Sunday 25 July 2010

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

Some years ago I read that visiting a DIY/garden centre is top of the list of things to do on a British Sunday: not just to buy screws but to have coffee - lunch even - as a bit of a treat. Since learning this depressing statistic I have made a great effort to avoid the dispiriting experience. In fact long ago I decided that all household maintenance chores and other tedious domestic projects should be banished from 5pm Friday until Monday morning. The idea is to do such things on week-day evenings leaving the weekend free for unfettered fun and games. I have very studiously implemented the weekend regime but sadly not the compensatory week-day application. Hence the thread-bare carpets, collapsing bookshelves, yellowing paintwork, and the fancy phone system (no wires required!) still in the box after 3 years. Well, phooey I say.

Today is an exception as I have agreed to pick up some garden chairs on special offer at B & Q in Llanelli. We are in and out in 3 minutes, however, and I even agree to go on to Lidl to stock up on their award-winning olive oil. But there is an annoying little queue so that is ENOUGH and it is picnic time overlooking the estuary and the Gower beyond. Somebody made a decent job of the Millennium Path around the coast here, great for cycling, bird-watching, and mudlarking.

Over the sandwiches and crisps I read in the paper about the debate on whether to put up a statue to Welsh explorer Sir Henry Morton "Dr Livingstone I presume?" Stanley in Denbigh. The doubt arises because he apparently thought little of shooting the local people he encountered as he explored Africa. But putting it up doesn't mean you approve his behaviour. If you can put up a statue to Stanley's fellow countryman Oliver Williams (aka Cromwell - see this post for enlightenment) then the Denbigh matter is a no brainer. Some people think we shouldn't read Philip Larkin, England's greatest poet of the 20th century, because he was found after his death to have written dirty racist remarks in his correspondence with Kingsley Amis and others, but the sad truth is that many great artists are flawed and life would get very tedious if we had to judge their morals as a prerequisite to reading or looking at their work. Come to think of it Wales' greatest poet of the 20th century R S Thomas had some brisk things to say about the English and what should be done with their holiday cottages. Reprehensible (though a long way short of Stanley's misdeeds) but it can't diminish the poems. Anyway, I'm off to lark in the mud.

Go here for the 1968 song (reached number two but regretted as too unserious by the band).