50%

Well, I learned this rather late in life, but it is a very good thing to bank/invest 50% of what you make and learn to live on the other 50%. 

I wish I had made this connection when I was, you know, 14. However, it’s not too late even for me (though still a work in project thanks to lockdown), and now I try to tell this to the younger generation. Unfortunately, they so far look dubious or–apparently–even laugh. Tact and timing is needed–and also understanding because the young have little dreamy dreams, and it is sometimes hard for them to understand that although life should be a bed of roses (shouldn’t it?), it so rarely is. 

Young People are also averse to the idea of working a difficult job for 10 – 12 years, investing as much of their pay as possible and then retiring at (or before) 34 to do a super-fun, potentially ill-paid job–or start a risky dream-business–as their investments merrily pay their way.  

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A Walk in the Country

My Papier wellness journal which I love–hence the plug–has a series of frowny and smiley faces in the top right corner of each day’s journaling. This is useful for tracking depression or sorting out what really makes you happy. Well, I am happy to report I circled the smiliest smile yesterday for the first time, thanks to a really splendid walk in the countryside. Photos will follow.

It was all splendid–the sun shone, the sky blued, the birds chirped, the bunnies scampered, the cold wind blew but rarely–and one particularly memorable and brilliant moment was when B.A. and I sat on a bench in a suntrap by an old mill and had a snack. B.A. had brought coffee in a thermos, and when we alighted from the bus, we bought from a top patisserie* a slice of pecan tart (B.A.) and a hazelnut pain au chocolat that was the very height of gustatory decadence (I). Drinking the coffee and eating that pain au chocolat in that sun-trap, while looking at the greening fields, the old stone walls and the mill pond, was earthly heaven. 

Afterwards we continued our journey along the John Muir Way, reminiscing about the crops we had seen along that stretch before, and going off-piste along a river and through a flower-strewn forest to look at a grand country house B.A. had been told was now flats. There was a sign discouraging going the way we wanted to go, but B.A. called upon the name of the Scottish Countryside Access Code and ignored it. We saw a walled garden, sheep of many colours, gardeners’ cottages and, in the distance, the red sandstone great house itself. The grounds were so well maintained, the sheep so striking, and the signs so frosty that we began to doubt the place had been sold and divvied up into flats. (B.A. looked it up when we got home, however, and it had been.)

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Small Note Marking the Passing of the Duke of Edinburgh

American readers with any familiarity with Britain may now be somewhat startled by the effect the death of the Duke of Edinburgh has had on British media, if not on British life. However, the first important thing to realise is that, just as women are not men, and men are not women, Britain is not the United States. Having been drawn into a brief Twitter spat with a fellow Catholic journalist (American), I have been trying to imagine who, in the USA, has played the role of Prince Philip of Greece in public life. 

Oh golly. It has just hit me that it might have been Jackie Kennedy Onassis. Surely not? American Royalty is just not very royal, for there is usually too much party politics involved, which is why “senior statesmen” like the grubby Edward Kennedy (may he rest in peace) don’t fit this bill. Also, the Royal Family is about continuity from one century to another, providing reassuring tradition and stability in a crazy, rapidly changing world.

Anyway, after the Duke’s death was announced, the BBC newscasters (at very least) changed into black, and so did I, just in case anyone wanted me to opine onscreen on his passing. (So far, nobody has.) During work prayers, I asked for prayers for the repose of the Duke’s soul and the sparking of a “national conversation about the truths of the Resurrection.” As a matter of fact, the Archbishop of Canterbury has been very good in this regard, as the Duke of Edinburgh was a committed  or at least a believing Christian.

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