Sunday, 27 August 2017

Communist genocide in Ukraine?

Anne Applebaum has been my absolute bete noir for some years. She is ardently opposed to Brexit, seems to want Nato to wage a proxy war against Russia while wanting Europe to take as many refugees from the Middle East as possible, hates the immigration policies of Poland and Hungary and thinks abortion is a human right. 

But this post on Facebook just now is another thing. It sounds very interesting. 

She has written a book saying that the Ukrainian famine was genocide. This is much disputed, especially by left-wing historians who are happy to compare slavery in America with Auschwitz.

Enid Blyton's England still exists

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Jenni Russell wrote in The Times on Thursday about how danger and novelty make time slow down. We all know this and it has been investigated in a book called The Brain, by scientist David Eagleman. 

He has proved, she said,

that we don’t actually slow down our perception of time in a crisis because he tested that by giving volunteers digital wrist displays and inducing terror by dropping them backwards into a net down a 150 ft shaft. If they could slow time they could have read the rapidly changing displays. That proved impossible.
So it just seems that time slows down or speeds up. And the best way to make time seem to slow down, short of feeling in danger, is by new experiences, such as new places. 

Graham Greene wrote a short story about a dying man who moved his bed in his large house from room to room to make his remaining time seem longer.

I always knew that contrast is the stuff of life. This has a large bearing on the question of whether to relax on holiday in the same place, not doing much, or to cram in a lot. I do the latter and today I feel, after three weeks away, that I've had about ten holidays.

And zig-zagging around Southern England by train from far west to far east I saw that England is the loveliest of all countries (Italy and Romania perhaps excepted). Outside a few tourist traps it has almost as few foreign tourists as Albania and is delightfully cool in

Monday, 14 August 2017

The Scilly Isles are heaven and it is always 1952

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The Scilly Isles, even more than the rest of Cornwall, is an Enid Blyton book come to life. The couple I chatted to on the boat had bought the whole Famous Five series for their daughter. (Aren't there at least thirty books?) They told me St Michael's Mount is the original of Smugglers' Island. Another young father was reliving his childhood holidays with his children.

It's 1952 England here with Mr Churchill back and the socialists out. It feels virginal. I am tucking once more into a Cornish cream tea, i.e. scones, jam and cream, though I forbore to ask for lashings of ginger pop.

As I was going to St Ives


I went to St Ives for the Tate Gallery and the Hepworth sculpture garden. The first had a wonderful restaurant, wonderful views of the sea and two uninteresting exhibitions. The Hepworths were forgettable too. But the town itself is a wonderful work of art and nature.

I used to like abstract sculpture or persuaded myself I did (Henry Moore and others), but the mediaeval church tower is so much more beautiful than anything by Dame Barbara Hepworth. 


I wonder what the Queen thinks of the people she knights. 


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St. Ives is heaven.


I once more failed to resist a scone, cream and jam.


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