Saturday, November 18, 2017
Before Von flies out
15th: On Wednesday Simon cooked a few of us a butter chicken curry at Jenny's place. It was excellent
16th: Over the years I have shouted various Johnnsons food -- Ken, Paul and Von. And they have always honoured my offerings by eating every last crumb
But I have discovered that there is a small Johnson who has a very Johnson tummy too. At my High Tea on Thursday, Hannah made good use of the offerings. After consuming a significant amount, she was ready for a choc-chip cookie but her mother put her foot down and would not allow it. Von is a surprsingly "taking charge" person at times. Anyway, that quite small tummy that Hannah has inherited had true Johnson capacity: Large.
Something unusual on my cake-stand for the High Tea were Medjool dates. They are a species that has been around for thousands of years but have become popular only recently. They are very soft and juicy. Israel is a major supplier of them but from my packet of them, they seemed to be Australian grown. They all went down well anyhow
Anne did the cucumber sandwiches as usual and did a great job.
We also did one of my mini-plays on Thursday, just before the High Tea. It was, "Building the "Dreadnought"". It was greeted as very educational. It is one of a series of three plays.
While we were doing the play, Hannah dropped over the railings of my verandah her miniature Thomas the Tank "Train", prompting as big a cry as you have ever seen. It hadn't fallen far however so Matthew did a "Knight in shining armour" performance by retrieving it.
We also had some big political discussions about Scottish and NZ politics, with Paul being very vocal, as you would expect. Paul was particularly incensed at the money spent on putting up the Scottish Parliament building: £414 million, many times higher than initial estimates of between £10m and £40m. A lot of Scots were disgusted when it was completed in 2004 but Paul is maintaining the rage. It's not even a dignified building: Just a scrappy mess. But that's "postmodernism" for you.
Simon never gets incensed as far as I can see but he was clearly disgusted by Jacinda Ardern becoming Prime Minister of NZ with around a third of the vote. There are some odd electoral systems in the world. Even Hitler got 44% of the vote in 1933.
Paul's house has Ruskin connections from when it was built and Susan is descended from him so I read out a couple of good quotes from Ruskin. They were quotes I had collected in my late teens of long ago, not the ones you normally see online. Here they are:
Resurrection: "I fancy the goodly bricks of some of our family vaults will hold closer in the Resurrection day than the sod over the labourer's head" -- From "The Crown of Wild Olive"
Mankind: "And truly it seems to me as I gather in my mind the evidences of insane religion, degraded art, merciless war, sullen toil, detestable pleasure and vain or vile hope, in which the nations of the world have lived since since first they could bear record of themselves -- it seems to me, I say as if the race itself were still half-serpent, not extricated yet from its clay; a lacertine breed of bitterness -- the glory of it emaciate with cruel hunger, and blotted with venomous stain; and the track of it on the leaf a glittering slime and in the sand a useless furrow -- "Queen of Air, p. 101.
The quotes are masterful literary English -- which is why I collected them -- but that also meant that nobody to whom I read them understood a word of them. I explained what was being said and then they were comprehended
The Ruskin birthday book. Still in the family
Ruskin was a famous literary and art critic of the late Victorian era. He was rather full of himself but was undoubtedly a brilliant man. Like most arty people, he was of the Left. My second quote from him above is almost a Leftist catechism in its profound discontent with just about everything.
On Friday 17 I invited Von & Co to a lunch at my usual brunch place. I had Vietnamese Brioches, Simon had a chicken burger and Von had a chicken wrap. We had some moderately serious discussions as you would expect from that being the last day of Von's visit. Von is optimistic that she will be back next year.