Category Archives: Ramblings

High Notes, Watering Eyes and Two Kittens called Finbar and Fingal.

 

We have reached the end of a two week period were our stress levels have been souring to new heights, added to heart ache and worry, it has not been a pleasant experience.

Why you may ask, well it is all down to a pair of lovely five month old birman boy kittens.

We adopted them or so we thought and gave them a home when they were thirteen weeks old and like all these things they have won the heart, taken procession of all they survey and are now in total control.

A decision was made at a very early stage that we did not want to breed or allow them to have the ability to add to the population, so a trip to the cat doctor to change their vocal register for ever was inevitable .

Now I known on the day that I had tears in my eyes (interpret as like) at the thought and an uneasy conscience, but we did not tell the boys what the day would hold for them in the hope that they would forgive and not hold a grudge.

What we did not anticipate on their return was that they would get their own back in spades for the trauma we had inflicted. They would not eat or play, they developed symptoms that were consistent with man flu at least.

On a return trip to the vet adding insult to injury, we were told it may just be stress, which maybe a plausible explanation considering the procedure involved, but we were not sure if the veterinarian was diagnosing the felines or the homosapians.

Now two weeks on, pills and potions have done their work and we have the kittens back we originally took to the vet, well almost, bless them.

 

 


 

Independence Day, Robert Burns, Iron Bru and A Scot as Long as I Breathe.

I confess that I have been watching with interest the manoeuvres for an independent Scottish Nation.

I am intrigued that it is being reported that it is the Scottish people who will be given the vote, that is to say that if you live in Scotland you can partake in the most important decision that has been placed before the Scottish Nation in 300 years.

As a Scot living and breathing English air, for more than 25 years I still feel as patriotic today as the day I left so there is one half of me that cannot understand why the vote is not open to all who were born in Scotland.

The other half knows It would throw up the dilemma which way would you vote in the circumstances, do you adopt a political approach, take a romantic stance or as a displaced enthusiast for Scott, Burns and Iron Bru with no current commitment to return to my place of birth perhaps would it not be a difficult to impossible discussion?

Perhaps it is a blessing that Dear Mr Salmond will not be seeking my opinion and I can take comfort no matter what the outcome that there will always be Scot’s Novels, Burns poems, haggis and single malt not to mention that they are building a factory to produce Iron Bru in this part of the British Isles that they call England.

But most importantly of all it will not change the reality that as long as I live and breathe, I will always be a Scot.

A Scots Emblem in a English Setting Mepal Cambridgeshire


 

An Irish Original, A Castaway, Dorothy L Sayers and An Unexplained Coincidence.

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My reading list has always had an eclectic feel, is subjected to whims of fancy and unexplained meanderings. Some would says it is undisciplined and chaotic, lacking structure although in my defence I do have a comprehensive reading list.

I have been spending sometime in the company of Leopold Bloom of Dublin of late, I have to be  frank and say it is an experience not without its difficulties. Now I have read The Dubliners and was entertained and pleasantly surprised but Ulysses, to be honest I have closed the covers (Switched Off The Kindle) for present at the end of Part Two with the intention of reacquainting myself at a later date when I can collect my thoughts and courage and rejoin Bloom and Stephen in Episode sixteen.

To try to find an antidote to post modernism I though being shipwrecked on a desert Island would be a perfect solution and therefore decided Robinson Crusoe would be ideal.

Now you would think after spending time in the company of Daniel Defoe I would be ready to return to The Great Northern Railway Station, but I found that The Life of D L Sayers was a more attractive proposition, so wandering of into The Fens, Bluntisham, Oxford, Christchurch Cambridgeshire and the world of Lord Peter Wimsey developed an appetite for detective fiction, so was inspired to take up The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins.

I do not know if you believe it is fate, Devine providence or pure coincidence but it did come as a comfort that I was not the only lost soul like Gabriel Betterridge who had sought comfort and inspiration in the company of Robinson Crusoe.

Today we love what to-morrow we hate,
Today we seek what to-morrow we shun,
Today we desire what to-morrow we fear.

Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe.


 

In Memory of Violet May, Order and Method and a Lesser Known Poet.

I have a compulsion to rearrange our books, I would not go as far as to say it was a disorder but it is a desire to bring some sort of order to what has all the appearance of chaos.

The dilemma I have is do I catalogue them in alphabetical order, by author or should Dorothy L Sayers creation Lord Peter Wimsey sit dust jacket to dust jacket next to Agatha Christie’s Poirot.

Now there is a thought I could follow the great Belgian detective’s principles and arrange them in order of size.

If this all seems rather indecisive I am not completely without resolve in that I have separated the poets, not on the top shelve as some would wish, on the understanding that poetry is one of the highest forms of art but on a dedicated shelve next to the fire-place, ideal for the likes of Dante’s Inferno.

There are always some surprises in familiar stanzas by Wordsworth, Keats or Clare and even more in less familiar  as Auden, Spender or Smith.

As I placed each with the care owing on its rightful shelve position I came across a newspaper cutting from the early nineteen eighties nestled between Dryden and Eliot. It was written in nineteen seventy nine in memory of a lovely lady who was called to meet her maker in May of that year and was written by the author of these ramblings.

MAY TWENTY FITHH
I looked at you today,
And cursed the evil pen
That wrltes with twisted hand
The lines of pain upon your face.
Sleep on, druggrd sleep.
I know you think of those
Even through your pain,
That never had the time to share
From their seasonal warmth.
Sleep on.
But merciful is the Lord,
The flame you carried high,
Was from His lamp.
Sleep on today,
Tomorrow we will meet,
Sleep on today.
MAY THIRTIETH

J. P. Miller


A Sentimental Journey , A Taste For Scott and True Patriotic Fervor

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I am feeling disorientated, I put it down to feeling over nostalgic, yes it could be explained as an effect of reaching an age where grey becomes silver and elderly is an acronym for wisdom or is it just the plain simple fact that being away from what is vaguely called home if  your place of birth is home, for more years than I care to remember.

It would be ludicrous to try and blame my craving for a breath of Lowland air or Highland hospitality on all this talk of independence for Scotland but it certainly is having an effect.

I have always had moments when I  have lusted after Heather Honey, Macroon Bars and Tablet made in Fintry but it seems more fundamental than a sweet tooth.

Now when this feeling is rationalised it has to be admitted I have been reading too much Edwin Muir not to mention Sir Walter Scott, so perhaps the solution is a Shakespeare Sonnet, a chapter from The Pickwick Papers or a paragraph of Laurence Sterne but I do not believe I can ever erase the sentiment in the following which flows through my veins.

“Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne’er within him burn’d,
As home his footsteps he hath turn’d,
From wandering on a foreign strand! “

Extract for: Lay of the Last Minstrel. Sir Walter Scott


 

W B Yeats, The Kinks and Natural Recall

June 16, 2011_Cambridgeshire-1612_001

I have a confession to make that I am having a great deal of difficulty remembering the events of a week ago not to mention that yesterday can have all the appearance of a complete blur

There are certain elements that always have a tendency to stand out, the appointment with the optician who recommends an increase in bifocal strength so I can read the news that the cost of living is increasing on the hour every hour, the unexpected meeting with a friend who tactfully informs me that my hair is whiter (not grey) than the last time we meet and the all important doctors consultation where he advises you when complaining about the pain in your left ankle on wet september mornings “what else can you expect at your time of life” I would hate to contemplate what his reaction would be to my memory crisis?

I have been taking comfort from the fact that my recall cannot be that severe as I can vividly recount every scrape and abrasion I received to my elbows and knees fifty years ago not to mention the long ever ending warm summer days strolling in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens or the tree-lined paths of The Meadows with the strains of Ray Davis escaping from open windows.

Perhaps I should reach a conclusion that this phenomenon is not a softening of the grey matter but a mechanism to cope with the realities of everyday living, the momentum of a headlong rush to reach a undefined destination in time or maybe I should bow to the inevitable.

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

W. B. Yeats


 

Dylan Thomas, A Different Generation and An Illusion to be Cherished

Kersey From Church Hill

I am slowly coming to the realisation that what appears to be reality is no more than an illusion, a trick of the senses and as much a figment of the imagination that our school and teenage years were the best days of our life.

Although when comparisons are made between the present ethics and attitudes to that of over 30 years ago, it has to be concluded that morality, respect and even religious expression are all measured against a different template.

It is unreasonable to expect that the youth of today, should live the lives that a different generation experienced but on the same token when we reach that certain age where the illusion that our school and teenage years were the best days of our life becomes a reality, we should be allowed to cultivate the realisation and live the life that our own generation cherished.

There is nothing more depressing than being afraid to grow old in grace and wisdom but hastened to add I am also not adverse to the sentiments expressed by a welsh poet;

“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”