Mossy Creek, Desert Island, Maine

Jacob Whitaker

Mossy Creek, Desert Island, Maine

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Flowered Balcony, Paris, France

Great photography!! Wish I were in Paris!

Jacob Whitaker

Earth Views
#Flowered Balcony, #Paris, #France

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Review no 148: German TV Series Deutschland ’86

Schrader is brilliant and helped to direct Vor der Morgenrot abou the last months of the fascinating Stefan Zweig. It will help to refresh your German too- very useful!!

Reading and Watching the World: Books, Film and Art


Stylish Cold War spy drama Deutschland ’83, a co-production between Germany and the USA, aired in the UK in 2016, and became a runaway hit. We’ve recently been watching the follow-up series, set in 1986, and imaginatively called Deutschland ’86. Deutschland ’89, set in the year of the fall of the Berlin Wall, has just come out, and I dare say we’ll get to it at some point.

In the five years since we watched Deutschland ’83 I’d unfortunately forgotten everything about the plot, as well as all the names, motivations and back stories of every single character. This happens a lot. I can reread a book from a few years ago, and it might as well be new to me. I can watch films and only towards the end remember that, yes, I’ve seen it already. Indeed, one of the reasons for writing this blog…

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Book Reviews Literature Uncategorized

British Journals investigate China

I think that it was Gavin Ewart who said that well informed persons “Take their clues from the Weekly Reviews”. In the past few weeks I have been interested in the latest viewpoints on China in the World today. I grew up knowing very well a Methodist Minister who had been part of the Chinese Inland Mission and well remember seeing a journal amongst the sermons and stamp albums on his desk entitled China Reconstructs. Even at that time China was able to grant 4.7 million dollars to Egypt at a time when Britain, France and Israel were attacking during the Suez Crisis.

The TLS has recently been looking at how the climate emergency and it’s relation to superpower rivalry. In an interesting review of two books, China goes Green and The New Map, Kate Brown looks at what might be termed green colonialism. The first book, by Li and Shapiro she finds reminiscent of Cold War reportage. Kate Brown mentions how China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) mimics the Marshall plan and costs some 60 Billion dollars. She also mentions that in the past 40 years some 400 million Chinese people have planted some 70.5 Billion trees. “Many of these trees were planted on grass savannahs. Drinking up scarce water, they have caused erosion, and the majority of the poplars and evergreens have died” she writes. In reviewing the second book by Yergin she concludes….”….the big winners in the first decades of the twenty first century have been the oil and gas interests. In 2020, just as 30 years ago, 80 per cent of the world’s energy derives from these two resources.” This TLS article from No 6152 February 26 th 2021 is well worth study.

Pinsk Marshes - Wikipedia

The TLS article mentions that the Pripyat Marshes situated in Poland, Ukraine and Belarus appears to be in the BRI plan – sustainainability? Or the search for global markets?

Oliver Wainwright in the Guardian in the Guardian 24th March has written a fascinating article on China’s rural revolution. He quotes the architectural acupuncture strategy of Xu Tiantian of DnA in Songyang in Zhejang province:-

“We have tried to make something to restore the villagers’ pride in their local identity, as well as bringing visitors and creating a local economic network” Wainwright writes that new facilities will include; a brown sugar factory, a camellia oil workshop, a rice wine distillery and a pottery. This well illustrated article goes on to mention community centres and museums all to be discovered in The Songyang Story published by Park Books.

The Spectator has endeavoured to engage in a thoroughgoing and persistent manner with Chineese issues. The tone is often right wing but nevertheless well written and informative. Overall I find it more engaging to read than the New Statesman, which otherwise accords with my sympathises. On 16th Jan Chris Patten writes about “Lessons from Hong Kong” He speaks out strongly and sensibly about the genocidal policies against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang and concludes saying “It is also absurd to think China will implement international labour standards, as French and German governments claim. Our European leaders might also notice how many heads of the Jewish community have drawn attention to the similarities between the Holocaust and ethnic genocide against the Uyghurs”.

In the Spectator on the 24th January 2021 Harald Maass raised the question as to who profits from Uyghur labour camps. He quotes one source as mentioning that some half a million Uyghurs are being forced under very harsh conditions to pick cotton in Xinjiang province mostly by hand. He mentions too, the fashion industry:-

“Brands including Hugo Boss, Adidas, Muji, Uniqlo, Costco, Caterpillar, Lacoste, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger have been named in reports tying them to Xinjiang factories or materials. One in five cotton products world wide is made with Xinjiang cotton, though Marks &Spencer last week signed a call to action regarding Xinjiang and pledged to stop using any cotton from the region” According to the BBC just today images of clothes and trainers are being deliberately obscured for domestic viewing.

Frnces Pike again in The Spectator 20th February raises the question of how the China’s containment of India-it sees it as a long-term geopolitical rival- should be countered by Biden, Blinken and the D10. Besides the Chinese influence in Burma and Bangladesh, Pike mentions the lease of 99 years for the port of Hambantota in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka protest over Chinese investment turns ugly - BBC News

So the coverage of by The Spectator of China has been intensive and is perhaps summarised by James Forsyth in last week’s copy (3rd April}. Forsyth is, one assumes, fairly close to Downing Street. He mentions that in the previous week, “..the U.S., the E.U., the U.K. and Canada imposed sanctions on China over human rights abuses in Xinjiang” China’s response which included sanctioning five M.E.Ps may lead to the European Parliament failing to ratify the E.U.-China investment Agreement. Forsyth mentions the need for solidarity and refers to this:-

” When Bejing turned on Australia for suggesting there should be an independent inquiry into the origins of coronavirus, there was a shocking lack of solidarity from New Zealand.”

Forsyth appears to support the proposal being made to the American China Research Group to develop a kind of Nato for trade. He concludes by advocating that such collective economic defence be on the agenda for the G7 in Carbis Bay.

To conclude with two interesting items –

I knew nothing about bitcoins or their importance. This link not only gives an indication of their production but it also explains their considerable contribution in China of producing Carbon Dioxide-

Secondly, a useful book on this topic has been written by Jonathan E Hillman published by Yale The Emperor’s New Road:China and the Project of the Century. There is an excellent review and tour d’horizon by Laleh Khali in The London Review of Books 18th March 2021


#PoetryMonth Surge



  1. For those readers of Jay Bernard’s debut Surge who are
  2. not familiar with the historical event to which it responds,
  3. there is a carefully detailed author’s foreword.
  4. On 18 January 1981, 13 black teenagers were killed in a
  5. house fire that engulfed a birthday party at in south-east London.
  6. Although the New Cross Fire is still in living memory,
  7. Jay Bernard is seeking to introduce it to a new generation
  8. …to make history live and remind readers these are both statistics and people.


  1. I haven’t even opened the book but I feel this will be an emotional journey.
  2. This time I’m reading the book while  listening to the audio book.
  3. I will just let Bernard’s words wash over me.
  4. Each poem has a different voice…a gathering…

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Thoughts on “Winter Dream: to… Her” by Arthur Rimbaud

Must look up the original French!!

Stuff Jeff Reads

One winter, we’ll take a train, a little rose-colored car
Upholstered blue.
We’ll be so comfortable. A nest
Of wild kisses awaits in every cushioned corner.

You’ll close your eyes to shadows
Grimacing through windows
This belligerent nocturnal realm, inhabited
By black demons and black wolves.

Then you’ll feel a tickle on your cheek…
A little kiss like a crazed spider
Fleeing down your neck…

Bending your head backwards, you’ll say: “Get it!”
―And we’ll take our time finding the beast
―While it roams…

(Translation by Wyatt Mason)

The footnote to this poem states: Written on a train, 7 October 1870. With that in mind, I interpret this poem as an expression of a sexual fantasy experienced while riding alone on a train. I picture a young Rimbaud, gazing out the window as landscape streams by, imagining himself lost in a loving embrace.

What strikes me as most interesting…

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Born March 29~ Dora Carrington

Really like Carrington’s work and was deeply moved reading her relationship with Lytton Strachey in Holroyd’s magnificent biography.

The Misty Miss Christy

Dora de Houghton Carrington (March 29, 1893-March 11, 1932), known generally as Carrington, was an English painter and decorative artist.
Biography on Wikipedia:

Spanish Boy, the Accordion Player by Dora Carrington
c.1924 / Oil on canvas / 25″x20″ / The Higgins Bedford, Bedford, UK

Dora Carrington on Artnet:

Further reading:

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Some quite fascinating and evocative images!







Toothpaste pot, England, 1901-1930 | Science Museum Group Collection

Photographs of buses formerly to be seen in the City of Glasgow

Brian Cannon / Microdot on Twitter: "Another incredible piece of #Oasis  memorabilia found in my Dads house. The packet of Woodbine cigarettes  photographed on the desk he was using on the sleeve

Pin on Blighty



10 things you didn't know about 'Allo 'Allo! | 'Allo 'Allo! | Gold


The Rolling Stones' Influence: How Rock'N'Roll's Rebels Changed Music



Barbra Streisand | Golden Globes


Chimps' Tea Party (1955) - YouTube

Farmall Model Super-A 1950-1954 | Antique tractors for sale, Tractors,  Antique tractors

With thanks to Dave and John.

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Autistic Children May Experience Less Variation In Their Bodily Emotional Responses

Interesting. I have been looking at a clip on Attatchment No.8 on YouTube (Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute) and also the clip from there on Narcissism. There are some notable similarities worth consideration.

Research Digest

By guest bloggerDan Carney

Research into emotion processing in autistic people has mainly focused on how they understand others’ emotions. A more limited body of work into how autistic people process their own emotions has, however, suggested difficulties identifying and describing emotional experiences, and distinguishing between emotional states. The latter is potentially important, as it is associated with negative outcomes such as anxiety, depression, and self-injurious behavior, all of which have been suggested to occur more frequently in autism than in the general population.

So far, studies of emotion differentiation in autism have tended to use language-based tasks. But now, a team led by Eleanor Palser from the University of California San Francisco has reported the first study looking at how autistic children map out where they feel emotions in their body. The team finds that compared to non-autistic children, the bodily emotion maps of autistic children are more…

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Paralyzed by the Fear of Uncertainty: Beginning to Overcome Debilitating Self-Doubt

Useful and very interesting advice. Thanks for the posting.

Leon's Existential Cafe

Anxiety is a bitch. And the beliefs behind it are even worse. When people struggle with Generalized Anxiety or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, they get trapped in “the what-ifs.” What if I have cancer? What if I’ll never get married? What if my parents never return? What if I’ll never feel good about myself? In the context of an often cruel universe, “the what-ifs” don’t seem so absurd. In its more benign form, life will leave us trapped in our ruminations. But, in its more malevolent one, they’ll actually come to pass. Existentially speaking, we can never know for sure that we’ll be safe.

I teach my clients critical thinking in the form of the cognitive thought record to help them better manage the fear of uncertainty and, worse, their pessimistic thinking. I try to tell them that they don’t need to trust themselves as long as they can trust the…

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