Monday 31 October 2022

Where the wet things are

I'm after finding and finishing Fen, Bog and Swamp  Annie Proulx on the Borrowbox. It's only six hours long but it ranges over fenlands, mangroves and mire across the world and time. Humans are the apotheosis of the first tetrapods who crawled from the ocean to seek a place in the sun on dry land: we've spent the last 2,000 years [at least] converting marginal dank places into solid ground. The Pontine Marshes were drained by the early Roman emperors, converting a rich source of eels and malaria for durum wheat and Frascati. That sounds like a fair exchange . . . for humanity; for the eels and biodiversity in general, not so much.

Yes, it's the same Annie Proulx who brought us [so much joy with] Accordion Crimes and The Shipping News 25 years ago, when I had time and inclination for fiction. I don't know about you, but my baggage about wetlands is rednecks, boggers, 'gators and catfish. This Proulx book is none of the above but rather A Short History of Peatland Destruction and its Role in the Climate Crisis - nevertheless wetlands are a minority interest to most people even if they are not actively repelled by the feel and smell of sucking mud and the creatures that lurk there. Proulx cites with approval an enigmatic artwork by my friend and neighbour Remco de Fouw. It is called Let Sleeping Bogs Lie and I couldn't find a representation anywhere on the internet: so I asked Remco. If you look carefully you can see a face . . . resting . . . for a while . . . to wake . . . maybe at the end of days. Oh, is that the time? It Is!

Perhaps the most concerning loss even at this [late] moment is the loss of mangroves along the salt-water littorals of the tropics and sub-tropics. Mangroves tend to the impenetrable and have no immediate commercial value: tourists? I don't think so! rice? you jest! fish-farms? the antithesis! But when they get grubbed up to serve Thomas Cook or shrimp Penaeus vannamei suddenly people realise that they are a) a buttress against the storm b) a hatchery for pelagic fish c) a serious carbon sink d) bogglingly biodiverse e) difficult to start from scratch f) sustainable if left the hell alone . . . I never did like shrimp.

But don't listen to me, listen to Annie Proulx; well read by Gabra Zackman. 'tis excellent; and only 5 hours long.

I could risk blasphemy,
Consecrate the cauldron bog
Our holy ground and pray
Him to make germinate

Seamus Heaney Tollund Man

Sunday 30 October 2022

End Oct

On the edge of reason

Thursday 27 October 2022

Apples are in

Thursday 13th October, we went down to harvest all the apples in the "Lower Orchard". In pursuit of a trifling DAFF grant ten years ago, we planted 12 apple treelets of 10 different varieties. The grant paid for us to fence off the last 10m of the field across the lane: the only part of our property which is below 200m above datum. In those days, and presumably today, The Man deems ground higher than 200m to be unsuitable for hardwoods, including Malus domestica, the common-or-orchard apple. 

According to our records 1. Valentine 3. Ballinora pippin 4. Kilkenny pearmain 7. Valentine 8. Ballinora pippin. But this is rather unlikely to be correct, because apple #8 is conspicuously different from #3 which is supposed to be of the same variety. All the treelets came from Seedsavers in Co Clare, which page has apple type [cook/eat/zoider]; pollination times and harvest range. 

 The verdict on these apples and their care-and-attention is "could do better". The reason why Widow's Friend is numbered out of sequence is that we couldn't see her head above the sea of bracken which is invading the orchard from the West. It was only as we were leaving that I almost bumped into the top of the 2x2 square stake barely above the tangle of dying bracken. But the old lady is still holding on there despite all the shade although much diminished. 

The same morning we gathered all the apples, I put all but the least wretched fruit from #3 into the kitchen sink and gave them a good rinse. I then halves them, boiled them and bottle 3 jars of apple pulp against an uncertain Winter.

My contacts tell me that 2o22 has been a record year for apples, so nobody is going to be grateful for a presentation pack of apples, no matter how succulent and organic they be.

Tuesday 25 October 2022

Crisp Sandwich Day

That would be Today! St Crispin's Day, natcho. [via Metafilter]

Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this snack,
Let him depart; his sandwich shall be made
with toaster grill if that be his desire:
We would not dine in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to dine with crisps.

Tayto rocks! Original and best.

Monday 24 October 2022

How to be your best self

Did I mention that I attended an Ada Lovelace Women in Science event at The Institute? I did. It was an interesting morning because I secured cogent advice on two quite different aspects of living your best life. The first set is really a bit late for me, but The Blob isn't all about me: it's also about sharing cogent advice with people who are younger than The Bus Pass Years.

Prof Orla Feely [above hanging out with some young engineers at  St Brigid's and St Patrick's National School in Drogheda earlier in the year] is still in post and so quite a bit younger than me; but quite a bit older than the students who passed through my clutches classes between 2013 and 2020. I did my best for them and I suspect that little enough of the abiding memories stemmed from what was on the curriculum: the jokes, the anecdotes, the current affairs references are just more sticky. Prof Feely was, in some sense, addressing her younger [female] self. Some points / advice:

  • Note to The Man: 
    • Do not burden active young women with your gender equality box ticking exercises. It's not on them to carry water for your systemic failings and obtrusive patriarchy. Give the gender equality task to the bloke who is clearly doing the bare minimum for the community . . . even if he is your Top Gun in attracting research funding.
  • Notes to The Women:
    • Carpe diem! If you need to do something which is important to your whole / true self; take time off to do it. Go part-time if child care or elder care require it. Those tedious committee meetings will trundle on without your dynamic input. The Kidder will be in junior infants in a few years and The Dear Old Dad will also move on to the other place. Then you can wale in at work again.
    • Joe Biden: " Show me your budget and I'll see what you value"
    • Orla Feely: "Show me your diary and I'll see what you value" which is a cleverer insight into work-life balance. Not least because it suggests that there is more to "value" than bloody money
    • set your priorities and fight for the top items
    • Find your voice and don't be intimidated by older, blokier, dinosaurs. You are the future, so you have more skin in the game.
    • Reinforce the voice of younger colleagues; ensure that their good points are re-affirmed in meetings
    • Work your network. The patriarchy doesn't go it alone; why should you?
    • Identify mentors, who have done a bit of path-finding
    • In due course, deliver the flame downwards to your students and dependents. Let them take on some responsibility: maybe a little bit more than they feel comfortable with.
There that will do: young women of science, you don't want the message filtered through a blobby old silverback. Find your mentor.

Sunday 23 October 2022

Sung snug gnus guns

♬ ♪I'm a gnu, a gnother gnu ♫ ♩

Friday 21 October 2022

Slouching to Jerusalem

 I was quite snitty about Tim Egan's reportage on the Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome. My main gripe was that he embarked on his journey specifically to monetize the experience with another of his well-crafted books: it was performative. My experience of pilgrimage is that it can be a massive fail if you start with expectations - those expectations tend to blinker the pilgrim to the new . . . including the numinous. I remember St James's Day 2004: lining up with The Boy in the broad stairwell to get our Compostella in Santiago. Slumped on a step another pilgrim wailed "is that all?" to his mates: all that trudge, all those blisters and still untransfigured - robbed.

The Lawd The Borrowbox Algorithm must be calling me back to The Way because, no sooner had I ticked off Tim Egan, but I was reading The Crossway [2018] by Guy Stagg. He walked the Via Francigena in 2013 starting in midwinter and crossing the Col du Grand St-Bernard . . . in a whiteout. He should have died, but he figured that in the old days many pilgrims made it, so it was possible. Being from The Arts Block, he didn't care to get out the back of an envelope to determine probable? He arrived in Rome, did the sights but had not intended to stop. Rather, he set out across Italy on the Appian Way to Bari, picked up the Via Egnatia in Durrës, Albania and walked to Constantinople. Loving but leaving a green-eyed Albania girl called Esme.

He had a tent and a sleeping bag but generally he was handed off from one refuge to another, sharing dinner with monks and sleeping in austere bunks. He stayed briefly in Meteora, Greece [R] as well as Mount Athos. The week he arrived in Istanbul, the riots against Erdoğan kicked off and the journalist in him hung around to get tear-gassed . . . but not pepper-sprayed or, like, shot. But The City, like Rome, was only a way-station to The Promised Land. 

Turkish hospitality took him further along the way to more flat-bread, olives and cheese in Cyprus, Lebanon and Israel. He couldn't go through Syria because Sarin. He arrived in Jerusalem and did the round of sites in the various quarters of the city. He had accepted that he too was going to be untransfigured at the Dome of The Rock but healing and redemption had been dumped from his agenda a good many miles back along the journey. Like a real pilgrim, who goes beyond Santiago to Fisterra, the End of the World, Stagg shoulders his pack and heads East into The Desert. That's not enough either, but it doesn't matter because he's been there under his own steam. If he doesn't believe, he can at least roll back through the (gorgeous) photographic evidence of his journey. Because he is not the same, troubled, youth as he was before he left London. 

Pilgrimage has much to recommend it for unbelievers.

The darkness drops again; but now I know   
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,   
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,   
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Wednesday 19 October 2022

Here come the grockles

Lonely Planet has included The Copper Coast in their 2022 Offbeat bucket list. Trá na mBó is no longer The Secret Beach as it is specifically named as hidden honeypot for randommers in Peoria and Goteborg to plan their niche weddings. No sensible person is going to do this. Sensible folks must realize the irony of publishing lists of hidden places and consult the guide as places to avoid if they want to avoid the dowd crowd.  I guess there's a christmas / birthday market "let's send this book to Weird Uncle Jenks, so he won't be tempted to come visit us next Summer".

It happens that I have an excellent photograph of Costa na Déise at the very height of its charms, maybe Fiendface it at old Jenks?

And of course Dear Reader, I don't mean you. You are kind, discerning, keep your dog on a leash and take your litter home . . . and there's only a dozen of you anyway; half of whom are [otherwise engaged] in Ukraine.

* Grockle n. sarcastic name for a tourist in Devon and Cornwall

Monday 17 October 2022

A bit weak in the head

 The Boy takes The Economist. A few months ago, he was clearing the back-catalog of the print magazine and ripped out a big wodge of articles on science, books, engineering, politics, the Arts . . . and sent the parcel on to me. He correctly surmised that some of this material might be Blob-fodder.

One piece tinkled a bell for me because it started with a familiar diagram [above] of 200 years of incest in the royal families of Europe: there are a lot of uncles bonking their nieces to keep wealth in the family. That family tree was familiar because, in the 1970s, I'd spent a tuthree weeks of my time as an undergraduate calculating the inbreeding coefficient of these same people . . . and finding that this was inversely correlated with their fertility. I really should have devoted more time to the actual curriculum because I'd surely have gotten tenure at Harvard Haverfordwest; rather than subjecting my pay-check to 40 years of short-term contracts.

The Economist article is an executive summary of an academic paper History’s Masters: The Effect of European Monarchs on State Performance by Sebastian Ottinger and Nico Voigtländer from UCLA. They ignored extended my earlier analysis and considered the geopolitical effects of inbreeding and intellectual compromise. Where to get data? They have abstracted data from such sources as Frederick A. Woods (1906). Mental and Moral Heredity in Royalty: A Statistical Study in History and Psychology. Woods doesn't merit an entry in Wikipedia but in his day, he was a leader in application of science to history. His book wasn't peer reviewed but some of his conclusions were dissed by those who came after when his patriarchal certainties about the world before 1914 were put under the scrutiny of a different set of values. 

The paper makes a bit of a guy about poor Carlos II of Spain El Heckizado [L] who was not the most robust twig on the Habsburg family tree: developmental delay, intellectual disability, dysarthria, skeletal deformity, recurrent infections, epilepsy and infertility possibly caused by aspartylglucosaminuria. a lysosomal storage disorder. Poor bugger, he'd had cut a better figure if modern medical interventions had been available - his family would have been able to afford the astronomical cost. In contrast the fact that the whole dynasty was founded by Joan the Mad Juana la Loca is reduced to a footnote by Ottinger and Voigtländer. Which is possibly fair enough: it is not clear to present day sensibilities that Juana was "mad" so much as depressed by the weight of expectation on her shoulders. 

The conclusion is that inbreeding adversely affected a) the subjective assessment of ruler's ability and b) the size of that ruler's empire.  a) is derived from opinions by long dead dudes like Frederick A Woods about even longer dead dudes like Carlos V of the lithp. So there's a good bit of slack in there. For b) here at least the dependent and independent variables are reasonably quantifiable although the overall pattern is noisy. Note [R clipped from the Economist] that Henri II lost more land than Carlos II but was significantly more out-bred than his opposite number south of the Pyrenees.  I've read [well, I've scanned] the original paper and it's not obvious whence this graph has been conjured. But don't listen to me, what do I know about statistical history. If you're interested, here's a 90 min prez by Voigtländer on his paper for the Asia Global Institute, a multidisciplinary think tank co-established by The University of Hong Kong and the Fung Global Institute. Marx knows what the communists will make of all these degenerate royals.

Friday 14 October 2022

Soil symphony

Mad busy I was on Tuesday [11Oct22]. Set off 40km NW at 08:50 to attend an Ada Lovelace day event about Women in Science in which I have an interest. The keynote speaker was electronic engineer Orla Feely who is also Veep Research, Innovation and Impact VPRII? from UCD. It wasn't really for me - SETU's largest auditorium was filled with SARS-CoV2 schoolkids and Prof Feely was haranguing them from two enormous Dear Leader screens.  more on this later

After lunch The Beloved and I set off 40km SE to view an exhibition Below Ground of artistic reflections on soil in one of the stable blocks of Johnstown "stately home" Castle outside of Wexford Town. J.C. is one leg of the for profit govt subsidized tripod called Irish Heritage Trust. The exhibition was fine, it featured works by Cathy Reddy, Eileen Hutton, Frank Ashwood, Giulia Canevari, Hanneke van Ryswyk, Wim van Egmond and John Finn; who are all associated with The Model County. It would be a job of work to shoe horn all the works into "Below Ground" but that's okay. Everything stems from, or stands on, or exchanges fluids with, the soil. So we had a pleasant short hour reading the (engagingly informal unpretentious) explanatory notes and came away with Ideas. Win!

To get to the exhibition we had to pass through the turnstiles [€7 each with Elder discount] in a huge café gift-shop where we stopped for a warming bevvie after the edutainment. Did I say it was huge? It was like the departure lounge / duty-free of a mid-sized airport. I guess Irish Heritage Trust entertain tour buses full of people in need of souvenirs: which were enterprisingly diverse, reasonably supportive of local business and frequently priced at €10 flat. If you can't afford €10 for a tin mug with a picture of Johnstown Castle you really should have stayed at home in Akron-Nagoya-Frankfurt?!

They close the Castle at 17:30 "sharp" which left us with 2 hours to kill until 19:30 when the Wexford Science Café was going to discuss Below Ground with Natalie Oram and John Finn co-curators and Teagasc employees. (Dina in 't Zandt the third curator was pushing the frontiers elsewhere that night). Accordingly we went into town and had [fancy] dinner at Green Acres like the comparatively wealthy adults that we are. All day we were shedding cash left and right to prop up the local economy. We even went shopping for birthday cake ingredients in Dunnes Stores opposite the train station.

The WSC Below Ground was the fizziest session we've probably ever hosted: comments, clarifications, questions, push-back, to-fro, insight and viewpoints from every corner of the room. It was great. It's true that the planet would have been better off if we'd ploughed the day's carbon footprint into one of our fields. But we are now better informed about the most effective, elegant and economic way of doing that.

Wednesday 12 October 2022

Latkes by lamplight

Hope y'all are fuel-fixed for the winter. Energy prices have spiked because of events at the other end of Europe. We cook on a mighty Rangemaster Nexus [as L, not so clean, less meat] dual-fuel cooker: 3 electric ovens, 5 bottled-gas burners and a plate-warmer / bread-proving drawer. But we also have a Waterford 104 wood-burning stove with a flat top and have cooked on that in an emergency. A couple of un-emergency times we've cooked fondue on the 104 which conveniently projects enough out into the room so that 6 reasonably polite [elbows in!] people can sit and dip together. Standing orders in Chateau Blob include that the brave Waterford 104 has both kettles full of water whenever there is heat within to be captured.

Last Saturday just after lunch, the electricity flipped OFF subjecting a few parishes to a power cut. I was out chopping wood and hadn't washed the dishes but I wasn't too concerned, because we don't live in an Oblast, and as the weather was good and, so the fault was likely to be isolated and fixed soon. Winter storms bring down power-lines everywhere and it can take hours or even days to restore the 'lectric.

The WWWireless soon reported that the fault was located and would be fixed by 18:00, so we kept calm and carried on rather than flapping about making contingency plans - candles, torches, water-conservation, keep freezer closed. But shortly before 6pm, the resolution time was pushed out to 7pm and then to 20:30. And that was how I finished cooking a slightly sloppy pan of potato latkes by the light of a single candle. Because sunset was at 18:03 and it was full dark inside [astronomical twilight] by 19:00. 

It didn't help that the gas started to sputter just as I started cooking; and I had to switch cylinders outside round the back of the house. Last time I bought a 34kg gas bottle it cost more than €100 and it won't be that cheap when I replace this one. We have two cylinders connected to the cooker by a flip-valve. In the old, only gas cooker days, when we were catering for four, a 12.5kg cylinder would last exactly 3 weeks - baking all the bread is not free.

I'm not make predictions about energy availability this winter but this event has been a handy wake-up call to put on my prepper hat. And, not for the first time, I've been reflecting on how casual we are about the utilities of modern life. I don't need to clean out the range in the morning before a kettle goes on the hob and, when it comes to cooking or reading, I defo don't heed that it is  dark outside . We don't have small children, or elders, or chronic illness in our home, so I won't whine if we have to endure a few rolling power-cuts this winter. And being retired, I don't have to make tea / eat dinner / take a shower between 17:00 and 19:00 when national power consumption maxxes out. Take care, take it handy.

Monday 10 October 2022

Something rotten in the state of Dance-mark

Our girls Dau.I and Dau.II grew up in the rural midlands and never went to school. Their education was very much on the unschooling end of the spectrum and they showed no interest in team sports - presumably taking a cue from the parents. But they spent a lot of time in the car [carbon footprint hadn't been discovered in the 00s] listening to audio-books, singing and wrangling [it all started when she hit me back] . . . while en route to events. Ballet, tin-whistle, flute, speech&drama, painting . . . one year they joined a local marching band, had rehearsals one evening a week, with parades on the weekend. The enterprise was run as a business, run by a family embedded in the community transitioning into its second generation of leadership. It was cliquey and incestuous; week after week our girls got to carry the effin' banner while the other kids played instruments. After a season of paying their dues and learning neither fife nor drum, they jacked it in.

In their other musical endeavours there was  a lot of pressure to sit exams. Music teachers are trying to make a living and there is high turnover in the clientele: mostly sub-teens before they discover sex, booze and rock&roll. Teachers need those exam results to establish their own street cred, any benefit for the examinees is incidental.

At least they never opted for Irish Dance where there is an additional burden of the fake hair, the fake tan, the bling of sequins on electric-coloured synthetic costumes, the bleeding toe-nails, the money it all costs. Modern dance-frocks cost as much as a wedding dress: comfortably into the $X,xxx range. A couple of days ago, an Irish Dance cheating scandal blew up. From the headlines it seemed equivalent to the competitive fishing fixing [covered in puns by MetaFilter] or chess cheating [Guardian] and I was all set to post it to MetaFilter as another example of how money and power corrupt every pastime they envelop: even had a clever title which I have recycled above. It's easy to play these things for larfs when a) nobody died and b) we can other the protagonists as bib-overalled rubes [competitive catfish fishers] or cerebral wonks [grandmaster chessters]

Someone else posted a MeFi link about the scandal so I didn't have to. I dithered because, as I read around the story, suddenly it wasn't fun, let alone funny, anymore. A series leaked txts mentioned "exchanging sexual favours for higher scores" which sounded like teachers whoring out their pupils and radio chat-show host Joe Duffy had a segment where the father a dead dancer called in to say that the community and culture of competitive Irish dancing hadn't helped his daughter's mental health. I learned later that the sexual favours were more about teacher taking one [up the oompah] for the team than pimping which brings it down to ordinary consenting adults levels of eeeuw.

Don't get me started on Michael Flatley's Riverdance fascist extravaganzas. Worryingly Lord of the Dance is performing [tix €50-€100] in Meistersingerhalle Nürnberg on 19th October 2022. Just 88 years and 880m from where Leni Riefenstahl shot Triumph des Willens.

Sunday 9 October 2022

Diary of a Nobody

DoaN: Gowing's always coming and Cummings' always going

Friday 7 October 2022


Adam Kay was clever, shy, gay and confused when he was eased into Med School by his GP father and sundry other doctory relatives. A kindly mentor suggested that, as well as learning the name of every nodule and muscle-attachment on his 'half-skeleton', he might contribute to the Christmas revue. And it was so, and he was good at that and happier there than in other aspects of his medical training. I wrote about how he jacked in his scrubs after a harrowing death under his hands.

That first book This is going to hurt, was a [surprise?] run-away best-seller which allowed him and his partner to move out of a shit-hole into a nicer place to live. A few years later, because he hadn't practiced medicine, he lost his certificate to do so. He published a second book of memoirs Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas, at least partly because that was going to support his agent, his publisher and WH Smith. These books are funny and intermittently harrowing, which is a genre. 

Now there's a 3rd volume Undoctored, also on Borrowbox, which is harrowing and intermittently funny. While the previous books were not without introspection and self-analysis, this one is much more personal / confessional and frankly uncomfortable reading. There is a belief that you can achieve psychological relief from your mental roilings by articulating the memories with a trusted person: a catholic confessor, maybe; or a psychotherapist / analyst. Adam Kay chooses to share a lot of intimate personal details with thousands of random readers rather than one discrete qualified person. Given that he was, for several months, stalked by an obsessive admirer he had encountered on Twitter; his sharing in Undoctored borders on pathological. But what do I know? I'm altogether too buttoned up.

Whatevs! I regret getting far too much distinctly unfunny information from & about this comedian.

Wednesday 5 October 2022

Will walk with water

I have notions about how to walk places. 

  • Pilgrimage is best taken alone. If you go with a pal, you will turn towards each other in adversity rather than embracing the threat opportunity.
  • Unless you really know your {butterflies | dicots | fungi} onions, a guided walk in the hills may be of value. It's nice to be shown a thing or two; and you may even remember some of the names. If you go with a pal, chances are you'll turn your heads inwards (for the natter, like) oblivious of the hen harrier Circus cyaneus cruising above your nodding heads.
  • If you want a natter, like, then a riverside walk is recommended.

During pandemic breaks, I had a short handful of engaging walks along the tow-path of the Barrow Navigation. Walking increases blood-flow and some of that bleeds into the brain, so thinking may be a bit sharper out in the breeze. And it's cheap: two coffees and a slice of cake cost me €15 on a different mentoring gig . . . not to mention sitting in a warm fug of microdroplets from strangers' spittle for an hour.

The Beloved's Bruv + 1 were over in Ireland for a week in the middle of September. They were heading to a different hemisphere for who knows how long and so we went for a walk beside a different river along the Glasbhealach na Déise. Ireland used to be criss-crossed with 5,500 km of railways, at least partly because much of it is flat and so cheaper to engineer rights-of-way. There once was a railway between Waterford and Dungarvan (and Fermoy and Mallow). This involved many bridges, culverts, embankments, tunnels, viaducts; some spectacular. The railway service was closed in the 1960s having run at a loss for too long. But re-opened as 46 km of car-free roadway in 2004. 

It's wonderful. We did a modest section of the route from Killoteran to Kilmeaden where the path hugs close to the River Suir and the dinky little toy train [€10 each seat] runs beside the track. The station at Kilmeadan is a bustling café where we paused for coffee in the sunshine, before heading back. The sign [R] is clear about who gives way to whom w.r.t. trains. But things are much less clear with pedestrians and bikes. I'll confess to feeling a bit h(a)unted by cyclists in lycra but apparently without bell.

Monday 3 October 2022

Tik Mak Shu

Imagine living in a country where all the signage was new: ვცხოვრობ პურ-ყველის გამო. Where do you even start to make sense of the built environment? I guess you'd start by looking for similar glyphs on shop-fronts ცხოვრბ პურ-ყელის გამ I've colored the O and V letters in the Georgian phrase in the first sentence. I remember sitting in a harborside cafe in Greece and sounding out φαρμακείο:  Ph - a - r - m - a - k - é - i - o . . . oh! Pharmacy, that's where I need to go for more sunscreen. We are blessed to live in a multicultural society, and we should cut the New Irish some slack in navigating their new home. Waterford would be a poor place without pierogi, pizza and paratha. 

A few years ago, a young Georgian friend [prev] of the family sent The Beloved a txt announcing that she'd bought something nice in Tik Mak Shu. It took a while to twig that the mystery shop was a wayward transliteration of TK-Maxx (shop?) which operates on the slogan Get big brand wins at small prices

Some members of my family have bought into that pitch and in their company I have been inside several of Mr Maxx's emporiums. I wonder / wander around the homewares looking for even one win at a small price. What I see are ranks of tasteless tat which an enthusiast from Marketing has persuaded Product Development will be an End of Year Bonus winner.

Sadly not. If that EYBW had been a success, containers of unsellable product wouldn't have been shipped to TKM for ignominious disposal. It's hard to compare, because TKM stock leans to peculiar [as L - does any of that look remotely useful?], but none of it looks cheap. But in most cases, you could get something with more functionality, less bling/blurgh, for the same money in a regular department store.

William Morris is the chap to guide us here "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful"

Sunday 2 October 2022

Sunday gallimaufry

It's a one stop not stop shop [R]