Given so many sensible people have said what needs to be said about the new version of Conservatism – naked greed replacing relatively benevolent patriarchy – I won't add anything, except to say that it takes the gilt off the gingerbread to share your birthday with the day Johnson aimed for the destruction of British democracy. But it was interesting to discover that a close friend shares my birthdate – if not the year – and to see how many things we had in common: love of animals, sharp dress sense (well, she
has!) and very similar political views. Sadly, I seem to be shedding friends who don't think similarly, and have to be very diplomatic with my brother, one of only three people I know who voted for Brexit (he now claims he was misled, which is something I suppose).
Unlike many of my scientist friends, I am convinced there is something in astrology, to the extent that I undertook an online course in the subject several years ago. After all, we are all made of the stuff of the universe, so why shouldn't its situation at our time of birth influence our personality? My course was run by a scientist, who, like all good scientists, had been convinced by the evidence that there was something in astrology. Being a scientist though, he approached the subject, well, scientifically, with all sorts of graphs and diagrams.
As an unscientific Virgo I was completely lost, although ever since I have had a healthy respect for professional astrologers, who have to pore over all sorts of complex data before producing their forecast for the day. Thankfully, today Oscar Cainer, nephew and heir of the late great Jonathan, tells me that Venus is in my sign so everyone will appreciate me. I will refrain from speculating the birth sign of Boris Johnson, except to guess that he has several negative planets in the ascendant.
At least today will be somewhat more relaxed as I have delivered my three-year-old granddaughter to nursery in more or less one piece. She was staying overnight while her mum starts a post grad course. It's a toss up whether Olivia or Sir Ernest Shackleton (the cat, named after the famous explorer, but it's not a good likeness) is the worse prima donna. Shackleton hates Olivia (to be honest he hates most humans except me) and makes himself scarce as soon as he hears her 'girlish tones' (like other family members, Olivia has a loud voice).
Last night was somewhat disturbed as Olivia woke up and demanded to be rehomed immediately, announced she didn't like me and would never stay here ever again. Eventually she fell asleep, only to wake shortly after and ask whether it was morning yet (it was half past midnight). Then in came Sir Ernest, who also has a very loud voice, vociferously complaining that his place had been usurped. This morning both Olivia and Shackleton are full of beans – me and Mr B are shattered and wondering how we will make it to evening without a power nap.
Interestingly, both Olivia and Shackleton were born under the sign of Leo the lion, and of course the lion is well known for bossing everyone else about. I don't think Shackleton can change the world (unless there is a natural disaster that kills off us humans and makes cats top species – not a bad plan if you are the Divine Creator). But Olivia just might as half Scottish/half Finnish, she should be in a good position to take an independent Scotland into the EU.
Being sort of retired, I amuse myself every so often with writing 'stuff' – my latest effort concerns the impact of his personality type on the fiction of John Buchan (it's not as boring as it sounds – of course I would
say that). It's not easy raising interest in Buchan as he has been misunderstood for years – attitudes he puts into the mouth of his characters have been wrongly ascribed to him, and in many ways he was significantly ahead of his time. But it's interesting that although I expected a lack of interest from the literary lot ('I hate
Buchan!' one academic informed me gleefully, before demonstrating that he knew nothing about the man or his work), the Buchan fans are equally dismissive, to the extent that I've never had a response from any of them.
As another writer friend pointed out, it's less of a problem to have your work rejected than to have it completely ignored, as in the latter case you never know if it's reached the intended recipient. On one occasion I paid for my 'monograph' to be professionally printed at the request of an academic who agreed to look at it on that basis. I posted it off by registered mail so I know he got it, but I never heard if he ever read it – it may be still sitting on his desk somewhere.
The only person who courteously replied when I was seeking advice at the outset, was Professor David Daniell, an authority on Buchan, but at the time he was very frail in a nursing home and died shortly after. It may be 'the curse of Buchan' that consigns my work to oblivion, but I suspect Professor Daniell, as an academic of the Old School, just had far better manners than the current lot.