Friday, 24 July 2015

More ramblings from Rodney

I continue to brood on Mili’s question. After a while you realise that there is no precise centre in any society for any activity.

Trees this week - just some rather nice trees.
If I have usedd these before, I apologise.
A simple answer when thinking about politics would be ‘Westminster’ or ‘Downing Street’ or even ‘The Houses of Parliament’ but that is not true. Up and down the country there are councils charged with the mundane day-to-day provision of services. Oddly this is an extremely difficult task or, to be more precise, delivering all the services to the satisfaction of all the people is extremely difficult. Without all these other centres our society would fall apart. Actually you can divide people into two (this being rather simplistic): those who when thinking politics do think 'London' and those who think about what is happening at either county or district level. It all depends on what effects you most.

When it comes to sport, I suspect that each sport has a precise centre. Not being a great follower of sport I can’t talk outside the few I know anything about. 

Tennis: Wimbledon without a doubt – it was the birthplace of tennis and should be the precise centre for the world let alone the UK. 

Rugby: here you have a problem because rugby is divided into national teams (even when playing in the world cup) but for England that it Twickenham. Scotland looks to Murrayfield in Edinburgh while the Welsh have the most modern ground in the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

And so it goes on, no matter what context you choose the high probability is that there are going to be a number of candidates for ‘precise centre’. After brooding on this off and on for the last fortnight, the only one I could come up with was Wimbledon so perhaps that should stand for the UK as a whole.

It is, I suppose, inevitable that one looks back over life when you are somewhere near the end and find yourself pondering on the things you did that you are still glad you did and those you really, really wish you had not.

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”

When you think about it old Omar hit the nail on the head. One thing pleases me enormously: I know nobody who I really hate and the ones that come close to that are politicians who have done things that I consider to have been morally unacceptable. Top of that list would be Tony Blair for his support in two wars I feel we should not have fought: Iraq and Afghanistan. Even then I don’t really hate the man even though I do hate some of the things he did.

Meanwhile I have met many people who have proved to be delightful and who have given me great pleasure: I hope that I reciprocated and they got something from me. Some seem to find that most of the people they meet are generally unkind and unfriendly. I find that hard to believe: ask yourself this, ‘how many really nasty people do I know?’ Quite: the vast majority of people are fine – the problem is that the headlines and airwaves tend to be cluttered with stories about the few that have gone off the rails and this distorts the way we see the world.

There are quite a few unpleasant and nasty people in Marcia’s stories but by the end of each book all such characters have also demonstrated that they really could not help themselves (Tristan in Postcards from the Past) or that they wanted to do everything they could to mend their ways and atone for what they had done (Gillian in The Courtyard).

As to the few sins of commission I can remember committing, I did what I could to atone for them but nothing can ‘wash out a Word of it’.

What does bug me is the sin of omission: things I could have done but for one reason or another didn’t and now, of course, it is far too late. It was too late when I walked away in the first place.

One in particular: a friend of mine was going on a short cruise from Chichester (where he kept his boat) over to France and then west to the Channel Islands before returning home. Would I care to join him with two others? At the time I had just started rehearsals with the choir I then conducted (we were to perform The Crucifixion by Stainer) and this would have delayed matters for a fortnight. So I refused. What I should have done was to get the organist to stand in for me (she would have been quite able) but . . .

The Companion is going well and I am beginning to think that I shall have time to finish it. Certainly until it is done I shall fight this tumour with everything that I have got. It is my tribute to Marcia and so very dear to me.

Back next week.