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Mark Charlton's Blog

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Recently I wrote a post that praised the philosopher Jamie Whyte for his clear thinking and rigorous logic. I cited, as an example, his recent interview on (UK) Radio Four, during which he made the case that progressive taxation was a unfair. Since then I've thought a lot about what he said,...
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  My Great Aunt Kitty lived in a fading two bed terrace in Newcastle on Tyne. It had threadbare carpets and horsehair sofas that once were stylish - she wore copious jewellery, too much rouge and was entirely dependent on the help of others. She ought to have lived in Paris. I must have...
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I've been writing about the places to which I find myself returning.  Here's an adapted extract; perhaps one day I'll see you there. On the low sloping cliff to the north of Porthgain is a white tower. It is made from field stone, about the size of a small lime kiln, mortared with mud and...
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Last week I attended the sixth form open evening at my eldest son's school. It was an opportunity for prospective students to learn more about the courses on offer, and for embarrassing parents to ask questions of the teachers. I was impressed but not surprised. It's an excellent school with...
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Last week I signed up for a trial of Love Film, the home delivered DVD service. Evidently if I watch ten movies, they'll send me a £20 Amazon voucher. There's nothing special about that, except that regular readers of this blog might have noticed that for a, uh...erm, cultured man, I seldom...
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A very rare picture of me, just for the New Year Yesterday, my friend Debs called by, just as I'd sat down to write my New Year goals. Unusually for me, the process wasn't going well; sure, I had a list of tasks to complete, targets to meet and places to visit - but somehow it wasn't hitting the...
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I came across this photograph when sorting the contents of my study. The figure in the centre is me paddling a rapid we named Sweetness and Light on the Karnali river in Nepal. It was taken in April 1993. The Karnali is the biggest river in Nepal; it lies in the far west of the country, running...
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  By 11 am on Christmas morning  we were on Newgale Beach. The sky was cloudless, the sea transparent turquoise, frost on the pebbles. We walked to clear our heads from the night before. Our neighbours had invited us round. Lovely people, honest friends; they drink too much, and so did we. It...
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Starling roost - Pembrokeshire Today, I returned to my house in Wales. When I arrived I noticed there were crusty droppings on the floor, not unlike the body fluid that moths squirt if disturbed. Strange to find these in December - and so many of them; on the window sills, the cupboard doors, the...
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Putting Dylan to bed last night he asked me, Do you like to go thinking? Well of course, I reassured him; if we didn't think, we couldn't talk, or decide what to ask Santa for Christmas, or...  I know that, he yawned, but do you LIKE to go thinking Daddy, that's what I want to know? It's a strange...
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  Last week I called in to see my artist neighbour, John Knapp Fisher. He is one of the finest painters in Wales , working from the small village of Croesgoch on the North Pembrokeshire coast. On the walls of his house come gallery was tiny water-colour of a bare field, the furrows white with...
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When I was sixteen I began studying for my economics A-level. I was finding it tough and I wasn't alone - the abstract theory in Lipsey's Economics wasn't making much sense to anyone in the class. Then one day, my teacher, attempting to explain the bell curve of diminishing returns, said something...
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'Is it winter ?' Dylan asked as we walked to school this morning. 'Almost,' I replied. 'But there's no snow and it's Christmas after 14 sleeps.' 'Yes but it's December and winter sort of starts in December.' 'What do you mean, sort of.' Like father; like son, I thought. Philosophers like their...
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It's that time of year when we have the annual 'Christmas Present Conversation'. It goes something like this. Jane: You're so difficult. Is there anything you'd like?Me: Just buy me some books.Jane: But you buy those all the time.Me: I can't think of anything else.Jane: How about a coat?Me: Not...
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