Sunday, July 16, 2006

Inflation and deflation

Friday evening we packed up the car and in the blustery heat of a July evening, departed for a campsite at the little seaside town of Swanage, in Dorset. A morale-lowering sequence of events then followed.

The campsite itself was OK-ish, just that little bit down-market (no defined pitches, poor washing/WC facilities). The ground itself was stony, a nightmare to get the tent-pegs in. A warm wind was gusting and rocking the tent, so I cared more than usual about this.

8 p.m. and Clare was urging me to get in the car and drive to the Swanage beach front so we could get to eat. I then noticed that my air-bed had deflated: yep, it had a leak. I guess I wasn't the most sparkling dinner companion at that not-entirely-perfect Italian restaurant; my mind kept anticipating a night on the car seat. After the meal, we wandered the high street and came across a shop - just closing- - which sold beach paraphernalia. Hearing our tale of woe, the store owner was prevailed upon to sell us a Lilo airbed for £2.99. Not ideal, but better than the stony ground for the night to come.

I guess it must have been 2 a.m. when I realised that the Lilo had also developed a leak and had deflated under me. As the tent shook around me, I found that sleeping on your back is best in situations like this - the hip then doesn't dig into the hard surface.

We spent Saturday on the beach at nearby Studland. Crowded but pleasant. I watched the wind-surfers being blown over by the gusts to the complex sound-symmetries of the 'Art of Fugue' on my MP3 player. We abandoned our second night camping, however, and stopped off at Corfe Castle on our way home. An ancient (William the Conqueror) castle blown up by the parliamentarians after the civil war.

Clare standing in front of the Keep, fenced off as it's unstable.

This is the view of the village of Corfe Castle from the Keep (and myself).

Former Prime Minister John Major made a good point on TV this morning about the current Israeli-Hezbollah conflict. To paraphrase his argument (addressed to the Israelis): "Can you kill them all? No? Then you will eventually have to cut a deal with them. Does the current campaign make sense in that context, regardless of how good it feels?"

A comment of my own: I am mindful that it takes two to negotiate.