The election of Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Labour Party in England was an event that shook the established political order in Westminster, and has re-energised many on the left who felt that the Labour Party had forgotten its core principles. Here, on Arran, Mr. Corbyn’s statement that he would not push the nuclear button has particular resonance, with nuclear-armed submarines passing to and from their Faslane base on a regular basis. What Mr. Corbyn, or indeed anyone else fighting for a fairer and more humane society, can ultimately achieve in the face of the corporate and financial establishment remains to be seen, but there can be little doubt that his election has reconnected many people with the political process and reminded them that they can have a voice and make a difference.
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Those who enjoyed the Swing 2015 concert in September – and others who missed it – have a treat in store in Brodick Village Hall on Saturday, 14th November, when Arran Music Society present the Tim Kliphuis Trio.
Tim Kliphuis is a Dutch violinist renowned for mixing gypsy jazz with classical and folk music. Classically trained at the Amsterdam Conservatoire, and taught to improvise by fiery gypsy jazz guitar legends, Tim Kliphuis combines dazzling perfection and complete musical freedom like no-one else in the world. He will be joined for the concert by his long-standing colleagues Nigel Clark (guitar) and Roy Percy (double bass). Together the Trio form one of the world’s top string groups, combining jaw-dropping virtuosity and mesmerizing improvisations with a beautifully varied repertoire. They have long been firm favourites on the festival scene. Highlights include the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, collaborations with the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, Richard Strauss Festival and Baltimore Fiddle Festival. In 2013, they received the Scottish Jazz International award.
The Herald commented on their show at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh: “…an expansive and often dazzling but genuinely communicative performance.”
Seating will again be café-style at tables, and you may bring a bottle. So come along on the 14th for a uniquely exhilarating evening. The concert begins at 7.30, and tickets are available on the door, at Inspirations of Arran in Brodick, or online from www.arranevents.com.
String Duo High Heels and Horse Hair galloped onto Scotland's chamber music scene in 2010 and will be galloping to Arran on Saturday 21st November 2015! Their fresh, dynamic playing and engaging style has delighted audiences across the country and earned them the Enterprise Music Scotland Residency Award for 2013-2015. Their Edinburgh Fringe show Alba to Oz was appraised 'Exquisite fusion music from a loveable quirky high-heeled duo'.
“Two lands, roughly 17,000km apart from one another, unite like brothers separated at birth – Scottish Baroque and Australian indigenous music interact in an increasingly natural and palpable harmony. This is, of course, Sonia Cromarty’s and Alice Rickards’ intention, but it’s still extraordinary that it works.” ('Three weeks', Edinburgh festival Fringe)
Alice Rickards is the only antipodean member of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. She was raised on a small cattle farm near Armidale, northern New South Wales. Before moving to the UK in 2003 Alice completed her undergraduate performance degree at the Queensland Conservatorium in Australia. She then gained her Masters with Distinction at the Royal Academy of Music, London. Alice has had a varied career in chamber music, from winning QLD Arts Councils Gertrude Langer Chamber Music Prize to performing Australian repertoire and new commissions at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. She loves the sound of gut strings and has performed with early music ensembles including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Dunedin Consort. Alice enjoys living in Scotland, for the space and the adventurous lifestyle it affords.
Aberdeen-born Sonia Cromarty studied cello and baroque cello at the RSAMD gaining a First Class Honours degree and Post-graduate Diploma with Distinction. During her college years she won numerous prizes for solo and ensemble playing including the prestigious Peter Morrison Award for all round excellence. Since graduating she has enjoyed a busy and varied freelance career that has taken her around the world from South America to the Arctic. She has worked with Scotland’s leading orchestras and ensembles and performs and tours regularly with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of Scottish Opera. As a chamber player Sonia is also a member of Daniel's Beard, the Amici Cello Trio, Beinn Artair Piano Trio and the Rhona Mackay Trio. Off stage, she enjoys teaching, bringing music to the wider community through education projects and introducing the world to her young daughter Nara.
The concert begins at 7.30, and tickets are available on the door or at Inspirations of Arran in Brodick.
Diane Philips is starting a new singing group for school age children on Sunday November 8th. There will be three sessions each week:
For more information please contact Diane by calling 07890 178531 or by email.
The Corrie Film Club's offering for November 8th in Corrie Hall at 8.00pm is Ida, held over from last July.
Directed by Paweł Pawlikowski, who made the 2004 BAFTA-wining British drama film My Summer of Love, Ida won the 2015 Oscar for best foreign language film, becoming the first Polish film to win the award. Accepting the award, Pawlikowski said: “We make a film about silence and withdrawing from the world and the need for contemplation – and here we are, at the epicentre of world noise and attention. Fantastic – life is full of surprises.”
Peter Bradshaw gave Ida five stars in his Guardian review, writing that “Ida, which pulls off the remarkable trick of looking as if it was made when it was set – the early 60s – feels more like a restored and rediscovered classic than a new movie. There really is a bitter, wintry cold here: it is illuminated by the stark, daylit whiteness of snow, and you can feel the chill in those barnyards and draughty churches.”
“Agata Trzebuchowska is tremendously mysterious as a 17-year-old novitiate in a remote convent: she has the impassivity and inscrutability of youth. This is someone to whom literally nothing has happened in her life, and now we will watch her react, or try to conceal her reaction, to an onslaught of momentous events. It is 1962, and Anna is about to take her final vows in the convent where she was left as an orphan baby in 1945 by persons unknown. But Anna has one surviving relative, and the Mother Superior – who has clearly guessed more about Anna’s background than she admits – insists that she contact this woman before she makes the irrevocable decision. The relative turns out to be her aunt, Wanda Gruz, tremendously played by Agata Kulesza – a worldly, hard-drinking woman who lives on her own. “They didn’t tell you who I am – and what I do?” she asks.”
Bradshaw concludes his review with “Ida is a compelling film that achieves a great deal in a short time. The performances are superb and the sense of location and period miraculous.” Meanwhile The New York Times review said that "with breathtaking concision and clarity Mr. Pawlikowski penetrates the darkest, thorniest thickets of Polish history, reckoning with the crimes of Stalinism and the Holocaust. Until the very end, the audience never hears music unless the people on screen hear it, too, and many of the scenes — at once austere and charged with an intensity that verges on the metaphysical — owe an evident debt to ’60s cinema heroes like Ingmar Bergman and Robert Bresson."
In an extended essay in The Conversation, Jeremy Hicks describes how Pawlikowski has addressed the issue of Poland’s repression of memory: “In the 1960s there were some very guarded attempts to hint at the truth of the occupation: that Poles rarely aided their Jewish neighbours and sometimes were complicit in their annihilation. In doing so, Pawlikowski has staged quite a coup. He has succeeded in making a film about repression, sexual and political, about memory and Polish identity. Most crucially, perhaps, it is a film about the Holocaust that doesn’t feature the Nazis.”
The director of Ida, Paweł Pawlikowski, was born in Poland and lived his first fourteen years there. In 1971 his mother moved with him to England. Ida was his first Polish film; in an interview he said that the film "is an attempt to recover the Poland of my childhood, among many things.”
Do come along to Corrie Film Club to see Ida – all are welcome, and a small donation is asked from visitors.
Sometime in the midst of June a group of islanders got together with Eco Savvy to work on upcycling a familiar tale. Alice in Wonderland was 150 years old this year and her image has been redesigned. This creative group of people felt that they could create a new look for Alice by using a range of upcycling processes. Throughout the summer they met and designed, sewed, glued and painted their way through a collection of donated and waste items to create not only a new image for Alice but also all the costumes, props and decorations that were to become the upcycled story of Alice in Wonderland.
Last Friday in Whiting Bay village hall Alice in Wonderland was retold with a small invasion from characters from the Wizard of Oz! A packed audience bought into this madness and eagerly anticipated the new tale that had become Eco’s version of Alice in Wonderland. They were not disappointed as a cast of adults and children led by Alice Lockhart took to the stage to tell a tale that became a journey through the unknown. A story sprinkled with dramatic entrances, comedic moments and choreography that just left us all smiling. The creative team chose the Queen of Hearts as the character to represent exactly what can be achieved with upcycling and her entrance from the back of the hall did not disappoint. The madness continued until the culmination of the story when the brand new upcycled Alice was presented to the audience. It was a moment to pause and reflect on what has been achieved by a spirited group of people who set themselves no boundaries. The show closed with a stunning new arrangement of ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’ from the Vivace choir. The curtain call was in now typical Eco Savvy style and as Beyonce blared out the entire cast took to the stage once more and the audience clapped along.
Eco Savvy put on a night that created lots of special memories but more than that he showed us all just what can be done with a group of commitment people and upcycling. He would like to thank everyone that helped to make the project such a success and he has left us wondering ‘what next?’.
If you would like to join Eco Savvy in his work on the island towards an ambition of zero waste, do pop into his shop in Whiting Bay and have a chat with one of his volunteers or visit his website.
For the technically minded, the St Ayles Skiff is built from a kit using high quality marine plywood using the clinker ply method. It is 22ft (6.5m) long and has a beam of 5ft 8in (1.7m). There is some variation in the weight according to exactly how it is built, but most are being finished at around 350lb (160kg) - light enough to be lifted on and off trailers by its own crew - though more hands would be preferred.
The first one was built at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther in 2009 under the direction of Alec Jordan of Jordan Boats with the help of students from the Adam Smith College in Dunfermline. The skiff was designed by Iain Oughtred and takes its name from the St Ayles chapel which now forms the entance porch of the Scottish Fisheries Museum. The aim was to try and resurrect the old Fife miners' regattas with a boat made from a plywood kit. To date, nearly 150 St. Ayles skiffs have been built worldwide. The Arran skiff "Iolair" (Gaelic for eagle) is hull number 141!
The Arran Coastal Rowing Club was formed early this year and "Iolair" was launched at the Lamlash Splash on September 19th and, since then, the club has been running regular training sessions. If you would like to try skiff rowing and maybe join a crew, come along to Arran Yacht Club in Lamlash on a Saturday from 10am onwards. Alternatively have a look at the Arran Coastal Rowing Club website. A second skiff is now under construction by members of the Arran Coastal Rowing Club.
Our Arran Artist of the Month this month is Jan Inglis. Jan and husband John live in High Corrie and are well known in many areas of island life.
Jan, where did you grow up, go to school, and go to college or university? What other jobs have you done?
I attended Nottingham College of Art in the mid-sixties to study painting. During the summer breaks I went to Scotland for the sake of its landscape, to a hotel by Loch Awe. I washed dishes all day in a kitchen where the window was below the level of the lawn, but being with other “temps” was fun. On my one day off in the week I stepped out with sketch-book and watercolours into a beautiful glen without people or interruptions.
Back to college: Expressionism, Life-class, Anatomy, Landscape, Perspective, Monochrome, Charcoal, Paints. After my three year N.D.D. course ended the college awarded me a Painting Year. I had no responsibilities except to myself to paint and produce what I could, my sketch-books were raided for ideas. The St. Ives artists were in fashion with their free open style and bright Mediterranean colours. Also of course, a strong sense of the primacy of light came from the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists and Monet’s work interested me.
Who or what have been the greatest influences in your work? Which other artists do you most admire?
Above all, Turner was my hero, his fluid handling of paint, his marvellous freedom with colour were inspiring. Whistler – “The Falling Rocket” was another painter who stimulated my imagination. I was attracted to William McTaggart’s work when I saw a couple of his Iona pictures flooded with strong white, I felt an affinity with it.
Tell us something about your journey in art – how is it that you are here now, on Arran, and doing what you do?
After my Painting Year was finished I began teaching Art in a large Comprehensive school in Coventry. After some years there, the Head suggested I studied for an M.A. in the History of Art and Birmingham accepted me as an extramural student. I was living in Leamington Spa then and a tutor was allocated to me. Two years after my thesis was finished, I left full-time school teaching and became a part-time lecturer in Higher Education, the Midlands having jobs in every direction of the compass. I taught at Rugby F.E.College, Northampton Polytechnic and the University of Warwick among others. During this period I was regularly exhibiting my paintings in small galleries throughout the area.
In July 1999 we moved to Arran and to a very different pace of life. Living in Arran has given me all the time I need to paint and I have the sea close by.
Describe your workspace or studio for us. How do you tend to work – in concentrated bursts, sporadically, or in a regular daily pattern
I work reasonably regularly from mid-morning till early evening in my workroom, of course long periods of analysis and introspection are included too. I have good light from large windows, a view of the garden and glimpses of the sea.
What are you working on at present?
In 2002 I was invited to exhibit in The Burnside, its two spacious high-ceilinged rooms well-lit, were ideal. The gallery left a significant gap when it closed in 2010. I now exhibit my paintings annually in Corrie & Sannox Village Hall which works well. I know the space and it enables me to show a year’s work altogether which is satisfying. I also take part in “Open Studios” which I enjoy because people are responsive and an interesting exchange of ideas is possible.
I call each year’s exhibition “Looking at Light”. It is light in all its ever-changing qualities that I am conscious of. The sky and sea as subjects offer a tremendous range of possibilities in painting for me; amorphous, essentially transparent, always in motion, the quality of paint can be as varied as the subject, shifting gradations of colour, paint fine and as transparent as water-colour or having the weight of layers from a loaded palette knife. My current paintings are large, 90cm square, (the squareness adds tension) which gives space and depth to a subject which demands them. I do not add anything – ships, birds flying, people waving from the shore, as they would detract from the real subject, but sometimes give a distant coast-line which can soften the dual ribbon of sky and sea without breaking the sense of continuity.
Thank you very much for talking to the Voice, Jan.
Following his successful exhibition in London last year, the Edinburgh branch of the Fine Art Society, one of Britain’s oldest and most respected galleries, is hosting Arran artist Tim Pomeroy’s most recent solo exhibition. Tim has the whole ground floor of the prestigious Dundas Street gallery from November the 19th till Christmas.
The sculptures, (it is hoped twelve in total) , ten of which will be new works from this year, reflect Tim’s abiding interest in ‘interrogating the numinous for signs of life’ as Tim jokingly puts it. His interests are and have always been diverse; from European archaeology to the modern designed world, from ritual objects of weaponry and devotion to aerodynamics and the beautiful geometries and symmetries of the natural world. All these influences are present and find voice in this major Edinburgh showing of his work.
The exhibition is called Contemporary Sacred. The title reflects Tim’s own aspiration for his work that it be more than simply three dimensional decoration. He likes to think the best of his works contain a spiritual essence. A quality he hopes transforms the feelings of the viewer into a more meditative/ inward level… that might even inspire. He concedes it is almost impossible to talk about;
‘that’ he says ‘is why I make them ( the sculptures)’.
‘ A few years back a man came into one of my exhibitions and, talking of one of the works, said something like….that sculpture could stand on any altar of any religion in the world and it would not be out of place. It was a great compliment but a greater confirmation that he had recognised something of my more personal searching. Most of the time I don’t talk about these things. I live with the paradoxes of belief in an otherworldliness (of sorts) and this world of very concrete physics, as we all do. Making the sculptures that I do goes some of the way to helping me answer and live within these, at times, contradictory pressures. On the best of days I like to think of what I make as being a sort-of spiritual lightning conductor – when a sculpture becomes for me more than the total of its beautiful materials and my idea then I feel it genuinely has a living energy- calling the show Contemporary Sacred is I suppose a way of expressing that’.
As we know here on Arran, Tim also writes and promulgates poetry. He sees this as another way of addressing the seemingly unanswerable …
He cites one of his own poems as going part of the way to expressing this.
Ship in a bottle
Make complete for me this ship in a bottle,
the seemingly impossible and incredible
these unanswerable questions yet
about the masts of love and sails of death,
both tacking so close to the wind
they become the slicing wind’s breath.
Separate for me the man from the disillusion,
the sense of loss from the still-believing boy,
by the sea on the sand, pressing a tiny toy ship
where a cork should be, squinting
seeing sun through glass, bottle in hand.
The exhibition opens on Thursday November 19th. Tim is giving a free talk about his work at the gallery on Saturday 21st. Anybody interested in attending should contact Jacqui Murray at the gallery 0131 557 4050 to register interest.
Some readers may have seen the notice from SEPA, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, in the newspapers about an application from the Scottish Salmon Company (SSC), who propose an increase in cage depth from 10m to 12m in order to increase the number of fish held in the Lamlash Bay fish farm. Stuart Turner from Lamlash has been doing some research, and he points out that this means more feed, more fish excrement and more chemicals being released into Lamlash Bay. These chemicals are needed because the fish are kept at such a high density that they are vulnerable to sea lice, among other things, and these are causing a huge problem throughout Scotland:
Stuart goes on to note that, despite its name, SSC is mainly owned by a Ukrainian banker and a Norwegian investor and although The Scottish Salmon Company Limited has an Edinburgh address it is a subsidiary of The Scottish Salmon Company PLC, which is registered in Jersey. There’s a list of their largest shareholders here. The details are that SSC is majority owned by Northern Link, a private equity backed by Edinburgh-based, Ukrainian-born, banker Yuri Lopatinsky. Northern Link and other shareholders own shares in SSC through a custodian bank, Six Sis AG. The second largest shareholder is Frode Teigen, a Norwegian investor who owns shares in a string of fishing and aquaculture companies including Marine Harvest and Austevoll Seafood.
Voice readers will be well aware that Lamlash Bay lies in the newly designated "South Arran Marine Protected Area" (MPA) which is an attempt to help rejuvenate the badly damaged fish stocks and marine diversity in the Clyde. COAST is not opposed to fish farms if they can be proved to be sustainable. Unfortunately they have not received information which shows they can be ecologically sustainable. Their view is that if we managed our wild fish populations sustainably there would be no need for fish farms. They will be discussing their response to this proposal in detail themselves but will be opposing an expansion of current activities. In the meantime they would encourage people to make their views known to their elected representatives and to SEPA.
The application can be found on the SEPA website.
Stuart suggests some of the following points could be made in any response to the application:
Meanwhile, ITV News on the 8th October ran a story about the number of seals being shot to protect salmon farms. Official returns sent to the Scottish government by salmon farms show that 110 seals were shot in the first part of 2015. Although officials say this is a 5% decline on the same period last year, campaigners are calling for a ban on the killings, and supermarkets are being urged to stop sourcing farmed salmon from 'seal-unfriendly' salmon farms. Protests are planned in Edinburgh (30 October) and in London (9 December) before a protest outside the RSPCA's head office in Sussex (10 December).
Our seas are filling up with plastic rubbish and chemical sludge. It has recently been estimated that 8 million tons of plastic waste are dumped in the ocean each year and it is predicted that the total amount could increase tenfold by 2020.
This has a massive impact on marine wildlife: for example, plastic bags look very much like jellyfish when floating around and a dead whale was recently washed up in France with 800kg of disposable bags in its stomach. The remains of sea birds are regularly found with cigarette lighters and other assorted plastic in them. A recent scientific study estimates that 90% of the world’s seabirds are likely to have pieces of plastic in their guts. Plastic waste also affects other marine wildlife such as dolphins, seals, turtles and fish, which become entangled or choked by it.
And it doesn't stop there – all the plastic that has ever entered the seas is still there. It just breaks down in sunlight into smaller and smaller particles. These microparticles are then ingested by smaller fish and organisms There is also concern that the so-called microspheres present in more and more cosmetic items are adding to this problem. In addition, in the process of breaking down many plastics releases toxic chemicals, which scientists have proven are building up in the food chain – something to think about next time you eat seafood.
So it comes as no surprise that Arran is also impacted by marine pollution. I am sure that while walking along the beach you've seen plastic drinks bottles and other rubbish littering our shores. When the Gulf Stream hits the south coast it brings with it not only warm water but also plenty of plastic. For this reason, and to make the Coastal Path more pleasant for walkers, the Arran Coastal Way team decided to clean up the whole coast of Arran.
Starting at Kildonan and with generous help from COAST, local farmers and volunteers, they have so far collected around 150 tonne bags of rubbish – sometimes from extremely inaccessible stretches of coastline. This includes a lot of items from the fishing and shipping industries (nets, full and used oil canisters, fish crates, buoys, gloves etc.) and a vast number of plastic drinks bottles. Additionally they come across car wheels and tyres, plastic shopping bags, tents, sweet wrappers, cigarette lighters and many other smaller unidentifiable pieces of plastic. One of the most common items, and probably the most difficult to pick up, are cotton bud sticks – cotton buds thrown down the toilet after use are small enough to pass through the sewerage plant filters and end up in their tens of thousands all around Arran's beaches.
The team has been doing litter picks every Wednesday for the last six months and has so far reached Blackwaterfoot. They intend to work their way clockwise around the coast until they reach Kildonan again. If you are interested in helping out, then please contact Rachel Sedman on 01770 303926 or you can write to her at email@example.com
Information about the work being done to improve the Arran Coastal Way can be found on their website.
Alyssa Colwell, Katie Mowatt and Charlie Weir are pupils from Arran High School. They have joined the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST) team for a week of work experience. Katie is considering a career as a researcher: “I thought COAST could be an interesting experience and give me a better idea of what I’ll be doing if I finally go into research”.
Their task has been investigating the prevalence of Japanese knotweed around Lamlash bay. Alyssa explains about their findings: “We went from Clauchlands Point to Kingscross Point over the course of three days and found substantial evidence of the presence of Japanese knotweed, finding twenty-eight separate patches, some as large as twenty square metres, if not bigger. We found the majority between Kingscross Point and Cordon, but there was a definite presence around the rest of the bay, particularly near residential areas”.
Japanese knotweed is a non-native, invasive plant species which has a negative impact on the natural plant species found on Arran, as well as being damaging to properties, should it grow near them. This is because the roots of the plant can grow through concrete and cause structural damage to any buildings within a vicinity of seven metres. It can be removed by excavation or by the use of herbicide spray over the course of about two years, but any treatment must be performed by a trained professional, as there could be legal consequences if the plant is not completely destroyed. From a fragment the size of a fingernail, the plant can grow vertically to the height of three to four metres above ground and three metres below, as well as growing seven metres horizontally underground. The plant is characterised by long bamboo-like shoots with purple flecks, stems in a zig-zag pattern with smooth, flat based, shield shaped leaves, which can grow to ten to fifteen centimetres. In the summer months, the plant grows creamy white flowers, which it loses by winter.
Brenda Stewart, from the Lamlash Improvement Group has welcomed the students report. Members of this community group have been trained by the Ayrshire Rivers Trust to monitor and deal with these invasive species.
The students have also contributed to the Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland Biosecurity and Invasive Species Programme by uploading the exact GPS coordinates of where the invasive species has been found to make the information available online.
Charlie said: “We leave our time at COAST with not just valuable work experience, but also a deeper understanding of how various factors can affect our environment”. Katie added: “It’s a great place for young people to get work experience or volunteer”.
A Green Party report (Airport Expansion Doesn’t Make Climate Sense) has revealed that the UK will not meet its climate change targets if David Cameron goes ahead with a new runway at Heathrow, Gatwick or anywhere in the South-East of England.
Airport Expansion Doesn’t Make Climate Sense provides a fresh perspective on the airport expansion debate by offering alternatives to new runways that a climate-sensitive government would pursue; including moving many short-haul flight passengers onto existing rail services and taxing very frequent flyers.
The report’s key messages are that airport expansion does not make climate sense, the current expansion debate offers a false choice and that the UK cannot make its contribution to cutting carbon emissions whilst expanding its airports and increasing emissions from aviation.
Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett said: “Airport Expansion Doesn’t Make Climate Sense demonstrates how the current expansion argument is offering a false choice. Debating between Gatwick or Heathrow masks the reality that the UK has to reduce air passenger numbers, not increase them.”
“The report highlights a number of ways to halt the apparent need for airport expansion, including the introduction of a frequent flyer tax which would tax aviation much more fairly.”
The Troubled Man by Henning Mankell
Vintage paperback £7.99 USBN 978-0-099-54840-9
Mankell in New York in 2011
Henning Mankell, the Swedish novelist and crime writer who died last week, was one of the most human and perceptive authors in the genre. The Troubled Man, his final book about Kurt Wallander, a reluctant police detective with a lot else to worry about, hinges on the fact that Wallander absent-mindedly leaves his service gun in a cafe. There is of course an official rumpus, but at a more telling level, it ushers in Wallander's awful fear that he is in the early stages of Alzheimer's. At the time, we now realise, Mankell would have known he had lung cancer. The plot is Chandleresque in its subtlety, but the strength of the writing comes from the author's ability to get deep inside the psyche of his troubled hero. At one level, the book is a tense, dangerous thriller, but at another, its pages set out a human testament that is elegiac and deeply moving.
A baggage check ticket to Johannesburg fell out of my second-hand copy, left by someone reading Mankell on a long flight. He was truly a writer for the world.
The Voice is following Kirsty Crawford's blog from India. Here is Kirsty’s latest posting. (Please note that Kirsty’s photographs are subject to copyright.
A few weeks ago now, I had the pleasure of a sightseeing trip round old Delhi in a bicycle rickshaw. Accompanied by 2 colleagues, and Marcus du Sautoy and his family, it was a hot Sunday afternoon, and thankfully the traffic down Chandni Chowk was, in the local parlance, "very less" than usual.
Our troupe of very fit cycle drivers took us from the gates of the Red Fort, down Chandni Chowk, and into the Spice market, which sadly was mainly closed. We got off the rickshaws, and were led up some dodgy stairs, to the roof of an old haveli, which once upon a time would have been a large private mansion built around a courtyard. Now it's home to shops, and shacks, and the courtyard is no more, having more buildings inserted in the intervening years – it’s hard to imagine how magnificent it must once have been.
Looking down on the outside of the haveli, you can see straight into the Zinat-ul-Masjid. Built in 1707 by the woman it is named after, Zinat un Nissa, it looks a peaceful place from on high. This was not always so - apparently the British converted it into a bakery!
We were then taken down the narrow back streets, to a beautiful Jain temple (no pics allowed) but even the doorways in the street were spectacular.
Then it was off to the Jama Masjid. Regarded as India's largest mosque, it can hold 25,000 people. It can also set you back a penny or two if you have to hire one of the stinky robes to hide your knees, slippers to protect your feet, or pay to take pictures.
That was the end of our short tour, as we had to get Marcus back to South Delhi to launch his new book - The Number Mysteries.
I did another trip on a bicycle rickshaw last week, this time in the dark, in a monsoon downpour, from Chandni Chowk metro to Karim's, a historic restaurant located near the Jama Masjid. The journey was much less pleasant this time - getting stuck in a rickshaw jam for about half an hour, being jostled by irate pedestrians trying to find a way in between the wheels, whilst soaked to the skin - perhaps not the best way to travel. I had to laugh at an auto going past with 2 goats in it though. Unfortunately too fast for me to get a picture!
Karim's certainly feels historic - the kitchen is outside the front door, and the restaurant itself looks as if not much has changed in the 100 years since they opened their doors, but they do the best rotis in town, so it was certainly worth the journey!
Selected by David Underdown who also writes the commentary.
by John Clare
Under the twigs the blackcap hangs in vain
With snow-white patch streaked over either eye.
This way and that he turns, and peeps again
As wont where silk-cased insects used to lie,
But summer leaves are gone: the day is bye
For happy holidays, and now he fares
But cloudy like the weather, yet to view
He flirts a happy wing and inly wears
Content in gleaning what the orchard spares,
And like his little couzin capped in blue
Domesticates the lonely winter through
In homestead plots and gardens, where he wears
Familiar pertness – yet but seldom comes
With the tame robin to the door for crumbs.
The now well-loved poet John Clare (1793-1864) grew up during the Agrarian Revolution during an age of rapid industrialisation. He was self-taught and started to write in an attempt to stave off his parents’ eviction from their home. Despite some early success he was never accepted by the literary establishment. His work was soon ignored and, tragically, poor health and bouts of depression led to him spending most of the second half of his life in an asylum. He is now recognised as one of the greatest of all English nature poets. Many of his most precise poems are about birds - moorhens, skylarks, owls, yellowhammers. Here he describes the blackcap with its ‘familiar pertness’, and at just this time of year.
South to make Three No-Trumps. West leads a diamond.
North plays a high diamond, East low, and South wins with the jack and fires back the ♦Q, North again playing high. East does best to win and return a spade which North wins. South discards his ♦A on North's ♣A and North exits to West with his ♦2. West returns with a low club to North's jack, but the last diamond then squeezes East without the count, in the major suits, South discarding from the opposite suit to East.
If West cashes his top club at trick six, East merely makes one trick less after the same major suit squeeze. If Eats returns a red suit at trick three, South will be able to lose at least one heart before North's ♠A is forced, and then East can be squeezed without the diamond subterfuge of the main line.
by Dave Payn
1 Desert chase (5)
4 Finally, a map of a junction! (5)
8 Rude account of mix-up with claret (3-4)
9 Hang about a country (5)
10 Record of hip replacement prior to a New York festival (8)
11 English county known to Scots (4)
13 Speak about Northern Ireland troubles with clear mind (6)
14 Playwright in National Theatre extravangaza, right? At first, yes (6)
17 A sign for most ladies (4)
19 Flog the cats! Or dogs.... (8)
22 Hitler has no right to replace spare (5)
23 Dog sounds like it's come from a lousy wildlife park! (4, 3)
24 Composer a degree more well known than Delibes? (6)
25 Subject to article on yours truly (5)
1 In charge of river, about to thaw (2-3)
2 Ringmaster? (7)
3 Laugh at a thoroughfare, then laugh at another thoroughfare, returning with protective gear (4,4)
4 Hungry soldier eats drunken communist (6)
5 Winter activity – glue sniffing (4)
6 Rattle a foreign prince, mistakenly (5)
7 A festival that is partly, at least, erotic (6)
12 How one might describe 'Moterway dash'? (8)
13 Ought to accept without hesitation (6)
15 Hall made of moulded earth in the outskirts of Tonbridge
16 Church lies about knife (6)
18 Alien artist turns up about ten with another (5)
20 Relish booze (5)
21 Caution the Scottish head (4)
Fresh plums are abundant at the moment and here is a tasty way of using them. It can also be made with fresh apricots or even apples or pears, but plums work best.
The quantities given will be plenty for four people and it should be served with lashings of double cream.
Please click on the “Print” icon below to download a pdf copy of the recipe.