Monday, 25 July 2016

Wee bit of madness in the garden on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Plus tipping the chapeau at heroes in France.

Plants can't speak but sometimes thy do. More eloquent than words - they thank you for unearthing them from beneath the overhang of an over-exuberant neighbour by perking up, covering themselves in buds and waving bright colours at you the next time you pass.




So plants repay kindnesses but they are not exactly friendly and proper company while gardening is always appreciated. Four-legged-friend and Bertie Baggins are always happy to sprawl nearby. Watching someone else work can be so exhausting; looking out for strangers or monsters or rabbits or tossed morsels of something delicious is always tiring. But seldom so tiring that you actually fall asleep because you remain ever hopeful and alert to the possibility of one of those aforementioned morsels that might if you're very lucky come flying through the air and smack you on the cheek. And that might happen at any minute. So you fidget. And scratch. And stay awake. And watch.

Sometimes you have two people to guard or bother or cozy up to. You never know when an increased number of two-legged-friends in the garden might mean more morsels.




They may write something about you in their book. Or sketch you. And then give you a morsel for sitting nicely.




Or not. Unless Littlest is hiding morsels in her wellies.

Gardening is a process whereby the gardener stumbles, spade or trowel or cutting device in hand, from one dilemma to another.
For example: New fence. Perennial battle with burgeoning bramble bushes. But apple crumble without brambles ...
and I know the farmer hasn't sprayed these ones
... leave them?





Littlest, dogs, grateful plants and soon-to-be-brambles are good garden company, not too noisy and not covered in flies and not protesting loudly that the farm-hand is late with their mobile food delivery




While contemplating cattle and weeds and generally procrastinating, I came up with an idea for an imaginary line; a scale of sorts. Stick with me while I explain: start by anchoring it firmly in central London and lie it out straight, like a tug-of-war rope all the way to Paris. Now attach flags to the rope to denote level of sporting endeavour - arbitrarily the lowest level in London and the highest in Paris (which is not intended as a comment on English and French sportsmen but does have a point as you'll see in a mo). Okay? Yes, I was indeed a bit bored of the gardening. A bit day-dreamy. A bit in awe too ...
In my I-should-be-writing-making-supper-sorting-my-pension-procrastinating head I would appraise my rope and, clutch of flags in hand, start by giving tennis players soggy feet and suspending them somewhere over the channel, closer to France than England - just off the coast, near Dieppe, perhaps; like ancient gladiators they battle on and on, often in searing heat, through what must at times seem like a relentless, roll of rallies, as set after set, match after match they pit themselves against each other. Rugby players would fall just short of Rouen, just on the London side of the iron-men and women. I'd suggest scattering squash, hockey and volleyball players along the rope on the London side of the tennis players. Now for the champions. Now for the sporting giants. Froome and his Grand Tour friends would be ... are! ... dancing in Paris - the ultimate sporting trojans who do ridiculous things like hitting walls, picking themselves up, running uphill as they wait for a new bike, cycling 70km after suffering a crippling fall with a fractured pelvis (not all Froome this Tour, although being a cyclist he has probably done the riding-while-broken stage of racing) all while incredibly covering 3, 535 km in 21 days with only 2 days of rest and climbing roughly the equivalent of (drum roll please ...) seven Everests from sea level to summit. Yes, SEVEN! How utterly incredible is that?! How far beyond the reach of normal mortals? Their flag sits deservedly in Paris. In your own mind, you can place your favourite sports somewhere along my rope. Golf, sailing, canoeing, swimming, baseball, skiing etc etc but I suggest none will challenge the cyclists for the centre of Paris. Have I forgotten anything? Any other significant sport? Oh, yes - football and footballers - those vastly expensive prom-donnas who flail on the ground when hit by a puff of wind and would never ever do anything broken - their flag is hanging limply somewhere north of Croydon.


Sunday, 24 July 2016

A cautionary tale. Or not? ... Griselda.

Once upon a time, there was a lady of some importance who went by a name that befitted her position. It was a good name. A name that everyone respected. A memorable name - one filled with fond memories, while at the same time being a name that could strike fear into the heart of anyone foolish enough to misbehave, not because they feared any punishment (that wasn't the lady's way) but they feared the disappointment that their behaviour had caused.
One day, the lady decided she would sail for a new horizon; she had done everything and more for the people whose lives she had touched. It was time for new challenges and new beginnings and a new future.
But she kept meeting the people who had known her previous name and who still looked up to her and revered her.
How were they to address her now? Could they still use her old name? Should they?
It was her opportunity - handed to her at the end of a croquet mallet; she was losing badly - to choose a new name. Something literary; classical; theatrical, perhaps. Something hinting at her expectations and excitement for the years ahead. Something to grace the lips of friends. And to give name to the plaque on the pedestal on which most of us still place her; our very dear friend.

... the moral of this cautionary tale is to choose wisely.

GRISELDA was perhaps not wise.

Perhaps ... or on reflection; perhaps it was, after all, a wise choice -

From gris meaning grey and hild meaning battle, Griselda is of German origin. Petrarch and Chaucer (no less!) both named characters Griselda; patient, faithful and steadfast characters. Disney has associated Griselda with witches and Jill Murphy called her Worst Witch, Griselda Blackwood. Hold onto that 'worst' bit (... no, not the 'witch' bit!) - worst because her witching was not up to scratch and worst because her efforts were more fairy godmother in the end than evil witch. So worst when worst is a good thing to be. Disney and others have added Griselda to the moveable feast of the name roster of the ugly sisters in Cinderella - sometimes Griselda, sometimes Driselda, sometimes Drizella and on and on. Stick with Drizella. I am sure our new Griselda did not intend to acquire ugliness by association.

Back to grey and battle, then - grey as in years perhaps, but the 'grey battle' (... no, not -axe!) could according to Google imply a responsible and steady and inspirational individual. Believe it or not it does appear in on-line baby-naming lists. Poor little Griseldas; sisters to Ichabods, Waldos and Quasimodos ...

So, witches and ugly sisters aside, Griselda - G-R-I-S-E-L-D-A - was not such a bad choice. Not so off-the-cuff-fueled-by-red-wine-and-losing-at-croquet. Perhaps even a good name ...

But will it be shortened to 'Grizzi' or 'Zelda' .... ?




P.S. Grizzi, forgive me these silly words. Please xx



Saturday, 23 July 2016

Ruins, people watching with Lowry, a fetching hat and breakfast for supper.

We do ruins well in this country. Preserved, cared for, discretely showed off, they become things of beauty and a tangible connection to the past that we can all share. Castle Acre Priory in Norfolk was a bit of a surprise on Tuesday, one of the hottest days of the year so far. A surprise because it was a 'that will do' place to break a journey - an opportunity to step out of an air-conditioned car into a hug of hot air and stretch our legs. This amounted to a stroll. Following the maze of shadows cast by the vast sprawling ruins. 
What a place! Look up - always - when you visit anywhere. That's where you'll be amazed. 






Walk around looking at your feet and all you'll see is grass. And grass is nowhere near as interesting as a communal toilet block for 24, built to straddle a stream where the monks could drop from a height straight into the flowing water. Effortless and silent - being monks, apart from the splash - sewage management.

Henry VIII had a lot to answer for. Falling out with Rome. A serious case of the grass is greener with the next pretty girl than with my wife. And a tantrum to enforce his split with Catholicism which like most tantrums involved a toppling of bricks. Many many bricks; mainly those of monasteries and priories and abbeys and the homes of important Catholics. Why build a priory anyway? Littlest wanted to know. What was it for? 

... apart from climbing




It was a good question - what were they for? 

Show? - built to amaze, humble and impress your peers. In other words, to express power.

To seize the respect of the papacy? - And grab a piece of its power for yourself. 

Taxes? Farming? Income? - from pilgrims and the sick and those with guilty consciences. More donations, increased trade, self-sufficiency, sale of wines and crops led to bigger, better, more imposing sites and increased revenue; and increased power.

Assurance? - that your soul would go to heaven because you had effectively employed an army of persuasive fighters on earth (the monks and prior or abbot) to pray for you. 

Poor relief? Charity driven by penance and reparation. And a lust for a purified power.

Suppression of your enemies through public display of your worthiness and wealth. i.e. oppressive power.

A centre for caring and treatment of ills? - many had hospital wings and large medical herb gardens. Your own insurance policy against the rigours of sickness, perhaps. And the gratitude of others treated successfully. So again, it is power.

Record keeping, education and dissemination of your good name (= power) and communication?

Communication ... 




Beat me down for being a poor historian and a massive cynic but I suspect faith played only a small part in the motivation behind the building of abbeys and priories. But beating aside, I am happy to acknowledge that they fill me with awe - awe that our ancestors built such incredible structures without the assistance of any power tools, motorised cranes, electrical hydraulic systems or all the glues, alloys, cement mixes that builders take for granted today. And they're still standing. Despite Henry's best efforts. And we have all but lost some of the crafts they took for granted then. 

A bit of me wants to write 'Wow!' A bit of me usually exhales Wow! quietly, when confronted with something Wow-worthy, but I usually suppress the urge to write 'Wow!' as it is childish and un- ... what? ... un-literate; un-grammatical. (I suspect both those words are wrong, too - non-literate might be better, but I've just checked and un- is fine with grammatical.) And my children will or would tell you that their mother writes Wow! all the time in texts. So forgive me if I look at ruins and instantly flounder around trying to find the right word and instead blurt out a cliched 'Wow!' But Wow! Wow! Castle Acre Priory.
And Wow! was my response again (I'm consistent, if not very original), when we finally got to the beach and a sandy expanse of East Anglia's finest. All very Lowry-esque except I don't think he painted people at a beach. He should have done - the colours, shapes (my! What varied shapes. Fat, fatter and fattest. And very occasionally, lean and lanky) and poses of the myriad figures and dogs and push-chairs and umbrellas and striped wind-breaks and more dogs, would have been perfect Lowry material. And he'd have done a fine job.

All the dots on the left horizon here are people, sadly I didn't take close-ups. You'll just have to picture the scene from my words.





I am not one to lie in the sun. Being of Scottish extraction, I burn. To counter this I wear a hat. I try to persuade others to wear one, too, but with limited success. For our trip to Norfolk, I found this one at the back of a cupboard. 




"A very fetching hat!" I heard someone say - grin on his face, and a lilt in his voice that was difficult to place - somewhere between light sarcasm and the condescension reserved for elderly relatives who are no longer with-it in either the sartorial or mentally agile sense of the term.

'Fetching' - ah! Maybe I should embrace the word after all: Google defines it as attractive, delightful and enchanting! Hah! All of them a surprise - I had no idea it meant that. Reflected onto me and my choice of hat, I'd take all of those. If I thought it genuinely meant. But a bit of me still thinks that what was actually intended was 'fetching' in the sense of the game that is played with a dog, where something is thrown and the dog then retrieves or fetches it back. With each throw it becomes more 'dog-eared' and battered. With each 'fetching' you hope the next throw will lands it up a tree and the dog won't be able to reach it. I suspect this is the type of 'fetching' that was meant.

Italy beckons at the end of the summer. Southern Italy. Very, very hot Italy. Italy that my skin is not going to like. Sun-block and a new hat will be required.

Where does one go to buy a hat that you would want to retrieve rather than let the dog cart about?

Not Wells-next-the-sea. Lots of hats, in lots of touristy shops, but all were definitely dog-fetching hats. Not Italy hats. 




I can feel more hat-related blogging on the near horizon. In the next few weeks. Along with end of the day walks that don't involve breakfast ...

Four-legged-friend discovered that something that tasted remarkably like breakfast was at muzzle-height, when we followed the footpath across the field, behind the house. Sun had dried the grain. And the grain had a satisfying crunchiness. And tasted of food/bread/porridge.




He behaved much like a whale, mouth wide open swimming through the crop. Later - the size of his swollen tummy and the explosive, I've-just-eaten-a-ton-more-cereal-than-is-absolutely-necessary-at-breakfast-let-alone-supper-time f**ts ... Wow! Just throw-the-window-open-Wow!







Castle Acre Priory, Castle Acre, Norfolk - English Heritage - well worth a visit.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

No words. Just tears and silence.

I woke on Friday morning with a jolting 'No!' It sucked the air from my lungs as the sleepy fog in my brain was suddenly blown away by the words on the radio.
I listened and watched and read with tears flowing down my face, as my coffee grew cold and I felt ashamed to be human. 
I cried again when I called my child to hurry up because we were going out and I gasped for a moment as I thought about those homes where children wouldn't be hurried any more because their bodies lay broken. And I wept at the thought of silence in those empty homes.

Where are the words to describe what happened in Nice? No word, in any language, is powerful enough, shocking enough or stripped-down-honest enough to describe those utterly disgusting and simply appalling events. No words. Just the feelings in our gut; the choking tears and the sadness that wants to turn to rage but can't because again the wind is torn from our sails and our sails are tattered rags fluttering on a beach and we are broken.

We witness vile acts too often. A single act would be too often. Repeated acts ignite disbelief and despair. Disbelief in that we struggle to believe the awfulness of what has happened and dis-belief in the ripping away of any shreds of faith that still cling to our hearts. I saw a friend post  - 'Our hearts are with those injured and bereaved in Nice but we do not pray for them. Saying pray for them brings religion into our response and it is religion and religious hatred that is at the root of most of the atrocities that are happening today.' I am not sure that I agree. I don't believe. But I do believe that my neighbour has the right to believe and I respect that right. And I recognise that while I question that there could be any God who would benignly watch what happened in Nice or indeed allow it to happen, there are those who take comfort in praying for the victims. They should be allowed to do so.

Littlest cried yesterday, confronted with newspaper images showing lumpy mounds draped with cloths and blankets lying on the ground. Visual imagery is often more powerful and shocking than words. Destined to perhaps become the iconic image of this terrorist attack is a photograph of a man sitting close to the remains of someone he loved; his hands clasped, his face distant, his being solitary. He is alone. Alone. What does this arresting image say about us and our time? That we can't heal ourselves. That we can't rub along with each other. That we live in a time of hate. Where hate wins. Where hate floods our lives with media coverage of despicable acts. Again and again. Where hate always wins. In the end.

No. No. No.

We must change. We must look at the world we are creating for our children.
Our only way as individuals of making a difference is to ensure that our children understand that all men and women are equal. The race, the sexuality, the amount of pigment in their skin and the icons they worship should make no difference to their value to us as individuals or to the world as a whole. It must make no difference. Only by challenging future generations to accept each other will we ever have a chance of stopping the virus that calls itself hate. 

Hate is a sickness. Diplomacy and negotiation are part of the cure. As are education and tackling poverty. And stopping wars. And intelligence gathering. And security. And acting towards others with dignity and respect. And engaging with the disaffected. But for the cure to work an antidote is needed. And forgive me for being simplistic but the antidote to this sickness is love. We love our children and we teach them to be better than us. Love is the cure. It always has been. It always will be.

Without love hate breeds hate and we descend into a place where no light remains. That should not be our future. It will not be. 




Friday, 1 July 2016

Remembrance. A poem.


Remember me

Help for Heroes

This poem in its rambling fractured style is meant to reflect the mood and memories of a wounded soldier of unspecified age and unspecified war.




I once asked a youthful love
to remember me.
To remember me
in every minute of her day.
I made a promise
to remember her. 
Did she remember me?

Does anyone remember me?
Cry out "I remember!" if you do.
And in remembering, remember 'us' too.

I remember 'us' in my waking and my sleeping
I remember 'us' in every minute of my day.
That 'us.' 
That band of thrown together 'us' -
Our friendships forged in foreign land.

Across ground rent by battle our torn feet fell,
in foul mire slipping; seeking
Silence. And escape from hell.
Faith destroyed, we lost our way -
forgot to stop; forgot to pray.
Shivering, we lay, shattered -
shot through with seering pain.
And exhausted; slept,
beneath a heavy, choking rain.
"Get up! Push on!"
And weeping, up we lept,
To stagger forward, on and together on,
midst ricochetting, screaming death, poised
waiting to snatch our breath.
In dark gloom, fog  and shrieking noise
we 'pressed on,'
til rupturing,
the earth exploding burst,
spitting sand shards into eyes,
and lips grit-crusted, mocking thirst.

I hear her voice, a melodic memory, in my hollowed ears.
And whilst falling, with intense rush I sudden remember me,
in flickering flashbacks; cine 
moments – tossed chaotic – adrift on life's lost sea.

In a nighmare, black, I wake
my eyes on fire.
Somewhere, a muffled half-heard singing that I strain to hear
with ears ruptured by the blast.
Somewhere, sweet scent blows through open window -
green fields, gorse and honeysuckle.
Somewhere, in dreams I walk with red balloon.
Red.
Red dripping blood. Red haemorrhaging into sand.
Remember me! I cry! Remember! … re-mem–ber -
morphine's gentle push down slumber slide.

Later, much much later, my fingers find
her last letter;
paper crisp
against my heart.
Unread and unanswered.
Years on, unanswered still.
Did she remember me?

As autumn's curtain draws on summer
And birds soar in sweeping last farewell,
Like leaves that float and turning fall
let luck grasp at memories dropping through zephyr breeze
and let us pause to remember
my friends,
those whom I did not join;
the nation's fallen bravest best.

Remember them; the dead. 

But also remember me; the living -

remember me.




Stealth, cunning, quotations and stealing strawberries


When Aesop wrote -

'We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office'

... he didn't make allowance for the thief that jumped ship first. Or the one who stabbed other thieves in the back. What happens to them? The one that jumped ship could come back. Some time in the distant future. And be great in public office. The back stabber will be hung. Out to dry.


What of other thieves and thievery in general?

Thievery - definition: the act of pilfering, stealing or helping oneself to someone else's property. 

'Stealing is a crime and a very impolite thing to do. But like most impolite things, it is excusable under certain circumstances.' So says the writer Lemony Snicket. 

Bertie Baggins is looking for those certain circumstances. He is in a semi-permanent state of hunting for them; his mission to seek and find and present the certainty of the excusability of those circumstances to me. It would be a permanent state if this four legged thief never slept.

Here he is, yesterday - 


"Hi, BB here. Mmmm, I love strawberries. Hmmm - a strategy is needed to get some of those without bringing the wrath of the chief gardener tumbling down on top of me; she'd bury me beneath a ton of shame faster than I could say 'I'm only testing them to check that the rain hasn't made them all squishy and see if they'd make good jam.' I'll try manners first ...'





'Pleeeeeeease; can I have one? If I look particularly handsome, pretend to ignore them and do the good-boy-sit, then can I have one? Just one. A little one would be fine. Pleeeease.'

Harrumph! Not even one! I'd have eaten the one pre-chewed by the mouse? Harrumph again. Okay ... time for a bit of canine cunning ...  not having one is fine. Yes, just fine! I'll ... um ... stay here. While you go and wash the smell of mouse off them. They smell of rabbit too by the way. Um ... I'll guard the rest for you! Take as long as you like. Washing away 'odeurrr-du-mice' takes a long, long, very, very long time; lots of scrubbing, lots and lots of minutes. I'll keep an eye or two eyes, and a snout and lips and a tongue on the rest. They're safe with me - absolutely! I'll guard them. Like this - until you've gone.




Gone? 
Oh, bother - you've come back! No no no! I'm still guarding them! 




Yes! I'm a lot closer to them. I am. It's tiring work marching up and down, you know. Doing the guarding thing. What?! My front paws are not ... ooph ... if I shuffle back ... just a ... little ... not on the strawberry patch. 

I ... I didn't think you could see me behind this spade.

Off you go. Now. You can trust me.

Oh dear, you're back again but as you can see I'm still waiting ... oops! ... guarding GUARDING! Guarding them. No, I'm not waiting for anything. No, I can't go to sleep - I might miss the mouse. Or the rabbits. I might miss you, going off to actually do some gardening, instead of watching me watching the strawberries (which in this picture are about two feet - I'm thinking I'll go all imperial since we've left Europe - behind my bottom).




Yes! Off you go. Planting up pots. Marigold splash. Yes; nice and busy. Busy, busy, busy not watching me... !




Dang! Why do you keep coming back? You can't see me. Can you? 
Dang! And Bother! And fu-doodle-cakes, as Littlest would say. 
How can you see me? Humans must have special dog-catching eyes, that can see over tall things like this. Maybe I don't suit green. Does it clash with my coat? Is that how you can see me?
Where's my uncle? Four-legged-friend has kept a low profile all afternoon. Suspiciously low if you ask me. 
Why don't you go? See what he's doing, instead of spying on me.




Hah! Got one ... 

Dang!... Caught!




But I'm forgiven. And I didn't have to hunt down any special circumstances. My uncle found enough circumstances for me and almost enough for him. I stole one strawberry. While he ripped all the strawberries, red and green, off the new plants, newly put into new pots, intended for easy breakfast pickings outside the back door.'


Back to my voice now.
Thank you for that, Bertie Baggins. You are forgiven. This time.




The King of thievery -




Four-legged-friend is a special type of thief; an artist of theft. As Terry Pratchett said of master thieves -

"Other thieves stole everything that was not nailed down, but this thief stole the nails as well."

Four-legged-friend stole the ripe fruit, unripe fruit, flowers and stems. And he steals my heart away every time I look at him. How could I be cross with those eyes? I can't punish him. I put the temptation in his path. And I know that if I don't move it or make it labrador-proof, he'll do it again. When it grows back. 







Take care. Inventing words and arguing with idioms.

Is there a word for the things we say repeatedly and if not exactly without thinking or without sincerity, then perhaps without gravitas? Almost with a throw-away, feathery, flippancy that suggests to others that it is not heartfelt. When in fact it might be the most important thing we ever say. It just doesn't sound that way because it is said too often. If there isn't a word in English for this then there should be. What about inventing one? Why not? I can think of lots of reasons 'why not' - but when did reason ever stop a procrastinator from ... well ... procrastinating?

To those that have to listen to us, these repeated, overused phrases become our own personal cliché, part of what makes us who we are and something that others, increasingly, grow to associate with us. You're here and you're saying it again. And again. Perhaps it becomes an ear-worm of the voice. We associate the person with what they say. So and so is coming to tea - mental image of so and so pops into your head and simultaneously that phrase they always say sings out into your mind's ear. Now, this could be good or bad. It might make you smile or grit your teeth. It could be slightly or intensely annoying, a constant undercurrent, punctuating your social transactions - a characteristic cliché-motif or clich-motif ('cl-ee-sh-mo-w- teef'), if you like. There - word invented. Clich-motif. I haven't looked very hard for an alternative so apologies if one exists already; it can consign my usurper to a bloggy grave.

Clich-motif: a slightly clumsy, invented, collective noun.

Examples would include the "... and see" that my mother places at the end of almost every sentence; and the 'take care' with which I bid farewell to one and all, on the phone, face to face, in texts and emails. Apparently, I use it all the time. I was even caught, earlier this week, saying it to a child who was going up the stairs to her room. I wasn't aware of this personal trope prior to having it pointed out. But I am now. And I hear myself start to say it and catch it and am forced to question why. Why do I say it? All the time.

Whether my invented word is a usurper or not, clich-motifs are common to us all. A verbal-tic that becomes a habit. We hear our children pick up and repeat the things that we say - words, small phrases; every family has them and when they stick they become part of family history, the glue that binds families together, the jokes and references to former events that only family members fully understand. We have 'toffee-tea' - said with a questioning uplift - which dates from eldest's endearing repeated offering of water in a plastic coffee cup when she was two or three years old, and 'please may can I have these ones?' which started when one child sternly told his father that I want was not the way to ask for something. Politicians do it, too - Tony Blair and his 'what I say is' that always made me silently shout 'just say it!' at the radio or television. Comedians and celebrities often have catch phrases - punchy words that define them; perhaps these are a subset of clich-motifs.

Interesting (to me anyway) aside for a moment - the autocorrect has so far tried to substitute clicc-motif and clinch-motif. Does that mean they exist? What are they? *

Back to me and my clich-motif (... clinch on autocorrect again). Dictionaries describe take care as an idiomatic phrase; a combination of words that stray from their literal meaning. Okay, for some idioms - most probably, because that is after all what they are - the meaning is unpredictable. Over the moon, for example. I can't jump that high. No-body can. And if I say I'm over the moon no-one would expect me to be anything other than ecstatically happy. In the case of take care, though, I disagree. When I say it, I mean everything implied by an accurate definition of both words. Take - grab; hold onto; never take your eyes off the ball. And care - be safe.

I use it instead of, or in addition to, farewell which if you think about it means that I am saying the same thing twice - fare well and take care. Even goodbye is derived from God be with you, so arguably means the same thing. Americans say 'Have a nice day.' All are so much better than cheers, or laterz or ciao. My inner sheep dog is a worrier (not a surprise to anyone who knows me); if I can't go with them, I tell my flock to stay safe. I want them back. I want there to be a next time.
Maybe, what I should be saying is 'arrivederci.' Although, post-Brexit that would seem a little contrived. Post-anytime actually, since I'm not Italian.

There is only one way to end this blog posting today

... take care.



* they don't exist