Maybe a somewhat controversial thought on this last day of 2021.
From the Encyclopædia Britannica:-
A form of government in which one person or a small group possesses absolute power without effective constitutional limitations. The term dictatorship comes from the Latin title dictator, which in the Roman Republic designated a temporary magistrate who was granted extraordinary powers in order to deal with state crises
Modern dictators, however, resemble ancient tyrants rather than ancient dictators. Ancient philosophers’ descriptions of the tyrannies of Greece and Sicily go far toward characterizing modern dictatorships. Dictators usually resort to force or fraud to gain despotic political power, which they maintain through the use of intimidation, terror, and the suppression of basic civil liberties. They may also employ techniques of mass propaganda in order to sustain their public support.
Let us hope 2022 can revert back to what passed for normal two years ago.
More alternative visualisations/previously un-scanned negatives or processed files from Oman, starting with this one, made in 2010.
Being stopped from travel and almost locked away for more than a year, I’ve not had much enthusiasm or even opportunity for photography. So going through my negatives/slides and digital files has kept me from going ‘Doolally’, for those not familiar with this word: it means ‘lose one’s mind’, derived from the boredom felt at a British Army transit camp in Maharashtra India, established in 1861.
Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?
That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.
My thought for today.
This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember, all I’m offering is the truth – nothing more.
Morpheus: The Matrix.
Clive Staples Lewis: 29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963. C S Lewis began his academic career as an undergraduate student at Oxford University, earning a triple first.
Elected a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, where he worked from 1925 to 1954. Then In 1954, he was awarded the newly founded chair of Mediaeval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University
The Chronicles of Narnia, a series of seven novels that are considered a classic of children’s literature. Written between 1949 and 1954.
Like J.R.R Tolkien ‘The Hobbit’ and Arthur Ransome ‘Swallows and Amazons series’ which also maybe considered children’s books, they have become firm favourites for very many adults as well.
The connection between Great Malvern gas lamps and this series of books, was a story that C.S Lewis is said to have been inspired by them for his opening description of Narnia in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Walking home from a Malvern pub one snowy night with his friends J.R.R Tolkien and George Sayer; while looking at the gas lamps, was said to have remarked how such imagery would be well suited in a future book, true? I’m not sure, but it’s a nice story.
All three authors spent many happy hours walking in the Malvern hills, so maybe there was inspiration for many of the books.
Also, did anyone realise why I titled the image posted before the gas lamp ‘I spy with my little eye’ it was because, on a pole middle right of the photograph is a surveillance camera.
Some of the books I am re-reading during this enforced period of isolation.
It’s an universal law – intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility.
The word ‘Lockdown’ reminds me of:-
The Principles of Newspeak, George Orwell explains that Newspeak follows most of the rules of English grammar, yet is a language characterised by a continually diminishing vocabulary; complete thoughts reduced to simple terms of simplistic meaning.
I’ve not been doing much photography in the last few weeks; probably just fedup with all the restrictions we seem to have had placed upon us.
Although one bonus is that I have been reading a lot and listening to music on my headphones.
Here is a book that was sent to me by my daughter, a completely unknown authour. ‘Amor Towles‘ who published a novel in 2016 with the title A Gentleman in Moscow .
Click cover for Amazon link.
The story of Count Alexander Rostov who is brought before a Bolshevik tribunal in Moscow: condemned for being an unrepentant aristocrat. Saved from the firing squad by a poem whose sentiments seem to coincide with the revolutionary desire for change. Instead of being shot, he is sentenced to house arrest in his current place of residence: the Metropol Hotel. He returns to the hotel after his trial, determined to make the most of his reduced circumstances. As the reader, we follow the Count in his day to day life within the confines of the hotel.
Two quotes from the book:-
A book that I thoroughly recommend,
The music was Max Richter:
She lifts the lid. A dense mist rises from
the chest, and fills the room. PANDORA
falls senseless on the floor.
Yes, the moment shall decide!
It already hath decided;
And the secret once confided
To the keeping of the Titan
Now is flying far and wide,
Whispered, told on every side,
To disquiet and to frighten.
Fever of the heart and brain,
Sorrow, pestilence, and pain,
Moans of anguish, maniac laughter,
All the evils that hereafter
Shall afflict and vex mankind,
All into the air have risen
From the chambers of their prison;
Only Hope remains behind.
From: The Masque Of Pandora by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Shown when TV companies assumed that those watching, had more than
two brain cells.
I have spent time during this isolation period, reading the CALTECH Feynman lectures.
He had an ability to make the most complicated subject understandable. Although he is famous for saying “if you think you understand it, you don’t!”.
‘We absolutely must leave room for doubt or there is no progress and no learning. There is no learning without having to pose a question. And a question requires doubt. People search for certainty. But there is no certainty’ . Richard P. Feynman.
Makes a change from all the doom & gloom found in the media at the moment.
Reading Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England: and in book 1 “The rights of persons” I came across a quote that I thought rather pertinent for what’s going on here in UK at the moment:-
England can never be ruined except by a Parliament.
It was said by the lord treasurer William Cecil, 1ˢᵗ Baron Burghley (1520 – 1598), the chief advisor of Queen Elizabeth I for most of her reign, twice Secretary of State and Lord High Treasurer from 1572. (From The Encyclopædia Britannica).
For those wondering why I would read such a book, curiosity got the better of me after noticing it being refereed to rather a lot just recently.
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
William Henry Davies. (1871 – 1940)
Getting better at keeping warm after being back in UK for a few months now; had snow, rain (lots!) wind & what purports to be sunshine.
The grass is always greener on the other side, I remember Shams on the day this was made.
Love the new house, although still a few boxes that need emptying, that is the trouble with merging two houses into one.
Got all my camera & darkroom gear unpacked and apart from one problem with some marks on the 35ti (seem to have come off the bag I packed it in, almost like a dye staining some of the metal). Everything else seems ok, which is a compliment to the packers & shipper in Oman, especially as they stored it for 5 months. More than I can say about the ones in UK, very slipshod in their packing & a lot more expensive!
Lots more unpacking and I forgot how many books we have, although after years of wishing for a room dedicated as a library, we now have one 🙂 I will even (eventually) have a new darkroom. Will also find time for some pictures of Driffield & the surrounding area, the canal looks very photogenic.
One thing I do find strange is the pace of life, far more hectic here than Oman, not sure I like it very much, not to mention the background noise everywhere one goes. The best thing though is no longer being required to have my phone with me all the time and no alarm clock. Must escape to the mountains this summer; Wales, Scotland or the Lake District, somewhere tranquil.
Just thought I would write a few words in the way of news.
Pick up the keys for our new house in Driffield tomorrow – it has been a busy few months of travelling, paperwork & paying out a large chunk of money. But we got there in the end, although at times I never thought we would.
My stuff is now being shipped and our UK belongings will wing their way into the new house over the next month or so.
Just got to sell the old one 😉
It has been a while since I posted anything but I have been very busy looking for a new house and no real time for photography.
With luck we may have found exactly what we were looking for in Driffield Yorkshire. Much though I would have liked being in Malvern, the house prices were beyond what I was prepared to pay for the type of house we wanted. By chance we made a quick visit to Driffield and within a couple of hours had been given a viewing of a house that had a big garden, big rooms (space for a library & darkroom) a railway station within walking distance, that seems to have trains with good connections about every half hour, along with country walks close by.
So if all the legal things go through, I can get my stuff out of storage and start using my cameras again.
I complain about UK weather ! but this is the real thing.