Saturday, February 17, 2007

Digging for Butterflies

I'm a bit of a paper/pen shop fetishist. I LOVE nicely bound writing pads, notebooks etc, and always carry a Smythson pad of that lovely extremely expensive blue paper with me. My present pad was sold to me by Samantha Cameron, but that's another story.I don't write that much in it ( too expensive) but if I want to retain something for a while I use it.
Whilst in Italy a few years ago I bought a very nice vellum notebook, beautifully bound, with the idea of setting things down in it that pertained to the family. I hadn't seen it for a while, but knew where it was, and duly dug it out last night. I also found with it a strange little book bought many many years ago in Montreux, and into which I put thoughts, ideas for stories and whole lists of anagrams of a variety of weirdness - and yes I am a crossword loony.
I have them in 4 categories: Appropriate,opposite,weird and consequence.As an example, "Arts seldom" is under approriate as it changes to " Old masters". Similarly " The war" goes to " Wreath". In the second and third group you find "Triip to CIA" becoming"Patriotic". Definitely in the third group is "Teacher" and "Cheater", whilst " Cruel MP" is the consequence of " Crumple".Now you see how weird I really am.
Some are truly magnificent - " Extra time" is "Taximeter", and " Night drugs please" is "Sleeping draught". Now I think about it, I might add one to each blog - I'd forgotten how good they were.
Anyway, this is all a bit of a preamble, because within this book are a number of items that I had put into my world famous best seller " Digging for Butterflies" I should explain it is only to be viewed by my family after I am gone in another 44 years.When I turned 50, Middle Miss Lear gave me a beautiful leather bound book with the title in gold block on the outside. It comes from a dog we had, which used to rootle about in the grass, ripping tufts with his teeth and throwing them in the air, scampering about and generally behaving a bit like a Mad March Hare. When I asked the dog's owner ( Miss Lear 2 who was quite small at the time) what her dog was doing, she replied " Oh, he's digging for Butterflies"
At the time, of course, I just thought this was a funny remark, but as I have grown older, I have come to realise how wise it was. There is a great truth in this saying, as well as wisdom and a signpost to life. Even though we knew the dog could never find a butterfly under the grass, it never stopped him being optimistic about it.He was also thinking laterally, and trying to do something never done before.What a lesson in life: Strive optimistically and with pleasure, and never be put off by setbacks and failure.
As a final thought for the day, one of the sayings I had jotted down, possibly as much as thirty years ago, was "The truth changes colour depending in the light". As we say in Glasgow, " Where's yer Bliar noo?"

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