Thursday 23 April 2020

Exchanging Enthusiastic Alarmism for a Walk

Wait, what does that say?
A reader critiqued my "enthusiastic alarmism" yesterday, a phrase I very much enjoyed. Okay, no more enthusiastic alarmism. Instead of contemplating the Death of Civilisation, I will remember that it is very much alive and work even harder to keep the best of it going. For example, this morning I ordered £19 of locally-raised meat from the local butcher.

Work was slightly different because it was my monthly "professional development" or retreat day.  However, the work task I had been focused on still needed some attention, and I also discussed it for an hour on the phone with my Italian tutor. I sometimes worry that my Italian tutor is overwhelmed by this strange new world of il Cardinale Burke, il Arcivescovo ViganĂ², and even il nostro povero Papa Francesco, about whom the vast majority of my tutor's generation of Italians rarely thinks.  Their world is politics, football and food. Meanwhile, he speaks beautiful Italian, whereas I rattle on in my unique Canadian-Polish accent. The good news is that I am rattling on. Reading is easy; speaking is hard. Listening is even harder, of course, but I have improved a lot there, too.
Some things remain unchanged! :-D

After my lesson, B.A. and I went on a glorious government-mandated walk. This time we turned our backs on the new-to-us countryside and instead walked to an old and beloved neighbourhood. I love it so much. We would have bought there had there been a two-bedroom flat for sale at the time. I did look at a one-bedroom, but its just as well we didn't get it, as it had only a shared garden and shared gardens in these here parts are usually a combination of dog toilet and cigarette butt farm.

Now that I've made it sound delightful, I should stress that it is a neighbourhood of 18th and 19th century houses as well as 19th century tenement flats, parks, the Firth of Forth, small businesses, locally-produced food shops, and ten years of happy memories.

On our way there, we passed a small water treatment plant and stopped. Strangely, the sound of live bagpipe music was streaming out of the much-graffitied building. I suspected that  it was coming  from the shore behind the plant, but no. After walking to and fro, I determined that it sounded like someone was actually in the water treatment plant, playing away.

"They must have a key," said B.A.

[UPDATE: The highly characteristic dialogue was as follows:

B.A.: I guess they're water pipes. Ha ha HAAAA!
Mrs M: I'm taping.
B.A.: Oh, sorry.]

We continued on our way along the Firth of Forth, passing houses I haven't given a thought to in months, studying flashcards instead as my gym-bound bus travelled past them. It was so good to see them and their brightly coloured doors. I enjoyed seeing the bright camomiles (which B.A. insists are called only daisies) and even yellow dandelions, too, as they were on neutral territory. And eventually a friend, coming along on his bicycle, hailed us. This was an unexpected treat, and we exchanged news. The news about our friends  under 65 is good (or quirky); news about their parents is less so, unfortunately.

Our tentative goal was a very good bakery for (heavenly thought!) croissants and (mad luxury!) takeaway cappuccino. However, it turned out to have shut before we left the house, so no croissants or cappuccino this time. I had a work-related Skype appointment in half an hour, so we walked along the bus route until the bus came along and got on. This was the first time B.A. and I had been on a bus together since St. Joseph's Day, and it felt like an exciting adventure.  The speed of the bus relative to the speed of our walking was mildly entertaining, too.

In the evening, we had salmon for supper and watched The Chosen. a semi-fictional but entirely respectful series about Our Lord. It is actually very good. It is so good, we are going to send the filmmakers money to make more episodes. We won't even buy discounted "Binge Jesus" T-shirts; we will make a proper donation because the show is a (literal?) godsend.

Perhaps I am getting old and pious, but I feel sick of standard Hollywood and West London Film Studios productions: all the violent/comic sex and sexy/comic violence, ugh. Watching The Chosen, I was reminded of St. Ignatius of Loyola discovering that whereas reading romance novels made him feel bad, reading the lives of the saints made him feel good. I felt very happy watching The Chosen, which begins with Mary Magdalene in the grip of seven demons, and what I wanted more than anything was for Our Lord to turn up and save her.

I also remembered that the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland believes that it is wrong to make images of any of the Persons of the Blessed Trinity, including Our Lord. This is a relatively new notion, as we have found human-made images of Our Lord from the third century on, and of course there is the Shroud of Turin. (B.A. thinks the actor playing Our Lord in The Chosen looks like the image on the Shroud of Turin.) Anyway, I was thinking that it would be a pity if the ban extends to acting and our friend Calvinist Cath wouldn't feel comfortable seeing the series. It really is a cut above the usual Evangelical   attempts to make films.

Now I am thinking that it would be amazing to watch only Christian-friendly shows in the evening before we go to bed. Meanwhile, I will add photos to this post for your quarantine enjoyment.

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