February 27, 2020

Latin Master – H.K. King MA – King’s Taunton 1960 ish

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:26 pm by Aleksan

“What , what, what? You Spineless Jellybag! I’ll shake you like a dog does a rat!” Mr H K King MA, Latin Master at King’s College, Taunton circa 1960 – they don’t make ‘em like that anymore….

February 24, 2020

Sky Shenanigans!

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:48 pm by Aleksan

Sky Shenagigans! We got Sky when the kids lived here many moons ago, and just kept it going…but we don’t watch football or much sport so we have stopped using it, dismantled the equipment and remover the satellite dish.

This morning I tried to cancel the subscription! Then the fun began! All methods of online cancelling met a brick wall or were intercepted by scammers! They had locked My Sky, they were very busy indeed on the phone and it would take over 30 minutes. Emails I sent disappeared into cyberspace, never to be seen again – instead authentic messages from “Sky” confirmed the cancellation saying they would give me a refund if I sent my Bank details!

It is a nightmare – when I have recovered from laughing I will write a formal letter cancelling my Sky Subscription and send it by Registered Post – but what is the genuine address and who will receive it? Next step after that I guess will be to rattle the cage of some impersonal robotic Regulator – and go through the process all over again – Kafka, come back, all is forgiven!

But they did send me a message – to say that they knew my Satellite Dish was not working – it had been damaged by the storm….that would be Storm Jesse Johns I guess!

February 23, 2020

Mr Claver, I honour your kindness – thank you.

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:10 am by Aleksan

There has been a lot of talk about random acts of kindness from Teachers that have changed people’s lives. I was sent away to a boarding school, Marsh Court, aged 7. On the first night there at supper the Headmaster told me not to cry…because it would upset the other boys.

The next day we had to go up to the games field but I didn’t know the way. Mr Claver, a young man with dark curly hair, a prominent nose, wearing a checked sports jacket and smoking a pipe, saw me crying. He was kind and told me that it was his first day too. He pointed me through the woods to the games field.

Mr Claver was a strict maths Master who never said anything special to me again. But I have never forgotten his kindness, and will never forget him. School was bearable after that. Wherever you are, Sir, I honour you, and send my love and deep gratitude. I remember you often.

February 22, 2020

Pilates reality….

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:52 am by Aleksan

When your Pilates Instructor says “push your arms down on imaginary balloons and feel the heaviness of the air inside them” what you actually feel, after a few pushes, is a great heaviness in your arms. Golden Rule: NEVER EVER tell your Pilates Instructor that something is easy – she will smile in a sinister way, and then say “In that case…….” 😱. Thank you, Mel, for another challenging but enjoyable? session – you are working miracles on my old body and brain, slowly but very surely 🤪

February 20, 2020

Breath of the Goddess, Spirit of the Ancestors – the singing Wind!

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:38 am by Aleksan

The sighing, whistling,singing, howling of the Wind! I have always loved the Zepphyr, the South West Wind, in my parents bedroom, rattling the windows, at my first boarding school, Marsh Court, in Rhino Dorm, enticing me to sleep and dream. I once wanted an Aeolian Harp, but decided what I have is enough – opening the window just enough to enjoy the undulating scream that vibrates Soulfulness, the breath of the Goddess Herself, Spirits of the Ancestors! Ooooooeeeeeeiiiiiioooooww…..

February 19, 2020

Terstan, the house in the Longstock Water Meadows

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:22 am by Aleksan

Our house is built on the flood plain without proper foundations. It probably was constructed on a bed of reeds “floating” on peat. It is apparently sinking at a rate of 6 inches every hundred years, so I was told.

We have very low ceilings downstairs because the floor has been raised from time to time. Why was it built on the flood plain? Not a good idea for accommodation or for a farm. The reason is probably that many years ago it was one of six Water Mills recorded as being at Stoches (now Longstock) in the Domesday book.

We have never been flooded in our time here since 1969, but we have had water all around and flooding most of the garden. The house itself seems to be on a sort of island, and the large flood plain all around spreads out ground water,, or any over spill coming from a fast flowing trout stream, the River Test, only 17 miles long. This river is managed by Natural England, and the Houghton Fishing Club here controls the flow very effectively with a system of sluices and carrier streams.

We will continue to live here, but one day, hopefully after our time, this place will be flooded, and lie beneath a wider river Test…

January 30, 2020

Brexit tomorrow -Its time to move on…

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:02 pm by Aleksan

Ok we are leaving the EU tomorrow night – most people in Scotland and Northern Ireland did not want this, and nor did many in England. I thought it was a backward step and still do but no one is going to get anywhere by defacing 50 p coins or planting municipal weeping willows. Things are pretty weird just now with silly ideas like the token, environment destroying, HS2, homicidal smart motorways, and using a compromised Chinese firm to develop our communications. Well that’s my view, and I don’t expect everyone to agree! I would hate that…

Brexit is going to happen, a weak PM and an outdated party of privilege are in power, partly due to a failing democratic system unrepresentative of the people. Lets now get on with it, fight unfairness, corruption, mediocrity and bullying when we see it – and move forward rather than moaning and blaming everyone else. But most importantly respect other people’s views and debate with an evidence base. My own generation is pretty much backward looking, so the future lies with the young people with vision and energy – let’s give them a chance.

January 29, 2020

Our “Rabbie” – the Scottish Bard

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:31 am by Aleksan

This always makes me laugh! My dad used to love “Rabbie” Burns, and had a portrait of the Bard on a plate on the wall of his Study. We also had a copy of the Selkirk Grace in the kitchen, which he got us to learn by heart. I did not do much for Burns Night recently except put some whisky and cream in my hot chocolate.

January 26, 2020

Doves coo-img and Woodpecker drumming – a mild and early Spring is prophesied

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:15 am by Aleksan

From Old Burnfield’s Weather Almanac Jan 26th in the year 2020. I ventured forth on a mild morning, but damp in the air. A golden slash of light in the East, patchy clouds. I heard the coo-ing of a Dove, and also the early drumming of a Woodpecker. The wind was still. The Snowdrops well advanced and diverse Spring flowers, early Daffadowndillies, Winter Aconites, small blue Iris, Lenten Roses and Viburnums all out. A spell of rain is due today, but my forecast for the Spring is an early, dry and mild one, with occasional night frosts.

January 25, 2020

History Lesson

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:49 pm by Aleksan

The people of the first part of the 21st century were technologically rich and weaponised to a high degree. Society was theoretically democratic but in practice Leaders of the major powers behaved like dictators, listening only to the rich and powerful.

These leaders had a poor understanding of Science and little respect for Scientists, resulting in a denial of land and sea pollution, and the devastating affects of climate change that had been built up over many years of thoughtless exploitation of resources and the pursuit of ever more economic growth.

Young people and the intelligentsia, the University teachers and students, became increasingly disillusioned by an ever more increasingly divided society, and the unfairness of the political system. Mass communication was facilitated by an advanced technology, and people in cities in several countries took matters into their own hands, protesting on the streets and pointing out the Science so far denied by the powerful with vested interests in keeping a corrupt and exploitative system going for their own ends.

Like Joan of Arc before her, a teenage girl together with a very old man, showed the world that the Emperor in fact, had no clothes, and that unless science and evidence were listened to, human Society and much animal and plant life was threatened with Extinction…..the rest is History, and you will know how it all ended, and why we, the few humans that do still exist, live in caves deep beneath the surface of what was once a green and blue World.

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