Monday, 8 February 2010

Sorry - I'm busy...

... writing, but here are a few thoughts from last week.  Had a great day on Sunday (not yesterday), as we had lunch with great friends, Ian and Shelley, and their two youngest sons who are a pleasure to be with, and then came home to find a message on the answerphone from two other top friends, Anthony and Ruth, who were just 'passing' on the M4, wondering whether they could pop in.  We managed to reach them before they'd got too far, and so we had a lovely hour with them.  There's no other word for friends like those four than a blessing.

Anthony and Ruth have been working all hours receiving and despatching medical supplies to Haiti, through their amazing charity, International Health Partners UK.   I've probably written about it before.  They work at getting pharmaceutical companies to donate in-date stock and then with aid agencies distributing them at no cost.  It's such a good concept, but such hard work.  I saw them mentioned today winning one of BA's opportunity grants - which is well deserved and will be well used

The other good thing that Sunday which in fairness I have to mention is 'Songs of Praise' (since I've slagged them off in the past) which came from Peterborough.  Contemporary and some trad worship, real people enjoying worshipping, and talking about their lives.  And actually this Sunday wasn't bad either, from Southwark Cathedral of all places, a few choristers' ruffs in evidence, but mainly a whole variety of people again really worshipping with a variety of hymns and songs.  So I give Tony Nagri and the Beeb their due - and hope we don't revert to the travelogue/concert formula.

Then on Monday there were the two BBC programmes about assisted suicide, Panorama about Kay Gilderdale, who was acquitted of murdering  her daughter Lynn with ME - which wasn't exactly a documentary, with its background music and wheeling seagulls and of course lots of inevitable emotion.  I was struck by Chris Woodhead (who has MND and wants the option of choosing when to end his life) whose view is that changing the present law would actually make things worse - which I think is right.  Then in the evening was Terry Pratchett's Dimbleby lecture, Shaking hands with death.  That was another emotive essay.  He'd obviously learned my father's maxim about preaching, 'Placere, docere, movere.'  Please, teach, move - in that order, i.e. win over your listeners, inform them and then persuade them to action.  It seemed a persuasive case for assisted 'death' as he chose to call it, when you listened to it, but afterwards you realised what he hadn't said, for example, about the effect on others (I think Sue has already made a comment on this blog to the effect that 'No man is an island') and the culture of fear rather than of hope.  I noticed he said, 'If I knew that I could die at any time I chose, then suddenly every day would be as precious as a million pounds.'  Hang on, I thought, every day is already infinitely precious as far as I'm concerned.  And his resounding aphorism was, 'My life, my death, my choice.'  Since when, I wondered, did any of us choose to enter life?  And why are we so frightened of the unknown, of losing control, of chance?  I'd rather, 'My life, my death, my adventure!'  

And then, after a quick read of my bro's rather good short manuscript on whether Paul changed the message of Jesus as Philip Pullman is preparing to claim (again... yawn!) - to which the answer is a considered and well informed and argued 'No',  the rest of the week is was nose the laptop working on the next book with Jozanne, I Choose Everything.  We're aiming to finish the draft this month.

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