THE TIMES WE LIVE IN

THE TIMES WE LIVE IN

I haven’t written much about Brexit recently. There’s a limit to how often you can say something is a shambolic mess and it still remain interesting. It is one thing to suggest that our political system is in urgent need of drastic overhaul. It’s quite another to watch in embarrassed shame as our differences are played out before all the world in a display of bad behaviour and selfish indifference to the interests of the citizens of the British Isles that quite takes your breath away.

It is as if parliament was in a boat sailing down a great, uncharted river. The roar of an enormous waterfall can be heard coming ominously closer. But the sailors are paying no attention. They are too busy arguing about who should sit where in the boat.

And it’s not as if you can identify even one party as having behaved acceptably. The Tories treatment of Theresa May has been disgraceful, but she has been arrogant in her assumption that her way was best, and she has not shared her thoughts with her colleagues (or with us for that matter.) I’ve been a great advocate of the adage, Cometh the hour, cometh the man. But the hour is definitely upon us and the man has not appeared. The very fact that the Tories allow Michael Gove’s name to appear on the list of likely candidates for being the next Prime Minister shows the poverty of leaders in their ranks.

Labour refuses to cooperate over anything in the hope that it can bring about a general election from which it appears to think it might emerge victorious. I am not so sure. We are not as stupid as they seem to think.

There’s no health in the smaller parties either. Even I become irritated with the SNP who seem to forget that they are a British party as well as a Scottish one.

As for the DUP, I’d better not start on them. They are never going to agree on anything. I amuse myself by imagining that we offer Ulster back to Ireland as a present. I’m sure the Irish would be very cooperative with us thereafter.

We’re going to have to march. I don’t see that anything will ever be resolved otherwise. And Parliament had better start paying attention, for that’s the road to revolution.

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SURVIVING THE WINTER

On 20th March, just before dawn, (sometime between 5 am and 5.30 am,) I heard the first tentative call of what in a few weeks will become the dawn chorus. I did not recognise the bird. It was only a few phrases, repeated two or three times. No-one else joined in and he lapsed again into silence.

It reminded me of being in New Zealand with John and Rory. We were in North Island on our way to Russell where we were going to stay in a hotel for a few days (we were 5 weeks touring New Zealand and I felt the need of a bath and comfort; the boys were willing enough because it gave them TV access for some critical world cup football games). So we were making our way up the coast and we stopped in rather a disorganised camp site and parked our camper van under a tree. It turned out that this tree was used every morning by the resident tuey, a bird slightly bigger than a blackbird and with a white bib under his chin, who has the most magnificent voice, rather like a clarinet. He would arrive each morning and begin his musical exercises by clearing his throat and then he would begin to go through his notes, slowly and methodically for all the world like an opera singer. After a few minutes of single notes, he would begin to string them together, repeating each phrase several times. Eventually he would feel his performance to be sufficiently good to launch into his full song, which was truly wonderful. We have nothing to compare with it here.

Our local bird’s tentative beginnings in no way compare to the impressive aria delivered by the tuey, but it is a beginning and it filled me with joy. Spring is coming. Have you seen the magnificence of the magnolias this year? And so as my mother used to say (which I thought very amusing at the time but now I understand exactly what she meant): We have survived the winter!

INSOMNIACS ARE US

INSOMNIACS ARE US

One of the suggestions to insomniacs is that they have a mantra which they repeat to themselves to help fall asleep. It’s basically intended to prevent you dwelling on those anxieties which seem like certain fish that rise to the surface of the ocean at night to feed, and circle the poor would be sleeper like sharks, before when the dawn comes, sinking back into the murky deep.

I tried counting backwards from 100 but found this much too boring.

So I thought I would try with a well known text, and I chose The Lord’s Prayer. It’s short, and the wonderful phrases have not been mangled by a translation into modern English (not in the version I‘m going to use anyway.) I breathe slowly in and out with each word.

However I find I have a tendency to lapse into seditious heretical thoughts while pursuing the policy. Let me show you.

OUR FATHER. Odd that God should be described as being exclusively pariarchal, since he representing all, must clearly have encompassed the feminine as well.

WHICH ART IN HEAVEN I’m always keen on a little excursion into grammar. Should this not say, WHO IS in heaven? If God says it, does that make it necessarily into correct grammar​​?

HALLOWED BE THY NAME. I am reminded of the no doubt apocryphal story of the little girl who asked her mother whether God’s name was Jack or Harold? When her mother looked puzzled, the child quoted, Our Father is Jack in heaven; Harold be thy name.

THY KINGDOM COME. THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN. It must be slightly tedious being always right and knowing what will happen. On reflection, perhaps Our Father is the best title for God.

GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD. Amen to that for myself and everybody.

FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS. This could be a problem for me as I could spend quite a lot of time remembering grievances I may have had about someone from decades back. But in accepting that I am not perfect either and hope to be forgiven, I generally manage to remember some good things about my opponent and wish them well. For a few people however, and despite one’s best efforts, I cannot find a single redeeming feature.

LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION. DELIVER US FROM EVIL. I am sure that God does not do this. I am beginning to wonder if rather than God making man in his image, it is not instead the case that the ancient patriarchs could not compete with the m

I begin to wonder what form The Temptation would take when Big Sister, bossy boots that she is, always knows the answer and annoyingly nearly always does, suddenly wakes up and begins to berate me for my insidious, vengeful heresy. I don’t waste time arguing with her (nobody can withstand her deadly logic) and sadly agree that she might well be right.

Next time, I think, I’ll choose a song. I wonder idly, would I Ain’t Nothing but a Hound Dog, do​​​?