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The Wildlife Trust's June Challenge #2

A stormy night, & now the panes are blind with showers. Have gone out in the rain to feed the birds, black sunflower seeds and live mealworms. The birds are not in evidence, not even the starlings. It certainly is wild and wet out there. Todays interaction with wildlife was that I killed two slugs that were after Peter's youngest sweet peas. Which was a bit pointless. The photo is of red campion and wild parsley at Woods Mill where we went last week to hear the nightingales (not much luck with the latter, and see if the kestrels were nesting again. They weren't, but there was a nice lot of bat action in the gloaming, along with a half moon, and a cuckoo's song,

The Wildlife Trust's June Challenge #1

The blue tits next door fledged! We watched three emerge in the morning, and later I took pictures of the 4th. This is the best of them. I got worried that I was upsetting the little bird (though it gave no sign) and stopped and went away before it actually flew.
Bon voyage, kiddies

Nicky next door says blue-tits only live about one and a half years on average in the wild, but there's a record of one living to be 21. So I suppose the limitation is: they are popular prey, and live until something kills them.


A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night The "Iranian Vampire Western". Very beautiful b&w cimematography and a tiny movie with a tiny but appealing cast, sparsely inhabiting an urban wasteland called Bad City, oil donkeys ducking and rising in the background as a constant refrain. The Iranian girl vampire is a great conceit, shimmering sinister apparition in her black cloak. I loved it when she takes the little kid's skateboard & from then on scoots around on it, when out hunting. Why a Western? I don't really know, but I did think of Once Upon A Time In Anatolia. Is it the loneliness, the desolation of the landscape urban and otherwise; the makeshift-seeming city melting into badlands; the gun law or none? Is it the darkness on the edge of town? A Springsteen sort of Western.

Timbuktu Stunning to look at, low-key, wise and sad. I can't tell you much, go and see it. It's not going to tell you anything you don't know, but it's heartbreaking, and grimly interesting, to see what happens to individual people, ordinary lovely people, when IS arrives in town.

I thought of Walter Scott's novels, which are often about the savage wars of religion in the UK in the seventeenth century, especially in Scotland, & the culture around that time (and often btw sympathetic to women's rights). I never noticed when I was a child (I wasn't meant to) but rape happens a lot in Scott's novels. It's called "outrageous violence". Women, especially young women suffer "outrageous violence", from lawless armed men on both sides all the time. Marriage by rape and kidnap (actually, "rape" covers the whole process, you snatch a girl, rape her and keep her; and possess her child, if any) was something every family with a daughter feared and not only from the religionists of course. The rapist's party (just as in Timbuktu) liked to insist on moral acceptance of the crime, and could usually rely on the girl and her family being shamed & scared into accepting a form of marriage. But in Scotland, even three hundred years ago, women were not cattle. They were persons, and had rights in law. There's a historical account, I think it's in the preamble to Rob Roy of a young woman who refused to comply. Her rapists' lawyers tried every trick in the book (they needed to catch her acting nicely in the rapist's company; so they could say she was willing). But her father had good lawyers too, she stuck it out, and in the end, god bless legalistic Scots, eh?, she won & went home. Most didn't.

I suppose you could hope that equally legalistic Islam would work for you in the same circs, if IS wasn't doing the interpreting. But not really. A woman living under Sharia, as things stand, is living on the edge.

Mad Max: Fury Road Gabriel's treat. 2D, naturally. I was fine with it. Nostalgic. How often, in the long ago, did convoys of desperate good guys, in whacky falling apart transport, flee across our basement floor, savagely pursued by evil Transformers . . . ? How well I remember those days. And on the way home I got to explain to Gabriel why its "The Many Mothers" as the desirable alternative to one Big Daddy, in terms of a) social animal behaviour & b) humane governance. I've done that before too. Plus, who could ever have enough of Charlize Theron being heroic with a buzz cut, a big gun and a fancy mech arm?

Peter did not like this movie at all.