New ways for new days?


I’m sorry.

You think you deserve the brownie?

Notting Hill

One of the many things I love most dearly about the 1999 Working Title film Notting Hill (and am perhaps a little jealous of) is the intense, intimate, often hilarious, and supportive friendship that exists between the film’s glorious group of friends – into the bosom of which the wonderful actor Anna Scott (played by the ever-fabulous Julia Roberts) is so wonderfully drawn. I’ve loved and watched the film so many times I’m almost word perfect, and could wax lyrical about the entire movie for a thousand years.

But my sole purpose tonight is to pause for a while to consider – and to invite you to consider – the way this group relates to and supports one another. This won’t take a bunch of long paragraphs. Rather, an invitation to sometime review the film yourself – and to observe, maybe even scribble a note or two, about the relationships therein – all of which have long warmed my heart.

Recent conversations with a number of friends about perceived need to find new ways, post-Covid-isolation, of relating to one another (beyond our ubiquitous phones, helpful as they are) has me wondering, too, about whether some of our old ways might helpfully be brought out of mothballs? The safe and easy intimacy, the common group-owned understanding, the mild self-deprecation, the empathy, belonging, compassion, the fancying, the generosity, the jointly heard and spoken reflection, the banter, the understatement, and yes, the peals of laughter … move me now sometimes to tears. Good tears. Good hopes for brighter tomorrows and lovelier communications – between and for all of us …

When a child is born

Returning again to “littleness”. I’m delighted and inspired by the following letter in today’s UK Times

Sir, At our little parish church in our
quiet corner of Cornwall, the carol
service on December 20 will begin
with the first verse of Once in Royal
David’s City, sung by a child. This year
that child is nine years old and a
Hindu. Her entire family will be
present to support her.
Organist and Choirmaster

THE TIMES | Wednesday December 9, 2015

Wise persons long ago offered gifts and worship to a child born into poverty who, by virtue of infancy, was not capable of doctrinal statements or of distinguishing between adherents of one religious tradition or another.

The child grew in wisdom, and it was recorded that as a young adult Jesus of Nazareth spoke words of inclusion, hospitality, grace and encouragement for children, women and men whomsoever and wheresoever they may be.

How utterly heartening that in a “quiet corner of Cornwall” (and doubtless in innumerable other hearts and places all over the world) such great wisdom is still being heeded. People of goodwill everywhere will be joined in spirit, alongside her family, to support this splendid young caroller.