Saturday, January 20, 2007

While the wind howls...

Well I think we got of lightly with the weather. Whenever I mention I live in Edinburgh on the whole the response is one of rolled eyes and allusions to snow, force nine gales and the lack of sun. Now, due to global warming, all the really atrocious weather seems to stay south of the border and with predictions of warmer summers I'm thinking of buying a bit of beach somewhere and putting up a hotel and outdoor pool. A couple of hundred years from now this part of the coast will be the new Med!

Last weekend on a trip to Nottingham I was able to say goodbye to Van the Man, who along with his lady friend, are planning to spend the next year travelling the world and seeing what it has to offer. A party was held in celebration and it was nice to see so many old faces in one room. Drinks were drunk, stories told and many a back was slapped as memories were dusted off and hoisted up the flag pole.

First port of call is Delhi were the web tells me it’s a nice twenty degrees but the humidity is 81 and that snakes & ladders was created by the 13th century Indian poet saint Gyandev. It was originally called 'Mokshapat.' The ladders in the game represented virtues and the snakes indicated vices. The game was played with cowrie shells and dices. Later through time, the game underwent several modifications but the meaning is the same i.e good deeds take us to heaven and evil to a cycle of re-births.

Next up to have a leaving bash is PC Benny, who has accepted a position in the police force that protects the borders of Devon and Cornwall against pirates and those that would rob them of their scones and thick cream. He is also having a leaving do but we'll be travelling back from Florence when it's on.

Went to my first meeting of the Coffee and Comics brigade and reviewed Pride of Baghdad. This is a beautifully illustrated interpretation of the real life escape from the Baghdad zoo of a family of lions during the invasion of Iraq. It's a poignant story about the freedom of the people, the tyranny of the ruling classes and misguided judgement of the American forces.

I have also just finished Blackberry Wine. This is a favourite of Lady H's and one which she persuaded me to read (and I'm glad she did). It falls into the area of magical realism while
Harris describes the book as "a relative - a second cousin, perhaps" to Chocolat (I've seen the film, but plan now to read the book). The idea of magic and ghosts permeate throughout the novel but it's done so subtly. I like it that way, I never want the magic explained because then it's just a cheap parlour trick.

Tomorrow I plan to go and see the January Turner's. Works of art that are only allowed out the box for one month of the year - I wonder what they do the rest of time, when no one is looking?

Read this week:
Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan with art by Niko Henrichon
Blackberry Wine by Joanne Harris

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