A sceptic's take on being human – or should that be virtuous?
Day and night – a quick post
There’s loads I want to write about but I can see that our first big-family get together in 15 months is going to eat up any thinking time I might usually take. Not that I’m complaining – we’ve been waiting for this for so long! The weather looks fine and warm but if you look at the left hand photo you’ll see the mares’ tails clouds in the sky, possibly indicating a weather front trying to edge its way in.
The common factor in the two photos is the lamp post. We were delighted when the LED lights were installed a couple of months ago, and last week, during a rainy night we looked out and saw that an opportunist spider had built a web beneath the light and caught dozens of insects; a feast indeed! Even better, as we watched we saw a couple of unidentifiable bats speeding through the cloud of moths and flies. More proof – if any were needed – that urban wildlife can thrive with a bit of help. Bats apparently don’t resent LED lighting as much as they do the orange sodium lights. I’m in complete agreement on that one; sodium lights are miserable. We’ve now got the lights – which make it possible to stargaze on a clear night, and also some wide bands of ‘neglected’ weeds alongside the river; a great improvement. More tomorrow.
I've spent my life doing a lot of things, all of them interesting and many of them great fun.
When most people see my CV they probably think I'm making things up because it includes being a rather bad welder and engineering dogsbody, a potter, a groundsman and bus driver. I taught in a prison and in one of those ghastly old mental institutions as an art therapist and I spent ten years as a community artist. I was one of the founding members of Spike Island, which began life as Artspace Bristol. ! wrote a column for Bristol Evening Post (I got sacked three times, in which I take some pride) and I worked in local and network radio and then finally became an Anglican parish priest for 25 years, retiring at 68 when I realised that the institutional church and me were on different paths.
What interests me? It would be easier to list what doesn't, but I love cooking and baking with our home grown ingredients. I'm fascinated by botany and wildlife in general, and botanical illustration. We have a camper van that takes us to the wild places, we love walking, especially in the hills, and we take too many photographs.
But what really animates me is the question "what does it mean to be human?". I've spent my life exploring it in every possible way and the answer is ..... well, today it's sitting in the van in the rain and looking across Ramsey Sound towards Ramsey Island. But it might as easily be digging potatoes or making pickle, singing or finding an orchid or just sitting. But it sure as hell doesn't mean getting a promotion, beasting your co-workers or being obsequious to power, which ensured that my rise to greatness in the Church of England flatlined 30 years ago after about 2 days. But I'm still here and still searching for that elusive sweet spot, and I don't have to please anyone any more.
Over the last 50 or so years we've had a succession of gardens, some more like wildernesses when we were both working full-time, but now we're back in the game with our two allotments in Bath.
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