Wednesday 6 December 2023


I have no idea what prompted this. I just took a look in the mysterious past that was Grit in the Gears, It was a thing of another era. This was in the drafts folder. 

“I can see it now, but not then. Maybe I was the only one. Maybe it is
my destiny to be a seer, to scry the fates, to see exclamation marks.
I wonder what it means though? Is it a warning... are the end days
here? is it time to start mocking? Hey, I'm already ahead on the
mocking, I could take time out from it, say a month or so and still be
Or scoffing.  First of all, you must understand that in the last days
scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.
The King James version: Knowing this first, that there shall come in
the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts.
Scoffing, in English english is also slang for 'greedily eating'.
Hence I can't take these scoffers seriously unless they be provided
with ample sacks of iced cupcakes.

Tuesday 4 December 2018

Thin Gnat Voices.

The Jolly Company
Rupert Brooke

THE stars, a jolly company,
I envied, straying late and lonely;
And cried upon their revelry:
"O white companionship! You only
In love, in faith unbroken dwell,
Friends radiant and inseparable!"
Light-heart and glad they seemed to me
And merry comrades (even so
God out of heaven may laugh to see
The happy crowds; and never know
That in his lone obscure distress
Each walketh in a wilderness).
But I, remembering, pitied well
And loved them, who, with lonely light,
In empty infinite spaces dwell,
Disconsolate. For, all the night,
I heard the thin gnat-voices cry,
Star to faint star, across the sky.

Wednesday 18 April 2018

Finding You

Finding You

I love to find you in the night-time,
When your toes rest, child-like, upon my legs;
To be stirred by the warmth of your body -
Naked, smooth, slow-breathing, sleeping ...
The smell of your hair, your pillowed head
Sheltering under my arm.
So we cheat the waking, working hours.

The green-glow figures of time
Play gooseberry in the dark,
Unmasking each newborn minute
In the silence of bird-sleeping hours.

Time will not stand still for us
Nor life be more than earth;
Yet more ancient hearts than ours knew,
Like us, the intimate quiet of night.

Poet unknown.
From another time.

Sunday 3 December 2017

"When the Game is Over, the King and the Pawn go in the Same Box"

Those were the first words spoken by Cortana. Who? Ah. No, not the Microsoft one, the one in Halo.
Oh. Well, I was idly wondering why Microsoft chose that rather stupid name for their lumpy attempt to create a virtual 'Personal Assistant' to rival Apple's equally stupidly named 'Siri'.
Google has one too, living in my phone, and it's somewhat more pedestrianly named 'Google now', I rarely use it in the sense in which it has been designed, because its voice recognition is less than stellar in performance, so it's usually easier to just type my queries.

Cortana, then. Googling 'Cortana' pulls up some interesting stuff, which I might have scraps of in the back of my brain, and I was wondering why it seemed such a made  up name and whether some product somewhere that I had encountered was called 'Curtana'.

Before we go there, and you're welcome to leave if you're bored, my brain has always tended upon random diversions, I'd just like to say 'Siri' is quicker, easier, and less stupid-sounding to say than 'Cortana'.  As would be 'Bozo', or 'Plonker'.

Googling, yes, googling, not Binging. Who bings? Hands up bingers? Oh. I see there are three of you... And you all work for Microsoft? Oh. And you've been told very bad things will happen to you and everybody you love.... including Fluffy, if you're caught googling, ever?

I see. It doesn't surprise me. Bing. Like google's needy sibling. Look, Microsloth, I neither want nor need tropical fish over coral reef pictures, when I'm chasing bits of information, I'm distracted enough already, without you showing me sunset over Ayers Rock.... Although its not permitted to call it Ayers Rock anymore, bit like Denali, isn't it.

Cortana. Well there it was in the back of my brain. Curtana! Curtana is the sword used in all of Britain's coronations.
Well, since A.D. 1236, anyway, in Henry the third's reign, when it was employed during the coronation of Eleanor of Provence.  Not so fast though... The one currently used was forged, so far as I can tell, in 1661, though it claims to be forged from the steel of the original Curtana, that was Cortana, going back to the ages of chivalry. There were three swords forged from the same steel, all were extraordinarily good swords, themselves vested with power beyond their steel.  The first of these was Joyeuse, the sword of Charlemagne, (which can be seen in the Louvre), said to incorporate the Spear of Destiny in its hilt,  the second, Durendal, carried by Charlemagne's right-hand man, Rolande, -Rolande was an unstoppable swordsman, and his sword carried magical powers, great juju, because it was made of magical steel, and had in its hilt a tooth of Saint Peter, blood of Saint Basil, hair of Saint Denis, and a piece of the raiment of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was indestructible, and when Rolande was ambushed by Saracens, at the battle of Roncevalles, he tried to destroy his sacred sword by smashing it on the rocks of the mountain, but instead cut a great cleft, 300 feet deep in the ridge. But all was not lost, because he cunningly hid it beneath is gold-armoured body as he died, so the saracens wouldn't find it.
Which brings us back to Cortana, because that was the third, carried by the hero, Ogier, the Dane, son of  King Geoffroy of Denmark, who, defeated by Charlemagne, had to send his first-born as hostage, to live in Charlemagne's household as as a lowly page.
Ogier, howeverscorned he had been,  distinguished himself in battle, saving Charlemagne's life, and turning the tide so the Saracens were routed.
"The rest of the day and the next were spent in the rejoicings of the army. Turpin in a solemn service implored the favor of Heaven upon the youthful knights, and blessed the white armor which was prepared for them. Duke Namo presented them with golden spurs, Charles himself girded on their swords. But what was his astonishment when he examined that intended for Ogier! The loving Fairy, Morgana, had had the art to change it, and to substitute one of her own procuring, and when Charles drew it out of the scabbard, these words appeared written on the steel: “My name is Cortana, of the same steel and temper as Joyeuse and Durendal.” Charles saw that a superior power watched over the destinies of Ogier; he vowed to love him as a father would, and Ogier promised him the devotion of a son."

Allegedly, this sword, gifted by Charlemagne to Ogier (also known as Holger), had previously been the sword of Sir Tristan, Knight of the Round Table. )


Wednesday 17 December 2014

A Question for Adullamite.

Some time ago, Adullamite posted a picture of an odd little red car he'd come across on his travels. I'm a car buff, so I usually am pretty good at identifying old cars. (Cars from the nineties onward I generally have no interest in).
This time I was stumped. But I think I may have found the answer, or would guess that if I could find the original pic.... But I've been unable to remember when it was or the post title....

So, Adullamite, did it look at all like this?

If so, it was a Lloyd... A Lloyd Alexander, built by Norddeutscher Lloyd, the shipping company...

As I can't find the post, it's possible it was nothing like these. If so.... Sigh.  I thought I might have solved a mystery.

Monday 10 November 2014

In just a few hours it will be Veterans Day in the United States,

Armistice Day.
The 11th hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the time the guns were to fall silent, the end of the first world war. 
Who, I wonder, was shooting on that morning, and why? what did they hope to achieve?  A last kill before shooting season ends?

 Anyway, it was over, it marked the end of "The War to End All Wars",  at the end of which, humans kept on developing weapons and seeking wars in which to use them.

Nonetheless, we hold remembrances, we Brits wave our poppies, Americans their flags. Our neighbourhood is full of flags, very patriotic, these Americans. Veterans day is a holiday, and  retired service personnel will wear their medals, badges, uniform caps with pride, strangers will thank them for serving.  It's not all about the dead, the living are remembered here too.

The school does a yearly project, where each pupil is set to meet and interview a veteran of the forces, to photograph and make a poster featuring that person, on the back is the interview, dates served, nature of service etc. My step-son interviewed a man who's become a friend of mine , Troy is one of a group of friends who meet once a week  over lunch. They all have stories. I thought I'd post here some pictures I took outside the school.

So many are represented, from the humblest rank to the dizzying heights of gold braid, veterans from pre WWII to the present day. Some of these kids have dads, uncles, brothers, mothers, sisters, aunts, in the military, in harm's way, serving, prepared to give their lives if need be.
Whether or not I believe in the wars they are sent to fight, I have the greatest respect for them. The old guys I have lunch with on a thursday have so many stories, war cold and hot. And of tragedies too. 

Tomorrow, they are saluted. But here, as in Britain, there's another reality, of the veterans who failed to reintegrate, the PTSD, the alcoholics, the guys who hold up cardboard signs "Ex soldier, Hungry, Homeless", and I, like the other drivers, check my door is locked, try not to meet the gaze... And drive on by.

Friday 26 September 2014



Big big big day, the gears of the U.S.government grind exceedingly slowly, but this day brought a bunch of official papers to our mailbox.

I'm  an alien, I'm a LEGAL alien...... Green Card!!!!!!!!!!! Yayyyyyyyyyy!
Of course, it's not without conditions... Carry this card at all times. (and don't lose it?) Well, like my social security card I'll laminate a copy and carry that, keeping the original in a safe place.
And it's only valid to 2016. Before then I have to become a citizen or aply to get restrictions lifted. No, I have no idea what that means, so don't ask.

All should be well in the home of the brave and the land of the free. None of that: "Papieren, Bitte!" "Show your papers boy!" stuff.

Seriously though, everybody's been quite welcoming. Well, a lot of people think I come from New England, that's those who don't think I'm Australian.