Monday, December 21, 2009

shopping, pleasures, walk

Posted by PicasaThe long walk to the shops.
The great Dr Samuel Johnson is best known for his conversation as reported by his biographer James Boswell, and for his Dictionary of the English Language, the first of any importance. His pronouncements are appreciated for their wit, learning, and directness. He saw the point when other people did not, and invariably came straight to it. He never pussyfooted. People would ask his opinion knowing that his response would be entertaining if not wise. This Christmas there have been reviews in the press, most of them complimentary, of a new biography by David Nokes. One, today, includes a quotation, new to me and I dare say new to others, which throws fresh light on his inclinations, and adds a new dimension to his humanity. According to his friend, the actor, David Garrick, when asked what he believed were the greatest pleasures in life, he replied, "Fucking and drinking."
In Calverley Ground, I pass an old woman with a stick walking slowly on the compacted snow. Ahead walks a black Labrador, a green tennis ball in its mouth. After a few yards it puts the ball down and waits for its mistress. She catches up. The dog picks up the ball and walks on. A few yards further on, the process is repeated. Eventually, at a convenient spot, the old lady picks up the ball and with some effort, achieves an underarm throw. The dog bounds after the ball and brings it back, its pent up energy released, just for a moment. But that is all. It is cold and slippery under foot and the mistress has done her duty. The dog collects the ball and they proceed slowly on their way.


Roderick Robinson said...

I think that's the right order too.

The Crow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CC said...

And I love your dog story too.

Many times I read your post and imagine using it
as a jumping off place for a longer story.
(I ALMOST wrote "longer tale", an unintended pun). This is a good one.

The Crow said...

Oops. Wrong Johnson.


Lucy said...

BB - the right order of degree of pleasure or the right order in which to do them?

Lovely dog/human companionship.

( c.v. - impledub, can't think of a definition but it seems to offer possibilities...)

Roderick Robinson said...

Ah Lucy, you shoulda been a journalist for you've hoist me with my own petard and my underpants are showing. A lesson too for politicians who favour the soundbite route. I offer up my wrist to be slapped for my imprecision (Failing by omission is just as serious as by commission) but if you think for a moment I'm going to answer your question, dream on. Perhaps some day we'll share an impledub.

A boundary crossed, Plutarch.

herhimnbryn said...

Oh Yes.
Grand post P.
Happy Christmas.