It seems that the would be Laureate Mr. Andrew Green was put out that One did not include a ‘shout out’, as he chooses to put it, for his book Begging Your Pardon – Please Can I Be Laureate? in one’s Christmas Message. One has apologised of course but a few words here seemed the least one could do to make up.
2018 has been a year of centenaries. The Royal Air Force celebrated its hundredth anniversary with a memorable fly-past demonstrating a thrilling unity of purpose and execution. We owe them and all our armed services our deepest gratitude and 100 years on from the ending of World War 1 we should not forget the poets who brought the horrors of war to life for us. Who can forget Wilfred Owen who died so tragically days before the armistice? We recall that his mother received the telegram informing her of his death on Armistice Day as the church bells in Shrewsbury were ringing out in celebration of the wars end. One likes poetry and will be putting in a word for Mr. Green to be the next Poet Laureate. It would be handy for one with him living so close to Windsor. One’s there most week-ends and never knows when a quick couplet might be called for.
It has been a busy year for my family. With two weddings and two babies and another child expected soon. I loved Mr. Green’s poem for Harry and Meghan’s wedding though it was a little disrespectful here and there and I have warned him to pull his socks off. We don’t do the ‘off with his head’ bit any more but we still have standards. Harry enjoyed it but we know about his sense of humour and the trouble it gets him into. Meghan wasn’t awfully sure; a bit to British for her one expects.
It all helps to keep a grandmother well occupied. We have had other celebrations too, including the 70th birthday of the Prince of Wales. I forgot to buy him a card and have heard about nothing else all year. Charles thinks one is becoming forgetful and should think of retiring.
Some cultures believe a long life brings wisdom. I’d like to think so. Perhaps, part of that wisdom is to recognize some of life’s baffling paradoxes such as why everything one enjoys eating or drinking is so bad for one. One has eaten so much this Christmas and would like to go on a diet in the New Year but all the beastly banquets make that so difficult for one.
In April the Commonwealth Heads of Government met in London. My father welcomed just eight countries to the first such meetings in 1948. Now, the Commonwealth includes 53 countries with 2.4 billion people, a third of the world’s population. Its strength lies in the bonds of affection it promotes and a common desire to live in a better, more peaceful world. It’s important to build friendships around the world especially when we are struggling to get on with the neighbours.
One’s nervous of mentioning the Brexit thing, every one gets so cross with each other’s and one’s running out of relatives one can marry off to take people’s mind off it.
Even with the most deeply held differences, treating the other person with respect and as a fellow human being is always a good first step towards greater understanding. Indeed the Commonwealth Games held this year on Australia’s Gold Coast are known universally as the friendly games because of their emphasis on good will, mutual respect and not inviting the Americans, Chinese or European’s. We send four British teams instead of one and win stacks more medals than we would otherwise. We love it.
The Christmas story retains its appeal since it doesn’t provide theoretical explanations for the puzzles of life. Instead, it’s about the birth of a child, and the hope that birth 2,000 years ago, brought to the world. Only a few people acknowledged Jesus when he was born; now billions follow him. I believe his message of peace on earth and goodwill to all and unexpected success is never out of date. It can be heeded by everyone; not least obscure poets!!
A very happy Christmasto you all and may Mr. Green and his poetry thrive in the New Year!