What better to do, on such a lovely day, but go for a walk in the countryside. Be sure that I took you all with me. I am living a wonderful life, and my heartfelt thanks to everyone who plays, or has played, a part it it!
When you think you have nothing to say, just freewheel - let your mind go off on its own. Start. Just start and see where you end up. I think it's going to be fun.
So this week I hit 102 followers on Twitter. Not supposed to use punctuation but can't help myself, sorry. 102! Up from 21 on that fateful day when I got curious about Jeremy Corbyn. Oh I thought, looks interesting and then WOW it really was and during his acceptance speech I joined the Labour Party, which might come as no surprise, except to those of you who thought I already HAD.
SO NOW I know lots of things that I never knew before all in 140 characters. Portugal having a bit of a crisis. Canada shows Harper the door, Iceland, now here's the thing, Iceland rescues it's peoples' finances and puts bankers in jail. I LIKE that. Meanwhile in this mean-spirited little Island which was once great, we set about pre-impoverishing the already poor with a vague promise that they'd be better off before the next election, and let's face it you CAN fool some of the people some of the time ... Then, OMG the House of Lords, that the establishment had foolishly left under-stuffed with the elite, kicked THAT can three years down the road, and now the government has a problem because even the thickest of we plebs ain't got time to forget how we were lied to and ripped off . .. No matter, the meanies are about to dig a hole they won't climb out of in a hurry and I'm smiling.
And now I see it's getting on and I have somewhere to be, and that's OK because when you're free-writing, and you have to, you just STOP.
You have to remember
You're a POET and
Stop rooting about on the
Internet for - oh whatever -
Time, some would say,
To sit with words for a bit
And let them shape themselves into
Metaphors and because,
If you hadn't noticed,
I thought I might allow
A pale yellow melon stand in for the Sun
And a fragile veil fall across my garden
Like a mist.
THERE! That'll do.
(With apologies to purists, who will know that the reference to 'mist' is a simile not a metaphor. I know! I love you too!)
Last Wednesday Tony and I took coffee, sausage rolls, pot noodles, and a little fruit, to a housing complex for recovering addicts in the city. We listen, a lot, and hug and weep as we hear devastating stories of bad lives made worse through drugs and alcohol . What we DON'T do, is judge.
Tony and I are City Missioners. We are responding to the gospel imperative to feed the hungry and bring comfort to those who are suffering. We don't preach. We, as I say, listen.
Nick, Andrew and Sean who sat round the table with us asked what brought us to them. "We're broken too." Tony spoke for both of us. Yup. But mending.
The guys are all believers, and wanted to pray with us before we left. " You do it!" I said, Sean, embarrassed, said,"We don't know how!" This was what I prayed:
"The disciples came to him and said, "Lord, teach us how to pray ..." And he replied:
Who fill the Cosmos
We name you, 'Holy One'
May we be as you are, wherever you are
May we do as you do, here, in this place
Give us today, the means to keep body and soul together
Stand by us when we screw up
So that we, being freed, might free others too
For Yours is our Homeland, our Place of Safety and Our Goal
From now into eternity
My friend Carol and I spent a wonderful week in Sorrento. Here are some of the ways over-sixties holiday:
We sat when everyone queued
Drank a bit
Walked in the rain
Ate Ice Cream
Shopped (a fair bit)
Drove the Amalfi Coast
(No - didn't do that!)
And the ruins of Pompeii ...
Just for starters.
My friend Carol and I are on holiday in Italy. We met, aged fourteen, somewhere near the back of Mr Robinson's form, fifty years ago. They don't have 'forms' any more. Education has become a lot more serious than in our day: they have 'Years' now. You start in Year One and you progress through the system until you are spewed out 'educated' at the end of Year 13. No more,'Third Form' or 'Upper Sixth'. Boring!
I remember Carol had inked the name of her favourite band into her wooden desk. I think it may have been, 'Small Faces', or maybe, 'Pink Floyd', I am rather hazy on the precise details:I'll ask her in the morning.
I was never tempted to scrawl on my desk. One rarely finds, 'Joan Baez' immortalised in blue ink. Folk singers didn't get that kind of noteriety. Not female ones, anyway.
Reminiscing is our passion now. We grew up on the same vast housing estate on the outskirts of Gloucester. Today we debated with interest the year building commenced up there under Robinswood Hill, devouring Matson village for which it was named. I doubt many remember the remnants of the village: the schoolhouse is long gone, Peacey's Farm now a fashionable Spa ...
'It say's 1955 on the Internet' Carol remarks drawing on the Great Authority. "That can't be right: I moved there when I was three ... Graham Wright and I were toddlers when we buried the keys to the half-built houses opposite ..." I laughed. The dimmest of memories surfacing of mum and Mrs Wright searching frantically with trowels, an irate foreman swearing in the background. Don't recall if they were ever found.
And so on, the sun slipping away behind us, the evening falling around us.
How amazing it is to think that we can sit downing a beer here in Sorrento, when the farthest our parents got was London, and an exotic seaside holiday was a Sunday School outing to Severn Beach.
Before I stop writing and turn in, I'm going to indulge in a moment of unfettered gratitude for a life that has extended boundaries that my grandparents couldn't have dreamed of. Yes, gratitude, and a deep thankfulness for a good friend who sits in the sun with me and remembers what was good about the old days, and how far we have come.