Earlier this month, as I was walking in high countryside near the village of Flash, I found a compass made by "Silva" - a Swedish company that has been producing high quality compasses since the nineteen thirties. It is an Expedition 4 compass and it was just lying there in the rough grass on a little trodden public footpath. Lord knows how long it had lain there.
A few years ago, in a similar spot, I found another compass made by "Silva". It's the smaller blue compass that you can see in the photograph. I have never really trusted that one and when you need to check directions, a trustworthy compass is vital.
The Expedition 4 sells for around £30 (US $40) so I was faced with a dilemma. Should I attempt to track down the distraught rambler who accidentally dropped it? However, even as I contemplated this, my moral compass kicked in and said - "No! It's okay to keep it!". After all, sixty eight million people live in this United Kingdom and tracing the owner would be far more difficult than finding a needle in a haystack.
Moral compasses are very useful. They guide us, helping us to live with ourselves and sleep soundly in our beds at night. They are also useful as crap detectors or gauges, allowing us to understand more clearly what's going on around us - in our neighbourhoods and in the world at large.
Some politicians seem to have moral compasses that are very much like the blue compass I found - difficult to rely upon and liable to give false readings. A good example of this is the scallywag who currently resides in 10, Downing Street, Whitehall, London. His moral compass is all over the place.
While writing this post, I also thought of the word "encompass" which is a very nice word that doesn't get enough airtime in my view. Its meaning suggests a full understanding - getting the whole picture though of course it can also be used in more mundane ways. For example, we may talk of the Coca Cola company "encompassing" the globe with its famous fizzy drinks.
Time to stop rambling on and travel west for another ramble in the nearby countryside. I won't need my new compass today.