Leadwork photo by Candia Dixon-Stuart
acacia, Adonai, auto-combustion, boscage, Brexit, burning bush, Church Green, Cotswolds, Crateagus, David Cameron Witney, Desolation, Dieric Bouts, hawthorn, Highgrove, I Am Who I Am, Israelites, kohl, Michael Portillo, Midian, Milton, Mindfulness, Moses, pastures new, pillar of fire, Prince Charles, Renaissance Man, SamCam, sestina, Shekinah, Sir Philip Sidney, smoking flax, St Catherine's Monastery, St George and Dragon Dragon Hill, U A Fanthorpe, UKIP, Waitrose
Hope you are not inundated in the South. Read about all the flooding,
power cuts and trees coming down.
Yes, I like being in The Cotswolds. Might bump into David
Cameron in Waitrose at Witney. Recognised Church Green the other
day as his backdrop, when he was telling the world that he was giving
up as an MP.
Remembered the shock (some years ago) of seeing a photo in The
Financial Times of Michael Portillo, posing on the bridge at the end of
my garden in Suttonford. I think he must have been visiting his
associate, George, who lived nearby.
Well, I needn’t fret: I am evidently still at the centre of global events.
Mind you, sometimes taking early retirement and leaving your old pals
for pastures new (ghastly euphemism pinched and abused from Milton,
who employed it freshly) can be a bit daunting. That’s why it was
wonderful to come across a veritable burning bush of hawthorn berries
above Dragon Hill – you know, where St George allegedly slew the dragon.
I kept thinking of U. A. Fanthorpe and her witty, GCSE anthology-
endorsed poem on that subject.
I was compelled to approach this crimson phenomenon as it was so
vibrant and it reminded me of Moses and his encounter with verbal,
auto-combustible branches of boscage.
I wondered what it might say to me and checked on the original tale.
So, Moses was over 40 years old and no longer a bigwig. Instead he was
caring for his father-in-law’s sheep, which did not exactly utilise his
expensive Midian education. (I suppose he might have been having a
crisis, like David Cameron after loss of power. But I don’t think SamCam
would like Dave taking to pastoral studies unless she got a discount on
wool for her new fashion line.)
I wonder if Moses’ wife still wore her kohl in the backside of the desert?
Or had she already been yummy-mummified by then?
However, the encouraging thing is that, in a moment of paying
attention – I’m not going to say ‘mindfulness‘ – Moses was called to
a new commission, namely to be leader of the Israelites, as they were
to be delivered from slavery.
So, Brassie, what do you think I did?
No, I didn’t apply for leadership of UKIP, or any other party,
hoping to take my people through the wasteland of Brexit…
No, I wrote another sestina on the epiphanal moment when I
realised that I am not past it. I mean, I knew it, but I had not felt it
in recent days.
My friends who were staying with me had just been to Highgrove,
where it has been suggested Prince Charles talks to plants, so people
may accept, that, in a way, a bush spoke to me yesterday. and said
something like, Fool, look in thy heart and write!
(Okay, so I know I am appropriating Philip Sidney, but it was a poetic
moment and who better to prompt you to get on and do something with
your life than the original Renaissance Man?)
It was in the news yesterday that trees communicate with one another
and, in Fanthorpe’s poem, the dragon speaks, so, suspend your disbelief,
Here’s the poem inspired by a communicative Crataegus, namely the
humble hawthorn, except that it was an acacia in the case of Moses
and they have the original (they allege) at St Catherine’s Monastery:
The Burning Bush Speaks
So, how was I to get his attention?
Ah yes, an acacia bush on fire-
though plenty self-ignite and are destroyed,
he’ll notice that I actually sustain
and it is not consumed. Thus I will speak:
that ought to alert him to my presence.
He feels that he no longer has presence.
The world has ceased to pay him attention
as he minds in-laws’ sheep, over a fire
on Desolation Mountain, so to speak.
It’s not an activity to sustain
a man’s confidence, which has been destroyed.
A Midian education, doubt-destroyed;
his eyes blinded to Shekinah presence-
he has to be convinced that I sustain.
He is not paying me due attention;
the smoking flax is no longer on fire.
Moses! Can he believe a bush will speak?
He cautiously approaches tongues of fire.
Confidence that had been all but destroyed
re-ignites, as I re-assure him, speak
my name: I Am Who I Am (The Presence)
and creator of all hope. I sustain
the universe. The Egyptians I sustain.
The Israelites I will refine with fire
and, in order to gain his attention,
I’ll speak to him from something not destroyed
by elemental powers. My presence
is going to give him confidence to speak.
I have a message; words for him to speak
and laws which I will give him to sustain
my people. He will convey my presence;
cause them to follow my pillar of fire;
ensure that other gods are all destroyed.
Now, Moses, I need your full attention:
Speak! For the Egyptians will be destroyed.
Sustain your attention. Heed my presence.
The fire of Adonai will burn in you.
(Image: Dieric Bouts)
How are the mighty fallen! The saint who raised more than £40 million for charity and who was hailed as a national treasure by no less than Prince Charles possibly has his reputation in tatters only a couple of months after Dreweatt’s auction of his effects.
I bet HRH may regret having penned: give my love to your ladies on his personal greetings card, and Andrew may wish that he hadn’t sent quite so many cutesy photos of the very young Princesses, Beatrice and Eugenie, to this pathetic old pop-picker.
His silver Rolls-Royce Corniche convertible, The Beast, which sold for £130,000 won’t be quite so seductive a vehicle in which to take one’s enamorata for a ride, nor will the three-wheeled yellow bubble car grace the residential home in Rotherham quite so effectively. It was purchased to evoke nostalgic memories, but maybe it should be sent to the scrapyard. I’m glad that I didn’t pay £22,000 for it.
Wheelchair-bound George Ridgeon bought some of Sir Jimmy’s medals, reputedly enjoying seeing some of them handled by the auction house’s attractive female staff:
–just like Jim, I’ve got an eye for the ladies,
he quipped. Maybe he will melt down the decorations and consign his admiration to meltdown too.
There was a Dreweatt catalogue photograph of one of Jim’s gold suits being displayed on a headless dummy. Under the V of the lapels one could glimpse a patch of t-shirt which only revealed part of the star’s name: vile. Now then..
Perhaps Stuart Levin who bought a tracksuit as an investment, hoping to re-auction it and gain a fourfold profit for The Make a Wish Foundation, will consider that it might have been better left unsold than to have been acquired with all its alleged nightmarish connotations.
The old box of Bold washing powder which bore the DJ’s face as an endorsement had an estimate of £90, along with other items, only serves to remind us that it never promised to make everything whiter than white.
Now that the dirty washing has been putatively displayed in public, the indelible stains seem fast and fixed and the comments on Savile’s astrological chart at: www.astrotheme.com/astrology/ Jimmy_ Savile may tragically be all too pertinent:
you like to exert your domination simply because your vital energy is too powerful…You are inclined to be passionate with hidden motivations…Your fiery character (Tiger) is not satisfied with ordinary love affairs…You must be guarded against your propensity to take advantage of vulnerable people.
Threatening rumbles made me consider turning off my computer before it blew up.
I hoped the lavender in my garden wouldn’t go mouldy in the downpours, as I have to make quite a few pillows for anxious friends. I have heard that some of these microwaveable lavender and husk pillows spontaneously combust later, in your bed, setting your house ablaze.
There are certain people that I would consider bestowing one on, but it is a question for The Moral Maze as to whether the spontaneity of the combustion would absolve one from responsibility. Think on’t, Joan Bakewell, you fragrant crumpet.
I am sure that, being sexist aside, male athletes would prefer a bottle to a posy. Maybe they give the flowers to their mums, girlfriends or wives. Maybe some have them returned if that is all they are offered for their undying support.
Yes, lavender is in or now. I wonder if Charles gives Camilla some floral Duchy products in her Christmas stocking, with a gift card which reads:
Lavender’s blue, Dilly-dilly;
When I am King, Dilly-dilly,
You shall be Queen. ( or consort)
Or maybe in a few years’ time it may read:
Lavender’s blue, Dilly-dilly;
Now Wills is King, Dilly-dilly,
Kate shall be Queen.
© Candia Dixon Stuart and Candiacomesclean.wordpress.com, 2012
It’s all about Higher Maintenance, I reminded myself as I pushed aside half of an unsaturated Skyberry Slice. My friend had once observed that, at a certain age, it was one’s face or one’s bum. All those Wallis Simpson types have no reserves when the blubber is really needed. My friend’s father told me this years ago, and, he should have known, having worked on the Burma railway.
Yes, but I thought blubber was for whales. I have tried to exercise in all this rain, but when I went out for a power walk, a woman tripped me up with one of those Nordic poles and as there is no tread on my Coltsfoot wellies, I nearly broke my neck. Also, those items of footwear are expensive, so I don’t really want to get them dirty. I know my couch potato, rain-avoiding existence is giving me a rear shelf like a boy racer’s spoiler, or like the back view of Serena Williams, but I don’t have her self-confidence to flaunt it in a pair of cyclamen knickers, on the High Street.
Rain has stopped my play over the last two months. I’ve had to cancel several open-air events. My portable candelabra would have been extinguished at Cringe Park Opera and my retro-look, Bisto-ed seamed “stockings” would have run at the Big Band Forties Event. Dripping gazebos! Will it never stop?
My only consolation is that my neighbours’ trampoline is so slippery that it is an ‘elf and Safety issue and their swimming pool has been commandeered by a family of ducks. Kebabs and salad are reduced on the supermarket shelves. Petrol consumption is down and torrential rain washes off the pigeon poo on my car. The downside is that I will eventually surrender and put the heating back on. It is okay if you are a pensioner with a heating allowance. Then you could be a bit more relaxed about wearing out your designer wellies. You could afford to replace them.
The hosepipe bans have been rescinded. Good, because if any of those sou’estered kids squelch on that trampoline once more, they will get the full force of my water cannon.
Dr Foster went to Gloucester
in a shower of rain.
He stepped in a puddle
right up to his middle
and never was seen again.
It was probably a sinkhole caused by road subsidence, showing the short-sightedness of local councils neglecting the infrastructure and drains. This costs us all more in the knock-on effects of reduced medical services. It is probably the explanation as to why, for ‘elf & Safety reasons, you won’t get a GP out on home visits if there is a spit of rain forecast and that effectively means that you will never get a home visit. You couldn’t reasonably expect the medical profession to endanger their lives- not even on their current salaries. So, if you are experiencing resuscitation attempts from near drowning, after being rescued from your rooftop by lycra-clad firemen in kayaks (you wish), don’t expect a GP to make himself available for the signing of your death certificate. That is, not unless there is a cremmie fee due. Then you would see them swim, larded up like David Walliams, just to get their waterproof nibs on the dotted line.
Also, don’t expect a traditional burial in a churchyard. The coffins all floated away in the flash floods and spiralled out to sea, via some estuary or other. So, it looks like Full Fathom Five we all will lie. Quite poetic really. Better than Ilkley Moor and its worms.
What can one do in all this rain?
I thought that a musical might be distracting. But not that one. I prefer Ernie Wise to Gene Kelly and know how Eric Morecambe must have felt with gutterloads of rainwater gushing over him, like The Horseshoe Falls.
Apparently Gene Kelly had researched and practised his seemingly effortless routine so much that he almost contracted pneumonia from dancing in his permanently waterlogged woollen suit. GPs take note: not all medical conditions can be put down to viruses.
Probably by the Autumn, I cogitated, we will all have inhaled so many mould spores that the authorities will run out of flu vaccines and the old lady’s friend will do for so many of us that George, or Gideon, or whatever he is called, won’t have to worry so much about where all those heating allowances will be coming from. The medics tell us that you can’t contract pneumonia or flu from a chill, or from getting soaked. But surely, it can’t help. If everything is down to a virus, they do not have to step out of their over-heated surgeries to see you and then they don’t have to ruin their wellies, or break their budgets on antibiotics.
I see a cloud. It is the size of a man’s hand. It’s like a camel.
Nay, it’s very like a whale.
Stop arguing you two, I thought Ophelia might have said. It’s very big and it’s all over the weather map of Central Europe for August.
The Weather Girl was now wearing her Coltsfoot galoshes, not to mention a Mae West flotation waistcoat. It didn’t matter what she was wearing underneath, even if it was two sizes too small.
Prince Charles had presented the Weather and you didn’t see him wearing ill-fitting Gieves & Hawkes. He might be an old buffer, but he has won sartorial awards. His jackets fit like a glove, if you could forgive the mixed metaphor. Even Camilla accepts that she is no longer a size ten, even though she was never any kind of weather girl herself. She had other assets, namely that she had the sense never to rain on Di’s parade, though she might just reign over us.
How on earth are they keeping those torches alight- re-igniting birthday candles? The rain must find its way through those perforations. The Greeks never had that sort of problem, though they have plenty of unrelated ones now. Maybe they could capitalise on the success of Mama Mia and do a re-make with Colin Firth in a wet t-shirt performing an updated Singing in the Rain number. We could donate some H2o in the spirit of EU solidarity. Maybe they could sequel Shirley Valentine and we could send them Ann Widdecombe as an ageing Shirley, though she would probably have to be told it was Shirley Williams that she was to portray. Still, she is fairly good at rocking the boat and would enjoy the attention.
Somewhere I had heard that Federer might be toting one of the torches. The Greeks used to transport the flame au naturel, but I didn’t dare to hope that he would oblige, noblesse or not. If he did, the whole of Europe would unite, not to say ignite!
I found it hard to imagine Andy trailing a torch through dreich Dunblane, even if Alex Salmond was cheering him on and the Perthshire Pipe band were playing I would walk five hundred miles, with soaking sporrans and waterlogged chanters. No, Andy, accept it: the entire female population of the United Kingdom, minus your mum and possibly the ever-faithful Kim, carries a torch for Roger.
I felt sad for Theo Paphitis. If he was going to take over Robert Dyas, it was a bad year to sell gas barbecues.
© Candia Dixon Stuart and Candiacomesclean.wordpress.com, 2012