This morning George woke us up a little earlier than the rest of the house. we fed him and he drifted back to sleep lying on my chest. so peaceful and relaxed. I make a point of remembering these moments.
With him still lying there, we discuss his future - particularly his education. we'll proably go with a private school (although we're both very concerned to make it one which doesn't just consist of and turn out toffee nosed idiots - we want a school full of propper children - not parent's accessories). The potential financial costs are pretty scary - 6,000 per year initially - rising as he gets older. we'll need a plan to put some money by. Hopefully the documentaries I'm currently making will help, but I may need to make more!
We went to see the Morris dancers in Blackheath. Morris dancing is a bit of a tradition for Lisa – they’ve been going to see them in Sussex at Christmas for years and Boxing day is apparently a big day in the Morris dancing calendar.
We were in Worthing last Christmas so I went with them and found it a surprisingly good experience. I’ve never been too convinced by the Christian rituals of Christmas – not so much that I’m disappointed that the “true meaning” has been overturned by the constant pressure to sell stuff, but more that selling stuff IS the true meaning of Christmas in the Christian sense.
After all, Christmas never had anything to do with the birth of Jesus – it was invented entirely to sell the idea of Christianity to people who had their own winter celebrations – as a way to steal the fun bits out of older religions in order to persuade people to Christianity.
In other words, it hasn’t been hijacked turned into a fake by commercialism – it was hijacked and turned into a fake by Christianity.
Seeing the Morris dancers – they had their own carols – some of them ones I’d heard before, but sung louder, more drunkenly and to older tunes – some of them songs I’d never heard – about the sharing of food and drink between friends.
They weren’t mumbling, like singers in a church congregation – they weren’t self conscious about their rituals or sitting quietly around, paranoid that others would find them ridiculous – they clearly were ridiculous but since I find most things ridiculous, I’m always pleased to see others not trying to hide their foolishness.
I never thought I’d say it, but they may look like extras from a cross between the League of Gentlemen and the Wicker Man, but I think the Morris dancers have got Christmas about right – colourful, friendly, absurd and welcoming.
So when we knew we were going to have Christmas in London, I decided to look out for local troup (is that a collection of morris dancers – a troup? – not sure). We found some in Blackheath: http://www.blackheathmorris.com/
We met up with Gillian as well as Mark and Debs and their kids in the pub (the duke of Edinburgh – which promised to be in Blackheath, but felt more like Lewisham to me). As the dancing paused, I turned to chat to Lisa and when I turned back, a man with an impressive beard handed me a handkerchief. This apparently meant I was forced to join the dance. Gillian did too. I’ll put the footage of that shameful event up as soon as I get it from Sam’s camera.
Just to go on the record. All of this does not mean I’m joining a Morris dancing troup.
Lisa’s uncle Peter turned up to the pub – managing to delay the start of the dancing by faffing about with his car. He introduced his new girlfriend (a bit of an age gap there – about 50 years) – not quite sure what’s going on there. Peter had never met George, but he didn’t waste too much time on him. In fact, he didn’t waste much time on any of us and he was away within an hour to another appointment.
Still not watching Doctor Who
When we returned, we laid out a buffet of cheese and meat along with a huge salmon – which we decided to call George because it weighed as much as him. Later Jane and Nathan came over and we played Moustrap – although I’m not sure “played” is the right word – the rules are simple enough, but we didn’t seem to be able to keep to them.
I still haven’t seen this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special, and my attempts to avoid it continue. Of course Nathan’s seen it and wants to tell everyone what happened. I have to leave the room…
Fear of the future - or Not buying on ebay
My Dad went on ebay – not quite sure why, but he seems to like to look on ebay without ever buying anything. I’m trying to persuade my parents to get broadband - it would make their lives so much easier in ways they can’t even start to appreciate.
Watching my dad, it’s clear to me just how crippling not being computer literate is – even today – You can’t buy anything if you can’t go to the shops – you can’t manage your finances properly, you can’t communicate properly with your friends and family, you can’t find things out, you can’t take photographs or listen to music unless you can find it on tape. you can’t work, play or learn.
It’s a bizarre thing because NOBODY would use computers unless they made all these things simpler to do – so the fact that some people can’t use them, but can use the old methods must be simply a mental block – nothing to do with how hard or easy it is, but just that they’re scared of the IDEA of computers.
It’s such a terrible pity because it’s this lack of ability to use technology – far more than anything physical or mental that makes people become isolated and diminishes their lives as they get older. Hanging on to the way things work as society changes is absolutely essential to being a part of it and if you don’t want to do that, then you don’t want your family, your friends and ultimately your life.
So I’m going to make an undertaking right here and now:
WHEN GEORGE OR HIS SIBLINGS ARE OLDER AND I’VE LOST MY GRIP ON THE MARCH OF PROGRESS - WHEN HE TELLS ME THERE’S A PIECE OF TECHNOLOGY I REALLY NEED TO BE ON TOP OF: I WON’T ASK HIM WHY, OR ARGUE THAT I DON’T UNDERSTAND I’LL JUST GET ON WITH IT.
It might just keep me engaged with life.