Matthew and Julia are doing some catching up in the garden. They've moved the chippings they'd dumped on the drive before Christmas- which was a free gift of sorts- and spread them on what would be a path if it wasn't a morass. Matthew said he'd be clearing the brambles out of the drainage ditch in the lower field. "Drainage ditch?" I queried. "Oh, you mean 'the stream'."
Sorting through our CD collection- with a view to culling it a bit- I found a disc with pictures taken at my 50th birthday party- 19 years ago now. (And, no, I'm not going to post any of them here because it would be too-too shy-making.) Everybody looks ridiculously youthful- apart from my daughter- who seems scarcely to have aged a day. The pictures will have been taken by my brother-in-law- from who we have heard nothing since my mother-in-law died- which is nearly a year ago now. My Mother-in-law wasn't exactly a matriarch but simply by existing she held the family together. The threads were always tenuous and now she's gone they've parted.
Archbishop Welby- in his Christmas message- said we should dedicate the New Year to repairing such broken links. Oh, no, we shouldn't; some links are better broken. The breakage doesn't imply hatred or rancour- not necessarily- but really there's no virtue in maintaining relationships with people with whom one has nothing in common. No doubt on the other side- in what Joan Grant calls "the beautiful country"- we'll all get together and laugh about our differences- but while we're on this side of the river we have better things to do than make polite conversation and skirt around topics too painful or divisive to be discussed.
I have issues with archbishops, of course. Mr Welby is a goodish egg but I don't believe he's got any particular expertise in ethics and spirituality. If he did he wouldn't be an archbishop, now would he?