Tuesday, 16 April 2013

shutters and rose, Camon, a commune in the Ariège department of France

the small village of Camon, founded by Charlemagne,  lies in the foreground of the dramatic Abbaye-Chateau which dates back to the 10th century – now open as a boutique hotel
the village is surrounded by parts of its two sets of walls (14c and16c)
it is best known locally for its annual  rose festival - a recent revival of a former tradition that has seen every household in Camon receive a rose bush as a gift from the mairie

Thursday, 11 April 2013

prospect cottage and more of its garden, Dungeness, Kent, England

Derek Jarman said that 'Paradise haunts gardens, and some gardens are paradises. Mine is one of them. Others are like bad children, spoilt by their parents, over-watered and covered with noxious chemicals.'

the words (in black letters) on the black timber wall of his cottage (just visible in this photograph) are from John Donne's poem The Sun Rising and reads:

Busy old fool, unruly Sun,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains, call on us ?
Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run?
Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
Late school-boys and sour prentices,
Go tell court-huntsmen that the king will ride,
Call country ants to harvest offices;
Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.
In that the world's contracted thus;
Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties be
To warm the world, that's done in warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere;
This bed thy center is, these walls thy sphere

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

litter, Dungeness beach, Kent, England


the name Dungeness derives from old Norse nes: "headland", with the first part probably connected with the nearby Denge marsh
popular etymology ascribes a French origin to the toponym, giving an interpretation as "dangerous nose".

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

boat winch, Dungeness, Kent, England

ding dong the witch is dead

the long dark night of Thatcher (to quote Derek Jarman) draws to a close

and to quote Derek again (after all the blog is in Dungeness this week) ..." it teaches us that the rich and the powerful, like George Bush, always make a mess of things, and the gods are unaccountable, like Mrs. Thatcher, for the distress they cause”

Monday, 8 April 2013

part of Derek Jarman’s garden at prospect cottage, Dungeness, Kent, England (with Dungeness nuclear power stations in the distance)

There are two nuclear power stations at Dungeness, the first built in 1965 and the second in 1983. They are within a wildlife sanctuary deemed an SSSI and birds flourish because of the richer diversity of marine life in the warmer water created by the station's outflow on which they feed.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

debris, Dungeness beach, Kent, England

Dungeness is a headland on the coast of Kent, England, formed largely of a shingle beach in the form of a cuspate foreland. It shelters a large area of low-lying land, Romney Marsh. Dungeness is one of the largest expanses of shingle in the world.  It is of international conservation importance for its geomorphology, plant and invertebrate communities and birdlife. This is recognised and protected mostly through its conservation designations as a National Nature Reserve (NNR), a Special Protection Area (SPA), a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and part of the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) of Dungeness, Romney Marsh and Rye Bay.

Friday, 5 April 2013

one part of Derek Jarman’s garden at prospect cottage, Dungeness, Kent, England

after last week’s globetrotting – rust from seven countries all having a reassuring familiarity – this week i am blogging pictures from a relatively small headland on the Kent coast

after yesterday's re-print of Ricky Tomlinson’s article from the guardian, i have received a comment that I should have less of a ‘rant’ and stick to the rust

three things:

1. it wasn’t my ‘rant’it was Ricky’s, in fact it wasn’t a ‘rant’at all but someone just trying to tell some truths to combat the tory lies (aided and abetted by that evil rag the daily mail) that are trying to demonise poor people in this country 
2.     no ‘rant’ today, just a link to a Zoe Williams’ comment that has added to an avalanche of complaints to Press Complaints Commission about (yes you’ve guessed) the daily mail http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/04/martine-white-product-welfare-not-philpott
also see: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/04/martine-white-product-welfare-not-philpott

3.     i am proud to be a socialist and a republican

remember: rust never sleeps

Thursday, 4 April 2013

stairway to heaven near the Woolwich free ferry, Woolwich, Greenwich, London UK

A friend said that he would like to see more words from me on this blog. My idea was that the photographs would speak for themselves, so, no words from me but here are some from Ricky Tomlinson in yesterday’s Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/02/ten-lies-told-about-welfare#start-of-comments)
Welfare reform, my arse. Has Jim Royle parked his chair, feet up, telly on, in the corridors between the Treasury and the Department for Work and Pensions? Employing him as adviser can be the only explanation for the utter rubbish that boils forth from this government on welfare.

Who else could have dreamed up the bedroom tax, a policy so stupid it forces people to leave their homes and drag themselves around the country in search of nonexistent one-bedroom flats?

That one has to be the result of too many hours in front of Jeremy Kyle (no offence) with the heating on full and a can of super-strength lager. It seems as if that is how this government views ordinary people: feckless and useless – poor, because they brought it on themselves, deliberately.
Maybe the cabinet is confused. Twenty-three millionaires in the one room can get like that. But do you know what, enough. Let's call this government's welfare policy what it is – wrong, nasty and dishonest.

Off the top of my head, I can list 10 porkies they are spinning to justify the latest stage of their attack on our 70-year-old welfare state.
1. Benefits are too generous

Really? Could you live on £53 a week as Iain Duncan Smith is claiming he could if he had to? Then imagine handing back 14% of this because the government deems you have a "spare room". Could you find the money to pay towards council tax and still afford to eat at the end of the week?

2. Benefits are going up
They're not. A 1% "uprating" cap is really a cut. Inflation is at least 2.7% . Essentials like food, fuel and transport are all up by at least that, in many cases far more. Benefits are quickly falling behind the cost of living.

3. Jobs are out there, if people look
Where? Unemployment rose last month and is at 2.5 million, with one million youngsters out of work. When Costa Coffee advertised eight jobs, 1,701 applied.

4. The bedroom tax won't hit army families or foster carers
Yes it will. Perhaps most cruel of all, the tax will not apply to foster families who look after one kid. If you foster siblings, then tough. But these kids are often the hardest to place. Thanks to George Osborne and IDS, their chances just got worse. And even if your son or daughter is in barracks in Afghanistan, then don't expect peace of mind as the government still has to come clean on plans for their bedroom.

5. Social tenants can downsize
Really, where? Councils sold their properties – and Osborne wants them to sell what's left. Housing associations built for families. In Hull, there are 5,500 people told to chase 70 one-bedroom properties.

6. Housing benefit is the problem
In fact it's rental costs. Private rents shot up by an average of £300 last year. No wonder 5 million people need housing benefits, but they don't keep a penny. It all goes to landlords.

7. Claimants are pulling a fast one
No. Less than 1% of the welfare budget is lost to fraud. But tax avoidance and evasion is estimated to run to £120bn.

8. It's those teenage single mums
An easy target. Yet only 2% of single mums are teenagers. And most single mums, at least 59%, work.

9. We're doing this for the next generation
No you're not. The government's admitted at least 200,000 more children will be pushed deeper into poverty because of the welfare changes.

10. Welfare reforms are just about benefit cuts
Wrong. The attack on our welfare state is hitting a whole range of services – privatising the NHS, winding up legal aid for people in debt and closing SureStart centres and libraries. All this will make life poorer for every community.

Some call these myths. I call them lies. We are being told lies about who caused this crisis and lied to about the best way out of it. But I know one thing to be true: this government's policies will make millions of people poorer and more afraid. To do that when you do not have to, when there are other options is obscene. That's why I'm backing union Unite’s OurWelfareWorks campaign http://ourwelfareworks.com/ in its efforts to help highlight the truth about our welfare state.

But, of course the bigots who write for and read The Daily Mail would have you think otherwise. So, here is another story to upset them:

Woman living on welfare benefits  with 600 bedrooms to escape bedroom tax
An elderly London woman who relies on the state for all of her income and lives in social housing accommodation with 600 bedrooms will not have her housing subsidy cut although she has 599 spare bedrooms.

From yesterday social housing tenants will have their housing benefit reduced under the so-called ‘bedroom tax’ if they have unused bedrooms.

The woman (86), known only as ‘Q’, lives with her nonagenarian husband and some servants in SW1 and is believed to have other social housing properties.

A spokesman for the woman’s local council said she would not be penalized for having 599 spare bedrooms because they were needed as she received frequent visits from her ‘disabled useless twat of a son’ and his wife.

‘Q’ was recently seen down at her local post office collecting her Winter Fuel Payment.


Wednesday, 3 April 2013

general stores (although it did seem to specialise in beer), Miyanoura, Shikoku, Japan

after the hi-tech and swish stores of Tokyo, this came as something of a surprise and, despite appearances, it was open for business