelette when cut and not scrambled eggs. Eat warm or cold. This will keep for the day of cooking plus 3 more. Do not freeze.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

They looked up and saw the full moon for the last time that night. The clouds swept overhead in thickening swathes of grey-white flowing sheets. Snow was coming fast on the keening wind. Already the falling temperature began to peel away the warmth that delimited them. It pierced their cloaks and undergarments to cradle despair onto their bones. Yet even through this wretchedness was the song of hope alive in their hearts. Neither fell voice nor evil intent could stop the flow of good intention advancing. The wind screamed and hurled heavy flakes of snow at them like icy hornets enraged by an inquisitive innocent poking a stick in their nest.

Yadafast turned to Razana and shouted above the elemental roar, “I cannot survive this. I must have shelter. We cannot progress this night. Let us retreat.”

Razana was made of more malleable metal than Yadafast and replied, “We will go on. We will not stop, nor will we retreat. Be a man Yadafast and weather this night and I say we will come into a brighter dawn.”

Ranzast hearing this protested, “So the innocent must perish though they have done nothing wrong.”  It matters not to you the inequality, only the law. You blame the Yazata for all the problems in the world though you are also a member of a despised community. Weary not my thoughts with this. We will stop and seek shelter and see the wood burn away to ash in blue-yellow flares. The answer to this riddle then is fire; we must glow in its embrace. Razana I will not be trifled with; I am not some underling lord who thinks to be above himself. Stop now!”

The company halted.

Monday, February 06, 2012

The sky tonight - lots of planes (well 2-3 circling around) but a beautifully clear blue sky. I took these around 5.30 this evening.

We’ve had a small amount of snow over the weekend but nowhere anything like they said was going to fall. I took Robbie out expecting to take some photos but all I managed where these shots of the India Mill chimney. One on the way out and one on the way back. Still nice chimney!

For me personally it symbolises a time when we could actually do things without cost or other considerations coming into the equation. A time when what we built endured and also a reminder that what we do today will never equal the industry that was seen then. It is probably a bit of an anachronism these days, but as it is a listed building it has to be preserved.

Here’s a bit of the history.

The mill - and particularly the chimney - was a wonderful example of the flamboyant confidence of the Lancashire cotton industry in the middle of the 19th century. The chimney modelled around St Marks Campanile in Venice was opened  in May 1868 by the Marquis of Hartington was a very grand affair with lords and ladies and a vast exhibition of paintings and sculptures covering three floors. Many of the paintings, by Gainsborough, Van Dyck, and Durer and so on, would today be worth millions. For the lads who actually built the chimney with their hand-made bricks there was a more modest lunch at the nearby Crown Inn. They never imagined that their work would become famous in the annals of industrial architecture.

The towering stack built of red brick decorated with bands of blue and yellow and local sandstone, standing tall in proud isolation is Lancashire’s tallest at 330ft. In 1943 more than 20 tons of iron cresting was removed for the war effort. Fifty years later, after the mill had closed, steeplejack Fred Dibnah propped up his ladders and took a close look at the structure. It was serious – remedial work had become vital.

By then the peregrine falcons had moved in and they weren’t easy to dislodge. Eventually, after their nesting area had been covered in netting to keep them away for a few months, the builders were able to move in during the summer of 2007, fastening a steel hoist and cage to the south side ready to start the lengthy job of rebuilding the top ten feet and capping the structure.

It was a lengthy and difficult job and a considerable attention to detail was necessary. The new bricks had not only to be the same in colour but of Imperial measure as opposed to metric and they were eventually obtained from a firm in Barrow-in-Furness.

There was extensive repointing, several balusters were replaced while others were treated and coated; metal ties were replaced and the octagonal lining which runs half-way up the inside of the chimney was renovated. Finally, nesting boxes filled with gravel were placed near the top of the chimney to encourage the falcons to return. Several myths about windows and secret staircases built into the chimney were also dispelled during the renovation.

Here are my 2 pictures (in black and white to match the others)

These isn't mine (obviously)

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Soft is painted the night. A masterpiece of black, on a canvas of wit; set against the indistinct stars. What a world I am in that it should grant me leave to wander under this arching entirety of endless possibility? Evening air exhaled from aching skies paints a chilled setting amidst a chaos only the release of these aching burdens shall unravel. So say farewell cold day into a frosty night and sleep in the halls of slumber till the claws of icy morning reach and touch the warmth of the living once again.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

It had been a good day; perhaps one of the best.
A day that comes rarely in lifetimes; Or not at all.
Perhaps the call of the six magpies began it all
Sat high in the tree calling for gold and answered;
By the rising sun cascading heat on earth, triggering;
Rising scents of pine and moss from the dewy dawn
From a forest that ran down from tall hill to the sea