Saturday, 8 May 2021

Herry's Journal Index

What is Poetry?
The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam 
Favourite Poetry - The Four Quartets
Favourite Poetry - The North Ship
Favourite Poetry - Akhmatova
Favourite Poetry - Pablo Neruda
Edna St Vincent Millay - Love is not All
Edna St Vincent Millay - Eight Sonnets V
Edna St Vincent Millay - Dirge Without Music
Favourite Poetry - Poesie Mondaine, Bestemmia 619
Favourite Poetry - John Henry Newman's 'Dream of Gerontius'
Favourite Poems - Heine - A Young Man Loves a Maiden 
Favourite Poetry - Wind
Favourite Poetry - October
Favourite Poems - Ithaca
Favourite Poems - Kindness
Favourite Poems - Beloved Earth
Favourite Poems - C9th Chinese Poem on Old Age
Favourite Poems - Heraclitus
Favourite Poems - Beloved Earth 
Favourite Poems - Animals
Favourite Poems - Stag's Leap
Favourite Poems - The Wilderness
Favourite Poems - No Man Is An Island
Favourite Poems - The Wound in Time
Favourite Poems - A Shropshire Lad
Nicky Boyle 1946 - 1997
Rosie Jenks 1943 - 2005
Gopika Fraser 1965 - 2009
Cmdr Colin Balfour RN 1924 - 2009 
Norman Buckingham 1918 - 2010
The Rev Hamilton Lloyd 1919 - 2011
Suzanne Lloyd 1923 - 2011
Sally Macpherson 1940 - 2012
Nick Duke 1945 - 2013
Richard Shaw 1940 - 2013
S Venkiteswaran 1941 - 2013
Joanne Louise Taylor (Jo Johns) 1939 - 2014
Ernie Stiles - 1941 - 1914
Lucie Skipwith 1942 - 2014
Annie May Spawton 1944 - 2014
Kate O'Brien 1953 - 2017
Bill Birch Reynardson 1923 - 2017
John Kay 1936 - 2019
Penny Lawford 1944 - 2019
Lucy Luxmoore 1953 - 2019
Beryl Williams 1949 - 2020

Herry's 70th Birthday Party July 2015
Lawford Lunch at the Drapers' Hall 2014
Winchester College 50 Years On Dinner 2014
Wellbeing of Women Christmas Fair at the Drapers' Hall 2016
Wellbeing of Women Christmas Fair at the Drapers' Hall 2014
Wellbeing of Women Christmas Fair at the Drapers' Hall 2013
Wellbeing of Women Christmas Fair at the Drapers' Hall 2012
Wellbeing of Women Christmas Fair at the Drapers' Hall 2011
Wellbeing of Women Christmas Fair at the Drapers' Hall 2010
Wellbeing of Women Christmas Fair at the Drapers' Hall 2009
The Royal Hospital Carol Service 2009
The Royal Hospital Carol Service 2010
The Royal Hospital Carol Service 2011
The Royal Hospital Chelsea Dinner 2010
Fine Cell at the V&A
Fine Cell at the Drapers' Hall
Fine Cell at the Leathersellers' Hall 2009
Fine Cell at the Leathersellers' Hall 2009
Fine Cell at the Glaziers' Hall
The Drapers' Almshouses
The Drapers' Almshouse Outing to Winchester 2009
The Drapers' Almshouse Teaparty 2007
The Drapers' Almshouse Teaparty 2008
The Drapers' New Year's Service

Office Life 1967 - 2006 

These entries can also be found under Sir Alfred Herbert
The Rebuilding of Coventry Cathedral
Sir Alfred Herbert and Town Thorns Residential School, Easenhall
Sir Alfred Herbert and the Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital
Sir Alfred Herbert's Memorial Service in Coventry Cathedral 1957

Sir Alfred Herbert and St Barbara's Church, Earlsdon
The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry Reopening 2008
The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry
Favourite Places - Coventry Cathedral
Coventry's Awe-Inspiring Cathedral
Coventry's Awe-Inspiring Cathedral II
Coventry Cathedral - the Sutherland Tapestry
Rediscovering Coventry's Medieval Stained Glass
Coventry Cathedral Carol Concert 2013
Coventry Cathedral Golden Jubilee
Sir Alfred Herbert's Induction into Coventry's Walk of Fame 2017

Gardens and Flowers
Favourite Gardens - The Buildings in Autumn 
Favourite Gardens - The Buildings, Broughton
Favourite Gardens - The Buildings August 2018
Favourite Gardens - the last of The Buildings, October 2018
Favourite Gardens - the Laskett Gardens
Favourite Gardens - Terstan
Favourite Gardens - Ashtall Manor
on form at Ashtall Manor
Favourite Gardens - Bere Mill in Spring
Favourite Gardens - Adwell
Favourite Gardens - Hinton Ampner
Favourite Gardens - Stockbridge Town Gardens
Favourite Gardens - Wherwell Village Gardens
Favourite Gardens - Bramdean House
Favourite Gardens - Dean House
Favourite Gardens - A Secret Garden
Favourite Gardens - West Green
Favourite Gardens - Mottisfont Abbey
Favourite Gardens - Rotherfield Park
Hampton Court Flower Show 2018
Garden Design - Vaux le Vicomte
Mottisfont Rose Garden June 2013
Mottisfont Rose Garden June 2015
Mottisfont Rose Garden June 2017
Mottisfont Rose Garden June 2018
Hilliers Evening Tour for the NGS June 2018

Paintings and Photographs
Art and What it Means to Me
St Laurent and Pierre Berge Collection
Saatchi Gallery - New Art from India
Saatchi Gallery - New Art from China
Saatchi Gallery - New Art from the Middle East
Emily Patrick Exhibition in Spitalfields 2008
Anish Kapoor's Exhibition
Anish Kapoor in Kensington Gardens 2010
Horst at the V&A - Photographer of Style
Van Gogh at the Royal Academy 2010
An Inland Voyage at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum
Ibrahim El-Salahi at the Tate Modern
Gaugin at the Tate Modern
Francis Bacon Exhibition at the Tate
The Tate Modern's 10th Anniversary
Picasso Exhibition at the National Gallery
Anish Kapoor at the Royal Academy 2009
Art Gallery of New South Wales - Frieda Kahlo
Lines of Thought - Isabel Seligman

NGS Booklet -The Little Yellow Book of Gardens and Health


The NGS have produced an inactive booklet 'The Little Yellow Book on Gardens and Health' that can be read as a pdf document here 

See also - The Therapeutic Power of Gardens by Oliver Sacks

Friday, 23 April 2021

Treating Seafarers Decently by Michael Grey

Go on, stop on

By Michael Grey

There could, I was reading the other day, be something of a societal change taking place as we emerge from Covid, to a kinder, greener and more inclusive world. This was evidenced by several of the most prominent finance houses and management consultants suggesting they would move away from their more inhuman practices such as making junior members of staff work long and antisocial hour.
Responding to objections from post-millennials, who would like some time off on their career path en-route to ludicrous rewards, it has been suggested that they might get the odd weekend to themselves. The Scots have been toying with the notion of a four-day week, although that might have something to do with an upcoming election.

Forecasts of societal change are perilous and natural sceptics will suggest that once we get back to something approaching normality, old habits will re-assert themselves. But it would be nice if the outbreak of universal kindness over the world of work could be exported to the maritime world, where there are few signs of it, thus far. True, there are all sorts of supportive messages about the need to consider the mental health of seafarers, just as long as its cost doesn’t appear on the ship owner’s balance sheet.  My old secretary, who was fond of killer put-downs, might have suggested that such are “all mouth and no trousers”.

But there is no evidence whatever that the frequently voiced complaints about exhaustion, fatigue and the dubious compliance with MLC rules, are producing any changes. Both the recent World Maritime University and Cardiff University studies on compliance with regulations on work and rest hours ought to have rung warning bells about an industry operating on the edge of legality. These reports, along with the effects of the pandemic, seem to have stimulated a certain amount of debate among seagoing professionals, mostly in the form of correspondence to their various organisations.

One rather shocking letter published in the Nautical Institute’s Seaways magazine tells of a tanker officer who suffered a heart attack after working 84 hours without a break. The same correspondent writes that on every ship he had served on, “hours of work were regularly exceeded due to the demands of compliance with other safety and operational matters”. Another, in the same issue, notes that none of his older colleagues seem to be surviving into old age following a working life of disrupted circadian rhythms and fatigue taken for granted. The old jokes about ship’s officers being woken up by officials checking up on the hours of rest really aren’t funny anymore.

It is obvious that firstly, there are not sufficient people aboard most ships to deal with the work that needs to be done, that the operational and bureaucratic burden on a few senior officers has become unbearable and that the pace of modern ship operations has become ridiculous. And none of this is going to be remotely improved by clever apps on smartphones or even software that will keep ships’ officers’ noses stuck in front of their screens inputting garbage that somebody demands ashore. Sure, we might get all the machinery wired up to transmit data to the engine manufacturer and wonderful “digitisation” that is said to be the cat’s pyjamas. Will any of this reduce the incessant demands upon a few exhausted people aboard ship? There needs to be a realistic assessment of the work that needs to be done, and the people available to do it, with proper leeway for illness, emergencies and the frequent untoward demands. There also needs to be a more rigorous application of the rules – the airlines would be an excellent example to follow, where there is no elasticity whatever. Or we could just slow down to a reasonable pace – we are not fighting a war here, but maintaining world trade and that shouldn’t be at the expense of anyone’s health. That’s what society seems to be saying, but will shipping shut its collective ears?

Michael Grey is former editor of Lloyd’s List.

Thursday, 22 April 2021

A Favourite Book - The Night Land

To the North-West I looked, and in the wide field of my glass, saw plain the bright glare of the fire from the Red Pit, shine upwards against the underside of the vast chin of the North-West Watcher--The Watching Thing of the North-West. . . . Beyond these, South and West of them, was the enormous bulk of the South-West Watcher, and from the ground rose what we named the Eye Beam--a single ray of grey light, which came up out of the ground, and lit the right eye of the monster. . . There rose the vast bulk of the South-East Watcher--The Watching Thing of the South-East. And to the right and to the left of the squat monster burned the Torches; maybe half-a-mile upon each side; yet sufficient light they threw to show the lumbered-forward head of the never-sleeping Brute. And, so to tell more about the South Watcher. A million years gone, as I have told, came it out from the blackness of the South, and grew steadily nearer through twenty thousand years; but so slow that in no one year could a man perceive that it had moved. Yet it had movement, and had come thus far upon its road to the Redoubt, when the Glowing Dome rose out of the ground before it--growing slowly. And this had stayed the way of the Monster; so that through an eternity it had looked towards the Pyramid across the pale glare of the Dome, and seeming to have no power to advance nearer. And, presently, I was come upward almost to the top of the hill, the which took me nigh three hours. And surely, when I was come that I could see the grimness of the Lesser Pyramid, going upward very desolate and silent into the night, lo! an utter shaking fear did take me; for the sweet cunning of my spirit did know that there abode no human in all that great and dark bulk; but that there did await me there, monstrous and horrid things that should bring destruction upon my soul. And I went downward of the hill, very quiet in the darkness; and so in the end, away from that place.

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Wisdom Isn't What You Think It Is - David Brooks

Morrie Schwartz was a Brandeis sociology professor who died of A.L.S. in 1995. While he was dying, he had a couple of conversations with Ted Koppel on “Nightline” and a bunch with his former student Mitch Albom, who wrote a book, “Tuesdays With Morrie,” which sold over 15 million copies. For a few years, Schwartz was the national epitome of the wise person, the gentle mentor we all long for.

But when you look at Schwartz’s piercing insights … well, they’re not that special: “Accept what you are able to do and what you are not able to do.” Schwartz’s genius was the quality of attention he brought to life. We all know we’re supposed to live in the present and savor the fullness of each passing moment, but Schwartz actually did it — dancing with wild abandon before his diagnosis, being fully present with all those who made the pilgrimage to him after it.

Schwartz recruited Albom to share his quality of attention. He bathed his former student with unconditional positive regard, saw where Albom’s life was sliding into workaholism, and nudged him gently back to what he would value when facing his own death.

When I think of the wise people in my own life, they are like that. It’s not the life-altering words of wisdom that drop from their lips, it’s the way they receive others. Too often the public depictions of wisdom involve remote, elderly sages who you approach with trepidation — and who give the perfect life-altering advice — Yoda, Dumbledore, Solomon. When a group of influential academics sought to define wisdom, they focused on how much knowledge a wise person had accumulated. Wisdom, they wrote, was “an expert knowledge system concerning the fundamental pragmatics of life.

But when wisdom has shown up in my life, it’s been less a body of knowledge and more a way of interacting, less the dropping of secret information, more a way of relating that helped me stumble to my own realizations

Wisdom is different from knowledge. Montaigne pointed out you can be knowledgeable with another person’s knowledge, but you can’t be wise with another person’s wisdom. Wisdom has an embodied moral element; out of your own moments of suffering comes a compassionate regard for the frailty of others.

Wise people don’t tell us what to do, they start by witnessing our story. They take the anecdotes, rationalizations and episodes we tell, and see us in a noble struggle. They see our narratives both from the inside, as we experience them, and from the outside, as we can’t. They see the ways we’re navigating the dialectics of life — intimacy versus independence, control versus uncertainty — and understand that our current self is just where we are right now, part of a long continuum of growth.

I have a friend, Kate Bowler, who teaches at Duke and learned at age 35 that she had stage IV cancer. In real life, and on her podcast, “Everything Happens,” I have seen her use her story again and again as a platform to let others frame their best story. Her confrontation with early death, and her alternating sad and hilarious responses to it, draws out a kind of candor in others. She models a vulnerability, and a focus on the big issues, and helps people understand where they are now.

People only change after they’ve felt understood. The really good confidants — the people we go to for wisdom — are more like story editors than sages. They take in your story, accept it, but prod you to reconsider it so you can change your relationship to your past and future. They ask you to clarify what it is you really want, or what baggage you left out of your clean tale. They ask you to probe for the deep problem that underlies the convenient surface problem you’ve come to them with.

It is this skillful, patient process of walking people to their own conclusions that feels like wisdom; maybe that’s why Aristotle called ethics a “social practice.”

The knowledge that results is personal and contextual, not a generalization or a maxim that you could put in a book of quotations. Being seen in this way has a tendency to turn down the pressure, offering you some distance from your situation, offering hope.

Wise people like Morrie Schwartz seem impressive in part because they have so much composure and self-awareness. I wonder if they got it by looking at other people. It’s easier to make decisions for others than for oneself. Maybe wise people take those third person thinking skills they’ve developed and apply them to the person in the mirror. Maybe self-awareness is mostly not inner rumination but seeing yourself as if you were somebody else.

We live in an ideological age, which reduces people to public categories — red/blue, Black/white — and pulverizes the personal knowledge I’m talking about here. But we all have the choice to see people as persons, not types. As the educator Parker J. Palmer put it, “the shape of our knowledge becomes the shape of our living.”

David Brooks - New York Times April 2021

See also Ecclesiatices 

Monday, 12 April 2021

A Memorial for Prince Philip at St James the Less, Litchfield April 2021

St James the Less, Litchfield memorial to Price Philip

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, died on Friday 9th April 2021, aged 99. His death provoked an outpouring of sorrow across the country, flags were flown at half-mast and church bells tolled. He had been a steadfast figure in everyone's lifetime, and as the news spread, there were many spontaneous acts of remembrance and respect including small memorials in local churches such as that at St James the Less, Litchfield. 

Sunday, 11 April 2021

A Change of Style in Old Swan House Garden April 2021

There is a small change of style at Old Swan House - simply by letting the grass at the end of the orchard grow long and planting bulbs - daffodils and fritillaries - in it. And as a consequence of not mowing, leaving a chaise longue strategically placed to create a more romantic atmosphere in what is a somewhat formal garden.

I had in mind the image created by the painting (by Danish
artist Peter Severin Kroyer) which hangs in at least two friend's houses.

I doubt that it will be quite a romantic as this, though the Felicite et Perpetue on the damson will provide the profusion of roses to equal that rather unreal bush!

Felicite et Perpetue suggested by my friend Jon Dodson

                                                            Rose garden by Peder Severin Kroyer

Sunday, 21 March 2021

The Oprah Winfrey Interview - a View from the Stands

The old aristocracy of Europe, the dying embers of which glow faintly in the monarchies of the West and whose blood dilutes itself in far-flung corners of old empires, used to pride itself on something called ‘noblesse oblige’ – the idea that to those whom much is given, much is expected. The idea here was to protect, teach and give succour to those in your care: An accountability for others in exchange for the privileges that fell upon you. Many wicked men failed to live up to this, but a great many more tried, and succeeded – so much so that to be called noble or a gentleman became the highest aspiration of all.

The great families’ conquests forged nations, their patronage gave us the greatest works of art in existence and their support for, or rejection of faith spurned the splintered but most populous religion on earth. There can be no doubt, even among the least charitable in modern society, that civilisation as we know it in the Western World (and the inheritance of Ancient Rome and Greece) is in large part their legacy. For a thousand years science, philosophy, the university, chivalry, human rights and the exploration of the globe are directly attributable to these families. They have, of course, their share in the deleterious business of slavery, exploitation, military domination and religious subjugation – but these evils are not unique to the Europeans – and no self-respecting history student will successfully argue that they are.

The Royal House of Windsor (or Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, or Oldenburg, by lineage) have played their part in this rich tapestry of European and world history – and they have had a starring role. The greater part of Shakespeare’s invaluable contribution to literature is a history of these sovereigns. Lately, we have come to regard them as a curiosity and a tourist-trap – with people flocking to palaces to see opulence and treasure, and then leaving with a stuffed Corgi toy or teaspoon. For most of the twentieth century, despite the best efforts of a few virtuous and dutiful monarchs, they have been largely just that – a bit of a pompous show.

When the younger son of the next king and his wife decided to engage in a full-frontal attack on the crown, they had to realise what they were doing. The royal family, the history of the nation, the language and the culture are all so interwoven that a threat to any part is a threat to the whole. Even if Harry and Meghan didn’t realise what they were doing, it’s too late to disengage now. We could talk for a very long time about how dark Meghan’s baby might be, or how racist it might be to ask that… we could weigh up the pros and cons of their mental health, their contemplation of suicide, the courting of the world’s most famous television interviewer or the nastiness of the British press. But that’s not what will be interesting in the future. What people will talk about (and what historians will write about) in the latter part of this decade will be the great culture war, not how Meghan cried or how Harry felt.

The Queen represents the old order: personal responsibility, strength of character, sacrifice, concern for others and a duty to those in need. She demonstrates this every day, and has devoted her 70-year reign to this priority. She represents family, tradition, history and service, in a country where precisely those values steeled the British spine in their fight against the Nazis. While Presidents and Prime Ministers came and went, we never found out how Elizabeth II felt about anything, or her personal politics – because she respectably kept it to herself. Many of the old dominions are now much greater, much more advanced and sophisticated powers than modern Britain could claim to be – even the America to which her grandson fled has eclipsed the old empire – and now they have their own kind of nobility.

Meghan and Harry represent this new kind of aristocracy – activist celebrities whose lives are indescribably privileged, millionaires and billionaires who have the freedoms, luxuries and access to experiences that even Marie Antoinette couldn’t imagine. They do very little for a living – some act in network shows about lawyers, others sell their life stories to Netflix. They have servants, bodyguards, award shows, holiday homes, jewels and famous friends. But they also have millions of fans and followers, access to anyone and influence over politics, their children are fashion accessories and their relationships are like Instagram collaborations. Perhaps because it’s so parvenu, the shallowness drives them to share their feelings, all the time.

Before you judge these precious snowflakes too harshly, we should note that they do have a solemn duty – to themselves – and in order to execute it, they need to assume a mantle of victimhood and persecution, no matter how good their lives actually are. The absurdity of a prince and princess talking about their difficulties with a billionaire should rankle everyone, from the most radical communist to the most unapologetic elitist. That the once-royal couple have decided to add the weapons of race, gender and class to the mix in order to start a fight shows an exquisite lack of self-awareness. And yet, in some markets, it works! It works because a victim never has to feel guilty or responsible to anyone less fortunate than they are. A victim gets to moan about how tough their lives are and show they’re just like you, right? If you believe that, you’ll believe anything.

Oprah Winfrey missed a trick by not asking Meghan about her non-existent relationships with all of her relatives. We only know about her mother, and we haven’t seen her since the wedding. Why didn’t Oprah ask about her father, her ex-husband, her brother or her sister in the wheelchair? Harry seems to be heading the same way – leaving his family and country behind, along with his life of supposed service and duty (and the Nazi uniform he dressed up in). All of that takes a back seat to “doing the work” around figuring out how Meghan handles racism (which of course, isn’t work at all). Those code words are part of the language of the new elite, and all of this proves once and for all that royal genes don’t always include intelligence. We also saw that Meghan could act, but not well enough to persuade anyone but a fool that she’s an honest player.

Harry and Meghan are nothing if not the truest representatives of a generation that has replaced honesty, family, responsibility, care for others and a service to something greater than the self with solipsism, fame, ‘wokeness’, narcissism and the nihilistic need to render all institutions to rubble in an attempt to secure a grain of purpose. Harry is so directionless that he’s willing to burn the monarchy down for the plastic promises of Hollywood and “speaking his (or her) truth”.

The bad news for them is that there are many more people in the world who have only family, the pride of work and faith to guide them through a much harder day than a prince will ever have. They see an entitled, self-absorbed long whine to freedom.

The vast majority of people look at the Queen and see a woman decked in and surrounded by splendour, but they also see someone who has been devoted to her job for all of her life. They see someone who only says what she means and does what she says – someone with real integrity. An actress and her beta-male husband may rescue a few chickens, but that’s not enough to make them noble.

Gareth March 2021

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

How Should We Price Electricity?

CERN - another huge user of electricity

Soon - much sooner than anyone realises - one of the biggest issues we will face will be the price of electricity. If we are phasing out gas and oil-fired heating, the only power left is electricity - and hopefully that will be mainly produced by non-fossil-fuel means (I don't count uranium as a fossil fuel even if it is.... and I don't know where we will be with hydrogen).

Consequently, electricity is likely to become more expensive because it'll be in short supply and we will start differentiating between the uses to which it is put. Only today I heard a report that the mining of Bitcoin uses the same amount of electricity as all the wold's data centres combined and that the 'miners' of Bitcoin have set up in Iran where electricity is particularly cheap (as the Iranians can't sell their oil internationally). Should that activity be priced the same as heating and lighting homes, shops and offices? 

It's likely that electricity pricing will need to be split into various levels depending on use. The 'base' price will be everyone's needs, such as heating and lighting and for powering things like washing machines and cookers, air-conditioning and the internet. And hospitals will need 'base' price electricity not only for heating and lighting but also to power sophisticated kit like MRI scanners. But it will quickly become apparent that heating one's swimming pool should not take place at the 'base' price, and hugely hungry industrial processes like making cement and desalinating water will have to bear a much higher price.  Charging one's car should probably be priced closer to the price of petrol today - maybe half - to allow the government to raise tax / duty sufficient to offset the tax / duty they lose from the sale of petrol and diesel.. But vans, lorries and buses should be charged a lower rate of duty to allow business and mass transport to thrive. 

Friday, 12 March 2021

The City of London and EC3


The City of London seen from Tower Bridge.The Tower is not part of the City.

The City of London is unique in being the only area of any city dedicated solely to the financial industries of banking, stockbroking, insurance and law. Known as The Square Mile', it is legally a county - the smallest in the kingdom - and administered by the City of London Corporation, headed by the Lord Mayor, supported by Sheriffs and Aldermen. By tradition, even the Queen asks permission to enter the City of London. It is home to the 110 Livery Companies that are the successors to the ancient guilds that controlled business in the Middle Ages, but which are now all charitable institutions. Fewer that 8.000 people actually live in the City, but over 500,000 people work there every day (as well as many more in the satellite city of Canary Wharf).  

The Royal Exchange and the Bank of England

The Aviva Building and the Gherkin at 30 St Mary Axe, the site of the old Baltic Exchange
and my old office

Lloyd's and the Willis Building in Lime St

Lloyd's and the Willis Building on Lime St with the Walkie-Talkie Building at the Far End

View of the City from 90 Fenchurch St with the Gherkin and the redeveloped International House. Both sites used to be my offices and all are in EC3.