20 Mar

Counting Some Blessings

Going home – but where is home? It used to be where my guitar was, then became where my wife and family are. Now the boys have left home, so it’s where my wife is. But both of us long to go back “home” from time to time. Back to where our earliest memories lie, back to Wales.
I was born in Cardiff and left there only to go deeper into Wales to university in Swansea. After that I have never lived in Wales, only in England, with a few happy years in Seychelles.
DSCN2276What does “home” mean? Wales is where our parents came from; 75% of them, anyway. Where our grandparents came from; 66% this time. For some reason we choose Wales as home because our own early days were spent there. The accents are familiar. We can pronounce most of the place names. Wales is where we feel refreshed, re-rooted in our lives, strengthened in the faith we were taught there.
DSCN2325They used to say that teachers and water were Wales’ biggest exports. The three days we just spent in mid-Wales were rain free, unusually. Although trees were still winter bare, sheep were lambing, gorse bushes thrust out new yellow blossoms, daffodils celebrated spring and the sunshine was delicious.

20 March, 2011

09 Mar

Bookish Journeys

On my trip to Portugal I read Never Let Me Go, a novel by Japanese-born British author Kazuo Ishiguro. It was shortlisted for the 2005 Booker Prize and has been made into a film released here recently. From the very beginning Ishiguro uses simple language employed by the narrator to unfold a dark and depressing view of what might happen if science, medical technology and our endless pursuit of enduring physical life leave far behind questions of morality, or – even more seriously – what it means to be human.
The link above will take you to a Wikipedia article, if you want an overview of the book and don’t intend to read it for yourself.
Maybe it’s my age, but the news so often has real stories of how people are appallingly treated by others: think of the continuing drug-gang killings in Mexico or the slaying of Pakistani politicians daring to speak out for the rights of those affected by that nation’s blasphemy law.
Whenever a nation, gang, religion or individual denies dignity and respect to other human beings, they are not far from the novel – meaning the book and the news.

9 March, 2011