Diary note No 17 – The Dragon

Once upon a time, there was a dragon in Cardiff that chewed shamrock for desert, and spat the roughage out.

He lived on daffodils for breakfast, and cultivated leaks in fields down the Gower.

He was deadly when it came to barbecuing white puddings from Kerry and rashers from Offaly.

When he was hungry, he masticated mouthfuls of minced Irish rugby players during the first half, and farted on substitutes throughout the second half.

He was a champion without doubt.

It never crossed his mind to mend his ways. He wasn’t afraid of Saint Patrick nor the snakes.

His nightcap was cawl, and he slept with a fresh leak under a pillow stuffed with goose feathers.

Evil spirits didn’t bother him.

Diary note No 16 – The loser

I came in last last night.

A loser, comprehensively vanquished, whitewashed, beaten, massacred.

In a phrase, I was thrashed.

Not just pipped at the post

Not just a photo-finish

Not nudged out by a nose.

I wasn’t even placed.

Everyone was better than me in the speech contest.

That’s the end of my effort to become World Champion (for another year).

Was I that bad? Yes.

Was the speech a nightmare? No.

The speech was fine.

A woman

came up to me with tears in her eyes.

Thank you for your wonderful speech. I was so moved by it. Like you said, all I’ve wanted all my life is to be listened to, to be heard. You put your finger on what matters most to me. Thank you ever so much. It was great.”

The speech was well worth delivering.

It meant a lot to at least two of us.

The speech was magnificent, despite my delivery – not because of how I delivered it.

The judges

found my speaking style poorer than every one of the other contestants.

They punctured my self-esteem.

My hubris.

Don’t you love it

when judges do that for you?

How considerate.

How thoughtful.

How generous.

What a gift.

I owe a debt of gratitude, don’t I?

Diary note No 15 – A Social Audio Book Club

What’s the point of joining a book club?

Wouldn’t you be better spending your time writing a book?

What’s the point of talking, when you could be reading?

Today

I invented an idea that’s new to me.

I thought:

How about an audio book club?

“How about a social audio book club, on LIMOR, not WhatsApp?

  • The Rick O’Shea Bookclub is online.
  • There are lots of face-to-face book clubs.

In the whole of human history, there has never been a social audio book club.

If I was sovereign

If I was sovereign, a dictator, over the US of A, I’d make GREEN BOOK compulsory.

I’d compel every citizen to watch* Green Book on a big screen.

(I wouldn’t make this happen overnight)

The draft plan I’m considering is here:

  1. President & Cabinet obliged to watch the movie by 1 April 2019. Penalty for failure – disqualified from office for 100 days.
  2. Senators, Representatives & Supreme Court judges by 1 May 2019. Penalty for failure to comply – disqualification for 125 days
  3. Military generals, Governors & city Mayors by 1 June 2019. Penalty 150 days
  4. Candidates for all public offices (federal & local) by 1 June 2019 – penalty for failure to watch Green Book = disqualified from ballot until next election cycle
  5. All teachers (including kindergarten & higher education) by 1 July – penalty for failure = automatic unpaid leave from office for two months.
  6. All voters by 1 November 2019 – penalty for failure to be determined after Congressional hearing.
  7. All News editors by 1 October 2019. Penalty for failure to publish review of Green Book = Fine of $3,650 rising to $365,000.
  8. All law officers, prison staff & ministers of religion by 1 September 2019 – penalty for failure to conform under consideration.
  9. Exemptions: none, except patients in authorized comas.
  10. Green Book Film studio owners & CEOs – National Medal of Honor presented by President of USA by 1 May

________________

* NB This sovereign dictator will exert no pressure on subjects to agree with

(1) the point of view of the director, or distributor of Green Book

(2) feelings & thoughts shown & expressed by any of the characters

(3) the dictator’s views

(4) anyone else’s values.

The requirement is to watch Green Book (and remain awake in the cinema).

Diary note No 13 – Wanderlust in woods

A few minutes ago, I opened the front door and went out into fresh air.

Gingerly, I shuffled around. I talked to my aching back.

It’s nearly time for Wanderlust – to walk in Moanbaun Wood with Rebecca Solnit, again.

That wind today is a bit too chilly for me to start straight away.

There is the habit to recapture.

Thank goodness I haven’t finished reading that magnificent book, that best of companions.

Diary note No 12 – Cricket, Fish & Chips

What have the game of cricket and fish & chips got in common?

Do people take fish & chips to cricket at Lords or the Oval?

Do bowlers eat chips before taking the new ball?

Maybe some top-class cricket coaches ban teams from eating fish & chips the night before the toss?

Perhaps the conversation in Café Beva between Roger & Paul went from trivia to profound – from pastime to work?

Why did Paul record the conversation about cricket?

Could it have anything to do with the next test match England will play? (Against Ireland at Lords)

What would an eavesdropper have thought?

– the mystery of everyday life.

Are you wearing your hearing aids?

Unless I’m wearing hearing aids I won’t make the great speech you’re hoping for.

You know, my friends, that unless you hear brilliantly, It’s impossible to speak well.

Before I speak I need to put my hearing aids in

  • My mother had excellent hearing all her life. She listened at keyholes. She kept in touch with her children’s phone calls about important matters which might impinge on the extended family.
  • She had phenomenal hearing. She once heard me and Brian Cox lighting up Woodbine cigarettes behind the copper beech tree in our garden.
  • She had patient hearing. She spent hours in the kitchen listening to me spout on about my beliefs, my thoughts, my feelings.  She even asked me questions about my political rants.

My mother couldn’t afford to buy hearing aids.
Her hearing aid was the acute attention she paid to me -whatever & how ever I spoke, plus the attentive ear she gave to others, all her adult life.

—————

And what about you?

The most important thing I know about you, I see written all over your face.

Deeply chiseled into your Toastmasterly character

Engraved

  •  You love to be heard. You are no wallpaper – You are the leading actor in the Oscar-winning movie  “My dramatic life” – you are the Linchpin.
  •  In your deepest heart, you wantthe person sitting next to you to wear hearing aids, before they speak to you.
  •  You want them to listen to you as if their life depended on it

Last evening, I was cooking spaghetti Like my daughter said over spaghetti in the kitchen last night, “Dad, all I want for you is your attention, that’s what I call love.”

This evening, you expressed it through your body language, the way you settled into your seat.

You wanted all of us speakers to pay attention to you our . It was as if you spoke to me “Paul, pay attention to me before you speak.”

Where are your hearing aids now?

Isn’t it so uplifting to be in the midst of a community of friends who listen to each other – genuinely listen.

Friends genuinely listen to you, friends listen well.

Imagine
you’re going to leave here and go out into the garden and hillside of a wider community.

Imagine
you’re going to take your hearing aids with you – just as your best friends do.

Imagine
like my mother,  you have excellent, phenomenal & patient hearing.

I must arise and go now, and take my hearing aids out.

Let me trust you to leave your hearing aids turned on.

Let me trust you to listen well

I trust you to speak superbly and wear your hearing aids with pride.