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'A gaping silken dragon,/Puffed by the wind, suffices us for God./We, not the City, are the Empire's soul:/A rotten tree lives only in its rind.'

Monday, 8 April 2013

Past and...

... Present.

I have been away for an Easter Week holiday in one of my favourite corners of England, a corner that was, more or less by-passed by the Industrial Revolution, to an extent that some elements of the past are much clearer than in other parts of this old Kingdom. Things like:

Knife crime - 14th Century style. Maid Marion sticks it to the Sheriff's men; or Norman interlopers fall out.

But, to soothe the soul - Henry VIII's hand at work, at Walsingham Abbey. It's difficult to know if one's (Protestant, English) heart is responding to the echoes of 19th Century Romantics here, or the singing of long since departed Medieval choirs.

And here, a marker to explain lumps and bumps in the turf. 11th Century England - before the deluge, before the decapitation of the nation, before the imposition of a Norman Christianity. 

But, uncovered by high spring tides, angle iron on the beach in the last stages of oxidisation - markers of Britain's escape from a different invasion force.

Back home, I finished the glider. How can it be that, after decades of kit bashing, I could struggle so much with this little thing? Yes, it is resin so the gluing bit was tricky. But why can I still not get masking fluid to work properly (fortunately the kit came with two cockpit covers), and why do decals insist on folding in on themselves??!

More happily, I emptied out one of my compost bins prior to planting a small bed of dahlias for late summer colour and cut flowers. If you know your compost, you will be seriously impressed by the photo above. It was two years in the cooking, but it was worth the wait.

Lastly. More past. If you are in the UK you will doubtless already be suffering from Mrs Thatcher overload. I was 19 when she was first elected, so her ten years and a bit in power formed the backdrop to my youth. I'm not going to drone on here about the former Prime Minister or 'Thatcherism', except to say, firstly, it now seems so long ago, and, secondly, I suspect that both her partisans and detractors are united in one thing - that is, to over-estimate her ability to shape events. Think on this, the policies that she became in/famous for,  and the outcomes of those policies, were mirrored elsewhere, for example by a Labour government in New Zealand. There are huge forces that govern the actions of politicians; a combination of the weight of history, the tectonic strength of economics, and the folly of individuals and peoples. But why the Solzhenitsyn pamphlet from 1976 ? Just to remind us about how the overwhelming fears of today can be little more than a second hand bookshop purchase tomorrow. They do have a good second hand bookshop in Burnham Market, Norfolk, England.


  1. The knife crime seems appropriate - she does hang around with a chap in a hoody after all.

    1. What I want to know is where are the cops when you need 'em? In bed, sick, playing with their toy trebuchets!!

  2. Good to have you back with us.Great looking compost.It has been chilly in the garden working and all is held back in terms of growth. Busy however with the Lawn spiked and sand added,new borders created,holes dug for fencing and shed/yurt doors stripped for painting.
    Tell us more of the knife armed figure...

    1. Yes, best compost that I've emptied out for a long time. You sound as if you really have been busy, but you're right about the cold. I've usually got a marvellous array of tulips out about now, but not a bud to be seen.

      It's Maid Marion from Britains' Robin Hood range. I bought her in the early 1990s, but the date on the base is 1971.