26 February 2009

This floor is so cunningly designed, it's under my feet wherever I walk...Gasp!

I'm celebrating Darwin's 200th by drinking tea and holding interactive species learning seminars in my bedroom.

I have invited Ray Comfort and Chuck Missler to speak so that we can get a balanced perspective on the thing and to provide powerful counter arguments to Darwin's theories.

First up Chuck explains cogently how life cannot have gotten started without divine intervention.

Next up, Ray will effectively counter the theory of evolution with reference to a bannana.

We will have a hard time countering such enthralling scholarship.

I note that Ray has just offered to pay $20,000 to The Richard Dawkins Foundation For Reason and Science if he can have a face to face debate with Richard. If he takes a coconut, I am sure he will be able to demonstrate how the fist bra was made....thanks be.

19 February 2009


We are spending half term playing catch up on the allotment. Beds that should have been cleared and manured before Xmas still need doing. In the last couple of days we have dug over some of these and prepared a bed for the broad beans. Also sown in pots or trays, leeks, diamond aubergine, black prince tomatoes and mayan indian tomatoes (both from Terre de Semences).

In the big greenhouse I built some staging for seed trays out of bits of an old wooden bed frame. I've built it so that it can be easily disassembled and stored away when not needed. This should stop me reinventing the wheel every year with whatever timber happens to be at hand.

Tomorrow is table tennis and haircut day and Saturday is Heat the Streets .....we know how to live it up up here I tell you!

Oooo, I just heard that the National Trust is going to make land available for 1000 more allotments. Good for them; wish some local authorities would follow suit now.

Recommended reading: Holes by Louis Sachar

14 February 2009

Little n Large

There is a lot I would like to blog about at the moment but nothing is clearly in focus so I can't: at least not without boring you to tears or me shedding them. So be it.

As you can see from the picture of the eggs, one of our girls is just taking the piss out of us but without video surveillance, it is impossible to tell which one.

Talking of detective type things, I have today opted to follow seven blogs and have had to hire a team of private detectives to keep up as they keep surreptitiously diving into doorways passing notes to one another and discussing strange strange things. Consequently I love them all.

11 February 2009

Hey Stonehead !

Stonehead: Why can't I read your blog now?...It's asking me for a password. Whassup?

02 February 2009

Apple Trees

In flurries of snowfall we planted out the two new appletrees - a Royal George which is a cooker and a Ribston Pippin, a Yorkshire bred variety and an eater who's name I will probably forget and end up calling it a Branston Pickle.

Underneath the snow, the ground was not hard to dig and I dug down fairly deeply and filled up with a mix of well rotted pigeon shit and compost and then topsoil.

I feel unfit after a winter of not digging very much and spending too much time trampling my fingers across a keyboard. However hard I try, I cannot make this an aerobic exercise.

His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

I see the white vans passing from the city out into the dusty countryside; past the olive groves and the goats looking up, their bells tinkling. The vans, the Metaphores, carrying the meaning of peoples lives in the chairs and tables and tv sets and cd racks and knives and forks and sofas and beds piled up higgledy piggledy in the back.

For that is what metaphor means: to transfer; to carry meaning. Our language is riddled with it and it rattles around like a skeleton in the cupboard of our vocabulary. Once, the words and phrases, these metaphoric skeletons, had flesh too: they meant something in the culture in which they were created, and everybody understood it.

In the busy dockyards of England where they built the great fighting ships for Drake and Nelson, the workers were allowed to carry home off-cuts of wood, not above a yard long, to fuel their home fires. The port authorities became suspicious that workers were taking timber that was far more valuable than just firewood and they stopped the practice - which the workers had come to view as their 'right' - every job should have a little perk, no? The workers were incensed and felt huge resentment that this boon was taken from them, so they downed tools. The bitter disputes were eventually resolved by the authorities reinstating the practice, but the workers had to walk out of the dockyard gates with the timber carried very visibly on their shoulders so that it could be seen not to be above a yard in length. They deeply resented this lack of trust but had to grudgingly comply if they wanted to take any wood home.

This is where we get 'he has a chip on his shoulder' from. The metaphor is a skeleton which once had flesh. Though the flesh has long since decayed, we still understand the meaning very well. But therein lies a problem. Though it enriches our language and transfers meaning well from one generation to the next, unless we understand the cultural context in which it was created and unless we appreciate that the language should not be interpreted literally, (eg in the way that Christian fundamentalists do it), then we can run into great difficulties because culture changes so dramatically over time.

Lets say we've dumped ten thousand tons of high level nuclear waste with a half life of 25,000 years. Lets say in that time that a catastrophic event takes mankind back to year zero and it takes ten thousand years to recover. In that time, the language, the written word, may change utterly and completely beyond all recognition. How can I convey to my great great great great great great grandson not to go digging around on that particular clump of our wonderful planet.

I haven't got a clue, and though it's brass monkeys out there, the sun is shining and the world has a soft blanket of snow, like glitter on a party dress, and I have an apple tree to prune and two to plant; chickens to feed whose knickers I will not count until they are washed.........er!