Monday, 9 May 2011

I am fond of

1) My nephew! He's coming up for two and a half now, but he still thinks I'm funny, which is good. The other day I met up with him and his parents by the canal in Exeter. He saw me from quite a way away and ran up to me so I picked him up, and then he looked at me all seriously and said "Rat gone", with the air of one stating a regrettable fact. I'm pretty impressed he still remembers about the absence of rat. Today one of our neighbours' cats came out onto our decking, and my nephew went up and stroked her very gently. I was quite proud of him, all the more so when he saw how I put my hand out so the cat could decide for herself whether she wanted to rub her head on it, and copied me, luring the cat to him instead of approaching her. It's a good tactic with cats, especially if you're a toddler. So I am proud of having tutored him in the ways of pet righteousness.

2) The British Museum! It's like a refuge, with its huge light spaces and ancient stones. I went to see the Afghanistan exhibition, which is very good. Each of the sections is about a different important site, and is introduced by a placard that says something like "In 1961 the king was hunting with his courtiers when a local peasant presented him an intricately carved stone. He alerted French archaeologists, and they found the legendary lost city of Ay Khanum..." or whatnot. There's some fantastic stuff there from several different cultures.

3) Python! I am learning to program in Python, using some online resources I found. It makes me happy. It's quite a straightforward language.
print('Hello world!')


  1. That is impressive, that he remembers about your rat specifically and how to treat animals in general. I have been thinking about the afterlife, as one does, and concluding (provisionally) that the only form of afterlife I really believe in is the ongoing effect one's existence has on people still living, including memories. So your rat is having a significant afterlife, which sounds worthy of quite a significant rat. (Would insert a smiley here if I used them, you'll just have to take my word for it that I mean that sincerely.)

  2. I believe in an afterlife but I wouldn't care to guess quite what form it will take. (I do like John Donne's suggestion in one of his sermons that we will all instantly become Doctors of Philosophy.) But the idea that my rat has left a lasting benefit for my nephew is very pleasing. I think it would be another argument for the idea that there is a moral value to pets. I hope my nephew will grow up to be kind specifically to animals but also in general.