Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Breaking Out....

I have always liked colour and comfort in clothing. During my working years I was restricted to the standard drab office shades of black and clerical grey, although I did manage to get away with a bronze mohair suit on one particular contract in Bristol.
Ties of course of a modest design were compulsory all day long and every day.

I recall that on Saturday mornings, during my training, we were allowed to wear sports coats and cravats. On the hottest of days widows were allowed to be opened to let in a slight movement of air on the proviso that there was no disturbance of drawings or papers. 

Towards the end of my life in design offices, I took it upon myself to leave off my tie during the summer and wear an open neck shirt. To anyone who remarked on this I would tell them that I was engaged for what I knew and not to look like a tailors dummy.

I retired early, took a few years off for myself and changed direction. 
Suits, books and the brief case were parked in a cupboard. Jeans became my weekly attire as well as green lovat trousers and check shirts for going to the pub.

I branched out from green to blue trousers a few years back and was always looking for 
a pair that was maroon or scarlet.

To my delight two weeks ago I found a pair of maroon cotton trousers by Gurteen and then yesterday I dropped into a friend's shop just on the off chance. 
I emerged came with the pair shown below, tailored by MMX.
I knew as soon as I had put them on that they were going to come home with me.

The jacket is linen by Carlo Gross

Wonderful scarlet turnups
The shoes are Dubarry

I really love the detailing about the pockets

To my utter joy the tailoring of these trousers actually 
gives me a slim look! 

I would like to assure my readers that this isn't turning into a fashion blog, nor will you see me wearing a red pointy hat, I just wanted to share my glee with you!

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Roaming Red Caps

As mentioned by Harlow in a comment on the previous blog post. Red Caps can be found in many other countries other than Ireland. They relocate along with their human companions and maintain their fine traditions by keeping the same dress code and customs.

Harald and Freda in Dorset, England.

Now, here is a good example of a Darby and Joan type who have been partners since the beginning of time. They are Harald and Freda. The latter is responsible for ensuring that her relations are all well dressed and because of this I received a message from her meant for Hazel. I will share it with you all and ask that you pass it on, just in case you meet up with him first. 
"They, Harald and Freda, really enjoyed his adventures and are glad he is getting on so well in Ireland. However Freda is a little concerned that Hazel is a bit tipsy as his hat is rather crooked in several photos. She says she will make a nice new warm felt one for the winter."

We move now to a Spa town set in the heartlands of the English countryside to meet Thorn who is Hazel's learned brother.

Thorn relaxing.

Thorn's speciality is keeping the young humans entertained and assisting them in their education. The knowledge that they acquire from him is very different to that of normal human education.

Thorn demonstrating the uses of the trampoline which he says can lead 
to flights of another kind and magical realms, 
depending upon intuitive capabilities of the student.

Tractor driving is not one of Thorn's ideal pursuits, 
as can be seen by the fearful look on his face, 
it is however a favourite with his pupil who has been enamoured with tractors ever
 since driving a Massey-Fergusson on his holidays in Ireland.

Here the learned Thorn excels at chalking the alphabet and numbers
in an effort to assist his pupil in the arts of literacy and numerics.

Balance in all things says Thorn!

"If only the young fellow would stay abed more
often I would get time off to go visiting
my friends who live in the local parks."

As you can see in the photos these small creatures get around so don't be surprised if you spot a small red cap bobbing through the grass near you! 

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

A Walk With A Red Cap

It being good day weather-wise and having very little to do or, to be more precise, having finished the tasks set for me by Mrs H, I decided to go for a stroll with my irascible friend Hazel (name changed to protect his real identity). He lives in the hedgerows for most of his time although he has been known to enter our home to use my computer causing me a few problems by leaving odd comments here and there on blogs and by trying to go further into the system and typing in the wrong passwords.

So I stepped across to his known sleeping place at this time of the year and found him amongst the blue flowers gently snoring away. The flash from my camera awoke him as 
I knew it would. 
Sleepily he said, 'What in ****'s name do you want ?'
'I thought you might like to go for a walk with me as it is a warm day.'
Hazel replied 'OK so, just give me a moment to wake up.'

Within the blink of a human eye Hazel was wide awake and looking for adventure. Together we went for our walk with him leading the way. 
You may well be familiar with Yeats' poem about walking with a faery hand in hand ? 
Let me assure you this is certainly not the case with Hazel and I, for as well acquainted as we are, neither he nor I would ever dream of holding hands as his skin is closer to that of an amphibian, quite cool to the touch and has a very different texture to ours.
I am sure he feels the same way about my skin as he shies away from all human contact. 

We had not walked more than two hundred yards when Hazel spotted this toadstool in the grass. He instantly decided that it would make a tasty snack so he plonked himself down giving me only a few seconds to take out my camera and take this photo which, I am sure you will agree, is a very rare shot.

With a great deal lip smacking, he devoured it within seconds as to him it was a great delicacy but very likely harmful to humans.
After his snack our journey together continued along the road uneventfully apart from Hazel jumping into the hedge every time the sound of a vehicle was heard. 
As he wisely said it would not bode well for him or me to be seen together. 

Our walk took us towards the entrance of a fine old house where Hazel stopped briefly to stroke a lantern dog 'for Luck' he told me. 

Here he is again within the meadow which his tribe have occupied for hundreds of generations or so said Hazel. To be honest I have no idea how old he is in human terms
and I would certainly not want to offend him by enquiring, for I have my own private thoughts about Themselves.
I can tell you this though, on the hillside above him is one of their cities and the field just behind him is where, on moonlit nights, they dance and make merry.

Our perambulation continued down a narrow road, a perfumed road, where the combined scents of wild honeysuckle and meadowsweet gave an aroma of honeyed toffee.
We both breathed in deeply and licked our lips. 
I could see that Hazel was just a little intoxicated as he jumped up to sit on a concrete stile and peering at the house beyond I heard him say 'I wonder if the woman of the house is baking today?' He hopped down and we continued along together in silence.

Our walk together ceased when Hazel lay down near a bed of richly scented roses saying
 'This will give you a fine picture and me a place to stay for the rest of the day.' 
So I left him and turned to head for home carrying about me a strong perfume of roses. Just as I went through our gateway, I glanced in my top pocket to see a rose head peeping out and this I gave to Mrs H.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

EU attack on Greece

Europe’s Attack On Greek Democracy

Joseph Stiglitz, Greek Democracy
Joseph Stiglitz
The rising crescendo of bickering and acrimony within Europe might seem to outsiders to be the inevitable result of the bitter endgame playing out between Greece and its creditors. In fact, European leaders are finally beginning to reveal the true nature of the ongoing debt dispute, and the answer is not pleasant: it is about power and democracy much more than money and economics.
Of course, the economics behind the program that the “troika” (the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund) foisted on Greece five years ago has been abysmal, resulting in a 25% decline in the country’s GDP. I can think of no depression, ever, that has been so deliberate and had such catastrophic consequences: Greece’s rate of youth unemployment, for example, now exceeds 60%.
It is startling that the troika has refused to accept responsibility for any of this or admit how bad its forecasts and models have been. But what is even more surprising is that Europe’s leaders have not even learned. The troika is still demanding that Greece achieve a primary budget surplus (excluding interest payments) of 3.5% of GDP by 2018.
Economists around the world have condemned that target as punitive, because aiming for it will inevitably result in a deeper downturn. Indeed, even if Greece’s debt is restructured beyond anything imaginable, the country will remain in depression if voters there commit to the troika’s target in the snap referendum to be held this weekend.
In terms of transforming a large primary deficit into a surplus, few countries have accomplished anything like what the Greeks have achieved in the last five years. And, though the cost in terms of human suffering has been extremely high, the Greek government’s recent proposals went a long way toward meeting its creditors’ demands.
We should be clear: almost none of the huge amount of money loaned to Greece has actually gone there. It has gone to pay out private-sector creditors – including German and French banks. Greece has gotten but a pittance, but it has paid a high price to preserve these countries’ banking systems. The IMF and the other “official” creditors do not need the money that is being demanded. Under a business-as-usual scenario, the money received would most likely just be lent out again to Greece.
But, again, it’s not about the money. It’s about using “deadlines” to force Greece to knuckle under, and to accept the unacceptable – not only austerity measures, but other regressive and punitive policies.
But why would Europe do this? Why are European Union leaders resisting the referendum and refusing even to extend by a few days the June 30 deadline for Greece’s next payment to the IMF? Isn’t Europe all about democracy?
In January, Greece’s citizens voted for a government committed to ending austerity. If the government were simply fulfilling its campaign promises, it would already have rejected the proposal. But it wanted to give Greeks a chance to weigh in on this issue, so critical for their country’s future wellbeing.
That concern for popular legitimacy is incompatible with the politics of the eurozone, which was never a very democratic project. Most of its members’ governments did not seek their people’s approval to turn over their monetary sovereignty to the ECB. When Sweden’s did, Swedes said no. They understood that unemployment would rise if the country’s monetary policy were set by a central bank that focused single-mindedly on inflation (and also that there would be insufficient attention to financial stability). The economy would suffer, because the economic model underlying the eurozone was predicated on power relationships that disadvantaged workers.
And, sure enough, what we are seeing now, 16 years after the eurozone institutionalized those relationships, is the antithesis of democracy: Many European leaders want to see the end of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s leftist government. After all, it is extremely inconvenient to have in Greece a government that is so opposed to the types of policies that have done so much to increase inequality in so many advanced countries, and that is so committed to curbing the unbridled power of wealth. They seem to believe that they can eventually bring down the Greek government by bullying it into accepting an agreement that contravenes its mandate.
It is hard to advise Greeks how to vote on July 5. Neither alternative – approval or rejection of the troika’s terms – will be easy, and both carry huge risks. A yes vote would mean depression almost without end. Perhaps a depleted country – one that has sold off all of its assets, and whose bright young people have emigrated – might finally get debt forgiveness; perhaps, having shriveled into a middle-income economy, Greece might finally be able to get assistance from the World Bank. All of this might happen in the next decade, or perhaps in the decade after that.
By contrast, a no vote would at least open the possibility that Greece, with its strong democratic tradition, might grasp its destiny in its own hands. Greeks might gain the opportunity to shape a future that, though perhaps not as prosperous as the past, is far more hopeful than the unconscionable torture of the present.
I know how I would vote.