Thursday 24 July 2008


Before I tell you what inspired this particular title, I have something rather exciting for an elderly, computer-illiterate blogger to report: someone in Canada and also someone in Australia has been reading 75goingon40 ! I am so excited, but my Guru is totally unmoved. I got the words of one syllable treatment about World Wide Web and all that and where had I thought my readership was coming from, Goring-on-Thames? Now, I think Goring is a delightful place but it is probably more Home Counties than Where-It's-At. In other words, like me, well-behaved and decorous rather than dare-devil and cosmopolitan and therefore, less, or not likely to do blog reading. ( In case you are still reading this out there in the 'foreign' world, Home Counties may be used, in politically incorrect company, to suggest unadventurous and conventional).

But, of course, there is, nevertheless, a link, if a bit stretched, between what came to me to write to-day and the above. That is, I had to learn from said Guru, how to find out where people were who were logging in. You will have guessed, no doubt, given my transparent ignorance - I was tempted to write 'innocence', but that would be just sympathy seeking - in all matters computer- related that it was the Guru who set all this up and who monitors it and tries to negotiate with the cyber-wizards to minimise my losses and mistakes. He, himself, is not in the UK; he is only a channel or so away, but it had never struck me as miraculous that he was able to read it. There was, however, something more magic about Canada and Australia. Anyway, if you are still out there, Hello and welcome and please go on reading the posts. ( I hope you started at the bottom. If you are in Australia, you probably did, since you will be used to things being the wrong way up!)

To business; I was noticing how influential apparently throw-away, non- lessons could be. About half a century ago, I arrived very late at the point in Paris where buses left for the airport. (Les Invalides, if you must really test my historic memory) Hurriedly, in dodgy but optimistic French, I asked a porter to which desk I should report. I followed his waving arm if not his spoken instruction and presented myself at the wrong desk. Re-directed, I came, seriously late, to the right desk. Words rushing over themselves with relief to be uttered in their Mother tongue, I explained that it was the porter's fault for mis-directing me. " There is always someone who's fault it is" came the response. Dear Reader, I have never forgotten. It was my first lesson in taking responsibility for myself. Well, the first time such a lesson went in and lodged where it was needed .

One of the people whom I have loved most in my life was untidy and unhouseproud almost to the point of slatterliness. Taking my little first-born to see her, I would bring a cup and plate and spoon for his use so he wouldn't be exposed to the unnamed deathly horrors in residence in her kitchen, among her cups and plates and spoons, making up some story about how they were the only ones he could be persuaded to use. I doubt she was deceived for a moment and it will tell you something about her lovely character that she accepted this with grace and good manners. There came a time when she went away . I advanced upon her flat with dusters, polish, abrasives, vacuum cleaner, (you've guessed; she didnt have one), disinfectants, rubber gloves and my pinny and set to work to clean it within an inch of its life. I brought her back from the airport and stood back as she walked in and looked around. " Thank you dear. It will take me ages to get it back the way it was" she said. I think it sank in at last that we are all different and that there is more than one way to peel an apple. (You wouldn't expect me to use the more usual metaphor, would you now?) I don't think it necessarily interfered with my capacity to interfere, though.

One more 'lesson-by-default', for this time, anyway, shorter, less portentous and, in many ways, most useful. Advice from one who knew, about what to do with doubtful left-overs: put them in the freezer until you don't feel guilty about throwing them out. Think about it: the reverberations are without limit. See you soon.

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