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08 April 2011 @ 08:24 am
   Over recent weeks I've had increasing difficulty posting on, or even accessing, livejournal. I've read it's the result of a 'denial of service' hacker attack and has to do with the 2012 Russian elections

   The hacker theory may or may not be correct, either way I looked for another supplier, or pander, or what ever it's called, and plumped for 'blogger', mainly because my cyber pal Whimsy (Victor Alan Crawford) moved there and he seems to know what he's doing.

So, hope to see you  there...

06 April 2011 @ 11:21 am
   Some years ago, when I first felt the insidious caress of middle-age transforming cheek into jowl and inquisitive glance into presbyopic leer, I realized that something had to be done to mitigate the cruel ravages of time. So, my existential yearning masquerading as desire, I set out, like many another anxious man in my chronological predicament, to find solace in the feminine company of someone significantly younger than myself.

   Through luck and low cunning I succeeded in my quest. The ensuing liaison involved, in fact mainly consisted of, a weekend in Paris during which I, we, found ourselves on the Pont des Arts, a footbridge that leads from the Louvre to St Germain.

The Pont des Arts; poor circulation

   Many of the grills that are fixed to the structure's railings are festooned with padlocks fastened there as declarations of undying infatuation by starry-eyed young people who congregate on the teak decking. My new friend seemed delighted with the ambience despite the difficulty crossing the bridge (it was very congested), whilst I, having seen off my existential what-ever-it-was, was keener than ever to slip down Rue de Bac and visit Deyrolle's taxidermy emporium.

 Deyrolle's; a timeless appeal.

   It was late afternoon and we'd got the sitting around in cafés out of the way, now the path was clear for a good hour's perusal of dead animals. Suddenly, just as I was explaining the importance of Deyrolle's in the history of naturalised zoomorphia, my friend sat down on the walkway, joining the dozens of other young people lolling around the bridge in little groups. It occurred to me I should do the same, but during the time it took to lower myself into a seated position (I eschewed offers of assistance) my companion had sprung up again in order to get a closer look at a juggler (a 'juggler' in this case defined as a young man who throws three balls in the air and catches most of them). I intended to point out to my friend the shameless saltimbanque's clumsiness, but by the time I'd struggled to my feet (the lock-bedecked grills provided useful purchase) butterfingers and herself were already engaged in animated conversation liberally interspersed with guffaws. Both parties, despite my pointed coughs and watch-tapping, seemed blissfully unaware of me and my shrinking opportunity of joining the denizens of Deyrolle's in their safe haven of the perpetual present.
04 April 2011 @ 08:46 am

    I remember still its rubbery texture and its regular transferral, with a flick of the tongue, from one cheek pouch to the other. It was still installed when I returned home from school. My mother asked what I had in my mouth and I told her, “Meat”, more accurately it was a lump of gristle that had been served up in a stew some four hours previously in the school dining hall. She asked why I was still chewing it, I said it was too big to swallow and I knew it was wrong to spit out my food.

   Schools are characterised by their rules, most of which suited a conformist as slavish as I. I remember one rule in particular, or perhaps it was a regulation or a procedure, that was in operation at the infant school where I chewed gristle, back in the early 1960s. Its implementation caused the poorest children to have differently coloured dinner tickets. To wit; a white ticket meant that your mid-day meal was free and that your father was probably out of work, a blue ticket meant that your parents were paying the standard fee (sixpence, I think). The fact that my father worked in a factory meant that I was privileged to have a blue ticket, employment rates were high at the time and those with white tickets were in the minority.

   I wonder now who came up with the idea of colour-coding these scraps of paper, a mundane form of apartheid that must have evolved somewhere along the chain of command that laboriously translated an altruistic notion into a diktat that stigmatised the innocent.
28 March 2011 @ 08:51 am
   The Welsh for Daffodil is Cenhinen Bedr or 'Peter's Leek'. Who'd have thought? Sounds like a medical condition.

   On the subject of leeks, last night I ate the first one I've ever cultivated myself. It was delicious. I intend to slowly work my way through its contemporaries, savouring them individually like the final pages of a good book.

   I now see why the Welsh chose the leek as their national emblem, they need no tending (meaning mine didn't receive any) and are very graceful. What nation wouldn't want to be associated with independence and beauty? I would recommend them to any horticultural ignoramus like me who wants to experiment with a vegetable patch. They're impervious to frost, in fact seem to thrive on any element that is thrown at them. A friend gave me a bundle of tiny specimens to plant last summer, they looked far too weedy to make it to adulthood and I was certain that the squadrons, battalions and armies of slugs that eat virtually everything else in my potager would polish them off in no time. But no! They clearly possess some kind of chemical slug-deterrent; maybe that's what makes them so tasty.

   Leeks also remind me of a verbal exchange I witnessed many years ago in a 'comprehensive' school that I attended. It was March 1st, St David's day, St David being the patron saint of Wales. During morning assembly the headmaster mentioned the significance of the day and asked the serried ranks of uninterested pupils what was the vegetable that symbolised Wales. A few hands went up (mine wasn't amongst them – too busy considering the possibilities. Artichoke? Yam? Peanut?) including, pregnant with portent, that of Andrew Leek to which the headmaster readily responded, thereby allowing Leek to declare with an airy confidence, “The daffodil, sir!”