A WEEK of bright October sunshine and fresh autumn breezes. Perfect for tackling the outdoors To Do list (which never seems to get any shorter).
The first job was to drain the hot tub, which had stopped working – again. We had it installed when we moved to Swansea in 2002. My environmentally-inclined friends disapproved, but the children (and their school friends and cousins) thought it was one of our better ideas.
It broke down weeks ago. We had to wait for the spa service company to get a replacement for the printed circuit board, which had burned out. It duly arrived and was fitted. Then it broke down again. The repairman came back on Tuesday. The new board had also burned out. He seemed confident that he knew why, and that he could fix it.
The tub has been refilled with fresh water, ready for his visit tomorrow. I’m holding on to the hope that we’ll be able to use it this side of Christmas.
I BLAME CLIVE
I AM reading Clive James’s poetry collection Sentenced To Life. It’s his eighth published collection, and it’s very possibly his last because he is terminally ill. The poems are understandably shot through with James’s knowledge of his own mortality, but they are also humane and, at times, bitterly funny.
Reading them has made me want to try writing something. I used to write poems (which isn’t the same as creating poetry, no matter how hard you try) in my late teens and early twenties, but gave it up after university.
I didn’t think the newsrooms I worked in through the 1970s and 80s were exactly nurturing environments for a poetry scribbler.
So far, I’ve got two poems down on paper in draft form, but they’re not fit for anybody else’s eyes yet.
I HAVE AN IDEA
TO the first University of the Third Age (U3A) Swansea Film Studies Group meeting of the new season. As usual, men are in a very small minority. I take my regular place – in the back row.
The talk is on films of two E M Forster novels – A Room With A View and A Passage To India. I discover that Forster was a World War One conscientious objector who drove an ambulance in the Egyptian campaign.
I speculate what Forster – a public school educated homosexual upper middle class Englishman – talked about when he was off-duty with his fellow ambulance drivers.
Then I recall that another, but very different, writer – Ernest Hemingway – also drove an ambulance in that war, on the Italian front. Imagine the two of them meeting and discussing their war experiences and their literary work.
Perhaps there’s a poem in it?
WHAT DO I KNOW?
THE Current Mrs Feeney and I went to Swansea Museum to see a painting that had been restored after being ‘discovered’ in the museum storeroom as part of a BBC television series on lost masterpieces.
It is now valued at around £3million but I didn’t like it. I’m sure this says more about my artistic taste (lack of) than it does about the price of art.
IT’S NOT TOO EARLY
I ASKED Mrs F if she wanted a peach (tinned variety) with her Sunday breakfast yoghurt. “No but keep the syrup and I’ll have a Bellini,” she said. One of us has got this Life Well Lived business sorted.