Scribblings and Blether

These are my longer posts and photos. Visit the Microblog tab above for the shorter stuff.

Windswept and Interesting by Billy Connolly

I’ve good memories of Billy Connolly. I can recall watching his Audience with…’ programme in the 1980s with my family and us all laughing uncontrollably. Yet I’ve mixed feelings about this book. I’ve never read any of Billy’s books but, even for me, there was barely an anecdote/joke in here I haven’t heard before at some time. I have to admit that some of it is getting a bit tired.

He asserts he is not a violent man but he fully admits that he is free with his fists and has a casual approach to violence. He tells several tales along those lines. Yet, there is a disconnect between his attitude and the reality. Violence is OK when he does it as he is one of the good guys and he tells it as part of a funny story. All those who he lamps deserve it and he offers sage advice on how to best use violence. On those occasions he imbues it with a cartoonish quality, all the better to minimise the bleak ugly reality of violence. Of course, Connolly had a traumatic upbringing and he endured some horrendous abuse but, sadly, he revels in violence he has meted out, quite unapologetically, despite the awful toll it took on him.

…sadly, he revels in violence he has meted out, quite unapologetically, despite the awful toll it took on him.

There are other small paradoxes and if Connolly has more profound reflections on his own personality and behaviours he doesn’t reveal them here. It all feels a little superficial and, occasionally, one feels his ego just running away a little with the stories. Undoubtedly, he has a considerable amount of which to be deeply proud and he is one hell of a character.

Like just about everyone, I like him and I’m charmed by him. His tales are all told with enormous charisma and his trademark humour but I found it hard to ignore the underlying tensions.

8 July 2022

Sustainable farming around Haweswater and Mardale Common

Miles King has written a review of Wild Fell by Lee Schofield on the excellent A New Nature Blog. He doesn’t post often now, apologising unnecessarily, and I’m just happy to enjoy the content he does create. It’s a bit of an old school blog - excellent writing and a place where one feels reasoned debate can be had without degenerating into a slanging match. Bookmark the blog, visit regularly, and enjoy.

The book, Wild Fell is on my to-read list but I wasn’t sure about it. The review has convinced me. I think I vaguely thought it was advocating for the status quo and I’m now not quite sure why I thought that. Kings says:

Almost everyone (dare I say even James Rebanks?) now accepts that there are too many sheep in the Lake District, and that has been the case for many decades. So it’s very inspiring to read about a large scale project where reducing the sheep numbers (and also changing the times they are out on the commons) is actually happening — and how quickly the land and its nature is responding..

I find it hard, running on the Howgills nearly every day, not to be depressed at the effects of sheep on the uplands. King has covered this a fair bit in the past and there are some links in his review. I need to read this book and Mardale Common is not too far from here for a quiet run sometime soon.

22 April 2022