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

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Why youth is never truly gilded

Plutarch was reflecting on reflections, notably his face in the shaving mirror (I believe Robert Graves wrote a poem about this). I took up the baton, acknowledging changes in my own face and pondering (gloomily) on the internal changes. I posed the question: would 40-year-old BB “get on” with the present version?

A new variant occurs. Present-day BB would certainly detest (does detest) 23-year-old BB shown here abseiling off a cliff above Bingley, a town in Airedale. I remember that day well. Offstage was a youth with the misfortune to be more badly educated than me. Chatting about Alpine climbing he referred to the Chamonix aiguilles (Literally needles; actually pointed flakes of rock about 2000 m high) as “aigillies” and I corrected him. A decent carpenter lad; I wince 52 years after the event.

Some showing-off is permissible which is just as well because Works Well is full of it. Self-deprecation helps, though readers’ forgiveness is more important. The above example is beyond forgiveness even though, within the hour, I seem to recall I realised what I’d done. Ultimately it was beneficial, seared as it is in my memory.

The photo has historical significance. These days pensioners abseil off cathedral towers for charity and photos appear in the local press. Closer examination reveals they are protected by hard hats, special harnesses, durable gloves and – most important – a top rope. There is no real danger of falling. In the fifties we took a more robust view. My mother knitted the sweater, my favourite until Mrs BB, whiling away her first confinement, knitted me another.