Life, photos but not the universe

Mud and Stars

As in the philosophical statement

Two men looked through prison bars

One saw  mud and the other saw stars.

Of course there may have been other people doing their own version of looking.  After all some men might have looked through the bars and seen two prisoners.  And some might just have seen bars. Then again there might have been people looking at brickwork, rust or shiny metal and yet others seeing a cleaning task or a job well done.  And the cleaning task might have been the metaphorical one of cleaning the world of idiots who see stars and pessimists who see mud or the more pragmatic one of cleaning windows.  Or bars.*

Anyway, t’s easy for me.  I’m looking out of a window and seeing water.

Now why on earth did I start this post?  Possibly because it was raining a lot?

I’ve spent a good deal of time sitting in a car  in the rain waiting for traffic, people, phone calls, all that kind of thing.  What to do?

No-brainer that one since I got  my tiny camera.  Actually I might have had the DSLR with me as well but it’s always good to have an opportunity to try and remember how a new camera works without using the manual.   Of course that’s true of the DSLR too.

Speaking of water, a little while ago, I mentioned a friend, Mr Marvellous Mills,  who had been rushed to hospital. Since then, it seems, joyfully, they’ve decided it’s probably not cancer nor is he about to die.  However, his condition is both rare and a mystery and may or may not improve – they don’t know a lot about it.  He’s much recovered but every so often has to have kidney dialysis sessions.  If the problem settles down one way, that will be occasional or even unnecessary. If it settles down the other way, it’ll be regular and frequent.

So, in case it happens that he can’t ever go on holiday again, he’s going to be on our first holiday on ‘our’ boat.  (I still can’t quite get my head round that – we have a [1/12th of] a boat?  Wow!).  Since we have no idea how soon his condition may or may not settle, there’s some urgency about possible  last holidays so we’re going off on Farndon for the first time, very soon.  When we first planned this, Farndon was firmly enclosed in three inches of ice.  It’s now melted (the ice, not Farndon) and Farndon is  in the middle of its winter maintenance.  (Her winter maintenance.  She is definitely a boat after all!).

Right.  So we are going off on our first trip in our 1/12th of a narrow-boat, in mid-winter.

Well we’ll see.  When I think about it, I realise that I’m really looking forward to our first trip on Farndon even if there are howling gales and blizzards and ice and storms.  All of which I enjoy enormously (though preferably from indoors) and she has a wood burning stove and central heating and an excellent shower so we should be able to keep warm even if we can’t go anywhere.  If it’s rain, notsomuch, (as Mel would say).  If you’re floating already you don’t need extra water!  Honest!

Anyway, tonight, Barney and our friend John are cooking curry for us and Mr and Mrs Marvellous.  I cleaned the kitchen for them before they started, then left, hastily, before I was co-opted as sous chef to two chefs – one experienced and one apprenticed.

Before leaving I glanced in.  They seem quite calm and happy.  I don’t yet see the washing up and clearing away and neither any finished curries.  All I see, just now, is two men and a the kitchen surrounded by and heaped with bowls of ingredients and saucepans.  It’s a clear night.  I shall go and look at stars – just in case.

*I wonder what would happen if children were taught elementary philosophy at primary school?   While their minds are still flexible enough to consider the shape of a question (one-sided, two-sided, many sided, round, linear?)  And come to think of it, elementary logic would be a useful  acquisition too.  One which is in very short supply in the adult world!

January 19, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Awww….sounds like a bit of a quandry for Mr. Marvellous Mills–we’ll hope for less being required versus more. Ohhhh…and the time on the boat, what a wonderful thing. And given that it’s heated and there’s a moving river–what’s not to love about it! (I’ll hope for the no rain deal!)

    You own 1/12th of a very cool boat.
    k…what colour is it.
    Is there an anchor.
    And are there fire extinquishers in the appropriate places. :-/
    JUST askin’……..LOL

    The first thing we check will be the number and locations of fire extinguishers Mel! And the first thing I’ll read is the instructions on how to use them. And I’ll be carefully arranging all paper items far away from stoves, cookers or anything else involving heat.
    And yes, seriously : ) photo here. I don’t know which twelfth is ours exactly though. Hopefully one of the warm bits : )
    Anchor? Um, no, I don’t think so. I hope we don’t actually need one!

    Comment by Mel | January 20, 2011 | Reply

  2. Two-sided, or at least double-hulled: Mr Marvellous Mills is outside looking in through the bars, while Mr Dark Satanic Mills is inside looking out.

    Please don’t run aground on any mudbanks.

    That’s positively poetic Christopher. I shall keep a wary eye on Mr Marvellous.
    Mudbanks, yes. It’s a rare narrow boat trip that doesn’t involve at least one session with mud and boat hooks but perhaps all the rain we’ve had will keep us afloat.

    Comment by Christopher | January 20, 2011 | Reply

  3. Wow, so much in this one to think about. Left me with some real things to ponder.
    What is it about being cozy when the world is a frozen veil?
    I love the winter…
    Must be my inner need to hibernate!

    : ) Hi Illuminary, lovely to hear from you!
    Enjoy the winter ponder! I like to hibernate too, it seems like just the right thing to do.

    Comment by ☼Illuminary☼ | January 21, 2011 | Reply

  4. I do hope Mr MM’s coin lands the right side up!

    I hope you’ll float by on your 1/12th one fine day :).

    I see mud – literally!


    Thank you Linda.
    It’s very hard to be philosophical about mud when it’s in your wellies. In fact I think to be so might qualify a person as being out of touch with reality! But then again there are some realities that you don’t need to touch.
    If we ever make it as far as the K&A canal, I’ll let you know!

    Comment by Linda | January 21, 2011 | Reply

  5. I’m seeing sparkles!! how lovely for you. . .


    I’m excited to hear about the boat trips, your own boat to boot!!!

    just imagine being on deck in the dark and silence, gazing up at the universe. . . I’ll keep my fingers crossed that the rain stays away for you


    There will definitely be dark silent moments with stars Inukshuk – it’s one of the advantages of being a smoker, however cold it is, you still get to go out and enjoy those moments – with a cig no less : ) Well I suppose the stars aren’t guaranteed. But one lives in hope.
    And thank you, we need the crossed fingers!

    Comment by english inukshuk | January 23, 2011 | Reply

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