9 July 2013


Heavy man!
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?
Light man!


  1. Most on this planet seem to live like librarians who think that the important thing is to keep the books neatly stacked on the shelves instead of actually reading them.

    Living is living and spending your days happily sniffing flowers and dog's backsides is as valid as spending them playing with room-temperature fusion. It's easy to forget that the work-tidy-build-sleep-work routine is just set-dressing and practicality, not the be-all and end-all.

    My own Bagwash (the late Bagwasg Pastrami von Poppapill III - a superb guru) once told me that harbouring resentment is like swallowing poison and expecting someone else to die. That was the point at which I realised what I'd been doing wrong all these years and started putting the arsenic into his food not mine.

  2. Lightheartedness is a welcome state to inhabit...but sometimes we can only visit or pass through....and the resentment notion that OW mentions has always struck a chord with me..I remember saying it to someone many years ago. The beauty of being retired is suiting you YP.

  3. Mr. Pudding I think you are on to something here. I certainly don't worry about things like I once did. If some politician says something incredibly stupid or I lose money in the stock market, I no longer worry. Now I know it takes a long time for things to really happen and most of this day to day stuff is just noise. So why not enjoy your life?

  4. Poking fun at oneself , comes from a childhood of being bullied at school.
    " get in there before they do"

    However, I think it's more complicated than that... Smiling at oneself is an old fashioned ( and Northern ) way of not seeming big headed when you look at your own world.

  5. Life's too blimming short to take umbrage Mr. YP, take Sanatogen instead and chill man.


  6. You're so right, YP. And the beauty of being retired is that you are more in charge of your own life, can live it at the pace which suits and sometimes take a step back from the serious side.

  7. Self-deprecation is the bedrock of civilisation if you ask me. If you didn't laugh you'd cry as the saying goes.

  8. Yes, it IS a good way to be. When I worked I used to get het up about all sorts of school related issues. Used to worry especially about the quality of the education I was trying to deliver ( against almighty odds!)but the moment I walked out of that school I felt the weight lift off my shoulders and every day now is MINE. I've found there's a real serenity that comes with being on a permanent holiday _ that's how I view retirement. Let's hope it continues that way !!

  9. I have been retired for 13 years now. Just yesterday in a Chinese restaurant at lunch I dumped some artificial sweetener (meant for the cup of hot tea) into the bowl of hot and sour soup.

  10. Now you're talking! I was lucky enough to have a career which required me to be light-hearted, wearing pantaloons and kicking clowns in the arse. Coke on the chips is funnier than coke up your nose.

  11. OWL WOOD Well I don't know what to say to that but it is clear that you have also contemplated the value of living lightly - as indeed the styler of your individulaistic blog always demonstrates.
    LIBBY Resentment, bitterness and dissatisfaction can be like cancers chewing away at our very souls.
    DAVID OLIVER "Just noise" - yes background noise like a radio left on in the next room. Best to get on with what is happening in this room.
    JOHN GRAY (EARL) Well it seems you have contemplated this matter and partly, at least, analysed your capacity for self-mockery. A good philosophy I think.
    LETTICE LEAF I know that Sanatogen fortifies the over forties but does it still work when you are on the doorstep of sixty?
    JENNY I think we have discovered this together in parallel worlds. How wonderful not to live like Pavlov's dogs dancing to the tune of the old school bell.
    RHYMES WITH You put artificial sweetener in your soup! You put artificial sweetener in your soup!
    SHOOTING PARROTS None of us like people who are as we in Yorkshire say "up their own arse" but I guess we are all capable of taking ourselves too seriously. Betterto laugh than cry.
    HELEN Being on permanent holiday - yes. Especially if you still have your health.
    GORILLA BANANAS Coke up your nose? I knew that gorillas grazed on fresh vegetation but as I understand it there were no gorillas in South America - land of the coca leaf.


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