I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Chance'd be a fine thing

Indulge me with this.

I'm into the home straight with my novel, Second Hand. This morning I had someone address Francine in words which took on added meaning and immediately I recognised I had a strand of the final chapter in place. I went to lunch damned pleased.

I decided to play some music. From  a wide selection of Haydn string quartets I picked one at random; it turned out to be possibly the loveliest - the second movement being the melody for the German national anthem, played slowly and yearningly. I sang along.

As I did so I recalled my best friend, Richard, dead these last 17 years from motor neurone disease. He shaped most of my musical tastes and was a Haydn enthusiast. Said H was frequently superior to Mozart. I reflected on the link between Richard and the music then playing; even more so on the fact that I - guided years ago by Richard - had been the instrument that had today reached for the Haydn. An accidental tribute to someone I owed a lot to.

I thought about another best friend, Joe. Remembered how, on the top deck of a London bus, I had recommended the LvB Grosse Fuge quartet and how Joe had subsequently played it almost until the day he died. How he, on the other hand, had introduced me to the novelist George Eliot, how I'd read through everything (Felix Holt the Radical, re-read last year) ending with her masterpiece, Middlemarch.

A week or so ago I had a feeble go at defining happiness then gave up. But the above cat's cradle seems full of that elusive quality.


  1. A lovely string. This is the very essence of Happiness, I think.......quiet contemplative contentment. Joe was also the link between you and I and Lucy and I. Clare (Three Beautiful Things) was my link to Joe. I don't know what initially led me to Clare's blog so long ago, but look where it led!

  2. As Stella wrote, "the very essence of Happiness, I think.......quiet contemplative contentment".

    RR can come over, sometimes, as a rather blunt fellow, but this post is a very pleasant dissonance

  3. Stella; Perhaps I shouldn't have stopped when I did but, alas, I am a slave to my own tyrant the 300-word limit, willingly imposed and, I fear, never regretted. There were of course further links I could have added and which would have enhanced what I felt. I am lucky then that you added some of them for me.

    The word sublime comes to mind (leading inevitably to another five-dollar word, hubris). Sublime has a specific meaning in aesthetics (the quality of greatness relative to most of the grand abstractions) and a hardly less inflated meaning in general terms (elevated or lofty in thought, language, etc). I'd be a pretentious fool to invoke either of these meanings but I wonder if there's a case to be made for an internal, private sense of the word, not intended for public consumption. Appropriate for occasions when one stands conscious of being merely a minor but necessary link in a series of events that is larger, more ambitious and more rewarding than anything one might achieve as a solitary.

    Perhaps not.

    Avus: It's kind of you to choose "blunt". Given that I am blunt I'd have chosen something far blunter: crass, oafish, unnecessarily rude. You are entitled to ask that if I am able to identify this defect in myself why the hell don't I do something about it. My excuses are pitiful: time's wingèd chariot, bodily decay, a growing yet unjustifiable impatience with the world as I see it, regrets, embarrassment. None of which adds up to Humphrey Bogart's "a row of beans" in Casablanca. My life is socially circumscribed (but that's my fault) and the only positive thing about me is a pressing desire to write more clearly and with better understanding today than I did yesterday.

    Oh, and one other thing: the 2:5 diet. It's caused me to lose more than two stones. Perhaps it might help if you applied it to reading Tone Deaf and/or my blog comments. But with the ratio reversed. As it stands the 2 represents the days of denial. Why not switch that to 5?

    The dog image. I needed a picture that suggested chance - a phenomenon I've profited from. This dog is called Chance and if you look closely at the distribution of its markings you will see why.

  4. Chance is a fine animal, canine and metaphor alike.

  5. Here's to friends! And to those wonderful shared recommendations.