Monday, 27 June 2011


When I studied meteorology I learned all about the warm sector of an advancing depression. Unfortunately, that awareness has not made me immune from its effects.
It’s the pressure cooker, where everyone including me gets ratty.
It is hot. It is unbearably hot. Everything is too hot. Then it is humid too.
The cloud hangs heavy, sealing in all the heat. I can’t even bear anyone sitting next to me, as their body heat seems to radiate almost visibly.
On top of that the phone / internet wifi router thingy / phone filter thingy has packed in and we can only either have internet or phone, not both.
Not in a good mood.

Thursday, 23 June 2011


I've been trying to buy a yacht. Let's put it into context though, I'm not looking at anything to rival Roman Abramovitch; just a tiny sailboat.
It is proving surprisingly difficult to find any kind of quality at the restricted budget I am prepared to pay. In search of said elusive value, my youngest son, Jed, my nephew Matt and I went down to Gosport on a maritime wild goose chase. Matt amused us greatly as we arrived at the marina, by producing as his kit bag an Antler suitcase, vintage 1963. "Hey up," I said, "Miss Marples has arrived!"
The boat which promised to be "a nice, well cared for example" turned out to be something that Grimebusters would have paid to have a go at. A cross between a shed and an ashtray, with a couple of sails up top. More importantly, virtually everything on it needed either fixing or replacing. Truthfully, I could have gone home again as soon as I clapped eyes on her on the pontoon, but the boys had come for a sail and I did not want to disappoint. So, after a lengthy coughing and spluttering from the engine, and an even lengthier coughing and spluttering from the owner, we got under way.
Just out of Portsmouth Harbour, one of the supposedly salty owners was laid low puking and remained so whilst we flew westward. As his name was Mick, this provoked all the predictable Cockney rhyming slang gags. Then the engine failed to start twice - once rather spectacularly as we entered the very busy small boat channel back into Portsmouth Harbour. Won't be buying that one! Still, we had a nice sail down the Solent in her, and around the 250m exclusion zone which surrounds the truly awesome American aircraft carrier which was anchored mid Solent, on its way to bomb the fuck out of Mr Ghadaffi.
Jed proved once again that he is a natural helmsman. Matt wandered slightly in a Miss Marples style investigation of the depths, but through characteristic perseverance, came good. Our heartfelt solicitations after the green looking owner lasted only as far as the car park. After that, the imitations of heaving began in earnest.
Pass the bucket.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011


  • Graffiti World

  • Manon des Sources

  • 100 Artist's manifestos

  • Luftwaffe Squadrons 1939 - 1945 (hilariously I actually received The Robbie Burns Songbook - which has some surprisingly raunchy numbers)

  • Hannah Montana The Movie

  • The East Coast Pilot

  • Historias Minimas (highly recommended)

  • Appetite

  • Larousse

  • Ringspun shorts

  • Reeds Almanac 2011

  • More shorts

  • Aluminium fly screen (a life changer)

  • Magnifying glass

  • Gypsy Boy (not recommended)

  • Double pinion hand drill (be glad of that when the electricity runs out)

  • Peace - Richard Bausch (independently verified as brilliant)

  • The West Wing (too revved up for me)

  • Generation Kill (recommended)

  • Troubleshooting Marine Diesel Engines

  • The English Hymnal- full music and words edition

Tuesday, 21 June 2011


I wish nothing of the sea
I have seen the edge of the sea and it scared me
I know of a tranquil pond
Still, bright and clean

Black water all around now

© CT


You once had one of many colours
And you had dreams.
Though agriculture wasn't your bag
You looked deep futurewise
Beyond the bends in the river,
The eels, the slimy things,
The mud left by the tide,
And out into a predictive sea.

Now I don't know of your oracular powers.
Your cloak has changed -
An invisibility,
And perhaps this means the powers are gone,
Or perhaps the greater power is in flow,
Blending with the river's changing hues
Going with the tide,
Ebbing, flowing.
Should I?

Shouldn't I?

Friday, 17 June 2011


Yesterday I did something I've never done before.

Yes. I played a harmonium.

My friend and I had gone on a cycle ride, and I said, "I'd like to visit that church."

We did.

It was a fine little church, still holding services to three or five communicants every third Sunday. Not much call for the harmonium. Still, when two or three are gathered together....

"What's your favourite hymn?" I asked.

"Immortal, invisible, God only wise.."

I turned to the page in the hymnal, pulled out a couple of stops, began pedalling, and gave him a few verses.

Not a bad sound, and I did a bit of Grand Wurlitzer-style lingering on some of the chords, to work the echoes and eddies of the acoustics.

"I'll have done twenty miles more than you," I said at one stage, struggling with coordinating my fingers and the pedalling you've got to do with one of these things.

We then sat in the church pews and had a long theological discussion, in which, loving man that he is, my friend accommodated my own stew pot of pagan, Zen, Catholic and downright weird.


Define God as the universal, positive, elemental and harmonious flow of life force which builds and binds the Universe constantly, and asking "do you believe in God?" becomes like asking "do you believe in hands?"

That little church did its business well yesterday, congregation or no. There we were, the two of us, for a few moments, united in consideration of the sublime. The old building held, harboured and perhaps even engendered our awed and respectful tones.

Now, all together for the next verse:

But of all thy rich graces, this grace, Lord, impart
Take the veil from our faces, the vile from our heart


The problem I have with socialists is I've never met one.

I meet a lot of middle class people who talk a lot of guff about equality, redistribution of wealth and other principles of socialism.

But I've never actually met one who practises what he preaches.

A test of this is as follows: do you cut your own income back to the national average and redistribute the rest?

No. I didn't think so.