Saturday, 30 July 2016


"Our lives are full of empty space" - Umberto Eco

The big bouncy woman is in vacanza and in her absence I am somewhat bereft. Any others - and I am neither confirming nor denying that there are others - are just not, in the words of T.S. Eliot, as "bavard, baveux, à la croupe arrondie".

But enough of that, and back to politics. I wanted to pass on a link to a blog post regarding the Labour Party leadership that I found interesting. There is some thoughtful debate going on regarding the issue, it's just that it doesn't get reported in the newspapers or on television.

Wargaming news is a tad slow; we appear to have got the rules wrong yet again in the Bohemian Blitzkrieg campaign so there is a short delay. But I have picked up a paintbrush for the first time a yonk. Admittedly it wasn't to paint any figures, but it was a start. The younger Miss Epictetus got it into her head to go to a pottery painting café and, in the absence of any interest whatsoever elsewhere, was forced to call on the aged parent. It was very relaxing, therapeutic almost, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself applying a Caribbean beach scene to a mug from which, when it's been fired and I get it back, I fully intend to drink coffee laced with rum. That should make the Great War project go with a swing.

It is, as one can't help but know, fifty years to the day since England won the world cup. I haven't watched, listened to or read any of the stuff being churned out to commemorate it, but in my head I have been transported back to watching a black and white tv in the living room of a house in Bethnal Green which was within the year knocked down as part of the slum clearance programme. The memories naturally relate mostly to those with whom I watched it and who are no longer with us; basically everyone except my younger sister. My grandfather - who now I think about it was almost certainly sitting there with a cup of tea laced with a dash of whisky; let no-one tell you nature isn't as strong as nurture - was also gone within the year. I still have a number of volumes of a history of the Great War that were the only books I ever saw in his house. 

I have always prided myself on never having been in the slightest bit patriotic. Someone - Julian Barnes perhaps - wrote that real patriotism was pointing out to one's country when it got things wrong. But reflecting on 1966 makes me wonder. I suspect that as a ten year old boy growing up in post-war Britain I was as patriotic as everyone else. Perhaps it was that day that did it. We'd won and that was it. Anything further would be mere repetition and so it didn't hold any further interest for me.

"If you live long enough, you'll see that every victory turns into a defeat" - Simone de Beauvoir

1 comment:

  1. That's an interesting and thought provoking suggestion on the Labour Party leadership. Some of the commentators are, let's say this politely, not interested in finding solutions.