What a horrific week it has been! I have been nose to the wall for most of it and got rather more acquainted with my bed and Channel Five Christmas movies. Ironically, I haven’t had one day off, sick, in two and a half years and perhaps there was an element of smugness creeping in?! Whatever, I’ve certainly had the carpet pulled from under me now.
From what dire disease have I been suffering? Dare I say the common cold – therein lies the rub! To be fair, on the surface, it would appear to fall into that category but, trust me, my symptoms are unique and far worse. Characterised by the most horrific, unexplained tickly cough rooted in something appropo super glue in the throat, following an overdose of Lemsip, the only comfort can be gleaned from wine. Thank God for that! Suffice to say, I have let all my fellow workers down and my friends have been ‘covering my back’ selflessly! Time to bite the bullet and return to the rat race regardless of the fact that a week in bed has done me no good whatsoever. Yes, I have submerged myself in Christmas movies and not once got to the end without the inevitable tears. They always get to me, perhaps because good always triumphs over evil and the childhood innocence is tangible. I used to avidly watch ‘The Waltons‘ and believed that the love of family and friends could ward off all the evil in the world. How I wish that were true.
Suffice to say – again – at this point in my life, back-up is important and something we all need. One of my favourite films, ‘About a Boy’ – starring my old ‘friend’, Hugh – bases its premise on ‘back-up’. At the beginning, Hugh’s character is very much a loner and Marcus only has his mother. A twist of fate brings them together and their lives become intrinsically linked as, unknowingly, they come to love and rely on one another. Five minutes from the end produces, to my mind, one of the coolest moments in film: Marcus is about to go on stage at the school ‘rock concert’ to sing ‘Killing me Softly’, thinking that this is the only thing that will make his Mum happy; his ‘paid‘ accompaniment chickens out, recorder and all, leaving Will (Hugh!) to grab a guitar and gallantly accompany, and save his friend from social suicide. Now that is what I call back-up, Hugh Grant style! ‘In the words of Jon Bon Jovi, no man is an island …..’
In my first term at uni, John Donne was one of the poets we studied and who could ever forget ‘No man is an Island, entire of it self;’? It is a quote which has followed me throughout my life and one of great truth. Have I mentioned how much I love words? That I have a book of my favourite quotes? Well, the above is one which is very important to me. Three and a half years ago, my life took an unexpected turn which could have completely thrown me but it proved the catalyst which made me re-connect with my old friends (and make new ones). I realised that the passing of years was irrelevant and they had always been there. They, and my wonderful children, are my back-up – and I for them. That’s what counts in life.
Almost Christmas, I leave you with another of my favourite quotes:
‘No man is a failure who has friends.’
This is written in the book (is it a Bible?) given to George (James Stewart) at the end of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ when he realises that his life is worthwhile; that he has friends and family who care about him … and Clarence gets his wings! Tissues, please …
Trish, signing off. As ever, nobody made you read it!