At the End of the Day

I’ve had a smashing day today. The weather in the morning was chilly and grey – thus enabling me to focus on posting about the Black Hole awaiting neolib globalist bollocks. Just before lunch, the warmth broke through to transform dour cloud into a cheery, pristine blue flecked with cirrus.

It was immaculately timed, inspiring me to get out there and continue shaping The Grand Design which – I hope – will emerge from the current crop of weeds and builders’ crap disguising said garden plan.

I freely admit to being well-pleased with the outcome. The veg patch having been de-weeded – and the walkway by the side of it cleaned and widened – as the afternoon wore on from pleasant to fresh early evening, I lit the fire pit and bunged all the culled weeds onto it. The bonus that comes with doing this is the ability to take a few spuds and some freshly cut rosemary, add a bit of salt and olive oil…wrap it up in silver foil, and wack it under the weed cover to cook gently in the glowing embers.

Occasionally people accuse me of being an epicurean, but I refute the charge: the simple things done really well – without frills or sickly sauces – are always the best.


The memory problems that come with the advent of the seventh decade persist and prosper: even the simplest shopping list must be written down, and care taken not to forget the list before heading to the shops. I was in my local village this evening, explaining my plight to the boulangère. I am (I told her) more than a little demencé – suffering from early dementia. “Well,” she replied, “at least you are not demonté” – deconstructed and falling apart. I took this as a compliment.


I’m on the record several hundred times as being doubtful about many aspects of feminism. But there are many facets of life outside the home where women not only deserve at least equal pay with blokes – they offer an added value over and above most men one meets. Including me, probably.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the reporting and practice of bizarre activities in what is laughingly called ‘the financial markets’. Markets are (on the whole) nothing more than a crowd of testosterone-fuelled boys in short trousers performing a daily remake of the movie Lord of the Flies. Not suffering from the curse of groin-thought, girlies almost always come up with a better-balanced perspective about what’s really going on. The two best examples of this knack on the planet are Gillian Tett of the Financial Times, and Frances Coppola – who posts mainly at Forbes.

Both these insightful women have a grasp of social anthropology alongside an excellent forté for mathematical analysis. But above all, what they bring to the party is a considered view that makes the reader think again. Second thoughts are nearly always of a higher quality than Day One snap decisions.

If chaps would only listen, they’d spot that this feminine ability to look for connection instead of insult-trading is what contemporary debate on fiscal and economic matters most lacks. It’s a shame that the control freaks like Harriet Harman, Theresa May, Hillary Clinton and Angela Merkel are the ones that have broken through – whereas the real soothsayers like Elizabeth Warren are dismissed as political no-hopers.

As a Grecophile, I’m acutely aware that the current slanging match between Athens and Berlin is sorely in need of some practical females willing to say, “Cut the crap, sh*t or get off the pot”. Except of course, they’d say it in a pre-programmed manner more likely to get a result. For whereas most blokes are clueless about women, the so-called gentler sex is more schooled in the role forced upon them: manipulating men in a way designed to make them behave like adults.

This doesn’t stop me from an intense dislike of the tendency among certain jealous female psychographic types to wallow in finding things men are no good at. My favourite among these is the “men can’t load dishwashers” mantra. How many women, I wonder, are swept off their feet by blokes in hotel kitchens with a passionate genius for loading dishwashers earning £7000 a year.

Double standards in everything from gender pc to pompous geopolitical hypocrisy dominate our media consumption today. So getting away from it all for most of the daylight hours was what made today an especially enjoyable one for me. There is creativity, healthy physical work and transformation in a good day’s gardening that underlines the need of most normal people to be in touch with things natural. I’m looking forward – as the weather gets milder – to doing more first principle stuff like this (and less second-guessing) than has pertained of late.

Earlier at The Slog: Why debt forgiveness is good business

9 thoughts on “At the End of the Day

  1. Brings back memories of “backwoods cooking” with sausage in banana skins (original content removed) or your said “spuds” with the lids gently removed, hollowed out and an egg put inside. A few big and flat stones (scrubbed clean first) can then be put in the embers as well and you have a way to dry fry
    You’ll be after some large palm or banana leaves next I presume?


  2. You always write so happily of your hours in the garden, skipping stones in the sea and walking in the country. Those activities plus canoeing, bird watching, fly fishing and long-distance hiking in Europe make me happy too. It is why I concentrate on them now rather than all of the rest of the nastiness in the world. That said, I try to stay au courant with the rest of it but not to the point of letting it upset me. Thanks for helping me stay informed. I have enjoyed your writing for many years.


  3. “This doesn’t stop me from an intense dislike of the tendency among certain jealous female psychographic types to wallow in finding things men are no good at. ”

    Yeah, and most of them now work at the Guardian. as a loyal Graunie, the attack on Jeremy Clrakson has tickled me this week.

    John – you may want to build an earth oven using river clay – this is my project this summer.

    I now own the classic Kiko Denzer book on the subject.

    As to the Dordogne riiver near you – as Jamie says, why not rent those canoes and paddle down the river near you? My family rented canoes in Brantome on the Dronne (near where we used to own a house) last autumn and had an awesomely peaceful experience.

    You may find yourself drawn to topics like sustainable permaculture and the work of the Austrian “rebel farmer” Sepp Holzer.


  4. John, thanks for your previous reply: “…whether it will be fiscal, financial, economic, military – or several of them – is impossible to say at the moment.”. So let’s deconstruct that a bit – if you are able – and let’s take the first one in your list of alternatives. What does a fiscal ‘Crash 2’ look like? Can you describe the characteristics and features of this scenario? (Given your background in marketing this should be fairly straightforward I hope!) Thanks, D.


  5. Pingback: John Ward – Is This Fatal Friday? Judge For Yourselves – 13 March 2015 | Lucas 2012 Infos

  6. I agree with much of your ode to women. But then we see the little gems like Janet Reno, Hildabeast Clinton, Barroness Ashton, Harridan Harmon ,Maggie Hatchet and Christine Le (old)garde, Trouble is John when you give a broad the executive authority rather than have her in an advisory role you get PMS plus the tendency of absolute monarchy found in the most abusive of elementry school teachers. premature revelations about how Clinton acted in the Libyan situation have tipped everyone about what would be in store for us is she was ever elected president, so even the top Dems are running for cover, For my take on women in power you need go no farther than Rudyard Kipling who put it so sublimely
    The Female of the Species

    WHEN the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride,
    He shouts to scare the monster, who will often turn aside.
    But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail.
    For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

    When Nag the basking cobra hears the careless foot of man,
    He will sometimes wriggle sideways and avoid it if he can.
    But his mate makes no such motion where she camps beside the trail.
    For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

    When the early Jesuit fathers preached to Hurons and Choctaws,
    They prayed to be delivered from the vengeance of the squaws.
    ‘Twas the women, not the warriors, turned those stark enthusiasts pale.
    For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

    Man’s timid heart is bursting with the things he must not say,
    For the Woman that God gave him isn’t his to give away;
    But when hunter meets with husbands, each confirms the other’s tale—
    The female of the species is more deadly than the male.

    Man, a bear in most relations—worm and savage otherwise,—
    Man propounds negotiations, Man accepts the compromise.
    Very rarely will he squarely push the logic of a fact
    To its ultimate conclusion in unmitigated act.

    Fear, or foolishness, impels him, ere he lay the wicked low,
    To concede some form of trial even to his fiercest foe.
    Mirth obscene diverts his anger—Doubt and Pity oft perplex
    Him in dealing with an issue—to the scandal of The Sex!

    But the Woman that God gave him, every fibre of her frame
    Proves her launched for one sole issue, armed and engined for the same;
    And to serve that single issue, lest the generations fail,
    The female of the species must be deadlier than the male.

    She who faces Death by torture for each life beneath her breast
    May not deal in doubt or pity—must not swerve for fact or jest.
    These be purely male diversions—not in these her honour dwells—
    She the Other Law we live by, is that Law and nothing else.

    She can bring no more to living than the powers that make her great
    As the Mother of the Infant and the Mistress of the Mate.
    And when Babe and Man are lacking and she strides unclaimed to claim
    Her right as femme (and baron), her equipment is the same.

    She is wedded to convictions—in default of grosser ties;
    Her contentions are her children, Heaven help him who denies!—
    He will meet no suave discussion, but the instant, white-hot, wild,
    Wakened female of the species warring as for spouse and child.

    Unprovoked and awful charges—even so the she-bear fights,
    Speech that drips, corrodes, and poisons—even so the cobra bites,
    Scientific vivisection of one nerve till it is raw
    And the victim writhes in anguish—like the Jesuit with the squaw!

    So it comes that Man, the coward, when he gathers to confer
    With his fellow-braves in council, dare not leave a place for her
    Where, at war with Life and Conscience, he uplifts his erring hands
    To some God of Abstract Justice—which no woman understands.

    And Man knows it! Knows, moreover, that the Woman that God gave him
    Must command but may not govern—shall enthral but not enslave him.
    And She knows, because She warns him, and Her instincts never fail,
    That the Female of Her Species is more deadly than the Male.


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