Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Moment Of Light

I am sure that wherever you live in the world there are blessings, moments of extraordinary privilege that transcend.
For me, as people who have passed this way already know, I find these moments in the sunrise. I (honestly) quiver with excitement in anticipation of the moment that the sun breaks the horizon that Hallett’s Mountain gazes out upon. I mark the passage of my year as it daily creeps the seasons footsteps. In tune with an ancient understanding of the year I can tell you pretty much what day of the year it is without a calendar forced upon it.
On Saturday night I was gloomy for the prospect of mid summer sunrise. The evening was full of a warm drizzle and so midge ridden that, rather than be eaten alive at the old stone circle, I decided to tuck up in bed and set an alarm for 4:30.
As the cock crowed ( I really must change that alarm) I looked out of the bedroom window and was disappointed to see that the prospect was much the same as when I went to bed. Still I went down and made a cup of tea and got my camera ready in case.
As the appointed hour passed, I began to pack up when all at once I noted a short break in the cloud letting a pale yellow come through. I snapped a couple off for the record and was about to turn away again when this happened. For a few amazing seconds.
A moment of light.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

If It’s Broke Fix It

More years ago than I care to remember…ah dear what a ridiculous affectation for a man of a mere my age to adopt. It was of course the early eighties, well the first half off them at least. I developed an imaginary school subject entitled ‘Car Studies’. I used this as a vehicle….heh heh …did you see what I did there?....I used this as a method of explaining to parents of prospective students why computer studies might not be a particularly suitable subject for the apple of their eye.
The mere title of the subject was enough to make a certain type of adolescent salivate at the prospect. Unfortunately, at the time, it involved a lot of pseudo machine code with the acronym ‘CECIL’ and far more history of Pascal, Liebnitz and Babbage than a committed games player was likely to be interested in.
For a few years the conversation went thus.
“Well you see Mr Hallett we bought him a computer because we knew it would help and he’s never off it. He knows everything!”
After exploring the fact that the real interest may be playing games on the ‘Speccy’ …this was in the years before the interwebby thing, I used ‘Car Studies’ as an example.
“Imagine Mrs Jones that you wanted your son (Other student genders were available but I seldom had the same problem with female students) …that your son wanted to do ‘Car Studies’. He might confuse the subject by thinking that he was going to be learning to drive fast cars in a safe manner and in fact find out that he was doing some mechanical work with a little bit of internal combustion theory thrown in for good measure..
Many of us see the value of learning to be a driver but few of us want to be mechanics. While Computer Studies has computer in the title I really think he may be mistaking …..”etc etc.
I am sure you get the drift. And I am equally sure it did little good even after you had got over how patronising I was.

Today someone did it back to me.
A therapist was trying to explain to me that the concept that failure was not bad or good in itself but that we invested the word with meaning.
“You wouldn’t for example pronounce that a car was ‘bad’ because it had failed its M.O.T….”
Leaving aside for a moment the degree to which people do anthropomorphise the inanimate I started down a new track…
Coming soon to all good academic bookshops. The Hallett Guide to Dialectical Behaviour Therapies and the Art of Car Maintenance.
….I am going to have to come up with a snappier title.

The picture. I was very pleased with the combination of a mist flowing down the river to the sea and the sunrise this morning. If you werent up early enough here it is.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


You can usually tell when She Of The Townhouse is multitasking. The smell of something burning in the kitchen is the standard giveaway, often accompanied by the chirpy little tone of the smoke alarm. You can guarantee that she has started cooking and then at some low point in the proceedings has remembered that her nails need filing somewhere else. Time once again for the boy and I to screw our courage to the sticking place and pronounce surprise and delight at the offering proffered, complimenting her on how stunningly it exceeds the representation on the box.
I may though have explored this theme in the past and so in order not to bore you gentle reader let me look at the spectacle that meets us today.
Today she leapt out of bed at the crack of a sparrows eyelid and larklike has single-womandly reorgainised a swathe of the acre. Weeding, pruning, watering, tending, erecting trellis work, potting on, transplanting, wheeling the wheelbarrow too and fro from the domen and generally tutting and cooing at her plants. The little woman knows no rest. The garden here has seldom seen such devotion and attention over such a sustained period. Even the busy little bees that visit the big sage bush have told her to take it easy. But she cant you see. If she breaks for a moment then she will have to address the essay from college that sits on the kitchen table

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Lashings Of Ginger Beer

Things are afoot on Hallett’s Mountain. I suppose though I should say that things are ahoof rather than afoot as most of the occupants are quadrupeds, don’t wear shoes, and have cloven feet. But then they don’t have much part in the decision making process and so, like the people who ignored the European election this week, are rather disenfranchised. The sheep don’t get much say in what is going on. And anyway we eat them sometimes so perhaps it would be foolish to involve them, albeit as vegetarians, in the decision making process in relation to a barbecue. Crumbs, if the majority were to vote for ‘long pig’ it would be like a James Herbert novel with Terry Pratchett overtones around here.
Sorry? Ramble….yes you are right I need to focus a little.
The thing is I only get one shot at this, its here and then its gone and I have no strong conviction that there will be a second life. Even if there was I would be likely to be reincarnated as something far more transient an d hopefully less error prone. I mean the mistakes that I have made could fill a book and I…….
Huh? The point…. alright I am coming to that ..eventually.
The point is that it doesn’t always rain here in July. Even if it does I have a medium sized barn and a casual disregard for the state that carpets get into. There is loads of room to camp. I don’t mind getting a few extra rashers.
In less than four short weeks from today I shall reach, provided the great Moo Moo spares me, my half century. Coming the day before the Americans have a little celebration of their own. There very loose sort of plan going on to mark the Friday evening with a steak and kidney pie and a nice drop of red wine. Then the Saturday afternoon with whatever we can wave over a fire. It is the Saturday then that I wish to draw to your attention,though you are welcome earlier.
If you think that you might like to be here for an half hour or so, or if you see yourself overindulging and possibly passing out in a corner, all comers are welcome…..
Nay more than welcome, I should love to see you all and play the genial if slightly inebriate ‘mien host’ while She Of The Townhouse scurries around keeping the ship afloat.
You are all invited.
No really.
All of you.
And please bring your kids.
There we go, you have three weeks to get organised.