It’s a hard thing to do.
The other week, as there’s a long weekend coming up, I booked a camping holiday, in Wales. Only a day or two later, the news outlets started running stories about how awful the Easter weekend weather was going to be; wind, rain, sleet and snow. Oh dear.
There’s still snow on the forecast for Northumbria; but the forecast for the Welsh weather, though, has got noticeably better over the past few days. It’s gone from sleet, to showers, to sunny periods. And I’ve noticed this happening before. There seems to be a tendency now for the forecasts to be more extreme further off, before calming down as the date approaches.
Which is statistically what you’d expect, of course. Extreme weather is, by definition, unlikely, and shorter-range forecasts are always more accurate, so any extreme weather in a long-range forecast is likely to mellow as the forecast gets closer. That doesn’t stop the news jumping on any forecasts of horrible blizzards, though. I’m still worried that the snow forecast for the north Pennines is going to creep southwards over the weekend.
And, I’m back, myself. From an Easter Weekend away. We went out on an excursion through the Wallasey tunnel,* to the seaside. Photos to come later in the week. H thought about walking out to sea,x to wade across to the Hilbre Islands, but the tide wasn’t quite right, and the water started creeping up to the knee.
Apart from that, we relaxed, unwound, wound up again, that sort of thing. And ate lots of chocolate, jelly and cake, of course, because it’s seasonal. Are there any festivals which aren’t used as an excuse to eat something, even if it’s something not very impressive?
* Fellow Sinister veterans will be pleased to know that I did hum Marx And Engels to myself as we drove.
I like bank holidays and long weekends. I especially like pairs of bank holidays, and extra-long weekends. Today really felt like a Friday at the office, particularly as The Secretary* was handing out buttered hot cross buns (albeit cold).
Getting home, The Mother had been baking ready for breakfast tomorrow, so the house smelled of warm cinnamon. Hot cross buns for breakfast: the one thing Christianity really has going for it.
* no, she is nothing like the film
As it’s Good Friday, good Christians everywhere should be eating fish and following the Stations Of The Cross. I’m not any sort of Christian, good or bad, but even so it’s a good day to think about self-sacrifice for The Cause, whatever that happens to be.
Of course, whether that’s what Jesus did is a moot point. It’s debatable whether the crucifixion even happened; even if you believe it did, was it more an act of self-sacrifice or self-promotion? An awful lot of Jesus’s acts in Scripture have an air of deliberate planning about them. The prophets had said: the Messiah will go out and do X; therefore, Jesus went ahead and did those things. He was like some modern evangelicals and millenarians, deliberately trying to push history into a sudden new phase by carrying out others’ prophecy.
So, self-sacrifice, self-advancement or self-promotion? You could ask the same question about Malcolm Kendall-Smith, dismissed from the RAF and sent to prison yesterday after he declared that as he thought the Iraq was illegal, he would not fight in it. The judges at his court-martial, however, ruled that by the time he received his orders the legality or otherwise of the original invasion was irrelevant.*
Kendall-Smith has sacrificed himself, and his career – he said himself that the RAF was one of the great loves of his life. The judge, however, accused him of being more interested in self-promotion: of trying to make himself into a martyr for the cause. I’m not in a position to judge this myself: my own best guess is that he wasn’t, but he should have realised that that accusation would be made. Whichever is closer to the truth, it’s a strangely apt story to appear in the headlines on Good Friday.
* The Guardian article suggests in one paragraph that the judge ruled that members of the services aren’t allowed to dispute something’s legality: if the government says something is legal, those orders must be followed. However, that wasn’t something that the ruling itself relied on.