Tuesday 29 April 2014

All Things Bright and Beautiful.

    A lady who wished only to be known as Anne made headline news in the British press recently.Whilst not in the best of health, aged eighty nine, Anne announced she was tired of life and shocked many by applying to  the Dignitas clinic for help in the assisted suicide scheme they offer in Switzerland. (Not legal in the United Kingdom.) She suggested the pace of modern living in a fast, computerised world was too much for her. Many were shocked that she did so in spite of the fact that she was not terminally ill. The assumption being that Dignitas would help only the terminally ill. If I have got it right, they in fact require you to be 'of sound mind' and not solely terminally ill before they would consider someone for assisted suicide. Anne followed all the necessary procedures and in fact died, with Dignitas's help on the 27th March.
    A sad story indeed. Death is the only inevitability in life; the great equaliser if you like. A fact I find perversely satisfying. Something even the obscenely rich cannot avoid, though they no doubt would if they could! But back to the dilemma facing many whose end beckons; whose health is not good; whose existence is seemingly pointless and less than pain free. At what point in life could it be right to think in terms of 'enough is enough'.
    I have no wish to upset those who believe life is not ours to take. Plus I realise ones 'religious beliefs' make any discussion about mortality a minefield of a subject! My interest in such matters is far less intense; I'm not a theologian; neither have I Einstein's intellect, or have you already guessed! Rather my angle is, ' What do you enjoy most about living; and what sort of things might make you feel like calling it a day! You could almost have two columns, good and bad, for and against. Presumably when the negative overtakes the positive, that's the time to think about it.
Family, friends, gardens, nature; sunny days in Skegness; in fact sunny days anywhere. Fish and chips and pork scratchings; the innocence of little children and the sheer wisdom of clever old men. The intimacy afforded by forty four years of marriage. Young love once, old love now, but love all the same. There are so, so many things to live for.                        
    I am reminded of a poem by Rupert Brooke that I used periodically in my teaching career all those years ago. (Taken from 'The Great Lover')

These I have loved:
White plates and cups, clean-gleaming,
Ringed with blue lines; and feathery, fairy dust;
Wet roofs, beneath the lamp-light; the strong crust
Of friendly bread; and many-tasting food;
Rainbows; and the blue bitter smoke of wood;
And radiant raindrops couching in cool flowers;
And flowers themselves, that sway through sunny hours,
Dreaming of moths that drink them under the moon;
Then, the cool kindliness of sheets, that soon
Smooth away trouble; and the rough male kiss
Of blankets; grainy wood; live hair that is
Shining and free; blue-massing clouds; the keen
Unpassioned beauty of a great machine;
The benison of hot water; furs to
The good smell of old clothes; and other such-
The comfortable smell of friendly fingers,
Hair's fragrance, and the musty reek that lingers
About dead leaves and last year's ferns....
Dear names,
And thousand others throng to me! Royal flames;
Sweet water's dimpling laugh from tap or spring;
Holes in the ground; and voices that do sing:
Voices in laughter, too; and body's pain,
Soon turned to peace; and the deep-panting train;
Firm sands; the little dulling edge of foam
That browns and dwindles as the wave goes home;
And washen stones, gay for an hour; the cold
Graveness of iron; moist black earthen mold;
Sleep; and high places; footprints in the dew;
And oaks; and brown horse-chestnuts, glossy-new;
And new-peeled sticks; and shining pools on grass; -
All these have been my loves. And these shall pass,
Whatever passes not, in the great hour...........

    One other thought. I am reminded whilst writing this post of a song recorded by many artists over the years. This particular version is by Jane Birkin. I could have titled this post 'Food for Thought'. How strange is the human mind and mine is no exception!

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Doesn't Time Fly When You're Enjoying Yourself.

    It's six years today since I first did a blog. (Put this way it reminds me of a child having it's first 'potty poo!) I'm not sure how or why I started. Six years, a fair old part of anyone's life. Even more so when you're on the 'ancient' side. Yet its something of a blur.
    Six years ago since we had a black President in the USA. Changing times, the beginning, if I remember right, of a bleak period, in Britain and the rest of the world. Talk of slumps, recession. A long, long period of Europe in general 'going under', Spain, Greece, Portugal etc struggling to survive. The longest period of gloom and doom I can ever remember. But did it REALLY affect me and my family I wonder. Well, there's six years of blog posts to gauge the personal side of life in this time.
    Undoubtedly, we revolve around ourselves, our immediate family and home.Few in Finland, India, Angola or Japan, for instance (place I have comments on my blog) will have too much interest in dear old Britain and its problems. But I bet their own lives revolve round family; the joys and headache of bring up children. Beginnings and ends; the young and the old. So the death of Franscoise, beloved mother and grandmother was more important to us than mere recessions. Likewise a birth, in our case Ted, gives joy and hope; a feeling of natural continuity in an ever changing world.
    I often wonder why I blog. (As do, no doubt some of my 'readers'.) Its an ego trip in a way. But more important to me personally, is the discipline of deliberately writing, thinking, doing. (Note how the last two weeks have been the longest 'none post' period in the last six years.) Physically, and mentally at times life is not easy. Oh to be young again! But life goes on and so does Old Grumpy and his blog!
    In six years many bloggers have come and gone. Some have sadly died; I can think of many more who, for reasons of their own no longer blog; inevitable in this turbulent, ever changing world. In my early blogging days there were many who helped and encouraged me. ( In six years I have only had one rude comment. A brilliant indication that the blogging fraternity at large consists of friendly, outgoing individuals)
    So onward, ever onward. Hopefully there will be one or two more posts yet. (No targets, but I am surprised to find I have done over four hundred posts in the last six years!) Now I fancy a go at a YouTube blog. Any experts out there? Plus any printable suggestions what to do with over four hundred posts!


In the beginning

Hooray we're away. Watch this space. As the old man used to say, 'softly, softly, catchee monkey.' A saying incidentally that one of my daughters finds incredibly naff. After several attempts this blog is finally off the ground, courtesy of a good friend, Chris who has the most incredible knowledge of how computers work. Thanks Chris, I feel as if I've now fully entered the 21st century. So 'What's it all about, Alfie?'
I suppose firstly, in a way it's an ego trip, hopefully allowed at my age. Secondly having had various health problems, nothing new at my age, I need to keep what's left of the old brain going. Thirdly, I write regularly, make little out of it but need an audience (the old ego trip again). So off we go and let's see what develops. But firstly, after all the excitement I need a lie down!


kyozan said...
This old fart is an unsung genius. I have not laughed so much in a long time. Recommend him to all your friends. His blog promises to be a hilarious, entertaining, and highly enlightening ride.
Lindsey said...
I'm the woman you met in Lady Harriett's bedroom at Shugborough whom you didn't think would leave a comment. Ta-da! I even signed up for a google account just for you. Bet you wouldn't get this level of aftercare from that English Heritage lot.... One more for your great virtual audience. Good luck x
MâHâßuß ßHuiyân said...
I just found your blog and want to say thank you ! What an enjoyable time looking through so many sites. It is really nice post thanks for sharing and just keep up the good work !