Sunday, December 29, 2013


Well we managed to get to GU46 & back despite the dire weather warnings for the South East of England. Were this a Shakespeare play, it would be all too obvious - the macrocosm of Nature reflecting the microcosm of human affairs & so how appropriate that 'Dave' should get an earful as he tries a caring photo op walking among the Common People who've not had any electricity since before Christmas. Power cuts - there's a resonant phrase. (Wait for the staggering profits & management bonuses to be announced later in the year by the electricity companies).

Listening to Radio 4 as we drove down to Folkestone there was a glimmering candle of hope as customer after customer complained about the inadequate information - try phoning the 'power provider' & you get either pre-recorded messages or an actual human being telling you they are not, in fact, the company responsible. etc. etc. The labyrinth of ownership & evasive responsibility starts to come into focus. Surely people are beginning to cotton on? (& this was a good one: a spokesperson stating that all the numbers were available in Yellow Pages - so, your phone line is down AND you're in pitch darkness ... now where is that copy of the phone book? ... oops! just fell over the chair ...).

The Big Society strikes again.

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Having been a good boy (mostly) all year I got several interesting presents which should take me well into the New Year:

A collection of essays on Agnes Martin (plus what seem to be good reproductions of notoriously difficult-to-reproduce paintings)
Robert Motherwell Early Collages ('Mallarme's Swan' has to be a key work)
A fat box of Jonas Mekas films on DVD (includes 'Walden')

I had also ordered in advance:

The Practice of Poetry, ed. Behn & Twichell (I particularly like the idea of a 100 card pack 'Universe')
Geoffrey Hill Collected Critical Writings (forbiddingly heavy - in both senses - & probably best to read at intervals to allow time to follow up the names & works each essay throws up in its wake)
Daniel Mendelsohn Waiting for the Barbarians (part of the ongoing modern essay research)
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid (read this straight through between 10am and 2pm on Christmas Eve. I like it a lot - might even put it on the IB Lang & Lit syllabus)

& picked up a secondhand copy of another Amelie Nothomb - The Character of Rain

& just as I was thinking I'd not had the ritual food-porn Christmas cookery book to salivate over, Mrs Waffle chucks me a copy of Nigel Slater's new volume from her suitcase ("you better have it now as you'd only order it later on Amazon ...") ...



... as usual plenty of useful & straightforward recipes. This time, the very format of the book is part of the pleasure - a squat volume with a pleasing sweet potato orange wrap-round cover. I also like the minimalist three-letter word title in bold lower case. Nice job.

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& while on the topic of food ... we managed another speedy visit to Bob's Seafood caravan on the harbour at Folkestone. No lobster at this time of year but we did get some crab & coquilles St Jacques  & cockles for knock-down prices. Delicious. (Supplies depending on "weather conditions and hangovers" I noticed this time on the side of the shop).

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