Monday, 11 April 2011

Reasons To Be Cheerful

As my regular readers will know, I'm a loyal (albeit atypical) Guardian reader. Having deserted The Times way back in the seventies when their printers went on strike I never returned to their fold and have been happy with the high quality reporting standards of my chosen newspaper. However I now buy The Times on a Saturday principally for their great crossword selection. I am impressed with their writers and enjoy reading India Knight and Giles Coren's columns and Caitlin Moran's TV reviews but the most compelling section of the paper is the weekly magazine column written by Melanie Reid. Melanie is a journalist who, twelve months ago, suffered an horrific horse riding accident which left her with a crippling spinal injury.

The injury left her with virtually no sensations from the neck down other than some feeling in one hand. She has stoically attempted to improve her life over the last year and her efforts, supported by the amazing spinal unit in Glasgow where she has been an inpatient since the fall, have brought sufficient success for her to have been discharged. Though still reliant upon her wheelchair, she has managed to make a few faltering steps with the aid of complex physiotherapy equipment. Her weekly diary of her life since the accident opens the readers' eyes to her incredible strength of character and the amazing NHS employees who support her.

This week, in a change from her weekly "Spinal Column" she reflected upon the twelve months that she has just been through. And what struck me most about this was the following :- "I learnt three absolute lessons. First, that the world is split into people who moan and people who don't. I have heard enough moaning in the past 12 months to last me a lifetime. In this regard, I refuse, ever again, to spend time with anyone who complains continually about the weather, their job, their relationship or their appearance. these people are death to the soul; they suck the oxygen out of the air; they need to be avoided at all costs"  What a fabulous and true observation. People know me as a ridiculous optimist and mock my constant state of "extremely happy" on the LSE Mappiness application but it's true isn't it? What is the point of moaning? If you are a moaner you aren't pleasing anybody, you aren't pleasing yourself so lighten up. If Ms Reid doesn't moan (and she has far more reason to moan than most), then neither should you.

As she was once a keen rider I would be interested to know Melanie's view on the Grand National. It's a difficult one this one isn't it? On the one hand it is an exciting and colourful national institution loved by millions but on the other there's about a thirty to one chance of any one particular runner being dead before teatime. After the tragic death of two horses on Saturday, the race is today being likened in some circles to bullfighting. This is a little unfair as the death of the bull is always a certainty but there is no doubt that the horses' lives are being put at risk for public entertainment and unless those chances of the horses meeting an untimely death are made miniscule by changes to the course I am afraid that I have to support the abolitionists. The jockeys have a choice. The horses don't.

You may have noticed that I have had a week away. I've been in London to see our son and celebrate our daughter in law Josephine's birthday and to have a couple of days' break in the capital. There was no time to blog with a non stop three days of walking, shopping, eating and enjoying the incredible unseasonal hot weather. We went to see Blithe Spirit which was pretty much as the critics called it but never mind it was good to see an old fashioned bit of theatre the like of which we are unlikely ever to see again. The play has haunting as a theme as too does this week's choice of Orange Wednesday movie - The Silent House. This is a Uruguyan horror film that is based on a true story and supposedly shot in one take. The reviews were mixed but the Guardian's critic reported a roomful of critics jumping out of their seats which is good enough for Marion who loves this genre. I'll let you know what we think.

I may have mentioned on here that we were thinking of moving to London. While we were down there last week we had a look at the prices in some of the areas that we liked. I think we could end up with something like this.  

Before I go, here's another great little video to make you smile highlighted by @Glinner on Twitter.