Friday 31 August 2012


More tinkering with the diorama.

Must get this church right.

It's the window of the church that's hopeless. Also, the cars are driving on the wrong side of the road.

Last night's dinner:

Fish and chips washed down with one of my favourite soft drinks: Vimto.

Last night's concert:

The Philarmonia playing Bruckner's 4th Symphony, "The Romantic".

Very disappointing attendance, but the seat as high up in the auditorium as one could be was excellent both from a visual, an auditory and a financial  point of view.

My hand on my knee.

Could almost touch the ceiling.

Thursday 30 August 2012

Steak and kidney pudding.

Further fine tuning of diorama - still not wholly successful.

Yesterday, I described the atmosphere of these photographs of my draft diorama as "post-apocalyptic". Actually, "just after dawn" would have been just as good a term.

The church is not quite right - it looks as if it's made from a single sheet of cardboard whereas the main building (I think) looks pretty real.

Another shot showing the juxtaposition of white paper buildings and grey cardboard ones.

Not sure which "finish" to go for. Pretty sure the two styles cannot co-exist.

Last night's dinner:

Steak and kidney pudding, carrots and broccoli.

Continuing with the Tracey Emin collection - at times quite profound.

Bruckner's 4th Symphony, "the Romantic".

Off to the Usher Hall in Edinburgh tonight for the The Philarmonia under Esa Pekka Salonen.

Really looking forward to it.

As one grows older and feels that each week could be one's last on this earth, it seems important to pack in as many momentous experiences as one can. I anticipate tonight's performance to be one such.

Esa Pekka Salonen was born in Helsinki in 1958 - he looks about 25 years old.

Wednesday 29 August 2012

A better photograph.

Really pleased with this photograph - very atmospheric. The eyelessness of the car and of the windows of the building that the car is passing gives the scene a post-apocalyptic feel.

Also, the scale looks about right.

Last night's dinner:

Artichokes and rice washed down with a pint of milk.

Teenage Fanclub:

Keep humming their song: "I don't want control of you".

Downloaded the lyrics

I don't want control of you
Doesn't matter to me
The very heart and soul of you
Are places I wanna see

Everyday I look in a different face
Feelings getting stronger with every embrace

I don't want a world of pain
Staring at every tear
Don't want this love to stay the same
Growing with every year

Everyday I look in a different face
Feelings getting stronger with every embrace

Tired of situations
That mean nothing to me
You've been an inspirational figure for me

Everyday I look in a different face
Feelings getting stronger with every embrace

I don't want control of you
Doesn't matter to me
I want this love to stay the same
Growing with every year

Everyday I look in a different face
Feelings getting stronger with every embrace


They're pretty feeble when I see them written out like this but that's probably the difference between lyrics and poetry. Lyrics are hugely elevated by their musical accompaniment. Most pop lyrics need the music.

Tuesday 28 August 2012

Christine Schafer

Experimented with painting the streets.

Further experimentation required.

Last night's dinner:

Economy drive continues and actually bought a Dover Sole from the supermarket which had the yellow "reduced price" label on it because it was last day of the "use by date".

Wouldn't normally take a risk with the age of fish but turned out to be OK although utterly tasteless.

with a pea and asparagus risotto

Today's listening:

This CD by Christine Schafer and a string quartet in accompaniment.

She has a voice of considerable purity.

Monday 27 August 2012

Sound bites/one liners/prayers

Added a bit more to the draft diorama.

Very difficult to get the lighting right when using a phone camera.

Tracey Emin:

Have been dipping into Tracey Emin's recently published collection of the articles she wrote for the Independent newspaper. Very enjoyable. Full of brilliant one liners.

But that's the problem. It's easy to live off one liners and sound bites but where is the overarching philosophy of life.

I should have said "that's my problem".

This tendency I have of beseeching God's help on a case-by-case, incident-by-incident basis is exhausting. Also, events can take one by surprise and in the heat of the moment one can forget to ask for God's intervention  and end up trying to resolve the situation on one's own. Always a recipe for disaster in my experience.

It would be better to have God's presence always within one, radiating out of one at all times and automatically guiding one's behaviour at all times.

How does one invite God into one's life to be a permanent presence?

I think this is where the Holy Spirit enters into the equation. The key word is probably "invite".

Last night's dinner:

Thoroughly enjoyed it.

Chicken leg, black pudding and peas.

Washed down with a claret.

Currently listening to:


And their 1995 album: Leftism

Sunday 26 August 2012

Intercessionary Failure

Town planning plus some more painted features:

Street level
Last night's dinner:

Again, forgot to photograph it. This recurrent laxness is a symptom of something.

Anyway, it was beef olives ie sausage meat wrapped in minute steak.

They were actually a bit too high quality for me, the minute steak was more like rump steak. I prefer the sausage meat to dominate. In fact I must get the butcher concerned to give me a pound of sausage meat alone and I'll do something with that.

For those of you who can't imagine what a beef olive looks like here is a picture of SOMEBODY ELSE'S downloaded from the web.

Intercessionary failure:

We're all familiar with the saying, "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" and with the passage in the New Testament when Jesus finds his disciples asleep when he has asked them to stay awake and keep him company in his darkest hour.

So, going back to a few blogs ago when I resolved to include in my intercessionary prayers the specific plea to God that he helps me to "want" to do such and such, I am reminded of my own propensity to fall asleep at the drop of a hat. I can actually sleep in a vertical position!

I had quite a lot to do this morning but then about 11 o'clock that wave of sleepiness began to make its presence felt.

In my opinion, God would have wanted me to stay awake and resist the call from the land of nod.

In other words, with my new resolve, I should have prayed to God "for the desire  to stay awake". But I actually couldn't bring myself to ask him to make me change my desires. It was a mental block.

I wanted to fall asleep and I didn't want not to want to fall asleep.


Teenage Fanclub again:

Presumably back then.

Presumably nearer nowadays.

Saturday 25 August 2012

Town Planning plus some paint

Added some features to one of yesterday's cut out buildings - they're far too big and will have to be scrubbed out and done again. Still, a useful exercise in getting things prepared for when I make the ceramic model.

Last night's dinner:

My sister gave me a voucher for fish and chips for my recent birthday - much appreciated, I might add.

I'd be very surprised if the restaurant is still open in 6 months time. Friday night and it was empty. It's got an utterly hopeless location in my view. The chips were outstanding. Very pleasant owner who did everything so there won't be much of a wages bill, but even so.

Playing records loudly:

Sometimes, and for no detectable reason, I like to listen to beat music very loudly. By mistake my laptop speakers were on a very high setting today and I found the effect exhilarating.

The record in question was Teenage Fanclub again.

Friday 24 August 2012

Town planning

Couldn't really be bothered doing anything to the layout - mentally exhausted. But one good thing about doing this daily blog is that it puts pressure on one to do something to the layout so that one has something to report.

So did a little on the town planning front and folded a few sheets of thick paper to indicate where some of the buildings will go.

Quite difficult to photograph pure white paper shapes so hope the next shot with a dark sheet of card in behind the buildings will help delineate them.

When finished, these additional buildings won't be as tall as these cut-outs. In that sense, this has been a useful little exercise.

Last night's dinner:

A pizza which I forgot to photograph.

Radio 3: Choral Evensong from Edington Priory, Wiltshire.

Wasn't terribly sure where Wiltshire was, so downloaded map below.

Wiltshire in blue.

Thursday 23 August 2012

Intercessionary Malfunction

No time to do anything other than download some French pictures.

Googled "Metz 1959" in the hope of archiving some photos of France in the late 1950s.

Might be useful for something.

Intercessionary failure:

Classic case today of being presented with a situation requiring a Christian response.

Without giving away too many personal details, I'd a short meeting with a  recently bereaved woman. On the way to the meeting I prayed, briefly, that I might say the right thing when I got there - words of comfort? neutral words? words of respect? or whatever seemed to be required.

But what I forgot to do was to pray for a change of attitude - I simply did not want to have this meeting. I resented it and wanted it over as quickly as possible. It never crossed my mind that I should pray thus: "God, help me to want this meeting so that I am ready and willing to spend time with this fellow human being if that's what she wants."

Must not be negligent like this in future.

PS. Meeting lasted all of 35 seconds.

Last night's dinner:

Nicest steak I've cooked for ages. This is the procedure I followed:

Opened the vacuum pack and laid the rump steak on a plate for 15 minutes - pouring over it some olive oil and sprinkling both sides with ground black pepper.

Pre-heated un-oiled frying pan to high temperature then dropped in the oiled steak.

The next part of the procedure is very important, I suspect: covered the pan with a lid to keep the steaks moist. Turned once - total cooking time of 5 minutes or so.

with spinach and boiled potatoes.
Bruckner's 4th:

Decided to book seats for next week's performance of Bruckner's 4th Symphony at the Usher Hall. On a bit of an economy drive so have seats way up in the upper circle. Could be a very hot evening up there.

Wednesday 22 August 2012

Intercessionary Prayers part 5


Readers of a certain age will remember some form of slot car racing from their teenage years. In the UK, the dominant manufacturer was Scalextric.

The cars were 1/32nd scale which is obviously not compatible with HO scale which is 1/87th.

However, it turns out that there is such a thing as HO scale slot car race tracks. Perhaps this would be an alternative to the Faller Car system. I don't understand how one controls the motion of the Faller vehicles. They seem to be basically on or off. Whereas with slot cars one can control the speed of the vehicles.

These are the most apposite pictures I can find from the web at the moment.

An HO scale slot car

This looks very relevant.
Will consider this more.

Intercessionary prayers:

Often, saying the right thing is the most important way that one can perform one's Christian duty. And, speaking as an inarticulate fellow with a propensity towards making the awkward utterance, I have found that praying for the right words to come does work.

Paul's Letter to the Ephesians chap 6 verse 19.

"And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel." King James version.

"Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel." New International version.

And somewhere in the Old Testament, I can't find the reference, Moses or Aaron prays for the right words to come when speaking to the masses.

Last night's dinner:

Cod, black pudding, avocado and artichokes

Washed down with Tursan from the Landes region of France.
Accompanied by good old Eels.