So today is a portentous day; A day that will go down in …well I’m not sure what type of day it will be other than to say today many of my fellow citizens will no longer be alive at the end of it than were at the beginning – a lot will have died because of covid perhaps before their time. This is such a clichéd phrase – who knows when their time is over on this crazy world? What we do know that as a statistic many more people will be dead by the end of the day than is normal for this time of year and that perhaps is the greatest tragedy of them all.
In an effort to try and reduce the incidence of this terrible disease to an absolute minimum I have been following the lock down rules as best as can. One of the effects of this is that my world has reduced to how far I can reasonably walk within one hour of where I live. This has meant that the opportunity to make photographs have reduced as well – my own sanity will allow only so many photographs of floods or mist or frost in my local park . So as a way around this last night, between the rain, I went out for a second walk and it was a thrilling experience. I walked along with my own soundtrack playing in my ears and from time to time I felt like I was in some strange, non New York, Scorsese movie.
This is third covid walk I’ve taken, that is a walk with my camera and one lens. The first one was with my iPhone; the second was with a 50mm lens and this was with a 35mm. I’m sure I’ll make several others before we are released out into the fresh spring air.
In other news today Donald Trump will no longer be President of the United States of America – so there is a reason to be cheerful.
Let us hope that is the last time we have to contemplate the name in relation to United States of America politics. I fear it won’t be.
I feel like a slack jawed yokel as I watched the disintegration of the United States of America live on primetime TV last night. I am sure there are many people out there justifying what happened yesterday in Washington DC. I cannot. I have always thought that on balance the United States of America has been good for the world since the end of the second world war. Don’t get me wrong they country and its people have taken many missteps along the way but these do not outweigh the good the country has done. My view your view may well differ.
Yesterday finally destroyed any residual fondness I had for the country. From yesterday onwards the country has to try really hard to step back from the edge and I fear they will not do that. The reason for this is that even after everything that happened yesterday there were enough members of the congress who wanted to debate about the last election. No one, not one person, has presented any evidence to any court of any significant irregularity. Nothing. Yet so called rational men, I’m not sure whether there were any women, in the last congress still thought that there was massive voter fraud. They didn’t seem to equate the riot that took place in their place of work as any reason for them pause and reconsider what they were doing. That message will not be lost.
So going forward the United States of America has a lot of rebuilding to do and I don’t envy Joe Biden’s task. Perhaps cometh the hour cometh the man – I somehow doubt that. Now it would be a legitimate argument for an American citizen to say that I have no right to express any views about their country but I don’t believe that is true. We all live in a world that has been built by the United States of America since 1945; A world that has at its core an assumption that the United States of America will be some form of a bulwark against mobs storming their parliament building and forcing their legislatures to do the bidding of their leader no matter how illegal that might be. After yesterday that is no longer a valid assumption and the world that I live in has just got a whole lot more shaky.
The only good(?) thing to come out of yesterday is that it helped me to forget that we are in our third lock down of the last 12 months. Hopefully by Easter, or shortly after, I may well have had my first jab which may mean some form of freedom to move around beyond the confines of my neighbourhood and perhaps start to capture different images. That is if Trump hasn’t blown the world to pieces by then… The mist and frost this morning didn’t make things feel any brighter.
Those were the days my friend We thought they’d never end
So, according to the New York Times Britain is yet again going off on another crazy wild stab into the dark by trying to get as many people vaccinated as possible by only giving one dose out and then giving the booster in about 12 weeks. I have no idea who is right or wrong or if there is a right or wrong or perhaps it is nuanced? It was noticeable the air of disappointment in the New York Times’ reporting when the latest variant of the Covid virus, the main reason I’m sitting here in Tier 4, is not, infact, a British variant but rather a variant first disclosed by the British authorities. The cause of this disappointment is the fact that someone in a small town in Colorado has been diagnosed with the new variant. He apparently hasn’t traveled too far and not, to the best of his knowledge, been in contact with anyone who has.
Now before we all explode into a wave of jingoism it is worth remembering that few people in Britain, myself included, can understand why so many people in the States voted for Donald Trump. Yet they did and it is just the way they do things. I guess we are all guilty of trying to see the way we do things as the best and other ways as less so even when there is scant evidence that one or the other may be correct (this is a general observation as there are certain things that clearly are wrong – baseless challenges to the result of an election you most might be one such example).
We all have our own prejudice whether we like it or not. I think what we have to try and do is accept that and move forward whilst trying to improve on our imperfect world view and address what prejudice we might suffer from.
A good number of years ago I learnt a very valuable lesson. None of us are irreplaceable. Some of us are more talented in one form of human endeavour than most of the rest of us but we all have to accept that it never ends. Life goes on; We go on right upto the point that we don’t. Then we are replaced. But it never ends.
Not sure if that is the uplifting message for a new year but it is a truth that becomes more apparent the longer we hang around.
Sometimes I find I capture a photograph without really realising the significance of what I have captured. This photograph is of a normal set of train platforms. I was attracted by the the arrangement of the three men standing there but didn’t give a second thought. When I first posted it on this bog I was still none the wiser to what I had captured. The next image tells you all you need to know about the significance….
These were platforms 9 and 10 at Kings Cross station and for many millions people around the world only means one thing – the location of platform 9 3/4 and the Hogwarts’ Express. As soon as this is pointed out the three individuals in the first picture start to take on a life of their own – are they Ministry Men? Perhaps they work at Hogwarts itself and are awaiting the arrival of students after the winter break – it was January and who knows when the new term starts? Perhaps they are … well I’m sure you can fill in the blanks yourself.
Of course many a Potter fan would think that St Pancras next door is where the platform should be as this is the exterior they use in the movies. Both are magnificent buildings in their own right but Kings Cross has never had the splendor to match it’s flashy neighbour. Even now after the overdue renovation it still seems a bit provincial as it doesn’t have the extra cosmopolitan feel of St Pancras with the hourly arrivals from Europe to give the place an international air terminal feel.
But then again St Pancras doesn’t have platform 9 3/4 and for any true Potter fan Kings Cross is the only station to visit…that is when you were allowed to do so…halcyon days…
If you’ve ever spent anytime with Canada Geese (or any geese for that matter) the one thing they are very good at is converting grass into goose and and goose shit. Combine the later with a heavy down poor and you have the recipe for a really slippery surface which your’s truly nearly came a cropper on in a forlorn chase after a Little Grebe as the fast moving current swept it along the river bank.
Still it was a relief to actually be able to get out after the past few days of almost constant rain and dampness. Grey never looked so grey.
So tomorrow is Christmas and it will certainly be a strange one. Not the strangest one, mind you, I’ve had but then again I’ve worked a many Christmas Day so, unlike many people, for me Christmas Day is when it is rather than on any specific day.
So should you come to read this before Christmas I hope you have as good a celebration as you can under the circumstances and let us all hope that the New year brings the changes that we all hope for.
So we had 1 minute more daylight today – yippee! I’m really not sure when the winter solstice started but the night before (or is that the night of? really not sure.) the moon was out for a couple of hours and so I was able to capture it (not with my iPhone that is for certain.)
So for my troubles I got a bit of a cold the morning after which thankfully isn’t too bad – not that I have anywhere to go thanks to you know what so I’ve been able to sit at home and feel a bit sorry for myself and get on with the mountains of work I seem to keep creating for myself. It seems that I might start my vaccine regime until March so I guess I’m going to have a bit of time to try and catch up.
It never ceases to amaze me why some photos just seem to talk to me in a way that many other don’t. This last one is one of those images. I can’t explain but I can just look at this for hours.
Who needs rorschach?
P.S. As I write this the 21:15 DHL flight to Leipzig has just flown over so perhaps we’re not so cut off after all.
So many great plans for today. So many. Then they all fell away with a mixture of bad weather and a final realisation that the person who is leading the country is utterly inept, useless, dangerous…I could go on but I think you get the idea.
Perhaps it is because this is the shortest day and with nothing really to look forward to over the next couple of months the photographs I made to celebrate the day are well – these. If a picture is worth a thousand words then these are some of the most eloquent words I have written.
Don’t listen to it. Crows are all liars. I know a story about a crow….