SATURDAY There’s an easy-read history of the staycation in The Conversation, which includes reference to William Wordsworth being very annoyed about the encroachment of the railways into the Lake District. It also tells of the Victorian marketing men who turned the map of Cornwall upside down to make it look like Italy.
📌 The return to the gym has seen the return of the trawl through the albums of my youth. I listen to at least one per exercise session in an effort to trigger Memoir Moments. Today was the turn of Queen’s Sheer Heart Attack and 10cc’s How Dare You. I could remember nearly all the words from both albums. 10cc were frankly embarrassing when trying to score political points, but their technical proficiency was a thing of beauty. There was no anonymous techie fiddling with their knobs. They did it all themselves.
📌 London has a healthy collective of nude cyclists, whose antics have amused and shocked innocent bystanders for many years. Today, for the World Naked Bike Ride, they gathered in preparation on our estate. My wife noticed that most of them were men.
📌 Marina Hyde depicts a Prime Minister who puts personal popularity before public interest, but also senses an imminent revenge attack from the one person in his party (Rishi Sunak) who is fast overtaking him.
Yet Boris still probably believes he is born to be King. It’s hard-wired into him from his school days, as detailed in a new book, Sad Little Men, by a fellow prep/public schoolboy Richard Beard, extracted in The Guardian: “School was where we went, aged eight, to learn to despise other people.”
SUNDAY The Prime Minister’s inability to make big decisions will be brutally exposed over the coming weeks as preparations for Britain’s hosting of the Cop26 conference on climate emergency in Glasgow warms up. Talking endlessly about “green jobs” will even irritate members of his own party, many of whom have no issue with a Net Zero target but lots of problems with how the PM intends to get there.
📌 Sam sent her picture of Michelle’s trinkets and accessories, which adorn her mantelpiece at home.
MONDAY As the Taliban lays down its latest version of totalitarianism in Afghanistan, a timely essay in The Conversation about George Orwell reminds us that tyranny can take many forms and the ability to see it for what it is remains urgent
📌 The reverse side of a Muji cotton tote bag is blank. I managed to use this spare “canvas” to make Japan look exceptionally small.
📌 TUESDAY The pure excitement of learning is written on the face of the young Afghan schoolgirl. It is a moment in history.
📌 The St Luke’s Men’s Shed team agreed to my idea to build a modern totem pole as the community craft project we’re doing with the British Museum. We visited the museum today to get inspiration and a guided tour of the Japan collection from its curator.
Then we got free access to the current exhibition on Nero, which oddly brought to mind the Prime Minister. Maybe Nero’s lavish hairstyle was the link. Or his urge to get rid of people who irritated him (including mother and wife).
WEDNESDAY The Taliban leadership is trying to convince the rest of the world that it has changed and that its wicked ways are a thing of the past. The fact that the Taliban is engaging with the rest of the world is a new twist. Whether this is a ploy, and they intend to follow other Islamic states in a diplomatic taunting of the non-Islamic world, remains to be seen. Is the non-Islamic world fit for the game?
📌 I want to write a few more drabbles (single stories in exactly 100 words). Made a start with…
The deaf one was irritating. He shouted a lot. That’s understandable, but he was also a braggart, so his shoutings were especially annoying. I’ve got a new phone, you know. Takes pictures. Brilliant quality. I got this case for it off the internet. The clasp is magnetic.
At the exhibition, Shouty was so shouty that everyone moved away as if he was a rogue stranger. He kept asking the quietly studious curator to speak up. He knew everything already anyway.
It came as such a relief when he said he needed to catch the 2.42 train from King’s Cross.
📌 Sam’s curious picture of a girl with a cat curiously reminds me of someone.
📌 Sean Lock, RIP.
THURSDAY Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab apparently took a leaf out of his boss’s book and thought “sod that” when his counterpart in Afghanistan made the emergency call regarding the Taliban takeover. Raab was on holiday in Crete and did not want to be disturbed.
📌 Chris’s joke was, Q: “Why is there no Aspirin in the jungle? A: Because the parrot ate ’em all.
📌 Made a start on the massive 2m composite postage stamp we’re making for Project Cuba. I still hope to slip in a galleon or two when the opportunity arises, and a line from the Gibson Brothers song, Cuba: “Quiero bailar la salsa”.
📌 There’s a chicken shortage. Good job I’ve still got some left over from Tuesday, which will partner that ripe avocado perfectly.
FRIDAY I think the taxpayers of Dover have been conned. The celebrated government climbdown on proposals to build a massive Customs clearance lorry park might be a trick. The original plan was for a site that could accommodate 1,200 vehicles. That number, say reports, has been scaled down to a meagre 96. But the area occupied by the lorry park has been downsized to 25% of the original. 96 is not 25% of 1,200. That is 300. Watch the thin end of that lorry-park wedge get fatter.
📌 In a rare moment of agreement we have managed to devise a system for dealing with the colossal amount of “stuff” we’ve managed to accumulate over the years. From now on, all the worldly goods we have in storage will be ranked and labelled according to its immediate fate. There are three categories: KEEP, SELL and DONATE. Items identified as KEEP will over time move to SELL, and SELL to DONATE, etc.