Scrapbook: Week 20

May 13-19, 2023

SATURDAY 13 At the end they said “Liverpool, Ukraine, Europe and Australia, good night.”

πŸ“Œ Back in the Coronavirus Era I signed up to a longitudinal health study by one of the big London hospitals. Now I get chapter and verse on their latest research

SUNDAY 14 All the comment following last week’s local election results is asking how Labour and the Lib-Dems will conspire at the next general election to keep the Conservatives out of office. A formal coalition is said to be unlikely, but other forms of collaboration are consistently “not denied” by both sides. This hints at the start of a different kind of politics in Britain, one of tactical alliances. October 2024 is the likely date. It will be interesting to see how the Lib-Lab secret partnership progresses up to that moment. The more Labour and the Lib-Dems urge an “Anything But Tory” (ABT) popular vote, the more easily the Tories can depict Labour and the Lib-Dems as a political OCG and themselves as the victims.

πŸ“Œ It happens every year: you pack away your Winter clothes and Summer decides to turn up late. Even our heritage tomato seedlings are unhappy about that.

πŸ“Œ It sounds like a clichΓ©, but at the British Museum’s new China‘s Hidden Century exhibition you get a proper grip on why modern-day China is still so inscrutable.

πŸ“Œ At Headway Penny has been drawing pictures of members and asking members to draw pictures of her… I tried to get her to say a smiley word and the more I asked the more she froze, with a slight look of contempt in her eyes.


MONDAY 15 Cinderella’s pink puffball sleeves seem to go on into infinity.

Cinderella in shock…

πŸ“Œ If Nigel Farage can be credited with anything it is the ease with which he forced the lunatics in the Conservative Party to show their faces. Now the party is awash with crazies who think Boris Johnson was treated unfairly and Liz Truss had the right idea. They give themselves names such as the Conservative Democratic Organisation (CDO) and National Conservatives and they’re giving Rishi a headache. Even his Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, has started to coordinate group bitching sessions and make incendiary speeches in an effort to line herself up for the top job. Others simply say they are shoulder to shoulder with Rishi but every decision he’s made as PM has been an act of treachery (Hello JR-M!). All of this is routine Tory shenanigans except for the fact that “National Conservatism” sounds a lot like the mutant offspring of National Socialism.

TUESDAY 16 The BBC has caught the Conservative Party taking vast sums of freshly laundered money from an oligarch in Azerbaijan.

πŸ“Œ Looks like Turkey no longer has an appetite for democracy. A new iron curtain appears to be under construction.

πŸ“Œ The Portuguese heritage tomatoes are planted out. Fingers crossed. The seeds were a year too old, I think.

Heritage tomatoes…

πŸ“Œ After a meeting at Toynbee Hall to discuss community outreach for their advice service we got to nose around the Library, which is an archive of middle-class radical politics.

At Toynbee Hall Library…

πŸ“Œ Pip, one of our friends in Brighton, is irritated by a recipe asking for 10g of fresh bay leaves. “Not 2 or 3, but 10 BLEEDIN’ GRAMS!” he screams in frustration. Two things: 1 I wonder if fresh bay leaves weigh more than dried ones? Probably, yes. 2 I have the same problem with bread recipes that ask for 7g of yeast, which I have been forced to calculate as 2.25 teaspoons. Pip went for 2 bay leaves.

WEDNESDAY 17 Once again I’ve failed to come up with a 100-word story for the Headway Babyshoes writing group. I wasn’t very inspired by the titles offered (‘Concrete Tube’, ‘Eye Level’, ‘Flibbertigibbet’, ‘Spanner In The Works’). ‘Eye Level’ is the title of the theme music to the 1970s TV detective series Van Der Valk, which is set in Amsterdam. That should have been inspiration enough because we are to visit Amsterdam in two weeks for an exhibition of work by the artist Johannes Vermeer (Girl With A Pearl Earring, etc). But I couldn’t muster any ideas. Van Der Valk has recently been remade starring the excellent Marc Warren in the title role. And the words Eye Level hint at something to do with convergence and the vanishing point in art, but still nothing came to me. I’m probably not trying hard enough. Maybe if I rework the above and play with the tenses, a story will emerge. Something like…

Once again he’d failed. He said he wasn’t inspired by the titles offered. One of them, ‘Eye Level’, was the title of the theme music to a 1970s TV detective series Van Der Valk, which was set in Amsterdam. That should have been inspiration enough because he was planning to visit Amsterdam in two weeks for an exhibition of work by the artist Vermeer. And Van Der Valk had recently been remade starring the excellent Marc Warren. The words Eye Level do hint at the convergence device in art, but still no ideas came. Maybe he wasn’t trying hard enough.

Eye Level?

πŸ“Œ In Art Class I placed the Coronavirus Crown I made last week on the crown of a rolling hill and stood a hapless individual below, staring up in awe at the monument to monarchy. Most people preferred Version 1; I prefer Version 2.

Version 1…

Version 2…

πŸ“Œ To west London (Latimer Road) for the 20th Anniversary party of Into University, an education charity my wife’s cousin Rachel started, er, 20 years ago to help disadvantaged young learners get places in university. Inspirational speeches from pupils past and present centered on the yearn to learn given opportunity and hope.

Paddington station…

In West London…

At Into University…

THURSDAY 18 Water, another example of a once-public utility privatised and now failing totally. Public industries were never designed to operate as private businesses.

πŸ“Œ In a fight between Boris and Macron I’m not sure whose side I’d be on.

πŸ“Œ The sale of our apartment in Brighton should have finished weeks ago, but useless solicitors, estate agents and managing agents seem to think the world moves at a speed so slow it cannot be detected by intelligent life.

πŸ“Œ James said he did Wordle in 2. I told him it wasn’t skill but luck.

πŸ“Œ To Barbican Cinema 1 for a National Theatre screening of Best Of Enemies, a dramatic reconstruction of a TV wrestling match between two political adversaries (conservative William F Buckley Jr and liberal Gore Vidal) during the 1968 US party conventions. Seeing David Harewood command the role of a rabid right-winger was a proper revelation.

FRIDAY 19 Was woken up in the middle of the night by a scary BBC World Service documentary about online Muslim masculinity, aka The Manosphere.

πŸ“Œ I’m still learning the ropes around gender issues, personal pronouns, etc. And it isn’t helped by the tedious coincidental business of learning the gender of French nouns on my Duolingo course. But that is a side issue. Yesterday while talking to a colleague I referred to their “fella” but noticed thereafter that they used the word “partner” instead. My mistake, but no offence intended. I’m just old and a slow learner.

πŸ“Œ Tortoise’s Daily Sensemaker has an intriguing report on South Africa, its failing economy and a falling-out with the US over the Russia-Ukraine war

πŸ“Œ HuffPost UK has started using the alliterative handle “Robotic Rishi’.

πŸ“Œ Overheard on bus in Brighton: “My pituitary gland is not talking to my thyroid.”

Read all of my scrapbook diaries…


One thought on “Scrapbook: Week 20

  1. So many areas of research πŸ™‚ Cindrella in a shock πŸ™‚ Both made me smile. I just checked about Heritage tomatoes. Years ago we used to get the round tomatoes which were a little sour and very tasty. But I don’t know why, we don’t get them now. The hybrid ones which we get are not as tasty.
    I learnt about the use of pronouns these days recently.
    Thank you for a very interesting post.

    Liked by 1 person

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