life, death and points arising

Lion, sovereign's entrance, Houses of Parliament, London

Despite all succeed-in-social-media advice, I don’t have a regular schedule for blog updates, but this hiatus of nearly a fortnight is not the norm.

While travelling last week, I found I was doing my own impersonation of the Seven Dwarfs: puffy, sniffy, whingey, dozy, grumpy, busy… well that’s only six, but I tagged coffee onto the list, and kept going.

I grew up thinking the seventh Disney dwarf was Dock – a very dwarf-like name; listing my symptoms in an email, though, I had a moment of clarity: I was missing Doc.

So I went to the doctor and discovered I was rather more poorly than just a “stinking cold”. Dosed up with three types of antibiotic, I am now beginning to get back on track.

This means I’ve been out of commission for most of the initial furore surrounding Thatcher’s death, but am still just in time for all the fun of the funeral.

Although there’s little to be added to all the keen online wit and repartee, I do want to raise a few points:

I walked in on my aged mother announcing to the lunchtime TV news “I want to die at the Ritz.” Well, actually, I just heard “I want to die…” and went running to find out what was the matter.

Mum – who is nearly ninety – wanted to know why “an old woman” like MT was at the Ritz, anyway – she had a perfectly good house – but she has eventually satisfied herself that perhaps Maggie had to go to a hotel as she had the decorators in.

Whether Thatcher should have a state funeral has, of course, prompted much discussion. She herself apparently made it clear she didn’t want one. Strangely, no one I know can tell me where the check-box is so that we can all make sure our loved ones are clear about our own wishes on the subject after our deaths.

(My mother has said she’s up for the full state honours, so a quick “thank you” in advance to all you tax payers who will be helping pay for a jolly send off when Mum’s time comes; I wonder if we can wangle a day off for you in exchange.)

Perhaps to make sure no one’s wishes are overlooked there could be a check-box alongside the organ donor option on driving licences and id cards. In the meantime, has anyone yet produced a wallet-sized State-your-choice card for those of us who want to opt in? Of course some people would rather save the state money than put on a big show, and I’m rather hoping that we might one day discover that both the Queen and Prince Philip have opted out.

Attempting to escape from the UK media, I was browsing reddit where I found a suggestion that the world would be a better place if we lived by the slogan “What would Mr Rogers do?” (If you don’t know Mr Rogers, watch his 1967 appearance before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Communications in support of public broadcasting.)

There were calls among redditors for little plastic bracelets with WWMRD? on them; I’m afraid, though, that it looks too close to WWMTD? and “What would Margaret Thatcher do?” is not a lifestyle code I’d want to encourage.

Hopefully as the antibiotics continue their work, I will begin to feel more poetic and less political and normal blog updates will begin again.

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

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