PC 269 Hope

Hope – noun: ‘Expectation and desire combined; feeling of trust”. Also a verb: ‘To Hope.’ So; without desire, no hope?

After my last somewhat bleak postcard, I thought something entitled ‘Hope’ might lift any spirits that had have been wallowing in the mire. You may not believe it but some of my postcards require me to engage my brain to write something interesting, informative and illustrated. I have a ‘dump’ file where I put some thoughts and sometimes some of these coalesce into a suitable one-thousand-word piece. Then you have the origin of my last post, a documentary advertised as too shocking to watch, which interjected and I wanted to remind my readers that we must not forget that particularly horrific period of the last century. Those caught up in it lost all hope for survival. This morning I needed the warmth and companionship of the familiar so I’m sitting at a table in The Hope Café.

I look up as Susie comes over, bringing a double espresso. Both she and Josh (note 1) are in today and she’s got some news.

Next door a new cake and delicatessen shop has opened, run by Teresa, a Brazilian from São Paulo. She’s one of many Brazilian’s living in this city; most seem to have come to study at one of our two universities and then stayed, charmed by someone of the opposite or of the same sex! We’ve done a deal with her. Her customers can have a 5% discount on what they may buy here and our customers have the same. Only been running since the beginning of January so it’s early days but already there’s been an increase in the footfall. By the way, the Brigadeiros are to die for!”


I ask Susie why the owners named this place The Hope Café. She shakes her head and mumbling ‘no idea’ goes across to Josh who’s operating the commercial coffee machine.

Josh raises his voice over the noise of the machine; I can just hear him tell Susie that his father was a great fan of the British-American comedian Bob Hope (1903-2003). By the time Susie relays this to me I have got the connection, as Bob Hope’s wonderful one-liners and entertainment career spanned many decades in Hollywood. He made 45 films; one was a series entitled ‘Road to ….’, for instance ‘Bali’ or ‘Morocco’. I remember being in my parent’s car, a Riley Pathfinder, driving into Central London through the endless confusing suburbs. At one T junction my step-father was not sure whether to turn left or right. Ahead of us was a billboard advertising the latest Bob Hope film ‘Road to Hong Kong’ (1962). Unusually for me, as I don’t think I am good at the quick bon mot, I said: “Well, if you could go straight on you’ll end up in Hong Kong.”

With the contents of my last postcard still rumbling around in the grey matter, I looked at Josh and imagined he had been named Joshua. That’s a very Jewish name and I wondered whether his grandparents had been incarcerated in one of the many concentration camps, or escaped to England on some Kinder Transport (1938-1940).

‘Hope’ features in the song ‘Land of Hope and Glory (Mother of the Free, how shall we extol thee, who are born of thee …..), which is based on a trio theme from Edward Elgar’s Pomp & Circumstance March No 1, first performed in 1901. Queen Victoria died in the same year and for King Edward’s coronation Elgar worked this trio into his Coronation Ode. Writing about hearty singing, we all love singing “O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come,” the hymn written in 1719 by Isaac Watts.

Some of you will know I started researching my family history in 2007. It culminated in a get-together in Auckland, New Zealand, in March 2011 of 43 out of some 236 living relatives. One of those attending was Debs Nation, who lives in Lyttleton just south east of Christchurch on South Island. Her mother was a Frances Hope (1925-2006)

‘Hope’ came second equal in the Christian Bible’s Old Testament’s Corinthians 13, which compared faith, hope and love ….. ‘but the greatest of these is love’.

There is a town in Arkansas in the USA called Little Hope. Lee Child’s Jack Reacher visited a fictional town called Despair where all the bad guys lived; the good ones lived in nearby Hope! 


Here in England the pretty village of Hope in Derbyshire is situated where the River Noe and Peakshole Water meet. The Doomsday book records the village had a church and priest in the C13th.

Most of us probably think the Cape of Good Hope marks the most southerly tip of the African Continent.  In fact that’s Cape Aqulhas, about 150kms away to the south east, whereas the Cape of Good Hope marks the tip of the Cape Peninsula and is some 50kms south of Cape Town. For those sailing down the western coast of Africa, it’s the first place south of the Equator where you can make some easterly offing.

Some years ago I needed to find a particular light fitting and was recommended to go to Edwards & Hope, a family-run light bulb and lighting shop in the centre of Brighton. I recounted my experience in Postcard number 72 (June 2016). Last week I needed some coloured flex and dropped in after yoga, as the studio is quite close. Saddened to hear it’s going to close at the end of March after 87 years.

Such a good name for a café, ‘Hope’, as it raises all sorts of thoughts in our minds. As Michelle Obama said: “…. because history has shown us courage can be contagious and hope can take in a life of its own.”

          Alexander Pope wrote: “Hope springs eternal.”

So without hope we have nothing, no future, not even a present! Hope gives our existence meaning and purpose. Let hope wrap itself around you … and change your life.

Richard 11th February 2022


PS Today’s Codeword 4509 in The Times had, as one of its answers, ‘Hope’! Love these coincidences.

Note 1 On Wednesday I attended the Graduation Ceremony of the University of Brighton’s Sports & Health Science students. As it closed the names of the 650 new graduates scrolled on an overhead screen. There were many ‘Josh’s ….. but not one ‘Richard’! A sign of our society’s changing favourite first names. 

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