Sunday, 21 June 2009

Local Treasure and Personal Idol

This beautiful figure is from a local church, sadly not Moratinos. Still, to realise that such things are within a stone´s throw is pleasing.
It was made in the twelfth century, said the nice lady who showed us around. The expression on the face of Mary is wonderfully enigmatic. Jesus has the the look of somebody who has already seen it all.
Rebekah´s current blog about Jewel Boxes will make it all clear.

During the last couple of weeks, I have been too busy visiting friends and then winning and losing vast sums of money on Royal Ascot to do my blog. Sorry to my fan, Laura.
As a result, she - and no doubt several million others - have been asking themselves why Patrick ignored the centenary of the birth of Isiah Berlin on June 6th. One of the great minds of the last century of course, and a hero to those of independent mind.

To redeem myself belatedly, here are a few of his observations. They repay careful consideration.

All forms of tampering with human beings, getting at them, shaping them against their will to your own pattern, all thought control and conditioning is, therefore, a denial of that in men which makes them men and their values ultimate.

Few new truths have ever won their way against the resistance of established ideas save by being overstated.

Injustice, poverty, slavery, ignorance - these may be cured by reform or revolution. But men do not live only by fighting evils. They live by positive goals, individual and collective, a vast variety of them, seldom predictable, at times incompatible.

Liberty for wolves is death to the lambs.

Only barbarians are not curious about where they come from, how they came to be where they are, where they appear to be going, whether they wish to go there, and if so, why, and if not, why not.

Philosophers are adults who persist in asking childish questions.

The first people totalitarians destroy or silence are men of ideas and free minds.

The fundamental sense of freedom is freedom from chains, from imprisonment, from enslavement by others. The rest is extension of this sense, or else metaphor.

The very desire for guarantees that our values are eternal and secure in some objective heaven is perhaps only a craving for the certainties of childhood or the absolute values of our primitive past.

To understand is to perceive patterns.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009


LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Celebrity heiress Paris Hilton is bringing her reality show search for a new best friend to Dubai, where her hard-partying style will be reined in a notch to accommodate Middle East sensibilities, the production company behind the series said on Tuesday.
Production on the latest version of "Paris Hilton's My New BFF" will begin later this month in Dubai and take 17 days, Ish Entertainment said.
As in the U.S. and British versions of the program, the show will revolve around a group of contestants trying to win Hilton's affection and the title of her "best friend forever," or "BFF" to use text-messaging lingo.
"We're very aware we are not making the same show we would make in Los Angeles," said Ish co-founder Michael Hirschorn.
Despite the high alcohol content often found in similar reality shows, Hirschorn said that to respect the local mores of Dubai, alcohol may be nixed from the program.
He added that the idea for the show intrigued him.
"I was excited about the sheer, 'Oh my God, what's going to happen' factor," Hirschorn said.

And who, among us, can put his or her hand on his or her heart and reproach the honest Hirschorn? I myself reproduced the above article because I was excited about the sheer, 'Oh my God, what's the world coming to?' factor.

Chortling, doctoring, slaughtering, adventuring

It´s been a while since the last blog. Thank God for that, I hear you mutter.
Still, here is a mixed bag of stuff.

First my old chum Ted Simon arrived, stayed a day or so and has now gone. See pic above. He was looking for something to read while loafing, so I introduced him to "South Wind" by Norman Douglas. Hard to describe this book, first published in 1917, but it certainly should never be out of print, which it currently is.
As he read it, Ted chortled.
It is good to see a grown man chortle.

Second, Blodwyn, our favourite hen, has been unwell for some days now. We believe she has "Impacted Crop." However, we have been waterboarding her with olive oil as instructed by the CIA (Chicken Information Advisory) and see hopeful signs of recovery.

Third, after mass on Sunday, I reminded Esteban that he promised me he would take me to the local slaughterhouse to buy a lamb. Within hours, yesterday in fact, we got news that he had a lamb for us at his house in Sahagun.
What he did not say was that it was a live lamb. Obvious to some, I suppose. Any, it is now a dead lamb and headed for our big freezer. For the gory details, see Reb´s blog on the right here.

Fourth, we are off on Thursday in an adventure to the South of France to see other, even longer-time friends, mainly Mike and Sandy Molloy. Mike is extraordinarily talented - a successful writer of novels and an equally skillful painter. When he was a journalist he was at the top of that tree, too.
We go to see an exhibition of his paintings. Why France should be the beneficiary, rather than England, I do not know. I wil find out.

Watch this space.