November 21st, 2021

Row, Row, Row Your Boat...

Yesterday was going to be a very busy day but then things cropped up and it became a very quiet one. In the evening I watched Celine and Julie Go Boating- which is my favourite movie of the Nouvelle Vague- if not my favourite movie of any place and time. Celine and Julie- played by Juliet Berto and Dominique Labourier- flit around Paris in the summer of 1973 or 74, weaving between dimensions as they go. It's a movie that's both profound and featherweight- and please keep the critics away from it with their finger-smudged magnifying glasses because it is what it is and doesn't need explaining. I think I'm in love with Juliet Berto- but, no, that's not quite right- I want to be Juliet Berto...

Getting Better, Getting Better All The Time...

I must be feeling better because I've been out in the chill wind and quicksilver November sunshine lopping brambles old-style. I kept to the lower field because the top one is full of horses- five of them now- a proper horse that gets ridden, two shaggy, spotty colts- half pony, half appaloosa- and two Shetlands. I don't mind them, I'm not afraid of them, but I hate to be crowded.

I had my best night's sleep for a while. Wendy, who doesn't have the excuse of old age, says she too wakes up in the early hours of the morning and mucks about on her phone until her eyes get heavy again. She's read that this kind of sleep pattern is natural and it's how our ancestors used to live. Get up in the small hours, see how the goats are doing, go back to bed. I think that's likely; the present arrangement of twelve hours on and twelve hours off is suggestive of the needs of the boss class of the industrial revolution who needed people to clock on and off shifts- rather than any natural rhythm. It was about conforming humankind to the machines they were now expected to serve.

I have purposefully arranged my life so I wouldn't have to work regular hours. And I have never ever worked in an office or a factory. Something in my DNA or race memory or whatever it is warned me against it. It was the same inner voice that said, "Don't ever let them put you in uniform."

I don't normally bother with stained glass of the late Victorian/early 20th century era but the staircase inside the tower of Boxley church brought me nose to nose with this character- and I was intrigued by the intensity of the stare and the oddity of the helmet.




I don't know who they're supposed to be. There was no text and no identifying symbols- as, for example, the cross of St George or the wings you'd expect to be attached to an angel. Is it a war memorial? Seems likely. There was another less interesting figure alongside who might just have been the archangel Michael, though, again, no wings....

Perhaps there's a connection to the nearby memorial tablet which commemorates a young officer of the Cornwallis family who got caught in a Russian ambush outside Sevastopol and disappeared off the face of the earth. The family liked to think he was shot in the ambush and died in a Russian hospital- and preferred not to countenance the idea (though it's what immediately occurred to me) that he spent the rest of a short life in Siberia. Like the inner voice said, "Never let them put you in uniform."

But that helmet; ain't it weird? Is that a visor at the front? It appears to be hinged- but if you let it down it would prevent you seeing anything- unless, of course, it's made of glass or crystal. Is it symbolic? heraldic? Or just a preposterous flight of fancy?