It seems only fair, having used "Under Milk Wood" and my view of the Welsh character, to point up the need in all - most - of us for a bit of bad news gossip, that I should counter-balance this with an example of quite a different take on the world. If you have been kind enough to keep up, you will know that I have a fairly strong connection to the way things work for Buddhists. Recently, I was at one of the Buddhist centres around London. I was greeted by a young, female Nun in a state of great excitement. She was off to Scotland in a 'bus over night that very night. She had'nt done that before and her pleasurable anticipation was palpable and rather touching. After she had left me, her arms full of things to take with her, several other people came up to me and gave me the same exciting news. Her joy in her adventure was shared and delighted in by the entire community. For myself, the thought of a night in a 'bus brought up the opposite of joyful anticipation. I do prefer a room and a bed and a ticking clock and not too many other people to share my night, anyway, with two legs. I had taken with me a little offering of snowdrops, plucked from my small garden. He- to- whom- they- were- offered found an egg-cup to house them and then put them on the desk of the presiding Lama. It seems a blessing lies in giving someone the chance of doing a good thing for another. This blessing is called a Merit. Two people benefit. One, in this case me, from creating an opportunity to obtain a Merit - the giving on of the flowers, and the other for the one who chose not to hold on to the gift but to present it to someone else. Still with me? I suspect I have taken us through this complex, simple notion before. It still fascinates me. Perhaps it is not unlike the Hebrew 'Mitzvah'. But there was none of the eager 'what happened next' thirst of the thrill-seeking Gossips of my youth. No secretly cynical view of the Nun's innocent excitement at what may have been seen as a fairly prosaic and not very comfortable way to spend a whole night.
Thinking of cynicism has brought to mind one of the most blatant examples I have encountered in my celebrated more than three score and ten years. Two months ago, turning left at lights, a car which had been waiting beside me in the right lane also turned left and went in to me. So far so straight forward, or left turning, if you will. I stopped, with damage to my wheel arch. He continued for a few seconds with the result that his car was damaged along the entire side. It now turns out that, in his account, he has up-ended the map of the location where this occured. He avers we were on the opposite road coming from the opposite direction. He says I was in the left lane, and that I tried to turn right and thus went in to him; all this on the other side of the intersection from where we actually were. The enormity of this chutzpah is beyond my capacity to take in. I have offered to swear under oath to my version of events so we shall see what happens next. In fact, I also offered to ring up the Queen if that would help, getting quite Alice in Wonderland in my frustration, but my Insurers felt she probably had enough on her plate what with Jubilees and Olympics. You must be thinking that Liz too often loses her capacity to see the fun in stuff. I promise to try harder to laugh at life if you promise not to look for the bad news too often. Prynhawn da