Comfort…

No, not as in “and Joy.” We are certainly not saying the “C” word yet, even though Marks and Spencer have Percy Pig Advent Calendars in already. I wouldn’t get too worked up about Christmas anyway. It may get canceled yet.

I just wondered what people were doing for comfort in these interesting times. The answer may well be “sleep” or the telly (this evening, we are trying to decide between Casablanca and a documentary about Dennis Neilson, the serial killer). Or maybe a good book. I am splitting my time between a Tony Curtis autobiography (I like my movie stars to be the kind of people who spill the beans with no thought for privacy or propriety) and a book about how our phones are actually changing the way our brains work. I will report back but it is very sobering reading.

I am working towards getting one of these Lindor Pick and Mix stands installed in our entrance hall. I am sure this will provide the kind of comfort level I am aiming for at the moment.

This week has seen the 400 anniversary of the Mayflower setting sail from Plymouth. The story of the Pilgrims’ voyage is complicated involving as it does, a race of indigenous people who were already in the “New World” and, despite them hunting through all the places where they usually keep the papers that need filing, they couldn’t find any evidence that they had invited these people over to take over their country. It is a big picture but Plymouth, to its credit, is trying to make sure that this is not just some jingo stuffed nonsense.

I can say this because I have met some of the people involved. As part of our charity’s work, we had quite a few meetings with the team who began to plan celebrations years ago. I remember thinking how fantastic it was going to be. There were history trails around Plymouth, works of art, performances, and events. Then COVID happened. Suddenly, there would be no crowds of Americans coming over, no theatre performances, no dancing on Plymouth Hoe. In the end, there was a low key event with the American and Dutch ambassadors launching an autonomous boat called the Mayflower 2. It is an excellent boat that will collect marine samples and actually be useful, which is good. There will be more things to follow, including the opening of a new museum – The Box – which I have visited and will be excellent. But, in the list of things that COVID has kicked the legs out from under, something like this, despite no lives being lost, is still such a shame. However, although I’m not from around here, I was very proud of Plymouth. It looked beautiful and it is trying to tell a complicated story around rights and responsibilities whether it’s the undoubtedly brave souls who set off to pursue religious freedom, the Wampanoag people who suffered so much as a result of the colonists’ actions or the things we can learn about the future of our planet and how we care for it.

It may not have gone as Plymouth expected things to go but there is more to come on this story so watch this City. I don’t think it is finished with this yet.

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4 Comments

  1. Jenny Young
    September 18, 2020 / 2:39 pm

    My comforts…chocolate, coffee, walks in the woods, my dog, my grandson (I spend around 30 to 40 hours a week with a 2yr old so it’s not always a comfort), reading & decorating. I’m decorating for fall this weekend.

    I would not have known this was the anniversary of the Mayflower sailing if you hadn’t shared this. But I don’t watch the news at all. I read a bit of news online but for the most part I ignore the news. I read ‘Surprised by Joy’ by CS Lewis last year & this quote about the news stuck with me. I actually wrote it down in my book journal.

    ‘Even in peacetime I think those are very wrong who say schoolboys should be encouraged to read the newspapers. Nearly all that a boy reads in there in his teen years will be known before he is 20 to have been false in emphasis & interpretation, if not in fact as well, & most of it will have lost all importance. Most of what he remembers he will therefore have to unlearn; & he will probably have acquired an incurable taste for vulgarity & sensationalism & the fatal habit of fluttering from paragraph to paragraph to learn how an actress has been divorced in California, a train derailed in France & quadruplets born in New Zealand.’ (pg 159)

    I thought it was hilarious when I first read it.

    Still reading from America.

    • lesleyps91
      Author
      September 19, 2020 / 10:04 am

      30 to 40 hours with a two-year-old. I’m not sure I could do that again! I love Surprised by Joy and it’s funny you should bring up CS Lewis because I was thinking of re-reading Mere Christianity. I’m also thinking of a news black-out. It will be weird for me because I am a bit of a news junkie but it is just so relentless at the moment. Mind you, here in the UK, we need to keep checking the news to see what the latest COVID restrictions are. It seems to change by the hour.

  2. September 18, 2020 / 2:57 pm

    Had you heard that the people of Newlyn are claiming that the Mayflower actually started the voyage proper from there?

    • lesleyps91
      Author
      September 19, 2020 / 10:00 am

      That doesn’t surprise me and it may well be true. There is a set of steps in Plymouth that the pilgrims are supposed to have used but most historians think not. Also, there were a few voyages. I think it set off once and then had to come straight back for repairs and other places were involved as well along the south coast.

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