The Second Coming


The choice of this Friday’s poem was inspired by Slouching towards Wellington at Bowalley Road.

It’s The Second Coming by W.B. Yeats.

     The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

                – W.B. Yeats –

El Jardin del Califa


La Casa del Califa  is one of Vejer de la Frontera’s gems.


The hotel is made up of a collection of houses dating from the 1oth century to 17th centuries.

califa 4

It also has a wonderful restaurant, El Jardin del Califa, which serves delicious Moroccan food.

califa 2

califa 3

After the boom


Spain was booming in 2005.

Contributing to that was the EU money which was being poured into infrastructure.

Nearly 85 million euro for roading here:


Around 50 million euro for irrigation development here:


Vejer de la Frontera where we lived and the surrounding area were benefitting from both these projects.

The discovery by British people of the Costa de la Luz , helped by their favourable exchange rate and EU interest rates, added to the economic growth.

Jobs were plentiful in construction, renovation and service industries, particularly hospitality.

The positive impact of the new roading and irrigation are obvious four years later but the boom is over. Unemployment is around 18% in Spain and it’s higher here in the south.

The pound has fallen against the euro making Spain less attractive to British people, there are cheaper places in eastern Europe to visit or buy property in and the recession in general is having a dampening effect on tourism and the local economy.

We’ve noticed a lot more little bars and cafes in the town, partly a response to job losses as people set up their own businesses to make a living. But there are fewer people visiting them.

One cafe owner told us the busy season has been getting shorter and this year custom is more variable. Another told us he usually has 10 tables with at least eight full from 9am to late at night. Yesterday there were only two tables occupied at lunchtime.

The language school I’m attending has noticed a down turn too and that will have an impact on other businesses which accommodate, feed and entertain the students.

This is still a beautiful old town, with many old buildings and attractions of historical and cultural interest. It’s close to several long, golden sanded beaches with guaranteed heat and sunshine every day of the summer.

There is a lot to attract visitors, but until the recession is over fewer of them will be enjoying its charms and the local economy will be leaner because of that.

Portability today, personal accounts tomorrow?


The news that the Australian and New Zealand governments are developing a scheme to enable trans Tasman portability of superannutaion is welcome.

Could personal superannuation accounts be the next step?

Can you still be a good mother if you don’t like children?


That was the headline of a story I cut from a now defunct (I think) British magazine, Options, years ago.

It looked at the stages children go through and the relevant skills they required from mothers. (This was more than 25 years ago, and didn’t mention fathers).

Each stage was different, required different skills and the writer said most mothers coped better with some stages than others.

The mother who is bored rigid by the first few weeks/months when babies don’t do a lot might enjoy the next stage. Others who love that first, totally dependent stage might not be so enamoured by the doing lots and making mess stage which comes later.

The story concluded by saying that no-one gets it right, nor enjoys it, all the time. There are some days when you really don’t like your children, or at least what they’re doing/saying but as long as you still love them you, and they, will generally get through the tough times.

I was reminded of this when I read Do I look like this is the best job ever? by Eleanor Black at Pundit.

It’s easy once your child is an adult to forget quite how challenging those sleep-deprived days when you were on call for 24 hours a day could be.

When the baby whose early arrival cut short my employment on a radio station was 18 months old I went back to work to relieve my successor for a couple of weeks. A friend who saw me thought I was pregnant because I looked so serene.

I was as it happened, but that wasn’t the cause of my serenity. It was just the enjoyment and ease of being back at a job I loved, where I was never required to do more than two or three things at once and wasn’t threatened with constant interuptions from a little someone who needed me RIGHT NOW.

Will he be making his mark for Labour?


The news that Ron Mark has severed his ties with New Zealand First, mentioned in the Herald yesterday, has been rumoured for some time.

What intrigued me was this comment that he :

. . . would not rule out returning to politics with another party.

The grapevine that spread the rumour about his leaving NZ First, also reckons he’s going to have a tilt at a mayoralty in the lower North Island then stand for Labour in the Wairarapa seat in 2011.

July 17 in history


On July 17:

1917 US comedian Phyllis Diller was born.

1936 The Spanish Civil War  began.

1939 Paddy the Wanderer, a canine identity on the Wellington waterfront, died.

1955: Disneyland televised its grand opening at Anaheim.

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