The many and various ways I pass the time now has a new addition. Usually it involves drinking coffee whilst sitting at a computer keeping in touch with chums, or sipping wine sitting on our tiny terrace catching the sun, and wondering what else I can do to avoid any cleaning or tidying or putting away of stuff and things that aren't even MINE. And now I am going to type this blog. Provided that doesn't become a chore as well, in which case...

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

All Thatchered Out...

...well, not really, but 48 hours is enough time to react fully to a major news story, in my view.  Anything more than that and normal service needs to be resumed, life got on with. After all current affairs is only part of life, not life its very self.  In vast tracts of the world global events barely impinge, as the sheer effort of existence and survival takes up everyone's energy, and anyhow there is no medium for disseminating news, no TV, no radio, no computers, no mobile phones, and not even the electricity or batteries to power them.  So to say one cannot be fully human or rounded as an individual without obsessive news-watching or having a two-pennyworth to chip in with at a dinner party is a mite far-fetched.

Chez Goldenoldenlady we don't really discuss national or global events much.  It was a choice we made many years ago when we first embarked on lIving together, not to discuss current affairs in any sort of passionate way, and to keep our opinions to ourselves as far as possible. We didn't want to waste time and emotional effort trying to convince ourselves or others of the errors of our new partner's thinking, assuming there were any.  We were too old and ugly to think any more there is ever any genuine point to that sort of talk, as we were in our early forties when we met, and our youthful idealism long eroded.

Our fundamental value systems chime well, so there is no need to rehearse it all, is there?

We got swept up in 9/11 as it was not possible to avoid the shock waves of that. Anyhow, I was teaching English & Drama in a big inner-city comprehensive at the time so had to help the two-hundred or so young people who passed that week through my classroom or the drama studio to cope with their shock, sadness and fears.  I also tried to give them a small sense of historical perspective to help them understand where the attacks on the USA had come from, insofar as anyone knew at the time. 

It didn't help that the school was less than a mile and a half away from Luton Airport, and international air travel was in lock-down pretty much all week.  Many of the students had relatives who worked there or for airline companies, so were very scared of possible further attacks nearer home.  Three individuals at the school, a member of staff and two pupils, had lost friends or relatives in the collapse the twin towers. There could be no ignoring it.

I introduced John Donne's No Man Is An Island to all age groups.  They all LOVED it, it was a tremendous focus for their thoughts.  Thank you, Dean Donne.  The students gave me the closest most respectful attention I ever enjoyed as a teacher at that difficult, at the time failing, school.  And they listened with respect and attention to each other.  It was a remarkable week. 

But even in 2003 The Husband-to-Be (as he was then) and I decided to switch off the coverage after 48 hours as the surmising and pontificating of the talking heads hauled in to debate it all was getting a bit trying.  The same thing happened when the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan started.  Jaw-dropping gave way very rapidly to an inability to witness any more aren't y'all just Shocked and Awed video game footage.

Distressed and Appalled, more like.  It wasn't anything we could cope with just before or during our evening meals, so the TV stayed off, or on Time Team (my favourite programme when I was teaching, on nightly at 7.00pm, a nice bit of what we call archeo-crockery-diggery-uppery.  Very restful, watching other people work hard, when you are already knackered yet have two more hours' prep and marking to do before bedtime).

Since we moved to Wales full-time I have started watching the TV News a little more as it is very easy to feel a long way from where we used to live (just outside the M25) and somewhat cut off from the rest of teeming humanity when surrounded by fields and hills and woods, with delightful sheep and grazing horses as our immediate neighbours.  I really like getting the local Welsh News instead of the London-centric stuff we waded through when living in the Northern Home Counties.  It helps me put down some longer roots, to watch BBC Wales, and support Wales in the rugby. 

But do I want to think or hear anything more about The Thatcher Creature?  Well, apart from briefly, each morning, checking that yes, she is still dead, I intend to put all that on hold until we watch the funeral next week.  We will watch, not to gloat exactly, but to see if anyone apart from her immediate family can summon up a single tear. I am thinking of opening a book with The Husband.  A handkerchief count in the Abbey, perhaps. If the total gets into double figures I will be mightily surprised.

But we won't be having a party and inviting the neighbours round, tempting though it is.  But if the weather is sunny a BBQ might be on the cards, but a burning effigy is unlikely. 

I  am all out of candle wax, for starters
, and have no old-fashioned wooden "gypsy" pegs to dress in a blue suit with pussycat bow blouse, and attach a handbag to, either.

It'll be the funeral that moves me least of any I will ever have witnessed, I suspect.  And if I do feel anything it won't be a very noble emotion, so I'd best keep stumm about it outside of my closest friends' hearing...!


  1. Hari OM
    okay, at risk of fraying things - have you considered NOT watching the funeral? Multiple switch-offs might be the most effective protest.

    A walk on that wonderful beach would seem, to me, to be a much better option!

    A fine, reflective post. YAM

    1. Oddly, I rather like a bit of Brit Pomp. And I am curious to see the reaction in the streets, and whether throngs will mass. Also the Naval Nephew is on the reserve list to do some of the ceremonial, so...

      Here in our tiny mid-Welsh market town we only have two short shopping streets, which cross one another at the half-timbered market hall, so a big wide thoroughfare and thronging crowds is an alien sight these days.

      Strange to think a year ago we were living half-an-hour by train from Euston. We might have gone up to Town to point and gawp, had this happened then. But to bury Thatcher, not to praise her.

  2. I rarely watch the news for longer than a few minutes, preferring either to listen to it while I do something else (like making a meal) or catch up with it on the BBC website where I can pick and choose. Given her significance in late C20th politics, whether for good or ill, the news of her death was bound to create an outpouring of opinion.

    DH and I have exchanged very few words on the subject, as we do on most political topics, as after all these years we each know where the other stands and respects their right to stand there. As you say, 9/11 was an event of a completely different magnitude and it would have been impossible not to be affected or think and speak of it.

    I may watch the funeral, being partial to well-done ceremonial myself, and especially if there's a chance of glimpsing the Naval Nephew, but not because I feel any emotion about this death, other than a vague pity that an old and confused woman met her death, not even at home but in a hotel, whoever grand.