Friday, 31 January 2014

Still Raining...

And The Old Man is still fuming over the analysis of the Somerset Levels flooding as pundits still talk about rivers overflowing their banks (not the core of the problem) and angry members of the public still seen intent on confusing The Environment Agency with some kind of environmentalist pressure group.
Meanwhile the constant rain is revealing some of West Cornwall's inclinations. A house in Camborne did a partial collapse the other day when mine workings opened up underneath it. (No one hurt... family had moved out when the cracks appeared the day before.)
And a day or so before that... a hole (another mine-working collapse) appeared at the side of the main road in the village of Rosudgeon... between our village and Penzance...
On hearing this last piece of news The Old Man showed alarm.
"My newspaper!" cry he. For this indeed is the village where he gets his daily paper.
Me? I'm too busy frantically trying to recall how close the nearest workings are to us, according to the mining survey. (You really have to have one of these before you buy a property down here, you know.)

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

The Old Man And The Somerset Floods

He be still spitting feathers... OK... some media coverage at last but not exactly in-depth... (That do read like a bad pun in this context!) ...nor accurate... say The Old Man, who do grow up not a million miles away from the Levels or "The Moors". In fact he do grow up on a hill from where you could see for absolutely miles... but given the nature of that landscape... it be a pimple by Cornish standards.
So... where was he?
Aah! ....Nobody reporting on mainstream telly or radio, nor indeed the honchos pronouncing, seems to give due respect to the fact that this is drained wetland... (for may be a thousand years?) not rivers overflowing their banks. Paterson and his "cutting trees to block flows and re-planting..." don't apply to this fen-like place.
The Environment Agency's "Can't put the silt on the (dredged) river banks because that will obstruct run-off from the fields..." makes The Old Man apoplex. The field drainage never relied on "run-off"... cause they be pumped. The clue is in "Pumping Station" like where Paterson did look around on Monday.
I do like to think I am indeed a bit interested in the environment. The sad thing is some angry and popular reactions...the Environment Agency equals "environmentalists". I don't think so. An Agency is an Agency (in this case related to DEFRA) ... not a movement of green-thinkers.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Animated Discussions: Joseph Brett's Video for "Where The River Don't Flow" by Liz Green

Talking of where rivers don't flow... (or shouldn't).
I do jump up and down to find out that Liz Green (that most reticent of musicians) is releasing a new album of her dark, I-dunno-what-style-this-is music in April. The album is called "Haul Away" and this is the stop-motion animation video for one of the tracks by film maker/paper sculptor/animator Joseph Brett...  the promo says it explores " the themes of mortality and legacy. With skellingtons."  

Monday, 27 January 2014

The Rain... The Levels... Paterson...

... it raineth everywhere and everyday....
Not least in The Old Man's childhood home of Somerset.
And The Old Man do spit feathers that national news seem to be ignoring the plight of the flooding on the Levels... as is the government. Today DEFRA Secretary of State Owen Paterson (grouse moor owner, climate change sceptic, the minister who accused the badgers of "moving the goalposts" after the results of the badger cull proved debatable) finally visits the flooded villages and farms. And has outraged the local people ... by not speaking to any of them according to The Guardian.
Nor do we hear anything from neighbouring MPs... not least and not surprisingly Lib Dem David Laws whose constituency borders the flooded areas. It is left to Conservative MP for Bridgwater Ian Liddell-Grainger... not always the voice of liberal views and green be the lone voice of protest on the part of his constituents. But...  he does not seem to appear to have the ear of his fellow Tory MPs.
What no photo call Mr Cameron? Actually... I am surprised.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Madame Deficit Considers Rural Life And Chilblains

Alors, mes enfants. I do love the pretty, rural life, don't you?... Peace, tranquillité, a simple way of living that do bring us connection with the earth..... Mais... How can this poor person have this "chilblains" thing? They have lived the life of a generation blessed with ease, free education, jobs and pensions. And gold-plated pensions too, yes? It is not possible that they can be cold.
After all, this kind government do agree that the cost of energy and fuel be outrageous at the moment. They do declare that the price of Gas and Electricity must be reasonable, yes? That suppliers must put their customers on the best tariff. Pouf! Naughty suppliers.
Nevertheless I agree that the government does not appear to have given much thought to the particular fuel cost problems of those who live a life of charm in the countryside. In such rural areas there is not always access to supplies of Mains Gas. People may have to use either Oil or LPG for their heating and cooking. And it appears that Oil and LPG do cost much more than Mains Gas.

So... for example... we have this particular couple... who do not run the hot water except during the couple of hours in the mornings and the evenings when the LPG central heating is on.... Even so the LPG do cost more than one hundred pounds per month. (They have already switched supplier - a choice that has become almost impossible over the years because the area's main supplier (a nationwide company) have bought up most of the local independents.) Remember also that this fuel bill is for LPG alone. There are Electricity bills to be paid on top of that. And there is no recourse to "dual fuel tariff" deals in such households. No electricity supplier includes Oil or LPG supply in such price schemes.
Alors! So...
Cold hands, cold water, un peu de fragilité... et voilà... lumpy, blistered, itchy chilblains...

I can only suggest that, if this man's hand is so cold, he can chop wood to keep it warm, non?

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

The Old Man's Hand

So some have asked... what have happened with The Old Man's sausage fingers?
They is still swollen, boys and girls. I tell you I be a bit fed up with kitchen rota duties on me Tod - cooking, washing-up, baking the daily bread.... If these posts are a bit thin on the ground it's cos I is up to my elbows in dough and washing-up liquid.
Recap. He has one swollen hand that now has discoloured patches of skin what do itch like mad. The Old Man do have a blood-test that indicates his sodium level is too low... so the doctor do halve one of his drugs (Spironolactone) and ask to see him in a week or so. Meanwhile the doctor is trying to get him a blood-test (what needs no delay between taking the blood and analysing it) at the main hospital. We wait in not so blissful silence for the possibility of that being arranged.
Now, people be saying to him "That's chilblains". And we do think.... indeed he do seem to have chilblains on that hand. But which came first? The swollen hand or the chilblains? Like... be the chilblains opportunistic on the "bad-circulation-cos-I-is-swollen" front? Or.. was it chilblains all along? Surely the GP would recognise that?
Anyway.... . The Old Man be due to have another ordinary blood-test next week to see what effect on his sodium level lowering that drug dose has had ...
But meanwhile the skin on his hand be getting fragile...
As am I.

Sunday, 19 January 2014


The Old Man do not like going to the hairdresser. He do not like going to the barber. Always some reason why they do not do it right.  For some time I do complain he look like an old tramp, but it do no good. Now all the shopkeepers he do visit are crying out...
"Get you hair cut!"
So.... Snickety-snick-snack.... I do cut it for him.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Graphic Passions: Snow Piercer

I be excited to read a review in the Independant of Part One of the two-part graphic novel - "Snowpiercer" - to be published over the next couple of months by Titan. It's the long awaited English translation of  "Le Transperceneige" - a 1980s French comic by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette.
In a post-apocalyptic  frozen future all that's left of humanity travels on a permanently moving, globe-circling train. The dregs of society get the rear of the train - furthest from the engine - whilst the carriages between reflect society's hierarchy as they stretch towards those of the powerful and privileged at the front. But people are getting restless and rebellion is coming...

The project looks to be a tie-in with the cinema release of Korean director Bong Joon-ho's film adaptation, starring Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton. But there has been controversy over the film's release date in the US and UK due to legal battles over who makes the "final cut". It has already been released unedited in Korea and France, I think.
Here's the French (appropriate) trailer for the film .... it's loud of course.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Wagner By The Hour...

OK. I am not referencing Wagner's Ring cycle with this hat. Sometimes I just need to wear my rabbit's ears hat.

So.... we do watch Das Rheingold, Die Walkure, and Siegfried .... (see previous post if you don't know what I'm on about...) Hours and hours of declaiming and singing and swording and swashing buckles. Nice scenery. Some very nice singing. Much as I don't Wagner... it does leave me hiyata-ho-ing around the place. Next is "Gotterdammerung" (again!). The finale.

But tonight "Celebrity Bake-Off" may just win out on the telly front.... (Blimey, just realised that this series beloved by the nation is made by the same outfit as outrage du jour - "Benefits Street". Jam for some but not for others....  I see.)

And yes... The Old Man do still have a hand like a bunch of sausages... we may learn why today. But meanwhile I shall wear my comfort hat.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

The "Christmas Gift": Wagner By The Hour... "The Ring Cycle"

So Someone Who Shall Be give The Old Man a boxed set of The Met's Complete "Ring" Cycle on DVD for Christmas. (Very nice present some of you may say... which indeed it is.)

Now... I may not have mentioned this already but.... I am not a Wagner fan. The Old Man however is a passionate devotee (see this previous post as proof). And as he do sprout yet another strange medical condition the other day... one hand looking like a bunch of sausages... (so far a blood test taken but no results....) .... I do feel he may need a treat and do agree to the watching of said DVDs... In truth I am a great Lepage fan and as this is his 2012 production for The Met... I really do want to see them as well.

I am surviving. Some of the scene effects are magical... wish I could have been there to see them. And some of the singing is wonderful. (Don't that sound grudging?) The Old Man grumbles a bit. For some reason he decides to try me out (without my realising it) on the final act of the entire thing. So he be a bit disgruntled that the immolation wasn't immolating enough as far as he was concerned! But equally he do peer at me occasionally to see how I have taken a particular passage... and I can tell... that his eyes be full and his voice might be choked... as he waves his banana hand around.

Monday, 6 January 2014

The Old Man Vetoes Woody Allen Consumption

So I... I guess I'll have to call a halt to watching Woody Allen movies for a while. I mean....we watched "Manhattan" and The Old Man thinks it is the "best" Woody Allen of our season and he is very impressed with its Gershwin-only soundtrack. And OK... I did think it has more meat on its bones than some of the others we watched. In fact I would have liked to have shown you a trailer but.... everything in the trailer is so dark.....  like life.

But we watched Midnight in Paris which Owen Williams well he plays Woody Allen ..who else? His character is a Hollywood scriptwriter engaged into the kind of family where the poisonous parents-in-law-to-be shower him with daily contempt.... He falls in love with a magical 1920s Paris.... and things get.... otherworldly.

Let me see... we also watched "Hannah and Her Sisters"... "Shadows and Fog".... "Radio Days"...."Annie Hall" "Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex" and finished with "Manhattan".
I have to admit that Mia Farrow gets on my nerves after a while... Diane Keaton I prefer. I lerve Dianne Wiest. Both The Old Man and me were taken aback revisiting Michael Caine in "Hannah...". He do get an Oscar for it. I don't think so really when you see it again...
But like I say... The Old Man has had enough... so to speak...  Me? Well there are an awful lot of Woody Allen films out there... and I still want to watch more.

Meanwhile I am hoping to forget all about my existential angst and possible deathly illnesses by watching some thing else..... Like a "Popeye" retrospective... tell you more about that some other time.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Woody Allen - "Shadows And Fog" Trailer

I never saw this one before..... with Mia Farrow, Woody Allen, John Malkovich... and plenty more..... a tribute to 1930s German film I think... like Fritz lang's "M"....

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Woody Allen - Annie Hall Trailer

 After which every girl rushed into trousers, waistcoats and ties by way of tribute to Diane Keaton's style.

Friday, 3 January 2014

The Woody Allen Thing

So I say to The Old Man...
"Guess who I am."
....Cos you know.... I like to dress up in different personas so to speak...
And he looks at me for quite some time.... and then he says:

Never try to makes jokes with a Wagnerian.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

The Perils Of Watching A Woody Allen Season...

...are that I too.... am full of angst at present....
You see...
I am very fond of a Woody Allen film.
And I... Well... I haven't exactly watched any for quite some time so... over the Christmas and New Year period I watched quite a few... so to speak. That is... alongside The Old Man... who... did not feel himself to be that familiar with Allen's films.....
Apart from "Manhattan" that is.
Which he insists we saw together... at the cinema... and at the time of its release....
I... I don't know... It's all a bit of a blur to me you see...
Oh God... What am I to do? I mean.... I don't feel too well... and the way the world is going... I don't know...
Perhaps I shouldn't watch too many more Woody Allen films.......