This is my last night in the house that has been Slogger’s Roost ever since the blog started. In a week’s time I’ll be at the French White House or Slogroost2. In the interim, various safe houses will be looking after me. Or put another way, I shall be saying goodbye to folks. Or put yet another way, I’ll be shamelessly poncing off other people.
I said on arriving here in Devon that I’d leave this house in a box, but it wasn’t to be. As per all the other times, I’ll be driving away in a car. I am however surrounded by boxes tonight. Forty-two of them to be precise. They’re going into store along with what’s left of my furniture after the auction rooms have taken their pick, and their commission. In every life, it is important from time to time that one sifts out the detritus from the delightful. I have an art nouveau pub mirror, a Georgian bow-fronted corner cupboard, a Regency dining table, and a mid-Victorian chaise that are, to get technical for a second, piss-elegant. No auction house shall have them. I have also, over the decades, collected some 90 prints, paintings and photographs without which I would have too little sense of what shaped me. I don’t give a damn what any of this is ‘worth’, to me it has a value far beyond price.
That’s all very high-and-mighty is it not? However, some of the detritus strongly suggests a misspent past as well. A two-thirds empty bottle of old Glenmorangie that is now twice as old as it was when I bought it. A 1995 bottle of Disaronno Ameretto almond liqueur that looks as if it was designed by the Prizzi family, and tasted like Death in Venice. An undated bottle of Calvados with an air of reactor-rod about it. And topping everything, a miniature of Japanese Saki that had clearly been hiding in the jungle waiting for the ultimate Nipponese triumph.
Since I came to this Devon/Dorset borders hamlet thirteen years ago, almost everything here and elsewhere has changed. Wrecks have been renovated, barns turned into houses, and manor houses restored. The manor house in particular seems to be something of a money-pit: we’ve had three families in it over that period, and all have discovered that roofs, insulation, window-restoration, garden design and the price of oil can empty most bank accounts. The one wreck over this time that remains the disaster area it always was is the EU, but that’s a macro thing no longer available for (or amenable to) control by any European citizen.
Scanning the media tonight, there is the same inability to grasp step change, and the same insanity in the face of undeniable facts. Bashar al-Assad is accusing Israel of being behind the revolution there (a hypothesis worthy of British Plod at his worst); the Coalition is pressing ahead with an HS2 rail link which is unable to recommend itself beyond the ability to arrive in Manchester more quickly; a gigantic (albeit elegant) glass prick towers over London…..just begging for a plane called Depression to hit it; Barclays Bank has confirmed that finance director Chris Lucas and general counsel Mark Harding will retire to a place far from Wormwood Scrubs; Theresa May-Ormaynott thinks Britain’s visa system will attract the brightest and best; European bank bonuses face a 20% cut (a bit like ripping the armlets off Nuremberg defendants that one); and perhaps most amusingly improbable of all, US Vice President Joe Biden is visiting Germany this coming week in an effort to strengthen trans-Atlantic ties. I don’t have any problem with my ties: listen, I can do a Windsor knot, but I’ve never yet had a tie made in Europe disintegrate on me. But then, this is the kind of completely f**king meaningless job Vice Presidents of the United States are given.
However, from sources more intuitive, far-sighted and true (the firstname.lastname@example.org inbox) come the following:
Alexis Grigoropoulos, a 15 year old schoolboy from a well off family & private school, was murdered by a policeman 4 Dec, 2010 in Exarchia, the university area of Athens. The cop that did it was released on full pension. (From Agent Navarone in Athens)
Reports that are good but do not take us down to the 6.5% unemployment rate that the Fed has stated will cause a change in the QEternity policy to continue the rally in the S&P. (From Butch Cassidy in New Mexico)
American airlines is trying to emerge from bankruptcy. On the subject of employee pensions, the company is now taking the bizarre position in court that they are not seeking to eliminate retiree benefits. They are simply seeking a “modification” of those benefits such that American’s contribution is 0 (zero) $s. (From retired pilot BC)
Derivatives are supposed to be accounted for at market value at times. However, for obscure, off-market or bespoke derivatives, this may be sufficiently tough to do that it can often be conveniently ignored. (UK bankmole)
Long may these sources continue to supply me with ammo. I thank each and every one of them (and you) for continued support. Until the next time then.