Thursday, December 28, 2006

What really counts?

Well, looking at the end of another year it's more of a wide view than a narrow daily one. Not that the daily one could compete much today, besides a little trip to Wembley to get covered in mud taking photos of almost identical views of places I've taken everywhere else. This year I seem to have learnt a hell of a lot, which is terribly useful to many people apparently but only allows me to see a pattern in the world much as a lab technician looks at a virus under the microscope but can't do a think about getting rid of it. I know the enemy but have no means to beat it. Knowledge is a start, and has put me head and shoulders above where I was before I had it, and when people I respect affirm what I say as true I realise I'm not making it up or speaking from personal opinion, but seeing things more and more as they really are, as I am gradually seeing others doing more at last, after seeming to spend a lifetime in a dream.

One element in common is how boring it is to live alone. Most people admit or freely describe how inadequate it is, and secondly more people are beginning to realise whatever shortcomings it has, being at home and around your own community is better than travelling all over the place once you've looked around and seen it isn't all that much. Wherever you go you always come home so you may as well make the most of it. People think excitement involves running away and frantic activity, but it isn't. Hours in front of TV with friends on holiday or here beat any other experiences, especially with good programmes and people. Watching Ian Botham and Alan Knott win the 1977 test match with all my friends making silly comments on holiday, watching one of the best films of my life, amazingly a French one called La premier fois, with the same bunch of friends, and also sitting watching goodness knows what when the cleaning lady's daughter walked in like an angel from heaven and sat on my lap. Those are memories, and like Big Brother, just involve being in a room with interesting people you know. Going to events is hit and miss and when they go wrong can put you off for ages.

It doesn't even seem to come with age. I know people in their 80s still travelling the world. Some didn't wait till they retired, they always did it. Good luck to them, but don't let anyone try and persuade anyone else it's the right thing to do. I spend many of my holidays waiting to return home unless they're particularly good. I was always happy at home, especially when I was off work. I love looking at old photos to remind me of things which aren't exactly the same recalling by memory. I prefer as much realism as possible, film as well as photo, and our holiday photographer used to show silent colour movies from god knows when, including me from my first visit at 8. I loved watching the show every year as I got older and knew nearly all the people in the film, and apart from the movie camera bit I took over his job for 2 years as official still photographer till he decided to take it up again. Nowadays my high spots are few and far between, and friends even more so. At the moment. I'm in a phase of drought on most fronts and like the weather we can't make it rain, we just have to carry on and hope.

I even seem to lose my sense of humour at times, I have other things to say and can't always see the funny side of things. But who doesn't? I'm barely waiting either. Little to wait for still. Got my glasses now and can see road signs at night clearly again. Talk about the little things. Tomorrow for instance I may take yet more photos in Colindale, and if open Fridays (Jewish area) go and get my second glasses made up. The thing is the more I become aware of what's important in life the less I get of it. So far...

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