Tuesday 1 November 2011


Sadly the suburban demiparadise I call home was in the news yesterday, for the worst of reasons - featuring in a report on vandalised war memorials.
A couple of weeks ago, the fine plain memorial that overlooks the ponds was stripped of the bronze plaques naming our war dead, prised out and taken for scrap (and probably worth no more than £50). Much can be said about the downward path from demystification to ethical relativism to moral nihilism - but what could more eloquently symbolise a culture where nothing is sacred than a vandalised war memorial? The depth of pain and outrage such an act inflicts on a community is beyond calculation - and sadly, in this case, the stripping of the brass was not the first act of desecration. Last year the York stone paving from around the memorial was laboriously jemmied up and carted away. Happily a local firm replaced the stones free of charge - an act demonstrating that, of course, all is not lost. Not yet. The brass will probably have to be replaced with stone plaques (of not too valuable stone) - just as, all over the country, churches are now obliged to replace the stolen lead on their roofs with something less attractive to passing scumbags. We must not despair.


  1. No - not despair because there is so much good around too. But I spent much time thinking about it after hearing the news. The Buddhist notion of ignorance kept coming to me - ignorance, in this respect, I think means devoid of any imagination and empathy. A kind of Hell.

  2. I'm worried about you Nige. I havn't checked, but it's a feeling I have in my water. For at least the last twenty years I have seen myself as the arch-grump, a dytopian, almost pathologically unable to find anything worthy in the modern world - until I started to read your blog, look at pictures in more depth, read books I might have passed over, and be reminded of my teenage years when I too was staggered when a goldcrest flew past or a brimstone landed close by.
    But lately, the delicate balance you strike between the elevated and the ignoble seems to have drifted my way - Gompertz, Eurozone, Mediocrity, Desecration, Plastic...I just don't want you to end up like me.

  3. Mahlerman - that's very sweet and funny. He's probably already like you! Both lost causes - in the best possible way.

  4. Don't worry Mahlerman (or Tricia) - cheerfulness keeps breaking through. Something like this does rather send a chap reeling though...