Thursday, January 30, 2014

Silver archive, stories and Weisswurst

Silver 2

A book of "post-its" by my bed. Four a clock in the morning.  It is ideas time. Resolution. I will   revive my story blog One Fine Day. No reflection on  RR who despite his misgivings is producing  much admired short stories of  great accomplishment,  which  are invariably limited to a specific number of words. A discipline which I understand but don't agree with.  My  stories will be of any length from one word to as many words as there are cells in the human brain. I like the idea that our lives are driven by stories, other people's stories and stories we make up. I am about to delete the unfinished story in One Fine Day. The new series will follow soon. How long will the stories be? Wait and see.

Through the post from Germany two tins of Weisswurst. The delicate sausage normally eaten only before midday in its country of origin. You eat with a sweet, seedy mustard.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Silver, nostalgia and calm


My brother Ken and I compose from a memory a dish from our childhood It is  middle eastern in origin, spicy but mild.  It consists of  freshly scrambled eggs, cubes of potato, onion and mint stirred up together. Our taste buds tell us that we are on the right lines. Lunch becomes an excursion into nostalgia. Mint we decide is the most significant ingredient in determining the remembered flavour.

This morning I oversleep. Not  good idea. I am woken by the telephone. It takes me a long time to recover. But I do recover by sitting still and calm in my study and examining the spines of my books. Why is this so satisfying? Perhaps it because tranches of the books' contents comes to me in soothing waves.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Side by side, spirit and sponge

Waking for a few minutes in the small hours, I begin to think about words like "soul" and  "spiritual"  and why I am generally reluctant to use them in general discourse.. The reason is that I am not entirely sure of what they mean. Often I have a good idea but there is something loose and amorphous there which worries me. I am, I realise a materialist, requiring the reassurance of  verifiable structures. Others I know use such terms freely and as a rule I have no problem in understanding what they want to convey. Just recently I have had occasion to examine myself on matters which others might call spiritual. I want to ask myself advice, to understand certain facts about my motivation for certain behaviour in the past. Where do I go for such information? After some thought I conclude that my mind contains a reservoir of knowledge, accumulated and inherited for me to search and analyse. Soul, perhaps, a source of spirituality? Having come to that conclusion, I fall asleep. Do I  re-awake the wiser?

My daughter and her husband take me to a country pub for lunch. A wood stove burns. The food though simple is perfectly cooked. Two couples in the room where we sit are talking quietly. We too talk quietly.  The place seems effortless to help conversation along. Sausages, mashed potatoes (one of the most difficult dishes to prepare properly) and generous garnish of kale brings on a feeling of well being which falls over my shoulders like a cloak. I share a dish  sticky toffee pudding consisting of the lightest and most delicate of sponges.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Tube, dance and pie

Into the tube.

Sometimes, just sometimes in my life, I have enjoyed dancing. Not ballroom dancing. Jive, rhythmic, free of all constraint except a rhythm which opens the door and allows you into a world where nature takes over and disconnects you from the regulation of routine and daily life. You become part of something beyond  and outside yourself. Watching dancing associated with religions and rituals where the object is to escape the self, I can understand its purpose. Ballet music sometimes has the same effect. I remember listening to Stravinsky's Right of Spring for the first time, sitting on a window ledge in the school library. Far from being in a position to do so, I sometimes feel like responding to those sharp, wild rhythms with improvised movements, stamping and twirling across the room. To lose  myself in the action  and discover  something new about or beyond myself. If only I knew how.

The comfort of a fish pie, composed of smoked haddock, salmon and a few luxurious scallops. Whereas the the rest of the fish is cooked a little in advance, the scallops are added at the last minute with a creamy sauce beneath the crust of mashed potatoes. The scallops cook just enough while the crust is browning.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Puddle, leather and hail

Reflections and detritus  in a puddle.

The smell of leather in an old shoe shop (fourth generation of owners, they proclaim) is quite different from the smell of modern shoe shops where many of the wares are made of plastic. I am accompanying my neighbour Peter who tries on a pair of shoes which seem to fit him and appeal to him in other ways, until he asks whether the shoes can be be repaired.The young woman assistant thinks not so we leave the the shop without a purchase. The shoes with rubber soles and leather uppers seemed just the ticket to me.  I like shoes. It strikes me that this pair should see him out without the need for repair, but of course I must not say so.

The wind rises outside the house. What sounds like a bucket full of hail clatters against the window. Almost simultaneously the Radio weather forecast speaks of tornadoes in the South of England

Friday, January 24, 2014

Dereliction, beyond mood music and found

Another shot  of the cinema soon to disappear from the centre of Tunbridge Wells.

Roderick Robinson's blog Tone Deaf in original form was intended as I recall  for people like me who like music but do not think they  know enough about it or how it works. Tone Deaf has since changed direction, though from time to time it ventures in its traditional direction. Just recently various comments have drifted into  Now'the Time which have revived the musical theme. It is an occasional theme.  And it  comes  into my head this morning when I begin to think about how music particularly classical or as Robbie began to call it  posh music, may be be defined by epithets such as sad, melancholy, triumphant, happy so that  it becomes mood music to match the feelings of the listener. Most opera is of course mood music.  The music which  prompts the thought however is something different.   It is great music which transcends such limitations. Yes I am back to the late quartets of Beethoven, Schubert's string quarter recently discussed and much of J S Bach. where mood or programme doesn't come into it. Instead to my tentative way of thinking the music enters a place of sublime independence and abstraction. Mood words just don't fit, and you can listen over and over again to  a particular piece  and perhaps in a spiritual sense feed off its constant  repetition.

For days I am looking for a book on my shelves. I know where it should be. But it doesn't seem to be there. I tell brother Ken about this mysterious loss. He looks  eagle-eyed at the spot where it should be.  And there it is. I realise where I have gone wrong. I have been imagining the missing book in a different format, similar to  the format of its neighbour. In fact it is smaller and squarer. My idle mind has not taken the trouble to look more closely. I am glad to have found the book but... Oh dear!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Opportunities, normality and enjoyment.

They are still talking about demolishing the old cinema at the top of Mount Pleasant.  It will be March or April they now say. And, they say, the town will be infested by rats looking for a new home.  Meanwhile I for one will be a little sorry. Such sites offer endless photo opportunities at least for people like me who are attracted to broken  glass, rust, mould  and disintegrating structures.

In the Compasses this afternoon where my brother Ken and I indulge our selves with something called pan fried cod and cassoulet, the sun streams in touching veneers and stained glass. Seeing the profiles of four people seated, shadow-like, behind a glass  partition  I kick myself for leaving my compact camera at home. Normally I would have the camera in my pocket. Must get back to normal.

What people say: "Enjoy the rest of the afternoon, "  says the barman. Enjoyment is I suppose everything that matters.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pipes, pumping and song

Pipes and steam.

You can't help being impressed by our new hospital. Yesterday not just the building but the system is working well. You have the impression of being gently pumped from station to station.  Touch screen electronic check-in identifies you and tells you to wait in reception until your name appears on a screen. This directs   you (in my case) to Outpatients 1. Here you are greeted and taken  to an interview room. Even more gently you are conveyed to phlebotomy and thence to x-ray. You emerge if not cured feeling on the whole that you have been cared for by people who enjoy caring for you.

The other morning it was a robin that woke me just outside the bedroom window. This morning no robin but an even  noisier song thrush is blasting away loud enough to put alarm clock manufacturers out of business. A few years ago I worried that I no longer seemed to hear the morning chorus.  Was it my hearing?  This year perhaps my hearing is coming back. Or is it that the birds are singing louder? Certainly prompted by warm weather they are anticipating Spring earlier than they are supposed to.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Conversation, orchestra and X-ray

Maggie Hambling's memorial to Oscar Wilde opposite Charing Cross Station in London. From my archive. It is is inscribed with the quotation  from Lady Windermere's Fan, " We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars." Not my favourite piece of public sculpture. But a good opportunity for street photography.

The You Tube Symphony Orchestra  which draws on musicians from all over the world is new to me. I encountered it looking for a link to Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. I thought that this piece of music sub-titled Variations and Fugue on a theme of Purcell might be a useful contribution to the discussion initiated here by Stella, which I am  incidentally greatly enjoying and learning from. I wonder if E would like in  particular this rendering of a  stirring piece of music. The piece, takes the listener and the viewer through the whole spectrum of orchestral instruments.  It may not be the best performance ever, but you can watch and listen.  And it is not too long.

In the hospital today where they are still probing my Polymyalgia Rheumatica I comment on the brand new Siemens X-ray machine. What did it cost? About the same as a three-bedroom house in Tunbridge Wells, I am told.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Sainsbury, song and frugality

Car park

It still seems to be dark. Yet what is this? A robin singing full throatedly  outside the bedroom window. I look at the clock. 6.45. What a wonderful, resonant alarm clock! As I write this  11 hours later  another bird is seeing down the sun. A song thrush probably . Or a black bird but it is not close enough for me to be sure. Early for either birds to be singing in January.

Although frequently guilty of extravagance and self-indulgence,  I wake up thinking about frugality. In world so full of pain and greed, I am attracted to a frugal way of life. Making things last. Cooking with left overs.  Avoiding waste at all cost. Perhaps a wartime childhood prepared me for it. But this is how I like it.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Escape, other people's music and novelty



I plod round Sainsbury's my trolley in front of me like a Zimmer frame. As I don't have a shopping list, I walk down every aisle picking what I fancy. An interesting reversal of the normal procedure.  But if you follow this routine  you find  yourself in the middle of a parade of others doing the same thing. A woman with  emergent cables  is overflowing with a steady stream of pop music. I try to adjust my pace to avoid contact but it doesn't always work. Other people's gratuitous music! A topic for discussion if not the urge to escape.

The sun has been shining all day. For the first time for weeks I am on my own. Not a bad thing. Papers and reading matter  to be sorted and discarded. Music too spurred on by recent conversations is rearranged and made more accessible.  Above all  I must keep moving. So I walk in The Grove stopping in patches of sunshine to contemplate what ever is in front of me. Nothing is anything like  back to normal. Certainly not. Rather a question of settling to something new, quite different and challenging.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Stars in the gutter, classical music and tea

Another wrapper from the archives.

To answer Stella's question about classical music, I must first admit to being largely unmusical.  I am tone deaf. But this does not mean that I don't like classical music. My appreciation goes back to school days, when Beethoven,, Mozart, Wagner even, were on the menu prompted as much by fellow pupils as by teachers. Pop music didn't exist then, so perhaps I was lucky. American musicals such as Oklahoma and Annie Get Your Gun were easy to leave behind. You do not, I  found, have to be musical to enjoy great symphonies and choral works. A school friend took me to the Albert Hall to hear Bach's St Matthews Passion. Although chamber music was a regular item at school concerts, it was Robbie who later introduced me in a proper way  to Beethoven's late quartets. I am still being prompted  and reminded by friends. The Schubert Quintet is a recent instance. I don't know where precisely my love of Mozart's Clarinet Concerto came from it it has always been a favourite.  I could go on. In later life I have had little difficulty in enjoying The Beatles but was never able to love The Rolling Stones. Joni Mitchel is a favourite, Leonard Cohen too,  but I find that I tire easily of much music that is easy to listen to. Great pieces of classical music for me however bear endless repetition.

Jeremy Irons reading  of Eliot's The Four Quartets on the radio this afternoon in a brown monotonous voice sends me to sleep. It takes a strong cup of PG tips to wake me.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Spring, emptiness and Schubert

If winter comes...

Today I find myself sitting for several minutes doing nothing. An unusual activity for me. I have become accustomed to keep my mind or my hands or both occupied during most of the waking day.The dreamlike state in which I find myself is not unpleasant. My head  is empty. Is this what people who meditate aim for?

Finding myself alone and at peace for the first time for a few days, something which I have been intending to do for some time, I insert a CD of Schubert's String Quintet in in C Major into  the CD player and listen to it undisturbed.  The disk was  a present from Robbie and VR when Heidi's condition was beginning to deteriorate. It was then a very present help in time of trouble. Even more so today and what a joy and pleasure to listen to such  a great performance.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

discards, thankyou, the funeral

Some time ago I published a series of photographs of items of litter in the gutter and in odd corners of the street. I took no trouble to move or rearrange them. I snapped them as I saw them. I was pleased with the images at the time. Sometimes, even more so now.

Thank you Robbie for your impression  of the funeral. (See yesterday's Tone Deaf post)  It achieves something I cannot even attempt. Something dispassionate in it view yet strongly felt and managed. There is very little I can manage in that way at the moment. Your long drive here and back seems to have been an ordeal. I can only say it means a great deal to me to have old and dear friends present at such a time. Hugs are in fashion and long may they remain so. Yours especially.

During the funeral my mind is like a strip of countryside newly flooded and strewn with wreckage. With  my children on one side and Heidi's  on the other, I sit back while the waters gurgle and flow over my head. Every now and then a comforting hand  grips my arm. From the front row I can  see nothing of  fellow mourners. I do have a good view of Jan Comly, the funeral celebrant (a term new to me). The coffin, new and rather brash,  garnished with lilies refuses to mean much to me. I have said goodbye to Heidi and I am still saying goodbye to her. And will continue to for a long time to say goodbye to her. . But the coffin, well it is just a box. She ain't there as far as I am concerned.   I like the way though  that from time to time Jan turns towards the coffin to address Heidi directly.  Heidi daughters, Jenny and Caroline, stand  side by side  at the lectern to give their tributes. They speak  beautifully and with an accuracy which is deeply  moving.. The girls each capture something different in their Mother's looks and in the rhythms and tenor of her voice.

 Clever the way the chapel is designed to allow the congregation to leave by a side door, so that the place  may be free for the next funeral. Funerals are pumped through the chapel  at the rate of one every half hour, but you wouldn't know it. The chief mourners depart first, into a  courtyard where a fountain plays into a pond. So we are  in a position to greet the others as they follow us out.  Hugs, a few surprises, faces you don't expect,  fresh and moving and conventional words mingle into a  chorus and choreography new to most of us. The  architectural arrangements add up to good logistics and sensitive, too, to the demands of people unaccustomed to the rituals of farewell and grief. I read back what I have just written, and wonder if there is any truth in it. It is hard to adjust to living on a new planet.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Adustment, suits and healing

A time for rainbows.  The sun shines on the day of Heidi's funeral. We say goodbye to her with dignity and cheerfulness.  We want the service to reflect her sense of fun and enjoyment of life as portrayed in her pictures,  and we seem to have succeeded.  People come back to the house where her paintings are sympathetically  lit by the winter sun. In the curious way the mind works I keep finding myself wanting to tell her all about the service and to compare notes. It will take time to adjust.

"I like your suit says my 20 year old grand-daughter". I realise that she had never seen me in a suit.  "I used wear one every day," I say,"when I went to the office."  It is 21 years since I stopped attending an office on a regular basis. Next I find myself explaining what an office is. Times they are a-changing.

Whose is that familiar face which I see outside the chapel while waiting to enter? It dawns on me that it is our GP, Nick Benson, who retired  a year so so ago. "I saw the notice in the paper," he says. "So I thought I'd come."  He looked after  Heidi and me for  several decades  so I suppose I should not be surprised. We always got on well  but  we sometimes  wondered about  the  extent of his dedication to the world of healing.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Rust, tranquility and superficiality

Rust spreads on a railing, a disturbing efflorescence.

On the radio I catch  the word "calm". Calm is what I like. And tranquil. I remember arriving at a small  hotel in Granada, Spain, without any money.  Two hungry teenage girls and a wife were putting a brave face on a venture which had started out as a light hearted picnic in the mountains. An abandoned car and a punctured tyre  to which I clung as a talisman  added to a  prevailing dreamlike quality. It was the weekend. Banks and consulates were closed or unreachable. "Sea tranquilo",  keep calm, said the kindly hotelier. "Tranquilo! And tranquil I became. The disaster soon became an adventure, a story to be repeated from time to time. And tranquillity something I have since been able to return to more easily  helped by the voice of the gentle hotelier which I  can still hear now.

Watching people in the doctors surgery I see people I think I once knew , but it is not their features I recognise.  It is the way their hair is cut and the sort of glasses they are wearing. Superficial likenesses. Something tells me that I should look more closely

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Puddle, phalarope and lamb sausages.

Not drowning but waving. Plastic bag in puddle from the archive.

In the early hours of the morning I learn from the radio that the red necked phalalrope, a bird smaller than a starling, has been shown can fly from Scotland across the Pacific to the coast of Peru.
Such facts are soothing.

In Sainsbury's this morning  minced lamb. Tonight little sausages made with the lamb, coriander, pine kernels and coriander.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Spring, surprise, delight and haircut

Urban spring.

I'm floored, deeply touched, bewildered, utterly delighted, knocked backwards and forwards and backwards again. A long, hand written letter from the dearest of friends arrives this morning and with it a present of sublime beauty and utility. Not only is the letter hand-written but every word is immediately legible to my weary eyes.The letter itself is rich in allusions all of which must and will be answered. Now to get my hand-writing back to scratch and my thoughts in order. Something truly beautiful has happened to day.

Haircut today for an important occasion next week. Heidi always reminded me about  cutting my hair which she objected to if it stood up like a cross mad professor's. Today I have to remind myself. A cruel taxi driver with a Glaswegian accent,  meanwhile, ticks me off for keeping him waiting while he is waiting to pick me up for the hairdresser. Seven minutes, he says. No more than five I think. But I am not going to argue. Good for a laugh if nothing else.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Bridge, fishmonger and heliotrope

Under the bridge. Thames bridges have much to offer pictorially apart from the obvious.

In the sunshine a walk to the fishmonger is a step towards normality.  Clams for a spaghetti a la vongole and Mackerel for tomorrow.   Swinging my arms and moving my hips  may seem to be insignificant gestures  but are harbingers of an unaccustomed freedom. Yesterday I was complaining to the GP about my condition. Today I am doing something about it.

We are taken to a country pub for a drive and lunch. "Heliotrope," says Pam, supplying the name  me of the pink  flower on the verge. Winter heliotrope. A garden escape which explains why a number of wild flower books don't feature it, though it is  now fairly common on roadsides in the south of England. It flowers from January to March. I like the name. So exotic sounding for  a Sussex lane.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Shoe, bereavement and warped

One of my favourites from the archive. Not the first time that I have posted it here, but I make no apologies. The shoe which for several months remained on a ledge behind a shoe shop, has  long been removed. I am glad that the photograph survives.

Bereavement is a word  which, together with all the paraphernalia of death, I used when ever possible,  to steer clear of. Confronted with the fact and the word I now accept it for what it is. We had two telephone lines Heidi and I because so many of her regular calls were overseas to her daughters and friends. Now that the time has come to close her BritishTelecom account, her daughters tell me that BT was able to assist her with the help of its "bereavement arm".

For the last few weeks the rain beating on to our front door, which faces south west into the prevailing wind, has warped the wooden frame. The lock wants to do one thing, the frame another. PMR has left my  arm muscles ineffective The result when, on my own today  for the first time, and I go for a walk I cannot  on my return manage to open the door. Happily the gardener opposite is on hand to manoeuvre the offending aperture. It's good to be indoors.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Evening, cellophone and better

Evening in The Grove.

A beautiful thing would be the elimination from modern life of cellophane paper. It is hard to open DVDs and the like wrapped in it; it makes an insidious noise and fragments into untidy shards. Perhaps there are cellophane lovers in the world. I am not one of them.

Aches all day from the polymyalgia rheumatic which persists in a less insidious form. These are are alleviated by massage from Heidi's daughter Caroline and 15 minutes exposure to ultra violet rays. Better already. Better is a lovely word.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Fence, tidiness and tangerine clouds

On the fence.

Present circumstances is prompting the tidiness bug which has invaded me. Before I start cooking the kitchen must be clean and everything in its place. The floor must be clear of crumbs. The problem remains that bending is still a problem as I hobble about the house and for some reason remember my aged grandmother whom  I  now realise was of a like mind.

A tangerine sky when I raise the blind the other morning. The wind blows white and orange clouds past the window.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Bark, forensics and human voices


A letter from an old friend. On the back of the  envelope she has written, "Discovered un-posted".
The address, as has is usual with her letters,  is a remote variation of my true address. The Royal Mail's forensic skills are extraordinary. And I am glad of it because Liz's letters are as entertaining as ever.

 I am trying to reach someone at my bank who can answer a simple question. Recorded voices ask me to key in numbers, be patient, choose from a range of options remote from my needs.  I feel, to paraphrase T S Eliot, that I "have lingered in the chambers of the sea,
by sad girls with seaweed red and brown,
till human voices wake me and I drown."

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Pause, weather and korma

Pause for a nibble. A close up from last Summer's archive.

As we proceed with chores here at home, whirlwind after whirlwind swirls in from the Atlantic full of rain and fuelled by endless cyclones, devastate coastal regions, flood people houses.  Nightmare pictures from low-lying towns fill TV screens, ride on front pages. At night the rain clatters against our windows and rifles the branches of the lime tree opposite. It crashes and curses. The wind whimpers.  Domestic circumstances and weather conditions seem to  work together to stifle attempts at keeping cheerful.

Korma is the name given to pale, creamy,  spicy, dishes in India.  Yogurt and coconut milk supply the creaminess.  Tonight, as part of my  spicy exploration campaign, is korma night. I have been thinking about appropriate ingredients for most of the day. I am glad to say that Jenny and Caroline share my  enthusiasm.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Glass, kindness and someone else

Still in the archives, this time a fragment of bottle glass catches my eye in the pavement. I am not sure what an uncut emerald looks like but I fear this is not one.

When there is a choice between  love and   kindness, (offering or receiving them, I mean), when there is a choice,  kindness seems preferable. Love has alternative meanings  and the context has to signify which one is intended. The  word "love"  can fill the heart with something close to terror as well as with warmth and desire. Divine love and human love have different motives and conclusions. Different stories attend them.  Kindness on the other hand is neither complex nor ambiguous. It is often spontaneous and instinctive.  It is utterly human, a  distinctive quality  of humanity of which humanity should  be proud. In the early hours of the morning it is kindness I pursue.

As an exercise I try to imagine what  it is like to be someone else. From the inside.  Someone I may dislike or despise. Someone utterly evil perhaps. To understand, then,  the feelings, urges, aspirations and hopes of an  alien and unsympathetic personality   What sense of  justice rules his actions or moral force drives them? It is hard work.  I have only just began, but I can see that it is going to be hard work

Friday, January 03, 2014

Fragment, resolution and honesty

Among fragments of rubbish lying in the street which I formed the habit of photographing a couple of years ago, this one of the tab of some sort of package appeals because of its ignored tidiness message, and  because of the curious lake-like appearance  and colour of the background.

Never a contributor or believer in new year resolutions I am struck by a woman talking on the BBC World Service who resolved to do something for the first time every day of 2013  and succeeded.
Among her achievements was to talk to someone new on the spur of the moment and do a "polar bear plunge" (ie jump into Arctic waters and totally immerse herself). Both proved rewarding she says as did her 363 other ventures. I am almost tempted to follow suite in 2014, if only I were half my age.

Among the expressions I vow never to use is "to be honest". First because honesty should be taken for granted and, second, because can you ever claim to be honest, really honest?

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Skin, good and evil and blue worm

Orange skin composition

Look deep into a single human heart to find all the evil in the world; and in the same heart enough good to vanquish it!

A dish of spicy chicken in a paste of pounded coriander.  An unexpected bonus is a rubber band  used to hold  the herb in a bunch which for a moment causes consternation because it looks like a blue worm

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Face to face

Heidi's last painting. It was inspired by a picture in an art gallery in Spain. It consisted of as single  profile. Heidi added the second. The reproduction does it little justice I am afraid. It hangs now above our dining table and reminds me of the original encounter in the gallery and the long hours H put in to think it through. We seemed  to agree  when it was completed to call it Face to Face.

A kind, peaceful and hopeful New Year to all of you.

In dealing with feelings and sentiments at a time like this, I find myself defining sentimentality as much as I seek to avoid it. It occurs to me that there are slushy songs that make us tremble for a moment with a tear in the offing. But  even if we get as far as goosebumps we make mental reservations almost immediately, know that we are dealing with  fantasy and allow ourselves a sad smile, before turning to more profound, original and truly helpful thoughts. It strikes me forcibly that somewhere over the rainbow the absence of blue birds prevail in a vacuum of horrors. And I am sorry, it is not and probably never has been a "wonderful world", wonderful as it would be if that were exclusively true. It is the lies that make sentimentality unacceptable.