Peeling paint on a window frame outside the Compasses.
A set of booklets which summarise the history if the world in 14 booklets is at the moment being published by the Independent newspaper on a daily basis. It begins with the big bang 13.7 billion years ago and concludes as the world population exceeds 6 billion. The booklets, taken from a larger work called What on Earth Happened? provide much better reading than the daily contents of the newspaper itself, which I try to skim as quickly as possible in order to gather a few useful facts, while filtering the speculation and opinion. The collapse of capital on a global scale and the foul way that homo sapiens conducts itself as it swarms over the earth and now into space, is made no more more bearable when you note that it was only 130,000 years ago that this dislocated creature with an over developed brain first appeared.
Turning back to the history, you begin to feel better as the perspective deepens. Four and a half billion years ago the solar system was formed. Six hundred million years ago sea creatures evolved; 150 million years ago mammals appeared. Oh yes and some may find this a calming thought - five years ago, scientists began to predict the sixth mass extinction of the earth's creatures.
At the Farmer's Market, I accept from a stall a small, a sample cube of local cheese. It is a hard cheese made in the style of cheddar. As I walk down Mount Pleasant, the tingling after-taste makes me think that I should have bought a wedge for our lunch. But, if I had, I say to myself, it would never taste as good, as, while it still lingers on the palate, it does now.