Saturday, 15 June 2013

Meaning What, Exactly?

In my absence, Dear Reader, I have been busy with You Tube, furthering my  search for Enlightenment.

I confess to feeling rather enlightened already, but that's a big fat illusion. So what? When you're comfortable with the quantum enigma, you know that illusions are pretty  much all we have, so pick one. (Note: Comfort  does not equate with understanding.) 

You Tube offered me Ekhart Tolle, Richard Feynman, Albert Einstein and The Dali Lama. Oh! And for some strange reason, adding to the burden of proof for Chaos Theory,  Dave Allen. How I laughed.

I gave Richard Dawkins a hearing too. It's hard to refute him, or  take a swipe at the fervour of his secularism when bad religion does such terrible  things.

I am awash with insight. You wouldn't care who said what, so I'm letting precision go hang. One or two of these  quotes I probably made up. Possibly:

The purpose of life is to be happy.

That this mysterious universe has no purpose doesn't frighten me. 

Without consciousness the universe doesn't exist

When the creative power of the universe becomes conscious of itself, it manifests as joy.

If you cannot accept what you're doing as 'this is just what is' - stop doing it. 

If you drink at your own funeral you drink alone  (Dave Allen:  I give you that one, to save bewilderment.) 

I bring a long-suffering smile to my husband's lips when I play a game called,'That's A Title I Want':
'Lord High Chancellor',  'Minister Without Portfolio', ' Her Holiness', 'Head Mistress', ' Sergeant At Arms', 'Director General of the BBC' ... . These are on the short-list. The impossibilities abound, and have me rocking with laughter, as I explore the differences I could make to the lives of my fellow citizens/believers in that alternative universe where I make it to the top. ( Yes, I do have a very strange sense of humour.) 

This game, which I heartily recommend to you, is played whilst lying in bed listening to Radio 4. Or any news programme that threatens you with an interview with someone who might make you seethe.  It's best not to be alone though. More fun. 

A strange sense of humour. Everyone knows by now that I am convinced   that  you can make up what you believe as you go along, and get away with it. I regard this as being a healthy and life-enhancing state of being, as it holds out the opportunity for you to reflect on your prejudices, and opens you up the possibility of change. I look upon change as a good thing. The butterfly mind is no longer a grub, that's what I think. 

In conclusion, my butterfly mind, shielded by a quirky sense of humour, has given me a special work to do. To discover which title I have today, and to play the role with enjoyment and enthusiasm. 

Don't let anyone else define who you are. That's what I'm saying. 

Sunday, 9 June 2013

A New Elizabethan

I was thinking, sitting here in warm and almost-sunny Redmond, what does it feel like to be British? I get asked some wonderful questions by Americans I meet that lead me to think that they are far more patriotic than I am - and I'm talking Royalty.

I dig deep to recall why, having fought a civil war and established a republic, we went back to crowning somebody. I may have embellished my story-telling somewhat, for which I apologise, but Regicide, Restoration, Glorious Revolution and Abdication were all a long time ago, and I am a little fuzzy around the edges when it comes to facts. But, you know, I get by: nobody  complains.

My late father, whom I loved deeply and miss terribly, was a red-hot socialist and would hear nothing good said about Monarchy, but nevertheless, when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth Ii visited Gloucester in 1955, we were lining the route. I was lifted up to see this lovely lady in a sea-green coat and hat, waving a gloved hand in my direction, smiling broadly... . 

I could take you to the very spot, opposite the war memorial and monument to 'The Glosters', adjacent to Gloucester Park.

But I wasn't impressed. I was only four years old, , but I remember bursting into tears and yelling, 'She innt a queen! She annt got a crown on!' 

At school, we were pretty much all enrolled in a 'National Savings Scheme'. We bought savings stamps. The shilling stamps had the face of the boy prince, Charles, on them, the sixpenny ones, the adorable  baby Princess Anne, with a head full of bubbly curls. I envied those curls, but console myself that she grew up to look like a horse, and I didn't.

I was born a Georgian, actually, in 1950, becoming an Elizabethan when King George VI died in 1952. That Royal Tour of the new queen, is one of my earliest memories. 

Jean, in her forties, lives in a specialist care home for adults with learning difficulties. She adores the queen and regularly writes to her, with the help of my husband who tutors her. 

Of all the stories of the diligence and dedication to duty that are told about Queen Elizabeth II, HERE's one to add to it... 

Jean writes to the Queen about everything that affects her, and the Queen writes back! Can you believe that? To be more accurate, one of her Ladies in Waiting does - a personal message, from the Queen's office, to a lady whom hardly anybody cares about, sad to say. 

That's what keeps me from being a Republican. We have a Head of State that has time to read Jean's letters. 

I was there!:

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Exercise Nearly Killed Me

I am losing the plot, somewhat, finding it harder and harder to think of things to blog about. I consider that I've done rather well, having meandered across God, poetry, travelogue, autobiographical revelation, enlightenment, political discourse and story-telling, not necessarily in that order: all of which are empty vessels,making no noise at all, at this moment.

But, in order to keep up with my aim of achieving 10,000 page views before I die, including one from Albania, I have to keep writing - and tag Norman Wisdom. 

I have nothing else to say about Norman Wisdom. EXCEPT that he looked strikingly like my late father-in-law. ( Who was a fan.) Sorry, Albania. 

So. I'm resorting to my least favourite topic: Health And Fitness. 

The New Scientist Tweets me it's content every day, and today one of the articles I read was about how this marvellous biological machine I am occupying, on a temporary basis, has evolved for endurance running, but without having selected for enjoyment in doing so. 

Hmmm, I thought, that's interesting. I bet I can blog on that.

Here's the scenario: Early hominid ( formerly known as 'Cave Man') has to run like the Dickens  in order to bag eland. S/He doesn't HAVE to enjoy the experience, or be overwhelmed with a desire to repeat it, because if s/he doesn't hop to it - I'm not here writing this. 

Contrast this with me and cheesecake. I lust after cheesecake, I'm up and at it with no prompting, I have evolved to want to eat cheesecake, most especially the chocolate variety. It's just unfortunate that I merely have to walk three paces to the  refrigerator to nab it. I may have to work on this.  

My ancestors, to whom I admit I owe a certain gratitude, have left me encumbered with a continual battle against my affinity for sitting still and stuffing myself with goodies. They are to blame for my dress size. 

Let us now ponder the 'high' runners get after a swift 10 000 metres round the block. They are elated because the woolly mammoth is in sight: buzzing because the hairy rhinoceros is in the bag. Their ancestry rewards them for loping through the early morning drizzle, and for cornering the catch. Not for shaking off the bearskin and heading for the cave mouth. Something is amiss.

Exercising is a chore. I don't know anybody who wants to exercise. I admit you're probably out there, too busy competing with the pacemaker software to bother with this. I have a friend, thin as a rail , who exercises TWICE a day, but is never happy about it. Is anyone? Apart from the fitness bores? 

I did put myself out to some extent today though: I made the effort to comment on the article that sparked me off:

Humans Are Endurance Champs Why Do We Hate Exercise?: Daniel Lieberman 

Here's my comment:

"Exercise Nearly Killed Me ... 

I almost died of boredom during a water aerobics class, so I took up Arabian Dance. I also invented 'bath gym' which is great, but has to come with anti-drowning caveats so cumbersome, the book lies unwritten. Oddly enough, I'm NOT joking.

The gym culture and the driven 'do better' emphasis of many exercise programmes, hold no appeal for me. So thinking of something that gets me moving and keeps me smiling at the same time, may have added years to my life."


Email me a plain brown paper envelope, marked, 'Private And Confidential' for, Bath Gym: Warm Up and Work Out In Three Easy Steps