Just a reminder that the next AGM will take place on Sunday 6 September at Tynemouth Station Market at about 1100. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.
OTHER MEN’S FLOWERS
Something I consider to be quite remarkable happened today and, as usual, there’s a back story. So snuggle up...
For some time now - well, about 40 years, to be more exact - my mother has been complaining that I have been using one of the bedrooms in her house as a rubbish dump. This is, of course, a travesty of the truth. The bedroom in question is rather a repository of all those bits and bobs that anyone who’s had an even remotely interesting and varied life has gathered along the way.
Mam has, though, made it increasingly obvious recently that she regards this contention as merely a load of dingo’s kidneys - though she hasn’t used those actual words. The words she has used are much, much worse.
She has issued an ultimatum. If I don’t get up there and start sorting things out, she’ll do absolutely nothing at all. That’s about the sum of Mam’s ultimatums (ultimata?). After all, I got my hoarding instincts from her. This is the woman, mind you, who keeps her old vacuum cleaners, photograph frames that came to bits years ago (kept because your 'Uncle Joe made them between shifts'), the quilt from the bed I slept in when I was 10 (it was second-hand even then), a decrepit kitchen chair whose provenance is completely unknown, left-over rolls of wallpaper ‘just in case’ - and the kitchen sink.
Anyway, I acceded to her strongly-voiced request and ventured into the Aladdin’s cesspit this morning. It was a genuine revelation. It turns out that she was right. It’s full to the riggings (as my Nana used to say) of what she uncharitably calls ‘junk’ - my junk.
Naturally, I remonstrated as fervidly as possible that the boxes, tea chests, carrier bags and old suitcases up there did not contain ‘junk’ at all; instead, I insisted, they were artefacts of a bygone age. Mine.
Consider...a handful of sheep’s wool wrenched from a barbed wire fence at The Meeting of the Waters near Greta Bridge when I was 11; the only thing I ever made in woodwork class at school - an ashtray - a wooden ashtray; the map of an imaginary town called Winton drawn by my friend Keith and me on the back of remnant ends of wallpaper when I was 14; my school reports (‘Stuart’s mental arithmetic skills are a little below average; sometimes his methods are a complete mystery to me’). And one or two other things besides.
Including my book of Other Men’s Flowers.
When I was about 22 or so, I started to collect in a book some of the quotes that I found funny, profound, disturbing, pithy or just generally wise. The craze didn’t last long - none of my crazes ever does - and by the time I was 23 or so, my book of ‘other men’s flowers’ was forgotten.
Until this morning.
I found it, yellowed and crumbling, under People of Other Lands, a book I won for coming top of the class at Geography and which would now be considered - quite rightly - as patronising and racist. Hell, there’s even a drawing of Little Black Sambo types on the front dancing round a cauldron that could easily contain the earthly remains of a boiled missionary.
Anyway...here are some of the quotes I collected all those years ago. If only I’d listened!
Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt and live like it's heaven on Earth.
— Mark Twain
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
— Dr Seuss
Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.
— Albert Einstein
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
— Maya Angelou
Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
— Albert Camus
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt.
— Abraham Lincoln
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough
— Mae West
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
— Mark Twain
Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
— John Lennon
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
— J R R Tolkien
A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.
— Elbert Hubbard
Anyone who thinks sitting in church can make you a Christian must also think that sitting in a garage can make you a car.
— Garrison Keillor
All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.
— Charles Schulz
My friend Jean-Francois - who has been HIV positive for many years now - is very poorly in the intensive care unit of a Parisian hospital. In your charity, please spare a thought for all those people who are gravely ill right now - and for all the people who care for them and are worrying about them.
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