Saturday 28 January 2012


There is some thing (or no-thing if you want to get in to the semantics of it) at the very core of our existence together in the world which is beyond all description and is the most profound. It is seen in the fact that we are tiny and apparently insignificant against the scale of the universe and yet at the same time each of us is priceless, of unlimited value. Some times the immensity of that just hits me smack in the face. What can you say but homage to the divine.

Saturday 21 January 2012


Strolling through Jesmond Dene yesterday I came across St Mary's Chapel. I'd not known the history of this twelfth century chapel until I read the information board at the site. This in turn prompted me to look it up on the internet. Well worth it for the interesting history. In fact there are quite a few interesting pages on the net about Jesmond. Of course there are all sorts of interesting stories of which we are not aware all about us. Later I heard Nimrod from Elgar's Enigma Variations on TV. This prompted me to buy a copy for my MP3 player and this afternoon after a walk with DC through the Dene we both listened to Nimrod. Such a beautiful piece. 'What is it that is so moving?' I as asked DC. His answer pointed to various technical ways in which Elgar has created the music. 'Yes, but what is 'it'? Not how has he pointed to 'it' but what is 'it'?' I asked. We mused on this for a while each expressing the 'it' for us. Each noting how the piece brings about an awareness of Being and all that might be, all that is; temporal and eternal. I find the Lark Ascending takes me to some similar awareness. How changed our world from those days of pilgrimage in the twelfth century and yet how similar our quests seem to be.

Sunday 15 January 2012

Out walking

Lovely stroll along Derwent walk in the winter sun today with friends. Cold and frosty but bright. I took some photos with my smart phone (click on the images to enlarge) :

Viaduct parapet - ice crystals - frozen moss I think

Low sun
Ice crystals - more frozen moss on the parapet

Sunny tree top

Sun set

Viaduct parapet - ice on grass

Sun streaming through
More frozen grass on the parapet

Tuesday 10 January 2012

The Iron Lady

DC and I saw 'The Iron Lady' at cinema over the weekend. I felt it was like watching a train crash in slow motion. I could feel revulsion and anger at the whole 1980's Thatcherite project. The film shows a version of Thatcher's rise to power through flash backs against the back drop of her present state of health as a person with dementia. It was not clear exactly what the film makers were trying to get across. The question of compassion arises since she is shown suffering due to her struggle with dementia but much more could have been shown about the huge social and political issues raised by her time in power and the pain and suffering consumerism generates (or if your politics are to the right, attempts to ease). For me it was interesting to note how angry I am that the whole political scene is now basically Thatcherite; the very word socialist is now almost regarded as dirty. So, if I am angry I need to look at what is behind the anger. Everyone is doing their best. I note my response to the scenes shown in the film and remember that Thatcher was reacting like everyone else out of her conditioning to ease her pain. I don't need to see her with dementia to remember that we all need to be held in compassion. I do however, find it a real challenge to hold the likes of her and the latest batch of Tory spawn in compassion. Thatcher changed UK politics and to my way of thinking the economic and social mess we are now in is in no small measure due to the way subsequent politicians have continued her project. It seems to me that we have lost almost all sight of the reason for having an economy, ie the welfare of people. People should not be there for the welfare of the economy. Money becomes a tyrant when it is the ends rather than the means. Listening to Start The Week on Radio 4 yesterday morning I was filled with joy to hear Anna Coote of The New Economics Foundation talk about a 21 hour working week. There is much wisdom in what she had to say. The LSE are holding a talk on Wed. 11 Jan. 2011. Demented or not I can't imagine the Thatcherites could get their heads around it!

Thursday 5 January 2012


I have the most wonderful parents. They have had some very, very tough times and they did not always cope well, but cope they did. I started writing about specifics of recent events but I see that the details take away from the bare facts; when the chips are down they are wise and big hearted.