Monday, 28 December 2015

No Room in the Inn

Thinking seasonally, it suddenly seemed to me that the story of the search for a place for Mary to give birth may actually be as significant as the birth, itself.  No, don't protest yet: see what you think after I have had a go at explaining. The whole question of acceptability and confidence which comes with knowing who and where you are must be fundamental to human well-being, don't you think? The symbolic possibilities in the situation in which the Holy Family found themselves are endless. As we can't help but notice, there is currently a mind-blowing number of people on this planet without homes. More than just being without, they are exiled and destitute. It must be inconceivable to live any kind of 'ordinary' life in these circumstances. Giving birth on a dinghy will surely have echoes of giving birth in a barn.

 From those thoughts evolved  thoughts about  rejection, of feeling not wanted anywhere by anyone. People who find themselves in the wrong body, those who turn out to be a disappointment to those supposed to love and like them most must  constantly feel as if  forced in to an out-building on the farm of life. At all levels and in countless predicaments this feeling proves the rocky bed on which survival scrambles to take a hold. I have watched a cat of my acquaintance, who had an unsettled and unreliable early start in life grow from anger, fear and unreachability, even using his host's carpet as a litter tray, in to a joyful, lovable master of all he surveys. He lies unguarded, all the yard (meter) of him, on forbidden surfaces and greets in-comers with a sweet welcome and an invitation to play. I am not sure that humans with similar backgrounds would be able so genuinely and completely to overcome such an unpromising early life. It seems to me that not feeling wanted becomes a sort of fault-line. Thereafter, it is only too easy to regard a perceived rejection as being due to an inadequacy or characteristic in oneself that makes one unwantable. The pivotal thing about Mary, I think, was that she had the support of her husband and a batch of kings and assorted others who turned up in time, it seems, to find her clean and tidy holding a Baby who, according to most depictions of Him, had the look of a baby at least three months old. There is never a sign of blood and gore nor the exhaustion one would have expected after such a difficult and insanitary confinement. Nor does Joseph ever look to me to be someone with the presence of mind and resourcefulness to cut the umbilical cord. Ah well, in such a story anything can be made possible. Veracity is not always preferable to imagination, or, as the saying goes, why spoil a good tale with the truth?  Bore da

Friday, 4 December 2015

Received Wisdom

It was a toss up, whether to call this post  "Received Wisdom"  or "These I Have Learned", or, even, " Wisdom Received". Anyway, the intention is to address myself to all you youngsters out there to help prepare you for 75 on the outside and 40 where it matters. 1) Forget running for that 'bus. Catch the next one. 11) Allow enough time for 'bus-missing. 111) Either throw away your belts or keep your waist beltable.  1V) Do not drop things on to the floor. Your middle hinge will be too rusty to retrieve them. V) Do your best to help maintain standards, eg 'i' before 'e' except after 'c', See above. Do not use 'get' or its relatives. Supply a verb which will do the trick accurately.  Do not add words for emphasis, eg very unique. Is it unique or isn't it.  Kill off  'importantly' unless it is in a clause with a verb to which it applies. Remember your manners - literally keep bringing them to mind. In your older years you will find yours is the only generation which has any.

V1)  Clothes provide a whole catalogue of their own. Here what the Guru calls "Age Appropriate" applies. Throw out the denim. Throw out the narrow-legged trousers - women, and the baseball caps - men. If you must dye your hair pay through the nose so that you, your hairdresser and the junior who washes it are the only ones who know. If you are determined to do it at home, don't. No more bikinis and if you say you still look good in them, I find that very hard to believe. Watch out for swollen ankles - women - so that skirts may not do it for you if you have them: swollen ankles, that is. Watch out for droopy trousers - men. You have shrunk. Have them shortened. 'T' shirts are just about alright, particularly with sleeves at least to the elbow. If they have words on them bin them even if the words say "Keep Calm and ask Mum" or "Dad". No decolltage -women: Don't tell me your neck area is not a touch wrinkled. No chest hair - men. Do up that top button . No more bare arms - women, No ill-fitting false teeth - both. Use nothing which is a) shabby b) not pristine nor sparkling clean. Keep your glasses clean; you will need all the help you can acquire to see where you are going. By the way, I mean spectacles but you should keep your drinking glasses clean, too, (See under 'pristine').

V11) Do not try to flirt.  Throw out archness. It is toe-curlingly embarrassing to observe the elderly dealing with A. N.  Other as if they were still in their teens or twenties. Indeed, throw out any device which looks good on a young person: it will not be a good look on you post middle-age.Above all, keep learning and do let the young teach their Grandmother to suck eggs. Bore da

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Back to the Beginning

Other than activities that make life manageable for a baby, like eating, sleeping, crying and, ultimately even walking and talking, she/he starts, as soon as is practicable, to learn other ways to live a life as free from hassle as is possible. For instance, one of the first non-essentials I recall - Mother thought it was essential - was the difference between 'can' and  'may'. All these decades later, I can still hear her voice each time I need one or other. Unfortunately, 'can'  applies rather more often than 'may' in spite of the somewhat permissive age in to which I have crept.

Thinking about this, it came to me that old age seems determined to back-track on one's received knowledge, making it necessary to learn and experience all the little ploys again. An apple a day does not keep the Doctor away, particularly if you have dentures and the apple is crisp and juicy. I don't - have dentures, that is. I have green-inked long enough for you to remember that old age renders you invisible so, in an ideal world,  there would be a hand, or even one finger to hold on to walking in a crowded street. I have re-learned what happens to fine and wispy hair when it's wet: frizz, not  like scotch mist, more like wire wool. (Does wire wool still exist, do you know?) This covering was quite attractive when thin and wispy also meant a bow tied in the scrabbled together on the on-their-way locks. It  was a step in the ultimate direction  of a head full of woman's glory. Now it's a mess. Post prandial napping seems as natural as it must have been at six months, the difference being that it is rather late in the age to be wasting any time at all. I find, too, that I would have difficulty even in picking up as much as a Teddy Bear since my middle hinges have gone. I am also 'D' shaped in the middle, as little ones are, too, so that doesn't help deal with that stuff that's on the floor. I need a me from a former time when I was picker-up in Chief, to do my picking up, now. I recall the excitement of a whole page of script leaping out of the page as a readable reality. I was five, or maybe six and it was "Janet and John", (the book's title, of course). I have the same excitement when I press a key on my computer and find the whole page has actually not  been consigned to cyberspace. But one enormous gain wrested from the rules of baby-/childhood: I am so old I no longer have to eat my greens. Prynhawn da