Sunday, October 30, 2011

Yeah, William Empson, I'm talking to you. Outside, now.


Jesús Garzón, an environmentalist, has spent a lot of effort reviving the old custom of transhumance (moving flocks from summer to winter pastures) in Spain. One of the traditional transhumance paths runs, funnily enough, through the centre of Madrid (when I say 'traditional', I mean, dating back to 1250 or so, when running sheep through the centre of Madrid wasn't as odd as all that). The shepherds pay 25 maravedíses (the word has three plural forms; I am using the one the RAE judges 'most vulgar'; the others are maravedís and maravedíes) for the privilege. More information here. The upshot of this is that the centre of Madrid was today filled with livestock. I was too lazy to follow the sheep droppings and horse dung all the way to the Plaza de Cibeles, so I set up shop outside the Plaza Mayor, and waited to see what came past. What came past was, mostly, sheep:

Here's a separate section on what we might call 'brand identity', if we were less funny than we in fact think we are:

And here are two photos of shepherds on horseback using mobile phones:

And finally, a horse:

All in all, a fun way to spend a morning.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wombat News

Ridiculously cute baby wombat footage. Even as a baby, he's quite a chunker.

Poetry Reviewed

Oh look! I'm going to be famous and have groupies and live in a bathtub full of champagne!

Current Favourite Sentences

Fourthly, without regard of them, or of us, I say, that even in regard of Himselfe, Hoc erit Signum. Would there be a proportion between the Signe and the Signatum? There is so. This, holds good proportion with the ensuing course of his life, and death. And, (all considered), it is even Signum adaequatum. We may well begin with Christ in the Cratch: We must end with Christ on the Crosse. The Cratch is a Signe of the Crosse. They that write de rusticâ, describe the forme of making a Cratch Crosse-wise. The Scandal of the Cratch is a good preparative, to the Scandal of the Crosse. To be swadled thus, as a Child, doth that offend? What then, when ye shall see him pinion'd and bound as a Malefactor? To lye in a manger, is that so much? how then, when ye shall see Him hang on the Crosse? But so,-primo ne discrepet imum; that His beginning and His end may suit well and not disagree; Sic oportuit Christum nasci, thus ought Christ to be borne and this behoved to be His Signe.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Via a Friend of a Friend

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Enlarge Your Vocabulary

ca' canny v.i. move cautiously; n. extreme caution; limitation of output by workmen; a. cautious; mean.

Current Favourite Sentence

I shall therefore continue my account of the Clyde Valley experiment now; and shall later deal with the collapse of civilisation in England.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Look What the Postman Brought

Small Goya-esque Dog

But much more affectionate and presumably happier than the dog in Goya's amazing picture. I don't put the actual image up here out of deference to members of my family who find it particularly distressing.

The Green Green Glass of Home

They've put up scaffolding outside our flat because they're filling in the cracks on our façade (which I imagine is also the chorus to a particularly double entendre-ridden Victorian music-hall song.) There is a fairly subaquatic feeling about my study at the moment.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Flora and Fauna of Madrid

Tomas Gösta Tranströmer (1931- )

More information here. I'm a little disappointed that 'Gösta' doesn't turn out to mean 'The Ghost', like a Swedish wrestling nickname, but is in fact a version of 'Gustav'.

More Phantom Limbs

We went back to the ultrasound chamber, which seems more and more like something left over by the production designers for 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Notwithstanding its connection with the lamest of lame science fiction films (I've never read the book, it might be brilliant, but the film is only at all redeemable for its willingness to give the great Leonard Rossiter about three minutes of screen time), we got some pleasant images. Ribs;



right hand.