Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Madame Deficit Contemplates The Desolate North East

Ah mes enfants! The Tory Lords do express themselves again.

I know that ... when organising the rural view... one must know what to conserve and what to discount.
Clearly Lord Howell ... father-in-law of Chancellor George Osborne who recently announced tax breaks for the fracking industry.... is of like mind. For he do declare during a "Lords debate" that fracking should be carried out in the North East of England because it be largely uninhabited and desolate... devoid of natural beauty and the kind of rural environment which occurs further south and must be protected. I think that is what he more or less says... though I may be wrong. Surely I must be?

Alors! One is never sure with Lords such as Freud and Howell. But I think Lord Howell be a little embarassed at his jaw-dropper for he appears to have apologised.
Ah mon pauvre petit... quelle domage.

If you have strong doubts about fracking.... 38 Degrees is running a campaign and is looking for a bit of a pledge.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

The Doll Listens To Antti Tuomainen's "The Healer"

 ......vis-à-vis the Arctic and climate change (previous post about Greenpeace oil-drilling protest).....

"The Healer" by Antti Tuomainen: narrated by Simon Shepherd: English translation Lola Rogers ; Random House Audiobooks 2013...available as a download from Audible.....

Soon it will be Christmas in Helsinki. Every day brings rain  and it is cold. This is a world where the climate is changing, the Arctic melting, the waters rising. Those who can afford to are moving further north as the streets of the coastal towns flood. In turn, the homes that they leave are taken over by immigrants from even further south, those lands and cities already under water. Finnish social structure is crumbling. The police are underfunded and understaffed. Private security firms rule the streets....

Poet Tapani Lehtinen is worried about his journalist wife, Johanna. The last call he had from her was about her search for a serial killer who dubs himself "The Healer". She was setting out, with her paper's photographer, to some kind of meeting but Tapani has heard nothing since. Her phone is unanswered and this isn't like Johanna; Tapani and Johanna keep in touch all the time. But Tapani knows that the police will or can do very little. If anyone finds Johanna - it has to be him....

For lovers of Nordic Noir with roots in societal change this book takes that change into Tuomainen's brilliantly imagined flooded future. Not a story of the cataclysmic event but a crime story set in the steady decline and disintegration brought about by climate change. But this also a love story. A tale of the lengths that a man whose faith in his love for his wife - and in his wife's love for him - will go in order to find her again. And as Tapani uncovers more about the killer, and more about Johanna, the story becomes gripping, violent, suspenseful and ultimately moving.

This unabridged reading of "The Healer" - well read by Simon Shepherd - is a great atmospheric listen. I certainly want to read/listen-to more from Antti Tuomainen

You can read another review of the book over on the Euro Crime blog.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Sunday Night Is "Les Revenants" Night...

The Old Man still not be too sure about "The Returned" on Channel 4... but I think the suspense and unease is building nicely.

Soundtrack by Scottish band Mogwai is available on download or CD etc.
...... for just when you think it's all over!
(Found this snippet and links on that new Lumi thing.)

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Heat And The Badger

Wonderful dry heat...and still spending most of the time ferrying water to the vegetables. We's picking peas and broad beans...

The Night Badger (cos that's who we think it is...) is getting desperate and digging potatoes again. This time he/she have resorted to eating them. But obviously they are not high on the list of desirable food as I usually find a half-eaten, drool-covered potato dropped somewhere on the path. I just mend the damage and dig the spuds from the plant that the critter have picked out.

The other day I go into a particularly "neglected-in-this-heat" patch of garden and am a bit bothered to find a mega pile of earth and montbretia corms against the "hedge" (wall to some).

I don't mind Badger patrolling through of a night if it don't do much damage... but I'm not so sure I want Badger setting up home here. I understand the pressures on the critter. Four houses in our tiny row of eight are building (or planning to build) houses in their gardens, one of which did have a badger sett.... don't know if it still does. This means that although we do not have a huge garden .... soon it will be the biggest in the lane.

Nevertheless I still ain't got room for a Desperate Badger.

Later we work out that Badger have got desperate hungry in the dry heat this month. (Hence the potato diet.) And we do reckon that it may not be trying to dig a sett.... but.... sadly for the bees.... have dug out a nest of red tailed bumblebees... cos we notice a lot flying around the place. These bees often nest underground at the base of stone walls.... and bees' nests can be eaten out by foxes, badgers, weasels.

Sorry bees. But I am a bit relieved badger ain't moving in..... yet.

PS. Looking around the web for more about "building in gardens" I do find a property developer's site that do reckon this hysteria about the loss of gardens to development be all whipped-up by the media. Sigh!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

An Explosion Of Baby Spiders

Remember when I do consider parthenogenesis? For myself, that is? And do proceed to name all my progeny?

..... it is not parthenogenesis
but the more traditional... er... genesis... when I look up into the kitchen window-corner and do realise that a Daddy-Long-Legs spider ... or rather.... Mummy-Long-Legs spider.... have popped like a dandelion clock and is surrounded by a cloud of flimsy spiderlings.

However I read that these spiderlings are as full of sibling love as some of our own human families. They must disperse as soon as possible or they will eat each other.

Quelle arachno-horreure!

Sunday, 14 July 2013


... I tell you I spend all day ferryin' water to the vegetable plot.
I be picking the first sizeable pan of peas today... And the strawberries? There are lots and I have to make tiny batches of fresh jam to keep in the fridge to keep up with them. We do never get round to getting a freezer.

The garden has patches of waist-high grass which we call "wild areas"... and visitors call "hay-fever sumps". These have some powerful tall ant hills. This place have also attracted what seem like resident pairs of Ringlet butterflies. They flit around amongst the long grasses in a very floppy, summery manner.

The field over the lane has been cut and baled and I look out the window to see slow-moving parties of rooks browsing in the stubble for food ... The ground must be hard and dry now for food-hunting critters.

I'm too hot to move. But I must not stare into the mouth of that old gift horse.  It's been a long time since we had this kind of summer.

Friday, 12 July 2013

RIP "Drawn" Blog...2005-2013

I be so self-absorbed that I do not always keep up with the blogs I am supposed to be following. So I be ashamed to see that "Drawn" a collaborative, illustration, graphics, whatever blog started by Canadian illustrator John Martz has closed.

I shall miss it. It gave me the work of cartoonists and illustrators whose work I fell in love with: Jason ... Mattias Adolfsson .... Brecht Evens....going on to get some of their books... and there was animation stuff as well....product stuff....

Time and the internet moves on... as do "blogs".

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Greenpeace Women Climbing The Shard.....

Eight hours climbing... six women halfway up The Shard... tallest building in Europe.

Making a great big "Point" to Shell about Arctic oil drilling...

Edit: They made it... find out more at Greenpeace UK.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Mrs D Ponders Crime In Florence And "A Darkness Descending"

That Mrs D still be readin' her crime books. If ... like her... you like to travel in crime... and you like a little social, political content in your crime reading.... then she says you may well like to check out Christobel Kent's latest book featuring Florentine PI Sandro Cellini - "A Darkness Descending"  - a study of obsession and dirty dealings set against the backdrop of Florentine current popular politics. It seems that Sandro likes a quiet life but those nearest and dearest around him are determined to get him investigating deeper, or else they will .... and do.

You can read a review over on the Euro Crime website

PS.On the EuroCrime blog is a reminder and summary of the excellent Mark Lawson's series of short BBC Radio 4 programmes on foreign crime fiction "Foreign Bodies".
Like a heatwave struck idiot, Mrs D have forget to tune in. She may have to catch the Friday omnibus edition. Teach her to laze about in the sun.

Me? I still be riveted by Channel 4's "The Returned" on Sunday evenings. Even if The Old Man keeps asking me technical questions about zombies like I am some kind of expert. I keep explaining to him that this be a French series and as such there is nothing as inelegant as a piece of rotting flesh on a walking cadaver to be seen. Though.... Lena's back don't look too healthy... but she's supposed to be fully alive. Alors! Quel énigme, oui?

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Yoga Lunging And Its Possible Consequences

   .... But ....
Whilst you're down there... you may as well relax. That's what yoga is for ain't it?

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Yoga And The Challenge Of "Lunging"

See.... sometimes a pose is a bit.... wobbly.

It does not seem right to wobble whilst practicing "The Lunge".

But sometimes one just does feel that old wobble starting.....

Friday, 5 July 2013

Yoga And Life's Ups And Downs

Sometimes you get days when plans don't work out....

....so I am still practisin' this yoga thing in the hopes that tensions will ease and I will greet each day as a new start...

Here I am.... getting ready for something called "The Lunge".....

We could all do with a good lunge now and then.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Madame Deficit Considers The Freudian Slip.... Again

Ooh-la-la. Lord Freud is at it again.
This time the particular "droit du Seigneur" he is exercising over the poor....
.....is his view that the increased use of food banks is because (like Mount Everest) they are there.

In other words it  has nothing to do with increasing social need. Rather it  is a question of  supply and demand. Food banks are not part of this government's welfare system but - as he puts it: “If you put more food banks in, that is the supply. Clearly food from a food bank is by definition a free good and there's almost infinite demand.” (Read more of the Lord's jaw-dropping argument here).

Aaah j'adore such a grasp of reality.... from planet Zog, I think. But it is a grasp he have shown before. Remember his comment in November 2012 that the poor have the least to lose so they should take more risks?

Is Baron Freud out of touch with the problems of poverty? C'est possible? Clearly he is adrift on access to  food banks, I think. It is my understanding that one cannot just nip to the food bank in your nightie like it was a 24 hour Tesco. Mais, non..... One has to be issued with vouchers by a "care professional" who has judged one to be in need of urgent assistance.

One assumes that this care professional has a clearer grasp of reality than our Work and Pensions Minister....  Je l'espère.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Badger Digs Potatoes... Again

... the summer is starting to be fruitful in the garden. Starting to eat the strawberries and potatoes.... Peas and broad beans be setting to make fruit. I kind of like the challenge of seeing what I can make a meal of from the garden.

So I be a bit annoyed to find some flattened potato plants cos Mr Brock have rooted around in me roots.

Grumpily I do harvest the flattened plants and wonder what to do with the prematurely harvested tubers. But cleaning them up I do see that there be the start of some rot or blight going on in the largest of them.  Not to mention an excellent set of claw marks on one.

...So. I do say thank you to Mr Brock (who be after worms rather than taters, I'm sure)... cos I do realise that it's time to get those taters up and out .... before it all be truly blighted.

Bombay potatoes and leaf beet tonight I think.... wiv some black-eye beans and mushrooms... rhubarb pie for afters.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Bartoli As "Norma"... The Old Man Listens In...

......and the Celtic passion continues.

The Old Man do find  Decca's new recording of Bellini's "Norma" buried under other stuff at HMV. He be annoyed at this burying of treasure.... but he do buy it, take it home, play it .... and we both do enjoy it very much. It has taken me a long time to get to the point of enjoying such music. And talk of "revised score" and "original instruments"... be the very kind of thing to put me off for a while longer.

But then I'd miss out on what turns out to be a beautiful, energetic, passionate and very musical version of the opera. Cecilia Bartoli as doomed Druid  priestess, Norma ..... alongside John Osborn, Sumi Jo and the Orchestra La Scintilla conducted by Giovanni Antonini.

It be a cracker, ladies and gents.

Cecilia Bartoli - Bellini: NORMA - Trailer Part 1