Sunday, 14 January 2018

A Well-Loved Life

Me and my friend Wendy used to sit in The Jolly Brewmaster, a pub in Cheltenham, and chew the fat. We became Disaster Specialists.

 

Asteroids, Tsunamis, Nuclear Wipeout, Global Warming, we tutted over them all. We had climate change nailed before the deniers got a foot in the door. We knew which bit of Maderia was about to drop into the Atlantic and drown London, we could name the next nuclear facility that was most likely to go into meltdown, we knew the approximate location of the asteroid that would knock the planet off it's orbit. Oh yes, there was no misery-stone we left unturned. We had a ball!

 

You know what? Two decades on, we're still here.

 

Keep Smiling. It May Never Happen.

 

:)

 

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Happy New Year!

 Yes, I know it’s the ninth, but it takes me a while to get used to it. 

I am thinking about 2017, wondering that seventeen years have passed since the last time I actually stayed up till midnight.

Well, it was a good year. Yes. Good. 

I listened to a Dharma talk today, remembering Jack Kornfield recounting the occasion he was called by Cosmopolitan and asked if he had any tips on how to help their readers keep their resolutions. The disciple of impermanence laughingly replied, “We Buddhists aren’t into hanging on to things!”

Today’s talk was a valedictory to a remarkable woman named Frances Vaughn who gave, posthumously, today’s lesson:

Show Up
Pay Attention 
Don’t be attached to results
Have fun 

Happy New Year! 

Oh! As for my New Year’s Resolitions, I have kept the same one for four years: Not to make any. 

Sunday, 7 January 2018

No Parking!

On Friday, I had the pleasure of doing the School Run. Confession time here: I did NOT do the school run when my daughters were requiring it, Ray, a misnamed 'househusband' in those far off, and unenlightened times, took it on as one of his duties, along with laundry, shopping, cleaning, and other tasks then assigned to a now mythical partner that, 'didn't work'.

Jen and the three scholars were ready when I was, and piled in. I drive  the three or so miles to the village school that they are fortunate enough to attend, and park the car at the roadside, whilst Jen takes her offspring to the point of exchange in the school playground. 

I know  there are "issues", so I carefully check that no part of my vehicle imposes on any part of anyone's drive, and set about to wait the six or seven  minutes it will  take for my eldest to return. I happen to notice a beautiful clump of snowdrops under a tree nearby, so I go to the boot of my car to retrieve my smart phone to capture them for posterity. . I am instantly accosted by a woman of about my age, who is in a grade-one snit. With no ado whatsoever, she begins a rant. I listen, bemused, and when she pauses for breath, I point out, not unreasonably, that 'her drive' legally ends at least two feet away from my car's furthest extremity, and this being the case, I have no intention of moving on. This does not improve the lady's frame of mind. Round Two begins, and I have to wait another minute or so  for her kettle to run out of steam. Having gathered early on what was stoking her fire, I am no longer listening. I am composing myself. 

At the next pause, I, with icy calm, reiterate that I was not moving, and if she continues harassing me, I will  call the police. I open my 'phone to lend weight to my words. Another tirade ensues that I endure with a tinge of annoyance. My response at this point is to indicate, quite strongly, that if she'd asked politely and said please in the first place,  I'd be long gone. 

The woman turns on her heel and storms off. She now leaves the tale, and I think about moving on. But before you can say, "Enraged of Tibberton" a small grey man wearing a cross enters left, already pumped and ready to go. So I get another dose of prime invective. 

My inner Zen emerges and I hold my hand up, and say, "I will tell you exactly what I told your wife. If you'd asked me nicely, I would no longer be here, but as you have behaved so badly. I'm staying. I don't submit to bullying."

He may, at this point,  have started swearing. Inner Zen retires, and inner schoolmarm sweeps in. She, I think, must be my True Self. 

"I advise you go inside now, sit down and think about what you've just said." I barely refrain from wagging my finger. I am mentally sitting him on the naughty step, and he knows it. Red rag to a bull. 

"Drop dead!" He yells, and I, having done winding him up, close with, "YOU are a very silly man!" Tiring of being a public spectacle, I get  in my car and drive  off. 

He probably sees it as a victory, but I don't know. Probably a dishonourable draw.