London

April 26, 2017

He’s a man on the King’s Road—macintosh,
trilby hat—who kisses me by the newspaper
stand, says Come on babe and off we go,
on a bus over Chelsea Bridge to the locks
and market in Camden Town. He holds my hand,
says he likes to watch me age, play catch-up,
and he educates me, privately, during evening
South Bank strolls, buys me secondhand books,
recites the history of The Tower, tells me
about ice skaters on the Thames and how
Shakespeare and Marlowe would slap his back
after shows at The Theatre and Globe. But my man
sleeps with eyes open and those eyes are old.
I watch as he snores, dive down those pupils
and feel his river pulse through my body,
see the decaying faces of those it conceals.
The lights of Soho tickle my skin but even now
I’m not taken in by him. I’m not his only lover.
Why should I be? We’re unfaithful to each other.
Even though he makes me feel I matter, more than
anyone else has done or ever will, I can’t
give up everything to be with him. So I watch
my children play elsewhere in a garden we can
afford as I cyberstalk him on my phone,
imagine his sweaty body moving on top of me.
And I’m sniffing his pheromones and the thought
of him overtakes me again and part of me yearns
to be on a train back to sirens, lights, and fumes.

Lisa Parry

Sanity…?

April 26, 2017

I must confess that I lost faith in the sanity of the world

H.G. Wells
The Island of Dr. Moreau

They see, it is said, men who have been dead for several months, come back to earth, talk, walk, infest villages, ill use both men and beasts, suck the blood of their near relations, make them ill, and finally cause their death; so that people can only save themselves from their dangerous visits and their hauntings by exhuming them, impaling them, cutting off their heads, tearing out the heart, or burning them. These revenants are called by the name of oupires or vampires, that is to say, leeches; and such particulars are related of them, so singular, so detailed, and invested with such probable circumstances and such judicial information, that one can hardly refuse to credit the belief which is held in those countries, that these revenants come out of their tombs and produce those effects which are proclaimed of them.

Antoine Augustin Calme

Traité sur les apparitions des esprits et sur les vampires ou les revenans de Hongrie, de Moravie, &c.

(Treatise on the Apparitions of Spirits and on Vampires or Revenants of Hungary, Moravia, et al.)

Monsters

April 26, 2017

26th April

Cold night; very chill this morning. So much so I broke my pre-beltane fast by making nettle tea this morning; I really did crave a hot drink.

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There is so much crap nonsense spoken about ‘meat farming’ the livestock industry in this country. For example the spread of Bovine TB in cattle. This, according to government ministers, is the fault of badgers: a cull of badgers is essential to control the disease –

Last year the number of animals slaughtered in England’s badger cull soared to more than 10,000, and while ministers claimed the results a great success, a leading scientist said there was ‘no basis’ for suggesting the cull was effective. Half the badgers killed in 2016 were shot without first being trapped, a method rejected as inhumane by the British Veterinary Association in 2015.

Claire Bass, director of the Humane Society International/UK, said: “Badger culling is a costly distraction from the real solution to TB in cattle. It’s a disease of cattle, primarily spread by cattle, and it’s cattle-focused control measures that will stop it. But the government has sanctioned large-scale ‘badgercide’.”

The National Farmers Union on the other hand claimed the latest cull results a success – although it takes two years for the effects to feed through the system.

According to Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Prof. Christianne Glossop, incidence of bovine TB in Wales have fallen by 28%; the number of infected cattle slaughtered has fallen by 45%; and 94% of Welsh herds are TB free. This achieved without culling a solitary badger!

The largest-ever study conducted to examine whether culling badgers would reduce bovine TB in cattle, a ten-year, £50m study called the Randomised Badger Culling Trial, concluded in 2007 that: “… badger culling can make no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control in Britain.” See HERE.

I’m so reminded of the foot and mouth outbreak of 2001. Then mass slaughter was perpetrated by Nick Brown and his Ministry of Agriculture officials, aided and abetted by Sir Ben Gill of the NFU. Between February and September that year 2,030 cases of foot & mouth were confirmed, resulting in the culling and incineration of about 6 million animals – 4,900,000 sheep, 700,00 cattle and 400,000 pigs.

The officials and farmers’ leaders refused to countenance vaccination, as practised effectively elsewhere. All this despite the facts that the disease is very rarely passed to humans, who have to be in close contact with the beasts, and that when it does it’s not serious. The last human case in Britain was in 1967. The mass pyres of carcasses were still more bizarre. The virus is sensitive to stomach acid, and so cannot be passed by eating infected meat. If the meat could have been frozen there was no reason to keep the carcasses from the market.

Of course TB in cattle can be passed along the food chain. But it is the similarity in solution to these problems (all of which are funded by the tax payer) of unnecessary mass slaughter – of livestock on one hand, and badgers on the other that I find disturbing.

Mess

April 24, 2017

It is surprising the number of practitioners of the magical arts and witchcraft who were involved in military and intelligence work during the Second World War. Perhaps the best known ‘occult spy’ operating in the Second World War, and in fact long before, and whose intelligence career has been well documented, is Aleister Crowley. Author Dr Richard B.Spence believes that Crowley began his journey to being a secret agent when he took an oath of allegiance to the British Crown. This was at the Malvern College boarding school in 1891when he joined the cadet corps of the local Worcestershire Royal Artillery Volunteers. Later in life Crowley was to say that despite his problems and issues with the British establishment he had always felt that he was bound to that oath. In fact it had strengthened his link with England. It is possible he meant on a magical and psychic level as well as the physical and patriotic one.

As a young man, through an introduction by his aunt who was a member, Crowley joined the Primrose League. This was a semi-secret, quasi-Masonic, right-wing group within the Conservative Party whose aim was to protect it from its political enemies. Dr Spence suggests that Crowley’s Jacobite sympathies in support of the return of the Stuart dynasty to the British throne to replace the Hanoverian usurpers, could have been used by the League to persuade Crowley to spy on potential enemies of the Crown. This however would suggest that his Jacobite inclinations were not genuine or a passing teenage phase.

Crowley was lucky enough to come under the patronage of the Marquess of Salisbury, the Grand Master of the League. It has been suggested that Salisbury helped Crowley to enter Cambridge University and was grooming his young protégé for a lifelong career in the Diplomatic Service, which might well have involved spying for his country. However Crowley had other ideas, although it was at Cambridge that he met the future artist Gerald Kelly and later married his sister Rose. Forty years or so later both men were to serve in the wartime British Secret Service.

In the First World War Cowley was living in New York and he was accosted by a stranger on an omnibus. During their conversation about the war in Europe the man handed Crowley a business card.Printed on it were the addresses of two pro-German magazines and subsequently Crowley wrote anti-British propaganda for these publications.

Naturally the British government took a dim view of this anti-patriotic, traitorous act. They labelled him a traitor and the police raided his magical temple in London and closed it down. Crowley always protested his innocence. In fact he said he had been working for British Intelligence and written the satirical articles at their request. The aim was to ridicule the pro-German movement in America and discredit the magazines. This has never confirmed by the British Government, but it has also not been denied.

Michael Howard
THE OCCULT WAR
Secret Agents, Magicians and Hitler

absurd superstitions

April 24, 2017

In common with most of the lower classes of the West of England, the miner is not free from many absurd superstitions (though I am glad to observe, even in the last few years, a great change has taken place, and such follies are gradually declining). Some think themselves endowed with a species of supernatural agency, and, like the Egyptian alluded to by Othello, call themselves charmers, and profess to stop the flowing of blood (no matter from what cause – a divided artery even), to remove specks from the cornea (which, in the dialect of the country, are called cannons!), and cure erysipelas, by charming. But I have never been able to ascertain by what means the charm is supposed to work. I only know that it is an everyday occurrence for mothers to bring children to the surgery, afflicted with either of the diseases mentioned, and say that they have had them charmed; but they were no better, such want of improvement having obviously excited the greatest feelings of astonishment. I knew a person connected with the mines, who felt himself endowed with prophetic powers; and in his case the divination was not confined to events momentous and terrible, but extended to the most trifling minutiae of life.

He with grave simplicity told me one day, by way of exemplifying the proper estimation in which his prophetic powers were held by his wife, that on one occasion, his pig having wandered from his sty, she came to him to ascertain in what direction it was to be sought for; and on his professing utter ignorance of the animal’s peregrinations, she exclaimed in reproachful tones, ‘Ak – you are not so pious as you used to be. I remember the time when you could have told me in an instant the exact spot to have found it.’

William Wale Tayler
On the Diseases of Cornish Miners

Be warned

April 24, 2017

Days of wine and roses

April 24, 2017

Diary 23rd / 24th April

Visitors. Daniel R and his strikingly beautiful wife. The weather bright to begin, then overcast, with a cold wind. Sheep on the moor. Back in the eleventh century a fleece might well have been worth the equivalent of £50; a ewe and lamb would have cost one shilling – say, £130 in today’s money. In the middle ages sheep were the principle wealth of England. Wool money built the great churches and created those beautiful country towns and villages from the Cotswolds to Suffolk – places now dependent on tourists for their survival. No money in wool now, of course. No money to speak of in sheep either.

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Over indulged this weekend. Again. Fasting from today onwards. One week of fruit and water. Already looking forward to a huge tray of roasted vegetables at the weekend. Greatly missed my morning coffee today.