Posted by: okathleen | February 21, 2011

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to know..


Grandad’s 75th birthday. Sausage and mash and chocolate brownies made by our Flo.

We bought him the Fiennes book. From one Bad, Mad Dangerous to know hooligan to another.

In the meantime my word count hovers around zero.

Wish I was in London outside the Libyan Embassy – history in the making. I was there on Wednesday with Charles, very different then, a quiet spring day, pink carnations at the Fletcher Memorial….


Posted by: okathleen | February 20, 2011

And that sweet city with her dreaming spires…

I’ve not blogged for yonks. There’s been oodles of water under the bridge. Time has been squeezed into a minute thimble.

My first term at Oxford has passed in a whizz. I’m already panicking about leaving. And there are two terms left to for a little more self indulgence. I’ve become part of the pastiche. My vintage Triumph bike and Bod card are used like crutches, comforters.

What will I do without them? I’m already homesick, and not for Manchester.







Posted by: okathleen | January 5, 2010

Happy New Year

It’s a winter wonderland. Total meltdown. The world is blanc.

Posted by: okathleen | October 18, 2009

Lady Lever

Over to Port Sunlight on the Wirral Peninsula. Not quite as glamourous as it sounds, as the motorway grunts past the outlet village and the oil refinery and a broken down town centre. But then here is Port Sunlight. One man’s hobby. A toy village of mock Tudor/Georgian/Rustic houses for the good of his workers. They had cricket and golf, and a school and healthcare, not to mention a 6 hour working day in the soap factory before returning to the Marie Antoinette land of the North West.


The Lady Lever Art Gallery, was built by Viscount Leverhulme in honour of his wife. He was a man before his time? His tag line was ‘Art Inspires’, and he built the Gallery for the enjoyment of his employees.

So that’s the latest item on my wish list. If your husband loves you enough forget the garage flowers and new frying pan, only an Art Gallery will do.


A mausoleum of stuff.

Lever’s Aladdin’s cave. An A to Zoffany of objets.  I was stunned.

The Gainsboroughs and the Millais’, The Stubbs’ and the Reynolds. It was fabulous.

Posted by: okathleen | October 12, 2009

Noumenon v phenomenon

I spent most of Sunday running children around in a ‘Mom’s Taxi’ sort of way. Who dreamt that up? The ‘Mom’s Taxi’ sticker clinging to the back of so many car windscreens?

I’m interested in their life. One day that person sat up in bed and thought, I know, I’m going to design, market, sell, millions of  ‘Mom’s Taxi’ stickers. And between cab jaunts I spent much time thinking of transcendence.

Immanuel Kant and his nuomenon, the thing in itself, the ding an sich, versus the phenomenon; the thing as it is perceived. This means that I will only ever know the coat hanger on the back of the door as a phenomenon. I shall never know the coat hanger outside my mind, independent of my perception of it. But if we are born with innateness how can there ever be nuomena?


Many philosophers believe the relationship between epistemology and ontology is the fundamental issue in philosphical studies, and one can see this theme being discussed in many of their works.

In short, epistemology considers how we know what we know – or in other words – it is the study of our knowledge of things.

Ontology is the metaphysical inquiry of the nature of what things are, or what a thing is in itself  (Being).

The reason why the relationship between epistemology and ontology is considered so important to many philosophers is because it concerns the very nature of what we claim know, what we can actually know, and how we might know any of these things at all.

Immanuel Kant’s phenomena and noumena distinction is probably the most well-known, influential, and modern analysis of the relationship between epistemology and ontology

Kant argued that our knowledge of things in the physical world is shaped and formed by certain cognitive categories in our mind. For instance, we are able to distinguish between different objects around us because our minds contain the category (or concept) of space, and as such this acts like a ‘lens’ through which we experience, understand and make sense of the world.

Posted by: okathleen | October 6, 2009


Macdonalds in the Louvre?

Subway in the Tate?

Spearmint Rhino in the British Museum?

The slippery slope of soul-selling coming soon to a Cultural Institution near you.

But hold on a cotton picking minute. What’s so bad about that? Art is inclusive, or so the mandarins would have it, why shouldn’t this extend to food? We might not all want to chomp on steak tartare and pommes ooh la la. Some of us might just fancy a banana milkshake and fries with our Warhol.


Posted by: okathleen | October 5, 2009

The Sun Shone

Daylight is gorgeous.

Standing on the corner of Abercromby Square in warm sunshine discussing the Philosophy of Mathematics with Kate and Emma and Steve.

Liverpool has me in its thrall.

As a model of academia it seems to be suffering from the ubiquitous plague of bureaucracy gone bonkers. No one has their library card, departments fail to communicate with each other, and the online learning system is on meltdown. Who cares?

I’ve secretly been looking at property in the Georgian Quarter. It’s a cross between Oliver! and the Forsythe Saga. Cobbled streets, Coalbrookdale lamposts, and Regency railings evoke a different era. I picture the Mersey crammed with bobbing traffic, and the railway newly built, and the new cotton millionaires building their magnificent mansions.

I want to live in Falkner Square. But  I know that Eli will never have it. Well, maybe not never.


Posted by: okathleen | September 30, 2009

Liverpool Wags

In the Department of History eight of us sit around an antique table under the gaze of Charles I.

The topic is ‘What is Culture’? Nothing like a Starter for 10 to break the ice.


The American student describes to us his bewilderment at a certain group of women he sees during his job as a waiter. They have blonde backcombed hair and tanned skin, and wear rollers and pyjamas to the cafe where he works.

Oh, you mean wannabewags, chirps the student from Speke.

Yeah, he says, WAGS.

Posted by: okathleen | September 27, 2009

First Day

Around a table, there we all sat, eager and earnest. Filling in forms. An elegant room in an elegant house overlooking an elegant garden square. And peering out of the window, our course leader, crossed between Christopher Biggins and Julius Caesar, in conversation with an underling.

Mmm yes, not bad…

I overheard, well I didn’t overhear, it was loud and clear for all of us to tune in to.

Mmm, yes, my boys go to school locally… starting to speak with a scouse accent… which of course I hate…

Really? I looked around, it didn’t seem to have registered with anyone else.

With any of the native scouse speakers around the table.

Was he mad?

Posted by: okathleen | September 24, 2009

St Therese

In the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King the flock sat huddled around the altar excitedly whispering to each other.

I leant against a pillar in the shadows at the back surveying many lilac perms and sky blue wimples.

Women, en masse.

Awaiting the remains of St Therese, a huge event for the Catholic Church in the UK.


The anticipation and expectation was catching.

My eyes swam as a choir of claret clothed girls sang ‘Stella Maris’ so sweetly, welcoming in The Little Flower.

A priest in Prada specs paused just in front of me, stooping to his fuschia’d bishop he whispered:

“No, no I won’t open a confession now, I’ll never get out of there if I do.”

He winked and I pushed my way out through the affected and the afflicted buying bookmarks and mugs.

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