Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas with the Black Virgin... and other tales

The Black Virgin of Le Puy en Velay is famous. There are many such Black Virgins throughout this part of the world and beyond. The one of Le Puy is famous partly because it no longer exists. She was destroyed sometime during the revolution during the great age of reason. We no longer live in an age of reason. It is the festive season and, no, this is not solely a Christian festival; it was abducted by an alien and patriarchal political class who have hung on to power for two millenia too long...

Blah blah! If the news, and by that I mean the BBC, is anything to go by this is certainly a very catholic Christmas this year. Tony Blair has come out of the closet and  Ms Widdicombe has tried to put him back in. The Pope has decided that conflicts are a bad, mad thing, which is great coming from the institution that is probably responsible for more conflicts and mortal torment than even Bin Laden and G.W. All this is the same old spiritual dog food but there is some thing in the air which seems to have been rather over-looked this year...

The Pope gave his address in front of the traditional scene of the nativity. Traditional? Well, apparently this year the scene was not a stable in Bethlehem but a room in Joseph's house. Why? Because the catholic church wants to demonstrate that, "Christ was born everywhere, not just in Bethlehem". Link

Forgive me; but isn't this going against the main tennets of faith? Next year it'll be by cesearain section in a BUPA maternity clinic. The year after Christ will have been borne on a meteorite that burnt up in the atmosphere and little spores of Jesus rained down throughout the land - Ah! so that is what the shepherds saw. Christ was born everywhere!!! Jesus! It must have been one hell of a night and something out of Being John Malkovitch. Christ was born everywhere - that means a lot of virgins ruined. 

The Pope goes on to denounce terrorism (whose?) and conflict that victimises women and children. That is really the rubber johnny of all hypocrisy... Which brings me back to the Black Virgin of Le Puy. Not very communicative, so went for a walk ...

Still, this being the season of good will it is time to open a decent Bourgogne, warm up the mincey meaties and think benevolent thoughts - Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Yet another post

No comment....

... but a joyful yuletide to one and all. I think I shall go climb a snowy lump for sunrise tomorrow, and then bore you with even more photos.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Blog post of winter

It has been a while since I was last abducted by aliens. Almost a year in fact, and for those that are interested you can find the account of that somewhere in the archives. Well, they are back. It is not that I really believe in alien abductions, I think they are flights of fancy and not fantastical. However, there is an alien agency involved and that is one of alienation. We are alienated from ourselves and fight against that supposed prime directive to be sociable. Let's face it, we are not a very accomplished social species. We manage to co-operate only because we need to and wish to make our own individual lives more comfortable and do not wish to accept the responsibility of that same individuality.

We are the aliens on this planet and in the social environment that we have constructed to insulate ourselves from it. Perhaps, we are all too busy trying to phone home and are slavishly cocooned in a shadowy reality that we project upon "Mother Earth".

So, where does all this angst ridden rant come from? Could be the lack of sun this time of year, or the cold. More likely, it is a result of being alienated from society. So, being alienated from something which is itself an alien construct should be normal. Why doesn't everyone feel like that. Back to Plato's shadowy cave...

Utopia isn't about peace and love and good happiness stuff. Utopia is far more real and brutal. Any lasting, transcending utopia would be more like the savage "paradise" found in Huxley's Brave New World. We come together to protect ourselves from ourselves for better or for worse. It is time we slipped the traces and seriously started to evolve as sentient individuals - and that means all of us and not just a few alpha males riding on the backs of all us epsilons.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Kissing Santa...

The snow is gradually withdrawing to the cold realms from whence it came. Today saw a clear sky and a dazzling yellow orb that blessed the snow crystals. For a moment the follies of sentience make their peace with the Earth and all is as one. Black and white, light and dark - the light of snow and the dark of winter combine and one is grateful to be able to tread the still drying paint of the tableau that is winter...

Put some colour back in your life

Vive la mettisage!

After, sleep...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Talking of chugging...

The first snow of winter (well summer was that miserable snow could be seen from afar in June!) fell yesterday and with a North wind and sub-zero temperatures the festive season can't be too far away. Festive? Of course one has to do something. Needless to say all by previous talk of the violation of nature has turned upon me as I now have to get the Leviathan out of the garage in order to get to work.

I do not know why I should go to work. I would rather keep the LR in the garage and go for a bracing walk. I could stay at home but it is too cold, the wood is damp and fuel oil is nearly as expensive as diesel - any donations grateful accepted as I am not all that proud ;-) In fact, the state should pay people like me to stay at home and live in places where no-one else wants to live. But what is good about living here is that there are very few people like me, or you, or any one. So, back to Jezebel the mighty Leviathan...

Actually, she is a rust bucket in the throes of renovation - malhereusement, summer was so miserable that I only got the driver's side finished ;-( But Jezebel lives and breathes even if she is showing her twenty years by the seaside through rustage and not bronzage.

The future? Dunno, but it looks like winter's going to be fun...

Take care and stay warm out there. x

Happy schnerkling!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Chug chug chug....

I should be complaining that I haven't seen the sun for a couple of weeks. The mountains here abouts have been shrouded in a murky, damp and definitely not dusky goo that resembles mist but feels more like a cold bed after the remains of a torrid affair. Miserable in fact. Still, I'm not one to let a little SAD get in the way of a good moan. What is depressing about winter is not the cold and damp but tis the things that folk do to relieve the monotony of those long nights and short grey days. Firstly, there is "la chasse". At a time when most furry things can think of nothing better to do than curl up and stick their furry noses up their furry butts and sleep, they are pursued across hill and dale by a slathering pack of hounds and short fat gun weilding green men. Boars have the same ill fate except that they are pursued relentlessly by the aforementioned who this time have to wear fluo-orange over their camoflage so that they do not inadvertently, or otherwise, shoot each other. This is the sort of contradiction that highlights our (including youse and me) attitude to Nature.

Winter is also the time of year when hedgecutters have their rutting season and destroy what ol' Mother Nature has spent the past year or so in cultivating. Ironic that boars are viscously (this should be viciously but running through syrup gives in a more nightmarish quality!) pursued because they cause "so much destruction" to the poor farmers' crops and yet come November hordes of mechanical flails are out and about "cleaning" our hedgerows. Now, I am not that old - just miserable - but one only has to live in the country long enough to see how it is not only slowly being consumed but literally torn apart...

Perhaps, time will tell. Eventually, Nature will reclaim her own in spite of the monumental stupidity of the featherless biped. We, unfortunately, will not be around to witness this resurrection - we will be long gone having sat and watched whilst our fellow "stewards" of the land tear it apart, flatten it out and generally make a mess. An eyesore for us but a catastrophe for our lamblike offspring.

Friday, November 02, 2007

A barb of winter

It shouldn't really be called winter, but it certainly feels like it. But then winter is one of those seasons like all others these days. One day hot, one day cold. Global warming - nay! Tis global chaos. Anyone who had spent lonely hours playing simearth in the good old days when computer games required an imagination will know that all extremes demand a period of chaotic self-equilibrium. This is it.

And it is only Autumn and not Winter before any of you hasten to correct me. The morning mists are taking a little longer to clear these days, but when the sun does appear it does so with a magnetism that draws one outside to find those songlines which Chatwin was so fond of.

Last Sunday drew me out to the trails above St Julien des Chazes. The sky was African, the trees from New England, the landscape Alpine and all was French. Bar the instant soup which was disgusting.

... and for any one who likes trains, where else could you find a line so fine? A far better site than the M 25 - technology and Nature can co-exist. But only if you make the effort.

All this walking about gives one time for reflection. So the pilot of the Enola Gay has died at the age of 92 - proof either that there is no divine justice, or that one shouldn't really blame the messenger. I emerged from a generation tormented and teased by the threat of nuclear war - Threads, Protect and Survive, MAD - We mutated our neurosis and passed it on to our children under the guise of global catastrophe the natural way. It may still be our fault but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Well, only if one realises that there is no tunnel, only our blinkered vision - that of a cart horse with its head stuffed in a nosebag of consumerism... Oh errr, I feel a rant coming on, better have a lie down.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Briefing for a descent into Fat Cow Ravine

The last month has seen me frittering away my life at work and fending of various bureaucratic assaults and now it has got cold. Minus five last night. I know this because I am a particularly sad individual who has a weather station. Also, I was foolish enough to get up at seven this morning thinking I could get some work done. Nope! Back in bed by eight and 'kin cold to boot. Better hurry up and get the house finished before the snow comes...

Putting all that behind me and a bacon butty or two after twas time to go walkabout. I haven't been out for a while on a long stroll so thermos in hand I decided to enter into the Ravine de Grosse Vache. Yes it does exist and very jolly too. Descending from 900 metres to the Allier river is a rewarding experience at this time of year :

Actually, there was not a fat cow in sight; she'd obviously been sold off for a few beans which would explain the long climb out of the valley. A lovely place and a bit of an escape from EU subventions and power crazed peasants with mighty earth moving equipment. Fortunately, it is not all noise and bleedin' progress...

Above - a perfect example of post-industrial intermediate technology for when the oil runs out - The all new Phillips concrete trough and basin washing machine. All we need to do now is bring back bonded labour...

Monday, September 03, 2007

Seasons? What seasons...

Yeah, I know that I have used this title somewhere before. Summer must have ended even before it began - June seemed like autumn and July and August just fell into a grey and drizzly hole. Well, despite a day or two when the temperature peaked at 35°C. So, who's complaining?

The only reason I've go time to write this this morning is that I am bent double rather like a paper clip. I would like to think this is what happens when trying to imitate a French truffle sow, but as one will note from the photos they be not truffles but girolles. Now, there was a time when I wouldn't have known a girolle from a pink marshmallow, but today I do and have lived to consume a large plate of them. Delicious, far more so than other typically French things such as oysters and snails - both of which taste like snot and so are heavily "perfumed" with garlic and the like. Why ruin good garlic?

Yes, I am a culinary philistine - which I always thought was one who ate stamps! I'll eat anything except if it comes from McDo or resembles slime. To this end I am grateful for the "boucané" (look it up) which, with an aubergine, a heap of massale and a couple of garden chillies livened up a boring Sunday and a bad back. The bad back? Trying to renovate the house before winter sets in - or rather before it gets that cold that I need heat...

Monday, July 09, 2007

Save the planet!

So, whilst all you trendy young things were out saving the planet and rockin' with AL Gore, I was doing my bit for Mother Earth by not doing anything in particular. There is a divine natural paradox - a sustainable system is one that is static - well, in evolutionary terms, something that is perpetually evolving is not static and, therefore not sustainable. An example would be the Khoi San of the great and bushy Kalahari desert. Hunted to near extinction by their "brothers" of every other colour and complexion they have lived for eons in the Kalahari and lived in what can only be described as symbiosis with all other living and organic things that are found there. We, cannot do that. For us there is no golden age, no going back. We are all too fat and greedy and if one thinks that going to a concert will bring redemption and change the world one is terribly mistaken. Geldoff didn't save Ethiopia, Archer couldn't save the Kurds, poverty has not been made history and Al Gore is not going to save the planet. As I have plaintively bleated before, it is not about saving the planet, but about saving a spoilt and bloated part of humanity.

The Khoi-San could be an example to us all, but and it is a big BUT we are content to follow examples more relevant to our own sense of sustainability. A couple of klicks away from the Khoi-San is the great Makgadikgadi salt pans - an old lake bed which was once larger than the now lake Victoria. Whilst "we" were bopping to reduce emissions the BBC were getting into trouble by driving fast and silly cars across the pans and leaving their own marks in the great book of global awareness. This is important because after all the noise and litter from a few concerts has faded away the tyre tracks left in the soda ash will be there for a while longer. Drive, sorry walk, across to the Namib desert just a bit to the East and you will find ox cart tracks amongst others that have been there for well over a century. Voila! The tracks of our follies are left on the Earth long after the tracks of our sad apologies and crocodile tears of awareness.

Seems to some of you that this is just a bitter and jealous old man who is just whining because he wasn't invited to Wembley of Tokyo or what. True. But what was i doing to save the planet?

I was at a rock concert of course!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Great sky spider of summer

Well, it took a while but eventually summer arrived and the great sky spider descended on a sunbeam - Sheeeeeeet! Who writes this stuff?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Two spiders

With all this wet and unseasonal weather at least one has the chance to get out and about in wellies and look at the shape shifting sky. I like skies. Skies are proof - amongst everything else in the known universe - that gods and/or goddesses come in groups, or, at least, pairs. Nothing like a bit of dualism before breakfast and after a night with Heraclitus. Let's admit that monotheism is a bit boring and far too one sided. What we need in religion is more tension and less strife. There can be no harmony in monoface, monastic, monosyllabic, monoglot, monotheism - even if they pretend to be dualists by proposing the devil or shaitan, the West or the East as the other face of their reality.
Where does all this drivel come from? Well, the sky. We've been having a few storms lately and wanting to get out to take the air meant that one is, naturally, caught up in one or two. When the rain is not too heavy, sneak out an eye and then a lens and see what a wonderful dance the impression of dualism makes on the retina, or two.

Rumour has it that there are two great spiders continually at play above our heads. One weaves webs of light and the other webs of cloud and rain. There is no war; this is a weaving of the chain of being, a harmony of tensions - the resulting dance beauty for the eye and grace for the soul...

... and if we are but flies playing around the shit of human endeavour our escape is to be caught in the web of becoming, devoured by the great sky spiders freeing our souls to fall as rain or sunlight. Either that or just get wet...

Thursday, June 28, 2007


I did not expect that living in the centre and down a bit of France would be tropical but this mantis is indeed suffering. OK April was the hottest since my gran was conceived in a cane field, but May was the wettest with only 88% of expected sunshine (whatever that may mean) and June is...

...June is not. This morning it was 2.4°C and there be frost on the hay! Fortunately, my tomatoes and the sacred chillies are safe in their walled enclave. Meanwhile I am keeping my socks on. Meanwhile again and the other side of the Alps people are taking theirs off...

...such are the mysteries of weather.

Some things such as, cloud cover, rain and the cold cannot, however, stop Nature and whilst i'm a'grumbil' and a moanin' cousins of the mantis have been enjoying there short lives whilst the rest of us bemoan our long lives...

The air is fresh - respire

PS MR Anony mouse who didn't like the rant on the French presidential election should have read the rest of the dribble coz' no me not like Royale who i believe is a vacuous old bourgeois, but that doesn't mean I like Sarko - read the blog and no I am not a boring chair ridden university prof - I just would like to be. Alas i am only boring and bleuuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrkkk! Besides, I did suggest that one go and read that misogynist Proudhon but if you prefer English anarch go read Godwin; if not make it all up yourself and write a blog...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

carbon upsetting

I've been thinking globally. So, the Queen gets back from the States and her trip is to be carbon offsetted - nice to see the jet-set getting off-set. As a head of state she certainly has her responsibilities - the latest being the war in Iraq; funny how she never mentioned it on her trip to the States. Perhaps, in the next few months we will see the emergence of a plan for moral offsetting. This will be a karmic plan to save the moral planet and all those poor countries can become rich by accepting the moral burden of the foreign policies of the rich and decadent. Oh! Of course they are already doing that and paying for it in terms of lives lost and ruined.

The Christian community have been doing the equivalent for years and the rich have been forever buying their way into the kingdom of heaven - Kingdom? Presumably the Queen has a free pass...

Meanwhile the Chinese authorities are complaining that their people are not respecting the one child per family rule. The whole world should have a one child rule - save the planet! Bollocks, it is not about saving the planet. It never was about saving the planet. The Planet, as in Great Mother Earth doesn't care, it is amoral. Did no one read James Lovelock? The planet will exist in some state long after we have all gone. It is all about saving humanity - or more pointedly a predominantly white middle class male version of what humanity and the planet is. The Earth is our sandpit and we have chosen to crap in the sandpit because we don't want to share it with anyone or anything else.

Less people means less consumption and less pollution - obviously this is not good capitalism, but capitalism is an idea not a forest or a species on the verge of extinction. People are carbon based life forms maybe it is "we" that should be offset?

Some while back the authorities in Singapore were worried that the "educated" were not reproducing as they, realistically, saw it as a silly thing to do, or want to do. Various measures were introduced to encourage those with a university education and above to copulate in order to raise the intelligence of the nation. Thus, revealing Nature's fiendish plot and the double edged sword of population control. If one is intelligent one doesn't procreate and, therefore, population is controlled. If one does procreate without limits the lowest common denominator kicks in and we drown in the world of our own stupidity. Add to this a world economic system that encourages stupidity beyond consumption and you can guess the results.

What I really wanted to get back to was my original thought for this morning - Just who is going to carbon offset the Iraq war and the next one and the next one...

Reading all this you would be forgiven for thinking that I live in a tree, eat leaves and think that the bicycle is the work of the devil. What, is he a hypocrite? More of that latter.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

seasons of mist and...

Bugger! It's Spring, or thereabouts. Still yesterday was misty and it made me feel mellow if not, alas, very fruitful. Maybe I should try eating more pears or something.

I was thinking of waiting till after the French elections to write some scathing monologue about how my wossie version of outdoor, plastic chair anarchism is far preferable to some fascist hobbit or a spoilt bourgeois socialist. Whatever happened to Proudhon? Nobody reads him anymore, but then it did always rub a little that the most famous French anarchist was also a misogynist - still made Marx look a right plonker.

Everyone thinks that Sarko will win - yeah I'll eat my hat after 20:00 when the results are announced - but does it really matter? Nope! Having just moved to France from Réunion - you know that ex slave colony where 5% of the population still managed to vote for LE Pen - I am most amused at the extent of all this scapegoating xenophobia. I was informed last week that my social security "dossiers" had arrived from Réunion and that I was a Swiss national with no right of residence in France - bloody hilarious except that "they" then fined me 2120€. Reminds me of the UK in the eighties - that was hilarious as well - even if my failed attempts to be radical got me arrested at the Warrington Messanger picket line only to be released coz the scuffers fawt I was 13 and should be up in time for school the next day. Errr - I was 23. Just goes to show that being a revolutionary means you have to have a face like Che and not a pimply cherry-boy who has only recently lost his action man.

This brings me back to the French elections with a face like Sarko ...

Oh and don't say that I didn't warn youse all. This from my blog 11/05/06 :

Ségolene has said that there will be riots in the streets if Sarko is elected... Mmmmmmmmmm!

hot rock mantis