My life since moving to Southampton a little more than 4 years ago has moved, and continues to lurch, in unexpected directions. I would like to claim that this is not my doing and that it has just “happened” but, in my more honest moments (catch them while you can), I might admit that I have at least (unintentionally) facilitated some of the change. Much blame may adhere to my willingness to talk to people and (far worse) occasionally listen to them as well. Further fault may lie with my use of “going out” as a defence against the acquisition of more physical “stuff” which I do not have the room to store.
I shall use my day to illustrate the curious nature of my life, lest any readers be tempted to follow in my footsteps. The snow may indeed there lay dinted, subject to its availability (I struggle to dint the rain, deep and damp and even though it may lie), but my goodness is debatable (at best) and I lack crown or eponymous square in Prague (I’m sure these last two are mere oversights and will shortly be brought to a satisfactory resolution).
I woke – always a plus at my age – and having hawked up the worst of the fluid to have collected in my lungs overnight (I’m a martyr to cattarh at the moment) dressed, performed my ablutions and tidied away the laundry. So far, so mundane I think we can agree. I then put in a solid stint practicing at the piano and like to feel some progress was made. Adding in the trills to my Scarlatti did have the useful effect of forcing me to assume the correct fingering at several points: it’s also a lot of fun to trill.
I then went off to have brunch with a friend at Mettricks Guildhall. Yes, I have become someone who brunches: something I never saw coming, as while I have often inserted meals in the long stretch between breakfast and lunch I have always done so somewhat surreptitiously and left them unnamed. However, this has become a roughly monthly Sunday ritual which is great fun – who could complain at the felicitous conjunction of good conversation and good food? Given the nature of the vegetarian options on the menu, I generally find myself enjoying avocado toast which also offers the vague chance of being mistaken for a millennial (albeit one with a long paper round). The concept of the millennial seems a flexible one, but including me within it would move beyond flexibility into bursting. However, I may be having some success as in the last couple of weeks I have been described as both forty and a handsome young man. As a result, I am expecting to be appointed as ambassador plenipotentiary for SpecSavers at any moment.
Usually, I follow my millennial toast (grilled bread is all to ready to see an imminent apocalypse) with some cake but today Mettricks was woefully short of cake, so I returned to an old habit and had a toasted teacake. This used to be my cafe staple and after today, I believe abandonment of the earthy virtues of the teacake for the flight charms of cake may have been a mistake. My teacake my have been bifurcated inexpertly (or at least asymmetrically) but it was buttery deliciousness incarnate. The teacake revival starts here! (Though, I shall not be giving up cake – merely augmenting its consumption with yeasty treats).
From brunch I flew – or at least walked briskly – to St Michael’s Square to a Mummer’s Play. This was an enormous amount of fun with modern references blending seamlessly into ancient tradition. A decent crowd could almost forget the biting wind as St George, Father Christmas, Jack Finney(?) and all played out scenes of battle, death and resurrection and the ability of folk of good spirit to put Beelzebub and his dripping pan to flight. In fact, the devil was not the only thing put to flight – a new £5 note was tugged free of the dripping pan and danced around the square in the gusting wind – watched by all (who needs fireworks?). At one point, it looked to be seeking sanctuary in the church but at the last minute the age-old enmity twixt God and Mammon saw it leap salmon-like back up into the air. It was finally caught with extraordinary (one might say cat-like!) grace by a friend of mine to cheers from the assembled throng: it seemed somehow to bode well for the year to come!
It is a tradition of the Mummer’s to retire to the Old Red Lion pub in the High Street after their labours and it seemed churlish not to join them. I had never visited this particular hostelry before, though I have now learned it is the oldest pub in the city. It is a very Southampton historic building in that (a) you would never know it was there (I must have walked past it dozens of time) and (b) whilst it has an amazingly historic interior this is counter-balanced by a giant screen showing Sky Sports obscucing a goodly chunk of it. If one ascends the stairs to the gallery area, one can peep behind the screen to see a full suit of armour ‘displayed’ for almost none to see. This seems a metaphor for Southampton and its cultural jewels – of which it has a myriad – in that unlike, other brahser cities, we do not boast about them but instead often do our best to hide them. The city gives up its cultural bounty reluctantly and only to the determined.
Having toasted my discovery with a little ale, I returned home to attempt to move my corporate email over to its new server. This should be simple enough: export the old emails from Outlook, connect to the new server and import the old emails. A doodle one might think, well one might think that if one had spent the last 50 years in a coma and had never experienced the work of Microsoft and its ilk. I exported my old emails, all 2GB worth: fine. I changed server: fine. I imported my old emails: not so fine. When I attempt to look at my old emails Outlook just says, “nothing to see here, move along” (I paraphrase). This must count as the last efficient storage of nothing in the history of computing, using 2GB to store the sweetest of Fanny Adams! It is as well I am not possessed of god-like powers, or the entire western seaboard of North America would have been destroyed in an expression of my divine wrath that would make the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah look like a walk in the park (nothing mentioned in the news, so far)…. Still, I have two half-solutions which might eventually form a whole – and can now view long millennia in Purgatory as a well-deserved rest.
I am shortly off to enjoy some keyboard-based jazz, which should bring my blood pressure back to the sort of levels which preclude diamond formation, and so shall bid you, dear reader, adieu!