Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Israel sets us all an example but our wicked media ignore it

One of the big stories this week in the Arab world (though strangely not here in Britain......) was the deliberate shooting in the foot by an IDF soldier of a blindfolded and handcuffed Palestinian prisoner. How heroic. What an example to the rest of us of Israeli "purity of arms"l.

And of course the Israeli authorities treat all such occurrences really seriously.

Meanwhile in the private sector, "settlers" from a terrorist training camp seminary demonstrated their peace-loving nature by smashing and looting a Palestinian village before showing their commitment to Israel by threatening to murder an IDF soldier. Yet somehow they all survived without being shot. How amazing.

And did you notice the reference in that report to the Israeli settler who launched a rocket attack on a Palestinian village? Obviously that never happened, because the whole world knows that it's only the wicked Palestinians who shoot rockets indiscriminately at Israelis, while the pure and moral Israelis only ever murder those who deserve it.

Now let's all watch the likes of Judith Weiss and the other apologists for Israeli terrorism (remember kids, the bombing of the King David Hotel may have killed a lot of people but (a) the oh-so-moral Zionists gave a warning first and (b) the victims weren't Jewish, so who gives a fuck?) falling over themselves to deny that the rocket attack ever happened. After all, if you can cheerfully pretend that 10% of the Nazi Holocaust didn't happen (come on, the Jews who were socialists or gays had it coming, right?) where's the difficulty in sweeping the odd Israeli wannabe mass-murderer under the rug? Hey, Weiss airbrushed Baruch Goldstein out of history: she accused me of an anti-semitic smear - how original! - when I mentioned him on her blog, though of course when I came up with detailed references she went very quiet, which is what Zionists do instead of apologising for their own smears and slander. Well, that and banning their critics from their blogs. (Banned from Kesher Talk, and prouder of it than you could imagine.)

And the only Western sources to carry the story? The UN and the International Solidarity Movement (both denounced as terrorist organisations by Weiss et al). Which tells you all you need to know about the supposed "anti-Israeli bias" of the Western liberal media, wouldn't you say?

Festival Fringe - Charlie Victor Romeo

As the film festival has now moved forward so it doesn't coincide with all the other Edinburgh festivals, I declare today to be the official start of the festivalling season. Yay!

And I began with a play, Charlie Victor Romeo: that is, CVR, that is, Cockpit Voice Recorder. We didn't get any programmes or anything like that, so all I can tell you about the production is that it was by Scamp Theatre in association with Mercury Colchester and Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds. The six actors (4 male, 2 female) were from their accents clearly American (or possibly Canadian). (Update: they are named in this slideshow from the play's website.) The play is based on real-life transcripts of cockpit voice recordings (well, duh) from air emergencies, six in all. At the start of each segment they flash up when, where, what kind of aircraft, what airline, how many people on board, and what went wrong. After each segment they repeat the information, with the addition of the numbers saved/killed. And it was absolutely gripping. It begins with a flight where the altimeter had been wrongly set, and where there were no casualties. Then there is a series of "no survivors" crashes, ranging from a flight where the crew had been happily chatting, unaware that their wings were icing up and about to wipe them all out, to an AWACS flight out of a USAF base which struck a flock of Canada Geese on take-off and lost the contest (shortest segment: about one and a half minutes). There is also a tragedy that seems all the worse when you know before it starts that it was totally avoidable: a maintenance crew had forgotten to remove protective tape from the inlet ports for the altitude and airspeed instruments after cleaning the aircraft. The penultimate crash I thought sounded familar, and when I looked up the play on Wikipedia I realised it was the worst single-aircraft crash in history: just four survivors from a loaded 747. The cause was a catastrophic bulkhead failure, which sounds eerily similar to last week's Qantas event, though that fortunately didn't take anything important with it when it failed.

But it's the last, and longest, segment that really takes the breath away. and I mean really: I spent a good part of the hour and a quarter of the play holding my breath, while my mouth dried up and my adrenaline levels rocketed. The final scene is a DC10 bound for Chicago, which lost an engine in an explosion which took out all three hydraulic systems and left the plane with very little vertical control and the ability to turn right but not left. After sitting with the crew for twenty-five minutes or so as they fought the stricken craft into Sioux City, Iowa with a surprising amount of residual wit ("You are clear to land on any runway" "Oh, you're getting specific: it has to be a runway, does it?") you really, really do not want the screen to flash up that they all died, and it is with great relief that I read that only (only!) 110 people died, while 198 passengers and 10 crew survived.

For anyone within range of Edinburgh over the next few weeks, it's on at the Cow Barn (which in normal life is the Reid Concert Hall) in Bristo Square. Tonight was the first performance at the Fringe: it's on until August 25th. I can't recommend it too highly: and if you can't see it in Edinburgh, watch out for it somewhere else. Fantastic theatre (and I have encountered at least as many duds as must-sees among Fringe dramatic productions over the years). I can only hope that the remaining six plays (and a musical) that I've booked to see on the Fringe delight me as much.

A great start to my festivalling, then.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Field of Dreams?

Via several of those ridiculous giant strides that Google facilitates*, I ended up reading this while trying to find a title for the preceding post.

*It doesn't help much to say that one of the intermediate steps was the Black Bear Pass in Colorado, does it? Thought not.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

That Which We Call A Number 16 Bus Shelter, By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet

A few observations on this story which you probably saw in the news last week:

1) I have every sympathy with the kid. Having an unusual name, especially one which has clearly been inflicted on you as pure parental whim rather than period fashion (in which I include the Kylies, Madonnas, etc.) or family tradition.

2) As the comments on the BBC site make clear, some kids thrive on the attention generated by an odd name, while some hate it. My name is boring and conventional, but at primary school I still retained my parents' Dorset accent (this in North Manchester) so was forever being picked on, bundled off to a corner of the playground and surrounded by kids demanding that I say something. What else could I do but become a comedian? (Not professionally, but as the class comic through the rest of my schooldays.) If my unwanted attention had stemmed from my name I expect the result would have been similar.

3) Even when parents aren't trying to be wacky in their choice of names it's easy to forget something. One of my father's brothers was named Alfred Stanley Saunders, which generated unfortunate initials. A good friend of mine, Chris Eyre, was known as "ozone" at school (C Eyre = sea air).

4) She is very definitely not alone, as a casual perusal of Remarkable Names Of Real People demonstrates. Funnily enough the Rev. Canaan Banana (an entry in the book) came up in a family conversation recently on the topic of the Zimbabwean elections.

5) Frank Zappa's children have famously wacky names: Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva. However, one thing I didn't know until researching this post is that

Dweezil's registered birth name was Ian Donald Calvin Euclid Zappa, although this occurred only because the hospital at which he was born refused to register him under the name Dweezil. The name was a nickname coined by Frank for an oddly-curled pinky-toe of Gail's. He was always called "Dweezil" by his family and was unaware that this was not the name on his birth certificate. Upon this discovery at the age of five, he insisted on having his nickname become his legal name. Gail and Frank hired an attorney and soon the name Dweezil was official. (from Wikipedia entry for Dweezil Zappa)

6) Let's give Frank Zappa the last word:

People make a lot of fuss about my kids having such supposedly 'strange names', but the fact is that no matter what first names I might have given them, it is the last name that is going to get them in trouble.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

You couldn't make it up: because if you did you'd be accused of the most vile kind of anti-Semitism.

(Udge recently described my blog, delightfully, as comprising "music and outrage". So after a couple of musical posts, here comes some of the other stuff. )

This article by Jonathan Freedland in Saturday's Guardian decsribes the activities of a group of Jewish vigilantes (the Nokmim, led by Abba Kovner) in the aftermath of the second World War, who set out like so many Dexter Morgans, to bring summary justice to Nazi murderers who had evaded justice.

While I oppose the death penalty I can understand and sympathise with them to some extent, or could have if that were all they had done. Dexter, after all, followed the "Code of Harry", ensuring that he killed only those who he believed truly deserved death. But not content with finding Nazis who had fled justice, the Nokmim carried out the mass murder of several hundred SS men who had been captured and were already in prison:

But the Avengers did not confine themselves to individual executions. Their largest operation was aimed at Stalag 13, a detention centre for former SS men in Nuremberg. The Vengeance group discovered that bread for the detainees was supplied by a single bakery. One of their younger members, Arye Distel, who had blue eyes and Aryan looks, got a job as a trainee baker, then worked up a plan to poison one morning's consignment of loaves.

Once they had got hold of the lethal fluid - which they codenamed "medication" - Distel smuggled it over several days into the bakery, stashing the bottles under the floorboards. Harmatz describes how, on a Saturday, at the change of shift, three extra comrades crept inside to join Distel, and together they brushed the poison on to some 3,000 loaves.

Did it work? Just check the New York Times for April 20 1946, where on page six you will find an Associated Press report that begins as follows: "Nineteen hundred German prisoners of war were poisoned by arsenic in their bread early this week in a United States camp and all are 'seriously ill', United States headquarters announced tonight." How many of those SS men actually died following the poisoning at Stalag 13 has never been verified, but some put the figure at several hundred, others at a thousand.

Yet according to Freedland that was only "Plan B", the fallback, a substitute for a plan to poison the water supplies of Munich, Berlin, Weimar, Nuremburg and Hamburg, indiscriminately murdering millions.

Kovner sought moral backing for his project, travelling to Palestine to consult the leaders of the Jewish state-in-waiting. He met Chaim Weizmann, who would become Israel's first president and who had begun his career (at Manchester University) as a research chemist. Once Weizmann heard from Kovner the horrors of the Holocaust, he could mount no resistance: he gave his blessing to the Avengers, even offering them help in acquiring the poison. (Several sources suggest Weizmann approved only Plan B, rather than the more deadly, and arbitrary, Plan A.)

In fairness to the nascent state of Israel, there seem to have been a number of senior Zionists who possessed either a moral sense or a consciousness of the need to appear better than the Nazis in some respects at least. Abba Kovner and his genocidal band were betrayed before they could achieve the millions of dead Germans they craved.

Yet there seem to be plenty of people, including Freedland to judge from his article, who consider Kovner and the Nokmim to be some kind of band of heroes:

The story of the Avengers has not yet become a central part of the Holocaust narrative. That may have disappointed Kovner, who died in 1987. One former comrade, Gabik Sedlis, told Cohen that the leader kept one eye on his place in history, hoping to be ranked alongside the ancient defenders of the Jewish people. "Two thousand years from now, he wanted people to talk about Judah Maccabee and Abba Kovner."

That goal has not yet been realised. But it might be, if at least the work of the Nokmim gets what those men and women wanted for themselves and their fellow Jews - if, in other words, future generations do their story justice.

If future generations "do their story justice", people will talk about Adolf Hitler and Abba Kovner as thwarted agents of genocide. And mourn neither of them.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Who put the Gam in the Gamelan-a-ding-dong?

To Gartnavel Royal Hospital in Glasgow last Wednesday for a "Gamelan Taster Workshop". Actually first I went to Gartnaval Hospital, which is next door and connected, but not so connected that the building I was looking for appeared on any maps at the latter. Nor did the first staff member I asked know where it was, though he helpfully told me someone else had just asked, so by looking for somebody with a lost and confused air I joined up with Kate and we eventually found it together.

The workshop was run by Signy Jakobsdottir from Gamelan Naga Mas. She started out by explaining about Indonesian gamelan music, telling us that the instruments we had we from Java and had been commissioned by Strathclyde Regional Council back when Glasgow was European City of Culture. There are two kinds of gamelan, based on the two Indonesian musical scales pelog and slendro. Both kinds were commissioned, but for some reason they have always been kept apart rather than being combined as they would normally be in Java. The pelog instrument lives at Gartnaval and is used by Naga Mas (also for music therapy with dementia patients) while the slendro set is in East Kilbride, forty-odd miles away, where it's also used for therapy.

Anyway, we learned about the different instruments, how to strike them and what roles the played in the ensemble. Then we tried them out. We learned played three or four short pieces, and rotated around so that anyone who wished to could have a go on everything. I can't remember the Javanese names, but there were big cup-shaped hanging gongs, elegant and slightly domed bronze chime bar sets, rather lighter tinny metal bars with big wooden or plastic resonators underneath, horizontal arrays of little gongs (which is what I always visualised when I pictured a gamelan), and a big double-ended hand-drum with which Signy led us. It was all terrific fun and I was sorry when the two hours were up.

Naga Mas are always on the lookout for new members, and if I lived in Glasgow I wouldn't have hesitated (one night a week for rehearsing). But as I live in Edinburgh and have another regular musical commitemnt as well as a full-time job, that will have to wait until I retire.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sunday 20 July - Mamma Mia!

Ruairidh hit sixteen today and requested a trip to see the film version of Mamma Mia! (That's my boy!) It came as no surprise: all the Saunders family have seen the stage version twice, once in London and once in Edinburgh, while some have seen it three times. The film didn't disappoint. No, Piers Brosnan can't sing very well, but Colin Firth's dancing isn't as bad as it's been made out, and he manages his solo numbers very adroitly. Musical arrangements are by Benny and Bjorn, and make use of plenty of the original Abba backing musicians. (As well as of Benny and Bjorn themselves, each of whom has a tiny cameo on the film .) There are some differences from the stage version in the musical numbers: no One Of Us, no Under Attack; but we get When All Is Said And Done instead, Persephone's unfavourite rhyme and all. The cast throw themselves into the song and dance routines with huge enthusiasm. Meryl Streep sings and dances wonderfully. The scenery is marvellous. And Amanda Seyfried as Sophie is perfection.

Saturday 19 July - Lyceum Youth Theatre - Summer On Stage 2008 - The Red Shoes Re-Heeled

Another year, another LYT drama summer school for our stage-struck son. This year he was taking part in The Red Shoes re-Heeled, an updating of Hans Christian Andersen's classic story by Emma Rosoman. Natalie Ibu directed, just before taking up a year's residency at the Royal Court. The kids acted brilliantly: Ruairidh, as Quentin, had the biggest male role (along with the shoemaker) and plenty of scope for comedic moments. The biggest part, though, is Karen, whose lines are distributed among four actresses (five if you count Old Karen). Karen the orphan trying to find her identity and thinking she can do it via the medium of "cool stuff" - possessions, in her case the eponymous footwear. It works up to a point: everyone thinks the shoes are marvellous, but their effect on Karen's personality is less healthy (and damages her attempt to fit in). The shoes bind themselves magically to her feet so they are in control. However, in this version Old Karen, who no longer cares about the downside risk, removes the shoes from her younger self, giving rise to an ambiguous and mostly unresolved ending. But then life's like that.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Who is the Pharos of them all?

You may have spotted that I'm not a big fan of Prince Charles. His sister, OTOH, has a lot more going for her. Olympic medallist, married to a college acquaintance of mine, hardest-working royal, patron of Save The Children, British rep on the International Olympic Committee, etc etc. And now a new reason to find HRH the Princess Royal rather cool: pharology.

Colour me rather jealous. We have some ace lighthouses in Scotland.

The last of those has a story attached to it. It even appears to have inspired a Doctor Who adventure.

Unite was formed from a merger of Amicus and the TGWU

Of course, the fact that the spoof stories in the Daily Mash are sometimes uncomfortably close to the truth * should not blind us to the fact that sometimes they're simply fantasy.


Signed, Rob Saunders, Workplace Representative, Unite......

(*Though I cheerfully count myself in the other 15%).

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A grain or two of truth among the chaff

The recent BBC Panorama programme on the use of child labour in the manufacture of clothing by High Street store Primark's suppliers undoubtedly uncovered abuse and hypocrisy. Still, it awoke in me the same nagging, insistent thought that discussion of child labour (or indeed exploitative employment of adults) in the developing world usually does. Then it fell to The Daily Mash, as latter-day court jesters, to think the unthinkable and put the same misgivings online. While making them funny, of course.

But as with mediaeval jesters, the laughter is perhaps a little uncomfortable when they stray too close to the truth for comfort.

Hardcore Þornography

I enjoyed this article in the Guardian recently. Personally I thought it was way cool when I first discovered that German had a special letter for double S. Nobody had warned me about it (I hadn't done German in school) but all of a sudden, there it was, on signs and in newspapers. It didn't take rocket science to work out what it was replacing (I think Straße on street names was the giveaway) but it gave me (aged twelve, first time in continental Europe) a great feeling that this was somewhere foreign. More so than the cops with guns, or the driving on the right. So YAY for the Eszett.

I followed it up via Wikipedia, and thence to here. And before I knew it I was in one of those silly how-the-hell-did-I-get-here link-hopping sessions, following links to other weird letters like yogh (where I found out why Scots pronounce Menzies as "Mingies", Finzean as "Fingan" and Dalziel as "Di-ell"). Then onwards, via futhorc to thorn.

Thorn reminded me of the episode in Anthony Burgess's autobiography (strongly recommended) - probably in Little Wilson and Big God, though possibly in You've Had Your Time - where Burgess and a drunken student pal are careering round the medieval centre of Manchester, specifically the Shambles area (long before it was relocated, when it was still where I remember it). The drunken friend looks at an inn sign (presumably the Wellington) and starts shouting enthusiastically "That's a proper thorn there, man.... they've got a fucking actual thorn there..."., with a not-totally-sober-himself Burgess trying to hush him up before they attract undue attention from passers-by for being loudly drunk in the middle of the afternoon.

Anyway, hop, hop, hop, on to Thorn and Eth before alighting at this splendid article. And I'm sorry, I looked at its title line and I started giggling.

Hence my post title.


Do you ever have days like that?

Edinburgh Film Festival Thursday 26 June - Man On Wire

The European premiere, this, of a documentary about Philippe Petit: specifically about his high wire walk between the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York on 7 August 1974. It's coming out on general release soon, and all I'll say is WOW. I was totally gripped by the story. Funded by the BBC as part of their Storyville documentary strand, it's a mixture of archive footage and dramatised re-enactment, but very well blended together.

The screening was attended by both the director (James Marsh) and by Petit himself, who took part in a Q & A session afterwards. From this I doscovered that two of the reels had been shown in the wrong order, so what I'd taken to be an odd kind of flashback was simlay a cock-up. But the film still worked, which says something. Oh, and Sean Connery was in the audience, and rated it one of the three best films he'd ever seen (nope, wouldn't say what the others were).

Seriously, you have got to see this. Here are some pictures for you to be going on with:

I just got Petit's book out of the library, which also looks really good.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Never mind the Norberts

What a wonderful country the USA is. They have a truck rental company (U-Haul - even I've heard of it) whose trucks are decorated with amazing graphics relating to American states (and Canadian provinces).

And before Persephone screams that Quebec isn't in there, well, neither is Oregon. Or Kansas.

Joe's one is pretty cool though.

Down in a deep dark hole

Music makes the hadrons come together....

From this very cool post. As is this:

"These are not the bosons you're looking for. Move along."

All things must pass

A great short story here. (Via)

The mountain laboured.....

Clare is no longer hugely pregnant, but is instead hugely relieved at having produced little (well, ish) Oscar, and moreover at having done so without the need for cranes, dry docks, stirrups, helicopters, or any of the laser-guided wossnames and power-assisted doo-wops that are so frequently called upon when ladies shaped like puffballs discover that babies are harder to shift than spores. Congratulations to her and Ally, and I hope Felix enjoys his new little brother. And let's not forget Dipsy the dog, liable to have his nose put severely out of joint by the new rival for attention.

But...Felix and Oscar? Have Ally and Clare been watching The Odd Couple too often?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Scottish Opera Wednesday 25th June - A Night at The Chinese Opera

To the Edinburgh Playhouse for a night at the Judith Weir opera (well, one of them). I'd seen what I think is her only other full opera (Blond Eckbert) on television many years ago: you have to admire an opera whose plot hinges on the name of a dog*.

ANATCO, like Eckbert, has humorous moments, rather more of them in fact. The story is a Hamlet-ish one of a boy, Chao Lin, brought up ignorant of his parentage by the killer of his real father. In this case it's his own memory which is jogged by a "play within a play", leading him to attempt the killing of the usurper, but he fails and is executed. The play within a play (actually the Chinese opera of the title) ends with the son successfully avenging his father's death, though its performance is interrupted in such a way that the ending isn't delivered until after the real protagonist has been killed. It reminded me of the Harold Pinter film adaptation of John Fowles's "The French Lieutenant's Woman", whose twin endings are rendered on screen by a similar dramatic device.

Despite being sung in English the production (by Lee Blakely) made use of surtitles. Quite apart from improving comprehension wherever the diction was poor (not often) these provided some tremendous comic moments in the play-within-a-play. There is a time when an old man is telling the "Chinese opera's" hero (The Orphan Of Chao) about his father, and is doing so in a very fast and difficult-to-grasp way. The boy keeps looking up at the surtitles which at first are keeping up, then begin to degenerate to "something about a chase", "something about a horse", before hitting on "I'm not paid enough for this". Finally the old man comes to an end and looks expectantly at the boy, who whirls round desperately to look at the surtitles which promptly change to "You are SO on your own! You should have been listening."

Judith Weir's music is very singable (no excessive demands or wildly leaping intervals) but not, I suspect, easy to learn, as her melodies while satisfying at the time don't stay with one for long (cue Chinese food analogy here). One could say the same of Britten, whose music is wonderful but difficult to remember in any detail (at least, I challenge anyone not a professional-level singer to commit more than a dozen bars or so of Peter Grimes's big aria "Now the Great Bear and the Pleiades" to memory). Damian Thantrey as the adult Chao Lin probably had the most demanding task that way, and I thought he brought it off very well, as did the troupe of actors. I have heard criticism of the opera itself in that it lacked real emotion: specifically that Chao Lin's execution was rather matter-of-fact. That's fair comment, but I suspect it was deliberate. Perhaps Judith Weir wanted to make a point about Chinese fatalism, or the cheapness of individual life in China both in Genghis Khan's time and more recently; perhaps she simply wanted to focus on the conclusion of the inner "Chinese opera" to make some kind of Man-Who-Shot-Liberty-Valance point about the relative longevity of true stories and legends. Although her music is not for the most part overtly emotional stuff, here we are talking about the downplaying of a major event in the text, so I'm pretty sure it will have been intentional. Anyhow, Hilary and I both enjoyed it.

*Strohmian, if you were wondering. Is that not a cool name for a dog?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Edinburgh Film Festival Tuesday 24 June - The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins

So there's this rather pretentious creator of artistic installations who visits Sudan while one of her own children is still small. She encounters a couple of tiny children being looked after in a Christian refuge because their father can't cope (their mother died in childbirth). The nuns ask her if she could breast-feed them, and she does, and the resulting bond works on her mind to the extent that she becomes determined to adopt them. This proves problematical as Sudan has no legal adoption (extended families step in if parents die). However, with determination, a thick skin and a health dose of self-belief Vanessa Beecroft eventually gets through the jungle of paperwork to the point where she is almost able to adopt the children. By this point the sudience have moved (if I was typical) from viewing her as a trendy New Yorker wanting a third world trophy baby to a loving, caring (if somewhat weird) mother. At this point, though, we discover that she has neglected to mention her adoption plan to her husband, who is unimpressed. As his signature is needed for all the paperwork at the US end that spells disaster. He does suggest that if she is determined she could divorce him, whereupon the law aould allow her to adopt by herself, but she doesn't want to abandon her own two children (and one can only applaud her belated attack of common sense). The film ends with the couple still married; with her having to some extent sublmated her maternal urghes into her work; and with her making what was evidently one of a regular series of visits to the twins (who could hardly have been more photogenic had they been selected for it) to provide assitance of a more godmotherly (and material) kind.

But I swear as we all realised she'd never mentioned the plan to her husband you could hear several hundred Edinburgh jaws hitting the floor.....

At the start of the film I had a niggling feeling that the name Vanessa Beecroft was familar, but it was only when they showed pictures of some of her installations, which feature live human models, that I recognised her style. I remembered this picture (NSFW), which for some strange reason appears on various web sites not generally associated with high art. (Though one might argue that it displays Vanessa's bottomless well of inspiration.... )

What a swell party she'll have

Happy birthday Clare!

Another year older. What a big girl you're becoming. How big? This big:

As those of you who don't know Clare will have spotted, she's now 40 and a bit weeks pregnant and becoming more enormous by the day. As my daughter used to say when she was small and about to flash it, "Tummy button coming!"

(That's my viewing stats secured for the next few years....)

Anyway, Clare, wishing you many happy returns and one new arrival very soon. May you have a truly swellegant time.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Nichtmusik, aber jetzt nicht so kleine

Despite all the hassle, I couldn't miss the opportunity to post something tonight. Not to moan that Jamie Murray and Liezel Huber were beaten in the mixed doubles semi-final at Wimbledon. Not even to cheer that the unseeded Laura Robson is through to the girls' final, though cheer I shall (YAY!).

No, today is Eine Kleine Nichtmusik's third birthday! How time flies! A big thank-you to all the regular and irregular visitors who make blogging feel a bit less of an onanistic endeavour, and whose comments add a bit of variety: necessary even for this "wildly eclectic" (thank you, Persephone) blog.

While I'm online, though, the weather this week has been great in spite of the dire forecast. We've had plenty of good walking, been over to Handa, seen thousands of seabirds, a number of seals, some interesting ruins, and so many and such varied wild flowers that even your humble blogger, generally immune to botanical charms especially if there are birds about, was impressed. No whales or dolphins though. Bah!