When I ran into an old friend and former colleague recently, I was very flattered when she said that my regular photos posted on Facebook, pictures of "bits of beauty" seen on my morning run, were a window of calm in her busy life, her "thought for the day". What a lovely comparison.
I used to catch Thought for the Day on the Radio 4 Today programme as I drove through rush hour traffic to work on the other side of Manchester. I particularly enjoyed listening to Rabbi Lionel Blue with his distinctive voice and his sometimes rambling anecdotes. And just now I found out that he has died. That's another one gone this year!
Here's a quote from the many tributes to a lovely old man:
"Through the popularity of his broadcasts and books, he made rabbis more human, Judaism more understandable, and faith in general more user-friendly.
"It was a tribute to the way he bridged religious differences that it was often quipped that Rabbi Blue would have been a wonderful choice as the. next archbishop of Canterbury.
"Without doubt, Lionel Blue was God’s best PR man in Britain.”
Maybe we need more people like him around to point our thoughts in the right direction.
And so I add him to the list of good people who have vanished from our lives over this year. I am developing a nostalgia for a gentler, friendlier time and I am beginning to object to change.
Our eldest granddaughter seriously objects to change. When I repainted the front door, some years ago now, changing it from black and white to a fine deep blue, she barely spoke to me for weeks. Even worse, when I replaced the three piece suite, which had been growing shabbier and shabbier for years, she practically refused to visit the house. Together with her grandfather, who also objected to that change, she still reminds me from time to time that I unreasonably got rid of her favourite furniture. So when she came round yesterday and saw that I had bought and installed the new electric fire, replacing the old open fire grate, her first words were, "What has gone wrong here?" in very indignant tones! She took quite some placating. Her grandfather, by way of a contrast, has completely accepted this last change, even saying that I made a good choice when I purchased it.
There you go!
I shall not dwell on the wider changes going on in our society. No doubt I shall have occasion to do so again in the not too distant future. Besides, according to this article, help is at hand. The actor Michael Sheen is planning to give up acting to become a full-time activist combatting right-wing extremism.
That's all right then!