Monday 30 September 2019

The yawning abyss between beliefs

Youtube's algorithms present me with an interesting choice each day: really excellent political comment from someone called Phil (his Chanel- a different bias) who really should be prime minister rather than the blond swaggering idiot we have in No ten at the current time . . . actually, any of my three dogs, even the small runty one with three legs would be a better candidate - no offence Phil!
Oh, yes, algorithms.
Apart from Phil, they (appearing in my mind as tiny white-coated scientists scribbling down my personal data) suggest various subjects: Climate change, Permaculture, unusual houses, greening the world's deserts, astronomy, runner ducks, John Roger's wonderful channel: The Lost Byway; psychogeography, Vernon Bogdanor's history lectures, a lovely channel called 'Mossy Bottom' - nothing devient - just a charming young guy talking about his new self-sufficient life in a cottage called Mossy Bottom in the West of Ireland; Will Self talking about anything, George Monbiot lectures, and lots of French documentaries - great way of learning language - put on something that fascinates and marvel at how the information creep into your brain's word-storage facility.

Yesterday, I listened to Mr Monbiot's lecture given at Falmouth Uni in 2018. Entitled 'How to truly take back control', it was a utterly insightful, intelligent and hope-giving talk, set against the impending wreckage of the world we currently know - the need for new communities, the need for a new human narrative beyond Keynesian economics and Neoliberalism.
I thought about it a great deal during the day as I went about dealing with the heat ravaged-garden, and then later while doing kitchen chores opened the laptop to see what Youtube would present me with - A choice of French Documentaries entitled Bling! Great choice you little tiny scientists. I was utterly hooked on the absolutely awfulness of it all: the world's richest people, hugest houses, biggest yachts, most exclusive hotels, most expensive jewellery . . .  I think the most absurd bit of all featured a certain Chinese real estate developer who owned four Rolls Royces and only seemed to wear suits that made Liberace's dress code seem rather pale.
On the fifth floor of the utterly exclusive Monaco hotel he was being chauffeured to there was utter panic as his three bedroomed, panoramic sea-view marble suite (at 30,000 euros per night) was not actually enterable as the key code was refusing to work. Of course, just in time, a locksmith (probably helicoptered in) did arrive and saved everyone from utter humiliation and multiple heart attacks as the person would have had to wait . . . And I don't suppose it would have been like waiting in a Travelodge reception area with a mouldering pot plant for company and a free token for a drinks distributer . . .

68,000 euros a night . . . Royal Penthouse suite: the President Wilson hotel in Geneva (Image - Elite Traveller)

One of the world's most expensive yachts - a mere 330 million. I've just seen one for 4.5 billion . . . but it does have a statue made of genuine Tyrannosaurus rex bones. Oh, that makes sense then . . .

Maybe if you experience stuff like this all the time, you don't worry about what might be lurking on the horizon line as far as the future of the planet, and us as a species, is concerned. There was a great quote in the Guardian yesterday by a well known environmentalist planning to leave Sydney for a new apocalypse-proof life elsewhere. I can't find it now but it was something like: 'people think they'll be okay (in the face of climate breakdown) because they have superannuation.'

Friday 13 September 2019

timely things

During a trip back to the UK last week I met the publishers who will be publishing my novel.
It was a really enjoyable meeting, and I came away feeling motivated, excited, very happy, and all the other things one would expect after slogging away at the writing game for a very long time.
How great it would be, I thought, to celebrate this personally momentous point in time by commissioning a painting or other piece of art/craft. And then the very thing presented itself at the Wirksworth Art and Architecture Trail in Derbyshire.
Some years ago I had mentioned to Richard Bett, a jeweller whose work I greatly admire that it would be wonderful if he could create me a bespoke piece to mark the point when I finally found a 'home' for my novel. He must have had a psychic episode as on seeing me he exclaimed 'Kate. You're here! Look - I made something for you." He hadn't known that the book had found a publisher, or that I would be at the trail but there it was, a silver pendant featuring the heroine of the book astride her horse, Kafka.


Thursday 5 September 2019


Walking into my friend's house yesterday was like entering a glorious multi-layered painting. Sadly, I didn't have my good camera with me but even the small one half together with duct tape managed to catch some of the shades and nuances of her chosen colour pallets. Much has been added and changed since my last visit a few years ago.
Her abode is an incredible, and almost edible, spectrum of opal greens, blues and lilacs, on the walls, fireplaces, doors, and contained in the hundreds of beautiful paintings and sketches, and works in progress. I found myself wondering how many shades of blue, green, mauve and occasionally bursts of bright orange and red could be counted within the houses's walls. Hundreds, thousands? It's not really something I've really thought about before despite having studied colour, to a certain extent, during my art college years.
When I returned to my brother's house this afternoon, I found he and my son were engaged in 'making a computer' - as you do . . . I asked what the thing was on the table that looked like a spool of 35mm film and he said it was an LED strip which could display about 16.6 million different colours. Still trying to digest this fact . . .
Here are a selection of the 16.6 million displayed in my friend's house.

Wednesday 4 September 2019

Building Number 64

Haven't done one of these sub-blog list elements recently, but on passing this curved wonderment this afternoon in Sheffield, it called out to be added.


The interior must surely contain: ancient electric kettle, selection of mugs, digestif biscuits - possibly, 'rich tea' as well; found wellies, pinned-up leaflets advertising jumble sales, local bake-offs/ballroom dancing, dog shows, manure, open gardens, bowls club, trips to garden centres of note, society members ads: free cultivated blackberry cuttings - see Reg, free to good home: tabby kittens; unwanted gift of hedge cutters - see Mrs Plab, etc.
Or, maybe not. Perhaps it's all Prosecco, canap├ęs, adverts for speed-dating clubs and leaflets concerning lost Chihuahuas.
That certain green perfect paint and tended pots suggests the former . . .   

Sunday 1 September 2019

Free food: post number . . .?

I know I've blogged about this many times, but each late summer/early autumn it always amazes me as to how much stuff gets left to rot on trees/bushes around here.
I keep forgetting to take a collecting bag with me on walks - blackberries are in super abundance this year. These plums were stripped from a few trees just down the road, and no one else was interested apart from a few blackbirds. Next up, pears, occasionally apples, and then finally, pomegranates - the finest fruit and utterly ignored here.
Climate heating is definitely making its mark as these fruits are about a month ahead in their ripening time - the jam prep something I usually associate with bright but slightly nippy November days, not late September/early October . . .
Dog walk beckons, this time with fruit bag.