As we sit through these languid, warm and showery days of August 2013 realising there is work to do, putting a coat of varnish on the windows or clearing out the garage after a winter’s misuse, I wonder whether I am relaxing too much but sod it, I have had a lifetime of timetables, deadlines and doing. I am 67 years old, if I cannot take my foot off the pedal now, whenever will I be able to. The future is full of happenings, the present is still. I will enjoy the maintenant.
My daughter’s wedding is fast approaching, I have my speech, for want of a better word, written. I am looking forward to a day full of nice people and I just hope I am nice as well. Stuck out here in God’s own country, you tend to disregard the silky social charms you learnt as a a boy and then working man in England, social skills for which I was famous for. Out here you tend to think freely and act freely with no responsibilities, no pressures to act in a civilised manner, no reason at all not to call a spade, a shovel. If you want to piss at the bottom of the garden you can do, if you feel like an extra potato with your dinner you can do, a slice of bread, no problem. Let us hope I remember to be good on the day, if only for my dear daughter’s sake.
For the last two months I, along with the scattered female side of my children, have been on a fairly strict diet in readiness for the day, relying on wonderful e-mails to keep our heads above water as temptation threatens. The women are doing it because they want to fit into hastily bought dresses, deliberately purchased a size or two too small and I, to look a tad more presentable and as the proposed bride said this week, less intimidating. The women are doing nicely, my wife of over 40 years is looking a picture, I for my part have lost 12 kilograms, a shade under two stone and destined to lose another four or five kilos before the big day, but as I look at my naked state in the mirror at 4.30am each morning, I notice no difference, as slim and lithe as ever but next time you go to the super-market just pick up 12 bags of sugar. I was carrying the equivalent round with me 24/7. I can now put my socks on with ease and I tie my shoe laces without a thought and do the 1001 things around the house that my wife of over 40 years asks me to do without the historic grumble of the last few years. Most of these 1001 things do not really need doing but I do them all the same. It keeps her sweet and I no longer break sweat in carrying them out.
The diet is relatively easy and within a few days you get into the swing of it. No oil in the cooking, no carbohydrates at all. I found potatoes easy but good bread and a little rice with a curry difficult but plenty of fruit, greens and a modicum of lean meat. Wine at the weekend and a necessary large aperitif most nights. Exercise although helpful is not necessary. I am now as light as I was 40 years ago but perhaps not as nimble.
However all this good work could easily come unstuck as the wedding approaches, with celebration dinners on most nights prior to the big day, plus a night celebrating an old school master’s longevity which I am really looking forward to. I must retain my iron will, think lettuce but I have a few doubts. Que sera.
Anyway outside of my little world things are beginning to move along apace. England have tightened their grip on fragile Australia in the Ashes series with only two or three of the English team actually sustaining their undoubted talents. If they could all click together there ain’t a team in the world to touch them.
On a more sombre note, Deacon Morris of St Ambrose’s in Altrincham appears in court tomorrow, to be told or not told that indeed he did abuse boys at that school 20 years ago. There are lots of witnesses and my money is on a guilty verdict and another black mark against the Christian Brothers who have shown a trail of destruction through the education system of Ireland and America for many a year. A little like the Benedictines have done in the UK at Downside, Ampleforth, Ealing and now Fort Augustus in Scotland. When will these abusers and their controllers ever learn.
Our case at St Bede’s College in Manchester seems to be a long time coming to the starting blocks. I used to be in the loop but the furtive lawyers have gathered their gowns about themselves, stuffed their wigs into their sometime loquacious gobs and will not let any information out. Perhaps they like this cloak and dagger stuff but it does not help the gang of witnesses who are sitting there in trepidation as they think of their days in court before these same unfurled and coiffed pettifoggers in order to spew out evidence of the vileness thrust upon them by Monsignor Thomas Duggan and his cohort of abusers at the school. However with this wholesale sexual abuse of man and womankind by a few famous faces being the topic of the week, month and year in the main stream media, there are probably easier and richer fish to fry. We as the decent underbelly of civilisation have learnt patience, our time will come. We might be all dead by then but at least patience is one of the virtues we learnt at these misguided abuser’s knees and it ain’t easily forgotten.
So enough of that Catholic Church desecration and allow me to think of my lovely grandchildren, seven in all and not one of them tainted by the Pope and his loose zipped minions. Let us hope that this contamination never crosses their dreamy minds like it has done in my generation, unspoken, evil and soul-destroying for countless decent people. Praise and glory to a beautiful future.