Day 11: Henley to Marlow

Dry and a beautiful walk. Chains of pleasure boats. I wonder if I would be bored on a boat. I think I would be.

I was going blind recently. Seriously I was unable to read, and it got worse quickly. Then a consultant in Oxford lasered my eyes; once I was blind, and now I can see. It was a miracle. We are so fortunate to live in 2022, and we are inclined to take it all for granted. So thank you to those who invented this procedure.

A Family Affair

When I started my campaign to wed Jane in the late 1960s – in those days, marriage was the only way I could possibly get her into bed! – I was obliged to ring her home and say, “Hello, this is Tom – can I please speak to Jane?”

Jane’s parents were delightful and would never have tried to stop the relationship (unless, perhaps, if I’d worn a pigtail and walked a dog on a rope). The point is that because of my repeated calls, they knew I was after their beloved daughter Jane!

In time, after endless calls, the relationship hotted up and Jane’s parents held a dinner party to meet me. Later, there was another party so her vast family could meet me and do what families usually do (i.e., pass judgement and say, “Surely she could have done a lot better than that?”) In time, there was an engagement and a wedding, both accompanied by more parties. Then, when the four children emerged, there were more yet more celebrations.

To cut to the chase, mobile phones today mean that the young can start a relationship without their parents or families knowing a thing about it. No parties – and indeed, no family involvement of any kind until long after the event.

I think that is immensely sad.

His Finest Hour

The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is the hero of the hour. I wish him well, and I really mean that. Cometh the hour, cometh the man.

The world desperately needs a hero who can lead, and Zelenskyy is that man today. However, I have learned in a long life that when someone is praised to the skies, the hype is rarely justified. And, in turn, when someone attracts the hiss of the world, I only half believe anything I hear or read. We are all a mix of virtues and faults, and most of us have done things we would rather not read in a banner headline. When the media builds someone up and praises them as if they can do no wrong, it’s usually only a matter of time before they find a reason to tear them down again. Cracks are detected, and faults and mistakes gleefully paraded.

I hope that when Zelenskyy’s enemies have a go at him – and they will – his descent from hero to ordinary man does not destroy him or Ukraine.

1 comment

    • Pamela Perry on September 11, 2022 at 4:41 pm
    • Reply

    Dear Tom, thank you so much for “soldiering on” and finding time and energy to write your daily blog at the end of each day’s walk. You are truly a good man – and I enjoy your trenchant views of the modern world! Keep up your great work.

    Best wishes to you, Jane and Moses.

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