As I have grown older, I have come to better appreciate the value of lightheartedness. Why must everything be so serious? Let's laugh about it all and take life with a healthy pinch of salt.
In real life - not this bloglife - I suppose I have had a reputation for being a serious sort of guy. I read books. I ponder upon world or local events and habitually display a passionate interest in what is right and what is wrong. But these days - sometimes I can't be bothered with the old intensity, fervent debate, the issues of the day. It's nice to not be bothered and just to drift along.
A key feature of lightheartedness is the ability to laugh at yourself. To recognise your mistakes and to accept that we can all do stupid things. Our mutual friend, Earl John Gray, seems to have grasped this implicitly as, in his very popular blog, he regularly pokes fun at himself.
Our lovely daughter, Frances, once saw me pour "Coke" on my chips. It was when my brother Robin lived in Bishops Cleeve near Cheltenham. We had been camping in South Wales and Frances was about six years old. We were staying over for one night and we had bought fish and chips for supper but the malt vinegar bottle was as squat as the supermarket brand bottle of cola - almost identical. I reached for the cola and shook it rather disastrously over my meal.
For years afterwards, she would remind me "You poured Coke on your chips!" And mostly this announcement would piss me off. But yes - I admit it now - I was a silly arse - I did pour "Coke" on my chips after a long drive - distracted by conversation. Ha-bloody-ha! Even the great father of the nascent princess could make dumb mistakes!
To live lightly and simply must be good for one's constitution. Doing ordinary things. Not feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders. One of the catchphrases of my namesake Neil - the hippy character from the BBC comedy show "The Young Ones" - was "Heavy man!" - usually expressed when there was a serious issue to address. But the converse of this is the notion of lightness. Not everything has to be serious - making your brain hurt - giving you a massive dose of angst. To live lightly, even gaily (!), like a butterfly fluttering from flower to flower - isn't that a good way to be?