PC 219 It Doesn’t Take Much

I have a very sweet tooth and find it easy to get into habits and repetitive behaviour without a thought. Whilst living just off Northcote Road in Battersea the local Lighthouse Bakery (Note 1) offered a little bun filled with Crème Anglaise – called a Dewy Bun, one on its own was not enough! It became a daily visit. Down here in Hove I have recently discovered a Cinnamon Bun (Note 2) in Gail’s, a successful purveyor of coffee, artisan breads, stickies and the like. They are soft in the centre with a crisp sugary cinnamon skin; a must as a morning coffee accompaniment.

Having a somewhat addictive personality, it didn’t take long for the Cinnamon bun to become a daily indulgence! Not immune to Lockdown Spread, I realised something had to change. The nudge of the arrival of the Christian festival of Lent last Wednesday provided that impetus. No more Cinnamon buns – well, at least not until 40 days have passed – it doesn’t take much, huh! Lent lasts for 40 days, the time Christ spent in the wilderness finding and testing himself; today many go on retreats to recharge, rethink or recover, although forty days would be too long. (Note 3) Today I sense many feel they have been forced to ‘find themselves’ during enforced periods of lockdown!

All sorts of thoughts flash through our minds, a million times a second, in the blink of an eye; if we are awake we may focus on one or two until one becomes dominant. Doesn’t take much for the thought to develop into a feeling, an emotion and sometimes that emotion is translated into action. In PC 214 ‘Saints and Sinners’, I wrote that it’s the translation of these emotions into acts that sometimes causes a problem. Clearly this was uppermost in the mind of Ayatollah Khamenei when he said this week that looking at an ‘uncovered’ (ie no hijab) woman in a film was fine as long as the viewer’s thoughts were not lustful. In the same breath he recommended that female cartoon characters should be depicted wearing the hijab as he was worried about the consequences of them not being so depicted. Who would have thought it?

Closer to home, when our yoga studio was open Celina and I would take the bus into Brighton and walk down through the little lanes to Middle Street. Outside one of the shops was a homeless chap, there most days, week in, week out. Recognition of this chap, thoughts filtered through one’s own experiences, created a feeling of sympathy, of wanting to do something, wanting to be human. One could not not act! Into the nearest ‘take-away’: “Coffee, milk, three sugars and two sausage rolls please”. “That for the chap outside? He prefers semi-skimmed!” Always grateful, always polite. Doesn’t take much huh!

Duke Street in Brighton

I think for the most part our penal system works well, although I don’t believe that the automatic 50% reduction in one’s sentence with the remainder being spent on parole, is right. Fortunately HMG has recognised this and in the last Queen’s Speech said it would toughen sentences. In January 2016 I wrote a postcard titled Incarceration (PC 59) about someone we knew who had been sentenced in December 2014 to six years in prison. He came out in December 2017; we had dinner at The Ginger Pig and caught up with his plans, living within the restrictions of parole. Sadly it didn’t take long for him to be caught violating those conditions and he went back inside for another three years. Didn’t take much!!

Exaggeration seems to be apparent in much of life, in those who want to suggest a better/more wonderful/further than ever/beyond belief story that focuses on them. The feeding of the ‘Five Thousand’ is a good example. The idea that many many people were fed from an extremely small quantity of food is remarkable, although cynics might suggest that the atmosphere of excitement put off people’s hunger. But why 5000? Three thousand would surely have been enough to make the point? Was someone counting?

Here in the Northern Hemisphere we have passed the official start of Spring and are only a month away from when the sun is directly over the Equator. It doesn’t take much, longer daylight and milder temperatures, in daytime at least, for the Camellia to flower ……

…… and for the Tulip bulbs to start pushing upwards into the light.

A couple of weeks ago I was putting the finishing touches to one of my postcards, adding a little here, rephrasing something there. I am really not sure what happened or what key I inadvertently pressed but the screen went blank. Doesn’t take much to think ‘Oh! No!’ (or other, more choice words!)  etc …… and when I switched the laptop back on and retrieved my draft postcard those most recent changes had disappeared into the ether. Watching TV crime dramas it now seems possible to retrieve virtually anything you have deleted, inadvertently or not, but I have only a surface knowledge of my laptop and its inner workings are like, oh! I don’t know, the surface of Mars! Maybe with Perseverance’s help I will know more in future.

Richard 26th February 2021

Note 1 Rachel and Liz ran this bakery with a passion and that showed in their produce. Sometime around 2005 they sold up and opened The Lighthouse Bakery & School near Bodium Castle. I went for a birthday treat one year. For health reasons, combined with the pandemic’s decimation of the hospitality industry and their customer base, they have sadly had to close.

Note 2 Started a new book this week, The Last Snow by Swedish author Stine Jackson. A few pages in and a lorry driver asks a girl: “Would you like a Cinnamon bun?”!!! Another of those coincidences!

Note 3 ‘Forty days’ was a common period in biblical stories; the time Moses spent on Mount Sinai, the time Elijah spent wandering around Mount Horeb and the length of the rainstorm that produced the great flood. And the Hebrew people ‘wandered’ for 40 years before reaching ‘the Promised Land’. Who chose that number?

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