Friday, September 6, 2019

Do the deal, Wellington

Whenever we wax sentimental for
the decline of Toryism at home,
we've always had the invigorat-
ing example of intransigence to
admire in Britain, whose class
system has been such a preser-
vative of the laziest impulses.

But now we have an entire gen-
eration raised under the exam-
ple of cut-throat Thatcherism,
to hold the line for restraint
in caning. This is not a solid
bet, it turns out. It seems we
must turn to New Zealand for a
model of modesty in public af-
fairs. Maybe we could buy them.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Moving again, without portfolio

The difference between the mass mig-
rations of refugees from a scourge
and the generational replenishments
of enlistments in academic or mili-
tary services on the one hand, and
the mature single arrival at a res-
idential freehold, on the other, is 
the rate of their assimilation. The
bird disdains the shoulder of the
undocumented nomad, and the environ-
ment follows suit. This is more than
ordinarily the case in places where
the Christian sects have balkanized
the population, and provincial prior
schooling must be verifiable. Stores
and restaurants mount lurid banners,
embracing the funneled, without al-
lowance for the overspray of indiv-
idual motivation. Probably this is
why the rakish sporting dog was in-
vented, the heart-throbbing, skate-
board-braking boulevardier of arch
tailoring and swaggering wag, whose
name must simply be learned on the
spot. Frank Bruni posted a knowing
entry on this syndrome at The Times
the other day, with typically high
hopes for redeeming democracy via
canine diplomacy. Thorny and I, for
our part, have always settled for
a cultivated tender of courtesy.

Frank Bruni
The New York Times
August 31, 2019

Jenny Uglow
The New York Review
  of Books
August 15, 2019

i   Ben Hardie

ii  Jonathan Swift
    Gulliver's Travels
      Illustration for the 
      edition of 1726


Monday, September 2, 2019

Moving again, lichen

    Lichen in natural mid-day light
    in September is an eloquent but
    ambiguous grace note in a cleft
    between the harder hues of heat
    and bitter cold. It pleases one
    to admire its tenacity and sure
    sense of calm, on a door to the
    outside, benign in its signing.


Farrow & Ball
No. 19©
Dorset, England

Not to politicize the arsenal, you understand

I realize, it could probably be
just me, but I was thinking, it
might be worth a try if we were
vigilant "Second Amendment peo-
ple" to quit popping off at ev-
eryone. He might just give it a
try with Texas. A timely sermon
from the Chosen One could help;
the thoughts and prayers of his

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Moving again, accommodating staff

I do wonder, why we read so little
nowadays in our interior design per-
iodicals, of the problems of accom-
modating household staff. Even the
architecture websites, for all their
endless regard for second and third
residences, inexplicably pay almost
no attention to this apparent after-
thought of domestic planning. We en-
joy the most exhaustive support for
our selection of paints, and natur-
ally of fabrics, so I wonder why a
nod to the sub-domestic necessities
is almost nowhere to be found. I im-
agine, our people's lack of a trade
association or union - constituent
features, these days, of so-called
stakeholders -- may play some part
in their invisibility, despite the
best efforts of the Social Security
Administration. For all the wear and
tear upon one's own decision-making
powers in the laying out of various
rooms, I cannot recall so much as a
moment of concern in my present move
for accommodating a valet, and yet
when now I examine my plans, I note
only some fuzzy assumptions about
storage space and walk-in closets,
which I suppose have always served.

I'm fortunate, I suppose, in derma-
otological advice to avoid a con-
servatory at my age, and in a lack
of need for fur storage since the
invention of ersatz fleece, so I'm
less concerned about my negligence
than merely mildly embarrassed. At
least the pictures have their walls.