Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Nearly May Day

I've been tidying and sweeping the stables area we call the donkey shed. For several years I've been chucking unwanted flowerpots in there. Now we want flowerpots for Julia to fill. It's all good.

And to make things even better tomorrow is May Day.

Various conservatives down the years have wanted to scrap May Day because it reminds them that there was once such a thing as an organized and militant working class. The last time this idea surfaced they were proposing replacing it with Trafalgar Day because it reminds them there was once such a thing as the British navy. I love it how conservatives only want to conserve certain things- and often not even those things if they stand in the way of them making money.

Talking about conservatives, the Mail- or perhaps the Express- has dug up a whole bunch of pictures of Churchill in his declining years. Churchill in a wheelchair, Churchill in a wheelchair accepting the hospitality of knuckle-dragging plutocrat Aristotle Onassis, Churchill looking vacant. According to the text Churchill spent a lot of his retirement time hanging out with the super rich in such rat-holes of the super rich as Monaco, playing the casinos, losing money, accepting free champagne lunches. Sad. Most of this information- along with the relevant images- was kept from the British people at the time because it undermined the legend. It was to save a legend from just such a final act that Audrey Hepburn's Marian serves Sean Connery's Robin with a tasty hemlock drink in Richard Lester's movie.

I continue reading Harold Nicolson's Diaries. It's 1940 now- and the worse things get the braver and more gallant he becomes. It's not only in hindsight that those months when Britain snapped defiance at the Third Reich seem special. Churchill has a lot to do with that elevated mood- or at least so Harold thinks, and he was there, listening to the famous speeches as they were delivered. He and Vita have provided themselves with suicide pills just in case the Nazi shock troops reached Sissinghurst. They refer to this option in their letters as "the bare bodkin". Shakespeare gets in everywhere.

Shakespeare's May, the internet reminds me, was a summer month because the calendar was out of whack in ways I can't say I understand- and his May 1st was more like our May 14th- and our May 1st was more like his April 14th.

We've had a wonderful run of sunny Spring weather- but the air remains cold. I wouldn't actually mind a proper downpour- preferably over night- just so I don't have to go round watering all the flower pots Julia has been filling...

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