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Robin
         
Snowdrops   Snow  

January 19th 2013

James

First snow of the year

With seasonal affective disorder affecting us all the snow has arrived just in time to provide a much needed lift to our spirits and, with Harry out on his normal five hour Saturday break from the Cathedral, we just had time to have a snowball fight and to make a very cheerful snowman. Frosty, as he has been christened (what a pathetically unoriginal name I can hear you all say!), will still be smiling come the 'most depressing day of the year', which is due to fall in two days time. This was first 'calculated' in 2005 by a UK psychologist, Cliff Arnall, who devised the equation:

(W + (D-d)) x TQ
      M x Na

where W = the weather; D = debt; d = monthly salary; T = the time since Christmas; Q = the time since failing ones New Year's resolution; M = lack of motivation; and Na = feeling the need to take action, and has come to be known as Blue Monday.

I, for one, will not be feeling blue on Monday for two reasons: firstly, neither Mary nor I have failed our New Year's Resolution which, together with what appears to be most of the population of West London, is to avoid all alcohol in January; and secondly I have Frosty's cheerful countenance to make me smile.

 





   
 
Robin
         
Snowdrops   Snow  

January 1st 2013

James

Happy New Year

Time for another Wesley Roddie letter, this time on 'Youth and a changing world', in which he argues the point that every generation worries unnecessarily about how the young desire change. Whilst recognising the importance of the wisdom that comes with experience he also points out that 'old age may be sometimes very conservative, hostile to all change and blindly loyal to its traditions'. This brings to mind Joseph Cossman's well-known adage: 'Middle age is the time when your broad mind and narrow waist begin to change places'.

I had not come across the term 'Mother Grundy' before, which is used in the first paragraph of the letter, and I have had to look it up. According to Collins English Dictionary Mother Grundy was a character in T. Morton's play, Speed the Plough, written in 1798 and the word 'Grundy' became one denoting a 'narrow-minded person who keeps critical watch on the propriety of others'.

Wesley wrote this letter in 1930 which is only a few years after commercial radio broadcasts were first aired and describes the 'wireless set in the corner of your sitting room' as 'one of the greatest scientific discoveries in the recent history of mankind'. He is less enamoured by 'the cinematograph picture' and the "talkies" and condemns their 'intellectual banality' and 'moral turpitude'.

At the beginning of a new year, when many of us are hoping for change, I do not know if it is refreshing or disappointing that Wesley's letter could have been written yesterday if one were to exchange 'wireless' and 'the cinematograph picture' for 'television' and 'the Internet'.

 

 





  © Copyright Thomas Jackson 2010