Posted by Tania Kindersley.
Today was an admin day. I am useless at admin. I make pointless lists and stare dolefully at them. I wander from room to room, forgetting what I came in for.
In the afternoon, as the rain relentlessly falls, I sit crossly in telephone queues, whilst a computer bleats options at me. I think: please, please can I have a human being?
I do, in the end, get a very nice lady from India. I hope she is not too demoralised about the cricket, but I do not say anything. The line is very bad, like the lines abroad I remember from my childhood. I have to bellow at her. I hope that she does not think I am that kind of Briton who instantly starts shouting when they hear a foreign voice.
At the end, I say: ‘I’m so sorry about the shouting. It was the line, you know. I do hope you did not think me rude.’
She laughs. She says: ‘You were very kind and polite.’
This small remark makes me disproportionately happy.
I think: my mother will be pleased. All those childhood lessons in manners were not in vain.
I still think of the riots. I still do not understand them. All the commentators are weighing in, and no two agree. In the courts, which sat all night, the first person charged with looting was a 31-year-old teaching assistant. I think: this does not fit in with the lost generation of disaffected youth meme. I wonder if it is a national character thing. I think: I bet the Scandinavians never riot. I remember the essay I wrote about British riots in the 18th century. I seem to remember that I described them as a national sport. I was eighteen, and I thought I was being radical and edgy. I wanted to amuse my lovely tutor, Mr Stuart, who always called me Miss Kindersley, with courtly formality.
I think: what is called for now is some beauty. The weather outside is like a bowl of old porridge, so I went through my archives and pulled some pretty pictures for you. It’s the least I can do.
Here they are:
These phlox are slightly out of focus, but I love them, because they look almost like a painting:
Some evocative roses:
A purple patch:
The tree I planted for my dad:
A little black and white:
The pure joy that is the Pigeon:
And a bit of hill: