Friday, 27 January 2012

Of goats and mountains and climbs

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

One of the things I like about the internet is that it is very levelling. There are no ivory towers out there in the prairies of cyberspace. (My only fear about this is that the levelling can go too far, and lead to abandonment of decorum, so instead of saying, ‘I’m not sure I quite agree with you,’ people scream ‘die, bitch, die’.) If ever I should get a bit above myself, I only have to look at the search terms which bring people to my blog.

In my hubristic mind, these might be Universal Verity, or Most Beautiful Canine in Existence. In reality, they include Goat Climbing Mountain.

I should be thinking about serious things like the morality of banking bonuses, and the tottering world economy, and whether poor Andy Murray shall ever stop being shouted at for not winning a grand slam. (I’m not very interested in tennis, but I find the Murray phenomenon fascinating. He works incredibly hard and is very talented; he is at the top of a highly competitive game; the three men who routinely beat him are titans; yet he seems unable to shake off the label of dour Scottish loser.) I should be contemplating big serious questions about government cuts and fiscal austerity and what is going on with Hungary and the IMF.

Instead, I am slightly obsessed by the whole goat climbing mountain thing. I don’t think I have ever actually written about goats. I may have reported on the half-joke plan that The Sister and I hatched in case the entire economy does, finally, implode. We are going to grow vegetables and keep goats. You see how cunning and finely conceived our plan is. Ha. The crazed bankers and know-nothing economists can do their worst; we shall have the goats to keep us warm. However, none of this involves mountains, or, in fact, climbing. How the Google gets to me from the clambering goats is a mystery.

I also love the idea of people sitting down and bashing ‘goat climbing mountain’ into a search engine. It’s either a Dadaist form of poetry, or someone is doing espionage. Goat climbing mountain could be Moscow Rules. Just as I imagine discreet operatives going up to each other in St James’s Park, which as everyone knows is where all the spooks meet in their lunch break, and saying ‘The geese are flying south for winter’, so I could see that ‘goat climbing mountain’ is clearly code for Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

The other, even more perplexing search is: girl fawn Maddow. This is code so abstruse that even Bletchley Park might be left wondering. I do write about Rachel Maddow quite a lot. I love her. The love might, I suppose, sometimes pitch over into fawning. But I do not think, at 44 years and 362 days old, I could be described as a girl, even by the most unreconstructed patriarch.

I don’t know. Perhaps Rachel Maddow secretly has a thing for fawns. The most brilliant thing about this odd search is that now, every time I watch the coruscating Maddow show, I shall think of baby deer. Which is probably a very good antidote to the latest loon thing Newt Gingrich is saying.

The sun is fading now, and the last of the frost lies still and white on the cold grass. It’s been a long week. I have, as is so often the case, not done quite enough work to satisfy. I bash on and bash on and think: come on, come on, not there yet. More, more, I think.

I have thought a lot about my father. In yesterday’s life post, I wanted to say: remember your dead well. Then I thought: that is a stupid thing to say, of course we all remember our dead. I don’t need to write that down. But then I wondered whether there is a part of mourning where one shies away from thinking of the departed. There is a childish, magical part of the brain that wonders: if I do not think about them, perhaps they will not really be gone.

On my desk, I have a photograph of the first man who ever believed in me as a writer. Since, at the time, I was writing books so bad that I need to invent a new word for execrable to describe them, his belief was a real leap of faith. He was not a relation; he had no skin in the game. He was an artist, who, for some reason, picked me up, and encouraged me. I was twenty. I knew nothing. But he treated me as if I were Virginia Woolf.

He died, much too young, from AIDS, many years ago. Every day, I look at his picture, and feel gratitude, and wonder what he would make of it all. I remember him well.

One day, I think, I shall be able to look at a picture of my dad in the same way, with glad remembrance, rather than a tearing in the heart.


I know it may be rather vulgar to keep harping on about this, and it could sound like the worst kind of pandering, but the Dear Readers have really been magnificent this week. And now I know I have the goat mountain Maddow fawn people on my side, I believe I can do anything.


Pictures of the day.

It was another afternoon of astonishing light. Most of these pictures are of the hills and trees I can see when I look due south. I hope they are not too same old, same old. But there is something about the Scottish light, seen at that angle, that is so magical I can't quite get over it:

27 Jan 1 27-01-2012 16-00-51

27 Jan 2 27-01-2012 16-01-17

27 Jan 3 27-01-2012 16-01-31

This one is completely out of focus. But these are two of my favourite little birches, and I rather love the blurred effect, as if they are in a painting:

27 Jan 5 27-01-2012 16-02-26

27 Jan 6 27-01-2012 16-02-33

The old iron fence. I can't get enough of that, either:

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27 Jan 9 27-01-2012 16-05-51.ORF

The beech avenue, from a low angle. (More attractive crouching from me, as The Pigeon looks on in bemusement.):

27 Jan 10 27-01-2012 16-14-11

This happy face is because I bought her a new ball. I know I'm always banging on about how all you need are free sticks, but sometimes I like to get her an actual bought object to have fun with:

27 Jan 15 27-01-2012 16-10-47

Here she is, with the bright orange thing in her mouth, doing what I used to call 'bottom in the air', but which I know now from the Dear Readers is actually a serious yoga pose called 'downward facing dog':

27 Jan 16 27-01-2012 16-11-10

27 Jan 17 27-01-2012 16-11-18

27 Jan 17 27-01-2012 16-11-24

As my friend The Playwright says: do admit.

The hill:

27 jan 17 27-01-2012 16-15-12

Now I really am ready for the weekend. Happy Friday.


  1. just to say that i loved yesterday's post, and oh the photos, fabulous - both yesterday and today. am looking forward to possibly snow-filled photos next week! have a lovely weekend Tania, and thank you for the lovely posts this week. i hear you on the photo and loss stuff too, one of these days i'll be able to look at the photo of the sister without thinking "damn, this mascara runs"...i could, of course, just change the mascara...

    1. Oh, Anon - thinking of you and the sister and the mascara. :)

  2. Back to your blog after a bit of a gap...and my, whay amazing photographs!! Really beautiful...the trees, the colours, the shade, the light..sigh. You do live in a beautiful part of the world.

    1. Deep Sea - I can't tell you how lovely it is to have a Dear Reader back after a gap. :)

  3. Isn't it fun checking the stats... it always amazes me when someone from Iran say, has read my blog. And people are consistently finding me by googling motocross things, only because I blogged about it - one time!

    My guess is that the person who typed Maddow was perhaps trying to type meadow.

    Pigeon really does look very happy with her new ball.

    1. Nancy - love the meadow Maddow idea. And so pleased you like the Pigeon with her ball. :)

    Why American men should boycott American women

    I am an American man, and I have decided to boycott American women. In a nutshell, American women are the most likely to cheat on you, to divorce you, to get fat, to steal half of your money in the divorce courts, don't know how to cook or clean, don't want to have children, etc. Therefore, what intelligent man would want to get involved with American women?

    American women are generally immature, selfish, extremely arrogant and self-centered, mentally unstable, irresponsible, and highly unchaste. The behavior of most American women is utterly disgusting, to say the least.

    This blog is my attempt to explain why I feel American women are inferior to foreign women (non-American women), and why American men should boycott American women, and date/marry only foreign (non-American) women.

    Tens of millions of American men have had their lives completely destroyed by American women through the following crimes:

    1. False rape accusations (it has been proven that up to 80 percent of rape accusations are FALSE)

    2. False domestic violence (DV) charges (same as above)

    3. Financial destruction of men in divorce courts through alimony and support payments (women get up to 95 percent of their ex-husband's income and savings, as well as the house, car, etc)

    4. Emotional destruction of men by ex-wives who have stolen their children from them and forbidden contact

    5. Divorced dads who commit suicide as a result

    Not one single American woman has EVER condemned their fellow American women for committing these crimes against men. Silence means consent. Therefore, American women support and enjoy destroying men's lives and causing men to commit suicide. Apparently, American women think it is okay to be a criminal, just as long as you are a woman. Therefore, is it any surprise that a huge percent of American men no longer want anything to do with American women, other than using them for easy sex and then throwing them away?

    Over 50 percent of American women are single, without a boyfriend or husband; so the fact is most American men no longer want to marry American women. Let these worthless American women grow old living alone with their 10 cats.


    A national morning radio show talked about the Boycott American Women blog and was heard by millions of people.
    Part 1:
    Part 2:

    1. Anon - I could argue with you all day long. But instead I am merely going to say: you have found your way to the wrong blog. I would say, though, that if you are going to make such sweeping generalisations, you should at least sign your own name to them.

    2. This jackwagon has been posting this same exact post all over the blogiverse for years... I think the first time I saw it was 2006 or so. He obviously either has no luck getting dates and is bitter, or he's running one of those foreign mail-order bride sites and trying to drum up business.

      Keep calm, and carry on.

      - Marcheline

    3. Pat and Marcheline - THANK YOU. As usual, the Dear Readers come up trumps.

  5. Lovely post yesterday Tania. I could only add spend time with small children, grow things, and walking outdoors as often as possible.

    1. LouLou - oh yes, all of those. I especially like the growing of things.

  6. Regarding your actual post, which is so much more worthy of consideration and time than some distractions which nearly derailed me...

    Yes, remembering is sort of a responsibility. Something one should do. My father died on Valentine's Day in 2008, and since then I have come to realize how very many ways remembering can make you feel, depending on when and how the thoughts hit you.

    Some memories sneak up on me like ninjas - a song playing in the grocery store, and WHAM, I'm teary-eyed. Some memories I sit and try to bring forward, from when I was very small. Those are warm and bright, and make me smile.

    Some memories are not welcome, but they are true memories all the same - perhaps an argument or a time when my father said an unkind word or did something wrong. These I just try to let flow like water, like watching a movie, acknowledge that they happened, but make no further judgment on the episode.

    I think the most important lesson I've learned from mourning is that we need to say everything there is to be said, get everything straightened out, at the moment it happens. Don't let things go by or think that they will get sorted later. Once someone is dead, there is no more discussion. All those things swept under the rug remain. They don't disintegrate, they are not biodegradable like the body. So no matter how uncomfortable it may be, issues need to be dealt with while people are still alive, whether it's telling someone you love them or telling someone that you have a problem with them, or both.

    It's a rather hard lesson, that unsaid words remain behind - and they tend to live in your mattress, their sharp bits poking you in the back when all you want to do is sleep.

  7. Marcheline - this is such a beautiful, thoughtful, complex comment. And so true. Thank you.


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