Wednesday 20th November, thick grey skies, the sycamore is bare, the red maple and the birch almost naked, our young elm still hanging onto most of its leaves, but it's winter at last, and I might start feeding the birds soon. Cold rain outside my window now, but the night was clear and Orion stands in our landing window again. Time starts to fly as you get older, but as the future contracts, the past expands. How many times, really have I climbed the stairs on a clear winter night, and seen, and stopped to notice that pattern of jewels in the darkness, and looked for the Pleiades, high up above the hunter's left shoulder (hope I've got that right, my sense of right vs left is hopeless)? Probably not many, and only amounting to twenty minutes or so, in twenty years or so, but in memory it seems like an endless sequence of chilly peaceful winter nights, up the stairs, there's Orion. . .
Mixed news on the plans to frack in Sussex. Cuadrilla bedded in at Balcombe, with the support of a willing landowner and despite the dogged efforts of the Environment Agency guys to do their job. Protesters evicted from the roadside, however, went off and set up camp outside West Sussex County Council's front door in Chichester, with the surprising result that WSCC's Louise Goldsmith has entered into dialogue with them, and plans to write to Dave Cameron. Ms Goldsmith has made the same promise to Frack Free Fernhurst Meanwhile, Kirdford and Wisborough Green Parish Council voted unanimously to reject the proposed Celtique Energie/Magellan Petroleum drilling near Boxal Bridge.
So what now? What happens when the people, the voters that is, say no, with an assist from mounting tally of Biblical-proportions extreme weather?
The fracking goes ahead, no doubt*. Possibly after a show-debate. Nescis, mi fili, quantilla sapientia mundus regatur** (No idea who said that, I picked it up from T.H.White; quoted in The Master)
I tried to worry my son about this, but he's tired of worrying about the mounting tally of terrible news. Yes, yes, he said. But I'm planning a recital right now. Philip (his friend and teacher), likes the Haydn sonata as an opener, what do you think? And I repented. Let the young be young.
Date For Your Diaries (if you live in reach of London)
I'm going. I think I probably have strong differences of opinion with Shaker Aamer. I certainly do not like his old mucker Moazzam Begg. But the horror of Guantanamo is beyond belief. If you haven't seen the animation, it can be watched here:
<Les Dieux Ont Soif, Anatole France. Latest from my father's french library. A novel about the Terror: humane and pitiless. Reminding me so much of the catastrophic consequences of the so-called Arab Spring, still unfolding.
And The Hours, Michael Cunningham. I hadn't watched the movie until last week, for the petty reason that I saw the trailer, and the Ouse by Rodmell does not look a bit like that and didn't in 1941. But then my friend Elly convinced me, so now I've seen it and liked it, with reservations; and had to get the book.
Later: I liked the movie better. Ironically, the movie featuring three of the BIGGEST FEMALE NAMES in Hollywood managed to seem a lot less "Hollywood" than the novel: & certainly a lot less obsessed with fame and celebrity.
The News, of course. Gripping stuff. Don't you just love End of Days disaster movies?
Keynote picture is your link to Naam, the song voiced by Christy Azumah for Aissa Maiga's role in Bamako. I spent ages looking for the singer, owing to the fact that I was convinced she must be Malian and young, like Aissa Maiga. No, Ghanian and dating from the Seventies. She's dead now, died in Los Angeles, of cancer in 1999 they say.
The Christy Azumah and the Uppers vinyl is going on my Christmas list.
** You have no idea, my son, with what little wisdom the world is governed...
I also love the winter nights when Orion wheels across the sky. On cold nights he looks close enough to touch. Follow the line of Orion's belt to the right and up at a level above his right shoulder are the Pleiades.
Many thanks for the blog.