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Tony Grist

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Reasons Not To Be Cheerful [Feb. 5th, 2007|10:20 am]
Tony Grist
The phone rang three times after midnight. Each time it was some pre-recorded sales pitch. I grumped off to bed wishing there was some button I could press that would explode the phone at the other end.

The car has to go into the garage to have its gear box fixed. We pulled into a service station on Saturday and suddenly the gear lever was just flopping about in its mounting, unconnected to the gears. Ailz has been ringing  the garage all morning but the word from the receptionist is they're "mowed out" (visions of scythes and/or machine guns). It wouldn't matter so much, but we're booked to go to London at the end of the week and we've already bought tickets for the big exhibitions at the R.A. and Tate Britain.

I always thought a lot about death, but it  never used to be personal. Now I'm continually conscious of the old chap waiting in ambush somewhere up ahead.  Any time now he could step out onto the path in front of me, scythe on shoulder, wagging his boney fore-finger. Two quotes from turn of the century literary panjandrums march up and down in my head,  trajectories crossing. "Death must be an awfully big adventure". "So this is it, that distinguished thing".

[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2007-02-05 01:35 pm (UTC)
Is there nothing like a "no call" list in the UK? In the US you can sign up so that you won´t be harrassed by phone sales. After midnight is just incredible for any sort of phone call unless it´s a family or friend emergency.

And having the car in for repairs is enough to turn me into a raving demon. I´ll be lazy and ask you what´s on at the R.A. instead of looking it up. We´ll be in London ourselves in a couple of weeks and I´ve got my sights set on the Renoir Landscapes exhibit that opens the day we arrive (21st)at the National Gallery.

It must be our age group, Tony. Death or at least life ending in a fairly short period of time has been on my mind since I turned fifty 4 years ago. Life is speeding by and there is so much I still want to live. Bit depressing, isn´t it?

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-02-05 01:55 pm (UTC)
There is a no-call list and we're on it, but a lot of the call centres- especially those based overseas- don't honour it.

The R.A has an exhibition of late 18th century and Napoleonic era portraits- which dovetails very nicely with Ailz's Open University course. There are some iconic works on show- David's Death of Marat, for example.

And Tate Britain has a big Hogarth retrospective. It's moved here from Paris where- surprisingly- it had them wowed. From what I read, the French are finally waking up to English 18th century art and the Louvre- having largely overlooked it until now- is running a campaign to boost its collections.

The thought of death doesn't depress me. I feel I've done most of what I wanted to do this time round and when it comes I'll be ready. I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next...

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[User Picture]From: strange_complex
2007-02-06 12:13 pm (UTC)
I feel I've done most of what I wanted to do this time round and when it comes I'll be ready.

That's a good position to be in. I hope that by the time I reach my fifties, I'll feel the same way. There's a lot of work still to be done, but I do feel I'm heading there at least.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-02-06 02:55 pm (UTC)
I've always felt that if you can look back on your life and think, "well, that was interesting," then you've cracked it.
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From: manfalling
2007-02-06 02:18 pm (UTC)
who said that death was an awfully big adventure? it sounds familiar but i can't place it.
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From: manfalling
2007-02-06 02:20 pm (UTC)
was it peter pan?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-02-06 02:54 pm (UTC)
Yup, that's it.

And the other one is Henry James.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2007-02-10 04:53 pm (UTC)
I turn off my phone at night.

Anyway, Tony, I am so sorry about your car break-in. Isn't that the second time this has happened?

As for death, my mother talks about it EVERY TIME we are together. She is eighty-seven, and frail. She says she sometimes feels her family (her dead relatives) around her in the room at night, something other old people have told me.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-02-12 10:52 pm (UTC)
Yes, that's the second time.

I remember my grandmother wanting to talk about death and me being too embarrassed to take her up on it. I wish now I'd been a little wiser.

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