“Niggle was a painter. Not a very successful one, partly because he had many other things to do. Most of these things he thought were a nuisance; but he did them fairly well, when he could not get out of them: which (in his opinion) was far too often. There were other hindrances, too. For one thing, he was sometimes just idle, and did nothing at all. For another, he was kind-hearted, in a way … it did not prevent him from grumbling, losing his temper, and swearing (mostly to himself). All the same, it did land him in a good many odd jobs for his neighbour, Mr. Parish, a man with a lame leg.”
Leaf by Niggle by J.R.R. Tolkien
I was bemoaning (to a Thespian friend of mine) the realities of hiring Millennials. “This means,” I wined, “that Hubby and I have to become boss-parents to grown people – teaching them patience; how to get up when they fall down; that things worth doing don’t come easy; that making an impact will take more than a day, a month, a year.”
To which my dear honest friend replied, “But don’t we all need to learn those lessons?”
Ah, the voice of wisdom…
She’s an empathetic listener, but annoyingly too much like my conscience. I felt convicted right away.
Susan and Lucy ask if Aslan the lion is safe — to which Mr. Beaver answers: ‘Who said anything about safe? ’Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.’
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
I’ve stood on boulders, dyed my hair purple and skinny-dipped in the sea, so I often forget how risk-averse I really am.
Last weekend Hubby and I went to Rye. We stayed in the rather atmospheric Jeakes House. Built circa 1650, it’s decorated in the style of ‘Mrs White in the library with a rope‘ and other such scenarios. Continue reading Taking risks
“A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”
The Twits by Roald Dahl
I put my hand up and confess. I’m not a very nice person. Lately, I’ve been tired, grumpy, down and tetchy. Poor Hubby has endured my moans with his usual hugs, ‘there, there‘s’, cups of tea and a bit of clowning around.
”The steamer Mongolia, belonging to the Peninsular and Oriental Company, built of iron, of two thousand eight hundred tons burden, and five hundred horse-power, was due at eleven o’clock a.m. on Wednesday, the 9th of October, at Suez. The Mongolia plied regularly between Brindisi and Bombay via the Suez Canal, and was one of the fastest steamers belonging to the company, always making more than ten knots an hour between Brindisi and Suez, and nine and a half between Suez and Bombay.”
Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
The year A.D. 2017. Month October. Any given day.
Banned from using the word ‘busy’, I’m left with ‘occupied’, ‘challenged’, ‘hectic’, ‘exacting’ … or perhaps the more positive, ‘full’, to describe my life. “It’s the new normal,” you say. “Same for you, then?” I reply.
Imagine the cartoon me. I’m sketchy and one-dimensional at present. I sit on a park bench along the Thames in the shade of a great plane tree. Millions of bottoms before me have sat on this very bench. Seagulls fly and cry high above me. Ducks drift past on the tide. I sit. I stare. Continue reading Lacking the creative juices
Chutzpa, chutspa, chutzpadik – Pronounced KHOOTS-PAH; rattle that kh around with fervour; rhymes with ‘Foot spa’. Do not pronounce the ch as in ‘choo-choo’ or ‘Chippewa’, but as the German ch in Ach! or the Scottish in ‘loch’. Hebrew: ‘insolence’, ‘audacity’. Gall, brazen nerve, effrontery, incredible ‘guts’; presumption-plus-arrogance such as no other word, and no other language can do justice to.
The Joys of Yiddish By Leo Rosten
On Sunday morning I lead prayers at church. It had been an emotionally charged week in London. I dreaded standing in front of the congregation. Over 70 people had recently died in the Grenfell Tower fire not far from where I live, fires raged in Portugal and the news was still full of recent terror attacks.
I now dread my 7am wake-up with BBC Radio 4.
In May I’d readily volunteered to do prayers, but as my turn drew near, I wondered if I really had it in me. What would I say? How would I create the right balance between silence and words? Continue reading Building Castles in the Sky
“Tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow, creeps on this petty pace from day to day, to the last syllable of recorded time, and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death.”
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Oh, Shakespeare! You had me at tomorrow.
You’ve heard me say your first draft has permission to suck. That’s still true even though our first draft of 2017 has been unexpectedly fractious and gruelling. Call it seasonal affective disorder, call it one problem after another, call it what you like. So far, 2017 is not the post-2016-solve-all that it promised to be (promised as in the promise communicated to me over a glass of Champagne on New Years Eve). Continue reading Plodding along