More Notes from The Orchard – 55
Since the last Notes, a combination of computer related technical problems, flooding which caused a breakdown in electrical supply, restored in time to allow a couple of commercial dehumidifiers to rumble for a full month while simultaneously installing a pre-ordered new kitchen . . . need I say more? I can only apologise and promise to do better as new months arrive - something which is happening faster and faster while I slowly amble through my ninth decade . . .
But I cannot complain: all that is absolutely nothing in comparison to the mess we continue to make of our lovely planet Earth.
This month we mark the centenary of the end of The Great War. The name was changed to World War l when the sequel commenced only 21 years later as World War II found its way into the history books. When in 1945 we looked at the way we had been living through the war-torn first half of the 20th Century one thing was foremost in the minds of most of the world’s adult population how to avoid yet another war.
Alas, memories are short and five years later the Korean War started. It is sometimes called ‘the Forgotten War’, yet today we are still reaping its noxious weeds. For years, with occasional flare-ups, we fought the Cold War. Since then, countries’ populations have been stirred up by those in power into opposing factions of not only politics, but class, colour, gender, the haves and have-nots, and, sadly, religions, most of which talk peace but people don’t listen to their words. The arrival of the internet and the ease it gives individuals to anonymously express in public hatred rather than love has fast erased the chance of creating good relations between individuals, between men and women, assorted groups and countries.
Schadenfreude was one of the subjects on this morning’s Radio 4 Chat programme: so far from any kind of compassion the general human attitude suggests that ‘Schadenfreude’ is a rather enjoyable pastime! As the word is composed of ‘Schaden’ which means ‘harm’ and the rest of the word, ‘freuden’ means’ joy, it is a rather strange sort of enjoyment. . .Incidentally there is no English word for it!
I meant to include in these Notes from The Orchard my sympathy to everyone in Leicester after the helicopter crash on Saturday. It is a very difficult time for the city’s people to be going through. I also have to say that the previous paragraph is a million miles away from the feeling described in it.
How rare it is these days for a rich man to be remembered as being good and kind! Mr. Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha graced his countries of birth and of choice by the generosity of his life and his kindness to the people of the city of Leicester, and by all accounts to everyone who knew him. My sympathy goes also to the families and friends of those who died with him in this terrible accident. May they all rest in the peace and joy of God’s kingdom, while Mr. Srivaddhanaprabha himself will be remembered with thanks and pride by the citizens and football fans not only of the city of Leicester but of the whole country.
I had also meant to point out for this month how important it is for us to learn to be kind to one another and stop bickering. Look back at history! If we don’t even try, ‘sure as eggs is eggs’ as people used to say, we will find ourselves on the threshold of the Last World War . . . do we really want to end up as burnt scrambled eggs?
May God have mercy on us all and in turn may we have mercy on all our brothers and sisters.
Katy Bell © 2018
Edgar Bell meets his Great-great-grandfather, Eugene ‘Micky’ Ryan,
via the biography written by his Grandson
based on the papers of Col. Eugene ‘Micky’ Ryan CMG DSO RAMC
and edited by his Grandson, Eugene Patrick Ryan,
Professor of Mathematics at Bath University
Published by www.pen-and-sword.co.uk
Edgar (b. 2003) made this film as his own tribute to his Great-great-grandfather
after a school trip to Ypres in 2016 and reading his cousin’s biography.