Farewell 2007

Farewell 2007! A Happy New Year to everyone, may 2008 bring you all that you wish for. (Sorry its short post, I still have this stinking cold)

if only my mother had listened to a musician in the Gobi desert.

And so it came to pass, Led Zeppelin had been and gone and one of the most eagerly awaited concerts of the millennium, indeed perhaps of all time drew to a close. It will always be a deep regret that I was not there. It was during a film about a weeping camel in the Gobi desert that I started pondering on life’s disappointments. Apparently this mother camel had given birth to fine young colt but would not feed it, indeed it was rejected. However those mystic nomads who herded camels found a musician who played and sang to the camel until it cried then led the young colt to the mother who suckled her young charge with no problems. The connection between the two? hmmm.

While I was compiling a list of all the things I have either missed out on or would have liked to have done but either didn’t or could not I also began a list of things I am rather proud of. I suspect most of us have lists like this. For example who can forget the time each of us managed to tie our own shoe laces with asking for help or actually telling the time from a clock without having to ask some one what time it was? The first time you rode a bicycle without a steadying hand behind you or skated across an ice rink without hanging on to the sides? Perhaps the first time in a new job that you felt everything clicked and fell into place and it all made sense. I was so proud when I received my honours degree at the age of 42 and even more so when I made the last payment on my mortgage, the shackles of debt finally broke. For some it may have been the birth of their first or the arrival of a grandchild.

Ok onto disappointments. Maybe it was the time you realised that your father was not superman and could not fix absolutely everything or the time you realised that your mum was not the best cook in the world. It could possibly have been when you discovered that truth about Santa. Indeed in a long list of disappointments is the reality that I am a rubbish musician and will never be able to play like Jimmy Page. I will never be a martial artist of the calibre of Bruce Lee. I will never meet Marilyn Monroe. Perhaps among the two biggest disappointments are the facts that I never really got to understand and like my father before he passed on and the realisation that I was a national dried baby and not weaned on draught. Some things may seem disappointing at the time but less so with passing of time, in fact some of life’s disappointments turn out to be positive blessings. A pivotal moment for me was New Years Eve 1999; a decision made then has shaped the last few years since and will continue to affect me for the rest of my life. I could go on but I am sure that each of you has your own corresponding list.

It was with this in mind that I compiled a new list, a list of things to do and see before I shuffle off this mortal coil. When time allows I am going to practise music more often. I intend to set foot on each of the six continents (I have four more to go). I intend to meet up with old friends where ever in the world they may be. I may not be able to alter the past but I may be able to charter the course of my own destiny. Now if only my mother had listened to a musician in the Gobi desert…

It’s a hard life all round

This cold refuses to go away despite my best efforts to get rid of it. It has now turned into what I believe is a chest infection and a trip back to the doctors is imminent. My best intentions of launching myself into a flurry of activity and not sitting back and feeling sorry for myself have been scuppered by a microscopic bug. In spite of this life goes on and the only good thing to come out of this is that shares in paper mills and the pharmaceutical industry must be soaring judging by the amount of paper tissues and cough medicine I have gone through.

More than ever my thoughts are turning to the lifestyles of Ted Magnum who is in Argentina having the time of his life. The Traveller is ringing me up tomorrow having come back from Thailand with the latest news and gossip and The Tiler is complaining it is too damn hot in Oz. Apparently no matter how he tries he cannot chill his beer to a suitably low temperature. How my heart goes out to these poor souls and their life threatening disabilities. Yes it is hard not to feel envious when you are lying in your sick bed feeling less than sparkling, looking out at black clouds and the plummeting mercury and listening to the weather people telling me that more bad weather is on its way.

At least I am not on my own. No indeed there are now some new residents in my house. I have discovered that mice have moved in. I suspect their motives are not entirely altruistic and that they have not arrived just to keep me company. Château Ghastanbury has not been bothered with rodents for many years’ thanks mainly due to the best two mousers on the planet, Claws and Fang respectively. Sadly however Fang passed away in January 2003 and Claws followed him to that great sunny garden in the sky in January 2005. I desperately need to obtain another mouser and I have thought of borrowing one of the many cats that frequent my garden. I suspect that “borrowing” is not the correct term and catnapping is closer to the actual act of enticing a cat into your house and keeping it there for a week or so. Maybe I can borrow several for just one day at a time. It does not seem fair to buy a kitten when I could be out of here and into some foreign land within 18 months. I doubt if the cat would be coming with me and it hardly seems fair to get rid of it just because I no longer have any use for it. Offering free bed and board to a couple of strays for a short while seems the most humane thing to do.

Until the next time I would ask you all to spare a thought for these poor souls in hot climates who are struggling to chill their beer and wondering what part of the country they should travel to next. It’s a hard life all round!

Doing nothing

In what has been the most heated item I have seen in years certainly on the web and in forums across the world, the British teacher imprisoned by the Sudanese courts Miss Gibbons is now back on British soil. This was due to the efforts of two UK muslim peers,  Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, and Lord Nazir Ahmed who’s efforts must be praised. Sadly it had nothing to do with our leaders or foreign ministers.  Hopefully the fanatics, spurred on it has to be said by outraged Sudanese citizens demanding the death sentence and marching swords in hand to the Sudanese courts,  who were calling for “Air Strikes” will keep quiet. It won’t stop the “merely outraged” from asking that all aid to the Sudan be suspended. Conspicuous by their absence were the moderates who did not parade in the streets and March upon our government to do something. I think it was Edmund Burke back in the late 1700’s who said   "all that is necessary for the triumph of evil, is that good men do nothing”. Sadly the episode has shown that a British citizen in trouble abroad cannot depend upon the efforts or goodwill of the UK government or it’s embassies to help out.  You can already see the BNP and other right wing movements making political capitol out of this. The whole episode of appeasement and laissez-faire reminded me of a poem by Phil Appleton entitled The responsibility.

I am the man who gives the word,
If it should come, to use the Bomb.

I am the man who spreads the word
From him to them if it should come.

I am the man who gets the word
From him who spreads the word from him.

I am the man who drops the Bomb
If ordered by the one who’s heard
From him who merely spreads the word
The first one gives if it should come.

I am the man who loads the Bomb
That he must drop should orders come
From him who gets the word passed on
By one who waits to hear from him.

I am the man who makes the Bomb
That he must load for him to drop
If told by one who gets the word
From one who passes it from him.

I am the man who fills the till,
Who pays the tax, who foots the bill
That guarantees the Bomb he makes
For him to load for him to drop
If orders come from one who gets
The word passed on to him by one
Who waits to hear it from the man
Who gives the word to use the Bomb.

I am the man behind it all;
I am the one responsible.

Doing nothing, it sorta sums appeasement up doesn’t it?