Wednesday 30 May 2007

Dodderyoldfart. Goodbye, Friend.

Tonight I'm sad, I've had news that a friend has died. A friend I never met in person, a friend of the blog world, of comments and of emails. Yet a friend, nevertheless. The world is a lesser place.
A couple of days ago I was taking photographs, to send to him for his blog. Recently he sent me something for mine. I can't believe he's gone.

Doddery. As I knew him, from Dodderyoldfart, the name he adopted for his blog.
He was a roadworker, in New Zealand. Taranaki/Awakino, places I know only through his words and pictures. Simon, (for that was his name outside of the blogosphere), worked on the highways. In his blog, with great humour, he described the places, the work, the people, and so much more besides. In doing so he revealed his philosophy of life, his belief in the value of honest toil, in the values of doing the job right. He was often called out at night, or in storms, to recover vehicles, repair, cut fallen trees, clear landslips, sometimes to deal with the tragedies of the highway.
He wrote of the people on the roads. workers and travellers, gentle folk and fools.
We often pass those men in the bright high-vis jackets, and give them not a thought.
I'm a working man too. A man in dirty overalls and steel-toed boots. I'd like to think that my working garb does not define me. Doddery's certainly didn't define him. He was well read, a thinker, a philosopher of the back-hoe.
He enjoyed his work, for the most part, it seems The machines were his toys. He cared that a job was done right.
In my imagined world of the blog archipelago, the lights on a friendly island have winked out. A patch of darkness, a sense of loss. A couple of days ago he was firing off witticisms, sparking comments, now he's gone.
The only consolation is that I understand he died suddenly, without warning, of natural causes.
I hope there's a heaven. And a new entrant... frowning at the road surface... searching around for some tools. Muttering about potholes.
And I hope he's told "The tools are coming soon... But today, mate, take the day and go fishing. -and the pub's doing free beer tonight, Doddery."

I guess it won't happen. But I'd like to imagine him being carried to his last resting place in the back of his truck, and laid to rest in a neatly dug trench, properly backfilled... And topped with a gleaming, perfectly rolled, cambered, tarred seal. Maybe a white line... And a sign
Rest Area..

Addendum- This just in on the comments:

"Well, Doddery DID get carried on the back of his truck! He was taken home from the hospital by his amazing workmates on the back of his truck for an amazing funeral send off.
- posted by one of his sisters."
08 June 2007 01:13

John Donne (1572-1631) "Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions", Meditation XVII:

"All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated....."

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manner of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

Tuesday 29 May 2007

The Sisterhood of the Pointy Heels

There is a 'Sisterhood of the Pointy Heels'
Did you ever wonder, looking at a small child, toppling its way around the room in mummy's shoes, how they go from that to click-clacking down the high-street, in shoes that seem designed to negate any chance of walking?
Grit in the Gears followed up the rumours of a Sisterhood, and infiltrated our photographer into a secret passing-out ceremony, in a place I dare not reveal.
We warned him that they might take measures against him.
In this picture he has just been struck down by a flying projectile like a boomerang, but which he heard referred to as a "Blahnik". Moments later, the marching throng wheeled, and stamped his camera into the dust. He spent several weeks in a 'hospital' facility on their island, but we managed to negociate his freedom, in return for his body-weight in chocolate.
Actually, we negociated that in the first week.
The other three they spent feeding him stodgy meals.
Only when we stipulated that his weight was measured at a medical examination a week before he was captured did they stop force-feeding him.
Unbeknown to the sisterhood, prior to his capture, he mounted a backup satellite-linked time-lapse camera in a nearby tree.
This image got through the jamming.
Close scrutiny reveals a surprisingly large variation in standard issue shoes.
Grit in the Gears seeks any further information, about the Sisterhood, and its cunning plan.

Fantasy: Shoe Day

I just had a weekend in a very wet countryside. These were in a local shop window.

Sunday 20 May 2007

Can anybody guess what these are?

Clue: About 9" long. and ribbed.

Fantasy Shoe Day again

I think that giant woman who left the big red pointy shoe has been around again.
We men are feeling a little insecure....

Saturday 19 May 2007

Fantasy Shoe Day......Revisited.

For a friend who's in need of a laugh.
In fact, for anyone who's being screwed about by the their once significant other.

In These Shoes?

A song, by the late, greatly talented, sorely missed, Kirsty Mc Coll

Tuesday 15 May 2007

Trees -Joyce Kilmer. 1886–1918

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

My comment on this....
Starts well.
That first couplet is great. Then...... Yawn
The rest is a big disappointment. I must read some more by Kilmer, see if that couplet was a lone flash of greatness.
Ogden Nash took it, re-used it.
And did a far better job.

Addendum: Dec 27th 2007.
I get a lot of visitors here, who have googled kilmer+tree.
So let's have a clear statement from me, unequivocal.
"I think Kilmer's verse is globally mediocre. Stop studying it, it's not worth the effort."
You Kilmer searchers never leave comments. So I suppose you agree with me.

Song of the Open Road -Ogden Nash 1902-1971

I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree
Indeed, unless the billboards fall
I'll never see a tree at all.

Ogden Nash

Very Like a Whale, by Ogden Nash 1902-1971

Very Like a Whale

One thing that literature would be greatly the better for
Would be a more restricted employment by the authors of simile and metaphor.
Authors of all races, be they Greeks, Romans, Teutons or Celts,
Can't seem just to say that anything is the thing it is but have to go out of their way to say that it is like something else.
What does it mean when we are told
That that Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold?
In the first place, George Gordon Byron had enough experience
To know that it probably wasn't just one Assyrian, it was a lot of
However, as too many arguments are apt to induce apoplexy and
Thus hinder longevity.
We'll let it pass as one Assyrian for the sake of brevity.
Now then, this particular Assyrian, the one whose cohorts were
gleaming in purple and gold,
Just what does the poet mean when he says he came down like a
wolf on the fold?
In heaven and earth more than is dreamed of in our philosophy
there are great many things.
But I don't imagine that among them there is a wolf with purple
and gold cohorts or purple and gold anythings.
No, no, Lord Byron, before I'll believe that this Assyrian was
actually like a wolf I must have some kind of proof;
Did he run on all fours and did he have a hairy tail and a big red
mouth and big white teeth and did he say Woof Woof?
Frankly I think it is very unlikely, and all you were entitled to say,
at the very most,
Was that the Assyrian cohorts came down like a lot of Assyrian
cohorts about to destroy the Hebrew host.
But that wasn't fancy enough for Lord Byron, oh dear me no, he had to invent a lot of figures of speech and then interpolate them,
With the result that whenever you mention Old Testament soldiers
to people they say Oh yes, they're the ones that a lot of
wolves dressed up in gold and purple ate them.
That's the kind of thing that's being done all the time by poets,
from Homer to Tennyson;
They're always comparing ladies to lilies and veal to venison,
And they always say things like that the snow is a white blanket
after a winter storm.
Oh it is, is it, all right then, you sleep under a six-inch blanket of
snow and I'll sleep under a half-inch blanket of unpoetical
blanket material and we'll see which one keeps warm,
And after that maybe you'll begin to comprehend dimly
What I mean by too much metaphor and simile.

Ogden Nash

Thursday 10 May 2007

The Rolling English Road -G.K. Chesterton, 1874-1936

The Rolling English Road -G.K. Chesterton

Before the Roman came to Rye or out to Severn strode,
The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road.
A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire,
And after him the parson ran, the sexton and the squire;
A merry road, a mazy road, and such as we did tread
The night we went to Birmingham by way of Beachy Head.

I knew no harm of Bonaparte and plenty of the Squire,
And for to fight the Frenchman I did not much desire;
But I did bash their baggonets because they came arrayed
To straighten out the crooked road an English drunkard made,
Where you and I went down the lane with ale-mugs in our hands,
The night we went to Glastonbury by way of Goodwin Sands.

His sins they were forgiven him; or why do flowers run
Behind him; and the hedges all strengthening in the sun?
The wild thing went from left to right and knew not which was which,
But the wild rose was above him when they found him in the ditch.
God pardon us, nor harden us; we did not see so clear
The night we went to Bannockburn by way of Brighton Pier.

My friends, we will not go again or ape an ancient rage,
Or stretch the folly of our youth to be the shame of age,
But walk with clearer eyes and ears this path that wandereth,
And see undrugged in evening light the decent inn of death;
For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen,
Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green. |

- G.K. Chesterton

This Poem is posted for all Roadworkers, and in particular for Doddery, on the side of the world where it's winter, I recommend you visit the bloke who looks after the roads too many of us take for granted, the bloke who fills the holes, the bloke who picks up the pieces when we get it wrong......

Sunday 6 May 2007

A Virgin, naked, on a Dragon sits.

In Response to comments...

Pulchritudo Foeminea-Henry Peacham (1546-1634)
From Minerva Britanna, 1612

A Virgin, naked on a dragon, sits.
One hand outstetch'd a cristall glasse doth show:
The other bears a dart, that deadly hits;
Upon her head a garland white as snow,
Of print and lilies beauty most desir'd,
Were I her painter, should be thus attir'd.

Her nakedness tells ,she needes no art:
Her glass, how we by sight are mov'd to love,
The wounde's unfelt that's given by the dart
At first(though deadly we it after prove)
The Dragon (de)notes love's poison: and the flowers, The frailtie (Ladies) of that pride of yours.

I'm not clever enough to upload it in clearer form...
Blogger lets me select small, medium, large as picture size. The original is much clearer.

Offices To Let

That Sinking Feeling

One of my work colleagues sold his house and went to live on a canal boat.
He was full of the benefits and joys of doing so, the reduction in his expenses, the joys of fishing from his living room, having swans as neighbours, there seemed to be no downside. Except perhaps the narrow rooms...I visited him a few weeks back......This was not his boat. The occupant was away.
The night before, kids had opened a lock gate further down the canal. As the boat-dwellers slept, the level went down.
Most of the boats just sat on the bottom. It's only about four feet deep.
This boat, however, snagged on a stone ledge. And tipped. Until the canal came in.
somehow I'm not tempted to sell up and join the floating folk any more.

Fantasy Shoe Day

I used to read a blog that was full of poetry that stretched my mind, and also made me smile.
The blogger is away, on hiatus, dealing with with bigger things than blogging, and her blogs are gone, and sorely missed.

She's going through troubled times, with not a lot of fun , I thought maybe a few of her blogworld friends might try to give her a smile by posting their own 'fantasy shoe day' items.

Here's a few I found.