I took time for a quick visit to Bamburgh to walk Badger. It was an Open Weekend at the Castle. So I tool the opportunity to visit. What a wonderful place.
I doubt the audience for this post is greater than 1. This is more aide-memoire than Post :-)
I recently had to renew my SSL certificate for the website using 1and1 as the SSL provider (the SSL Certificate is provided with the hosting account).
Try as I might the files generated would not load into the Web Server. There were a couple of things which were required:
- The Certificate files seemed to require to be changed from .cer files to .crt files. I do not mean they had to be edited – I mean I simply changed the filetype.
- The Private Key file would not install – indeed the logs suggested it could not be found. The issue was that the file had been generated with a password embedded – making it unreadable to the web server process – and the following OpenSSL command line code resolved the issue:
openssl rsa -in original_file.key -out working_file.key
When this new file (working_file.key) was used in place of the original file the Web Server loaded once again.
And the website was encrypted..!
The conversations this week have been dominated by the news of Donald Trump winning the election and becoming President Elect of the United States. I mistyped as I added that opening sentence. I wrote the Untied States. Perhaps either would be appropriate.
Following the result there were tears and there was jubilation.
Some of those crying were in shock. Trump was not a man characterised as misogynistic, racist and bullying. He was a man boasting of these characteristics. His policies were – are – an ever changing list which sound as though they were drummed out by some good ol’boys still angry that they had to stand behind black people in queues. His focus was on depicting the great nation – which he loves so well – as weakened. His campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” was designed to appeal to anyone unlucky enough not to have become as rich as him. The nations favourite Donald is no longer a cartoon bird but he does share some characteristics with the spluttering, angry, yellow duck.
The man never seems to be scrutinised. He makes claims we know to be untrue and he is never cross-examined. Not fiercely and profoundly. Not even scantily.
He claims to be a self-made man. Not many who enter the same business as their father and receive millions to get started can make this claim but he does. Yet the lie is often repeated. He states that he so disliked his father that he never considers himself to have been influenced by him. That is the character of the man. He benefits from being part of the elite. He uses bullying business practices based on utilising his contacts among the elite. He characterises non-white, non-male, non-American people as degenerate. Worse than that – he judges these people as less worthy than “his” people. Then he claims to be a rebel. He adopts the attitude of an outsider breaking his way in. He was given the keys to the executive toilets with his first pair of long trousers. He is no outsider to wealth and privilege. He personifies and relies upon privilege.
So who are “his” people. Much facile reaction claimed the “outcasts”. The disenfranchised. The forgotten. Those left behind. Yet this a a curious rebellion. Among his supporters there will be unemployed people and low-paid. He sang to them. He made his gestures. He fed into their suspicions. In the South? Do xenophobic. In the large and suffering car towns – do protectionist. Criticise foreign interests regardless of facts. Attack Mexico for the sin of being the bad neighbour.
Then look at the facts. His supporters are as likely to be concerned about Golf club fees as they are about putting food on the table. Many live in gated communities. They will have insurance and pensions. They will have work and businesses. They basically have good lives. They are blessed in the greater scheme of things. So why such anger as to vote for Donald Trump?
So his rebellion – his people – are atypical of the rebellious. All that defines them as rebels is that they did not behave as expected.
They were expected to vote for the career politician and not the career opportunist. They called Hillary a liar. They chanted “lock her up”. They ignored multiple transgressions of their preferred candidate to complain of email server transgressions. Most have no idea what an email server is or what the transgression was. They said she was malevolent. She did not care about the people in Libya or Iraq. Meanwhile their preferred candidate was making pronouncements about not giving a damn if women and children were blown into oblivion in Syria. The discrepancies were numerous, dumbfounding and disingenuous.
He did say that the rest of the world lives like kings due to the benevolence of the United States. The East is rich due to the purchase of Japanese and Korean cars. Their electronics. Their white goods. Those foreigners made better stuff than us, could afford to ship it half way around the world and still make a better business of it than we could.
That was not due to living like Kings, Donald. That was due to multi-nationals using cheap labour and your friends in commerce making it rich by dealing in their shares. The world is not the way he pretends it is.
But maybe he will insist on American made stickers on everything. Maybe he will make it illegal for federal purchases to be non-American. Maybe he will ban all imports of goods which can be sourced internally.
Know this, however. Donald and Donald’s friends will be making sure they have the shares to the companies which will benefit all safely bought and paid for. They will expect their cut. The elite will get richer and richer. Mark my words. And as they get richer they will expect the workforce to be as docile as the workers in the East. Be grateful.
Just as well they are all living like Kings in the factories out East, really. Isn’t it?
Oh – and don’t complain if he reneges on promises made. It was all just part of getting the deal done. So don’t complain because Donald can do one thing better than almost anyone else. Hold a grudge.
Instead be grateful. Be grateful for a man who openly mocks people with MND. Be grateful your new President will be able to dismiss political opponents if they are women – presumably if they don’t agree with Donald it is due to the menstruation messing with their girlie heads. Be grateful your president will dismiss judicial oversight – the Judge may be from foreign stock. Be grateful because now not only is it safe to espouse all those old-fashioned bigotries – now it is condoned, encouraged.
So know your place. Be white, loud and proud. And if you are a woman – be a good little wife and make sure you dress up nice. Don’t let the side down. There is a lot riding on this deal.
Sitting and listening to the trees and the sea. I have a heater on. Outside is getting stormy.
My 5 minute “poem” – I am no Ted Hughes! I attempted to shape it like half of a fallen leaf.
Splendid, noisy waves.
Unabashed and unapologetic.
Unlike the withering, dessicated leaves’
Whip and rattle this evening
In time with the strengthening breeze
Impatient boughs shiver
Their hospitality withdrawn
And summer is over
She is a visitor
I arrived in the walled town early in the morning. Autumn was giving way to a frozen Winter. Around the ancient walls a stubborn mist stood guard over white fields tethered by withered vines.
There were no cars permitted within the boundaries. The local workforce had been paid in part with wine from the bodegas which were the sole industry within this high valley. Their basement excavations had hollowed the foundations and turned roads into vaulted arches. This was where they stored their vino. If a road collapsed it would reveal a bloody stream of red wine and shattered glass. The pulse of a subterranean giant sleeping off the excess of too many parties.
Within 50 minutes I had strolled the extent of the town battlements and witnessed the frozen siege set upon it from all sides. I turned my attention inward. Looking for the people and the shops I found only darkened streets and cobbled roadways, grand wooden doors and chipped shutters.
I met nobody. No shops were open and the market took place on Wednesday. This was Tuesday. No sounds escaped the thick walls of the old houses. I smelt no cooking and I saw no smoke rising from any chimneys. The town was in suspended animation.
The town lay on a hill. A teardrop shaped slice of land surfing from the clouds to the valley floor with the Church standing alone at the highest point. For such a small settlement the Church was magnificent. The doors were lined with rows of religious characters. Saints and the suffering sinners. Scholars and priests. Miracles and offerings. In dark wood and in strict hierarchical order. Religion has such a rigid class system.
Here, for the first time, I could hear movement. Turning to capture the attention of whoever was behind me I was confronted with a street full of cats. Hundreds of cats in various scrawny states of disheveled malice.
I have always liked cats and for most of my life a pet cat has been part of the household. Individually, they exhibit boredom and disdain. En-masse they appeared to me more like a pride descending on it’s prey. For a few seconds I was quite alarmed. They bore little similarity to the sleek animals I knew. Some were matted, some slightly bald. Tall, short, torn-eared, monocular, tailed and tail-less. Battered and tattered. All sinew and all looking at me.
The scouts arrived at my feet and I immediately realised there was nothing to fear other than fleas. They settled around me and waited – I presumed for food – but I had nothing to offer. There were so many I feared what might happen if I did pull some meat from a pocket. Leaning to stroke the head of a healthy looking, short-haired cat it backed away. They sought out human company but seemed unwilling to make contact.
“You have many friends. You cannot all enter the Church, I am sorry”
I turned to discover a middle-aged priest standing in front of a small doorway cut into the gates. He was smiling as he approached me.
“They will soon be distracted. It is a quiet morning. Soon the cooking shall begin and the washing. Then they shall forget you and move on.”
I asked if I might see inside of the Church. The priest paused a moment and informed me that there were now, regrettably, visiting hours to adhere to. The tourists were too numerous and their offerings too small to cover many of the associated costs.
He then smiled, ushered me toward the door and asked me to enter quickly before my friends snuck in.
The interior was remarkable. At such an early hour it was dark with only dim light skulking through the grimy windows. The atmosphere was of a smoky, rustic kitchen. It was smaller than I had anticipated. Countless Madonna and figures of Christ seemed to have been randomly scattered. The church felt very old. The pews were a mixture of styles and eras. The chandeliers and candles were an eclectic mix. All of this added to the feeling of entering a massive religious jumble sale.
In those first moments, however, I was reminded of the tale of the biblical Christ and I shared some of the awe which rural workers must have felt upon entering. Countless feet upon these stones. Stretching back centuries. I wanted some time alone and turned to ask the Priest if I might reflect a few moments. He appeared to have anticipated my request. I could see him reading through a visitors book. He indicated to me to take my time by raising a hand and smiling. “It is OK” he appeared to be saying “I understand”.
In those minutes spent in silence – preying atop an ancient Spanish town in an empty Church which belonged to an unfamiliar religion – I felt I had found a piece of the Spain I had read about and for which I might have been searching. I felt I had found a connection to a past. Rightly or wrongly.
I did not want to return to the mocking modernity of my world. Not for a while.
Outside, for the first time I could hear the collective mewing of the Cats. Perhaps, as the priest had suggested, they were saying their goodbyes as they set off to begin their working day.
More a note. Hoping to form a poem of it sometime.
I hear some argument in the street or from the garden.
Shared now, sadly, by the people who shout.
Shout to greet. Shout when departing and each moment in between.
Why pay for the mobile phone which dominates their day
It seems unlikely they cannot be heard. Far away.
I watched a programme set in Lahore. From there to Mumbai.
The poverty was a sin. Shrink wrapped in miserable heat.
Yet the cruelest strain was the absence of silence.
Still people manage to create, breed, sleep and eat.
Privacy must be borne from fatigue. Sound blind
Not deaf but unable to hear. Senses calcified. Ossified. Paralysed.
No sweat forms on their skin, there is no crust. Nothing cracks.
The temperatures crackle and another generation wither.
Within their shadows I sought solace to cool my envy and my pity.
All the while the people who shout continue. Shouting at their phone.
Shout about money, confirmation, deliveries. In need of medication.
Pointless, noisy declarations. In a silent town. Shouting even while alone.