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Winter Holiday

Friday January 8th, hard frost, snow roofs, snow-skies; light-suffused grey with a gilt hem.

This morning both cats refused, categorically to go outside. I ejected Milo, squalling, Ginger protesting: Ginger bounced straight back in again, but she went out for a while of her own accord later. The reason for this cruelty? Well, they have a litter tray each and Milo is using his (but he wees in the bath, which is all right as long as you know. . .) Ginger is not using hers, which makes us uneasy. Either that little cat is constipated back up to her neck, or we are going to find evil withered little offerings somewhere very cunning and obscure. Last night, after two episodes of Wire 4 and watching Gabriel beat the half-way fortress of the 2D Wi Mario, Peter and I spent at least half an hour searching for Dhalgren, which I clearly remembered leaving on the sofa in plain sight, about 7pm when I decided to listen to Stravinsky and work on my Alpine jigsaw instead... Today I found it, behind the leg of the low table we use for eating on all but the most formal occasions, pushed back into the window alcove,looking exactly like a chunk of wood, not a book. I'm getting there, I'll have finished it by the end of the day. A lot of things I don't remember, a lot of longeurs (polite term for boring bits) I found equally tiresome the first time round. Why does this book deserve Masterworks status? Google hits. Can't argue with Google hits, and I won't, they are the stuff of the SF-Establishment. My job is to analyse, and to give (no, this is my pleasure) a historical perspective. I was about ten years old when the autobigraphical events on which this book is based actually happened, but when they're supposed to have happened, believe me I was there. Casting a cold eye. "Middle class" kids (middle class means something different in my country, nb), born and bred parasites who do not have the faintest idea how to get the coffee out of the beans, pshaw, and think it is cool to ape the behaviour of the helpless and the lost. . .

Anyway, I have listened to the news, and found out where our doorstep milk has gone. Into the slurry pit, every pint of it, reports a dairy farmer from Partridge Green, sounding absolutely gutted. Have watched the bluetits on the buddelia seeds, hopefullywatched our uneaten suet ball (birds are not used to finding shop-food in our garden, for obvious reasons). Have listened to Gabriel practicing the Appassionata downstairs, have coloured-in my Shrinkles stegosaurus (she still looks angry, probably because the text says she has an "unusually small brain", which of course is why I say "she"), have eaten Christmas cake.

In 1963 (it says here, on the bbc site) the temperature didn't rise above freezing for two months. Schools did NOT close, and there was no such thing as central heating, so people had coal fires or just got cold. I remember the fires, twisting the papers and clearing the ash (training that would come in d***ed useful later in life), the tobogganing, once by moonlight, and one particular icon, a broken egg that remained intact under the ice, swimming in the fragments of its shell, on Wilson Rd, right until March.

Books and composers stack up, I mean to post about my Winter Holiday reading soon.

I thought I wouldn't ever want to watch the Wire again, after majestic Stringer Bell, evil and noble, got his just desserts. But I find I do.


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Lori Theis on :

I have never followed a blog before, but yours might change that habit. I am a bit of a Luddite (for lack of a better word), bent toward SF. Reading your essay "Metempsychosis of the Machine"-fascinating. Until now I have been unfamiliar with your work, but am eagerly looking forward to following the convolutions of your scintillating intellect. In the U.S. the term "radical-conservative" might mean something very different than it does in the U.K. I should gain an understanding of this in order to transpose these ideas. Love that you receive doorstep milk! Looking into what a slurry pit is. Bookmarking your blog.

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