Grist to the Mill

18 September, 2008

Tea 'healthier' drink than water

The researchers recommend people consume three to four cups a day
Drinking three or more cups of tea a day is as good for you as drinking plenty of water and may even have extra health benefits, say researchers.



05 April, 2008


Well, I passed - eventually. Driving is scaring the crap out me, though. Cycling at night around Hyde Park Corner / through Victoria / around Marble Arch is about one hundred times less stressful than pootling around Reading in a car. This is going to take some getting used to, and I'm not enjoying it much at the moment.


04 November, 2007


"A word I like at the moment is calenture. It was a condition where sailors who had been at sea for a long time would get the delusion that the waves were countryside and covered with grass and would try and get off the ship and wander around. Nice word, beautiful sound to it and expressing rather a devastating concept."

I love this word too. It resonates, it's significant.

- Will Self



The following passage was in the line notes of a Richard Hawley album. No need to paraphrase him. The feeling he expresses is plain:

In every city and every town there's a place.
A special place where people meet. Not a mythical place but somewhere real, a place that exists, not in the past, but now.
In my city there's a place just like that. You won't see a street sign for it and you can't find it on a map, but it's there, right under everyone's feet, thousands and thousands of feet have stood there, waiting in the warm morning sunshine or stamping bored and impatient in the freezing winter night annoyed at someone who's late or will never come.
Yeah it's there alright. I know. I've stood there.
This place in my town is called Coles Corner, in Sheffield, right in front of where the old Cole Brothers department store used to be... a long time ago.
It got knocked down in the 60s to make way for the bright new vision of the future somebody planned.
The new building's old too now... but not as old as Coles Corner.
For years, lovers, friends and families have met here on this spot.
There must be so many people that are here in Sheffield and in this world who are alive because a love bloomed after meeting here... on Coles Corner, in Sheffield, the city where I live.


28 August, 2007


"All of us have been dying, hour by hour, since the moment we were born. Realizing this, let all things be placed in their proper perspective... Remember, it is always later than you think." Og Mandino

"The hollow horn plays wasted words
Proves to warn
That he not busy being born
Is busy dying." Bob Dylan

The sea smoothes
The crumpled land
With foaming briny fingers
Limpid, languid, listless.
Drowsiness at three o’clock.
Distilled in the drone of a bee
Drifting to a distant field
Where golden rounds of hay
Stand separate as men
Like giant sandcastles
Tempting a naked foot to stamp them out.
A glinting jet weaves a vapour trail
Stretched out across the clear blue,
Blue-sky dome:
A subtext of mortality
On an autumn day.


25 July, 2007


The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness... Nature expects a full grown man to accept the two black voids, fore and aft, as stolidly as he accepts the extraordinary visions in between. Imagination, the supreme delight of the immortal and the immature, should be limited. In order to enjoy life we should not enjoy it too much. I rebel against this state of affairs.

Vladimir Nabokov


23 July, 2007


"Yeah, I heard a funny thing
Somebody said to me
You know that I could be in love with almost everyone
I think that people are
The greatest fun
And I will be alone again tonight my dear."

Right now, I feel I know what Arthur Lee was getting at. People, friends, when you seek out the right ones, are inspiring ("the greatest fun"), connecting you - as they do - with some kind of life force, giving you feelings of warmth and hope for the whole world ("almost everyone"). And yet, here I am writing this at five minutes past midnight, all alone ("Alone Again Or"), and not minding that fact at all. Arthur Lee, bless you, RIP.


15 July, 2007


Spent five days over Easter in Hungary and a couple of days cycling through the countryside. Just collected the photos, sadly blurred because I only realised the camera shutter speed was wrong, unfortunately at the end of the roll of film. Anyway, I remembered a silly incident that I'd kind of forgotten about. At a restaurant somewhere away from the city on the banks of the Danube (Neil? Where?!) stopped for lunch. I ordered the above from the menu, envisaging the flesh of the animal - I'm so ignorant, though. I AM NOT A BUTCHER! I thought 'belly' meant a soft, tender cut of meat, something like tenderloin (which I know now is nowhere near the stomach). When the meal came, it looked very strange. It took a few minutes to figure out that it was tripe. Honeycomb tripe, at that. The "meat" (if you can call it that) was cut into strips, and it had odd, hexagonal-type 'gills' on it. God knows what function they serve. Probably to 'waft' the half digested food through the innards of the ox, towards the large intestine, or worse.

It was offputting, but hey! mussels don't look great if you look at them too closely but they're delicious, so I wasn't about to let the look of it put me off. I didn't want to be the kind of person who orders an ommelette at an Indian restaurant, so I was gamely trying to trick myself into liking it. Also, tripe is, or at least, has been, a staple of people in that region for centuries. A continent of people can't be wrong. And out in rural Hungary, at least it would be cooked properly. It had lots of tomatoes and the right seasoning, so I was confident it had been cooked right.

It was irredeemably foul in every way: in taste, texture (especially that) and appearance. Not to worry, at least I know what it's like now.


09 July, 2007

*Further to 'Staff Room' entry, which reminded me of this...

Now it is fog. I walk
Contained within my coat;
No castle more cut off
By reason of its moat:
Only the sentry's cough,
The mercenaries' talk.

The street lamps, visible,
Drop no light on the ground,
But press beams painfully
In a yard of fog around.
I am condemned to be
An individual.

In the established border
There balances a mere
Pinpoint of consciousness.
I stay, or start from, here:
No fog makes more or less
The neighboring disorder.

Particular, I must
Find out the limitation
Of mind and universe.
To pick thought and sensation
And turn to my own use
Disordered hate or lust.

I seek, to break, my span.
I am my one touchstone.
This is a test more hard
Than any ever known.
And thus I keep my guard
On that which makes me man.

Much is unknowable.
No problem shall be faced
Until the problem is;
I, born to fog, to waste,
Walk through hypothesis,
An individual.


08 July, 2007


Back in the 80s, there were some good bands. It wasn't only Kylie, Stock Aitken and Waterman, 'NOW! THat's What I Call Music' compilations. I love the film of this gig ("The Citizen Kane of the concert movies", according to The Face). And David's so sexy. Look at his odd maneouvres!

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