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Have done a number of virtual events in Turkey this year, one rest of which was this profile in Oksijen. My thanks to Melis Alphan. Otherwise I continue to whizz around the world. Today, Earth Day 2021, started out in Japan, then back to London, then United Arab Emirates, then London, then US for the first time, and after coming back to London, off to California for a last call. A new order that would have been clinically impossible before COVID-19 gave virtual presence platforms a shot in the arm.
As part of an exchange with an American relation today, my brother Gray sent a photograph from when I was perhaps 6, or so. It shows my favourite grandmother, Isabel’s, second husband, Carey Coaker. He was a doctor. The place: Bilbao House, Dulverton, Somerset. Apparently, we were watching Gray being mounted on a horse, which explains everything.
When I looked up the house’s name today, I discovered that in 1739 a fire engine and sundry buckets were purchased and stored nearby. Which must have been why “Bellamy”, Carey’s gardener, also shown, was also a fireman.
I remember him wearing a huge brass fireman’s helmet at times – when the great (probably very small by today’s standards) fire engine came racing down the hill. I seem to remember that it was Bellamy’s job to ring the hand-rung bell on the impressive, urgent machine.
I also recall being chastised, beaten, by Carey for the breakages of various jars in his surgery, a crime almost certainly committed by Isabel’s two Siamese cats. But among many happy memories was one of being taken through the walled garden and out through a tiny wooden door at the back, into a green lane.
Later, Carey would run off with a wealthy patient, Phil I think, who we would meet much later – and very much liked. Bellamy would suffer what may have been a heart attack and slump face-down into his flower beds. But that was all in the future when this picture was taken.
For some years I have been contributing to the Frontier Report by our friends at Tokyo-based E-Square. If you speak Japanese, the latest column (sample above) is on the role of science fiction in expanding our horizons and rendering the sustainability agenda more intelligible. Must work out how to attach a PDF to a blog!