Is this what one calls a Go Slow? I did sit down and type in the date, yesterday, but, then, life took over and I had to convince myself that it wasn’t the end of the world! I’ve described, before, how, each day, I have a To Do list in my head and the pressure is on to accomplish everything on that list. Well, that’s all well and good if one is living like a Tibetan monk and there are no outside disturbances to derail but, realistically, that’s not the case so … I went for that five-mile walk, anyway, poured myself a large gin and tonic – x 2 (you think I walk for nothing!), phoned a friend, ate a slice of my delicious vegetable tart accompanied by steamed broccoli, courgettes and fresh tomatoes and settled down to watch – anything I wanted to! There. A sneak peak without a camera. Enough of an excuse for no post? Perhaps, not, but what I am trying to convey is that life is just too short to be adding pressure where there is none. So, I didn’t complete my list, yesterday. So what. There’s always tomorrow …
I fear this might be all a bit mundane but I have been writing for weeks and the subject matter has been tough. As lockdown is easing, I am aware of the factions aligning: those who still believe one can catch the virus on a windswept beach at a distance of fifty metres – wearing garb more suited to the all-but final scenes in ET – and those of a calmer, more sensible disposition, who, seemingly, have a greater grasp of reality. Whatever. I am no comic – well, maybe a little one – but I am acutely aware of the wealth of material to hand, just now, in the simplest of things. Humour. That ‘ little spark of madness’. What did Robin Williams say? ‘If you lose that, you’re nothing.’ He was right. Humour enables perspective; pervades calm. To me, it is oxygen. Scary thing is that the world seems to be losing its humour at the hands of the PC brigade. Those who subscribe to mob rule. Apparently, everything offends; everything is offensive. I heard, yesterday, that even wolf-whistling may be deemed a crime of the future! Where is Billy Connolly and his incontinence pants when you need him? Think about it. That genius who is The Big Yin could soon be off-limits thanks to that whining minority who have decided to police every platform to the detriment of everyone else. No! Have these people never heard of George Benson? Too cryptic?
ATS 708B. And? That was the number plate of my mother’s car – the Morris Minor, I think – probably all of fifty years ago! I suppose it was always there, in my memory bank, but I was reminded of that very number, on Saturday, when I met someone from my childhood whom I haven’t seen for a lifetime … This has been such a time of reflection as one of my dearest friends has returned to Cupar to look after her dying mother; the mother, and family, who played such a huge part in my formative years, providing a wealth of happy memories. Their home, on the farm, was our second home – not sure they had much say – and that never leaves you, despite the passage of time. Sadly, however, every family has its fault lines – hidden cracks – borne of the jealousies and insecurities of the characters within, and so it was that there were no happy endings. Three brothers and a sister, one of whom has been estranged until now, the quintessential black sheep, supposedly. I never believed that, always recognising something of myself in him. People don’t change, fundamentally. Those childhood traits remain. I always thought him the softest of the three brothers and, it seems, my instinct was right.
So often, there is good comes from bad; light borne of the dark; something to be gleaned from sadness. Well, the loss of a parent – the last – pulls one up sharp; affords perspective. Life is fleeting. Somehow, the little things don’t matter anymore … or do they? I spent a lovely afternoon in the park we used to frequent as children, on Saturday, with that supposed black sheep and his sister and he has stored it all; the memories, that is. Forget forty-odd years, I was still Sherbet, to him as he reminded me of a trip to Millport and how I had traumatised him by accusing him of losing some ridiculous ashtray I had bought! Ashtray? Some silly souvenir, of course. We laughed as we remembered our holiday to Bavaria in 1973 when we visited the beautiful Oberammergau and its Passion Play Theatre and their Dad – ever the farmer – remarked that it would be ‘a grand place for cattle!’. Now, these are the memories which stay with you … I had the best afternoon albeit in sad circumstances.
Families. The ties that bind. The power to inflict the deepest wound. Throw in money and it is a brutal combination. How can greed supersede all else in these last precious days and moments? How can money mean more? Back to George Benson … Seriously, I would believe anything of families, now, in the light of my own experience. Sibling jealousies and insecurities over-riding any blood ties and memories shared. Family meetings to discuss whether one child should be omitted from the will? You couldn’t write it. All so sad – for those who do not realise that, in the end, money is of no consequence. You see, it cannot buy time and time is everything; the most precious ingredient in the recipe for memories which last forever and a day. Meanwhile, for those too blind to see beyond the Will? Good luck with the clear conscience! I assure you, it has no price tag …
‘Memories may be beautiful and yet
What’s too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget.
So, it’s the laughter we will remember
Whenever we remember
The way we were.’
That Barbra Streisand song – what’s it called again?
This is Trish, signing off.