Sunday, 5 May 2013

Things they say.

They tell me Spring has arrived. The papers have pictures of people sunbathing in parks in London. Unfortunately, no-one seems to have told our area. We continue to have grey days, rather chilly wind and the occasional shower. We do have lambs in abundance in the fields up the road however. 

My sister in Spain has sent me greetings for Mother’s Day: ¡Feliz Día de la Madre! I’ve not been aware of lots of publicity here, getting us to buy cards, advertising special lunches at local pubs and such. Consequently, I went and had a look on Google. It turns out that our traditional Mothering Sunday, as I always remember calling it when I was a child, is the fourth Sunday in Lent. Here’s a link to some information about its origins. When I was small we used to be given a card at Sunday School to take home and give to our mothers. None of these mass-produced things in Card ‘r’ Us or whatever the card shops are called. Of course, the cards we were given were also mass-produced but on a much smaller scale. We were also told that in the past when young girls were sent into “service”, in other words working as maids in the “big houses”, they always had to work Sundays but had this one Sunday off every year to go home and visit their mothers. We should be grateful, they said to us. 

While we’re on the nostalgia thing, on Facebook I keep finding that my so-called friends have posted something like this: 

"Growing up in U.K. in the 50's/60's"

“I think every family had one of these :D....Do you remember having it around you when you were in the old tin bath...or making a tent with it?” 

I bet my sister, who posted this particular one doesn’t remember having it around her while she sat in a tin bath. We had moved to a nice modern house with a nice modern bathroom by the time she was born. But she’s right, our mother did have one just like that and we did make tents out of it. And she did use it to dry washing in front of the fire, probably because the weather was as unreliable then as it is now. My sister in Spain doesn’t have to do this as she dries her washing on the roof. 

Some of the people on this nostalgia trip though are clearly much too young to remember half the things they post. It doesn’t stop people getting all gooey about those artefacts we no longer use, especially when they post the pictures from their i-phone! 

I recently watched a programme about the mafia in Calabria, or ’ndrangheta as it should more properly be called. Some rather impressive spy planes were used to photograph the hideaways of these mafiosi but one of the ways they caught the elusive boss of the group, who had already been captured and had managed to escape once more, was through his girlfriend. The police were sure he would not be able to manage to remain in hiding for long without football or women. Football couldn’t be smuggled into his hiding place but women could. And so they stared looking for a likely mistress. Finally they identified a young lady who “looked as though she took too much care of herself to be single”. They were correct in their identification and eventually she unwittingly helped them in their search but the criteria used for identifying her left something to be desired. Don’t Italian women dress up for themselves? Do they only do it for their men? 

Another thing I noticed in the news last week was a large number of people wearing Orange. This was the population of Holland celebrating the investiture, not the coronation, please note, of King Willem-Alexander (of Orange) on the abdication of his mother Queen Beatrix. Quite a number of monarchs in waiting were invited to the ceremony, Prince Felipe of Spain and our own Prince Charles amongst them. 

I looked at Charles’s face as he strode into the church in all his military finery and wondered if somewhere deep inside he was singing that old song, “It should have been me!”.

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