Friday 24 January 2020

The past uncovered

And only because the garage flooded.
Mark went in there yesterday to get his bike out and came back hurriedly, face pale: 'catastrophe!' It was as unfortunately a lot of his music stuff was in there and is now fairly saturated. The other things that got part-submerged were folders of artwork - nothing valuable monetarily just artworks from ours and child's respective pasts.
Staring at my own sodden photographs, drawings and paintings I was seized with the urge to bin it all, so I did, holding back on a few things for . . . what? Nostalgia? we never look any of the folders' contents. Maybe it's just a certain security in knowing our pasts are there should we ever need physical reminders.
Mark's still going through his stuff and the purge-frenzy is not happening; most of it is laid out in front of the fire slowly crinkling into parchments from the 70s and 80s. Ezra's (son) art from age of four or so are more difficult to bin even though most of the pictures have leached into strange unintentional renditions of the aurora borealis. I've kept quite a lot especially the ones with surreal titles such as:
'very special piano and some chocolate,' a landscape with a tiny lawnmower, ' and 'a bus stop and people waiting at a bus stop and an acorn cup.'
Other casualties of the flood were all my documentation of the Wirksworth festival back in the early 90s; something I was very involved in for several years. Again, do I need all this anyway? Ezra won't want it when we've shuffled off this beleaguered planet. I've dried a few mementos and the rest of it's gone to the dump, the images of the actual event still fresh in my mind.
Possibly the best thing to do is document some of it, put it on a blog and make it into a book - which I did do with the last ten year's worth of life-recording. Yes, think I'll do that.
So, a few pictures.

Some of the rescued stuff before investigation

Drying. From the left: one of Mark's from Secondary school, one of my Beasti paintings  (Alfi Beastie's, Don't Eat That' book) something me and Ezra did when he was titchy, and another Ezra painting.


                          A pencil drawing I did on art foundation. No idea who it was.

A later Ezra work - about fourteen?

A cartoon of our Geography teacher for secondary school rag. I can't recall his name now.

Friday 17 January 2020

Four legs good, three legs better

This bloggist is very, very sad to announce the death of our tiny, runty dog, Satie, who has featured frequently on this blog.


Rarely can there be such a tiny being with such an enormous character. Rescued from a life of ridicule, he entered and then guarded the Hot-House compound with bristling fearlessness. Ridicule?
Somewhat, yes.
Satie was purchased at half-price from the only Italian greyhound breeder in this region; half-price as he had a pointy chest, was extra small and would therefore never be shown. Nicknamed Bébé, his pedigree name had been 'Donatello des Tendre Calins' - Donatello of the soft cuddles . . . we were having none of it and he was re-named Satie after the composer who, apparently only wore grey velvet suits, this minute dog, resembling at the time, a scrap of grey velvet.
I think he imagined himself to be the size of a doberman and was fearless, barking furiously at any dog that threatened the pack (at that time, us, and a rescue Italian greyhound from SPA called Una)
He fulfilled utterly his breed's mission - to snuggle with the owners (apparently, they were bred to warm the beds of the Italian courtiers) on the sofa under many blankets without seeming to need oxygen.
He was loyal, loving, manic as if constantly on a small dose of speed; at times infuriating with his staccato bark, demanding to be let out-in-out-in-out-in, etc, and always there to be mused over - why are his ears so big? and his teeth? how can his legs be so skinny?
Eluding to legs, a major event in his life was losing one during a play-fight with our bruiser cat Bronzino about seven years ago. After several operations to try and mend the limb it was decided that it would have to go, and it did, leaving after a short time, a fur covered stump which would still move with as much manic-ness as the rest of him.
He coped admirably, accepting, as most dogs do, the loss within a short time and he continued to maintain his angry stance, seeing off other hounds whatever their size.


He could walk/hop for hours; even just a few weeks ago he had managed a hike of four hours with us up to the top of the small mountain viewable from our garden. Except he would no longer be able to see the mountain; the cataracts were getting worse. He'd also had most of his teeth out, leaving him with a demented grin.
Dog of a catalogue of operations . . . broken tail, the leg, the teeth removal, near death through poison-eating, near-death through eating a bee . . . but dog of such determination and strength despite it all.
Losing a pet is always tragic, especially one of such tremendous character. But I somehow feel he will always be with us, hopping along on a walk with his funny tri-cornered gait, wrapped in his favourite orange blanket or sitting in the sun on the doormat with that grin and half-closed smily eyes.

R.I.P,  Satie. Aka: Runty, Tripod (thanks, Alvin) Tyne, Sat-Nav. 17/1/2020


Thursday 16 January 2020

The writer's road


Mine has been fairly long, vertiginous and with various pot-holes but I've definitely got to a happy destination with Tartarus Press.
Londonia, is now live on their site - link below. I feel proud to be one of their authors and to have my story enclosed in one of their elegant cream book bindings.
The novel can be pre-ordered on their site, and we will be holding a launch in March. Details to follow.

This incredible painting by Karl Fitzgerald has been chosen for the cover.

Sunday 5 January 2020

Trump is an environmentalist

Madness. I know. But after looking at what he has achieved in the last few days, and everything else he has contributed to our only home's future (no, we are not going to go and colonise another planet - or at least 99.9% of us are not) I wonder if perhaps his real agenda is to completely break everything down. Utterly. For the planet to heal without humans digging away at it, adding useless bits to it, turning the oceans' waters into plastic particles. Maybe, he realises it's the only way. Smash it all down. Start again.
Perhaps leave a few golf courses though, just for nostalgia and the occasional putt - him shuffling around the green in his recycled flax all-in-one regulation garment clutching a hand-carved peasant niblick to then climb back onto the donkey-powered golf caddy.
No. Not really . . .  It's evident he, and the others of his ilk, don't give a shit. More than that they only give a fleeting, money-god shit; one that will last until their miserable sad lives fade away and their new existence in a Hieronymus Bosch vision of Hell begins to play out.
I need a cup of tea. And I have to fill in the application forms for French nationality. Thanks Cameron, Johnson, etc.
But on a quieter note . . . what to do when rankled by all this madness. Walk, look at the real stuff, create a small wilderness if you are able to, or even a mass of pots on a balcony for the bees and birds. My NY resolution. To do more of this. When we move, I want to buy a house with an oversized piece of land and let it do its thing; help it do its thing without creating too much unwanted intervention.
I admire writer Paul Kingsnorth for many reasons; link below to an interesting Youtube on his theories about re-wilding amongst many things.
Happy New Year, btw.
One of my strongest memories from that usually busy, food and drink filled day of the turning year will be stopping in a motorway services to stretch our legs. We had watched a robin flit about the little patch of woodland that had been left to re-wild itself between the whirr and grind of traffic and mass consumption within the ugly services building housing a million things that none of us need.