I honour Lady Percy and her expression of love. YOU MAY CLICK TO CONFIRM.
Otherwise my novels, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations, responses, apologies. I'm only serious by accident. Education? Forget it. I hold posts to 300 words* since I've found less is better than more. One quasi-certainty in an uncertain world: I almost always re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* New exclusion: short stories.

Friday, 28 November 2014


 The world through a replacement eye

Notices identify the aisle contents in the supermarket: Pasta/Cooking Sauces, Eggs/Canned fruit. Just beyond the focus of my glasses. Now I can read them bare-eyed and have fallen in love with the typeface used. Curvaceous and clear, reminiscent of the moment in 1959 when I said: I'm going to marry her. And did.

Stark naked on the weighing scale I was unable to read the digits, unaware of my diet's progress, now in its fifteenth month. Glasses? Nah, they'd have added weight. Had to call in VR. Yesterday, for the first time I saw the total unaided. I'd lost three more pounds.

Women 10 m away no longer merge into the background: their contours may be measured, their faces scanned for beauty. All are beautiful.

No advertising poster is wholly dull, no municipal announcement menacing, no planning notice obscure - they are there to be read. My bowels turn to water as I revel in info seizure.

Now I can scrutinise his every discouraging detail (especially the snarl that forms on the left-hand side of his mouth), BBC news presenter Huw Edwards is frequently absent from the 10 pm bulletin. His defences are down.

Helen, a member of VR's painting class recently had the cataract op. I compliment her on her vestigial glasses. She hands them to me to try. They're as light as a butterfly on my nose. Less likely to slip. Expensive, but what the hell?

French class resumes since I am now driving again. My eyesight slides over the words of Rien ne s'oppose à la Nuit (a novel) and I'm able to scan ahead. And thus elide words. Elision is vital in spoken French.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Thy greater creation

 Creativity at Robinson Towers is not limited to novels based on woman worship. There are others strands, more inventive, more titillating, more useful. VR is less demonstrative but she gets things done.

Last night she produced a casserole, black with plenitude No name, of course, for she rejects the persiflage of gustation. I forked it in, my chin close to the plate; to waste a scrap would have been a Robinsonian form of blasphemy.

On other occasions, cakes. Especially seed cake, that most adult of flavours, light years away from chocolate-smeared bravado that duller palates rave about.

VR reads hugely (220 titles a year) and summarises each experience in a long long alphabetical list. The first three entries:

Author: Achebe, C. Title: Things fall apart. Date finished: Jun 27 2007. Rating (out of 10): 7.00    Plot: Europeans come to tribal Nigeria. Life of one man and family in lake.
Author: Ackroyd, P. Title: Clerkenwell talkes. Date finished: Mar 10 2005. Plot:  Mystery during deposement of Richard II. Cant. Tales char's. Not sure what was done, by who. Light
Author: Adams, J. Title: Angel eyes. Date finished: Jan 17 2005. Plot: Mystery drugs, disfigured ex-cop. Ghosts. Computers.

Like the other sage, living in Brittany, VR knits. Grandson Zach attends a CofE school and the above will be his Christmas gift to his educators.

".... success tended to be the norm. Marking it wasn’t necessary. But I must mark it now. I’m proud of you. And I…” The sentence tailed off.

Her mother’s eyes shone. Clare could never recall such emotion. Conceivably that final sentence held a confession of love which Mrs Morgan was unable to admit. But it didn’t matter, the admission was tangible. They embraced awkwardly. Through lack of practice, Clare imagined.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Self-exposer (f.) needed

It takes a big ego to say aloud: I'm good-looking. Only in our privacy dare we hold such a view. Especially if it isn't true.

Post-diet, on optimistic days I used to toy with "bare" and "lined", imagining myself as Lee Marvin (see pic) but with a thinner nose.

Better eyesight has eliminated this. Blotched complexion, melted candle-wax eye-bags and wearied cheeks drive out secret comforts. Not that it matters. I write, therefore I may lie.

Actually it does matter. My central characters are women, their private thoughts are my happy hunting ground. All are endlessly attractive to me but only one is beautiful; beauty is part of Judith's story in Blest Redeemer. Clare (Gorgon Times) has a drawn face and is buck-toothed. Jana (Out Of Arizona) is blemished. Francine's face (Second Hand) is bony, her blonde hair as lifeless as silk.

Those are the easy bits. But what about their inner opinions of their own looks? Do they make secretly exaggerated claims or are they terrified? Do they care? As a male author, wanting to do my best (ie, tell the truth) on their behalf I face an insurmountable barrier. No woman is going to volunteer, even hint. I must invent. And I may not be plausible.

Unless some supremely confident being can throw me an idea. Too late for Clare, Jana and Judith. But Francine (life rent by hideous trauma) needs help.

Second Hand (behind the scenes)
Guess whose physical persona I had in mind here:

As old as the hills, Torvald had said. Pratt had a gaunt face, his mouth bracketed between vertical grooves. His clothes hung like those of a fat man who’d abruptly lost weight. A shock of white hair looked stagy, flagging a spurious form of wisdom.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Wow! (Tenth revision)

The post-op Festival of Light
The eye is clear, its former glum opacity
Has gone – good riddance halo-ed mysteries.
The eye now views a fine geometry
With knife-cut edges at its boundaries.

The lens digests these spectral coloured bands,
It takes advantage of their separate states,
It meets the needs of newer light’s demands,
Responding to the changing brain’s dictates.

And now the book spines say: Just look, read me!
While CD cases shout orchestral chords.
Under the influence of clarity
The patient thrills to unforeseen rewards

I saw but barely, swayed by ignorance.
Cleverer now, I dance the photons' dance.

Thanks to Mr J. Deutsch, Anna and the team
Hereford, November 19, 2014

Roderick Robinson

Note: Written in the AM; savagely rewritten and turned into a sonnet in the PM. The following day it underwent total evisceration. Now it says something

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Living above my expectations

The Paris Hilton was the most self-evidently luxurious hotel I've ever stayed at. I felt I could have dialled a number for any louche delight. But then for free I had the view. Someone else was paying.

Tall Trees Country House in the village of Landyrnog, five miles from Ruthin, not far from Wrexham - in North Wales dog-blast-it - is hard to find and also luxurious. The knob on the puller-switch in our bathroom was an elegant slender cylinder of stainless steel. It may have cost £10 - £15. Factor up and you get the idea.

The mirror cupboard in the bathroom included tooth-brushes, tooth paste, shaving soap, etc. No need to load down the family Rolls with all that travelling clobber.

I never saw the outdoor (heated!) pool or the antique billiard table but didn't feel deprived. Only so much luxury may be conveyed via artefacts, the rest depends on service.

Susan, the welcoming lady of the house, shook my hand and asked if I wanted tea or coffee. I refused gracefully. "How about a gin-and-tonic, then?" That was different - I didn't care if it was added to the bill (it wasn't); there is a tide in the affairs of man when a G&T is all we'll ever want. VR and I drank ours in what seemed like our personal lounge; other lounges were available.

The breakfast eggs were poached, the sausages were up to Hereford level (ie, stratospheric). I won't go on; my aim here is to spread sweetness and light, not envy and dissension.

The carpet of south-west France at three thousand feet. Clumps of trees like tight green sponge, orange roof tiles, cars idling along narrow roads like iridescent beetles.

Monday, 17 November 2014

At least it's not whingeing

 The old discuss age - or their maladies. This must cease.

How about double-glazing? The phrase is as unevocative as double-digging (gardening), double-entry (book-keeping), double-fault (tennis) and double-talk (conversation). A dull domestic necessity, frequently misunderstood. Many Trollope-readers imagine such windows mysteriously generate heat. They think the same about thermostats. It isn't true.

We have just been re-double-glazed. One unexpected side-effect is the house is quieter. Passing cars make less noise (Not true; less noise gets through.) Not surprising - the gap between the two sheets of glass is twice as wide as that in the old windows. And air is a poor conductor of both sound and heat. But no, I'll not be technoid.

Double-glazing encourages fantasy. The windows and the door fit tightly. Were the house to be carried away in flooding I am pleasingly reassured it would float. Yes, that's untrue too but we may dream, may we not?

The handles are more substantial, more akin to those on safes. They clunk shut. I feel less vulnerable (no, not that; it relates to age), Aroused - sexually, if you like - by something that works well. I go to sleep expecting erotic dreams. There's a bonus.

In memory of JH who encouraged poetry in me

My Lord, Poor wretched States, prest by extremities,
Are fain to seek for succours and supplies
Of Prince’s aids, or good men’s charities.

Disease the Enemy, and his engineers,

Reasons why. Initially the outmoded language charms. Re-read, especially the first two lines, it’s poetry: succinct and rhythmic. And emotional. That beautifully expressed (yet horrific) sentiment – want as an engineer of disease. Who can this be?

Ben Jonson

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Among Tories and it's my fault

Does car deprivation help us blog? Joe Hyam preferred buses/trains to cars. On one bus he overheard school-kids discussing drug dealers and used the material in a piece published in Spectator (Right-wing weekly but well written). Kudos! But Joe lived in Tunbridge Wells, effectively a London outer suburb (albeit 45 miles out) and well served by public transport.

Yesterday I took a political journey. The local bus didn't arrive and I walked most of the route (pic gives flavour) to the private hospital. No big deal, about 3 miles, and I'd added a walking contingency. Walking towards the land of Mixed Feelings.

Medically it was good news. Cataract op in one week. Check-up a week later. It's "very likely" my eyesight will be good enough to drive.

I know about cataract; VR went through it and she, like others, found the op tolerable. But she went NHS (ie, free). For selfish reasons I cannot spare the time. I am paying.

Oh, the pastel colours. Comfy chairs. Deference. An elegant receptionist dressed to kill (let's hope not!). Diplomatic talk of credit cards. Precious chat of other patients, clearly Tories. I will pay in more than cash. Pray for my soul.

A WEEK later and a vehicle honked outside - Ibrahim, of course…

Much as she enjoyed Ibrahim’s company, she regarded his horn as peremptory. A reminder of Catford where occidental teenagers had tooted from their cars rather than ring the Torridon Road doorbell. But then Ibrahim wasn’t exactly devout, more given to natural exuberance. Perhaps he saw a car horn as a Pakistani musical instrument. And here he was in his people carrier, brilliant white teeth beneath a bristly moustache, reaching across to the passenger door, eager for her to join him.