Perhaps I had ambitions to be an MP - or an undertaker!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

First, a reminder that 80 plus will now be an occasional blog, appearing from time to time on Thursdays.

Yesterday saw the start of my new blog THE POETRY PATH which will be updated every Wednesday. The address is -

Wise Men Say began again on Tuesday, A Touch of Culture resumes tomorrow with a short feature on Lewis Carroll, and Quiet Corner is back on Monday.


Thanks to FreeFoto for this colourful picture. Just what we need at this time of the year!


Watching the Queen deliver her Christmas Day message, I was reminded of a very emotive broadcast given by her father George VI. The occasion was Christmas 1939, just a few months after the start of World War II.

Because of his speech impediment, he spoke very slowly and deliberately, and this made his message sound all the more serious. “A new year is at hand,” he told us, “we cannot tell what it will bring. If it brings peace, how thankful we shall all be. If it brings us continual struggle we shall remain undaunted.” And he concluded with a quote which has now become famous. The words are from a poem by Minnie Louise Haskins.

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied, “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

I believe that the thought expressed in those simple words had a profound effect on all who heard the broadcast.

That led me to remember another royal broadcast, this one four years earlier, on 11th December 1936 when I was 11 years old. That was when the uncrowned King Edward announced on the radio that he was abdicating. I remember the unusually serious faces of my parents as they sat listening to the King’s message which told the nation of his inability to do his job “as I would have wished” without the support of “the woman I love.” The woman in question of course was Mrs. Simpson, a twice-divorced American who was considered to be quite unsuitable a person to be our Queen.

And, while I’m reminiscing, I must tell you of another broadcast (not a royal one) which caused some excitement at the time. It happened on the evening of 15th October 1940. As usual we were sitting in the living room listening to the news on the wireless. Suddenly there was some kind of crashing sound from the radio. The announcer Bruce Belfrage hesitated for a moment or two, and then carried on reading the news.

Later we learned that a 500 lb bomb had been dropped on broadcasting house, killing 7 BBC staff members. There was a great deal of praise for Bruce Belfrage who had managed to keep going, despite the fact that the ceiling had fallen around him.


Here’s a great quote for the New Year . . . .

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

To finish, there are some excellent pictures of Scotland in this short slide show.


No comments: