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Date: 09/06/05

The Meaning Of Life (+1)

I hit 43 today...

...my case comes up next month...

OK, all silliness apart, I spent this morning wandering around Wrexham town centre, desperately hoping to find something worth buying myself for my birthday.

Wrexham might be on that list of 'clone towns' which there was so much talk about last week: you know, the places where the town centre has been generalised almost out of existence by thoughtless 'redevelopment' or mercantile shortsightedness. I don't know, I didn't check: but it wouldn't have surprised me.

But it's been like that for a long time now. Way back when, I suspect Douglas Adams might have visited: his Shoe Event Horizon was obviously inspired by a walk down Regent Street any time in the late 1970s. Then it was travel agents; more recently, shops selling mobile phones. Each successive wave lasting scarcely more than a couple of years before being replaced by a new fad (it seems to be 'empty shops' at the moment, unless I'm being very naïve and it is, in fact, some extremely post-modern marketing strategy).

Not that the shops which are left have all that to offer, especially if your tastes go beyond the dozen standard patterns of whatever it is you're interested in.

For example, I went in to two major book shops and what I think is the last remaining second-hand book stall in town. Nowhere could I find a single book by this man:

Photo of Stanisław Lem

Stanisław Lem is one of the all-time great science-fiction authors. I've just been re-reading some of his work (The Futurological Congress, The Star Diaries, The Cyberiad, etc.), and wanted more.

W.H.Smith? Nada. Waterstone's? Forget it. If it hasn't been made into a movie in the last two years, they don't seem to want to know. Much of his work seems to be out of print in this country at the moment anyway, itself testimony to the commodification of book-selling.

So, my wanderings proved fruitless (except for a punnet of strawberries). My imagination usually deserts me at such times anyway. I just did my usual shopping (plus one or two little luxuries - a tub of Iceland Cornish ice-cream, for example) and dragged myself back home.

For tea, I'm afraid I over-indulged (but then, what are birthdays for?), following a plate of chips, fried egg and baked beans with a sizable piece of my sister-in-law's home-made fruitcake, covered in hot custard. I had to have a lie down after all that.

And, in other news, my buddleia globosa has decided to flower for the first time in about five years. I'm looking forward to seeing some butterflies around the place this summer.

Photo of buddleia globosa flower with a bee on it

(buddleia globosa, as featured in my garden at the moment (bee not included))