Book 12 – Chapters 177 to 192
available here in Adobe pdf for Kindle & iPad aficionados
The Twelfth and Final Book in The Private Papers of Crocodile Uppsala
A Telling in words and pictures based on the letters of William Shepherd and the sketches of Connie Lindqvist as told to Connie, Constanza, Elisabet, Linda, Sabine, Susan, Alan, Bob, Clifford, Edgar, John, John
Letters of William Shepherd written in November 1993
from Boulogne ‘twixt ‘Umber and Skagerrak & from Uppsala
and the final letter from Oz.
© William Shepherd 1993 © Connie Lindqvist 1993
177. Peace Studies
© William Shepherd 1993
Sunday 7th November 1993.
Dear Crocodile Uppsala
We are told that October 1993 was the second sunniest October since 1909. Nobody here noticed, so in remembrance of missing it, Vemara and Skua 4 hopped across the channel to enjoy a sudden burst of late fall sunshine coast weather…and escape the king’s dragoons, celebrating yesterday’s capture of Guy…Fawkes that is.
But today I feel like a good preach while Mervin is tied up in Kerovnia with Bluff Squire David.
In 1982 shortly after attending a Buckminster Fuller symposium in Philadelphia, I read a book by Peter Tompkins & Chris Bird entitled ‘The Secret Life of Plants’. Chris Bird was a leading American authority on dowsing.
Syncronicitously his writings had been added to my list after late night ‘aprés Bucky’ chats with Phil LaPerle. Phil knew his synergetics and he could dowse. A few months later while World Gaming at the University of Colorado high in the American Rockies, Phil showed me how…and conducted private tutorials on paraphysics.
Before the week was out I was being slipped top-secret papers on the US military’s psychotronic weaponry programmes…the evidence implying that the russkies were two decades ahead of the yanks in supernature research. KGB Disinformation, of course, courtesy of Boris Pankin at the Soviet Embassy in Stockholm.
I did some follow-ups in Los Angeles that year, producing some investigative pieces on bioelectricity for Marilyn Ferguson’s ‘Brain-Mind Bulletin’ and reviewing a trilogy of books on the soviet military for ‘Leading Edge’…her other newsletter.
But otherwise what with all that and August on Cape Cod with Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers notoriety learning the coarse art of neurolinguistic programmed hypnosis, courtesy of John Grinder (CIA), deportation via San Quentin…or divorce and black listing by the mandarins of MI5 and MI666 were the best I could hope for from 1982.
There was nothing new in ‘The Secret Life of Plants’ but by starting with Culpeper (Another Nicholas? 1616-54 perhaps? Mervin) and the plant lore of medieval monastery gardens and pre-Columbian Native American cultures and grafting on some western scientific laboratory results, a few more pagan phenomena sneaked back into the mainstream of Western Science…or at least West Coast Science.
Two years ago Tomkins and Bird published ‘Secrets of the Soil’. The Cinque Ports Letter lavishly praised the book, but outside this little corner of the quality press, the book was loudly ridiculed. But the reviews were too many, the abuse too loud and the campaign’s look just a little too ‘funded’…Methinks the lady doth protest too much.
The reason became apparent shortly afterwards when the tabloids started ‘leaking’ the news that the Prince of Wales would be making a savage attack on Big Chemical Agriculture at the 1991 Annual General Meeting of the Royal Agricultural Society. Now to understand just why so zealous a pre-emptive info-strike should be made against a future crowned-head of the British Commonwealth, let me introduce you to the NPK Lobby.
178. Secrets of the Soil
© William Shepherd 1993
The Nitrogen-Potassium-Potash conglomerates uncomfortably straddle the world’s first and second corporate divisions. Under siege from the corporate raiders and in a dubious alliance with Imperial Armageddon Industries, they are, in short, modern chemical companies trying to survive in a fading smokestack world.
Already they have seen their napalm transport planes converted into winged computers bearing smart missiles. And biodynamic farming promises to pack a similar punch for their global pesticide, fungicide, herbicide and ferticide cartels.
As the ICIs of this world are only too aware, Rudolf Steiner represents Marx, Morris and Darwin all rolled into one, with an explosive impact in food politics comparable to the microchip in the information business. Peter Tompkins & Chris Bird had outlined the scientific parameters of a third wave horticulture…and there was not a genetic engineer in sight.
Now it should not come as a surprise to discover that those with large global vested interests in second wave agriculture and with mammoth sunk costs in smart genetically engineered milk producers (cows) do not welcome such a book. Indeed they have a duty to their shareholders to deploy whatever they have in their holsters, their wallets and their computers to defend their interests.
With feigned unawareness (FU) no longer tenable, contrived kontempt (CC) is launched, in which the vitally important is juxtapositioned with the gross, the obscene and the utterly ridiculous (VIGOUR) to manipulate and muddy the message (3M). For good measure, the character of any authority is also destroyed on the time-honoured principle of undermining the message by attacking the messenger. Now you know how they orchestrate their second wave media campaigns. But do you know how you should counter them? With a July 17th birthday I think crab and reach for the pincer movement every time.
A little bit of first wave face to face talking (FTFT) from Ilbereth and Aslak alongside some good ‘ole…Sven loves this. Go for it Sven…Yee-hah. Third Wave Interactive Mobile Convertible Connectible Ubiquitous Globalized Hypermedia. (If you mean fax, phone, satellite & video, say so. Mervin)
The trouble is that media mind games like these are pretty superficial. The heart of the matter is modern western man’s disregard of the quality benefits that human tender loving care imparts to the plant kingdom and our separation from our food. We are all earth organisms. And replacing Goethe’s nature studies with Newton’s biological sciences in our primary schools did nothing to help matters. So we now have a culture that is deeply ignorant about what it eats and has no Philosophy of Soil.
Have you been taught anything about the monastery gardens of the medieval monks? Do you think that the rituals of the Catholic Church with its sacred places and its holy water are hooey? Are you not convinced by your scientific studies that water divining & exorcism, astrology & fairies, cold fusion & orgone energy belong in the several anti-scientific worlds that go to make up some magical Cloud Cuckoo Land where imaginations wallow when off-duty or under age? (‘Yes-No-Yes’ wins you a Mervin T-Shirt).
179. String Quartets
© William Shepherd 1993
Mervin! Hold your unicorns! There is more rhetoric! Have you ever considered the idea that bird song mighty help plants grow? (Tomatoes just lurve Beethoven’s string quartets. Mervin.) Do you think that Sean Connery’s insistence on discriminating between a drink which was shaken and not stirred is a mere affectation? (‘Yes-No-Yes-Yes-No’ and you will wear your Mervin T-shirt as Wally and Harold teach you the latest dance craze…The Duck & Plummet).
If instead you registered a dismal ‘No-Yes-No-No-Yes’ to all of the above then ‘Secrets of The Soil’ should be placed at the top of your scientific reading list for 1994. Here are a few highlights. Start with Henri Coanda and Patrick Flanagan. For several decades they have been trying to understand the behaviour of that most mysteriously anomalous substance…water. Have a guided tour through their work. You will find out why Leonardo da Vinci’s was fascinated with vortices, you will cease to mock the Catholic Communion…and you might start to take an unnatural interest in salmon.
However if bumble bees are more in your line you will be pleased to find that Philip Callahan has always been intrigued by the ways of the insect world. Insects have a way of tuning in to Nature. Tomkins & Bird describe Callahan’s research…making no bones about its implications for chemical company pesticide futures. Linnaeus and Goethe are the key.
Browse through the pioneering work of Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, Lily Kolisko, Alex Podolinsky and other bio-dynamic farmers. You talk about boomerangs and shaven men. You ain’t seen nothing to compare with the persecution of scientists struggling to pass on the intellectual inheritance that Goethe rescued from the collapsing civilisations of medieval Europe.
Rudolf Steiner was a Goethe scholar. Get hold of a copy of Colin Wilson’s biography of Steiner if you want to know more…or keep your mother company when she next visits Gunnar and Annika in the leafy groves of Chalmers University on Sweden’s West Coast…their children are Christopher and Waldorf scholars. After that, if you are still wanting to read around the subject, then you could try Paul Hawken’s ‘Magic of Findhorn’ and Tom Graves’ ‘Needles of Stone’.
By the end of all that you will have gone full circle, covered the ground, found your way back along the ley lines and the St.Michael-Apollo axis to the aquastats on Stonehenge and Uluru…and be about ready to read ‘Megaliths, Meis and Miners’ by William Shepherd.
Hold it! Hold it! Repetition! Anyway, this preaching’s gone on quite long enough.
You’ve told ‘im what you were gonna tell ‘im and you’ve told ‘im
so now wind it up by telling ‘im what you told ‘im. Mervin.)
What was that little one in the middle? Well. OK.
180. William Morris
© William Shepherd 1993
On 2 February 1886 a few weeks before his fifty second birthday, William Morris replied to a questionnaire by the Pall Mall Gazette as to his favourite books. He, at least, had come a long way since John Ruskin shocked the comfortable complacent mid-Victorian world with his talk of wealth and riches twenty five years before.
After a spell in the real world earning a living, you could do worse than devote the second quarter century of your life to understanding …through work and play…the theory and practice of life embedded in this Library of Wisdom. Life is after all the only wealth. Here’s a summary of his list:
Homer; The Edda; Beowulf; The Kalevala; Norse Tales; Irish and Welsh Traditional Poems; Heimskringla; Icelandic Sagas; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle; Danish and Scotch-English Border Ballads; Plutarch’s Lives; Herodotus; Plato; Aeschylus; Sophocles; Aristophanes; Renard the Fox; The Best Rhymed Romances; Morte d’Arthur; Shahnemeh and Mahabharata; Dante; Chaucer; Piers Plowman; Omar Khayyam; other Arab and Persian poetry; The Thousand and One Nights…
Shakespeare; Blake (the part of him which a mortal can understand. Mervin Poet Laureate); Coleridge, Shelley, Keats; Defoe; Scott; Dickens; Dumas; Hugo’s novels; More’s Utopia; The Pilgrim’s Progress; Ruskin; Carlyle; Grimm’s Teutonic Mythology; The Nibelungennot; The Mabinogian.
Scott and Dickens were specially praised while Milton was hated for his cold classicism and Puritanism. As for Morris’ own writings, his last works, after 1885, are best: ‘Pilgrims of Hope’; ‘Dream of John Ball’; ‘Tables Turned’ and ‘News from Nowhere’. While for background ‘The Life of William Morris’ by Edward Thompson in 3 Vols (1965) and ‘A Biography of William Morris’ by Jack Lindsay (1975) are well worth a read.
End of classes for today. Get that lot under your belt in 1994…even though you are overschooled and miseducated like everyone else from our North Atlantic industrialised nations…and you might just be able to hold your own against the well-educated citizens emerging from the Marxist colleges of Eastern and Central Europe. And if everybody read them, then we would have the European cultural renaissance some of us are hoping to see rising up from the debris of the most disastrous hundred year civil war ever waged on Planet Earth…that of man against mankind.
181. Crocodile Publishing
© William Shepherd 1993
But meanwhile why not start a local chapter of the Crocodile Uppsala Book Club. There are three classes of member: Writing Members; Reading Members and Subscribing Members…cunningly designed to turn the class war upside down by reclassifying Top, Middle and Lower class along Randian lines.
Writing members earn their status through a Crocodile Uppsala Book Club publishing their story about Wally and his friends. And to break out of the Topside-Takers attitudes to writing, the Crocodile Uppsala Book Club will be a contributing club with writer and illustrator services available to storytellers.
Reading members will review new tales and provide a reading democracy while the subscribing members will share the experience one year on…paying for the privilege.
Legends are not made. They are born…given birth by the likes of you and I…and then nurtured into adulthood. Legends have lives of their own, distinct from the lives of those whose lives and sagas bring human warmth and give human personality to these tales. Our legends live and die just as we do. But the best legends endure…often returning renewed to live some other life or to relive the old life. Perhaps the souls of men are the legends our gods make their dreams on? Your Australian aborigine friends might agree with that.
182. Boulogne Trip
© William Shepherd 1993
German Sea…Sunday 14th November 1993.
Dear Crocodile Uppsala
‘Twixt ‘Umber and Skagerrak. ‘Here I am, somewhere in the middle of The North Sea’ as a gentleman by the name of Fyfe Robertson was wont to say on Cliff Michelmore’s Tonight programme in the 1960s in a broad Scotch accent. One day Fyfe Robertson will become famous again, not as a Down Your Way Broadcaster, but as the brother of Thomas Robertson, a Herriot-Watt university professor who wrote ‘Human Ecology’ in 1947 and 40 years later featured prominently in ‘The Rise and Fall of The Swedish Green Party (1982-1997)’.
Boating, you may recall from my other Boulogne letter…the one before last week’s…is, and I quote, ‘Slow. Slow. Quick. Quick. Slow…with the occasional pretty damn quick…like now! Fast!’ John Pierce and I had one of those little ones at the end on our way across to Boulogne last weekend. The u-bolt holding Skua 4’s back stay sheared in mid-channel under full sail in a force three. John was at the tiller and three minutes later as we continued on our way without our canvas engine…to all the world as if nothing had happened…I had occasion to reflect once again on the delight of travelling with a good skipper. John was at the helm when the bang came two hours out from Rye. I reckon it must have taken him about five seconds to figure out what had happened.
Tiller hard over. Kick engine throttle to low. ‘Take the tiller! Hold her into the wind!’ Foresail rolled in. Up onto the deck. Mainsail dropped. Back to the cockpit. Hanging bottle screw lashed onto the stern rail. ‘OK! Back on course!’ By the time Vemara shot her bowsprit across our stern to see what was going on, we were back on course for Boulogne. Well that’s boating for you. What part did I play in this drama at sea? Well, you shouldn’t underestimate it. I obeyed orders…on the instant. ‘Aye, Aye’ Sir! And did my duty well…adding half an hour later. ‘Think you forgot to do the topping lift, John!’ He hit me with the nearest rhythm stick.
John replaced the u with a U in Boulogne, Gilbert, for all his seeming casualness about his boat always having what is needed on board. I was at our Tabac with Connie, David, Paiwa and Laura at the time and returned to find everything shipshape for the return trip. No hassles with John. If there’s a job, he gets on and does it.
And here Laura deserves a mention in dispatches. We were about to set sail back for Rye on the Sunday morning at 0800 when she pointed out that our topping lift line was twisted around the back stay. Thank you Laura. Paiwa meanwhile impressed Connie on the return trip in quite a different way.
Vemara has been ferrying Barry Britten, a nephew of the great man, back and forth across the channel quite a lot of late. A man of means with a house on Mermaid Street in Rye and another on Rue d’Artois just below The Old Town in Boulogne. But at present his liquid means are in distinctly short supply whenever they’re demanded, cash right now, for mundane matters like keys ‘n locks. Barry was on the tiller nattering on to Connie about his last trip, and bewailing his misfortune at having ‘Howard’s father’ preaching Jesus-talk at him the whole way back.
Now Barry makes himself unpopular by sounding off a little too often, a little too negatively, about a little too many people. Rye is a small town. He lacks…hmm, what shall we say (social discretion? Mervin.) Thank you Mervin…the southerner’s social discretion.
But Paiwa loved it. She and Laura were rolling around the deck laughing their heads off, because, unbeknown to Barry, Howard is Paiwa’s brother…and hence the aforementioned preacher was none other than Paiwa’s Daddy. Their spirits buoyed by this merriment…it made a change from chaperoning David…the girls spent the rest of the trip playing their harmonicas for the migrating seabirds as they flew down channel.
At the end we concluded it had been a lot of fun having the two young teenagers aboard. David had his Neferdinghy along for the first time on a cruising trip, so that could have made a difference…the three of them spending all of Saturday sculling around Boulogne Harbour so that we hardly saw them all day.
© William Shepherd 1993
But a few words about these Bible Thumpers because they are becoming something of a public menace and a private nuisance. With Livets Ord’s world headquarters in Uppsala you will know the type.
The trouble starts with their ignorance of theology in general and of the place of their own faith in the ecology of all faiths in particular. We have The Truth.
A society endowed with collective wisdom would probably incarcerate their fanatical besser-wisers on bread and water for 40 days and 40 nights with a copy of Tom Paine’s ‘Age of Reason’ and Aldous Huxley’s ‘Ends & Means’…allowing them out only after they pass an exam and promise to hold all their possessions personally for ten years (…and for persistent offenders D. H. Lawrence’s ‘Apocalypse’ should be thrown in for good measure. Rev. Mervin).
Christians make the enormous mistake of burdening themselves with the Old Testament, which contains along with much fine poetry and sound morality, the history of the cruelties and treacheries of a desert people, fighting for a place in the sun under the protection of its local tribal deity.
Christian theologians do their best to civilize and moralize this tribal deity…by talking of King David’s god as the poetic muse…translate the Old Testament word ‘prophet’ with the correct translation ‘poet’ for a start recommends Tom Paine.
But inspired in every line dictated by God himself the Old Testament is always there to refute them, the God portrayed being personal to the point of being sub-human. Ancient ignorance is sanctioned as revelation. The upshot is that The True Believer feels permitted to give way to every worst passion justifying the conduct by reference to a God who cannot control his rage and behaves like a ferocious oriental tyrant.
The frequency with which men have identified their own passions with the voice of an all-too-personal God is really appalling. Those whom it suited to be ignorant, along with the innocent and uneducated, find in this treasure-house of barbarous stupidity, justifications for every crime and folly…texts justifying such abominations as religious wars, the persecution of heretics and breaking faith with unbelievers being used again and again in the history of the Christian Church to mitigate the inconvenient decency of civilized morality.
All this folly and wickedness can be traced back to a mistaken view of the world. The ancient Hebrews once thought that the integrating principle of the universe was a kind of magnified human person, with all his feelings and passions. The theologians were always at pains to insist that the personal God was an absolutely perfect person.
But, in spite of their precautions, the deity tended to be thought of by his adorers as being like the only kind of person of whom they have direct knowledge…the human individual. It is one of the ironies of history that the modern world should have taken over from the Hebrews the worst of their cultural heritage – their ferocious Bronze-Age literature; their paeans in praise of war; their tales of divinely inspired slaughter and sanctified treachery; their primitive belief in a personal, despotic and passionately unscrupulous God; their low notion that virtue deserves a reward in cash and social position.
There are grounds for wondering if we are not the victims of the world’s best ever Jewish joke. After improving the Old Testament with The Talmud, the rabbis offloaded the unimproved version on the goyim…like giving somebody your out-of-date charts. Shipwrecks guaranteed!
© William Shepherd 1993
The Jews themselves meanwhile…individually amongst the most cultured and civilised of people…have retained the admirably sensible things like the rabbinical tradition of an all-round education. ‘He who does not teach his son a trade’, the Talmud says, ‘virtually teaches him to steal’. St. Paul was not only a scholar, but also a tent-maker…and there are some of us who wish he had stuck to his tenting.
1987 was my last year in Boston and I was closing up shop and selling off my goods and chattels. But on the side, I was doing various odd bits of scholarly research. One of these got as far as a 40-A4 page booklet on ‘The Jewish Question’. But it was too partial a treatment for so emotive a subject, so I never circulated it. Besides, I felt it needed complementing with essays on Celts, Catholics, and Moslems before I could put it out to the world…and I just wasn’t that interested. (My colleague A. Baccus informs me that in medieval times all good Christian missionaries were expected to read mark learn and inwardly digest Thomas Aquinas’ Gentiles Manual. St. Mervin of Toyland) Thank you Mervin. A gentleman and a scholar.
Every Jew I have ever met has been happy to talk at great length about their jewishness and the world’s anti-semitism, whenever I have shown the slightest knowledge of the subject.
But I have yet to encounter the detachment that would also see how little interest us of the goyim have in the matter. Nor is this blindness peculiar to Jews. It is actually a characteristic of The Bore…and he appears in many different disguises.
For instance, I have no great wish to think, write or talk about The Irish Question, Apartheid, Abortion, Jesus, Classic Boats, Golf or any of the one thousand and one other private obsessions which seem to afflict others. My attention is directed elsewhere. Other things interest me.
But somewhere out there, homing in on me from afar, lurks always The Dreaded Great Bore …intellectual junk mail at the ready, poised, awaiting the chance to thrust it deep into my private cognitive space.
(Practice what you preach!…Oh and while you’re about it, preach only what you’ve p ractised! A few days curled up on the sofa with Charles Ashworth, Jon Darrow, Neville Aysgarth and Venetia Flaxton hardly qualifies you to dispute with the Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge University (1932-1950). Father Mervin.)
Oh, how right you are, Father Mervin. Yet you underestimate me. It was Aldous Huxley in ‘Ends & Means’, and not I that was disputing…and Susan Howatch’s sextet of novels about Christianity are destined to become my 1994 birthday book tips for Constanza. What more can a teacher do?
(Corrupt the youth with D. H. Lawrence’s Apocalypse…and dump The Book Of Revelations and its rule of second raters in the furnace of the nearest Pentecostal chapel. Thomas Mervin Paine Esq.).
But enough of theology. Back to basics!
185. Picts & Celts
© William Shepherd 1993
Returning from Boulogne, I found a typically cryptic letter from Bob Stuart in my mail that went like this. ‘Just a word to let you know we’re all fine. Dina and I will be here in San Antonio winters and parts unknown about 6 months of the year…at least that is what is planned.’
And it continued, ‘How about those Canadian Elections…flushed the toilet on the bastards. A party in Western Canada called The Reform Party…offshoot of something known as The Social Credit Party…won big in the western provinces. The Tory Party kept only two seats in their parliament. No one here is talking about any of this. The Economist are a sickening bunch. Enuf!’
The letter was addressed to The Crocko’guile Grandee and went on to let me know that Bob was ‘hard into the art thing’ so had not been keeping up with ‘events’. (Join The Club. Mervin) But otherwise, John & Celeste are still at Charles Street in Boston and Bob & Dina plan to visit them for a month in May after which they might head out this way…although I’ll probably be in South America by then.
Before settling on Crocodile Uppsala Letters as my writing for 1993, I considered an epistolic dialogue with Bob instead. But in the end I was persuaded to talk ’bout normal things. I figured the glimpses into my everyday being ‘n becoming lifestyle might encourage others to think about what they believe and what they actually do each day. Nothing is so well hidden…unless it is what every woman dreams every night. Hypocrisy has once again become local and personal. Life is 30 000 days.
Otherwise…Vi ses snarast! If in doubt, run away! Enjoy changing light bulbs! And watch your Ps and Qs. The Celtic people are one of the great founding civilisations of Europe.
There are sixteen million of them living in the Celtic lands and four million speaking a Celtic language…a quarter of them living outside the Celtic areas. There was an ancient Druidic prohibition against committing knowledge to written form and partly as a result, some 2 500 years ago, the Celts separated into two linguistic groups: the Goidelic Celts…the Irish, Manx and Scots and the Brythonic Celts…the Welsh, Cornish and Bretons.
According to Aslak it all began when the Bryts simplified their case endings, dropped the neuter gender and dual number and allowed their initial mutation and aspirations to drift. The Goys, in retaliation, replaced their Ps with Qs…pen and pryf in Welsh became ceann and cruimh in Irish. The English dived for their proverbial cover…and have been watching their Ps and Qs ever since.
Breakfast in Uppsala with Linda on Tuesday morning at 9 am.
© William Shepherd 1993
Uppsala, Sweden. Sunday 21st November 1993.
Dear Crocodile Uppsala
Congratulations on making it through to the end of the school year and the end of the Crocodile Uppsala Letters without once mentioning girls. This is a bit sad as you as a teenager are supposed to have no other interests than the females of your species (Coming next ‘The Secret Papers of Crocodile Uppsala’. Mervin).
One thing you must do before leaving Australia is find a 650lb. chunk of ore containing 130lb. of gold…forget this wimpy panning. One thing you mustn’t do is look over your shoulder.
Among the natives of the Pennefather River down your way, when a visitor has made himself very agreeable and taken his departure, an effigy of him about three or four feet long is cut on some soft tree, such as Canarium Australasicum, so as to face in the direction taken by the popular stranger. Afterwards from observing the state of the tree, the corresponding state of their absent friend can be inferred…falling leaves or the dying of the tree portending illness or death.
On this theory there will be plenty of dead trees in America this week after the sudden death of River Phoenix…the first hippy assassination from your generation. Our generation has on record: 1964 James Dean (24); 1971 Jim Morrison (27); 1980 John Lennon (40); 1992 Petra Kelly (44)…so let me add forthwith: 1994 River Phoenix (24).
187. Samizdat Times
© William Shepherd 1993
Kyllikki was supposed to be up at Whitby last week investigating the arrival of 400 Lapland buntings on Flamborough Head 35 miles to the south. But Aslak persuaded her to fly across the Holarctic and drop in on Southern California to look into the River Phoenix affair for The Samizdat Times. A few words about the Samizdat Lintu Telegraph (SLT).
Annikki came here to Uppsala to meet me on Friday, having flown up from Rye…or Colbart to be more precise. It had been a busy week. Last weekend when I was travelling across the North Sea with Scandinavian Seaways from Harwich to Göteborg, Annikki and Kyllikki were meeting with Valkko and Suivakka on the banks of Muonioälven.
Ilbereth’s highday shoes…the white ones with black heel patches…are made from the skin of Valkko’s grandfather so he has a special rapport with the ‘Pokka-Lokka-Poro’ as Harold calls the reindeer that range over Finland, Norway, Sweden and Russia in Finnmarksvidda on the 68th and 69th parallels. Annikki and Kyllikki are lesser black-backed gulls…larus fuscus…while Valkko and Suivakka are poro…domesticated rein-deer…they are waving you off on the cover of CrocUpp Book One.
I was hoping to meet up with Annikki and Kyllikki on our Boulogne trip. Kyllikki comes from The Island of Saari and Annikki lives on Simasalo Island lying off North Farm in Lover’s Bay. When down south, they like to meet up with Ilbereth around the Colbart Bank a few miles out from Rye.
Aslak once explained that it had to do with the power of the runes. Last week we watched Ps and Qs, so this week we’re gonna find ourselves all at sea. But not quite yet. Coleman coming up shortly. But first a little lecture on economics. I know it’s boring but I’ll make it snappy.
188. Real Economics
© William Shepherd 1993
I met Hazel Henderson briefly in 1981 at a World Future Society jamboree in Toronto. Her book ‘Creating Alternative Futures’ had triggered my retirement from Megamachine Wage Slavery in 1979. ‘The Politics of The Solar Age’ came out in 1985 and this year she published her third major book ‘Paradigms in Progress’. She was born in England but the last I heard she was pretty settled in North Carolina. She is perhaps best known for her three-layer cake. But don’t jump to conclusions because she’s a woman. The woman of only kitchen and bedroom is no longer woman.
Human Action, to use Ludwig von Mises term, or economic activity can be thought of as a layer cake…with jam filling, icing and all. Mother Nature, or the land and everything that lies beneath it and grows on it, makes up the base. From Mother Nature we draw our sustenance, and to her we return our wastes for disposal.
The upper layers depend ultimately on the land. Traditional Liberals sing ‘The Land belongs to the People’. New Age Liberals need to sing a new song ‘The People belong to the Land’.
Resting on the land is the personal layer of the economy where you find families and the groups to which we devote much of our time, energy and enterprise. Caring and sharing, do-it-yourself, sweat equity, and much of our leisure, is found here. It is where individuals are responsible for themselves and their families. Economic life here is cooperative rather than competitive. This is where people live. Some small-scale production of primary goods, rather than mass-production of manufactures, takes place here and this layer, like Mother Nature’s layer, is non-monetarised…far away from any GNP ledger sheets.
Our official bean counters ignore nature and disregard people. Only economic activities in the monetarised layers count. The first of these is the social layer. The idea of tax was invented to pump money into this layer. The physical and social infrastructure is here and this is where the community looks after its own. Here individuals work cooperatively sharing responsibility for meeting common needs. Some production, even some mass-production, takes place in this layer; but it is production of needed goods. Economists invented cost-benefit analysis to demonstrate the need…but have failed to find a way to put cash into needy pockets…markets going amok and hands going even more awol.
Between the non-monetarised and monetarised layers is a jam filling referred to as the underground or counter economy. Here activities which are cash based but not included in the GDP statistics of the monetarised layers will be found. It is made up of mostly person-to-person transactions within the local community. A small part of the counter-economy is the black economy where transactions are hidden away from the tax man…mostly by the rich with their offshore trusts and tax havens.
At the very top…as the icing on the cake…is industry and the private sector in which competition is the orthodox doctrine; things are mass-produced as commodities; money capital is accumulated and invested; only jobs count as work; officially life revolves around employment; and models of economic activity ignore 94% of useful daily economic reality.
Money-making is necessary, in some small measure, but the sane man seeks wealth, not riches…on which thought you will be pleased to know that my counter proposal to the Debt Cowboys was accepted so I’m paying ten pounds a month…a 12 year interest free loan of a £1000.
Spending your active years pursuing riches is irrational…a form of insanity. And rational conduct is something dear to Michael Oakeshott’s academic heart. ‘To work alongside a practised scientist or craftsman is an opportunity not only to learn the rules, but to acquire also a direct knowledge of how he sets about his business…including a knowledge of how and when to apply the rules…’
This is a quote from his October 1950 article ‘Rational Conduct’ in The Cambridge Journal. This, his ‘Political Economy of Freedom’ (1949) and ‘Science and Society’ (1948) being the most interesting of the ten articles Anthony Neville lent me. The 1948 issue was particularly interesting because apart from ‘Science & Society’, it also had an excellent article by Peter Drucker on ‘The American Political Tradition’…he it was who first predicted the dramatic long-term effect of occupational pensions when General Motors first thought up the idea.
But much more surprising was that there in ‘Books Received’ was ‘T.C.Lethbridge: Merlin’s Island. Essays on Britain in the Dark Ages. Methuen. 10s.6d. net’. Now what could that be about?
189. Real History
© William Shepherd 1993
Britain is drenched in history…much of it retained in old names. If you follow the old tracks, you find they constantly go to Cole Hills and pass through Coles and Colemans Farms on the way as well as Colebrook, Colebury, Cole Church, Cole Cross, Cole Well, Colwick, and Cole Harbour.
Cold names are also frequent, but Cold Ash, Cold Elm, Cold Oak were clearly not chilly trees. In the old records these places would usually be written ‘cole’, the ‘d’ being a later intrusion.
Coleharbour was the coleman’s shelter…a sighting point on his straight track. Colemen looked after the track beacons…the old lamp lighters of long long ago. The word ‘cole’ comes from the Welsh ‘coel’ and the Celtic ‘gole’…words of magical import meaning light or splendour.
The proverb ‘as black as coal’ describes the grimy appearance of the coleman…and suggests another name for a beacon tender. The word ‘black’ is of difficult history. In Anglo-Saxon times it did not mean dark, but pale and shining. In the Slavic languages it means ‘blessed’ or ‘light giving’. Names like Blakeway and Blakeley are found along the old tracks. The black man was the coleman’s mate.
That was Aslak’s explanation of Kyllikki’s love for the Colbart Buoy. And Annikki, peerless and splendid, the daughter of Ahto, is an old friend of Sotkotar, the water spirit who protects goldeneyes, fuligula clangula and extends her protection to birds of the Colbart Bank… fulmars, gannets, black-headed gulls, kittywakes and great black-backed gulls…and the little auk David spotted there last time we sailed past.
Sketch 235 Cole Harbour
Annikki told me that Calcarius Lapponicus…named by Linnaeus in 1758 …migrate from the northern tundra regions across the Hansa towns of the southern Baltic, navigating by either the stars or the earth’s magnetic field. Kyllikki’s trip to Flamborough Head was to confirm that a shifting geomagnetic field had diverted the buntings to Humberside.
190. Planet Science
© William Shepherd 1993
Earlier this century a Swedish scientist Otto Pettersson working out of his laboratory overlooking the Skagerrak…the narrow straits connecting The Baltic Lakes with the North Atlantic Ocean…discovered that the underwater waves that surged through these straits were synchronised with the phases of the moon. A paper I was working on at the time of writing the Swedish Green Party book entitled ‘Green Houses or Blue Moonwaves’ has the full story. More recently Gösta Wollin, a Swedish-American meteorologist discovered that the surface temperature of the oceans changes in harmony with fluctuations in the geomagnetic field.
However, because it takes 2-3 years for alterations in the strength of the field to be translated into changes in the speed of the Pacific gyre, the ‘perfect fit’ has a 2-3 year lag. What is happening is that the world is operating as a gigantic dynamo as the huge rivers of salt water carried along by the ocean currents cut across the earth’s field.
Then there is the sun. Whenever there are sunspots, there is a magnetic disturbance in the atmosphere, a strengthening of the Earth’s field, and a tendency for severe wind storms to break out over the sea. Sunspot activity follows an eleven-year cycle. Which brings us back to Kyllikki and the Lapland buntings.
Something seems to be disturbing the elegant feedback system in which temperature, ocean currents and electromagnetic fields are held in delicate equilibium. The upsurge in mis-migrations is the evidence…and The Samizdat Times has man as the suspect…and in particular military man.
Anyway Kyllikki wanted some research done in Uppsala to establish what Carolus Linnaeus and his colleagues knew about these cosmic connections back in the 1750s. This is basically what Annikki came to see me about. This fits in with another job, so I agreed…so much for my ideas of a rest and a vacation.
As it happens, Anthony Neville has given me copies of his Botany, Gardening & Natural History Catalogue which included a facsimile of the 1753 first edition of Carl von Linné’s two volume ‘Species Plantarum’…the starting point of modern botanical nomenclature. With this priced at £45 and a Göttingen 1787 edition of Linnaeus’ last work, ‘Systema Vegetabilium’, published in 1774 the year after his fatal stroke, priced at £125, Carl von Linné studies could yield their own reward…quite apart from dispatching Connie and sketchbooks to Lapland to relive Linnaeus’ Travels in Lapland.
Offloading these two books for SEK 3000 could give me a £100. Throw in some Thomas Bewick… ‘History of Quadrupeds’ (1791) for £130 and ‘History of British Birds’ (1797) for £175…and, well, perhaps we’re looking at a nice little earner. Gothenberg Book Fair here you come!
That’s all for now folks! Enjoy Ingrid’s visit! Have a fun trip home! The Good Life starts today…if you want it to! Vi ses! G’Day Mate! ( It was the koala bear wot done it. Check the fingerprints. Detective Inspector Mervin Morse, Queensland Police.)
191. Conflicting Lifestyles
© William Shepherd 1993
Palmwoods, Queensland, Australia. 15th November 1993.
It’s now mid-November and here in the country ‘down under’ the summer heat is beginning to be noticeable. Heat is good in small doses but when it rises to over 35 degrees centigrade and is combined with 90% humidity it is more like being locked in a sauna twenty four hours a day.
In the city they would at least have had the brains to accept the benefits of technology and bought themselves an air conditioner. But this is the bush. Even though Palmwoods is only 100 kilometers north of Brisbane, the lifestyle and attitudes of the people here seem to be light years away from Australia’s metropolitan ideas and values.
But what is even stranger is that these same attitudes and way of life differ almost a half light year from those down at the coast with its casual…surfing …life style. For the average Australian family with two point three children and an equal number of cars… almost…they sure don’t seem to travel around much. And considering the quality of public transport in Queensland it is quite understandable.
My luck has been that there are actually two trains down to Brisbane a day so one doesn’t have to live in total isolation and ignorance of modern trends and styles.
192. Final Countdown
© William Shepherd 1993
You should have got my postcard from my Australian tour, but I don’t think that I have written to you since. But at least you and Nanna seem to read each other’s letters, so I don’t have to have all too bad feelings about not letting you in on my adventures in the Land of Oz. Lately I have just finished the longest of them…and probably one of the least exciting ones…and that is the Australian school system.
Like all the other suckers, I’m leaving high school and am supposed to be entering a tough and pressuring real world. But unlike the rest, I don’t have to head towards university or social security dole payments, but back towards family and friends at home in Sweden, giving me a few more months before having to face any such decisions.
You seem to be sticking to your training schedule, but I for one don’t have anything of the sort at the moment…it’s too hot to run. So instead I rely on an hour’s squash every Tuesday to keep me fit. And it does seem to do the job quite well. So even if your super frequent running scheme would make you faster than me…but hey I’ve still got age to my advantage and there’s nothing you can do about that…I will be able to pay you back through a game of squash…or so I hope at least.
For me the countdown towards my return is now fully on its way with less than five weeks left until I return to Sweden on the 18th of December…just in time for Christmas that means. But until then I’ve got 23 days to do everything that I wanted to do down here so it’s a case of getting as much in as possible for as little money as can be spent.
Have fun! Nicholas
PS. On the bus they played a song every day…at least twice…and its chorus just goes
‘Say G’Day, G’Day, G’Day and you’ll be alright’.
Isn’t that what you’ve been saying all along?
Well that at least is the philosophy of life in the outback down under.
The End of
The Private Papers of Crodile Uppsala