Saturday 29th December, cool but not cold, thick grey skies darkening towards sunset. I wake early these dark mornings, plagued by indigestion (but no hangovers as yet: I've become too sensible), brooding on terrible wrongs (that girl in Delhi, gangraped by "Eve Teasers" died today, eg) and fall asleep to dream of strange, beautiful animals that I try to collect. The bird with the long sinuous black neck, with the fluttering white streamers. The very peculiar little pondlife creatures, little homunculi with no heads... Dark skies and intermittent heavy rain, seems like all through the Christmas season. We live on a hill, and I haven't heard of any flooding, not nearer than Barcombe Mills, where we go to the Anchor Inn in summer and hire boats on the river; and where the river regularly invades the bar of the Inn in winter. Our closest brush with the weather etc chaos effects being a dash to Haywards Heath, Saturday a week ago, to rescue Gabriel who had been trying & failing to get home from London since the day before. Haven't left the house much, except to scrump holly (very meagre harvest, very pleasant to be in the cool grey woods, inspecting Badger Cities and listening to the birdsong); visit friends, and to walk in King Death's Garden, a suitable and nostalgic place, in melancholy weather like this. Glaucous grey-green snowdrop spears pierce the dead leaves on the Lime Walk, the koi drift calmly in the Water Feature by the chapel-of-ease.
I've been having a little contretemps with Amazon over the listing of the Divine Endurance/Flowerdust single narrative edition (or at least I think I have). It gets listed on amazon.uk searches & other national sites, but not on amazon.com. Why not? I attempted to investigate, using the Kindle Help tools, and was informed: "We reserve the right to make judgments about whether or not content is appropriate; this can include the cover image or the content within the book. We have found your Kindle book contains mature content and it will not surface in our general product search results." Mature content? Oh, of course, adult content. There must be a special amazon.com bot that objects to bare breasted women on a cover! (Not so, actually). But, no point in giving offence for whatever reason, so I uploaded a plain cover.. It didn't work, and the personalised response I got (taking the Help tools up as far as they go) revealed "Beatrice K" if human, is a human who can't read. Intrigued, I contemplated trying to outfox the glitch, but life is too short & I've restored the fine art cover. You should be able to find it here, some time soon:
We went to see The Life Of Pi yesterday, in 3D, and it's magnificent, wonderful, absolutely magical, expecially Richard Parker; and incredibly true to the book too. The storms at sea terrified me, but what terrified me more was the way the animals, such a riotous vivid parade of them in the opening passages, looked not real but hyper-real, as if such wild diversity was already pure fantasy. And then of course, by the end, there are no animals at all, they've all vanished, only people, ie Mankind* left to tell the tale.
New Year's resolutions? I resolve to hope. I hope this hedgerow ash will still be green next spring. Click through for the defra map of the current stage of the dieback outbreak, and you will note that the overwhelming majority of sites west of Edinburgh, on a north-south line, have been discovered in new plantings. Artificially introduced, in other words. The natural spread has barely begun. I hope the fracking bonanza in the UK gets stalled before it begins. I hope our stunning ability to do good continues to have that tiny, micro-fractional edge on our talent for hideous deeds. & that we don't get to find out what the Invasion of Poland looks like, in this uber-war we're fighting, without recognising its dire import. I hope.
This is probably my closing entry for 2012, so here's my final tree, appropriately dressed. Click through for a seasonal story about failing to know when you are well off & it's time to get out of the casino.