Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Rioting Around the UK

This has to stop.

There is no point to it - what can be achieved by burning things down and hurting people? The only reason things have kicked off is because it gives people a sense of righteous power - and for what? For nothing! These riots aren't in protest about anything - yes, I am aware of what happened to Mr Duggan, but I think it's fairly obvious that this violence has absolutely nothing to do with that and a hell of a lot to do with bored, stupid people wanting to feel good about hitting people.


I kept watching the news reports and reading the live feeds and the phrase from Robert Browning's poem 'Home Thoughts, From Abroad' kept coming to mind. I'm afraid I was moved to my own protest: poetic vandalism.

Home Thoughts, From the Bewildered

Oh, to be in England
Now that Summer's here,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest thugs and basest fools
Round the once quiet towns take up their tools,
And set to raise a riot – and how!
In England - now!

And after London, when others follow,
And chaos reigns, we’re forced to swallow
Bile as our streets and cities burn!
Around our homes and shops the flame
Blossoms and cracks – as our people we spurn
And our children set the pace in their new game,
Lest you should think they never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!

And though the streets look rough with hoary dew,
All will be lost when noontide wakes anew
And people think hate gives them a power, -
Far brighter than this gaudy fire-flower!

Oh, to be in England - Robert Browning (1812-1889)
(Greatly abused by Lauren Hughes, 9th August 2011, in response to the mindless violence across Britain)

I can only apologise.

On a brighter note, thousands of people have begun helping to clear up the mess this miniscule minority of mindless morons have created - largely coordinated through twitter and other networking sites. It's good to know that the spirit that kept us walking over the debris in the Blitz, and sending aid to where it's needed across the world, and lending a helping hand when times are tough has not deserted all of us.

If you're near London (and I hope you're safe) the clean up operation is being co-ordinated from here.

JacAbsolute would like to add:

'The great and admired beauty of the English flowers is their tiny, fragile but resilient drifts. Otherwise, for those getting high on excitement, may an eternal and ineffectual priapism afflict them (Marston, The Malcontent).'

(Images 'looted' from the Guardian news website.)

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Excavations in the Bureau

So we've been sorting through some of my wonderful Grandad's (otherwise known as the Venerable Bede) stuff, which is much easier said than done, given the sheer volume of stuff he had. I can kind of understand it, given that I too have a lot of projects in various stages of preparation, progress or finished and kept for when they're useful, but some of the thigns we found were beyond bizzare. I mean, what could you possibly want with an incredibly small box of chocolates that are over ten years out of date?

Anyway, we started with the bureau (largely because it's a contained space) - Grandad made it himself, and I think it's beautiful; I can't remember what wood it's made of, but it's a light honey colour and he made the keys for it himself. It's probably got a cubic capacity of roughly one and a half meters, but it took us about three days to sort through it all, and the contents covered several rooms. I'm beginning to wonder whether Grandad had some workshop training on Galifrey...

There were old photograph albums I'd never seen, with some wonderful pictures of JacAbsolute (Mum), Mithrandir (Uncle Keith), the VB and The Lovely Madge (Grandma), along with shots of more distant family members. Some of them were lovely - and some of them were just plain hilarious: photos of JacAbsolute and her best mate dressing up when they were kids :D

There were lots of interesting clock parts, and strange looking implements from the early twentieth and late nineteenth centuries... there was the insignia from Great-Grandad Harry's WWI uniform (he was a sapper and fought all over the place, but most notably the Messine Ridge) that the VB was converting into a brooch for TLM... even some ivory - a statuette of a man in a boat (I suspect the VB was intending to fix it) and a letter opener.

And envelopes. LOTS of envelopes.

I took pictures of some of the most interesting bits (except the ivory, which I forgot about), and a couple of other things the VB made :)

This puzzled us for a while, but we eventually figured out that it was the inside workings of a pepper pot (the VB made several of these, this one is still in potentia).

Not wholly sure why this made us laugh, except for the zombie Windle Poons in one of Pratchett's Discworld series... the VB got very interested in fixing and making clocks and watches... wonder what the life of this clock oil is :)

My Great Aunt Sara is one of the most accomplished and inventive crafters that I've ever met - these are four of the many and awesome cards we've had over the years. My favourite - which lives in the christmas box and is therefore absent, is a partridge with a fanned paper tail. Making things sort of runs in the family :)

A carved, wooden clock made by the VB - 'Tempus Fugit' or 'Time Flies'!

This is a silver rose bowl designed and smithed by the VB - it's based on the structure of a carbon atom - hence the shape of the feet. It's one of things he was most proud of, and it was good to see it full of roses once more. The mat underneath was crocheted by TLM :)