what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter lamb in Transylvania

It’s Easter Friday and, as I see the dawn come up over the hill, I can sense it’s going to be clear, bright day. I feel at the moment very much like the alter ego I have given this site (see Spitzweg’s painting at the right of the site - at the bottom of all the links etc).
For my part, I sit up in bed, fully clothed, a pile of books down on my left, a stove and candles in the room! Unlike "Der Arme Dichter", I a have scarf around the neck (not a hat), a carpet on the floor, paintings on the wall, a laptop on my lap and a secure ceiling!

Yesterday the old couple invited me to join them for an Easter meal – I heard the word “Miel” – and thought “interesting that honey should be part of the Easter celebrations”. Later I heard the word again when I went to another neighbour who makes and sells the most glorious Cascaval and Burdurf cheeses. OK, I thought, I’ll buy some honey. When I entered the basement room where they make and store the cheese, he proudly pointed to several carcases of lamb hanging from the ceiling!

Writing this has reminded me of an earlier blog in which I had recalled the impression an essay called “Dissertation upon roast pork” had made on me at school. Decades later I was sure (not without reason!) that its author was the inestimable Francis ....Bacon! When I tracked down the essay, it was to discover the author was Charles..... Lamb! Can create a good quiz or crossword question – “when is pork ...lamb?”!!
While on the subject of food, I drove to Brasov and Zarnesti yesterday on various errands – including general stocks; getting an anti-virus programme inserted on laptop; a haircut; and booking a test-drive of the new Dacia 4 wheel.
Amongst the purchases was my favourite bread – a huge Hungarian potato bread (cu kartoffel) brought in apparently from the Hungarian county. It lasts me at least 2 weeks (and costs just under 2 euros) As I groaned with its - and the 3 kilos round of cheese - weight up the hill and stored the cheese in the (ice-cold) spare room, 2 thoughts came into my head – first Brecht’s poem which celebrates the things wich gave him pleasure -

The first look out of the window in the morning
The old book found again
Enthusiastic faces
Snow, the change of seasons
The newspaper
The dog
Taking showers, swimming
Old music
Comfortable shoes
Taking things in
New music
Writing, planning
Being friendly
Brecht (Last Poems 1953-1956) It's his pic above - not the usual one but if you look closely you will see he still has that large typical cigar!

OK – so it’s not really poetry – but it’s poetic! And it doesn’t refer to beer, bread or cheese. And what on earth does he mean by dialectics? The newspaper and planning and I would cut out – and include good bread and strong cheese; viewing favourite paintings; and walking in the hills with a breeze on the face (for one of the great Brecht poems see the Brecht and Candide blog entry of mid-October)

The second memory sparked was the old black and white French film “The 7 deadly sins”...The one which made the impact on me was the traveller in old France who was given shelter in a hovel by an old man and a younger wife. The place was so small the guest shared the marital bed – the camera focussed on the faces of the guest and the young woman – both lustful. Eventually the man could bear it no longer – he leapt over the woman; stretched up to the top of the cupboard and brought down .....a succulent round of cheese!

I’ve discovered and put on my links a Romanian photographer whose pictures do justice to the glorious landscape here – see Stunning Transylvanian landscapes on Links

Finally, for this early Easter morning (the sky is cloudless as 07.00 pips on the radio), a good series of blogs and papers from a world bank site. Waisbord has a useful comment about how practitioners and academics rarely talk to one another and indeed talk a different language.
And I downloaded from the site some interesting papers on, for example, different models of Freedom of Information systems (including the Scottish). Another on social accountability mechanisms and their role in public sector reform.

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