Saturday, October 15, 2005

The whole situation that we have now in Northern Ireland reminds me of something that happened to one of my cats. Let me explain -

A while ago the house I was living in had the front door at the rear of the house. You had to walk down an alley and then you entered the house via the kitchen. In the kitchen door there was a catflap. One day the dog next door decided to chase my cat down the alley. The cat simply ran down the alley and jumped in to the catflap. This left the dog feeling quite confused in the garden looking around wondering where the cat had gone. I found it quite amusing.

Imagine the cat as the bomb - or the use of force. Imagine us as ‘the dog’. We have been chasing the cat and we have been so obsessed that when the cat disappeared we have been left utterly confused not knowing where to go. This represents us at the moment. The war has ‘ended’ but now we don’t know how to continue we have just voted in two parties - DUP and Sinn Fein that hate each others guts and we expect them to rule Northern Ireland somehow, somewhere even though if they were in government they would refuse to talk to each other. This has created a strong sense of despair in the citizens of Northern Ireland because we don’t know what to do - the cat has gone.

NB a cat has nine lives.

This analogy has nothing to do with my nick.

I will leave you with this little gem:

“for our strength in this world is, to be slaves of reason, and our liberty, to be captives of the truth.”
John Henry Newman

A friend of mine - 'Topcat' has asked to allow himself to join this blog for the purpose of the occasional editorial content. I have decided to allow him this opportunity as it gives all you readers a break from constant talk abut books!

Saturday, October 08, 2005


I KNOW my soul hath power to know all things,
Yet she is blind and ignorant in all:
I know I'm one of Nature's little kings,
Yet to the least and vilest things am thrall.

I know my life 's a pain and but a span;
I know my sense is mock'd in everything;
And, to conclude, I know myself a Man--
Which is a proud and yet a wretched thing.

Sir John Davies

Friday, October 07, 2005

One of the books I found last week at home was a delightful ‘Penguin Special’ on ’Aircraft Recognition’ published in 1941. I did suggest to Penguin that they use this ad as part of their 70th birthday celebrations but they seem to have ignored me! The text from the ad is as follows:

Many of us are finding more time on our hands now that travel is difficult and amusements are restricted. We suggest that some of this spare time might be devoted usefully to more serious reading.

If you care to write to us mentioning your interests, we will be only too pleased to send you our complete list and a suggested reading course.

It has these wonderful illustrations of airplanes and I have scanned them and they make excellent bookmarks! It might be a novel idea to publish one in this blog each week. Inever realised they had special clubs during the war to learn aircraft recognition - they called them ‘the Hearkers’.

I bought two books of interest last week - Selected readings from Thomas Carlyle and ‘The Private memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner’ by James Hogg.

Carlyle is fascinating, someone I have been interested in for a great while. In the 19th Century he was adored and then all of a sudden he just went out of favour. Here is something that could easily be applied to today (originally intended for the industrial revolution):

“Men are grown mechanical in head and in heart, as well as in hand. They have lost faith in individual endeavour, and in natural force, of any kind. Not for internal perfection, but for external combinations and arrangements, for institutions, constitutions - for Mechanisms of one sort or another, do they hope and struggle. Their whole efforts, attachments, opinions turn on mechanisms, and are of a mechanical nature.”

The James Hogg book was first published in 1824, it is basically a satire against Calvinism, a boy strongly indoctrinated as a Calvinist believes he can do no wrong and starts to kill people. I am really enjoying it. Here is one quote particularly applicable to Belfast at this moment in time:

“A mob is like a spring-tide in an eastern storm, that retires only to return with more overwhelming fury”