Posted by Tania Kindersley.
I shot out of bed this morning with my head filled with stuff. There is a slight problem with loving the blog so much: in the old days, BB (Before Blog), I at once started thinking about whatever book I was writing. I would rehearse paragraphs in my mind as I cleaned my teeth; I could write entire chapters while I had my bath. Now what happens is that I think of book, think of blog, think of book, think of blog. It as if my brain is a computer, and I have got eight tabs open and am switching between them.
The other problem is that the blog is an entirely freeform operation. I am not ruthlessly sticking to one subject. Since I am interested in almost everything except for darts and Justin Bieber, anything can set me off on a train of thought. It might be an item of news, or a joke on the Today Programme, or even a figure of speech.
A couple of days ago, a government minister came on to talk about prisons or something, and he said 'across the piece' not once, but four times. (I counted on my fingers.) That was going to be a whole blog post right there.
I was going to do a riff about how those odd expressions get started. I was going to ask, plaintively, what was wrong with 'across the board'? I was going to point out, rather brilliantly, I thought, that you never, ever hear a single ordinary person in ordinary life say: across the piece. Only management people and political people ever use it. I was going to wonder, philosophically, why perfectly well-educated humans could not realise how idiotic they sounded when they used these meaningless slices of jargonese. I was going to clinch my argument with the notion that it must be a mark of insecurity. The really successful politicians and business people almost never use those empty collocations. I was going to give Boris Johnson and Barack Obama as my exemplars.
Oh I was pleased with myself. Then the day happened. There was the walking of the dogs, the making of chicken for my mother, the writing of book, the perusal of the news. The thing was lost.
This morning, the teeth-cleaning was accompanied by a long exposition in my brain on the contradictions of small-government conservatives. I had not given you a meaty political post in a while, and now I had a dilly. I was very excited.
I wrote it all in my head. But the day has been busy. I had to make fishcakes. (Sometimes these imperatives strike me, from a clear blue sky.) I took some delicious vegetables to Virginia the Pig. She particularly appreciated the cauliflower, you will be pleased to hear. My computer was blinking glitchily at me, so I decided it was time to defraggle, which sounds like something out of Edward Lear but is in fact a hard drive thing. Somehow, 1030 words of book got done, rather messily and not quite as to the point as I would have liked, but there were WORDS nonetheless. For no explicable reason I started thinking about Auden.
The small government argument, so brilliant this morning, had quite dissipated by the time I sat down to write this. All I can remember is that somewhere along the line I veered off into a little discursion on MacDonald's and the free market. I remember there was one sentence I was so pleased with I actually told myself not to forget it. It went something like: would you rather have a burger made with cynicism and ground-up cows' hooves, or one made with real ingredients and love?
The funny thing is, now I have written it down, I see it's not really that good. When I thought of it this morning, I was so overcome by my own bon mot I almost gave myself a prize. I have no memory of the context, or how I got from small government to disgusting hamburgers, or even what devastating point I was making. It is gone forever.
Instead, you get a rather rambling exposition of the oddities of my mind. Ah, well. As Tony Curtis said in Some Like it Hot: Nobody's perfect.
And now for the pictures of the day.
Tangle of philadelphus branches:
The beech avenue:
This next part made me laugh a lot. To get to the pig, you have to go through a little gate. I walked through, gave her the food, and crooned at her a bit as she ate up all the most delicious items. 'Oh you do like that nice cauliflower,' I said, in my special pig voice. After a while, I turned round, only to see I had left the dogs behind. They had been watching me making a fuss of someone else. They were not pleased. Just look at those reproachful faces:
Very unimpressed Duchess, staring beadily at Virginia, I imagine saying Pig, pig? in her best Lady Bracknell voice:
Pigeon, peering mournfully through the hole in the gate, doing an excellent impersonation of a Dickensian orphan left out in the snow by an evil industrialist, or some such:
(Can't actually quite believe that face.)
Luckily, I had some biscuits in my pocket, so I was forgiven for feeding someone else. Good humour was restored, and they romped off down the avenue, having made their point:
(How do you think my battle against anthropomorphism is going? Screamingly well, I think we can all agree.)
Mystery photograph of the day. Where do you think this is? The frozen lakes of one of the Stans? The salt flats of Utah? The wilds of Mongolia?
It's actually a frozen puddle. It amazes me that I have the capacity to romanticise a puddle.
From a little farther away, it looked like this:
(I still say it could be a Google Earth picture of Siberia.)
It's a bit of a murky old day, but I did not mind. There was still something lovely in the views to the south:
And there is always the wondrous tree bark to divert and delight:
(See how it matches the wall, in a most chic manner?)
Finally, the dear old hill:
I hope you are having a lovely Friday.