Alexander Averin

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Rantings and Stating the Obvious

Dear Diary,

For nearly a hundred years, we have known that the material world is an illusion. Everything that seems solid - a rock, a tree, your body - is actually 99.999% empty space.

Deepak Chopra

The pics are going to be the start of several images I will be posting by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. UPL reminded me of his work; my brother introduced me to his art originally and I would like to decorate the blog with a few selections of his genius.

Listeners to Terry Wogan’s radio programme will be familiar with the phrase ‘Is it me?’ I wake daily at 7am to the sound of Radio 4’s Today programme and as I’ve mentioned before it is often guaranteed to wake me up with a start and raise my blood pressure. Today was such a day. As each new news item came on, a strong urge to leap out of bed and bang my head against the bedroom wall came upon me. Why?

A research scientist, a psychologist no less (!) has published a (Food Standards Agency) paper in The Lancet that seems to suggest that food additives make children hyperactive and may cause impulsiveness and behavioural problems. Parents are being advised to check labels on food! What about the manufacturers of such poisons? It is always down to the consumer to recycle/check labels/pick up the pieces etc etc. Nothing is mentioned about the secret and hidden addictive properties of certain additives, those artificial sweeteners for example, a crime if ever there was one. Look it up on the Internet.
M and I have always thought that the current madness we see in society these days is caused partly by the chemical-ridden diet that our children and young people (and adults) consume.

I am not the only mother/grandmother/parent on the planet who could have told the world that additives affect our children and in one f****** sentence. I am thinking of writing a Purplecooers’ booklet of such ‘Common Sense Sentences‘ - do send me your suggestions. That would save a load of taxpayer’s money. By the way who funds the Food Standards Agency? Is it yet another quango that doesn’t seem to be earning its money?

The next item also got me going.

The police think that if they give witnesses of gun crime anonymity in court then more people will come forward.

No, really?

And just to finish the ranting I want to mention the visiting motorcyclists from ’Off’ who use our roads every weekend as if they were race-tracks. . Huge garish signs warning of bends have been erected along our ’B’ road and they so detract from the outstanding beauty of this area. But worse than that a new sign has appeared on our road, obviously addressed to we local car-drivers which states


I have checked up and apparently it is to warn we car drivers to think of bikers (!) and to motorcyclists to drive defensively to protect them from we car drivers (!).

I am not joking when I say that they drive their motorbikes as if they are on a race track. I am not scared easily but they scare me (and my daughter) with their aggressive mode of riding. They travel in hordes and the noise alone is scary, they overtake dangerously on the wrong side of the road, terrifying all of us, whichever way we are travelling. I always put the lights on when I am amongst them and shake my fist at ’em, but to no avail of course as they are gon by in a flash. We have had several fatalities on our little road alone and many, many in Powys and Wales as a whole. For several years we had an accident every weekend on a little bend just up the road from us. My much-loved and personally appreciated Air Ambulance service is used every weekend at the height of the season (and that wonderful service is totally funded by we locals by the way).

M and I always joke and I try and be cheerful about it and say ‘Peaceful innit?’ as these bikers roar by, shattering our rural peace.

I am not denigrating all bikers, (M is actually a keen lover of the machines and an ex-biker). I have to say too that some of the older bikers in the locality drive similarly older and quieter bikes and they drive very sedately and safely.


Better do some blessings methinks.

Pleasant Surprises. Quite by chance last night I found a comment on an old blog from Lloyd Jones, the author of Mr Cassini. I had missed it before and unfortunately I was unable to reply to it.

Trains. M and I are off on a train ride today. I will blog about it tomorrow.

Autumn and late summer sun.

Autumn asks that we prepare for the future, that we be wise in the ways of gathering and keeping. But it also asks that we learn to let go - to acknowledge the beauty of sparseness.

B W Overstreet (1947).

In my previous blog I wrote about the melancholic effect of the changing Seasons. I hope I didn’t give the impression that I dislike Autumn; in fact it is my second favourite season. Spring is the first, you probably guessed that. I love the smell of Autumn, it almost has its own taste as well doesn’t it? The glory of Her colours of course and the promise She brings of Winter and all Her delights to come. Days like yesterday lift the spirits, warm and sunny with still-warm and clear, starry nights. I am beginning to write in cliches but it’s hard sometimes to avoid that. It is just the change in the seasons that always affects me, it’s a loss thing.

However I always cherish new plans and look forward to those indoor schemes and projects that can be started in September. Blank notebooks, new pens, inner stories bursting to come out, words unwritten, themes for stories and novels simmering inside waiting to be preserved for posterity. Dreams to be released. It’s a bit like a New Term for we oldies. I also put the garden to bed at the end of autumn and relish the fact that there is no more weeding to be done for a long while.

Finally Gratitude. What for? For being born when I was and being the age that I am. The more I see and hear of these modern times the more I despair. Incompetency all around, mismanagement on all fronts, poor education standards, Big Brother and not to mention the constant research findings being released with their Stating of the Obvious.

Is it really just me?

I'd better stop moaning, How about a poem?

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Mary Oliver

Bye for now, I have a train to catch….

Fare thee well,



Anonymous said...

I heard part of the radio 4 item this morning. I was driving to school and the person being interviewed wouldn't answer a question, it was making me cross, so I switched to radio 2, Terry was about to come on, he makes me laugh.

Anonymous said...

Well said! I have to admit I don't like motorbikes. As my mum's partner has one I have to be careful what I say but he does drive his safely - he is 63 after all. And he reckons it's the motor cyclist rather than the motor bike which is dangerous. I am inclined to agree although wouldn't sit on one for love nor money.

The additives story made my hackles rise too. All the kids diagnosed in the country with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is increasing. Some say it doesn't exist. I say it does but only in children who already have a mental problem in the first place such as my daughter who has autism. It could be a very grey area. It's definitely time the additives and sugar were taken out of foods or at least severely reduced. I wonder if there would be as many cases of ADHD then?

Crystal xx


Is that the woman mackintoshes wife, look at her portrait and see what you think Cait? Same hair and profile!!

Frances said...

A late good evening to you Cait, and how good to see more of Macintosh. I had let UPL know of how I fell under the spell of his wonderful watercolors while on a visit to Glasgow mainly to see some rare works by Whistler.

Macintosh, somewhat like Carl Larsson, is an artist who did what he did (architecture too, to be sure) and had success, but then sort of fell from favor, and so has had more recognition many years after his life.

The watercolors can really change the way that you see some flowering plants. Now when I see the actual plants, I first think of his paintings.

Motorcycles. Can you believe that way, way back when I rode on motorcycles and shared ownership of a Norton with a boyfriend. Oh, I was young then.

I have got a long, challenging day ahead of me, so had better cut out the lights, and try to enter the land of nod.


Pondside said...

We also live in a hilly area with lovely winding roads - a magnet to weekend bikers who often get up around 100 km/hr in a 30 zone. A neighbour once counted 60 in a group. The police say they won't do anything unless someone is hurt.
I love your idea of a book of acommon sense book! Let's do it!

Suffolkmum said...

Loved this Cait, I totally agree with you - why is always the consumer who has to change/monitor what they buy etc? What about big business? Oh sorry, I forgot we live in a market economy, so anything goes .... don't get me started on a rant! Those bikes must be annoying, when you live in such a serene and peaceful part of the world.

Wenda said...

The work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh first mesmerized me in 1995 when I visited Glasgow, though I must have seen some of the art before. The similarity of the women in his art to those in the works of Frances and Margaret Macdonald amazed me even after I learened of the sisters'influence and of Margaret becomeing Margaret Macdonal Mackintosh.

I would love to see an exhibition of the work of "The Four" (including Herbert McNair).

Hmmm -- sounds like another good reason for a trip back to Scotland.

Anonymous said...

Totally with you re., the motor-bike loonies Cait...we get them practicing their "scrambling" in the fields behind us. There can NOT surely be THAT many "meets" per annum can there? Week-ends have become nightmarish, [particularly in Spring and Autumnal Saturdays]. A plague on their bike-sheds I say!
Sorry to have to break the news to you hon, but Kerry will meet Cork in Croker NEXT Sunday, still, my youngest is 21 next Sunday and she came home from hospital 21 years ago on the day Kerry won the Sam Maguire. You don't know which team to support? God forgive you woman! There is only ONE!

CAMILLA said...

Hello Dear Cait,

My first favourite season is Spring too, all out of hibernation, the first glimpse of a Crocus, or a Snowdop, the not too hot, just gentle sun.

I love that Poem Cait, I have typed it out, thank you for sharing with us.

Motorbikes - Often see them along the quiet Country roads going faster than the speed allows, its that power thing that drives them probably, but dangerously too fast.


WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

With you on the additives. Bikers . . HS and I are ex-bikers. We used to live near Dorking and same problems with out of town bikers racing around. We also get it up here as well . . . makes me very cross that there is always the selfish minority who are quite happy to spoil it for the majority.

Hannah Velten said...

Re. Common Sense Sentences:

Rock stars are likely to die younger than Mr Average - you don't say....

Mootia x

@themill said...

Agree about the additives but it's the same old problem of people being too far removed from where their food actually comes from. Hence -

Common sense sentences:

Food scares are the privilege of a well fed society

Exmoorjane said...

Ah, don't get me going on food additives...have been banging on about this for years - usually to be met by pained expressions and the obvious reaction that I'm a killjoy who wants all children to eat nothing but greens. But, yes oh yes, certainly causes all manner of behavioural problems - no doubt whatsoever. And yes, oh yes again, why should it be the consumer, once again, who has to do all the rummaging? What harassed mother of very small children is going to peer at the small print on every packet? Nonsense all of it.