I hadn’t intended to go to the Hope Café this week as I was working on a painting for an ex client of mine, but I got drawn into its warm friendly space and I thought a quick coffee would help me organise my thoughts for this week’s post.
As I was leafing through my beige ‘PC Ideas’ folder, I noticed a piece about how in these post-Covid times we remain wary of close contact with another human. As I started reading, Susie came across with my coffee and a lovely observation. One wall of The Hope Café has some antiqued mirrors which create the illusion of a much larger space and it’s well done. Susie had noticed two good female friends settle down for a coffee and a natter; Susie guessed this was their first time in the ‘Hope’. One of them spied a couple of old dowdy-looking women and remarked to her chum: “Don’t look now but those two probably look like we will in 20 years.” “Oh! My God!” says the other, “there’s a mirror; it’s us!”
Susie tells me Josh and Luke are away on holiday but like everyone else travelling overseas their trip were beset with delays and cancelled flights. The manager Duncan has been helping out and he says trying to find staff is so difficult. Not unusual here today; for instance the UK had been relying on nomadic Europeans for seasonal farm work and now, post-Brexit, soft fruit might well not get harvested. A ridiculous situation; a little like farmers unable to take pigs to an abattoir for lack of abattoir staff.
Pre Covid we had got used to offering more than a formal handshake and hugs and back-patting had become quite normal. Now we unconsciously worry we might catch something and hold off. Let’s hope we get back to hugging soon – something very friendly and loveable about feeling the warmth of someone’s body! (Note 1)
Without Sami to chat to I cast my eyes around and spy a group of young 20 year old somethings. Here in Brighton & Hove I am not surprised by the individual styles of fashion; the latest seems to be coloured hair and I am not talking blonde or Chestnut rinse but strong pink or green or blue or purple. And nail extensions so long that the owner has to develop a slightly different way of tapping their mobile keys; needs must I guess. Coloured hair and nail extensions I can abide but I cringe when I see someone with ‘Fish Lips’!!
Rod Liddle in the Sunday Times of 26th June wrote about Leslie Sinclair, a 66 year old man who over the course of his lifetime had donated some 125 litres of blood. (Note 2) On his last visit he was asked whether he was pregnant, as women who are ‘with child’ are not allowed to donate blood – you might think for obvious reasons! He refused to answer what he and most of us would consider an asinine question; clearly not our NHS. In response to his ‘going public’ with what he saw as a ridiculous issue, an anonymous NHS administrator refused to apologise saying we must use language that’s ‘inclusive’. Er! Not for us males who can’t get pregnant.
Around the Platinum Jubilee The Times published a list of notable books we should have read over the past 70 years. I had read about 10% so you can draw your own conclusions to either my literary likes (?) or those who drew up the list. One book caught my eye, JG Farrell’s The Siege of Krishnapur, set in a fictional town during the Indian Mutiny of 1857. Given that my great great great grandfather Stephen Nation had been in India in the lead up to the Mutiny, although he’d died of Cholera in 1848, and that his eldest son Henry had been involved, I have read extensively around the subject, admittedly from European writers so with a biased viewpoint.
Farrell’s novel drew on the real experiences of people under siege at Lucknow and ‘The Collector’ at Muttra. Amazing that the Victorian participants had ‘deep & meaningful’ discussions about this and that, as the bullets clanged and the cannons crashed outside. There was one particular ‘daily grind’ that one of the characters observed: a couple of villagers would spend their days turning a wheel to bring water up from a well. (Note 3)
If you continue to do what you have always done you will always get the outcome you’ve always got. To achieve something different you have to change. A painful ‘tennis elbow’ (note 4) last year meant an adjustment in a certain yoga posture so there was less pressure on the elbow. A year on I was still doing it, until challenged by a teacher to change.
The other morning I awoke rather groggy from a restless night’s sleep. Like most people there are certain habitual actions you perform at this time of the day, almost without thinking, so ingrained do they become. I walked into the shower room, washed my face, dried it, put my contact lenses in, picked up my underarm deodorant stick ….. and proceeded to rub it over my right ear.
Made me smile!
The 50th Anniversary of the Glastonbury Festival closed last month with Sir Paul McCartney, joined by Bruce Springsteen, singing Hey Jude; the audience joined in with ‘na na na nananana, nannana’! I was reminded of Gail and Cyprus in 1968 (see PC 110 That Reminds me (2))
More Oinks next week!
Richard 8th July 2022
Note 1 You offered your right hand to show it hadn’t got a weapon in it and invited the person to shake it to prove you didn’t have a knife up your sleeve. (That might have been up the other sleeve!)
Note 2 When I first started donating blood one was given a bottle of Guinness stout afterwards as it contains iron!
Note 3 This was 1857. One would hope by now that every village has pumped water (The Charity WaterAid www.wateraid.org works in Africa and elsewhere today towards this goal)
Note 4 I do not play tennis!