I could do with a purple patch!

Created 4.ix.21

Quick update 6.ix.21 as I realise the title is playing on a very British/English bit of language meaning a run of luck or success.

Well, we’ve moved into the inter-season and it’s amusing to see things move from catering to summer tourisms into lots of work: repainting things, repairing things, continuing to get the huge new ski lift working. I liked this bit of machinery that has been repainted red from grey. It reminded me a bit of a dinosaur and of the way that paleontologists create impressions of whole monsters from bits. (As usual, click on these to see the full glory!)

I am trying hard to reflect on my chosen life of fairly radical seclusion and a lot of work. One thing that is hitting me is just how much reading the news depresses me. This has been getting worse over the last five years or so and I am seriously contemplating simply not reading any news now but I can’t really accept that as that would seem to move my positioning from hermitic to frankly escapist and cowardly. However, the bitter, angry despair I dive into reading so much is painful: Afghanistan, Texas (pretty much any of the USA), the UK Home Office (pretty much anything about the UK government), climate change (pretty much anything about greenwashing and the way our global economy and political systems seem determined to go on regardless). I liked two articles from the Guardian:
Republicans seethe with violence and lies. Texas is part of a bigger war they’re waging
Hilary Mantel: I am ashamed to live in nation that elected this government

Hilary Mantel’s position is exactly what originally drove me to “semigration” and to my continuing aspiration to end up with dual citizenship. Mine started with the Brexit vote and from what I see that marked a slide of the UK into the hatred, xenophobia and polarisation that seems to mark it now. I guess it’s complex with the changes particularly dramatic in England and perhaps Northern Ireland (I don’t read much about NI that fills me with hope) and something a bit less extreme in Wales and some real differences, even signs of hope in Scotland. However, all this seems to play into the current Tory party hands: they play things so that they use xenophobia towards anyone from outside the UK and between the countries of the UK so that they tighten their hold on power in a form of gerrymandering.

What can I do about any of this? Very, very little if anything and I can’t see that getting depressed about it helps anyone so what do I want? Well, that gets me to the purple patch: the thing that shores me up is the feeling that I work hard and not entirely unproductively.

I am working hard: I think my weekly hours are down a bit from the 70+ of the last few years but certainly still in the 50-70 range and I do want that to change. I am productive not just in volume of papers (CV here for anyone academic reading this). Simple paper counts are pretty silly so it’s more important to me that some of the papers are making arguments that I want to put out there between now and when I stop work (six, max seven years). I’ve had a lovely boost coming out of my excellent collaboration with Dr. Clara Paz: I’ve been appointed a visiting professor in her university: Universidad de Las Américas (UDLA) in Quito, Ecuador. At the same time the book that J and I have been working on for years really is nearing publication.

Is this a purple patch? No, not yet and I do know that my scales for these things are not normal and full of self-denigration. However, I really hope it is a trajectory that is hopeful. Meanwhile, some local purples I’ve been enjoying up here: everything is fringed and striped with patches of rosebay willowherb.

I’ve also been enjoying trying to get close ups of the thorny thistles with their purple crowns.


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