August 25th, 2017


A blue tit just flew in from the patio through the sliding door to the kitchen, traversed the dining room, entered the living room and exited (with a little judicious assistance) through the sliding door out onto the patio again. It then needed a little extra judicious assistance to surmount the glass screen that protects the patio from the wild west wind.

It must have been a young'un. It'll learn.

Immigration Statistics

It seems the government has been counting foreign students in but not counting them out again- and immigration figures have been inflated as a result. They've been claiming that nearly 100,000 stay on illegally each year when the true figure is under 5,000.

And of course these false figures have been used to ramp up a xenophobic, brexity mindset.

One could put this down to incompetence or cynicism or a combination of both- but however you parse it, it ain't pretty. Kudos to those- in parliament and out- who have agitated to have the true figures acknowledged; no kudos at all to those- including Theresa May- who thought the false figures acceptable.

Charles Causley

Ailz: What is this book you've just bought?

Me: The Collected Poems of Charles Causley

Ailz: Is he alive or dead?

Me: Dead.

Ailz (playing on my taste for channelled writings) Did he write them before or after?

Shewhomust brought it to my attention that- had he hung around for a few more years- Causley would have been celebrating his 100th birthday yesterday. I remembered how much I liked him and went looking for his work online. His Ballad for Katherine of Aragon brought tears to my eyes.

The Queen of Castile has a daughter
Who won't come home again
She lies in the grey cathedral
Under the arms of Spain.
O the Queen of Castile has a daughter
Torn out by the roots.
Her lovely breast in a stone cold chest
Under the farmers' boots.

There's something about the ballad form that predisposes my skin to prickle and my eyes to fill but even allowing for this weakness I don't believe there's any post-war English poem that moves me more- unless it's something else of Causley's.

I bought one of his collections in the late 60s and somehow never added to it. Well, that's rectified now.