Saturday, 1 October 2016

Days Of Gratitude - It Was The Average Of Times It Was The Worst of Times

That's a misleading title.

The average of times these days is pretty good.  But it certainly hasn't been the best of times and so I had to mangle the famous sentence by Dickens.  Is there a sentence by Dickens more famous? Perhaps we could shout out "Bah! Humbug!" if indeed Scrooge said that in the original story.  I am not going to read the works of Dickens and find out.  I confess to not finding his writing wildly exciting, which is why we no longer own our inherited set of his complete works.

The Pickwick Papers was quite fun for something that rambled so much.  And that story is tangentially related to my day.  For part of that story appeared on the back of the Bank of England ten pound note when Dickens appeared on the front.  I can't remember the story at all but know it included a cricket match at one point because of the design of our money.  That note was withdrawn in 2003 to be replaced by the note featuring Charles Darwin - and a hummingbird, which might be pretty but wasn't one of the birds which inspired Darwin in his work.

The Dickens note is long gone but there is a new and plastic five pound note and I received my first one this morning.  It doesn't feel like money and feels a strange sort of odd on my skin.  The transparent section is particularly weird.  And there's a picture of Churchill, a variable man.  Yes, his leadership helped British morale and contributed towards the allied victory in the Second World War.  But we mustn't forget his racism, and how strongly he defended the British Empire, sometimes at great cost to the inhabitants of what was the empire and sometimes at great cost elsewhere - from India to Palestine, Afghanistan to Iran.  So often he is held up as a saint, a man to be worshipped.  Words about him could come from a medieval hagiography telling myths about these supposedly near perfect saints of Christendom.

Anyway.  There he is on the five pound note and there he will remain until he, like Dickens, is removed from circulation.  And there he is on my five pound note.  I will not treasure this note.  It doesn't have a code staring AJ01 so is worth five pounds not fifty.  I will not mourn its loss like Paddington mourned at the thought of his note being burned.

To be honest my five pound note is uncomfortable to touch, especially on the side with the queen - who for some reason has dyed her hair and removed all her wrinkles for the purpose of the note.  I don't think it looks much like the queen at all.  And that feeling on the words "Bank of England" and across her crown.  Ugh!

Where was I?  Ah yes.  Some days in my life and finding things within them for gratitude.  These were tough days though.  One on which I struggled to go out and wrecked my head further.  And then two on which I couldn't leave the house at all.  And then a return to a head that feels better, a head that can smile, a head that can begin October on an even keel and be enthusiastic about the possibilities of wonderful things.

September 25th

Grateful for smiling people before the Sunday Assembly

Grateful to have survived being out - and for self caring enough to leave SA and sit outside on a sofa after the first song - and just about been able to get myself home safely.

Grateful for quiet, and dark, and having a tidy room to retreat to.

Pretty horrible day after wrecking myself on Saturday. Much shaking. Many tears. And massively painful. I shouldn't have gone to SA. I wanted to, but shouldn't have gone. I should have returned home the moment being in the street near home hurt, or at least the moment the overscented man and woman got on the Metro at West Jesmond.

Grateful that crap days aren't all days. As a friend says, "There's no such word as never, and forever is a load of crap." She's wrong of course. There is such a word as never. In my dictionary it's between névé and new. The word after new is Newcastle disease.

Grateful that I just learned how to type é with an acute accent.

Picture is not connected to the day - it's from my parents' garden. I will never visit there again as we have a buyer for their house. Grateful that's happened quickly once we got it on the market. [Apologies to people with good memories who may remember this photo from another day.]

September 26th

A rubbish head day. Very rubbish!

But grateful that I was able to not stay under the duvet all day.

I wrote an important letter, tidied properly and for a happy thing booked places at several events in this festival next month. I am looking forward to it all. 

September 27th

A second day of not being able to leave the house and a particularly stunningly bad time.

Grateful though for learning something most people would have learned long ago:

My camera on the phone has some kind of zoom function.

One of these (with window reflection because I couldn't think of standing outside on the back step) becomes the other.

September 28th

Grateful for an improved day.

Grateful that although it was difficult I was able to do jobs in Gosforth in the morning and fun things later - meeting a friend who had never been to Heaton Perk and then singing with the new choir.

Life is sometimes massively hard for my brain to do.

But life is good.

Pictures are of a 25p charity shop find and a dubious product for which the ingredients just say "mixture of herbs". I will try it!

September 29th

Grateful for lots of ticks on the job list.

For the clarinet, for sign posts, and for this magazine that they keep sending me for free. I don't agree with everything by any means but it is always interesting. And they are pacifists which is good. Homophobic and sexist at times, but pacifists!

Grateful too for the opportunity to return to Manchester tomorrow for some days.

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