As usual, the radio was on this morning, on my way to work in the car. Which means: Thought For The Day, with its standard five minutes of anodyne and non-shocking religious platitudes. Today’s thought: isn’t it great that the Queen’s marriage has lasted so long? What can modern society learn from her? I’m paraphrasing, but you get the idea.
One phrase, though, made me do a double-take. The speaker* said that in the face of the Duty which they were bound to carry out,** their marriage had been helped by: “the small things, like corgis and stables”
I’m sorry? Small things? A corgi might be able to get on your lap,*** but a stable? Not what your average couple would consider a little thing that would help a marriage along. I could just about fit a stable in my back garden, if I have to be honest, but there’s no way a horse would fit down the garden passage anyway. I’ve never really been sure who Thought For The Day is aimed at, but it clearly isn’t me, nor 90% of the people in this country. Coming soon, presumably: how contemplating the words of the 92nd psalm will help when disciplining your servants.
* the Right Reverend Dr Tom Butler, famous for breaking into a car and making a nuisance of himself whilst apparently drunk, shouting “I’m the Bishop of Southwark, it’s what I do” and leaving behind paperwork proving he was indeed the said bishop, then later denying all knowledge and claiming he’d been mugged.
** You could almost hear the capital D
*** if it managed to jump up that high
First Christmas present bought already, but I’m still going to have to devote the weekend to running around the county hoping desperately to find something inspirational. I’m not saying what I’ve already bought. It’s for my dad, and I don’t think he reads this place, but you never know.
When I get up in the morning, I have Radio 4 on in the background. I like Radio 4, but I normally try very hard to avoid listening to Thought For The Day, in case of the very real risk that it will make me want to throw the radio through the kitchen window.* Today though, I caught a quick flash of it. I can’t remember the exact phrase I heard, but it was something along the lines of “lots of Christians use phrases like ‘God willing’ and ‘if God wishes it’ all the time”. Which left me rather puzzled, because even though I’ve known a large number of devout Christians over the years, none of them have ever said any such thing in normal conversation. Maybe one of the good aspects of Thought For The Day is that it makes you realise there are people out there whose view of the world is so partial and skewed, that they really do believe they are standard conversational phrases, just because that’s what all their friends say.
I was talking to someone last night about the next Book I Haven’t Read that I’m going to write about: House Of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. “Oh, I don’t think anyone’s read that all the way through,” she said. “I don’t think you can.” So maybe I should invite additional contributions to the next Book I Haven’t Read post – if you have read House Of Leaves all the way through without cheating, let me know.
Big Dave says he’s found a flat now. A “one-bed studio flat”, or what people Up North** still call a bedsit. At least this means he has the weekend to do his Christmas shopping in, rather than worrying about property-hunting trips down to Barking and Beckton.
* especially if Anne Atkins is the writer/presenter.
** apart from if you’re a property developer, of course. Or you live in Leeds, probably.