Monthly Archives: June 2012

Floral experiences

Yellow on the broom – this is round our Pond which you can’t see because it never refills

I don’t recall ever seeing such an abundance of broom blossom. Lemon custard in dollops on everything, as if the landscape were aggrieved at missing its usual dolloping of snow in the winter and had decided to make up for it with a more colourful spring alternative. What does it all mean, these weird alternations of heat, drought and north-wind weather? What happened to the old “prevailing” sou’-westers?

We scurry about in the garden trying to keep abreast of the vagaries of the new unpredictability. What we really need is four times the usual amount of vegetable seeds, so we can experiment our way round germination failures and the other problems attendant on slow growth (hungry slugs being one of the most obvious). But four times the amount of seed is four times the cost of an item that’s already outrageously pricey due to the dearth of seedsmen (apologies Henry Miller) of the old-fashioned kind. We are of course attempting to generate as much of our own seed as possible but – ha! another problem: where have all the pollinators gone? There are supposed to be a few honey-bees about, though personally I might have seen three so far this year, and the various bumble-bee tribes are also conspicuous by their absence. So, flowers, flowers everywhere and pretty low expectation of seed, as well as low expectation of some basic crops. We tend to forget that in the not-too-distant past we regularly had famine years in the north. If it weren’t for Tescos and their buddies, 2012 might well have proved one of them.

Here’s a link to Paul’s Cottarton blog where he talks about the Siberian “log” method of keeping honey-bees – supposed to be very natural and good for them, though local beekeepers seem to frown on it, not sure why. The only trouble is, where can he get bees from? Love nor money doesn’t seem to produce the desirables, as most of them have died off due to Colony Collapse Syndrome (personally I think it’s something more along the lines of Douglas Adams’ So long, and thanks for all the fish). Anyway, if you come across a wild-looking man in a veil crouching by the roadside, it’s probably Paul lying in wait for a swarm.

Memorable floral experiences this year also include the amazing sight of the clouds of may-blossom along both sides of the Cree river’s lower reaches. We were driving over the road from Girvan to Wigtown where we were to be guests at Mary’s Wedding. I don’t mean we were walking into a song, Mary’s my niece, though it has to be said I’m not a very good uncle. Her other uncle did the tune proud on his Pipes, however. At the meal I was thoughtfully placed beside a lady who’d helped to get the Wigtown Book Festival started a few years ago. The Wigtown Book Festival is very Big, though Wigtown is very small, and I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t heard of it – hey, I’m from the North-East. I have now though, and have decided to be one of the star attractions in the not unreachable future. Wigtown is also enormously pretty, but apparently in time past its inhabitants didn’t realise this and what is now the “square” (the mathematics of this notion leave a bit to be desired) used to be the general midden. It’s all tidied up now, naturally, or there’d have been no Festival.

I can report that that song about the Gallowa’ Hills being covered with flowers is a load of bunkum. Never did like that song anyway.

Girvan was where Annie, Rachel and I met up with Anna, Ben, Abby and Robin and from where we continued wedding-wards in a noisy rabble. I thought I’d been in this metropolis before (though Ben says it was probably Ardrossan) when I was on the way to Arran in 1967. Abby’s definitely been to Girvan though, she pointed out some rocks where she and Rosie used to sit at the Girvan Festival and get “baked”. (“Baked?” Rachel queried, “was the weather that hot?”). I’m not sure which rocks she meant, but it wouldn’t have been Ailsa Craig, that was a bit far out (see below), and essential ingredients would have got wet.

I have tomatoes called after her, onions called after her, a character in my current work in progress called after her; but this is Herself in her entirety….

I’ve added some more poems, but too busy to put in more stuff as I’d have liked. The child hopping around among the verses of “Wood Anemones, Craighall Den” is probably Abby (that was well before her baking days). “Kullervo’s Return to the Foster-Folk” makes me think I can’t have been best pleased at returning to my childhood haunts when we moved to Fife so that Annie could go to Uni – mid-‘nineties, that would have been. “Two Girls, Tarvit Hill” might be an affectionate little memento of Abby and Rosie’s friendship, which goes back a good many years.

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Alien Invasion

I mentioned Abscesses a couple of posts back, seeing as I’d just had one or two. At the root of two of my, well-used now, teeth, that is. The abscesses are in abeyance for the time being, I can report, as I waved the (unopened) bag of antibiotic tablets in front of them, a tried and tested technique of modern magic. I would also have mentioned to my dentist the backup treatment of homeopathic Belladonna and Soluble Mercury, but I know only too well the supercilious sneer of perfect whiteness that this would incur.

I wonder if people realise that the many vivid modern accounts of alien abduction, complete with complicated and alarming-looking Probes, are actually fantasies generated by our attitudes to dentists. Perhaps by our attitudes to modern Medicine in general but, the mouth being decidedly the key instrument of human power, dentists and dentistry have an especially poignant place in modern lore.

One of these days I’ll be starting a Book Reviews page for this blog (it will be a fairly small item, as I don’t get through more than a couple of books a year), and possibly the first subject will be Ramiel Nagel’s Cure Tooth Decay. An ambitious project (the curing of dental decay, I mean, not the intended review), but the denizens of Coldhome have been vigorously debating Ramiel’s claim, and no-one can deny that the element of Empowerment that it offers makes it a very attractive proposition.

Ramiel leans heavily on the principles of holistic dentistry as represented by the Weston Price foundation. Weston Price, whose book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration was first published back in the 1930’s, was a bit of a pioneer of modern dentistry, though some of the main things he said are studiously ignored by the mainstream chaps who look after our teeth nowadays, for whom the phrase “holistic dentistry” mainly involves the filling of holes. For some reason the favoured materials for carrying out this kind of job are mixtures involving highly toxic stuff like mercury and aluminium; but hole-filling apart, your average mainstream dentist will also advocate a lot of other dodgy substances, like fluoride and antiseptic mouthwashes as the Materialist Age’s answer to holy water. This is because they know that your System is too stupid to deal with dental problems by itself and that you are too weak-willed to help it by observing commonsense procedures like avoiding refined sugar (try convincing your dentist that you do avoid it and you’ll see how right I am). So, apart from the alien-abduction thing with the probes (which is the punishment held over you for Sloppy Behaviour), your regular trip to the dentist involves a spanking for being such a Dirty Boy (or Girl). When I was little you got to sit, more or less upright, in the dentist’s chair, but these days an extra dimension has been added to your ritual humiliation by having you flat on your back while they Probe you.

All things considered, I wonder is the real problem of Teeth an issue of empowerment -confidence, in other words? We’re all aware of this connection of course, from one angle at least. Advertisers were pretty quick to link teeth and confidence, in fact you might say that the entire global success of the USA is built upon a dazzling dental arch. So great was the effect of that Ring of Confidence that pretty much everyone who could afford it followed America’s lead in getting their kids properly equipped, even if it meant months or years of teenage discomfort from clamps and other mouthly interpolations. Real dental health quickly took second place to the Cosmetic variety. But so what? – if it works from the other angle too, perhaps via a mystic feedback loop, surely the borderline between real and cosmetic medicine blurs? Perhaps then a good Dental Arch actually follows, as a physical expression of inner confidence without the need of braces, crownings, implants and whitenings. Not discounting a decent diet of course – but perhaps there’s less to diet than we like to think. When Weston Price describes the ill-effects of “civilisation” meeting indigenous societies, he makes the assumption that it’s the introduction of western types of “nutrition” that does the damage. But what if the real damaging factor was a people’s awareness of the intrusion of an alien culture which all of a sudden made them feel inferior – ie. led to a catastrophic collapse of confidence? He certainly touches on the confidence issue (his photographs of people prior to western influence all have broadly smiling subjects, whereas the deformed samples from the next generation have suitably woeful expressions), but I wonder if he understood fully the effects – physical as well as psychological – of the sudden appearance of representatives of a powerful alien civilisation – very quickly understood as a “superior” one.

So, let me not beat about the bush: the Assyrians, the Egyptians, the Hittites, the Greeks, dot dot dot – yes, the Dentists! They are indeed the spearhead of an Alien invasion. We generally call it Civilisation, this alien invasion. Let’s put Civilisation into a nutshell: when Civilisation comes sweeping in, its first step is to destroy the target culture, and then to introduce social/economic goals which all members of that culture may aspire to. All members means all members – even the slave-class can, given a bit of luck and lots of hard work and submission to the Alien ethics, get into the great Pyramid and start to worm themselves Upwards. You can see something of the process these days in the USA’s cheerful policy of bombing a country flat and then storming in with a Marshall Plan or some latter-day equivalent. Or, again, in the kind of agricultural procedures that are dignified with the term “the Green Revolution”. Or, again, the carpet-bombing effects so beloved of modern medicine, from antibiotics to universal vaccination. Or, again –

No, forget Civilisation and alien invasions, I’m off to watch Contact once more, that film being the sci-fi equivalent of comfort food (and perfectly all right for your teeth)….

Did I mention my teeth aren’t so good? That must be because I’m a Shrinking Violet sort of bloke….

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