R.I.P Bob Hoskins

Saddened today to hear of the death of Bob Hoskins, the man who became an actor by accident. He had accompanied a friend to an audition and was mistaken for someone coming to read for a role. Handed a script and told “You’re next” he got the part.

The rest, as they say, is history.

He (along with Michael Caine) was my favourite British actor, and I remember him especially in two films at each end of the movie spectrum: The Long Good Friday and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. I especially remember that last movie due to a friend’s throwaway comment about the animated character Jessica Rabbit, that stayed with me:

How can a cartoon rabbit be sexy?

Though she wasn’t exactly a rabbit, but still.

R.I.P to a great British actor.

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McDonald’s Nuggets Of Wisdom. Pun Intended.

In 2007, while in Greece, I travelled north to Delphi, climbing the slopes of Mount Parnassus, to see the Sanctuary of Apollo where the Oracle, the cloth eared Sibyl, would utter forth her prophecies.

But it was closed. I did not see that coming.

Seriously-all that way and I had forgotten that everything comes to a stop in the afternoon in retreat of the heat. I did the same when in Crete a year later, when we drove to see the ruins of St.Titus’ church in Gortyn. You think I would learn, wouldn’t you? At least we could dob around the back and look at the still-standing apse over the fence in true snooping, Mancunian fashion.

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These memories came to mind as I was sat in my local McDonalds this morning. I am fast coming around to the theory that this fast food place is the Middleton equivalent of Delphi, with all sorts of deep words of wisdom and scintillating anecdotes being dispensed by our very own intoxicated oracles.

You may recall my post of 9th of January, entitled Play the Game, Don’t Make Eye Contact? In it, in this very restaurant, I mentioned the girl telling her less than captivated grandmother all about her sex life. I omitted the account on the same day of the guy who was accusing all and sundry of being the lowlife scum who had stolen the newspaper that was actually hidden beneath his tray. Bingo day, eh?

When I’m in there I don’t mean to eavesdrop, really, I don’t. My intention is just to try and have a quiet coffee while sitting unobtrusively in the corner, reading my book. But it seems that in the Happy Meal Code of Conduct I have overlooked the bit that requires all conversation to be conducted above a minimum decibel level.

This morning two girls were sat in front of me, the Foghorn Lass and the Unable to Get a Word In Companion.

I tried to concentrate on what I was reading, but I kept on re-reading the same lines, the words not sinking in, as Foghorn slowly built up to exclaim through a mouthful of hash browns:

“At school I was always the smartest in my class, in all my classes, but I was never valued.”

Okay, we all need to work on our self-esteem, but then, after a few shouted, crumb spraying sentences that I had managed to tune out, came this nugget:

“He wants to marry me because I’m English. I think if I went over there I could probably stay at his house. I mean, we’ve been friends since…..when did I dye my hair purple? He had a girlfriend who lived in California and he lived in Vancouver. She finished it though because she said he wasn’t attentive enough. But he works, you know.”

Well how unreasonable was Californian Cold Heart? Just how did she expect him to be attentive when Cold Shouldered was trying to hold down a job? Never mind the small matter of the 883 miles that separated them both. Just what did kids want from their relationships these days?

I gave up on my book. Dystopian fiction is definitely not true to life.

That snippet of real life romance disrupted my train of thought all afternoon. l found myself haunted by the questions:

Would Foghorn go and stay with Cold Shouldered in Vancouver? Would they get married, what with her being English? And just when did she dye her hair purple?

Tune in next time. Because I can’t tune out.

 

 

Brand New

Spring:looking at it anew through the eye of wonder.

Considering Birds

I don’t expect I’ll ever fully know how remarkable life is, or ever be fully present to the paradise we dwell in, but I am sure that it is in the season of spring that I’ll get closest. Wherever I rest my eye, fresh miracles abound. Plants are clothed in a shade of green so vibrant it might just change your life. Crawling creatures of all shapes, sizes and colours are newly transfigured into their adult forms, whilst overhead sojourning birds celebrate their recent return to this latitude

How can it be that the dusky swift scything through fields of cloud was woven out of dust, specks and motes of hardly anything at all? What unknown worlds exist within the midge swarm that drifts, fairy-like, from the dew-soaked grass, and how did the chiffchaff divine that the time had come to fly north and seek out this rich source of…

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Mongrel Nation

St.George’s Day again, here in our mongrel nation. 🙂 This was last year’s post on this day.

City Jackdaw

Today, here in an overcast, breezy England, it is St.George’s day. How much we can say we actually know about the real St.George is very little. I ask my kids, and all that they can come up with is that he killed a dragon.

And they also recognise his flag, of course.

England

Personally I think St.Aidan should be England’s patron saint. As the Apostle to the English, and with a little more verifiable information available to us, I think he has the greater claim. I love the history and stories of all the Celtic and British saints that have walked these same scattered islands that I do now. Among my favourites are Aidan and Cuthbert. But that’s for another day.

There was a time, when asked what my national identity was, I would reply “English.” But then I began looking into my own family history. What I have discovered, up…

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Symbol

Everybody uses symbols. Religions, businesses, organisations, sports clubs, football teams, television channels, I mean everybody. It seems that we need something to represent everything that we stand for. An emblem to incorporate the ethos and identity of the various organisations that we belong to and binds us together.

A visual representation for something that becomes immediately recognisable.
Sometimes everyday objects, too, hold a greater significance for us. Maybe as an ideal, a target to aim for, a sentimental memory.

You take your ash wand and carve your rune. You find a space to hang your coat of arms. You open your trunk and take out that heirloom. You hold that old framed photograph and remember. These things become so much more.

The Palm Cross in the photograph was given to my daughter when she went to church with her school for her Easter assembly.

Most people know that the cross as a symbol represents the Christian faith.

But what exactly does it symbolise to people, personally? We cannot help but bring to it our own prejudices and concepts.

Where some may see it as a source of comfort and strength, others may see it as a symbol of torture and oppression. It is the same symbol, but coloured by our own perspectives.

To me the cross is a symbol of transformation. Transformation from despair to hope, from suffering to comfort, from death to life, from defeat to victory.

It also serves as a reminder to hold true to what we believe in, and value, until the end. Whether that is in a religious context or just an attitude towards life.

Whatever life should throw at us, and difficult though it may be, we use the tools at our disposal to fortify us and try to stay true to ourselves. To try not to change our true nature.

Faith unto death, if you like

No matter what our faith is, what our beliefs are, what our differing values may be, we all need something to focus on from time to time. Something to pour our energies into.

To all of you reading this, whether you regard this as a special, holy day, or whether you are spending time with your loved ones, enjoy your day. I hope the sun shines for you.

Sometimes, we pin all of our faith upon the weatherman.

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