A New Venue

Larry’s Lunchette hosts my blog for the first time today – yippee; my internet savvy is minimal, so sincere thanks for the techy skills of Senscot’s support staff. Almost 1000 readers have subscribed to our new mailing list – which brings great encouragement – but also some concern, about meeting expectations. I recall a comment from Ernest Hemingway’s memoir ‘a movable feast’ – “I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think – do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now”. Last week’s blog was no. 1034 – this is no. 1035; it’s reasonable to assume there are a few more in the tank.

            The psyche of an 80-year-old knows fine that time is running out, but strangely, our conversations with death can coexist with an enthusiasm to remain in the game. I enjoy the mindset of always having a column to write – the search for an interesting angle – the weekly task of pulling it together; I’m sustained by tending a blog and a garden.

            Old age, of course, brings the problem of deterioration; just as hearing, mobility, eyesight etc fail – so will the ability to conjure and construct interesting copy. Just as bad as ‘drying up’, would be to continue to produce copy, without realising that is it mostly drivel; the importance of a built-in crap detector. I sometimes think of what Shakespeare called “the last scene of all…. Second childishness and mere oblivion… sans garden, sans blog, sans everything.” I aim to miss that scene; carpe diem Lorenzo.

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The Patrick Geddes Lecture, on 18th June, was delivered this year by Katherine Trebeck from the Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll); Richard Smith from the British Medical Journal offers this excellent summary. Those of us who support this agenda (from many different affiliations) now need the collective impact of a single voice and force of numbers – the WEAll looks the most likely rallying point; I may even join myself.

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Good piece by Paul Mason – how Brexit has left the UK a beached whale – in a world that needs technological regulation, driven by European values. “The UK can only achieve freedom of action from the EU – to the extent that it accepts the sovereignty of the US”.

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If the US Presidential Election was held now, Joe Biden would win comfortably; under attack for his handling of the pandemic and anti-racism protests – the question is whether Trump is already too far behind to recover. Good article in FT Weekend weighs up the prospects.

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When Councils sought accommodation for their homeless population to protect them from Covid – the Prince Regent Hotel in Shrewsbury opted in. This eight-minute video clip, about street people living in a posh hotel, carries real insights; my takeaway was ‘relationships’.

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In September 2018, our blog mentioned a book by former palliative nurse Bronnie Ware – The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. She concludes that the most common ‘end of life’ regret is: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a lifetime true to myself – not the life others expected of me.”

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This piece is from ‘Ithaca’ (English spelling) by C.P. Cavafy. His message seems to be that the point of life is not simply to reach a destination – but to enjoy the journey.

“As you set out for Ithaca, hope your road is a long one, full of adventure, full of discovery… Keep Ithaca always in your mind. Arriving there is what you are destined for. But do not hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years, so you are old by the time you reach the island, wealthy with all you have gained on the way, not expecting Ithaca to make you rich. Ithaca gave you the marvellous journey. Without her you wouldn’t have set out. She has nothing left to give you now. And if you find her poor, Ithaca won’t have fooled you. Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, you will have understood by then what these Ithacas mean.”