Cairo is hot and loud, and the traffic is mental (of course), and I’m happy to feel useful for the first time in a fortnight.
Tuesday 30 October, 02007
Friday 26 October, 02007
Tuesday 16 October, 02007
OK, a blog update. Thank your lucky guitars. I’m in Leipzig, in the former GDR. It’s 20:41. I’m in the hostel closest to the Hauptbahnhof, the main train station. It’s the biggest train station in Europe. I came here from Weimar on an ICE, an Inter-city Express. They’re fast: as we were slowing coming into the station I noticed a speedo on the wall reading 133km/h. Weimar was all civilised squares holding the people in and the greenery out. I had a beer in a cafe in Marktplatz (Market Square) opposite a chemist that was 440 jahren alt. Later at Buchenwald concentration camp I saw a photo of Hitler addressing a mass gathering in the same square. Such a feeling of forboding on the bus trip out from Weimar, up through gentle autumn forests all yellow and orange and green. It’s an awful place, incomprehensible. You might say the doctrine of original sin means that all of us should acknowledge our unlimited capacity for evil, but most of us, even if we assent to it, tuck that thought away and out of sight. But that’s not possible in Weimar, where the last stop on bus route 6 will always be Buchenwald. The German friend I was staying with last week said that what he loves about Germans is that Germans don’t love Germany — apart from fringe loonies with shaved heads, there’s no nationalism here anymore. I’ve digressed, entschuldigung. I’m in my hostel. I’m trying to decide whether to ask my silent laptopping dorm-mates if any of them want to go for a beer, or whether I should just slip out into the night alone instead, and see what I can see. I’m here for five days. Is it going to be museums, tourist traps and aimless wandering, or is something going to come from out of the blue?
Sunday 07 October, 02007
The weather is inclement; come to our house for picnic instead.
Friday 05 October, 02007
Thursday 04 October, 02007
Wellington brethren & sistren, who are you going to vote for? Voting closes midday on Saturday October 13. I am quite clueless, too busy to research, and I need some guidance. Here are my thoughts so far: Kerry Prendegast is no good because she is in league with the devil (property developers), so is unlikely to work for the common good. I’m not sure in detail why she’s no good. Ray Ahipene-Mercer is good because he was endorsed by Sue Kedgley in a previous election. John McGrath is very no good because his advertisements are utterly vacuous, his brother doesn’t want his company Mojo associated with him, and he’s a property developer. Paul Bailey is good because Cam & James heard him talk and were impressed.
A Wendell Berry quote:
Charity is a theological virtue and is prompted, no doubt, by a theological emotion, but it is also a practical virtue because it must be practiced. The requirements of this complex charity cannot be fulfilled by smiling in abstract beneficence on our neighbors and on the scenery. It must come to acts, which must come from skills. Real charity calls for the study of agriculture, soil husbandry, engineering, architecture, mining, manufacturing, transportation, the making of monuments and pictures, songs and stories. It calls not just for skills but for the study and criticism of skills, because in all of them a choice must be made: they can be used either charitably or uncharitably.
Wednesday 03 October, 02007
If the weather is clement we will have a picnic this Sunday at noon in the Botanic Gardens, say in the Dell, a happy little fairtheewell, before I travel further than I have travelled. You are most welcome to join us.
Monday 01 October, 02007
Lin Yutang said
The three great American vices seem to be efficiency, punctuality and the desire for achievement and success. They are the things that make the Americans so unhappy and nervous. They steal them of their inalienable right of loafing and cheat them out of many a good, idle and beautiful afternoon.
Pope Benedict, when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, said
The only really effective apologia for Christianity comes down to two arguments, namely, the saints the Church has produced, and the art which has grown in her womb. Better witness is borne to the Lord by the splendor of holiness and art which have arisen in the community of believers than by the clever excuses which apologetics has come up with to justify the dark sides which, sadly, are so frequent in the Church’s human history.