Friday, March 15, 2019

Kaplinski, impoverished nature, drumlins....




Once again I've brushed against Evening Brings Everything Back, translations of Estonian poet Jaan Kaplinski by the author and Fiona Sampson (Bloodaxe, 2004).   [Previous post here.]

It's a book full of ideas, especially the prose piece Ice and Heather. Since I first read it the idea that's lingered most in my mind (I forgot to record Kaplinski's words) is about how the northern flora is extremely impoverished, almost a desert flora, and this is how humans like it. It's a matter of clean aesthetics, but it's also a matter of being able to grasp what's going on. No accident that Linnaeus was a Swede, nor the ground-breaking British tradition of systematic botany: Gerard, Ray, Darwin etc. Contrast the nature of the tropics, so overwhelming the number of species, and the incredible difficulties of identifying e.g. rain-forest trees, which flower at no predictable season (hundreds of feet above the botanists' head) and perhaps miles from the nearest individual of the same species. A thousand square miles of nothing but pine, spruce, birch and aspen: that's much more reassuring. Most of nature is unseen by most of us. We place exaggerated value on the few orders that we can easily see: birds, butterflies, colourful flowers, big animals, trees. It's a humanly delimited vision. Increasingly, if incompetently (for we often destroy the things we love), we shape our surroundings in line with those preferences.

Anyway, here's another extract about the limits of an everyday human perspective.

*

In Alta, on a rocky hilltop, I saw clearly the tracks of a glacier. Probably the ice had pushed along a sharp piece of stone that had left these scratches. Similar ice-drawn lines can be found on limestone in some places in my country, Estonia. Their direction makes it possible to say which way the glaciers were moving here. That can also be guessed from the stones and boulders themselves. If we know where the type of mineral they consist of is to be found, we know from where the glacier broke them off and carried them here. These boulders are pieces, fragments of the ruins of Fennoscandia, the Fennoscandia of the Tertiary period, of sequoias and magnolias.

When I flew from Britain to Canada for the first time,  the Atlantic was covered by thick clouds, and to my great disappointment I couldn't see the ocean. I napped, then woke up and put on headphones where a Brandenburg Concerto by Bach was just playing. When I took a look down again, there were no more clouds to be seen, and the plane was just approaching the Labrador coast. Below us stretched a snowy landscape with frozen lakes, rivers, hills and forests. No trace of human habitation: no roads, now towns, no power lines. Neither the aborigine villages nor hunters' huts could be seen from the height of ten kilometres: I believe there were some below. On this virgin winter landscape I could distinguish -- sometimes clearly, sometimes vaguely -- lines running from Northwest to Southeast (I think this was the direction). These were furrows ploughed by the glacier, the valleys partly covered with lakes, the ridges with forest and bush. From the earth one can hardly discern the regularity of these drumlins and dales, but it becomes clear from a bird's eye view, from high above the ground.

Glacier direction shown by drumlins

[Image source: http://www.landforms.eu/Lothian/drumlin.htm]


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Thursday, March 07, 2019

Spanish reveries

Reichardia tingitana

I'm in Spain for a couple of days… and it's a delight to be here in March, when it's perfect walking weather, the acacias are glowing and people are friendly and fresh with spring hopes.

As ever, I'm trying to improve my Spanish by reading a book by Benito Pérez Galdós. I suddenly began to wonder why the author's name on the spine is Pérez Galdós, but in the editor's introduction he is just referred to as Galdós. And I thought, it really is time I got to grips with Spanish names and how they work.

A very fascinating topic, comprehensively explained by Wikipedia.


An author or other famous person is normally referred to by the first of their two surnames, which was once invariably, and still usually is, the one inherited from their father. (Thus if I ever apply for Spanish citizenship, my name will be registered as Michael Peverett Gulliksson.) Thus Cervantes, Unamuno, Goya, Calderón, Albéniz, Franco …. But some Spanish surnames are extremely common: Pérez is is one of them. If the first surname is one of these, the second (or mother's) may be preferred: thus Galdós, also Lorca, Picasso…  But when this is the case, the author is still indexed under the first surname: García Lorca under G, Pérez Galdós under P. And since libraries like to arrange their books in alphabetical order, that's the form used on the spines.

I learnt something else too that's relevant to the heroine Soledad (the book in question is Siete de julio, one of the 46 Episodios nacionales). Many Spanish girls are given forenames of different devotional images of the Virgin Mary:  Maria de Los Dolores, Maria de la Luz, Maria de la Soledad etc . In everyday use these names are shortened to the suffix: Dolores, Luz, Soledad… Family and close friends also make use of a wealth of traditional nicknames: in this case Solita, Solilla, Sola, which all appear in the opening pages of the novel.

Reichardia tingitana

In the apartment I found Peter Hughes’ Allotment Architecture (2013). Evidently I left it here a few years ago, thus happily escaping the vicious purges of my books in England (i.e. whenever I feel suffocated by possessions).

As is perhaps understandable, I'm viewing it through a Brexit lens. Peter is a poet from a non-elite background, a native of “peripheral Britain” (basically E Anglia, well away from the metropolitan centres), and his poetry is deeply in touch with local life -- not the romanticized version, but as it actually exists for most peripherals today. But at the same time his poetry keeps engaging with European material. In obvious ways: e.g. the last of the five sequences here is simply called, and is about, Berlioz. And his subsequent book was a transformation of Petrarch. You can't get much more European than Berlioz and Petrarch. I seem to remember that Peter Riley complained that Hughes traduces Petrarch, reduces him to a demotic (and very British) laddishness. I'm probably misrepresenting PR. Anyway, while this is too reductive as a reading of Peter's poetry, I do think it's a very good starting point for a reading. For isn't this precisely the point? Couldn't we see this as one of his central concerns: What has Europe to do with us, and we with Europe? Why the glaring and comic disparities, what does that mean, and how can we negotiate it? Concerns that, to say the least, seem timely.


      miserable simplicities
recline under the fingers
   whispering September
      plane leaves along the banks
           of the Seine cannot be heard
               from here unlike the fight
                                  across the street
                              & the piano lesson
                      that neither teacher
nor student attend

(Behoven 19)

The title conceals "Beethoven", regularly evoked in the poems of this sequence. But when poem 12 ends with the line

O Vienna!

it's not of the composer we're thinking, but of Midge Ure's moustache.

Well, pretty much every book I read seems to be about Brexit these days. The aforementioned Siete de julio, for example, portraying a complete meltdown of  government and institutions, an era of febrile conspiracy theories and furious opinions...

Peter's zone of operation, you might object, is better expressed not as Europe vs King's Lynn, but as high culture vs low. (Where "vs" is a flippant way of referring to a problematic relationship, rather than to outright opposition.) But I'd contend that the two pairs of contrasts aren't finally distinguishable. The sphere of high culture and the sphere of the international are intimately linked (by education, not least). In contrast to both is the local experience of our peripheral lives, with its desolating yet often salutary deflations, its loathing of pretension and outsiders and deviance, its willed ignorance, its nurturing horizon, its  instincts and intuitions, its corrective if inadequate appeal to the mere evidence of our senses.

As one of the caravan sites boasts:

      traditionalists from all walks of life
              will relish the narrow range of
             cultural references visible here

(Site Guide, site 15)

We're both mocking, but not altogether mocking either. There's something out here
(for our locality is just as much an "out here" as  it is a prison)... There's something out here that matters, something neglected and essential...


the rogue gnocchi of Abergavenny
pursued us through cold nights of restless sleep
& later formed a cash-in-hand band for
weddings or birthdays & passing your SATs
the only real security was speed
but with the second-hand Fiesta hitched
to a home-made marine-ply caravan
we couldn't underestimate the risks
the alcoholic SAS man swore
if we kept on the move around Norfolk
we would confuse everyone including
ourselves & that is certainly working
imagining the place where we started
we still don't know penguins have solid bones

(Lynn Deeps, 6)

[Yes. They do.]





Since I was last in Spain I've significantly reduced my meat intake -- basically because I'm fairly horrified by industrial meat production, and also because it seems a pretty pain-free way to reduce my carbon footprint. I suppose I've gone from being about 70% meat-free to about 95%. (I still eat fish.) Anyhow, this has made me more aware of the Spanish word "vegetal"... It means something with lots of vegetables in it... e.g. a lot of salad in a sandwich. It doesn't mean "suitable for vegetarians" and a sandwich vegetal probably contains eggs and tuna and may well contain chicken or ham. I quite like the Spanish assumption that a meat eater might want to eat something with a lot of vegetables.



Reichardia tingitana

Reichardia tingitana

Reichardia tingitana

Reichardia tingitana


Another book I found at the apartment: Torbjörn Säfve's molza, älskaren, a 1988 historical novel (set in the Renaissance papal society of Raphael and Michelangelo). I was delighted to find that all that reading of the Swedish news service SVT nyheter is paying off; I can almost read this. Säfve is a Norrbotten novelist, recipient of e.g. a Rubus arcticus award in 1997. He sounds a fascinatingly individual author of whom I'd like to learn much more. Many of his books are about boxing. He's an Islamic convert (Sufism), and there can't be too many of those in Norrbotten. (I believe special rules apply to the observance of summer Ramadans in places where the sun never goes down.) One of his other books is about the Sufi master Ibn 'Arabi.


Some sort of exotic succulent, Cala lo Ferris
When I'm not thinking about Brexit I'm thinking about climate change. (The topics are not altogether unconnected, but I won't get into that now.)

More specifically, I've been thinking about how I as an individual should best direct my efforts to reduce my personal carbon footprint.

[Carbon footprint: I'm using this familiar expression to mean our total personal contribution to global warming. I'm aware that not all greenhouse gases contain carbon. There are probably other objections of which I'm not so aware. But this isn't a technical discussion, and for present purposes “carbon footprint” will do.]

Of course I'm not just talking about myself. I'm talking about people like me, environmentally concerned westerners with a pretty average lifestyle, involving most of these: loved ones, family, friends, a heated home, clothes, a vehicle, a job, a vice or two, going to cafes, a meal out once or twice a week, visits and events, the odd trip abroad, and so on.

Most of these aspects of our daily lives contribute to our carbon footprint. As I've touched on in a couple of recent posts, to live is to pollute. As human beings we have an inbuilt drive to dominate and exploit our environment, not just to survive but to make our mark, to realize our potential: to build prosperity and security for our families, to have many children, to invest our capital, to use our muscles and powers of invention to better ourselves. For our remote ancestors that meant hunting wild beasts or cultivating a bit of ground or shaping wood into outbuildings. These days our individual impact on nature is less directly visible, but our drives haven't really changed. When we shop.for clothes, or bomb down the motorway in our car, or buy a meal, or put in a new kitchen, or head for a new holiday destination, or discover there's going to be a baby, we usually experience a level of exhilaration. We are really living! We feel fulfilled.

So reducing our personal carbon footprint usually involves sacrifice.

That's not such a big deal. Humans are good at sacrifice when it's for something they care about. A mother will throw herself in front of a car to save her child, without even thinking. But that's a rather dramatic example. What about courtesy? We stand aside to let someone through, we apologise for delaying them, we say thank-you when someone tells us the way to reception. We do these things because we think courtesy is important, it makes the world go round. And as a matter of fact it's only when we were children that we thought of them as sacrifices, though they are. Humans readily internalize sacrifice, and those who live almost entirely for others are often unaware of it.

Sacrifice needn't be a problem. But, coming back to reducing our carbon footprint, there are some important corollaries. The mother who shields her child and the courteous person who stands aside with a smile both know exactly what to do. This carbon footprint thing is trickier. We know about lots of things that it would be good to do, but what should be our priorities? A sacrifice ought to be an informed one. How sad it would be to learn too late that we had toiled and scrimped and denied ourselves over many years to achieve some reduction, and it had  made hardly any difference, and all the time we'd been neglecting another course of action that would have been far more effective?

Given that this question of priority is of such urgent concern to so many of us, you would suppose that the information we need is widely publicized. But that hasn't really been my experience. The media is interested in publicizing new ideas for reducing our carbon footprint, especially contentious ones, but is far less interested in context and in describing the overall picture; the sort of information that changes more slowly and is therefore less newsworthy. And public agencies tend to promote messages that are relevant to their own sector and their objectives; it's not their business to look at our lifestyles as a whole.

The upshot is, it's easy to find advice, but not so easy to find guidance.

Take a hypothetical example. A rather ridiculous one, maybe, but it'll do.

We've all seen the advice, by government and advisory bodies and green groups and even energy suppliers, to turn off unnecessary lights in our homes. Suppose my friend Carter took this on board in a big way, is scrupulous to a fault about turning off every light in the house except for in the rooms where  someone is actually sitting. (Or perhaps, like the old tip in Viz, Carter turns off all the lights and walks around the house wearing a miner's helmet?) Anyway, Carter is habituated to this devoted attention to detail. It's an important expression of Carter's values. Lights today use much less energy than twenty years ago when Carter began darkening the landing -- How much less? Carter doesn't know. It so happens that Carter's supplier now uses electricity from 80% renewable sources, but Carter doesn't know that either.  And now suppose that all this time Carter’s been running the gas central heating on max, likes to feel cosy but is often rather warm and sluggish and dehydrated and has trouble sleeping? Well, what Carter did deserves the respect that any sacrifice deserves, it was certainly better than doing nothing -- but not very much better. Carter saved some light bulbs from being consumed, and it was good for Carter's soul. But with fuller information and guidance, Carter might have sacrificed less and achieved a whole lot more.

So, how can we avoid doing a Carter? What kind of information do we need?

It would be helpful, I think, to see an analysis of the annual carbon footprint of the average household, with the percentage contribution of e.g. car use, flight journeys, electricity, heating, food consumption, internet usage, and new purchases such as a smartphone, a new car, a second-hand car, a kitchen refit... That kind of thing. No-one can make our decisions for us, but this sort of breakdown might suggest where we should focus.

Without that ability to assess different behaviours in terms of their carbon footprint, crusades such as Carter's are just articles of faith. Most of us, I suppose, adopt a more multi-pronged strategy. We try to be environmentally responsible in every way we can, so long as it isn't too inconvenient. Perhaps we adopt the Peverett rule, referred to earlier in regard to eating meat (Don't sweat the last 5%). We who have worked in offices are familiar with many another cliché expressing the same anti-perfectionist idea: low-hanging fruit, easy wins, the 80:20 rule...

I'm not one of those who despair of the planet and say it's too late to do anything -- how could I think that, walking among these Spanish flowers? This despair is an instance of the emotional fallacy of taint: to see something that's been damaged as something that's been ruined. But still, the sea ice is melting, it's a perilous situation. It merits a more concerted response than articles of faith and rules of thumb.

Here's another scenario, a real-world one this time. Tomorrow I'm driving down to stay with my mum and dad, about 150 miles away. The advice is clear: I ought to take public transport. That would take much longer, it would be less convenient, and it would cost more, so I won't. But if I had the information to quantify how much it would reduce my carbon footprint, I might reconsider my approach: not just for this one journey, but for similar ones in the future.

And such questions arise frequently, on small things as well as big. At a cafe, should I use the electronic hand-dryer or the paper towel... or wipe my hands on my jeans?

We recently posted about compostable cardboard cups. Is it better -- strictly as regards global warming -- to compost the cups, or to recycle the cardboard, or to bury them in landfill?

So how can such alternatives be quantified? Evidently, we need a common unit. It's time to stop asking questions and do some reading up.

Starting, not with human actions, but at the other end, when gases enter the atmosphere, there is a unit called GWP (global warming potential). But this doesn't relate to any specific quantity of CO2; it's a way of comparing identical quantities of different kinds of greenhouse gas. CO2 has, by definition, a GWP of 1. Methane's GWP is much higher (though to make it more complicated, just how much higher depends on the chosen time period). The GWP is used to express all GHG emissions using the same unit:

Metric tons of CO2 equivalent. (aka MtCO2e)


In the UK, this was 8.45 per capita in 2013. Australia 25.06, USA was 19.9, Finland 11.69, China 8.49, Sweden 5.29, India 2.28. World average 6.27.
[Source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_greenhouse_gas_emissions_per_capita .]

UK GHG emissions, breakdown by sector (2017):


Transport 27%
Energy supply 24%
Business 17%
Residential 15%
Agriculture 10%
Waste Management 4%
Other 2%

[Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/final-uk-greenhouse-gas-emissions-national-statistics-1990-2017 .]

The US EPA (2018) says:

"A typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. This number can vary based on a vehicle’s fuel, fuel economy, and the number of miles driven per year."

That's based on 22mpg (4.839mpl) and driving 11,500 miles per year. [Most UK vehicles will be more fuel-efficient.  My own vehicle is far from efficient but it's still 7.7mpl.]

[Source: https://www.epa.gov/greenvehicles/greenhouse-gas-emissions-typical-passenger-vehicle .]




[Continuing...]






Pallenis maritima (syn. Asteriscus maritimus)


Pallenis maritima (syn. Asteriscus maritimus)

Plantago lagopus, Gynandriris sisyrinchium, and unopened flower of Asteriscus maritimus



Some sort of Acacia... retinoides maybe
Fagonia cretica





Lotus creticus


I was defeated by this one. On sand. Flowers generally like e.g. a Bird's-foot Trefoil (Lotus), but the 5-part leaves don't resemble anything in my book (Blamey/Grey-Wilson).

Later... It's Lotus creticus. Admittedly it would have helped if I'd noticed the headnote to Lotus, which describes the 5-part leaves. What was less clear from the book is that the dark-tipped keel (diagnostic for L. creticus) only becomes visible in the later stages of flowering. Also, the leaflets on these plants were quite sharply pointed, not at all like the obcordate leaflets in Blamey's illustration.


Lotus creticus



Lotus creticus

Zoom in on the picture above to see the pods, the fresh flowers (with keel not yet protruding), and one or two fading flowers where the dark-tipped keel is visible.

Medicago littoralis


I had to get out the Blackeye clip-on macro lens for this one (it's another yellow coastal prostrate legume, like the previous species, but it's tiny in comparison. I'll go for Medicago littoralis, on the basis of the sharply toothed stipules.

The macro lens has such a narrow depth of field that it's not much good with swollen shapes (such as pea flowers). It's better with flat things, like leaves.

Medicago littoralis

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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Notes on "The Scholar-Gipsy"




[Image source: https://www.lookandlearn.com/history-images/M426226/Matthew-Arnold-poem-The-Scholar-Gipsy . Illustration by Henry Ospovat (1877 - 1909).]


Go, for they call you, shepherd, from the hill ;
   Go, shepherd, and untie the wattled cotes !
       No longer leave thy wistful flock unfed,
   Nor let thy bawling fellows rack their throats,
      Nor the cropp'd herbage shoot another head,
         But when the fields are still,
   And the tired men and dogs all gone to rest,
      And only the white sheep are sometimes seen
      Cross and recross the strips of moon-blanch'd green,
   Come, shepherd, and again begin the quest !

*

The first of 25 stanzas, and not perhaps one of the best, but I didn't feel like excerpting from later because the poem is an unbroken arc. We don't quite believe in this shepherd or this quest: the poet finds his scholar-gipsy in his own meditation, not in an actual search (for a man who, after all, lived two centuries before).

And the beginning is a little confusing. "They" are the sheep, left penned on the hill. The sheep are also the "bawling fellows" of the fourth line.

I suppose the fifth line ("Nor the cropp'd herbage shoot another head") means the pasture outside the sheepcote, into which the hungry sheep will be released. but calling it already "cropp'd" puts us on the wrong scent. Once we work it out, we see that this herbage was cropped by the sheep before they were penned. In the next few hours, with the marvellous celerity of grass, it will already be stippled with fresh green shoots. Once the sheep are unpenned they'll put a stop to this... at least to outward appearance, so swiftly do they nip off the new growth. (In actual fact the herbage will go on putting out new growth whether the sheep are there or not.)

The line indentations reflect the rhyme-scheme, but not exactly, because line 1 rhymes with the shortened line 6  -- the least indented line and the most indented line. These important lines are somewhat separate from the rest of the stanza, which otherwise consists of two quatrains, thus:

a  bcbc a deed

The music of this beautiful stanza form has three points of special distinction. 1. The first three lines, none of which rhymes with the others; the first answering rhyme is delayed until the fourth line. 2. The sixth line, with only three stresses, which stops the flow of pentameters. 3. The final quatrain with its inverted answering rhymes, which means that the eighth and ninth lines rhyme with each other (the only adjacent pair in the stanza) -- but the adjacent rhyme, falling here, isn't clinching, since we know that one further line remains to be uttered. (Browning invented a hundred different stanza forms, but never one with this kind of beauty and intelligence.)

In this first stanza, as in nine of the others, the first line is complete in itself and ends with a stop. But the fifteen other stanzas try other things, allowing the first line to be mistaken for the beginning of a quatrain, and for the real first line (i.e. line 2) to seem like a second line. Arnold tries every kind of counterpoint to his metre. For instance, the sentence runs on from St 6 into 7 and from St 24 into 25, but the effect is very different in each. The continuation of 6 ends in the detachable first line of 7, as we might have anticipated. 7.2 is a major new beginning - a prose writer would start a new paragraph. The continuation of 24 likewise takes us to 25.1, but it turns out that this time the crossing sentence is a parenthesis, so 25.2 actually resumes the narrative from 24.9 .

The rhyme showers/towers in St 3 is a prelude to powers/ours in St 17 and its reiteration in St 23 : the latter rhyme encapsulating the intellectual centre of the poem. (Does the S-G in any sense retain "powers", did he ever have them, or did he sacrifice their possibility for a fruitless and perverse pursuit? Isn't it truer to admit that power is "ours", though it wastes and shames us?)


*

St1-3 The poet in the field.
St 4-5 The story of the scholar-gipsy
St 6 Sightings
St 7 The poet wondering
St 8 Imagined sightings - summer night
St 9 Imagined sightings - spring evening
St 10 Imagined sightings - summer day
St 11 Imagined sightings - late summer; spring
St 12 Imagined sightings - autumn
St 13 Imagined sightings - the poet sees the S-G in winter
St 14 "But what -- I dream ! Two hundred years are flown..."
St 15-18 But the S-G hasn't lived like us and doesn't waste away like us
St 19 Our "dying spark of hope"
St 20 ...contrasted with the S-G's eternal hope
St 21-23  Apostrophe to the S-G: "Fly hence, our contact fear"
St 24-25 The Tyrian trader fleeing the new Grecian masters of the waves and making a journey to the far west.


*

The "abandon'd lasher" above Godstow Bridge (St. 10). A lasher is "the slack water collected above the weir in a river".

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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

In Lapland




R.P. Lister, A Journey in Lapland (1965)

I've just re-read this cheerful book, part of my standing collection of curious books about the north. Lister is entertaining, fanciful, and gregarious. He seems to have got on well with other travellers and with the Saami people he encountered, especially when they shared a lingua franca  (broken Swedish).  He calls them by the old Swedish term Lapps, as was normal at the time, but is now rightly deprecated.

However, this is mostly a book about hiking. He travelled in summer, of course. But the weather was often awful: his book is a paean to the addictive discomfort of harsh weather and the insouciance of not doing much planning. "In most parts of Lapland no food is available except that which the traveller carries on his back. If he carries enough to eat he cannot travel, since his burden is too heavy. He can either eat or travel, but he cannot do both." On his second journey Lister lost over two stone in weight.

For the book actually describes two journeys. Lister's introduction to Lapland was a fortnight's jaunt, with his friend John, from Kiruna to the Norwegian coast, incorporating an ascent of Kebnekaise. Eight years later, now fifty, he returned for two months of travelling through Swedish Lapland, Finnmark (in Norway) and Finnish Lapland. After an initial circuit of Sarek he hooked up with a delightful Californian, Carla, with whom he was evidently a little in love.

Journey 1

Train to Kiruna - Holmajärvi - lake Paittasjärvi - Nikkoluokta - the valley of Ladtjovagge (contains lake Ladtjojaure)  - Rieppovare (summit) - Kebnekaise (summit) - Rieppovare - Singi - Kaitumjaure - lake Teusajaure - Vakkotavare (on Stora Lulevatten) - diversion to Saltoluokta to eat - up Akkajaure to Akka - Ritsemjokk - Unna Segok (summit) - (they attend reindeer-marking) - lake Sitasjaure (Morfasbukten) - Fjellbu (Norway) - Bokholmen - Elvegård - bus to Narvik - boat trip to Lofoten islands (Svolvaer) - Narvik - train back to Stockholm.

Journey 2

Train to Jokkmokk (June 20) - train to Luspebryggan (lower end of Stora Lulevatten) - bus and boat to Saltoluokta - ascent of Kerkau and back - Pätsaure and back to Saltoluokta - [circuit of Sarek:] Kungsleden south to Kvikjokk via Sitojaure, Aktsestugan, lake Laidaure, Pårtestugan - Kvikkjokk - up the valley of the Tarrejokk river - Bäcken - Njunjes - lake Tarraure - Tarrekaise - Såmmarlappa - Tarreluoppalkåtorna - Staloluokta - north to Mellätno - unfinished stuga at Låddejokk - slopes of Laotakvare - Vastenjaure - Salojaure - Kutjaure - Vaisaluokta [end of circuit] - boat down to Ritsemjokk.

[Meets Carla on the boat from Saltoluokta, as it docked at Stora Sjöfallet.] - Kungsleden to Abisko, beginning at Vakkotavare, Teusajaure, Kaitumjaure, Singi, Sälka, Alesjaure (Allesjokk river), Abiskojaure, Abisko. Boat west on Torne Träsk to Pålnoviken - Sörgård  (Norway) - Bardu - bus to Tromsö - hitchhike to Karesuvanto (Finland) [opposite Karesuando in Sweden] - Syvajärvi - Favresjokk (Norway) - Galanito- Kautokeino - hitchhike to Alta - Rafsbotn - bus to Hammerfest - ship to North Cape then Honningsvåg - ship to Kirkenes.

Bus south along the Pasvik valley to Emanuelbekken - lift to Vaggetem - crosscountry SW - lake Elenvann - along the Norway/Finland frontier - Virtaniemi (Finland - arrested by frontier force) - lift to Ivalo - bus to Inari - lift to Njurgalahti - boat up the Lemmenjoki to Kultala-Hamini - Morgamoja - Jäkäläpää (hill) - Miessijoki river (August 21st) - Naukusselkä forest - they cross the Vaskojoki - Kalmankaltio - Nunnanen - lift to Enontekiö [parts with Carla who carries on to Gällivare] - bus to Rovaniemi - hitchhiked to Haparanda (Sweden).

*

The human capacity for enjoyment is a peculiar thing. Since the bright departure from Staloluokta it had been bitterly cold all day, I had fallen into one ravine and one river, and the last half of the day there was nothing to see at all [thick mist]. Nevertheless, I considered this a fine day on the hills. I am still at a loss to know why.

*

On the hills behind Kirkenes Carla and Lister found quantities of "möltebär, or cloudberry". It's surprising that Lister didn't think they grew in England or Scotland. I know them in Swedish as hjortron, but Lister's alternative name exists, though his is one of the few spellings not sanctioned by Hansell's Bärboken . (No: molte;  Da: multebaer; Sw popular names: molter, målter, multer, multor, myllte ...etc)

Here's a longer extract, of Lister being typically fanciful as he walks along:

*

I am not in the habit of being reminded of music by anything, or of being reminded of anything by music, for that matter. It exists in itself for me, apart from anything in the outer world, and is much more my real home than the outer world usually is. But Lapland positively oozes Sibelius, there is no getting away from it. Fortunately Sibelius wrote quite a lot in his younger days, while he still felt like it, so there is plenty of change of tune; one is not restricted, as in the Hebrides, to one overture, charming though that one overture is.

It would be a mistake to go to Lapland knowing only, say, Finlandia and The Swan of Tuonela. These would become monotonous, like the Mendelssohn. It is better to go equipped either with no Sibelius at all, or a lot of it.

I have wallowed in a fair basinful of Sibelius myself, in my time, and I found the way in which different sections of the country, and different climatic conditions, evoked different works interesting. A rocky pass might be shaped exactly like the savage theme in En Saga. The curve of a hillside would distinctly resemble the opening theme from the fourth movement of the sixth Symphony. Any stretch of river with the sun on it would, in an unguarded moment, recall that appealing 'Musette' from the King Christian Suite that they used to play so indefatigably on Housewives' Choice during the rationing period.

The Fourth and Seventh Symphonies occur pretty well everywhere in bad weather, particularly on lakes. En Saga and Tapiola are ubiquitous in all conditions. The Third and Fifth Symphonies, the Lemminkainen Legends, the Violin Concerto and Karelia are frequently heard. The First and Second Symphonies are by no means uncommon. But there is no passage from Sibelius that will not unavoidably drift into the mind from time to time, not even excepting the Valse Triste and Voces Intimae.

There is distinctly a touch of Tchaikovsky here and there, however. Sibelius is often sombre and sometimes even morbid, but never neurotic. In this he is untypical of the country, which sometimes looks like a grandiose embodiment of all the neuroses that ever were. It is surprising that, as far as I know, Tchaikovsky never went there.

This pass between Urtetjåkko and Slikmanatjåkko is a rarity. It is a Mozartian place, a corn-coloured upland. There is still, however, a sufficient flavour of the opening bars of the second movement of the Sibelius Sixth, so ingeniously scored for nothing but flutes and bassoons, to keep the place in key.

The pass ends in a sharp drop to a lake, Teusajaure...

*


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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

ivy never sere


Ivy, and yet not. This strange sight is a large patch of Hedera colchica (Persian Ivy) in wet woodland beside the railway track in Bridgemead, Swindon.

It's having a go at climbing the trees, but it's a rather slow climber compared to the Common Ivy (Hedera helix), although it does have the same impressive clinging roots. However in warm climates it outcompetes other ivies, so we'll keep seeing more of it.

Hedera colchica is widely grown here as low-maintenance ground cover, usually in forms with variegated leaves (presumably they revert when the plant goes wild). It is considered useful, like all ivies, for shady spots, and is less threatening to foundations and drainpipes than the native species.


Hedera colchica is native to the Caspian region, the humid western Caucasus and Pontic ranges in northern Turkey. It likes humid microclimates e.g. on mountain ranges and in cloud forests. "In the Caucasian forests it reaches huge dimensions" (Bean's Trees and Shrubs). This is in the vegetation belt known as Colchis forest (20m-1400m). 



Below, a variegated specimen beside the bowling alley on Shaw Ridge, and a close-up of the fruits.



I come to pluck your berries, harsh and crude...

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Friday, February 22, 2019

some poems from Karin Boye's For the Tree's Sake (1935)

Karin Boye in 1937, portrait by Arne Cassel

[Image source: https://www.minnenasjournal.nu/karin-boye-skaldinna-med-blick-for-livet/ ]



From For the tree’s sake (1935)



Nowhere


I’m sick with poison. I’m sick with a thirst
for which nature hasn’t fashioned any drink.


Out of all the land rise becks and springs.
I bow down and draw from the earth’s veins its sacrament.


And the heavens are overflowing with holy floods.
I stand tall and feel my lips wet with gleaming ecstasies.


But nowhere, nowhere . . .


I’m sick with poison. I’m sick with a thirst
for which nature hasn’t fashioned any drink.





Ingenstans


Jag är sjuk av gift. Jag är sjuk av en törst,
till vilken naturen icke skapade någon dryck.


Ur alla marker springer bäckar och källor.
Jag böjer mig ner och dricker ur jordens ådror
dess sakrament.


Och rymderna svämmar över av heliga floder.
Jag sträcker mig upp och känner läpparna våta
av vita exstaser.


Men ingenstans, ingenstans...


Jag är sjuk av gift. Jag är sjuk av en törst,
till vilken naturen icke skapade någon dryck.





A stillness spread


A stillness spread, gentle as the sun-filled winter woods.
How was it, my will grew certain and my path obedient to me?
I bore in my hand an etched bowl of ringing glass.


Then it was, that my steps became cautious and would not stumble.
Then it was, that my hand became careful and would not shake.
Then I was suffused and borne along by the strength of fragile things.





En stillhet vidgades


En stillhet vidgades mjuk som soliga vinterskogar.
Hur blev min vilja viss och min väg mig underdånig?
Jag bar i min hand en etsad skål av klingande glas.


Då blev min fot så varsam och kommer inte att snava.
Då blev min hand så aktsam och kommer inte att darra.
Då blev jag överflödad och buren av styrkan ur sköra ting.





If I could follow you


If I could follow you far away
further off than all you knew
out to the uttermost regions
the world's solitude
where Wintergate* is rolling
its brash, dead trace
and you're looking for a foothold
in overwhelming space


I know - it can't happen.


But when you stagger shivering
blindly baptised
then right across the universe
I will hear your cry
and be your new warmth
and be your new arms
be near you in a different world
of things with unborn names



*The Milky Way





Kunde jag följa dig


Kunde jag följa dig långt bort,
längre än allt du vet,
ut i de yttersta rymdernas
världsensamhet,
där Vintergatan rullar
ett bjärt dött skum
och där du söker ett fäste
i hisnande rum.


Jag vet: det går inte.


Men när du stiger huttrande
blind ur ditt dop,
tvärsigenom rymden
skall jag höra ditt rop,
vara dig ny värme,
vara dig ny famn,
vara dig när i en annan värld
bland ting med ofött namn.





Blonde morning


Blonde morning, lay your soft hair
along my cheek and breathe unstirred in your silence.
The earth opens wide and then wider its great bowl
that was born as new in the secret dark.
On bright wings
the Miracle comes to rest like a huge insect
that lightly brushes the unconscious
awakening stigmas.


Morning on the seventh day . . .





Blonda morgon


Blonda morgon, lägg ditt lena hår
mot min kind och andas orörd i din tystnad.
Jorden öppnar vid och vidare sin jättekalk,
född på nytt i slutet mörker.
På klara vingar
dalar Undret som en väldig insekt
för att snudda lätt vid aningslösa
vakande pistiller.


Morgon på den sjunde dagen...





Ripe like a fruit


Ripe like a fruit, the world lay in my arms —-
it ripened overnight —
the peel was a delicate blue membrane that spanned — like a bubble —
and the juice was the sweet and fragrant, streaming, consuming flood of sunlight.


So I’m leaping now like a swimmer into the clear everything.
I’ve been plunged in a font of ripeness and reborn with the power of ripeness.
Holy, for doing it.
Light like a laugh.
I’m cutting into a gold sea of honey; it wants my famished hands.





Mogen som en frukt
Mogen som en frukt ligger världen i min famn,
den har mognat i natt,
och skalet är den tunna blå hinnan som spänner sig bubblerund,
och saften är det söta och doftande, rinnande, brinnande solljusflödet.


Och ut i det genomskinliga alltet springer jag som simmare,
dränkt i en mognads dop och född till en mognads makt.
Helgad till handling,
lätt som ett skratt
klyver jag ett gyllene honungshav, som begär mina hungriga händer.





The tree under the earth


There grows a tree under the earth;
a mirage pursues me,
a song of living glass, of burning silver.
Like darkness before light
all weight must melt
when only one drop falls fom the song of the leaves.


An anguish pursues me.
It trickles out of the earth.
A tree suffers agonies in the heavy stratum of the earth.
Oh wind! Sunlight!
Feel that agony:
the promise of scent of paradise wonders.


Where are you wandering, feet, that trample
so soft or hard,
that the crust fragments and gives up its booty?
For the tree's sake, have pity!
For the tree's sake, have pity!
For the tree's sake I'm calling you from the four points of the compass!
Or must we wait for a god - and which?





Trädet under jorden


Det växer ett träd under jorden;
en hägring förföljer mig,
en sång av levande glas, av brinnande silver.
Som mörker för ljus
måste all tyngd smälta,
där bara en droppe faller av sången ur löven.


En ångest förföljer mig.
Den sipprar ur jorden.
Där våndas ett träd i tunga lager av jord.
Å vind! Solljus!
Känn den våndan:
löften om doft av paradisunder.


Var vandrar ni, fötter, som trampar
så mjukt eller hårt,
att skorpan remnar och ger sitt byte ifrån sig?
För trädets skull, förbarma er!
För trädets skull, förbarma er!
För trädets skull kallar jag er ur de fyra väderstrecken!


Eller måste vi vänta en gud - och vilken?





Our eyes are our fate


Our eyes are our fate.
You grew alone, poor eyes,
among the stars who do not pity
in a living, earthly way.
Had I seen less,
my thoughts would be different but
indifferent the outcast
to justice made a prey.


Holy, holy, holy
is truth, dismaying truth;
I know it, I bow to it,
its right to all maintain.
But flesh and blood shiver,
the living seek the living,
warm is human company,
cold its disdain.


Pleading I wander
through the ice-cold light-years,
seeking for a help
to stand up in my grave.
I recall with hot affection
eyes of long ago,
these too were lost
in loneliness's wave.


So, I cannot lament.
So, I must give thanks.
With them I have shared
everything I knew.
Through the darkness comes
home and company.
The sister eyes I love!
You did exist. You do.





Ögonen är vårt öde


Ögonen är vårt öde.
Så ensamma blir ni, stackars ögon,
med stjärnor, som vägrar förbarma sig
på levande jordiskt vis.
Hade jag sett mindre,
tänkte jag andra tankar,
och slapp bli en utstött,
de rättfärdiga given till pris.


Helig, helig, helig
är sanningen, den förfärande,
jag vet det, jag böjer mig,
och den har rätt till allt.
Men kött och blod ryser,
det levande söker livet,
och varm är mänskors gemenskap
och deras förakt kallt.


Och bedjande irrar jag
bland iskalla ljusår,
söker efter hjälp till att
stå upp ur min grav.
Minns med het ömhet
ögon långt borta,
också de förlorade
i ensamhetens hav.


Då kan jag inte klaga.
Då måste jag tacka.
Med dem har jag delat
vad jag vet, vad jag minns.
Och genom mörkret anar jag
hem och gemenskap.
Älskade syskonögon!
Ni fanns. Ni finns.





The Portal


Too many times have I been through the portal.


It rears up so high it is rubbed out by the sunlight,
beneath the arch one hears the passage
of eternal winds in eternal space.
The threshold is of promise-stones, stairs to an altar,
where she may go who binds herself to a gift,
with all her time past, and all her time to come,
and an entire will.


Too many times have I been through the portal.


And still I pray:


Watcher at the door, master of all beginnings,
let me pass! I am not finished yet...
Truly as I never put anything by,
take it, but take it all, to the last penny.
The day I quibble, the day I calculate,
then block my way and throw me in the furnace.
Everything is the door. Everything is the beginning.
Life’s axis is in your hands.


Entire I go beneath the dizzying arch,
and eternal winds in eternal space
drink my gift.





Porten


För många gånger har jag gått genom porten.


Den lyfter sig så högt och suddas ut i solljus,
och under bågen hör man gå
eviga vindar i eviga rum.
Tröskeln är av löftesstenar, trappa till ett altare,
dit den slipper fram, som helgar sig till gåva
med sin gångna tid och sin kommande tid
och en hel vilja.


För många gånger har jag gått genom porten.


Och ändå ber jag:


Väktare vid dörren, all börjans herre,
släpp mig fram! Jag orkar ännu.
Så sant som jag aldrig gömde något undan,
tag, men tag till sista skärven.


Den dag jag delar, den dag jag räknar,
spärra min väg och kasta mig i smältugnen.
Allt är dörr. Allt är början.
Livets axel är i dina händer.


Hel går jag under svindlande bågen,
och eviga vindar i eviga rum
dricker min gåva.





The mouths


All round me frightful mouths are swimming.
The suburban train is juddering.


These are mothers.
Predator fish mouths
locked and straining in greedy torment:
to eat or be eaten.
Themselves eaten up (nobody has noticed),
they haul their intestines in the shopping-bags.
Dead eyes, dead torment,
predator fish mouths.


This is the lover.
Paint-swollen toadstool mouth
sucking at its prey.
The shame of giving oneself, the dupe’s shame
sucking to avenge a thousand triumphs
is never sated,
and settles into anguished pertness
around a wet toadstool mouth.


This one is pious
who with holy pursing
hides and disowns his own lips:
what you can’t see can’t be –
God himself can’t see them!
Why is he so afraid of his own lips?
What do they look like when he sleeps?


This – oh, the happy one.
She who became a possessor.
Among all those who struggled
it’s she who won through.
No lever can force apart the jaws
clamped round life’s prize.


But over there by the window,
a mouth half-opened
is flowering and taking nothing.
What is it you are breathing across the wide world,
you stranger in the world?
Yourself?


How soon will you be scared down into the deep,
among the predator fish
and the suck-mouths,
to strike viciously at your quarry,
and to chop in despair at these others?
By tomorrow,
if you wish to live.


So I’ll take my stick and I’ll go.
I’m going to find you a different world,
a world where mouths can really be flowers
and breathe like flowers
their life’s breath,
and break forth like flowers
from deeper sources,
and abide like flowers
gladly open.


All round me the deep sea mouths are snapping.
The suburban train is juddering.





Munnarna


Omkring mig simmar förfärliga munnar.
Förstadståget dunkar.


Detta är mödrar.
Rovfiskmunnar,
spärrade och spända i girig ångest:
äta eller ätas.
Själva uppätna (ingen har märkt det)
släpar de sitt innanmäte i kassen.
Döda ögon, död ångest,
rovfiskmunnar.


Detta är den älskande.
Färgsvullen svampmun
suger efter byte.
Skammen att ha givit sig, den lurades skam
suger efter tusen triumfers hämnd,
blir aldrig mätt,
lagrar sig i pinad fräckhet
runt en blöt svampmun.


Detta är den fromme,
som med helig snörpning
gömmer och förnekar sina läppar.
Syns inte, finns inte --
Gud själv kan inte se dem.
Varför är han rädd för sina läppar?
Hur ser du ut när han sover?


Detta är den lyckliga,
hon som blev en ägande.
Bland alla de kämpande
är hon den som segrade.
Ingen hävstång bänder upp de käkarna,
hopskruvade kring livsvinsten.


Men där vid fönstret,
halvöppen,
blommar en mun som ingenting fångar.
Vad andas du så över vida världen,
så världsfrämmande?
Dig själv?


När skall du skrämmas dit ner i djupen
till rovfiskar
och sugmunnar,
snappa vilt efter jagat byte,
hugga förtvivlat åt de andra?
I morgon redan,
om du vill leva.


Så vill jag ta min stav och vandra
och söka en annan värld åt dig,
en värld där munnar får vara blommor
och andas som blommor
sin livsanda
och flöda som blommor
av djupa skänker
och stå som blommor
lyckligt öppna.


Omkring dig glafsar våra djuphavsmunnar.
Förstadståget dunkar.



Complete Swedish text of For the Tree's Sake (För trädets skull):
http://www.karinboye.se/verk/dikter/diktsaml-fortradetsskull.shtml

English translations by me.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: Apricot Jam

Georgy Zhukov ("Times of Crisis")




Александр Солженицын (1918-2008)

Three years after Solzhenitsyn's death this collection of nine stories appeared in English translation (his youngest son Stephan Solzhenitsyn translated the final story, all the others were translated by Kenneth Lanz). The stories were written in the 1990s.

The collection may give a ragbag impression but this is an illusion. A writer of such stature can't write small books. In practice this is a portrait of 20th century Russia -- "peripheral" Russia mostly, from post-revolutionary turmoil via WW2 to the post-USSR 1980s. Solzhenitsyn's late style is telegraphic and journalistic. The prose appears simple, only the material is complex. But Solzhenitsyn's large hand grasps all the technical, industrial and political material. Enormous distances in time and space are traversed in a page or two. There are sudden switches between first second and third person, and a very characteristic deployment of bracketed sentences to nod at further stories. A number of the stories are split into two very different halves. All these tactics keep nudging us to look beyond a narrow scene of action, so we have to be agile. These mostly long short stories are the opposite of miniatures, they don't confine themselves (in contrast to the characters in the stories, who are all confined.)

Here's the end of one of the stories, "Ego". Ego, that is, Pavel Vasilyevich Ektov -- he conceals his real name. A natural activist and a warm-hearted idealist, "his heart was at one with the peasants and their troubles". He gets involved in the Antonov peasant rebellion of 1920-1921, and becomes a much-needed "chief of staff". That is, until he's picked up by the authorities and, with his own family threatened, betrays the rebellion. He has to witness the outcome.

*

Glasses of vodka were poured, raising the mood and the fellowship of the meeting. Mutton and ham were sliced with long knives; smoke from the bracing homegrown tobacco rose here and there and spread across the ceiling. The hostess floated about the room while the younger women fussed, served, and cleared away the dishes.

What if some miracle suddenly took place and saved everything? What if the Matyukhin men realized what was going on and saved themselves?

The "Cossack" second lieutenant, "Borisov" (a commissar and Chekist), rose and began reading a fabricated "Resolution of the All-Russian Conference of Partisan Detachments" (that now must be convened). Soviets, but without communists! Soviets of the working peasants and Cossacks! Hands off the peasant harvest!

One of the Matyukhin men, a younger fellow with a round, flowing beard, a fluffy moustache, and a face well tested by life, looked at the speaker with calm, intelligent eyes. His neighbor, who might have been cast from iron, cocked his head and squinted a bit.

What fine fellows they are! And how unbearable this is!

But now it's too late to save anything, even if you shout out loud.

Matyukhin, showing his support of the second lieutenant, pounded the table with his fist: "We'll destroy their bloody communes!"

From the far end of the table, a young fellow with a broad forehead and flaxen hair that looked as if it had been freshly curled, a village dandy, shouted out: "Hang the bastards!"

Kotovsky returned to the business at hand: Where was Antonov? Without him we're not likely to make it.

"We still haven't found him," Matyukhin said. "I've heard he got shell shock in the last fight and is getting treatment. But we can raise all the Tambov people again on our own,"

His next plan: attack the concentration camp near Rasskazovo where they put the families of the rebels and are killing them off. That's our first job.

Kotovsky agreed.

Now -- was that a signal from Kotovsky . . . ?

All the Kotovsky men, in unison, whipped out their weapons -- some of them huge Mausers, others Nagans -- and began firing across the table at their "allies".

A thunderous roar filled the hut; there was smoke, fumes, and the desperate cries of the women. The Matyukhin men fell, one after the other, onto the table with their chests in the food, onto their neighbors, backwards off the bench.

The lamp fell on the table, and a burning stream of kerosene ran along the oilcloth.

The dashing, sharp-eyed fellow in the corner managed to fire back twice and drop two Kotovsky men. Then a saber cut off that head with the twisted moustache, and it tumbled onto the floor; a crimson stream of blood spurted from the neck to the floor, forming a pool around his body.

Ektov did not move; he was frozen. If only they would finish him off quickly -- a Nagan, a saber, it made no difference.

Kotovsky's men ran out of the hut to seize the confused Matyukhin guards who still did not realize what was happening.

Kotovsky's horsemen were already rushing in from the other side of the village, shooting and cutting down the Matyukhin men in the yards, in the huts, and in beds, not letting them mount their horses.

The few who were still able galloped toward the dark forest.

*

Cooperate or... something unthinkable. It's a non-choice that recurs in many of these stories. Even in the brilliant autobiographical stories of action in WW2 ("Adlig Schwenkitten", "Zhelyabuga Village"), the political officer is never far away. Always there's an authority characterized by indifference to individuals and their lives, whether in the "hardened" soldier Marshal Georgy Zhukov ("Times of Crisis"), or in the bureaucratic decision to destroy a river in the post-communist era ("No Matter What"). What survives is broken, to use a word we're now becoming more used to in the west. But it survives.

Locations

"Apricot Jam". Kursk province is 500km to the south of Moscow. Further south still is Belgorod and Kharkov (the latter now in Ukraine), as is Dergachi. Further south still is the Don region, Vasily Kiprianovich's "little stain". (The reference is to the anti-Bolshevik Don Republic of 1918-20.)

"Ego" The setting is Tambov province, 400km SE of Moscow. The Lubyanka prison was in the Chekist HQ on Lubyanka Square in Moscow, 900m NE of Red Square.

"The New Generation" takes place in Rostov,  1,000km south of Moscow, at the mouth of the Don where it flows into the Black Sea.

"Nastenka"  I'm not sure where Nastenka's story begins. The only Milostayki I could find is in Poland, and the only Cherenchitsy in Novgorod province (NW Russia). But these ones, I guess, are meant to be in rural Ukraine, at some distance from Poltava and Kharkov, (see above). Taranovka is in Smolensk province, 400km WSW of Moscow and close to the modern border with Belarus. Sanatorium at Sevastopol in the Crimea. Back to Kharkov, then Moscow. The second Nastenka grows up in Moscow, and is then uprooted to Rostov.

"Adlig Schwenkitten". Then in East Prussia, now Poland (Świękity); 100km S of Königsberg (Kaliningrad), 100km ESE of Gdansk.

"Zhelyabuga village" In Oryol oblast, 350km S of Moscow. Oryol is 45km to the west.

"Times of Crisis". Zhukov is from Kaluga oblast, 200km SW of Moscow. His military service takes him to Yekaterinodar (S of Rostov), Voronezh (500km SSE of Moscow) , Tambov (see above), Belarus, Khalkhin-Gol in Mongolia, Kiev (now in Ukraine), Yelnya (now in Belarus), Leningrad, defence of Moscow, Stalingrad (=Volgograd, 950km SE of Moscow), Oryol (see above), Romania, Bulgaria, Belarus, Poland, Berlin ... When he was demoted after WW2, he had stints in Odessa and Ural districts.  Zhukov's dacha a gift from Stalin) is on the Moskva river in the desirable Kuntsevo district to the west of Moscow.

"Fracture Points" Dmitry Yemtsov is in Moscow as a student, then goes to run the defence factory in "the city he had come from" -- somewhere on the Volga. The second part of the story also takes place in this unnamed city.

"No Matter What" The first part of the story takes place in an unspecified location where a reserve regiment awaits news of the battle of Stalingrad. The second takes place (in the 1980s) on the Angara river in Siberia (Krasnoyarsk Krai) - just about the dead centre of Russia, north of Mongolia.


Labels:

Friday, February 15, 2019

time travel to the shops in 2002


Pampered

anti-bacterial moisturising handwash





*

FLORENCE + FRED


get it together


*


Bench, Psycho Cowboy, Drunknmunky


*

A deep family-style trolley full of bulging white bags. Only the French stick and a big packet of bread rolls need to travel exposed.


*



                                    [photo of Harry Potter type  reading a book of spells]

Low prices on books,

even when he graduates


*

Osiris (skate shoes - extravagantly wide tongues, named designers)

*

LENIUM

SELSUN

*

Shopping

pots big x 5                 coke
new pots                      diet coke
carrots x 2                  olive oil
leeks x 2                      rice
onions x 2                   spaghetti
fine beans                   bread
mushrooms                rolls
                                    bolg. sauce
                                    chicken tonight
                                                - h + m
                                    meatball
                                                sauce
nurofen
tampax – reg.             kievs
                                    roast
                                    mince
snackajacks               stuffing balls
                                    juice
packed lunch              actimel
            stuff                parsnips
                                    dairylea
                                    meatballs
                                    cheese

                                    chicken

*

B L U E   H A R B O U R

(accompanied by an oblong of blue and red on a black background, suggesting a nautical flag)

*

Vodafone, O2, T-Mobile, Orange, Virgin Mobile

*

Butter     Oats    Flaked almonds
Honey    Ground almonds     Lemon Juice



Serpentine Green, Peterborough 2002

[Image source: https://www.peterboroughimages.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/SerpentineGreen2002-004.jpg ]







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CLIMATE CHANGE -- OUR VIEW     (pamphlet in Esso service stations)

There is much concern today about man’s potential role in climate change, often referred to as ‘global warming’, and the long-term risk this may pose.

Man-made greenhouse gas emissions occur primarily from the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas). So we take climate change very seriously. There are still many gaps in the understanding of climate change, but it poses serious long-term risks and uncertainty is no reason for inaction.


Action is needed, but as greenhouse gases arise from everyday energy use, it is important that actions should address environmental concerns but not threaten standards of living or economic growth. A focus on new technology will be essential.

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- Vigorous pursuit of energy efficiency. Saving energy reduces emissions.

- Promotion of carbon ‘storage’ through forestry and agriculture.

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It is consistent with Esso’s longstanding commitment to the environment, reflected in our track record of leading our industry in introducing ‘cleaner’ fuels to motorists in the UK, our global record of excellent environmental performance and the recent confirmation by the international quality assessor Lloyd’s Register that our company is ‘among the leaders in industry’ in integrating environmental management into our business.

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