Monday, January 02, 2006

I am reminded that it's three whole weeks since I last updated this - most remiss. I plead festive planning and the seemingly endless search for work of a paying kind.

During that time a new family member has emerged in Nederland, Stevan Gert, who's my cousin's new son, but I'm a bit confused as to whether that makes me a second cousin, or a half uncle, or a second cousin with removal potential or what. But it doesn't really matter at the end of the day, since the most important thing is that he arrived all in one piece and with all bits working properly.

While the rest of the UK has been assaulted by snow in various depths, we have been spared having to get around through the white stuff. It just always petered out before it got to us. I'm jolly grateful for this because although it's very prettywhen covering green stuff, it's a bloody nuisance when it gets on the black stuff.

Now we're in to 2006 we have decided that we seek a year of harmony, happiness, and familial project progress. That seems safe enough, and we hope it is. Last year we determined it needed to be a year of change, but that appears to have been a bit broad, because we certainly got a lot of change, but came out of the other end feeling rather battered by it all. So stability would be a good intention for this year, although I guess that's true for all, especially in other parts of the world.

For me the best bit is that the days are now getting longer, and the quality of sunlight is on an improving track. So now I can start planning for the Spring, beginning with a tidying up and refurbishment project in the lower garden (sounds very grand but it's just because we're on a slope). This year I am going to ream out the greenhouse and start again from ground zero, since it all got a bit out of hand last season and became impossibly unkempt - not least because it ended up with a population explosion among the strawberry plants. Quite what plants I shall attempt this year I'm not sure, given that it seems impossible to guarantee proper ripening conditions for things like melons (two years ago). But I'm sure I'll come up with something interesting, although first-off the greenhouse has to be done, so.....

In amongst all that I note that the Montreal meeting on greenhouse gas emissions was hailed as a success because they managed to agree on how to measure and monitor, and came up with an intention to talk some more. I must admit that my first reaction was broadly positive, but the more I have read about the actual wording, and the more I have thought about it, the less I think of it. Although apparently publicly humiliated, the US still has a clause allowing it to continue prevaricating and doing nothing. Maybe Washington has to get flooded before they take it seriously; all a bit late by then, of course, since at that point we'll be well past the principle tipping points of climatic change.

So, given that the politicians are clearly going to do very little beyond the cosmetic appearance of policy, and for the most part the people of the developed world don't want to change, I am rersetting the height threshold on our new house project at 20 metres, because it looks like the ice sheets will have melted before the blindingly obvious intrudes upon public policy.

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