1. I'm still pondering the political developments of the past couple of weeks, and doing some thinking about Liberalism and the Liberal-Democrat party. I come from a Methodist / Liberal background, and my heart has always been Liberal, even when my head has said otherwise. I'm trying to get to grips with what exactly are the core principles of the Liberals, as opposed to what are their current policies, and whether my long-held assumptions are correct. (Incidentally, for American readers, Liberal / Conservative in the UK political sense does not equate to liberal / conservative in the American sense.
2. In pursuit of the Liberal Party I've just started reading An Intelligent Person's Guide to Liberalism by Conrad Russell. Wondering if the title means it is a guide for an intelligent person, or a guide by an intelligent person. I guess it is meant to be the former, but the latter is certainly true. Conrad (aka the 5th Earl Russell) was a tutor of mine at university and a man of exceptional intelligence, as was his father, the philosopher Bertrand Russell. Conrad, however, was also an exceptionally nice man; his father, by all accounts, was not. One of the questions I've been pondering about the Coalition government is "what would Conrad have thought?", and I'm hoping this book will answer that. So far, so good.
3. As a working peer (he was a Liberal spokesman in the House of Lords) as well as a working academic Conrad had to do a fair amount of diary juggling. As a result, I once found myself having a tutorial on Elizabethan finance in an interview room in the House of Lords. He also very kindly gave me tea in the Lords' tea room, which was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
4. A final Conrad Russell anecdote. I once stumbled across a TV broadcast of the Liberal Party conference in which Conrad was giving a speech. It included this rather spectacular piece of name-dropping: "And as my father said to Lenin ..." (said as if your father having a conversation with Lenin was a perfectly normal, everyday thing!)
5. Cherub has suddenly decided she likes to draw. She sat for over an hour yesterday afternoon working through sheet after sheet of paper - I counted twenty-one separate drawings. They included a tooth fairy with a bag of teeth in one hand and a bag of coins in the other, two children standing on a mountain, a person holding a torch under a starry sky, someone covered in sun cream, a child with a party hat on her head and chocolate cake round her mouth ... not to mention three consecutive pirates!
6. All my digital photos are now on Flickr - over 1000 of them, labelled, dated and sorted into sets. Now I need to start scanning the old-fashioned, printed kind.
7. I meant to post this last week, but forgot. This miniature hobbit hole is just amazing! Click over and admire the detail. (HT: Someone on Facebook, but I'm afraid I can't remember who.)
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