March 26-April 1…
SATURDAY The Guardian has an editorial arguing that William Morris and his pioneering work and worldview are as relevant now as they have ever been.
SUNDAY Our friend Rachel in West London has agreed to take in two fleeing Ukrainians and has already been told who they are: Olga, a woman in her 70s and a great cook, no English, and Natasha, a young English teacher. Looking forward to some yummy Ukrainian food.
📌 The Art et al. panel discussion for the Season One exhibition at Cromwell Place went OK. I was glad Chris turned up to enliven things a bit, and I was glad also not to make too much of a fool of myself.
📌 It looks like Putin’s plan to take over all of Ukraine has been thwarted and he’ll only end up with half of it. And even that plan is looking shaky.
MONDAY Free testing for Covid ends on March 31. One useful step might have been for central government to agree funds for councils to supply free testing to their communities. That way, testing could scale back slowly rather than end abruptly. No such luck. Instead it looks again like central government is happy to see people die and society put on a permanent health alert. An article in the Conversation offers five top tips for those who want to stay safe, most of which come under the heading of “common sense”. It adds…
One fascinating aspect of ethics is that people refer often to “common sense”, but almost always in the context of accusing other people of not having it – suggesting sense might not be quite as common as the phrase suggests.
📌 My wife overstretched her left deltoid during a yoga class and now refuses to sit still to allow it to heal.
TUESDAY In a supremely sensible analysis of Ukraine’s current predicament and a cogent plan for a diplomatic future, Simon Jenkins rightly fingers Joe Biden for putting his foot in his mouth, which is exactly what Putin wanted.
The prospect is thus of the world’s principal power blocs led by two men both with fingers on the nuclear button but with an apparently uncertain hold on reality.
Recognised independence for Donbas and Crimea are the diplomatic solution, he says, the argument seeming to imply that if democracy can deliver constitutional autonomy, Putin will have lost.
📌 I’m fast becoming a fan of Daliso Chaponda, a Malawian comedian with a radio show dissecting the tortured relationship between Britain and Africa.
📌 Ukraine fatigue has set in as the nation wonders whether it cares if Russian agents tried to poison Roman Abramovich, as is reported “inside quotation marks”. Now the knives are out for Boris again with the Metropolitan Police verdict on Partygate. All of this makes Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s performance in front of the Treasury Select Committee look polished.
📌 The seismic changes in the jobs market predicted as an outcome of the pandemic upheavals did not happen, say Essex University researchers in the Conversation. The oldies took early retirement and retrained as yoga teachers, but the younger workforce exploited the Covid disruptions to move sideways in their existing occupations and negotiate better wages and conditions.
WEDNESDAY As might be predicted, an article in the Socialist Worker sees a glimmer of revolutionary hope inside Russia. The very few anti-war protests so far, it says, were peopled by students and intellectuals. But since western sanctions started to bite, job losses and poverty levels have soared, thus fuelling the idea that very soon the ordinary workers of Russia, and even disillusioned soldiers, will join the protesters.
📌 The war in Ukraine has a bigger history than most imagine, as illustrated in a long but absorbing piece in Guardian Weekly. And it seems there’s a crazy obsession inside Russia that will forever deny that Ukraine is an independent country at all. Obsessive-in-Chief, of course, is Vladimir Putin, who jumped the divide between securing the rights of the Russia-leaning population in the east of Ukraine to razing the entire country to the ground in a fit of hatred.
📌 Chippy’s Connie As A Goth reimagined in stitchwork is finally finished. Some of the details are disappointing, but the spirit of Chippy in all his scrawly wonder is still there. Gold thread on navy velvet looks good but was sometimes hard work. All of this piece is in glitter thread and working that can be a challenge depending on the quality of the thread. Fraying is common in the cheaper threads.
📌 I don’t think the genius I displayed in my portrait exercise in art class was fully appreciated.
THURSDAY Converted the crazy flower-person sketch I did during Lockdown into a stitchwork.
📌 Labour’s big push for votes in the upcoming local elections comes with the slogan “On Your Side”, reports Ailbhe Rea in the New Statesman, adding that this is a line already road tested by the Conservatives to replace their worn-out “build back better, build back greener, build back faster”.
📌 Decided that I will trial publishing this blog monthly, but not weekly. Not because I’m lazy or because no-one reads it anyway, but having just skimmed over the posting for March I think it makes a better read. Question is, will I continue to write at least one entry per day if no weekly deadline looms. We’ll see.
📌 The Tortoise has a timely reminder on the virtues of soft power versus hard. It sees the imminent death of British soft power exampled in the recent Royal tour of the Carribbean, where William and Kate demonstrably failed to pull of the kind of Commonwealth charm offensive that was once the Queen’s stock in trade. The article contrasts this with a rise in the hard-power approach to the war in Ukraine as shown by the Johnson government, a theme echoed in a New Statesman article.
📌 J kindly allowed me to share a new stitchwork idea based on handwritten signatures. This one is on butter muslin. I got the idea during a conversation with film-maker Posy Dixon, who said she is a big fan of stitch-on patches and urged me to turn my needlework activities in that direction. I always admired autographs that don’t simply spell out the author’s name but show the quick flash of expression most often seen in graffiti tags.