What’s In A List?

So many lists, honey do’s and honey don’ts and things to think about.

  1. Sell the damn house.
  2. Move somewhere cheaper.
  3. Open a book store/cafe. Twenty years ago this would have been a bar but I don’t think I could stay up that late anymore.
  4. Listen to more records, yes records, those large pieces of plastic we used to carry around.
  5. Read more books.
  6. Take deep breaths.
  7. Eat more veggies,

No that isn’t really the list, well some of them are the list but not all. And at the end of the day it really is a list but not the A – List.

There is a budding list of what my vinyl play list should be, I started compiling it two weeks ago when the turn table took up residence. It has grown to 23 records so far and who knows where it will go. It is far from complete, although I assigned the completely random number of 50 as the top number so it may take some time to edit and get to where I want it. I am not even close to ready to share the number yet.

The list is symbolic of aspirations, what has made that more meaningful is the changing nature of the list. As well as how hard it is to find some of these albums. It is all tied up in hopes and how you get there. It is wonderful to have goals but sometimes they can be as hard to find as a copy of Solid Air by John Martyn. So the search goes on and the rummaging through Goodwill piles of vinyl and the online browsing. All I can do is sit here and wait for my much anticipated copy of I Often Dream of Trains by Robyn Hitchcock. An album I have not touched in excess of twenty years.

The wait goes on.

I have this image of this idyllic place, shady but warm, lazy and relaxing, Passersby stopping in to hang out and play chess or checkers, look at books and drink coffee. Every morning begins with a stroll  and every day ends with a stroll. In between there are conversations about music, books and the best place to sit and read. Neighbors stop to say hi and people care about each other. People lean their bike against the wall and stop to chat as children run down the street laughing.

Maybe it will happen one day, it is a good place to go though when needed. It is in the future somewhere, some when though.

Another thought. Why are there so many Gordon Lightfoot albums laying around in used record stores? If all the Gordo fans out there got rid of there vinyl did they then go out and binge buy all those records on CD again. I have the same thought about Neil Diamond, augit is not Frampton Comes Alive that was the soundtrack of the suburbs but Gordon Lightfoot and Neil Diamond. Hot August Night is an awesome album though, I hide it next to Gordo and Frampton so it feels happy in it’s suburban home, the only question really is why did Neil approve that picture, he looks like he is doing the robot dance or holding a very large… well let us not got there.

nowhereTalking about Neil’s. I have played Cowgirl In The Sand three times so far this week. Each time I focus on a different part of the song, the solo, the harmonies, the lyrics, the bass and the rhythm. It is a psychedelic anthem, a meandering statement, a gorgeous song and it fades out. I can’t help but wonder what did I miss every time I hear it. What happened after the fade, how much more was there that night as Neil and Crazy Horse played. It’s a song with a groove as much as any Motown or Atlantic cut, it meanders and travels like an old blues song but hits places the Dead never will and the Airplane only think about.

In fact Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere is a masterpiece in it’s own right. I remember sitting one evening playing Round and Round over and over again many years ago. It is probably the least of the songs on the album and I remember thinking that there must be some really deep reason Neil had placed it on the album. It surely must hold the secrets of the universe in its almost 6 minutes. But no, after hours of listening and consulting the lyrics it really is just a kind of cool weird psychedelic country song. Very fun but not so deep after all. Those hours may have been wasted.

The first time I heard Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere I was floored. The album is almost a force of nature. It was all the more powerful because I had just played the Neil Young album which at times sounds like poor mans Buffalo Springfield. I remember thinking he should have taken The Loner and squeezed it onto the follow up album, it would have been perfect with a little Horse injection. The first time I heard the big songs from Everyone Knows… I knew I would be a young fan forever.

So another week of vinyl ends. This weeks playing was:

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, After the Goldrush, Zuma, Neil Young

Now We Are Six and Bedlam Born, Steeleye Span

All Things Must Pass, George Harrison

The Icicle Works first album

The Royal Scam, Steely Dan

Beautiful Vision, Van Morrison

Bare Trees, Fleetwood Mac

There you go another list.

 

Record stores…Up and over we go.

So we have the turn table and some records, what next? It is obvious really, let’s go buy more records. Who even thought to really consider that question in any serious manner. Luckily I have a supremely patient wife who seems to understand the need to buy an album for the third time. Or maybe she was just too sick to really care today. Either way the die was cast.

So where to go? Luckily Portland potentially being the center of hipsterdom has may record stores selling vinyl by the pound, not to forget Goodwill after all. So off to brave the big city which is a lot easier since GPS became something nestling on my phone. I tried to con one of my kids into coming with me but one wanted to sleep after working an overnight and the other preferred schoolwork. So it was a solo journey, reminiscent of my teen vinyl buying years.

Off to Everyday Music on Sandy Blvd, I had never been in the vinyl section here before, usually buying cd’s, a much safer used purchase than fragile vinyl. The store was large and well laid out and easily navigated. I was however looking for a nostalgia fest maybe or something else than I got at least. Record stores used to be these fun loud flamboyant places with interested people working as well as odd balls,probe or maybe that was just Probe records on Button street. This is how I remember it looking. The repository of all that was cool about records in the day. I managed to buy Harper’s Lifemask, Fairport’s Moat on The Ledge and Give and Take by Here and Now all on the same day.

Before the internet the cork board by the door would tell you where and when the gig was for most bands nobody else wanted to see was. All of the staff were characters and would tell you how badly what you were buying sucked, or if you were lucky or hip enough that you happened to be the only person with any taste that had walked through the door this week. Even the main chain stores such as HMV or Virgin would have knowledgeable people who seemed to realize that they were being paid to listen to music and talk about it all day. Consequently the disappointment of hearing the depressed hipsters at Everyday music complain about how sad they are was not easily overcome. Yes they were pierced by enough hardware and had a dizzying array of tattoos, actually pretty normal for Portland, and tried so hard to be alternative but they did not really seem to realize just how cool their job really was.

Maybe the staff at the Beaverton store will be more fun.

However the important stuff, wow so may records all nicely arranged, new and used all together. Banks of 50c records that I was a little afraid of and most of the records in great quality and reasonably priced. As well as a new arrival section arranged by day of arrival. So I rummaged around for an hour, a few guys my age looking for all those things that they had given away or sold in the past and the young kids looking to discover something they missed as a teen, the joy of records. Out the window went all good intentions of sticking to the idea of albums that blew me away and I just started collecting vinyl to buy. Then I had to go back and put half of it all back, however for some reason I still ended up with three Jethro Tull albums, go figure.

The Purchases:

Stills and Stills 2 – Stephen Stills, not quite on the list but maybe they should be.

Deja Vu – CSNY, of course it is on the list.

Below the Salt – Steeleye Span

Nine, and an odd compilation called Chronicles by Fairport Convention, Nine should be on any self respecting Fairport fans list.

Bursting Out, one of the great live albums, Songs from the Wood, Stormwatch, the first Tull album I ever bought, – Jethro Tull

Hergest Ridge – Mike Oldfield, no idea why apart from it was in perfect condition and everyone needs some Oldfield and it is better than Tubular Bells.

So two from the list if I ever get to writing it. Well I have got to 16 so far.

But in the mail arrived In The Aeroplane Over The Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel,aeroplanejpg the very first piece of brand new vinyl I have bought in over 20 years. So why this record and why is it on the list?

I first heard this album on the same day as I heard Belle and Sebastien’s Lazy Line Painter Jane and they have both stuck in my mind in a good way. So I guess that is the answer, if the record sticks with you for years then it is on the list, of course that leaves space for the Hollies Greatest Hits, which is not a bad thing.

Well it has a great cover. It is also a wonderfully naive, twisted album with some of the best use of trumpet and musical saw ever, despite the slightly desperate sixth form poetry it still manages to hold itself together barely. It reminds me of Julian Cope at his greatest but it is also very American with a vocalist in Jeff Mangum that sounds just about this side of sane. It is as idiosyncratic as it is wonderful, with an epic use of dissonance and melody almost simultaneously and a wonderful punk sensibility.

So there you have it, the first visit to a record store to buy vinyl in over twenty years and the first brand new album bought in twenty years or so. It is still exciting to hold a brand new record by the way, and they really seem to be making them so much better, it is a reassuringly solid feeling piece of plastic.

I Hate The ****** Eagles

Well I don’t really hate them but I was thinking how much great music there was being made at the time the Eagles were formed, some of it even being made by members of The Eagles. I also fall on the Dudes side of preferring Creedence to The Eagles every time.

It was a rich time in music and I am by no means an expert but here you have it my Spotify playlist of tracks other than The Eagles that embody that laid back California feel from the period of the late 60’s to the early 70’s. It just seems that The Eagles collectively took everything that was great about the cross-pollination of rock and country music and made it insipid and safe. while simultaneously convincing the world that they were the greatest band from California.

So judge for yourself and investigate those other bands it really is a rich vein, especially Manassas.

It’s not that The Eagles were bad, it’s just they seemed to have no passion, they even took one of the most inventive, crazy fun guitarists in Joe Walsh and toned him down, I have no idea how that happens, maybe the drugs

Usually after almost a year of absence I would begin with some reason but I lost interest and that is pretty much it. Maybe this is a new wind who knows, probably helps I have been sick for a week.

Send an instant karma to me, initial it with loving care

Living in a house with 3 teenage boys can be different, well two are teens and one is almost. There is a constant cacophony of musical styles throughout the house. The Wu Tang Clan clash with Rush, Dizzy Gillespie, Mumford and Sons and Marcey’s Playground. There is no defined musical identity in the house, car or yard. It’s really very refreshing and surprising. The boys have taken Spotify to heart and are eager to experiment with whatever they can hear following suggested lists to the next album or artist ever curious on a musical journey.  And that’s the music they are listening to not the music they are playing.

Of course all this is off-set by Michelle insisting on listening to Jimmy Buffett who may quite likely be the anti-christ when it comes to music, his margarita’s and hush puppies can stop any intimation of dancing. “None of you understand” insists Michelle, “We don’t need to. ” Is the reply. Of course it takes all sorts as evidenced by my affection for Neil Diamond, Shirley Bassey and the Monkees.

It’s a loud happy house most of the time, music, laughter and every night around eight Chris will shout “Are we going to watch something?”

It’s also at times a really messy house, socks at the foot of the stairs, shirts on the back of chairs and feet on the furniture and the dog racing around. My wife is a saint, there is no disputing this.

This week I’ve been mining the darker side of my musical leanings, by that I mean prog rock, post punk and the oddness that is art rock. Actually on reflection it was a pretty eclectic week after all. It’s been different sitting down to listen and appreciate and be still with the music.

So it’s time to get pretentious:

The music this week has been a little on the art rock side, or pretentious shall we say.

Dr John, the Night Tripper with Gris Gris. Louisiana mysticism meets jazz, blues and rock. Not only is Dr John one of the great arrangers of rock but he has a voice that drips with experiences the listener can only guess at, and at times be afraid of. This is the voice of a man wrestling with his demons.

Brian Eno, Here Come The Warm Jets, post-punk before punk, weird shambolic pop sculpture, violent beautiful and just plain out there. Brian Eno is one of the geniuses of pop music and Here Come The Warm Jets announced that to the world, no longer was he the strange man in the corner with Roxy Music but a songwriter using keyboards in ways that others could not even imagine. Of course Ennosification became a description of the sound on albums by Genesis and Bowie and all those post-punk bands thought they had created that strange alien sound. Baby’s On Fire has Fripp’s greatest solo, in fact it seems to be a song based on that solo.

Pavement’s Slanted and Enchanted was next. Real post-punk with a big dose of the Fall in place. A piece of it’s time, fun but ultimately a period piece. I think I missed this in the 80’s and while I can appreciate it it does not hold me as something to go back to.

John Cale-Paris 1919, it’s Cale it’s accessible, this makes it different.

New band of the week: Galley Beggar with the album Reformation House, this sounds like it could have been performed by Fairport Convention in one of their many Hey Day’s. It’s a wonderful album hearkening back to the 70’s folk-rock so many including myself love, their website is her:

http://www.galleybeggar.com/wordpress/

The week has ended listening to Van the Man’s Inarticulate Speech of the Heart, this is a bit of a disappointment but everyone is allowed a bad one.

We also rocked out in an early 70’s manner to the wonderful Yes Album by Yes. This is their greatest moment when they still had not reached the cape wearing pretensions Rick Wakeman would bring with him. Released the same year as Fragile it is head and shoulders above that album for greatness, of course there is vague science fiction lyrics and the necessary weirdness of Anderson’s strange personal mythology but it just rocks.

I’m writing this listening to Play by Field Music. Their version of Syd Barrett’s Terrapin makes this worth the cost, although Field Music are one of the great new bands out there to be heard.

Slide Through My Fingers

The great musical journey continues along with the reading, sometimes at the same time.

The music today has been Tame Impala, an Australian band that is at times channeling Pink Floyd and T-Rex at the same time. A truly psychedelic experience and nowhere near the list in the 1000 Recordings book but hey this is my journey.

So it’s Tame Impala and the self titled ep, it’s strange to call a CD an ep, as that was originally an extra play single  usually  four songs instead of two, in the 80’s they always seemed to be of the 12 inch variety and have pointlessly meandering remixes or extended versions, these are now what fills up the “deluxe” edition of any CD that gets the “deluxe” treatment.

Tame Impala-Lonerism was next which definitely has expanded on the sonic palette of the ep. Much more of a Flaming Lips feel to this one but definitely worth the listen.

The drive into work was accompanied by Crosby Stills and Nash, which really is a masterpiece, well the drive was only Suite: Judy Blue Eyes but I did hear the rest driving around.

Reading wise the science fiction continues, I have been reading Gavin Smith’s military science fiction novel Veteran. I am only about a third of the way into it but the characters are engaging and I have no idea were the story is going which for military science fiction is a good thing. A strange war in space being fought by modified humans who when they reach the end of usefulness are discarded by the government to live in squalor, and in the case of Jacob the main character knowing they can be brought back into service.

At the same time I continue with the Neil Young biography. Diversions and then information in equal measure.

Should have been a no-brainer, David Byrne and Brian Eno My Life In The Bush of Ghosts, two geniuses playing off each other. It’s universally acclaimed but just left me cold. I get the idea world music and electronica but for me it just does not work, it’s too difficult, too clever, too self conscious. I’m not sure what it is but I love both these artists and am a little saddened I did not get this. I can’t even say it was a brave attempt although there must be something there for so many to rave about it. Or maybe it’s a big joke and we have been convinced by the hype that we should like it.

Another hyped album though with Todd by Todd Rundgren, again it’s taken awhile but I finally took the plunge and it is a collection of quirky and inventive pop songs that are captivating as well as challenging.

More normal has been Neil Young’s Live at Massey Hall in 1971, this a great document of the early Neil Young, many songs from the first four albums performed solo. It is amazing that this album took so long to be released and makes you question what else is hiding out in the archives on the ranch. I’ve been avoiding Neil Young since beginning the book, mainly because I can become a little obsessed at times and did not want to be a total freak for a week.

Playing the whole album is difficult it seems. I have become so used to the constant change of sounds that it’s a little hard to stay  in the moment with an album. I hear moments that make me want to skip to another artist as my mind has been triggered, Playing CSN always reminds me of Yes, I think Anderson and co. must have been listening to the harmonies on the first CSN album when they recorded The Yes Album. The urge to search out Yes halfway through Lady of the Islands was almost overwhelming. I have always had the tendency to flit around often not even listening to the whole song. This has apparently got worse over the most recent years. This may be a useful discipline to practice, listening.

To finish the week off in the Jeep was Bongo Fury by Zappa and Beefheart. It’s amusing to me that once you own a Wrangler it’s no longer the car, or truck but the Jeep. Bongo Fury was particularly fun as I pulled into the bank that was having a Justin Bieber promotional event, I have no idea why. The look of confusion on the attendees face was worth going to the bank for, there was a moment of disgust at the strangeness of the rhythms and then Beefhearts voice took it over the edge.

Then there was Green on Reds No Free Lunch, haven’t heard them since the 90’s but some great memories of dancing in the dark at the Bierkeller on Mt. Pleasant in Liverpool. This was a fun place I almost remember seeing Big Audio Dynamite and many a Roy Haper gig here.

Saturday night was finished off with Michael Chapman’s Fully Qualified Survivor. This is a great folk-rock album although some would like to call it psych-folk whatever that means.

I just realized I could get really pretentious doing this, so I’m going to do my best not to. There are so many albums I have never gone near or been afraid of going near, so the library will get a work out for sure. There is also so much new music being produced that it could get confusing.

I finished the Neil Young book this afternoon. It was a great ride, repetitive at times although I cannot Imagine it being edited. A real attempt by Neil to settle some rumors and come to terms with some tough decisions and losses in his life.

Right to Decide

So this week I bought a Jeep Wrangler, well the head gasket went in the 4Runner and the radiator was cracked in two places, all the hoses were leaking, the A.C. no longer worked and it was going to cost more than the vehicle was worth to fix it. So we had to go car shopping, something a little larger than my wife’s Corolla so we can get everyone in and go camping, hopefully with OK gas mileage. Well that never worked out, it’s smaller in some ways than the 4Runner, has the same gas mileage and now we have a car payment.

It’s the four door version so on some level and in some quarters is not a true jeep but what the heck some people think Coors light is beer. Yes I know it’s a gas guzzling monster and in this time of high gas prices and green awareness it was a bad decision, I really should have bought the hybrid, or the focus. I know it’s loud on the freeway and the soft top will probably leak during rainstorms, it will be cold in the winter and I will be judged by the people I pass, or more likely am passed by, but I have to admit I couldn’t resist. The whole concept appealed to my inner child, or mid-life crisis, that and finally coming to realize I was never going to buy a Land Rover Defender when a ’93 was going for $32,000. So I bought a Jeep. Here it is in the dealership.

Then all of a sudden you realize that there are all sorts of things you need to do, it’s needs a small lift maybe, new tires, an antenna that is not 5 feet long and distracting while driving, a roof rack, harness for the dog and on and on and on.

Buyers remorse set in until the first time I took the top down, it only took an hour to get down due to inexperience and the confusing directions in the manual. Don’t ask about the confusion putting it up. I had never driven a convertible before. It’s fun to drive and of course people wave to you. Then you start to rationalize, I can go 4 wheeling, back country driving will be more exciting with the top down than it was in the 4Runner, but ultimately it’s just plain fun, and it didn’t leak in the rain storm and the heater is powerful so it’s not cold.Then there is the fact that when society collapses due to zombies, pandemic disease, Triffids and bright comets then we are already 50%  better equipped to escape the town on the back roads of Oregon, as long as it is not an EM pulse. Now I have to find the survival kit to be fully prepared.

There is of course the reading, constant and at times potentially intrusive but as I will no longer be able to afford to leave our house in the new vehicle because of the car payment it’s good there are lots of books.

The last couple of weeks have seen the end of Inverted World by Christopher Priest which was an interesting account of a city travelling out of sync with it’s world. It also seemed to be about imperialism and it’s affect on indigenous populations, especially when they are faced with a more technologically advanced society. It was a fun read Priest definitely writes with skill as he should considering some of the scathing criticism he directs at others.

The biggest surprise however for me was Lloyd Biggle Jr’s Monument. This was a book filled with humor and wisdom and managed to pack a lot into 200 or so pages. Again Biggle is a new author to me and I was pleasantly surprised at how well he writes. Written in 1974 the story like Inverted World deals with a more advanced societies impact on an indigenous population. In Monument however the natives are lucky enough to have a Plan handed down to them by their Langri. This is a story with a message but it is delivered with humor and compassion, there are also a few plot twists that make for a great book.

 

I also managed to begin Icerigger by Alan Dean Foster and Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. Icerigger is an old favorite that has been waiting to be reread and I am looking forward to it, especially as I have the other two books in the trilogy now. I have been looking for a reasonably priced copy of Snow Crash and finally found one in a Goodwill store for $2.99. Snow Crash is also this months modern read at the Classic Science fiction Yahoo group,  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ClassicScienceFiction/, were it has already caused a little stir because of it’s stylistic elements and Stephenson’s writing style. I have enjoyed all the Stephenson books I have read so far, the Baroque Cycle may be one of the greatest series of books I have ever read, but he can at times be a bit too clever for his own good.

All in all it’s been a good couple of weeks, the garden is coming along well although I think I only planted onions and beans this year for some reason. It was also a reasonably good haul at used bookstores this last couple of weeks which have filled up the space on the fireplace. The ax is obviously in case of zombie attack,  the gold piggy bank is the book fund and the Costa Rica book is for Michelle and Ben who go to Costa Rica next summer and are super excited about it as they should be.

Social Alliance

Passing time reading books is one of the pleasures of my life. I have a hard time sitting still so it can be a challenge just to sit down, the one thing that can make it happen is the re-reading of an old favorite. I never had this difficulty earlier in life, easily finding time to read, now I have to make time and too often that time is at the end of the day when I am tired and not at my best to pay attention to the  book as well as I should.

The Day of the Triffids is the book I think I have read the most over the years, more than Lord of the Rings and more than any Heinlein although Tunnel In The Sky must come close. I have owned nine different copies and they have either fallen apart or been given away to other deserving owners. The book grabbed my attention from the start and has all 20 times I have been on the journey with Bill and Josella. From the age of about 12 I began every summer holiday with reading it, it was how I knew summer was here in a way, I also began every spring with Meddle by Pink Floyd and ended the Summer with Heavy Horses by Jethro Tull, so as you can see I was a child of traditions. Every year I wondered what life would be like without all the clutter of society, of course it would be a safe life so I could catch up on the reading and listening to all those things I’d missed.

Day of the Triffids and The Death of Grass by John Christopher are the best examples of what Brian Aldiss called the “cosey catastrophe” were life was dramatically changed but the survivors were able to have enough left over from the past to continue to live comfortably. There is little violence in Day of the Triffids  that is motivated by greed apart form the group in Brighton and the red haired thug who later joins them. It is really a book about ideas on how society would need to respond to adversity to survive. The Death of Grass has much more violence, ending in the ultimate betrayal in a sense in order to survive. This betrayal was repeated in Darin Bradley’s Noise which is a more modern take on the collapse and a good example of the direction this genre has taken.

Gone are the contemplative arguments on the need for leisure time and multiple wives, no longer do character’s agonize over taking what they need in the face of collapse and predatory plants are replaced by zombies lurking in the dark corners of the garden. It is probably a case of genre stories reflecting the society they are written in. Post-war England of ration cards and reasonable behavior and doing what is necessary no longer exists. The world Wyndham and Christopher wrote about in the 50’s  has changed to a much more dark world.

Zelazny saw this in Damnation Alley in 67 with his character Hell Tanner having to kill or be killed to survive in the post-nuclear wasteland. Cormac McCarthy’s the Road is a bleak novel of everything gone and predation being the only way of surviving and constant movement being the only way of staying safe. All these books emphasize the individual or the small group/family unit rather than an attempt to rebuild we have survival as the goal. This is similar to Earth Abides when Ish realizes all he can do for his descendants is give them the necessary skills to feed themselves and in the long run their ancestors will rebuild. Martin does have hope in Earth Abides but it is the long view.

I still remember those Summers of laying on the grass and hoping for the end of the world so I could read all those books and not have to go back to school in six weeks. Having read more images of collapse now as an adult I don’t necessarily think I want to be around without a bunker, enough food and plenty of heavy duty weaponry so I can be safe and read.

This last few weeks reading has been:

Day of The Triffids-John Wyndham

Who Fears of Death-Nnedi Okorafor

Deathworld 1,2  and 3- Harry Hasrrison

Inverted World-Christopher Priest still in progress.

All these books are stories of humanity attempting to overcome the challenges of it’s world, whether  that is man made, natural or the adversity of a belligerent indigenous wild life and population. It’s been a couple of weeks of armchair survivalism.

Goin’ Back

Every now and then there is a moment when you get a chance to review the past. It may be a smell, a song, a phrase someone says bit all of a sudden you remember exactly how it felt in the past. It’s not dejavu, it’s not a sense of having been there before but more like suddenly you have a complete memory of what that moment was like.

When Michelle and I had only been married a short time we lived in a terrible mouse infested house in Formby, just south of Southport. We had no many it seemed and all the furniture felt slightly grubby. We moved in when Michelle was eight months pregnant or so, the house had not been cleaned before we moved in, in fact the owners son was asleep upstairs, and my mum and Michelle worked so hard to at  least make it livable before we spent our first night in the house.

The whole place felt run down and grubby all the time we lived there. We adopted a cat to deal with the mice after the council had done there bit and settled in to await our first child. It was an idyllic time a young couple in love, a cat and a child on the way. The other day was that child’s birthday, he is an adult now and moving on with his life, of course he still needs support and help but he is learning to be an individual and we are learning to let go.

Of course the furniture in our 15th or 16th house still feels grubby, there is a dog now not a cat and this weeks infestation was carpenter ants not mice. There are now three children not one and what appears always to be more work. We are however still in love and young at heart. Anyway that every now and then was the other day and here is the picture, it’s a beautiful picture and captures those days so well when the greatest pleasure could so easily be a bowl of ice cream with the baby.