As I write it is the start of a beautiful summers day. Me and my partner have much to be thankful for, including many shared attitudes and memories. In our childhoods we both enjoyed a series of books called “Just William” by Richmal Compton. If you havn’t come across them I should glance over a few pages. The heart of the matter is that William is a scruffy boy of eleven who leads a wild and unkempt existence on the fringes of his respectable household. Like I did at his age, he dislikes girls who always making a fuss and won’t get their clothes dirty in the proper manner. The local landowners daughter, called Violet Elizabeth, is an object of fascinated horror to William and the sight of her coming into view always fills him with terror. Her phrase, “I’ll scweam and scwean and scweam til I’m sick” to ensure she gets what she wants haunts me to this day. One thing she has in her favour though, is an unlimited supply of sweets and this makes her company hard to ignore.
Of course we don’t remain eleven for long, roughly a year if memory serves me, and our attitudes change. Now somewhat older me and my partner were sitting in the window of our living room looking out on the river before us. To have a river to look out on is wonderful to me, and it always seems busy in a rhythmic beautiful way which calms us and reminds us of life’s natural order. Across the water is a large floating home. and beside it, on the bank, is a garden which is currently a riot of colour.
I was pointing this out to my partner as we sipped our morning tea when we noticed the wife sitting out in it in a chair. Her husband was walking towards her and bent over the table with some breakfast materials in such a caring and patient manner that I was moved to smile and say ” there is a man who knows whats valuable in life”. All to often we have to get on with what must be done before we can face the serious business of life and the details of daily existence drag us further from the person we would like to be. In this I am no different to any one else but seeing that man this morning reminded me that, somewhere in the maelstrom of every day life we can still find a moment to celebrate what is truly valuable in our brief time on this planet. Like many of us here my life is beset with problems I struggle to contain. It’s far from all bad though. Looking across the table at my partner sipping her tea as she looks out at the world beyond our home it occurs to me that, in many ways she is the flower in my garden and tending to her is part of what makes each day worthwhile.