Did Robbie Burns write the original version of ‘Auld Lang Syne’? Apparently he denied doing so, even though the poem is attributed to him. Perhaps he became embarrassed – confused, maybe - by the implications of the (messed about with) connotation contained in the words. And what is it all supposed to mean anyway? People have varying explanations – all a bit obscure - with most versions of the original seeming to do with love and loss, and little to do with happy new year wishes. But, anyway, despite the confusion that reigns, the gist of the messages of ‘cup of kindness’ and ‘trusty friend’ and all that stuff leaves a nice feeling as we farewell the old and welcome in the new. Not sure about the other messages in the common version of Auld Lang
Syne about forgetting ‘times gone by’ (whatever that’s about).
So, here comes 2014! What will the year hold? One thing I know for certain is that it will be about mid May before I adjust to writing 2014 on any document, all the time muttering about ‘where did 2013 go?’ And, ‘how can it be 2014?’ Another certainty is that politicians will remain
gormless and in the thrall of the money makers; there will be no ‘heart’ in any political decision that eventuates. Political promises will be made and broken - good ones abolished, nasty ones kept.
However, life is still beautiful and we must be thankful for being alive and having family and friends to love – and to love us, despite our failings.
So, forget all the cynicism for a day or two and (as I now do) wish all people a Happy New Year!
May it be filled with good health and happiness - and may every politician be suddenly
blessed with a conscience and a will to help those most in need. (Ha!)
Roll on 2014, we're ready!.
The other day I came across a well loved quote from Roald Dahl, “A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double
chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” (from ‘The Twits’).
This seems to be true in a sort of way. Certainly in a personal way, in that, even if you don’t actually see a beautiful visage when you look in the mirror, if you are thinking good and kind thoughts, you will feel lovely.
Recently scientists have claimed that the benefits of being kind and helpful (& generous, I suppose) have a positive effect on your level of happiness.It is recommended that you avoid ‘looking back’ on unhappy experiences and to, instead, ‘flood our brains’ with positive memories and experiences.
Apparently, even just thinking about kindness raises your happiness levels – altruism in all you do is the way to go!
A letter writer in one of Australia’s newspapers asked recently if Australiacould possibly move from the business community’s yardstick of ‘gross domestic product’ to ‘gross domestic happiness’.Now, that’s what I call a good idea!
Here’s our little Christmas tree, (just over a metre tall), all decked out and looking good; a few gifts piled underneath. This tree cost less that $10 last year - actually $9.95 from a discount store. Its decorations are a selection of little things we have collected over the years.
Outside, the top of our veranda is encircled in little lights that we have had for quite a few years - and some palm trees around our pool have (solar powered) tiny lights glittering around their trunks. These lights cost $24 (via eBay) from Hong Kong.
We’re happy with our Christmas efforts, but I feel we may
have to “up the ante” next year as the more we venture out, the more we see coloured lights (many flashing) and inflated Santas on every second roof, along with reindeers, snowmen (yes, even in roasting-hot Australia!), wreaths and all manner of lit-up gardens, pathways and entrances. Some places are bordering on competition with the vision in Chevy Chase’s ‘National Lampoon Christmas Vacation’. (Who can forget that?)
Oh dear. In comparison, our effort looks very meagre indeed.
Time will tell if we can resist the temptation to ‘join the throng’ next year and go a little overboard with flashing lights and enormous confronting decorations, or whether we’ll be satisfied with our usual offering.
Perhaps just one more set of Hong Kong lights around the pool?
Reading the (Sydney) weekend papers, I am drawn to an article about ‘The Search for Meaning’. This is probably a topical subject, it being Christmas time. The author comments on how, for the past few decades, people have been leaving the church in droves (and I am one of those people). And yet, people still seem to have an urge to search for ‘something’.
Young people especially will not return to mainstream churches – perhaps ‘return’ is the wrong word, as most of them were never there in the first place - and yet many young people, seem to be hungry for something of an ‘other-worldly’ experience - or form of expression.
100 years ago, the wise writer & lay theologian, G.K.Chesterton said, “When a man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing, he believes anything”. Perhaps this is what leads to the popularity of some cults (including the‘mystical’ and confusing Kabbalah and the utterly crazy Scientology).
After reading about this so-called 'search for meaning', I turn the page of the newspaper and read the following article about the problem of binge drinking amongst our young people and the dramas and tragedies that emerge from such a culture.
Is it perhaps the search for the elusive ‘Something’ that is leading our young people to lose themselves in alcoholic stupors? To indulge in an activity that deprives them of inhibitions and makes them ‘feel good’ about themselves? To give them a sample of euphoria that cannot be
achieved by other means?
It’s a sad and sorry situation when the only way a young person can feel good is to drink to the point where they lack any awareness in reality. Of course, it’s not all young people, but there’s a heck of a lot who are indulging in this sort of behaviour.
Could we find some simpler, happier and safer ways of satisfying the need for belief in something of meaning? And something apart from the rampart consumerism that is the drive for so many today. Am I right in thinking that there is a distinct lack of meaning in the lives of men, women and children today? If that’s true, I don’t have any answers and I am definitely NOT suggesting we all suddenly start attending church services. What to do? For my part, all I’m doing is having yet another whinge. As I said, I have no answers.
But, I take this opportunity to add some lightness to my moan, and quote once more from G.K.Chesterton, who once wrote: “When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with
While I’m in the mood to complain and whinge (not the correct festive season attitude is it?)…well, while I’m in this grumpy mood (as I said)…Do the self-check-out things at the supermarket annoy you? I despise them.
I went shopping this morning – just for a few simple things. At the supermarket, each (manned) check-out had a long queue and the ‘8 items or less’ (which actually should read ‘8 items or FEWER’) had one sole old woman waiting to be served, as a mo-hawked employee (male or female, it was impossible to decipher) ignored her while he/she held a long discussion with someone buying cigarettes. A very long wait seemed more than probable, so I ventured over to
the dreaded ‘self-check-out’.
Of course, I stuffed up my purchasing exercise as usual and a smug young man came over to point out the error of my ways. He rifled through my meagre purchases and discovered that there was a stray pack of chewing gum that hadn’t been ‘read’ by the robot screen. I’m sure he thought I
was trying to cheat! By the time I had muttered under my breath about the F---ing things being so F---ing annoying and STUPID, the young man offered a pitying glance and left me to pay through the bloody stupid little money slot, after I had worked out how to pay in (wait for it) CASH, which is apparently no longer the preferred option.
These machines annoy me so much – as much for the fact that they totally negate the need for an EMPLOYED person to be there as for the impersonal, stupid and disrespectful way we shoppers are treated.
There. Is that enough of a rant?
I feel a little better now!
If I hear one more person claim that they are (or think they are) ‘gluten intolerant’, I think I might scream. Surely, if your body is truly gluten intolerant, it would have been so since childhood. But too often I am hearing that adults (and some almost elderly) have recently discovered their gluten intolerance and so they are watching everything they eat - and an excursion to the supermarket presents a continuing new and daunting prospect, as they (or their partner) search the aisles for ‘gluten free’ produce.
At the same time, commercials on TV featuring remedies for IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) are bordering on the monotonous. The frequency (of the commercials, that is) seems to be increasing at an amazing rate. So, what is it? Are people experiencing discomfort after eating - and eating bread and wheaten-flour-based products, especially – more and more? If this is the case, then perhaps we should be looking carefully at all the ingredients of the modern day loaf/cake/biscuit/whatever, instead of assuming an illness exists, then spending time and money on the remediation of the ‘disease’.
Of course, the traders in ‘gluten free’ products are having a field day and charging whatever they like as they prey on people’s insecurities concerning their gut.
I suspect there is more to it that an often sudden
realisation that a person’s gut-ache is an indication of
This is part of the park where we now walk every day. It
is not the same as the Red Gum Forest that we walked in for so many years. It is a little more civilized (you could say) but it is lovely, nevertheless. When we bought our (Queensland) house we had no idea that just around the corner was this lovely park of many gum treed acres and even a little
creek. There is a section where dogs are permitted to roam free, off leash. This is something our little dog loves. The only problem is if she spies a water dragon – then off she will go after it. Only on one day has she run after a dragon far and fast enough to follow it into the creek. What a lovely swim she had! And what a hosing down she received when we were home.
“"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his
background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to
hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human
heart than its opposite.” --Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson
Not much else I can say.
Thought some little lights around the palm trees by the
pool would look attractive on these coming summer nights, so ordered some solar-powered lights, via eBay, from Hong
Kong. Seemed to be a bargain for $25 and I am happy with them. The package took nearly a month to get here and, by the time we had installed them, the shops were advertising Christmas decorations. Guess what the local K-Mart had on sale for only $17? Yep, that’s right, the exact same lights as ours.
Still, who can complain over a few dollars when they look so good? They weren’t bought to be Christmas decorations, but I guess that they are now! The funny thing is, it will be too much bother to dismantle them once Christmas festivities are over, so our little lights will simply continue to shine and twinkle all night long (every night) as long as they last – and as long as the sun shines throughout the day.
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.