Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Deck the halls... sorry, wrong date

It’s 07.07 am,raining heavily and I’m 75. Given the toping, the motorbiking, the rock-climbing and racketiness of journalism I’m lucky to see that figure. But I don’t warm to what is, in effect, decimal three-quarters. At fifty you are still aspirant Sapient Man, at a hundred you're forgiven toothlessness and witlessness. In between you're a wart on the arse of progress, neither wholly functional nor nobly grizzled.

Dinner is booked at the Hardwick Inn where chips take 24 hours according to the Heston Blumenthal method. But alas, atheists propose and God disposes. Elder daughter and partner trekked heroically by bus across the country and are here. Younger daughter, a powerhouse of organisation and encouragement on such occasions, entered hospital last weekend and saw the knife. Afterwards she agreed her hospital bed would be worth a technological post but the long and short of it is (allowing a cliché is in keeping with the mood) the feasting must be split in two.

I was five when WW2 broke out and my parents sensibly held back on the fatted calf. The tenth-year celebrations - when Gordon Terrace, Idle, Bradford, was freed for democracy - were communal and I saw my first bonfire. Aged twenty I nursed athlete’s foot in a military hospital in the Cameron Highlands in what is now Malaysia. Thirty? Who knows?

I like numbers but they should be allowed to roam freely, not have non-numerical qualities forced upon them. I once reviewed a book that contained a million dots. Certain dots were picked out for significance, but these I ignored. There was more fun in flicking the pages and watching a million accumulate. A hideous song of my youth celebrated A Very Merry Unbirthday to Me. That’s about it.

16.11, same day. Things got better. First via songs. Nina Simone's "I wish I knew", Edith Piaf's "La Marseillaise", and then Ewan McColl's "Wull ye nae come back again?" with the simplest. most direct expression of affection ever set to music: "Better luved ye cannae be."
Plus more antique emotion. From elder daughter: the DVD of "Babette's Feast" and a packet of rum truffles. Seventeen years ago, brought to my knees by defective lungs and almost alone in the house, I watched that movie (again) and visibly cried (again). Granddaughter Bella, then two or three, disturbed by the weeping ancient, brought me a rum truffle. Ten minutes later, another. Et seq.