In this blogposting…* AGM XXXVIII
* News From Nowhere
* In Memoriam
* Oui, je regrette beaucoup…
Cry ‘Havoc!’ and let slip the dogs of war…
Our next AGM will take place at 1100 on Thursday 6 December at The Bridge pub, right next door to the Castle Keep in Newcastle.
By which time I will be 64 and two days. Once again, my timing’s gone all wrong!
NEWS FROM NOWHERE
This newspaper item caught my eye the other day.
‘Amateur sleuths have lined up to try to decrypt a Second World War message which has left security experts stumped. The string of letters was found attached to the skeleton of a pigeon up a chimney at a house in Bletchingley, Surrey.’
At first, I wondered whether the word ‘decrypt’ actually existed or had been made up by a journalist not in the steadiest state of sobriety. ‘Decrypt’. Hmmmm.
My dictionary confirms, though, that it does indeed exist and that, furthermore, it does not mean ‘to remove from a crypt’, which was my first thought.
But what’s really tickled me is that last sentence.
‘The string of letters was found attached to the skeleton of a pigeon up a chimney at a house in Bletchingley, Surrey’.
I can’t get that particularly unlikely and faintly silly combination of words out of my head. It’s driving me crazy. ‘...attached to the skeleton of a pigeon up a chimney…’.
I’m sorry; I just can’t help it. Those words, in that order, make me laugh. A lot.
In mitigation, please remember that I’m getting quite old now - the lady on the Lyon Airport tram was right.
‘...attached to the skeleton of a pigeon up a chimney…’
As if to prove the point, here’s another clip from the same paper…
‘Humans peaked intellectually thousands of years ago and are on a slippery slope of decline, according to geneticist Professor Gerald Crabtree, who argues that, without the need to survive by instinct in communities of hunter-gatherers, natural selection on intelligence has stopped.’
As well as being inherently interesting, although highly contentious, this clipping is an object lesson in other ways. Although the person who wrote it writes for a living, it is, firstly, extremely badly written ( - it’s all one sentence - ) and it’s ungrammatical as well.
But, in view of item 1 above, the point is well taken.
And finally, here’s a nice And Finally story…
‘Police in Connecticut say a man stole a car used to deliver Chinese food and continued dropping off items so he could keep the money. Keith Hinds was charged on Friday with larceny. A delivery driver had called the police after his car was stolen when he left it idling to run into a school.’
It’s men like Keith Hinds that make the world such a surprising and interesting place. I think we should befriend him if he is sent down.
IN MEMORIAM: DINAH SHERIDAN
Some film actors are so embedded in our warm and comfortable memories that we expect them to live forever, or hope that they will - just like the memories themselves. For me, one of those people was Dinah Sheridan.
Some have said that her role as Mother in The Railway Children completely overshadowed everything else she ever did. But who cares? What a role to have your career overshadowed by! For me, it was Dinah Sheridan who was the real, and very understated, star of that film - as well as the wonderful, and equally understated, Laurence Naismith (as the ‘old gentleman’). When The Railway Children came out, I was already 21 years old - but it was one of those very rare films that made you feel 12 again, no matter how old you actually were.
And that’s thanks to the wonderful Dinah Sheridan.
OUI, JE REGRETTE BEAUCOUP…
Way back in February, in posting 338, I mentioned an inspiring and provocative list of the commonest regrets expressed by people who were dying. The list was compiled by a palliative care nurse who worked in hospices and old people’s homes.
Recently, the British Heart Foundation commissioned a poll with a similar aim - to find out what people regret the most about their lives - and with strikingly similar results.
Here is the list they have compiled of the ten things people say they regret most.
1 Not travelling more and seeing more of the world.
2 Not keeping in touch with more friends from the past.
3 Taking too little exercise.
4 Not saving enough money.
5 Taking up smoking.
6 Not working harder at school.
7 Choosing the wrong career.
8 Wasting years with the wrong partner.
9 Eating unhealthily.
10 Not asking grandparents more about their lives before they died.
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