Archive for March, 2012

George Osbourne has moved me to poetry

Posted in culture, ramblings with tags on March 28, 2012 by bridbeast

 

Georgie and the Pies,

by Bridbeast

 

If you want a pasty, roll or pie.

Heated up, the price is high.

But if you should be short of brass

You’ve now joined the cold pie class

So you wanted something warming

Forget it son, George is transforming

Our tax system for the wealthy

And who cares for warm pies in Chelsea?

 

But seriously.

White man’s burden

Posted in Uncategorized on March 19, 2012 by bridbeast

After the horrific killing of 16 Afghans by an American soldier, I was reading this article on the Russians in Afghanistan. One quote from a Soviet veteran stood out:

“The thirst for blood … is a terrible desire. It is so strong that you cannot resist it. I saw for myself how the battalion opened a hail of fire on a group that was descending towards our column. And they were our soldiers, a detachment from the reconnaissance company who had been guarding us on the flank. They were only 200 metres away and we were 90 per cent sure they were our people. And nevertheless – the thirst for blood, the desire to kill at all costs. Dozens of times I saw with my own eyes how the new recruits would shout and cry with joy after killing their first Afghan, pointing in the direction of the dead man, clapping one another on the back, and firing off a whole magazine into the corpse ‘just to make sure’ … Not everyone can master this feeling, this instinct, and stifle the monster in his soul.”

I was also thinking about the depressing pattern of these events: My Lai, Amritsar, the French in North and West Africa, and on. In his essay “Shooting an Elephant”, Orwell wrote:

“With one part of my mind I thought of the British Raj as an unbreakable tyranny, as something clamped down, in saecula saeculorum, upon the will of prostrate peoples; with another part I thought that the greatest joy in the world would be to drive a bayonet into a Buddhist priest’s guts. Feelings like these are the normal by-products of imperialism…”

And he was a liberal.

Sweet dreams are made of this.

Posted in Climbing with tags , , on March 4, 2012 by bridbeast

On Saturday I bought a second-hand portaledge. On Sunday I took it out to Bowles Rocks in Sussex for a test.

Portaledge

So what do I do with this then?

Quite easy to put together, on flat ground.

Portaledge, Bowles, UK.

Managing to cope with the exposure.

Portaledgem, Bowles Rock, Sussex.

Lovin' that Nineties shade of purple.

Cosy. Is it supposed to be that bendy?

Conclusions? It’s okay to put up but will need plenty of practice before I can do it in the dark on a hanging belay. I need to suss out how to use the fly properly. I definitely need to spend a night in it this spring. It’s very heavy but surprisingly small. There’s no where to hide on one of those things. Getting on it and imagining living for several days on it reminded me of sitting in the Apollo command module when I was little and we went to Cape Kennedy. That thing was tight!

More to the point, it’s made going to Yosemite and doing a wall feel real rather than just something in my head.