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Tony Grist

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Unfiltered [Jul. 25th, 2017|10:39 am]
Tony Grist
The difference between Trump and most other heads of state is that they hide their uncouthness, incompetence and venality behind a curtain- and he doesn't. He's the first uncensored, unfiltered president of the modern age. There's no Vaseline on the lens. In place of the managed image, the crafted statements there's an orange man with silly hair who twitters...

He's embarrassing but he hasn't started a war yet. Now which, I wonder, is the greater crime...
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Lighthouse [Jul. 23rd, 2017|01:28 pm]
Tony Grist
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Rossetti's Grave [Jul. 23rd, 2017|11:03 am]
Tony Grist
Dante Gabriel Rossetti had no particular connection with Birchington (near Margate) except that he was staying there when he died. He hadn't wanted to be buried with his wife- Lizzie Siddall (whose grave he'd unromantically dug up to retrieve the poems he'd romantically sealed in her coffin) and he was too rock and roll for the Abbey so they buried him where he dropped (so to speak)- by the south porch of Birchington church. The monument- which features the figures of Dante and Beatrice- with whom Rossetti had a life-long obsession- and St Luke, patron saint of painters- was designed by Rossetti's old mentor and mucker in the Pre-Raphaelite movement, Ford Madox Brown.

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A Moustache For The Ages [Jul. 21st, 2017|01:41 pm]
Tony Grist
They dug up Salvador Dali to conduct a DNA test on behalf of a woman who claims to be his unacknowledged daughter and found him well-preserved, as hard as wood and with his famous moustache still intact. His embalmer- who also attended the exhumation- pronounced him good for a few more hundred years.

I don't think I can explain why but this makes be foolishly happy- especially the bit about the moustache.
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Cutting The Grass [Jul. 19th, 2017|12:07 pm]
Tony Grist
You take out the old albums to look at something and- you know- other things catch your eye.

Here's my father cutting the lawn in his business suit in the Spring of 1973. It was a new mower and I suppose it had just been delivered and he couldn't wait before trying it out.

P.S. This was at the house they lived in before moving to the farm.
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Looking Back 40 Years [Jul. 19th, 2017|10:44 am]
Tony Grist
I located my parents' photo album for the early 70s because I wanted to see pictures of the farm as it was when they first moved in. Essentially it was just a house in a field- with only a minimal wire fence to divide the grass that was the private garden from the grass where the sheep grazed. There were rose beds lining the path up to the front door- but otherwise nothing. All the trees, shrubs, flowerbeds we see today were put in by my parents.

I was explaining this to my mother while we sat out in the garden yesterday afternoon.  "You planted these trees," I'd say and she'd say "I see" in a tone that suggested we were talking about something that was interesting in the way that the Norman Conquest is interesting- but really nothing to do with her. 

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Farm Life [Jul. 18th, 2017|10:23 am]
Tony Grist
The sky is full of clouds that make me think of Boris Johnson. Well, Boris Johnson as the cartoonists draw him- with hair going everyway like a dandelion head that's just been blown at. 

I dug up the third large metal object. It turned out to be a shovel head. Very rusty and encrusted- as though it had been underground for centuries. How long has it really been there? Well, at least since my parents moved in- which is over forty years. It could well be Victorian...

Chris who owns the horses keeps rotating them. He took Justin and his girls away and now we have Snowy (who is his favourite) and Snowy's new foal plus the foal's dad and a random female we've been calling Winnie. I just took them a bunch of carrot tops. Snowy is very tame and Winnie who isn't decided that if Snowy didn't mistrust me she wouldn't either. The stallion- a handsome beast with a white streak of distinction in the mane he wears over his eyes- held himself aloof. These are all cobs- somewhere between wild and domesticated. I don't suppose they've ever been ridden. 
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After Wimbledon [Jul. 17th, 2017|11:11 am]
Tony Grist
One of the good things about the European tennis season- from the start of Roland-Garros to the close of Wimbledon- is knowing there'll always be something for my mother to watch in the afternoons that I won't have to close my ears to. Now that Wimbledon is over it's back to the quiz shows and the antique shows and the let's laugh at the proles shows like Judge Rinder...

It wasn't a classic Wimbledon. Again and again we were reminded that these are athletes working at the extreme limits of what is physically possible. Federer and Djokovic faced first round opponents who pulled out with injuries, Djokovic himself pulled out in the quarter finals with a bad elbow and Murray carried a hip injury through several rounds before it eventually did for him. Both finals- the men's and the women's- proved anticlimactic because Venus Williams was exhausted and Cilic hobbled by blisters. 

Federer was majestic. Not his fault that most of the serious competition limped off before he got a chance to have a crack at it. Never before has tennis seemed such an extreme sport, so attritional.

On the whole the women's matches were more entertaining. That's where the exciting younger players are- Ostapenko, Rybarikova, Muguruza- but what about the promising young men?  The best of the matches on the men's side was the one between Nadal (an ancient champion) and Muller (an ancient journeyman making good) and the championship was won by a man of 36. When the great era of Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray closes- not quite yet but soon- who will there be to step into their shoes?

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Playing At Archaeology [Jul. 16th, 2017|12:31 pm]
Tony Grist
Dig down anywhere in my mother's front garden and you hit a layer of building rubble- brick, stone, slate, glass, metal. I can only guess at what it represents. Am I perhaps looking at the rough and ready surface of a buried farmyard? 

I've been prospecting out there with my metal detector- working my way along the edge of a flowerbed. I haven't got very far yet because the second time the detector went beep I found I'd lucked onto a big cache of large metallic objects- and I've been digging in the one spot ever since.  First up was a wedge shaped item which- when cleaned- turned into a rectangular piece of steel plate with holes in it and boltheads still attached. That was yesterday's find. This morning I scanned the diggings again and I was still getting strong responses so I dug some more and out came a brick-sized lump- which looks agricultural- but I'll need to remove the accretions before I can be sure of its shape. I scanned again and the machine is still beeping. It's like there's a whole tractor down there.  I've exposed the edge of whatever the new thing is- and tested it with a magnet to make sure its metal-  but extracting it can wait until tomorrow.

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Another Thing I Didn't Realise Was Good To Eat [Jul. 14th, 2017|04:22 pm]
Tony Grist
 Carrot tops: they have an earthy flavour with a touch of carroty sweetness and a tang of aniseed. Very agreeable. 
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