Trump on Climate change

This is just for the record, so I can read it in 10 or so years times (when I will be 70!), and remember.

The first event that happened was wild fires in California, claiming the lives of nearly 1,000 people, and not in poor slum areas, but in  the well to do quarters of the forested hills around. Interviewed Trump came from the usual side field, when asked if this was an indicator of Climate Change. He described a recent meeting with the Finish PM, who evidently said, the Fins keep their forests clean, they rake them, and they don’t have problems with fires.

The Finish response – with a highly amusing attempt to rake back the sea coming in with sea levels rising.

The next event was a report commissioned by the US government on long term effects of Climate change for example on the US economy.

Trump on own administration’s climate report: ‘I don’t believe it’

“I’ve seen it, I’ve read some of it, and it’s fine,” he said outside the White House on Monday. “I don’t believe it.”

And finally – Trumps great intelligence. ‘Trump on climate change: ‘People like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence but we’re not necessarily such believers.’

Washington Post


DAWSEY: You said yesterday when you were leaving that you were skeptical of a climate change report that the government had done. Can you just explain why you’re skeptical of that report?

TRUMP: One of the problems that a lot of people like myself — we have very high levels of intelligence, but we’re not necessarily such believers. You look at our air and our water, and it’s right now at a record clean. But when you look at China and you look at parts of Asia and when you look at South America, and when you look at many other places in this world, including Russia, including — just many other places — the air is incredibly dirty. And when you’re talking about an atmosphere, oceans are very small. And it blows over and it sails over. I mean, we take thousands of tons of garbage off our beaches all the time that comes over from Asia. It just flows right down the Pacific, it flows, and we say where does this come from. And it takes many people to start off with.


Aldeburgh Doc Fest 2018

Re reading last years notes, and once again  grateful for the recorded memory, I transcribe for Sara:  “The wind is a gentle southerly. The moon is almost full. My moon sister comes to the 2nd row to give me a hug. Her father has just died. She is fragile, and she is an orphan.”

Bedroom window view Aldeburgh-2There is no moon. There is no wind, the sea calm, and the weather so balmy that the hoods are down on the Aldeburgh convertibles. The U.K. Met Office, for the first time in my memory, has come out unequivocally to say these new weather patterns of warmer and wetter weather are consistent with human activities. Prosaically I am grateful for the lack of cold, as I prepare to camp in my usual place, down by Slaughden Yacht club,

After a false start – I left my handbag in the sitting room of Magnolia House – Michael and I arrive in time to check into the Wentworth, where he stays, and walk down the pebbles to the sea, throw a few sticks for the demanding dog Kali, and admire Maggie’s scallop, which shines gloriously and offer climbing adventures to young children, and whose words I forget each time so I may re-read with surprise to find another resonance each time “I hear those voices that will not be drowned”.

Our first gathering is with Sara and Jeremy at the South Look Out where Caroline Wiseman has an exhibition – words from poets inspired by our island coast and a wall of patchwork art inspired by the coasting words. Back in the van we ate a delicious fresh crab – bought an hour previous along the sea shore, salad, roast pumpkin, Manchego cheese and pear, washed down with a good wine from Michael. It was a fine start to the festival. Yes, the poets are gathering too, for the 3rd year, Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, now called Poetry in Aldeburgh, is on the same weekend. Does this dualism work is hotly debated. As one man in the cinema queue said to me:
‘My wife comes to the poetry. I like poetry too, but not a full weekends full, so I am here in this queue to see this film’.
I spotted Andrea Porter crossing the street to the Cross Keys, and quoted her ‘I lost my virginity on an Axminster Carpet’
‘My common sense to a packet of fags, friends to lack of care and a letter,’ she continued then added
‘It’s all true’
I love Properties of Loss.

While Jay and Michael watched ‘The School in the Cloud, about TED prize winner Sugata Mitra putting computers into an Indian village – Sara and I went up stairs to watch plastics where I was given this conversation from a gentleman in the seat behind who’d just been given his Aldeburgh Doc Fest arm band:
“Now I’ve got two bands, one says medical alert. ”

Plastic China

Was it that I had seen it all before in India that I became bored and unconvinced with the film? The myth of recycling was never explored. The life of two families – the owner and the worker who may have liked his beer – became the pivot, the woman giving birth amid the plastic waste in such a matter of fact way. Their desperate and so human expressions. We cannot smell it. It looked rather colourful without identification. It had no story line.
Sara asks ‘Haven’t you had any friendships with kindness then?’
We talk of Sara’s mother, who she misses still. We are both orphans now.

An end of the day whisky in the bar of the Wentworth, before dogs and I head for our usual resting place at Slaughden Yacht club. Clear sky – Orion rising – brisk dog walk along the beach. Heaven.

Aldeburgh Doc Fest 2018-2Aldeburgh Doc Fest 2018
A brisk morning walk to the Martello tower, (I note the runners passing me – I was one of those last year), to observe the coastal work that continues here since last year. Will it ever solve the march of the sea? Up at the Wentworth, Michael and I find a new walk exploring the area beyond the caravan site and once again I enjoy his sense of adventure and desire to find new ways. Dogs settled, I arrive in good time to find us a seat in the 2nd row and find myself in conversation with an elegant Aldeburgh woman who has lived here for 30 years, having initially come here as a child on holidays. She asked where I came from.
‘I like Halesworth’ she said. ‘I go to visit a friend on Quay Street, we went to university a long time ago. And to go to the dentist’. Have you come to this festival before? she asks. She is good at asking questions
Since 2010, I say, adding how much I enjoyed it.
I’m glad to hear, she says, You see I was the one who started it. She said it with such modesty and straightforward honesty. Molly suggested it, she said. ‘She was going out with my son at the time. I knew nothing of documentary and had no connections but she had. I got Craig Brown (English critic and satarist, esp Private Eye) involved, and he was a marvellous interviewer. Yes Diana took over from me.”

When Michael arrived it did not surprise me that Felicity Sieghart (her name) knew Tamsyn and her friend in Quay Street – they were all Somervillians. Michael joined the dots. Her son, William Sieghart (entrepreneur, publisher and philanthropist) was the the founder of the Forward Prizes for Poetry.

Aldeburgh Doc Fest 2018-3THE JUDGE

Thanks to Sara – who gave us her Doc wrist bands (not Medical Alert ones) we watched this opening film, The Judge, about a Palestinian woman who against all odds became a Judge on the Shiria family bench. The film, made by a Jewish American woman, took 5 years, with one week a year filming in Palestine. No funding until production.

In this inherently and culturally male dominated arabic land, while there are female judges for civil courts, Shiria courts – which deal solely with family law – had only male judges until Khalid Al Faqih became admitted.

“We teach our children! She declares to a room of women – we teach our children not to be ambitious, to play with dolls and not to become judges. Why not the rights of women?” She was a very likeable woman, authentic, deeply spiritual, practical (mending bike pumps), a wife, mother and a judge.

Ah those Hand un-English movements. The story provides rare insight into Shari’a law, an often-misunderstood legal framework for Muslims, the directness of the cases, with all in the same room – no baraster protection here – public declarations, not in a private chambers.
“Just as a man walks out on his wife, and marries another, why can’t a woman not do the same?” She is a gentle revolutionist, the women re-acted with shock and emotion.
‘I thought it was a joke’, said the chief justice when she came to him and said she wanted to become a judge. It was he who gave her the opportunity.
Throughout the film is unashamed and unabashed chauvinism. “A women is more emotional and so cannot make rational decisions unlike a man. A woman gives birth, bleeds, she is so occupied.” She exists only for pleasure and childbirth

It was her father who laid the foundation. ‘A man can always find work, but a woman, she needs the weapon of education in her life.’

There is a story woven into the film. Envy and dislike of change manifests. Her mentor is dismissed and a hew Chief Justice takes away her workload, but there is a case which rocks the boat.
A woman petitions for a divorce citing her husband band is mentally ill and dangerous. In such cases once proven there is no necessity to go to court. The medical examination returns and diagnoses him with bi polar. However the Chief Justice says the case must still be heard, and both must attend. They did, and the man violently stabbed and killed his wife in front of all.
Who killed her? You killed her, said our judge to the Chief Justice.

There is light at the end. The corrupt Chief Justice retired. Another woman, the Judges protege, is elected to the bench.
You need two extraordinary influential people, one supporting the other.
An insight into Shiria law, and the unusual every day life in Palestine – only a few side quips at boarder controls.

Aldeburgh Doc Fest 2018-4Michael Laskey launching the Garlic Press Poets
In the Peter Pears room. It is full, but we manage not only to get in, but find seats right in the front row. Two poems attract, the alter ego Lizard, and both the wolf poems, one brilliantly spoken by LM Dearlove and one by Elizabeth Cook, of the Romulus and Remus wolf.

Aldeburgh Doc Fest 2018-5

Under the Wire

A testament to Marie Colvin, (the American Kate Aidie) who was killed by Syrian fire in 2012 and based on Conroy’s book. He is here, on the Panel afterwards and we give him a standing ovation as he comes to the stage.
Conroy’s argument (as is Maria’s) is that we have to bear witness to human suffering. Maria’s experience in East Timor in which she remained and thereby saved the lives of the forgotten, holds fast.
They were an unlikely fit. So many camera men had come and gone, the last one saying, Marie was more frightening than the war they were covering.’
It was a gripping story, reconstructed, we hear later, by a call out for footage from home grown Syrian film makers. Only the pipe was a reconstruction in Morrocco. (Remember Rakka – City of Ghosts last year?
After Marie was blown up, there was a limbo time when both injured Conroy and French journalist (above all I did not want to be a burden) waited in the city, uncertain of who to trust, if they would losse a limb or life or what. Their trust in the stranger who said, don’t go into the Syrian ambulance, just one example.

After 23 operations on his leg, Conroy walked onto the stage. He is a natural raconteur. I wondered how is his every day life, after this.

We could not take any more so walked dogs and ate delicious Lamb biriani and Dal at the White Lion Spice, to digest this powerful film, before settling into the red chairs for evening movie.

Aldeburgh Doc Fest 2018-6The Cleaners

The content moderators for Facebook, Twitter, and Google, that control what we see. Like most of the Aldeburgh audience I had no idea of these back room boys and girls, who somewhere in Manila make binary decisions, ignore, delete to images from terrorist videos, political propaganda, self-harm videos, and child pornography,

The movie showed the tech companies are so eager to grow, expand, and profit that they fail to recognise the ways their platforms are fomenting hate, discord, and violence, with devastating results.

I, like others around, slept in parts for it was long, too long, and without a thread. However the discussion afterwards was good, the University of Cambridge’s John Naughton particularly coherent
Like mining, oil, and tobacco, these people prey on human frailties.
Mark Zuckerberg – a man of great IQ who is foolish. Deluded.
Can you ever get on top of it? What’sap is encrypted. The impact on democracy is most felt on Facebook.

Our ritual end of the day whisky in the bar of the Wentworth, both delicious and warming.

Breakfast at the Wentworth – oh luxury – poached smoked haddock.

Aldeburgh Doc Fest 2018-8Aldeburgh Doc Fest 2018-9

Gun No 6

I had to shake my memory to recall the beginning of the film – a man talking about a football match in which France won 2-1 to England, and the man, for the first time in many years, thought about that and not about murder. Until that moment I was not looking forward to this film – give me Syria any day, I thought – or war. I have nothing to do with guns, in my gentle life in Halesworth. But the film drew me in.

It takes as the story line, a track record of a single weapon, used 11 times, 3 of those fatal, and identified by ballistics by it’s individual fingerprint on the bullets, from a quality Czech revolver. The gun is still missing. Most surprising (to us anyhow) is that most people involved with this gun, from those hit to those around, refuse to ‘help police with their inquiry’, case unsolved. With no-one who has fired the gun willing to speak, director James Newton brings together six former-perpetrators of gun crime to offer insight into the driving force behind violence in Britain today.
‘The gun makes me feel important’, said one. Family and brotherhood.

It was the central story which moved the film through, and caught us all. The Gun No 6 10th fire, killed the son of a corner stop owner, trying to defend his fathers shop, (in his boxer shorts). Good people, honest people. ‘It doesn’t get any easier’.
The firer of the gun was Anselm Ribera – eventually convicted because of CCTV – and his life unexpectedly comes into the play. His girl friend, the woman who gave birth to his son – testifies to camera. Briefly she describes how he moved from burglary to murder (involved in Birmingham’s gang). She’d left him by this time. On hearing of Anselm’s killing, their son, Josh, went mad with anger, a father as a murderer. Through persistent care, love and watching he eventually came through and back, became a successful musician, a loving son.
Tragically and unrelated, Josh was knifed and killed. This action provoked his mother to dedicate her life to the film and this cause. ‘I had to be Josh’s voice’, she said. She comes on the stage. along with Craig, a black youth worker from the midlands, and the two young film directors. Nick Robinson in the middle.

A few moments I recall:
Never just one thing, but a jigsaw of pieces coming together.
‘I wanted a better life, better than my father had’.
Josh could have taken up arms and sought retribution, but he chose another way.
Glasgow the paradigm – looks at the health, wealth,community base of gun crime.
Only and estimated 40 well made guns in circulation.
For the first time, in Birmingham, she is going to meet the mother and father of Craig who her husband murdered.
It’s not gangs that’s the problem – gangs are good – it’s the killing, the violence.
We are a gang on this stage. You are a gang coming to this festival.

It presents an interesting determinism vs free-will dichotomy every time someone is asked why these events took place.

Lunch with Christopher in his Aldeburgh flat which over looked the sea, watching the fishing boats return at 5 am. Despite it’s great light and beautiful water colour paintings on the walls, it felt a sad place, missing Tina, Christophers wife. Good red wine, nourishing soup, tuscan orange cake, cheese and coffee, we were well fed. Trained as a chartered accountant, Christopher’s life took those random turns interesting to reflect upon now. He set up independent radio nationwide then Edinburgh, became President of the Royal Society of Arts, and locally he set up East Feast. He appeared envious of my humble people living on the land with me, for he was surrounded only by rich people.

Nick Broomfield outstanding contribution to documentary.
Ghosts – the cockle pickers and Battle for Haditha, were two I knew of. He was mono toned, despite Diana Quick’s questions, (‘We dated for a couple of those 45 years we’ve known each other’, was a highlight (I wasn’t going to mention that, she said). Roger Moor alike, chewing gum, he was not enlivened. A few of us took a nap in the red seats.

Fish and chips outside on the sea front! Warming up at the Cross Keys. Dogs happy and just got them back before the first fireworks began.

Aldeburgh Doc Fest 2018-11

Faces Places

‘Award winning photographer’ Bill Jackson gave a brilliant introduction. He gave background, he drew us in, invited us to pay particular attention to certain moments. ‘The whole world is my gallery’. Benign intervention. JR knows and understands scale. A compassionate man (unlike Banksy) Bill has invited him to come 2020 to Lowestoft.

Agnes Varda, one of the leading lights of France’s New Wave cinema era, and professional photographer and muralist, J.R., go on a road trip, travelling around France in a van equipped as a portable photo booth, as they take photographs of people around the country. With that inspiration, they also create special colossal mural pictures of individuals, communities and places they want to honor and celebrate. Like the mining village with abandoned houses, only one still lived in by the last remaining woman, also honoured. Like the farmer with his fingers pointing down to the earth. Like the dockers women. Their friendship is touching. He puts her eyes and toes on giant rail freight cylinders – they will go to parts of the country you have never been to.

We leave this town that has occupied us so fully for what seems so much longer than 3 days, drive through empty A12 roads to our market town of Halesworth, so far from Palestine, Syria, Manila, where we have been. Images passing through: waking up to my view from my bedroom window over the marshes, seeing The Judge, eating fish and chips on the sea front with Michael and the hungry dogs.


The first Dr Who remembered

William Hartnell plaque, daugher, granddaughter grandsonWilliam Hartnell plaqueWilliam Hartnell plaque-2Dr Who Michael Daughter and GrandsonWilliam Hartnell plaque MichaelWilliam Hartnell plaque Michael-2

‘It’s not my first blue plaque,’, explained Michael. His first was Noel Coward. But even so, I felt honoured to be invited to accompany Michael – it was after all Dr Who. (MUSIC FADES UP) William Hartnell was the first Doctor, and Michael, fresh out of Oxford and a youthful 20, was directing one of the series. He still gets fan mail occassionally.
‘William Hartnell was notoriously difficult, and bad tempered, but for some reason we seemed to get on ok.’
As Michael explained later to camera, his bad temper was due to his frustration at not being able to remember his lines. He was a professional actor, Shakespearean trained, and he took his frustration out on who ever was close by at the time.

Sydney Newman recruited Verity Lambert to produce Doctor Who, a programme he had personally initiated. Conceived by Newman as an educational science-fiction serial for early Saturday evenings, the programme concerned the adventures of an old man travelling through space and time in his TARDIS, disguised as a police box. In some quarters, the series was not expected to last longer than thirteen weeks

I learned much that afternoon in Ealing studio’s reception: that Tardis stood for Time And Relative Dimension In Space. That the first Doctor Who was the first series to go universal – and became very popular in the US. It was the first to champion and exploit merchandise.

Everyone was quite old naturally. Hartnall was in his 50’s when he started in the 1963 Dr Who, and died young 68 in 1975. His first Assistant however, Susan Foreman, came looking very Biba and rather wonderful. I discovered unusually women at were at forefront of Dr Who, with Verity Lambert the founding producer and Delia Derbyshire scoring the electronic music we all know so well.
There was one there who started as a floor manager and became a director. Another who was in Dad’s Army. Frank?

His daughter and granddaughter talked with Michael and I of anecdotes like how they had two Dalek suits the grandchildren used to dress up in.

Michael, 20 and fresh down from Oxford, the young director.
Waris Husain 20, and fresh down from Cambridge, the young director.

We repaired to a pub in London drizzle, where we drank orange juice or Prosecco, and no food ever arrived but at our table sat a Dr Who follower who entertained us, and the professional organiser (an organisation called Autograph) who said Cliff Richard wrote a very nice letter declining to come (playing at the Albert Hall that day).

It was a touching walk into the world of Dr Who and Willian Hartnell. Long drive back. Hats off to Michael for driving both ways.

Socratic Dialogue Training London – Reflections


Reflections on Socratic Dialogue training
London October 2018

It was the gentle process of reaching a consensus that I took away with me that weekend, with Dieter Krohn and the Secret Society of Socratic apprentices who’d first met at the Eagle, Cambridge those heady August days. Deiter and the girls for were all women, all 10 of us including Julie of course. Appropriately our weekend is based at 63 Bayswater, the Soroptimist hotel, whose moto is Educate, Empower, Enable women.

It was Julie’s experience, fresh from doing a brief 2 hour SD with medical practitioners, that started the reflection. She could see that they had not chosen the best example to work with but she had to go with the one they chose. Such is the delicate role of the facilitator. I knew first hand she was an excellent facilitator for she had facilitated at my first SD in Magnolia House, Halesworth, through the invitation of Tamsyn and Michael Imison, and the beginnings of this adventure for me. Tamsyn, who died almost exactly this time last year, weaves through my life and these SD meetings. She is still alive with us.

With the fine balance between letting be and directing in my mind, I chose to watch for INTERVENTIONS when we were given 3 tasks to observe in our first practice of SD. Intervention is the area I am least comfortable with. Is it a childhood stammer that informs an abruptness, jolty, pushed out sentences rather than words easily woven into conversation? Together with the default teacher in me to direct, to find a solution, to join rather than allow. It is a parallel learning for me in the newly formed Forest School, where the Forest School teachers teach by allowing the teaching to be child driven. To be led by children is challenging as well as illuminating.

The other two, equally pertinent, were RED THREAD, and UNDERSTANDING.

Antonia, not backwards at coming forward, and something I could improve on, volunteered to be the first SD facilitator as we partook and observed.
The question chosen out of all of our questions was

Can we trust our memory to tell the truth?

It was chosen from a list of questions we’d gathered between us.

What is Justice
What are limitations of rational arguement?
Do we need limitations to be happy
How do we know if someone is lieing
Is it possible to be free when we depend on others
Is it possible for a lie to be good
Can we trust our memory to tell the truth
Am I the same person as I was in the past
What is compassion
What is the limit of tolerance
What is a good death
How do you know a statement is correct?
What is beauty
What does non participation mean in dialogue
When is it right to stop helping
What are the limits of my responsibilities for others
When should I judge

We grouped them in various ways – Antonia led with 1. Universal 2. Ethics 3. Ways of living. Interesting to find limitations repeated in both ours and the other group.
Open questions and Complexity of question. Is what is justice the same as what does justice mean?

Lesson 1 – the facilitator must find out the diversity of understanding of the question.
Language / Experience / Essence

Before we started however, Deiter told us this story of this first week long SD.
Heckman invited him to his holiday home. With a picnic packed Heckmans wife they set them into the woods for the weekend. For 3 days they broke down, talked round, examined what other philosophers had said about the question that Deiter was to lead as faciliator.
What was the question, I asked. Deiter thinks something like Freedom and Justice: The more freedom the less justice, the less freedom the more justice.

SD Can we trust our memory to tell the truth?


After putting all our experiences on the table, the one chosen was mine. I recalled Guru in our Cambridge group after her experience was chosen saying her experience had never been chosen before as she was not comfortable being the centre, and naturally I wondered how comfortable I would be. The other problem I had with it is I didn’t know if it was a real memory or a fantasy. Here it is

I have a memory of my father standing in front of the kitchen range with a gift hidden behind his back. Revealing the gift were two dolls which somehow scraped together making an aggravating noise – like chalk on a black board. I remember feeling revolted. Then my father laughed, and the moment changed again, I laughed with him.
He died when I was 4. I have a even fainter memory of finding him in the bath dead.
I never believed this to be true, but last year it was verified by the last person alive who knew him and of this time and said from that time on I developed a stammer.

Here are a few notes of reflections
Our preconditions interpret memory.
Physically memory fades and we recall the past more effectively than the immediate past
Memory and identity . Lock and the boy who stole apples, the soldier and the General

The holding of ambiguity of truth is easier because it is so far away, it affects only one person and is unattached. Unlike the Unathi or Anna example it has no conflict within it, no disagreement.

The holding of memory in words, photographs, minds, minds of others. Is the memory the recollection of a memory? Opening a scent bottle, I am back to being 15 on the dance floor.
What we are left with is the myths of our lives and those of others. How we tell our story. What do I rub out (the bath incident?) We make our own fiction.

The current political story of Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford. Both of their memories could be correct. Kavanaugh may recollect a different scenario or none at all to Fords.

Memory to sensation (Nimet)
Narrative memory (Pia) constructing memory to identity
Pleasure and Pain, emotion, (Unathi)
Memory linked to sensations (Anna) More about values than fact. Sight, touch, sound, feel.
Memory is fiction, because of the emotional and sensation veil that filters it. The further back in time the more layers of potential elaboration. The truth of it does not matter in this case. In another case, with another and conflicting memory, there is more attachment to the outcome of truth.

Can we trust our memories to tell the truth?
No but we can get close to the feeling.


Need to qualify the question – Memory / Truth concepts ambiguous.
Examples need to have time and space for exploration
Understanding of participants not facilitator

Red thread:
Active and passive
Prevent Waffling and soliloquy (Just one more thing as I’m talking….)
Follow principles not dogma

The participants and facilitator



Dealing only with concrete experience
Explore to full understanding of concepts
Keep the read thread
Strive for consensus at all times


Dilemma, Open, Imaginative, Philosophical
Open question mindset. Unathi example 2+2 is not the same as Two and Two. The question cannot contain the desired hidden out come in the question. . It must be genuinely curious. Open Minded.

Grammar of Question
Yes and no answers.

Simple clear and understood by all

Reflection on a moral ethical issue, although could also be mathematical, epistomological,

Tamsyn Imison Award

What is the significance of consensus in Socratic Dialogue?
What is the role of experience of the participants in Socratic Dialogue?
Which path leads to universal statements in Socratic Dialogue?

Form and size/volume/scope of the essay
The essay should comprise a problem-oriented introduction, an analysis of present views on the selected question and a reasoned opinion.
The size/volume of the essay should be five to six pages (secondary school-level) or rather eight to ten pages (university-level). It can be written in German or English.
Registration for participation
Stating the name, the address and the level (school or university year) by the 31st December 2018 by mail at the specified address.A special prize – the Tamsyn Imison Award – will be given for a paper in the English language.
The challenge is to write a philosophical essay on one of the following questions concerning Socratic Dialogue as established by Leonard Nelson and Gustav Heckmann.

What we want to study

Practice facilitation – less time for each more time for reflection
Go through principles
Directional phrases/Interventions
Handling conflict
Theoretical and historical background
Speed dialogues
How to formulate examples
What kind of consensus
How to end
Meta Dialogues

End Reflections

I found my own reflection of our example –  memory has but a fragile link to truth.
The truth of a memory is by it’s nature subjective and individual. Memory becomes fiction, because of the emotional and sensation veil that filters it. The further back in time the more layers of potential elaboration. In our example the actual truth of it did not matter. In another case, with another and conflicting memory, there is more attachment to the outcome of truth. While the truth of memory can be held, it’s hold must be light.

Think before I speak, and work on my handwriting. Write more slowly, to clarify the thinking. Found this rather wonderful meditation on  a park bench in the hallway of No 63 Bayswater.



Here’s the song I was thinking of, famously sung by Maurice Chevalier and Hermione Gingold in Gigi. (1958!)

We met at nine, we met at eight, I was on time, no, you were late
Ah, yes, I remember it well
We dined with friends, we dined alone, a tenor sang, a baritone
Ah, yes, I remember it well

That dazzling April moon, there was none that night
And the month was June, that’s right, that’s right
It warms my heart to know that you remember still the way you do
Ah, yes, I remember it well

How often I’ve thought of that Friday, Monday night
When we had our last rendezvous
And somehow I foolishly wondered if you might
By some chance be thinking of it too?

East Coast line walk no 1- OultonBroad to Beccles along Angels way.

Mischa laughed when I told her.
“So this is your way of relaxing and changing your life so its not so busy?”
Somehow I just so needed to walk, and alone with dogs. A 10 mile flat walk on a stunning September day, what could be more perfect? Two things – a delicious picnic (polytunnel cucumber, and tiffiins filled with apple crumble and cream, and raspberries) after which I fell asleep in the sun shade. And a tentative swim, well a cool dip in the Waveney.

The way from Oulton Borad station not signed, and maps useless, so we took the road, which was long busy and boring. Turned into Marsh lane and rocked up at the pop up wildlife centre, where a young girl fondled bobji and an older man gave me perfect directions. Through channels of water systems, fields of grazing cows, and huge skies. The landscape could be of any age, 2,000 years and earlier. Not a pylon or road or structure in site. Just marsh, rustling reed.

Through the 4 hours I encountered a few people along the way. The first was a man walking with a minimal water bottle, who commented on how wonderful it was to meet no one on this path – he;d walked to Beccles this morning and was walking back to Oulton. He was right, we found no one until we neared Beccles when a few walkers asked how long the walk was.
I don;t know I’ve come from Oulton Broad.
Oulton Broad, they said incredulous, and I don;t mind admitting I did feel a certain satisfaction in their admiration. One boat man said to me:
‘You’re hard core, you are’.

The path along the bank followed the meander of the river. Well maintained, the bank (cut recently) and the river. There was netting along the river bank as it went down into the water, just as there is at Graham Elliots swiming place on the way to Geldeston. Oh to have the confidence and wildness to swim out into the centre of the river and follow the course down stream. Sent a text to Rupert.

I was tired when I arrived under the underpass at Beccles. Just in time for the 5.20 train. Feeling cold after the swim, and shivery.

Had a 10 minute nap on the sofa in the van (Christian watching bat something on TV), before Julia rocked up to share lemon pasta with us. She needed a break from her mother. How all the people in Ipswich are huge and over weight, and how the food is terrible in England. Makes me want to defend. Christian sleeping in the camper, Misha on the pop up bed. Bobji with me.


Kent – Visiting Tim on way to Kate and Dan’s wedding and Dungeness



Dungeoness, where I found Derek Jarman’s (1942-1994) home. I find later that he is not known by the younger generation, but by us who remember the AIDs fear and Jarman’s on pivotal role in speaking out with his honest campaign about homosexuality, and his public fight for gay rights and his personal struggle with AIDS.

Raised wooden text on the side of the cottage I recognized as the last five lines of the last stanza of John Donne’s poem, The Sun Rising.

Dungeness Derek Jarman

Dungeness I read is a cuspate foreland made of flint shingle. I am intrigued by burried shingle banks under my feet as a struggle across the shingle.

Dungeness is the largest cuspate foreland in Britain, and globally very unusual because it is formed predominantly of flint shingle. Cuspate forelands can be described as triangular beaches. They are formed by longshore drift moving sediment in opposing directions. The two sets of storm waves build up a series of ridges, each protecting the material behind it, creating the triangular feature. Cuspate forelands form due to the positioning of the coast and their orientation to incoming tides and prevailing winds.

The beach ridges date from about 3500 years BC and the best-preserved sequence can be traced from the 8th century AD. In addition to exposed shingle covering about 8 square miles, there are also buried shingle banks, which underlie a further 4 square miles. Other large shingle structures such as Chesil Beach in Dorest, Spey Bay in Scotland and Orfordness in Suffolk are comparable in terms of the length of coastline that they occupy, but they do not contain the enormous volume of shingle stored in the shingle ridges at Dungeness. 

The Pilot offered free space in their car park for the night in exchange for food. The food was as bad (over done over quantity tasteless packet chips with fish cakes with more packet potato than fish) as the company was good – friendly staff, and a table of Malaysian’s next door to me, who I exchanged with as they were leaving – the patriarch worked in coal fired power stations throughout India. Somehow I recommended Nisagardatta I am that.

Our view that night and come the morning was glorious – uninterrupted shingle beach, huge sky, full moon set,  and sun rise.  The lights from the nuclear power station illuminated a far corner all night. Ah to be reminded of our place on our planet.


Others Poems – Monet refuses the Operation

Sent to be by Leslie.

Monet refuses the Operation

Doctor, you say there are no haloes
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don’t see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
wisteria separate
from the bridge it covers.
What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament dissolve
night after night to become
the fluid dream of the Thames?
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don’t know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent. The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.
To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals,
burn to mix with air
and change our bones, skin, clothes
to gases. Doctor,
if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.

Socratic Dialogue Training Cambridge

Sixth Colloquium on Dialogical Practice and Dialogical Philosophising, St Catharine´s College, Cambridge, 6-10 August 2018

A basic background

Following the dialogical procedures recorded by Plato in early dialogues of Socrates, Socratic Dialogue enables ordinary people to philosophise
with the aim of enriching and informing civic life. Non specialised way of philosophising that has been furthered through the neo-Kantian philosophical practice of Nelson and Heckmann.

Leonard Nelson – Sought unity between theory and practice. In 1922 he established a boarding school for children and an academy for adult education (PPA, Philosophical Political Accademy). Both bombed by Nazi’s. Many teachers worked in underground. After the war in 1949 PPA reestablished.

Heckmann – was a student of Nelson, and developed these ideas further introducing the Socratic Method. The method evolved into a teaching learning dialogue in post war Germany

Dieter Krohn, the leader of our colloquium was a student of Heckmann

Socratic Dialogue encourages ordinary human reflection in a dialogue setting.
Strength is engagement in a co-operative thinking activity.

To seek answers to philosophical questions by seeking out the truth about the nature of concepts like tolerance, freedom, justice endeavouring to find consensus
Exploration of concrete experiences, volunteered by participants, one of which is usually chosen by the group for detailed analysis. In this way we are all engaged in the process
To engage in active listening, and deepen individual insights and understandings using the dialogue process
To gain greater clarity about thoughtful and reasonable conduct thus enhancing self confidence in our ability to reason and shaping our approach to life.

WORKSHOP with Sara Pokorna (Czechoslovakia)
How can playful activities support dialogue?

Sara opens by asking us not to speak, which is noticably challenging for Socratic Dialoguers. She asks us to silently choose a card from a couple of packs of illustrated cards like Tarot cards. Finally we are allowed to talk.
We all describe why we have chosen one of these cards
(I chose a maze, and my reason – I had no idea why I had chosen it)

Sara then asked us to each to give our name and our occupation. Some of us, including me, had a problem with defining occupation. I said what I was up to now, forming a Forest School. The name, naturally, was not so difficult.

Then and still now I can not remember most peoples name but I recall the card they took. Here’s the difference between giving our name and taking a card to give an identity.

Name/occupation Card
Past definition Present
Boxing Revealing
Defended Open
Defensive Trust

Open up the spaces
No competition/Judgement/pigeonholing. Metaphor. No right or wrong.

Socratic Dialogue Cambridge The Last of England Ford MadoxFitzwilliam for Lunch

I found the room of Dutch flower paintings. Strippy tulips. Insects on petals. Water drops. Dark, constrained. Blackberry. Snail.

AC Greyling
‘It is very much easier to be intolerant, angry, jealous and resentful than it is to be generous, patient, kind and considerate. Without question it takes far more thought, and far more work to treat others from the stand point of these virtues than from that of those vices which is why the those vices are so prevalent.’ A. C. Greyling, The Guardian 9th March 2002

Our Gifts

We are all invited to bring an object and describe it in relation to our theme of Boundaries.
I present my transection through a Sequoia tree. It’s not a native, I explain, but an intruder, or visitor, bought over by Victorian plant hunters as an exotic tree, now huge and magnificent. It has a boundary of bark but that does not stop it expanding, which it does every year, measured through its rings. Each ring is historic evidence of that year, so we can tell through rings, the boundaries, which years were lean years with much water and which were drought years with little growth.

Gislia shows her image, of the Berlin Wall. Before and After. It altered and shaped her life, and later I hear more of her story here, for she was born and raised in Eastern Germany

We are invited to chose one of three choices
Non participation
Non Boundary
Are there good limits

I chose Non-participation with Eva, because I had not met her before and she was a woman.


Found the Backs and Pembroke my fathers college – or was it? Now it is all mythology for no one is alive who knows the truth any longer. Cows on the path making it feel timeless. A runner passes me and I am note I am not running.

Dieter is playful as ever in the morning administration.
‘There is a secret group amongst us. You do not know who you are! But you will find out at 7 this evening, when we will meet up.’ So it was I found out I was one of 7 learning to become a Socratic Dialogue facilitator

Socratic Dialogue Cambridge-15Dialogue 1 – Non Participation

Almost immediately it is defined as being restricted to Dialogue examples, so I feel excluded and hurt. However, I come back into the circle with Ora, who I partner to find our question:
Ora and I had the best question (naturally)
Why does the ambiguity of non participation disturb us?

We chose Gore’s example, and it turns out this is the first time her experience has been chosen. ‘Usually I do not like to be in the centre of the room of questions’, she explained.

Her experience was teaching class for for 10 weeks of disruptive teenagers. They began to settle, but one of them never removed his hood, never partook of the class, but appeared to turn the pages of the book.

Someone has to have Antonio in the group and she is in ours. Naturally she chose to star in the staring role. Ironically that role was silent.

Cesar Franck Sonata for Violin and Piano in A Major

Lunch time concert. God we are so lucky. Two highly professional women, both oriental. The standing violin player is particularly graceful, strong, stimulating and stunning. I try and fail to hum the theme afterwards – how short the memory. (I listen to it now as I type up these notes, and remember her lithe movements)

Walk to Granchester led by Sara

We are in the footsteps of luminaries such as Witgenstein, Russell, Forster, Wolfe. As I contemplate their life, and dip my toe in it’s potential, I feel the luxury and freedom of being fed and watered and sheltered. Those necessities taken care of, I can indulge in the higher echelons of thought.
We eat a cream tea under the apple trees of this famous tea house where the great and good debated relativity and ethics. Walking back with G, I ask her about Kant.
‘I’d like to know more about his work’, I say.
‘People are judgemental and dismissive of the fact he never travelled, but many came to him’, she said. I enjoy her gentle company.
Yes, the influence of the wall.
Yes, I was married but my husband went off with another’
‘Ah, I’m sorry’, I say assuming this to be recent
‘That was 40 years ago!’ she said with a laugh

Secret society

At 7 the Secret Society of Socratic apprentices met at the Eagle. Far too busy inside we drank cider outside. Our objective is to present a Socratic Dialogue in a years time. Deiter announces the Tamsyn Imison’s £1,000 prize for winning essay a potential for all of us. At the same time I read a text from Michael who reacting to a photograph I posted of bicycles against railings in the market place reads: Imagine my delight coming down one day finding a rose on my locked up bicycle. From Tamsyn of course’.


Ghost Walk

Billed as the Ghost walk organised by Julia, it is a wonderful excuse to walk around the city centre of Cambridge. Our story teller is cool and good. Stephen Hawkins college. The gruesome story of Oliver Cromwell’s head.

Oliver Cromwell grew up in Huntingdon near Cambridge, and attended Sidney Sussex College. He around Cambridge for the next twenty years before joining the Parliamentarians during the English Civil War. MP for Huntingdon. When the King Charles 1st was using his power unwisely, challenged and refused changes, civil war broke out, with the two sides, Royalists and Parliamentarians.

Importantly, Cromwell signed the order for the execution of Charles I, leading to the first time in history where England was left without a monarch for 10 years, known as the ‘Interregnum’. After four years of disagreement over how the different forms of parliament would rule the country, Cromwell was declared the head of state, known as Lord Protector. Pressed to become King, he refused, keeping his role of Lord Protector until his death in 1658, when given a state funeral.

In 1661, the year after Charles II restored the monarchy, avenging his fathers death he ordered Cromwell to be dug up, put on trial and hung from the famous gallows at Tyburn, then had his head chopped off! To send a message of the King’s power, Cromwell’s head was placed on a pike on the roof of Westminster Hall where it stayed for thirty years. Legend recalls how soldier kept it, secret for generations, until it rocked up in Cambridge, where exact whereabouts still secret.


Evilena leads us ‘Boy hidden under the hood’. Guru’s story from 8 years ago.
Intended or not intended.
We get lost for a while in the boys psychology
The boy appeared to participate – turning the books pages.
Rather than non participation, the boy chose not to CONTRIBUTE to the invitation to dialogue. He did not share his opinions.

Participate is communicate. He did communicate, negatively.
Like a radio he received but did not transmit audibly.
Guru’s own uncomfortablness.
Validity of intervention to participate. Could the opportunity be found by the facilitator for an opening? Guru feels her own failure.
Participation is not just communication but contributing to dialogue.
Non participation does not mean no communication. The boy communicated a desire to not participate for whatever reason.
Meta discussion Good facilitation. Not try and force agreement. Gentle.
Ford Madox Brown The Last of England

Suggestions – more of philosophers background like Kant. / Tai Chi / Yoga / / Role of Emotions

Lasting images Cambridge
A clock wherever you look. Chimes

The Punt after the rain

We are punted by an eccentric, self taught, Englishman, Julia, Anna, Sarah and I with a bottle of white wine, some gin and crisps. Of lasting memory of all the facts he presented to us was the wealth of Trinity College.Trinity is the richest Oxbridge college, with a landholding alone worth £800 million. Trinity is sometimes suggested to be the second, third or fourth wealthiest landowner in the UK (or in England) – after the Crown Estate, the National Trust and the Church of England. Included in the portfolio is part of Wall Street, New York. Bridge of Lies. Eleanor of Aquitaine

Sara and Christian

Hugged by a Fin
Like naughty school children we smoke our cigarettes in doorways sheltering from the rain. I invite them to retrace the footsetps of our ghost walk . Is this the hangmans photographic shop.
And now I want to talk to you of X
You responded well to her, Sara said. I was relieved.
Because after that I lost interest in the conversation.
She is right, but not because of what she said. The problem was you could not longer talk. On emotional level.
I realised I was so stuck on that rational path.

Negative capability, used by John Keats in 1817
‘I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason’

Sara, so intense, with such a surprising smile.
I see from these few days that I must learn to express myself more slowly and clearly.

We know when the last hanging took place in Cambridge.

Sara says, I want to come to England to your forest school.


Still with white wine in my system, I walk to Kettles Yard and look through the window, but it is too early. Walk back along the punting route.
They are filming and ITV film called The Cheat.

Breakfast with Antonia who runs philosophical classes of 15 to 20 people so enabling her to continue studying philosophy. She studied philosophy for 9 years!
‘I do it for myself, so I don’t forget’.
Wise woman.

Last gifts

Unethi Maria Angelo She reads Mario Angelo, holding her hands to her chest.
Lim give us an unexpected poetic eloquent description of her home land from space. NASA. Like a whale. Taiwan.
German woman with beautiful smile who I never spoke to, bought an original newspaper of the 1st man in space to look down on the earth
Ora gave us a story
And I in my head elaborated on my piece of wood

What is the role and influence of emotions was my question
For the first time I work with Viet, who I met on the first day.
I gave Sara the piece of Sequoia wood.
‘Come to my wood’, I invite.