Against Entropy, the monkey version

I’m not Mike Ford, nor was I meant to be;
But an attendant lord, who will just do
To swell a thread, or start a meme or three,
Obtuse and pompous, yes, and foolish too.
Yet still I write my high sentitious verse,
Between the ether and the mermaid beach.
My scansion’s poor, my structure’s even worse,
And artistry is far beyond my reach.
I’m not alone: beside me Ledgister
Sits pecking at his keys with hairy paws.
We’re monkeys, see? Does Shakespeare register
Or can we go for Ford instead? No pause…
Fragano, Raven, Dan and I all writ
And hoped our numbers reached the infinite.

Originally posted on Making Light, in memory of John M Ford.

Gently with the newbies

Don’t call this fledgling to a strict account.
He has not glided in the wider world,
Nor even left his nest, and no amount
Of flapping of his wings, so new-unfurled,
Can really substitute for honest flight.
He doesn’t understand the atmosphere,
The updrafts and the currents, but he might
Become a thinker and a writer here.
He has a lot to learn of content, yes,
But also that opponents may respect
Each other, disagreeing none the less,
(A thought on which some others could reflect.)
Let’s tolerate his rudeness for the nonce:
Remember that we all were callow once.

Originally posted on Making Light, in reaction to an incipient dogpile.

Evolution for Theists

This world of wonders seems so very odd
And populated by things odder still,
That it feels easier to cling to God
As watchmaker as well as source of will.
Nor was creation made to calm your fears:
The heavens tell his glory with a light
Far older than the bare six thousand years
That Ussher counts. Yet still they shine as bright.
The fossils set in stone don’t teach of Eve,
But He created them. They are his work.
In what, precisely, do you then believe?
That He has lied to us? I think you shirk.
God gave (evolved) you brains to cross this rift:
You, wasting them, repudiate His gift.

Originally posted on Making Light, apropos of the “Darwin Fish”

Alex: an adventure

Alex has been petitioning me to go visit London and see the London Eye ever since I sent him a postcard of it while on a course. We finally agreed that we would go in October, when he was settled into school.

So on October 6 – 8, we did. I picked him up from school on a Friday afternoon and took him home for lunch and a change of clothes. Then we took a taxi to the airport and flew down (British Midland to Heathrow). We took the Heathrow Express into Paddington, then the Tube to Victoria, where we stayed at the Comfort Inn.

Best moment of the journey down, for me: we bought some crisps and some apples in Heathrow, because we were going to be a long time getting our dinners. I was going to be flexible about food on the journey, figuring that any blood sugar was better than none, and offered to open the crisps for him. I got a five-star telling off, because apples are “real food” and crisps are not, and you do not eat junk food until you’ve eaten your real food. He harped on it throughout the trip.

Best moment of the journey down, for Alex: after school, taxis, planes, trains, tubes, and shops, walking hand in hand through the darkness at Victoria, the baggage trailing behind me, he was still cheerful and stable. I said, “You are such a good travelling companion. It’s a real pleasure to be with you right now.” It seemed to strike him deeply that I should feel that way.

We got up the next morning and took a photo of ourselves in the mirror. Here we are, getting ready for adventures:



(He’s being a squirrel in the second of these shots.)

We set out for the Eye before 9, on foot to burn off some of the excess energy. There was some running on the deserted pavements, the odd shot with Big Ben, all that sort of thing.


We got to the Eye before it opened, and queued for tickets in the sharp breeze. By 10:00, we were on board. Alex is a little nervous of heights these days, and nearly funked out a couple of times, but when he got on board, he wasn’t as scared. It reminded him of a space ship.


Although he would only go to the window when I asked him to for photos, he enjoyed the ride.


By the time we were at the top, he was pretty much reconciled to the trip.


He still did his fair share of scowling.


Still, he was glad to get down.


Then we had ice cream (his idea, not mine) and watched the people who paint themselves metallic colours and pretend to be statues. I bought us onto an open-top bus tour for a bit of a rest, and we rode around London for a while, playing with the headphones and the pre-recorded narratives. We got off near Regent Street, with the intention of going to Hamley’s. A bit of lunch restored our energy, and off we went. I let Alex take the lead through the shop. This meant that we saw a lot of Lego.


He wanted to buy himself a toy, and quickly settled on a dragon in its own egg. Then he wanted to make sure we got one for Fiona, at which time I silently decided that we weren’t going to use his pocket money for any of these purchases. (Generosity is rewarded.) We found a cuddly puppy for her, then walked up a staircase themed after the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Alex enjoyed sitting in High King Peter’s throne at the end.


After watching some older kids play with Scalextric, we added a green light sabre to our stash and left. By then, Alex was beat. We went back to the hotel and found a documentary on people who base jump with peregrine falcons (I am not making this up). He watched that, surrounded by his toys, then came out for dinner. We went home and crashed.

We woke the next morning in a silly mood (Well, one of us did, but he was silly enough for two.)


We packed up the room, checked out, and headed for Hyde Park to play about before our flight home. The park was crowded with runners in some sort of footrace, but we soon found an activity more suited to us: a tree that reminded Alex of Yoda’s house on Dagobah. So we did a little Star Wars playing.


Then we headed for the Tube, dodging through the endless stream of runners. We stopped at Paddington for lunch, took the Express back to Heathrow, and flew home at last.

It was an inexpressibly wonderful weekend, with an inexpressibly wonderful boy.

(There’s a Flickr photoset with more pictures as well.)