* The Shed likes the distillery proposal for Princetown and would like to see much more re-industrialisation of Dartmoor. In view of the large amounts of money already being spent on low-carbon technology, we wonder whether it wouldn’t make some kind of economic sense to subsidise the quarrying of stone, which is already forged, as a viable alternative to concrete products, made by burning oil. It must be possible to work out an equation which would put manpower and horsepower on an equal footing. The products don’t rot; employment for hard labour at a living wage would be good for Devon and England; and imagine the bobble-hat interest in a working stone trail.

See report on Princetown Distillery debate at—updated-21-1-17

* The Shed found a little comfort in the following words from American writer PJ O’Rourke, in the foreword to a collection of his reports from the trouble spots of the world …

People are all exactly alike. There’s no such thing as a race and barely such a thing as an ethnic group. If we were dogs, we’d be the same breed. George Bush and an Australian aborigine have fewer differences than a lhasa apso and a toy fox terrier. A Japanese raised in Riyadh would be an Arab. A Zulu raised in New Rochelle would be an orthodontist. I wish I could say I found this out by spending arctic nights on ice floes with Inuit elders and by sitting with tribal medicine men over fires made of human bones in Madagascar. But, actually, I found it out by sleeping around. People are all the same, although their circumstances differ terribly. Trouble doesn’t come from Slopes, Kikes, Niggers, Spics or White Capitalists. It comes from the heart.

* With those words in mind, The Shed liked the following summary of Finnishness from Tim Moore, who has just published his account of a cycle journey through a Finnish winter, The Cyclist Who Went Out In The Cold. He said in the Telegraph Magazine of Oct. 1, 2016 …

“This is a country whose self-referential comedic lexicon is focused on lugubrious alcoholism, with an entire joke genre devoted to the knockabout adventures of two men marooned in a lonely cottage with a case of vodka. In my favourite, Kimi ransacks the toolshed after the last bottle is drained and comes back with a jerrycan of antifreeze. ‘We could drink this,’ he tells his friend, ‘but we’ll probably go blind’. Mika looks around the cottage and out of the window, then says, ‘I think we’ve seen enough’.”

* A couple of books of some local interest have been put on The Shed’s lIst for possible review later – or by you, if you’d like to send one in. Writer Jessica Berens spent three years talking and teaching at HMP Princetown and has written about it in a well-praised memoir called Short Sentence. Also noted, a good review for The Life Of A Scilly Sergeant: Adventures Of High Tide & Low Crime by Colin Taylor. Recently read and enjoyed in The Shed, Gavin Knight’s report on a lot of talking and listening in Cornish pubs, The Swordfish & The Star. It is sometimes a bit poetic for all tastes but there is some interesting skinny on real Cornwall, including good background on some famous fishing industry scandals of recent years.

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