View from the car park of Tunbridge Wells' deserted cinema. It opened as the Ritz (as the painted sign on the right shows) in 1934. Since then, though the sign has survived, it has been an Essoldo, a Cannon, an MGM and an ABC. It was closed when its owners opened a multi-screen cinema on the Tunbridge Wells industrial estate. Its last film was shown in October 2000.
I pass a bench in the park on which is inscribed "Rest and remember Harold Ingham". I don't rest on this occasion but I do remember Harold. He was very old and very thin, and used to walk, although he looked as though he needed one, without a stick. He was a retired travel agent (long retired when I first knew him) and had found an organisation called Friends of the Grove which looks after the interests of the little park, which I often mention here. Before I knew him better, I once asked him if he had been a journalist so concise and to the point was the Grove newsletter. which he wrote. I was never sure whether he took the question as the compliment which I intended it to be.
On the radio this morning I hear a quotation from the Book of Ecclesiastes: "Be not righteous over much." I find myself agreeing with the sentiment to such an extent, that I go through the whole of Ecclesiastes in the King James version of the Bible. I am swept along by the marvelous rhythmic prose which everyone who speaks English is heir to. Familiar words return and echo in the mind. "To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven..." the beginning of Chapter 3. "Cast thy bread upon the waters for thou shalt find it after many days.." Ch 11. "Remember now thy creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not nor the years draw nigh...". Chapter 12. It makes the back of the neck tingle.
Plus "Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher, all is vanity. And moreover..." Spoilt for me because of its cast-iron attachment to proceedings at Bradford Grammar School. Do you detect an ambiguity in the passage about righteousness? The suggestion that a little bit of it is OK?
A little drop of righteousness, I would have thought, does nobody any harm. Self-righteousness is another matter.
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