Sunday, August 9, 2015

Shine on you crazy diamond.


The weekend papers lead with stories about the record drought. This is a cue for rain. Not just any rain but a months worth in four hours. Repeated in the afternoon. And then again in the evening. A battleship grey day when you intone the phrase '' the garden needs it ".



Bob and Sophie's coats absorb twice their body weight in water. They then come inside and shake themselves dry in the kitchen. 'The Font' sighs and mutters something about the benefits of short haired dogs. Between downpours Bob stands on his stump seat and guards. Sophie looks ferocious ,or her approximation of ferocious, at the front gate.


The culture section of Le Figaro informs its readers that Britain comes to a halt every evening at 7.30 so its citizens can watch Coronation Street. Amazing what you learn about a country when you no longer live there.


Here's something that made me smile. A farewell blog from the British Ambassador to the Lebanon; returning home after 4 years. The last seven paragraphs as intense and personal as you can get - for a diplomat. A year ago an ambassador writing a phrase like '' Shine on you crazy diamond " on an official website would have been considered de trop. The advice to younger Lebanese politicians ' You can't just party and pray over the cracks ' a most un-ambassadorial example of talking truth to powerhttp://blogs.fco.gov.uk/tomfletcher/2015/07/31/19389/



17 comments:

  1. Sophie may have been having hair "issues" yesterday but her tail is a splendid plume today !

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  2. Stops for Coronation Street? Has streaming, iview, etc.... passed Britain by?

    Tell 'the font', short haired dogs leave the hair EVERYWHERE all the time!

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    1. One of a PONs strengths - they don't shed.
      Flip side they absorb dirt and water like a sponge.

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  3. Brilliant farewell testimonial by John Fletcher! I'd say he's served an excellent apprenticeship for a posting somewhere in Africa ... perhaps Zimbabwe? Or further south?

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    1. Probably needed in Lagos.

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    2. I've just been told the High Commission is in Abuja not Lagos. Serves me right.

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  4. While Gail absorbs herself in reading the blog post from the ambassador chappie, can I just take a moment to sing the praises of the hand-stripped wire fox terrier coat? Thick enough for warmth,but not too hot, offering protection against brambles when rummaging in the undergrowth, and impressively water repellent, especially, Gail tells me, when compared with a certain Westie whose back acted like a sponge and took hours to dry. Me? I just shake myself after a rainy walk and I'm pretty much couch ready. Well, by my criteria anyway...
    Toodle pip!
    Bertie.
    PS Oh yes, and I barely shed too.

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    1. Bertie - Does that make you a Shake and Dry WFT ?

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  5. I think the US came to a standstill on Thursday night for the first Republican debate.

    I don't know what kind of ambassador Tom Fletcher was, but judging by the comments left, it appears that he was admired and respected. I hope his words are remembered.

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    1. He ran four Beirut marathons without bodyguards which is , in a quiet way, brave.

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  6. We are having record heat here too with an ongoing drought...it's very hard to get any work done in the garden, even in the shade.
    Tom Fletcher did the best he could under the circumstances ....what a lovely and insightful farewell blog post.
    I must say that back in the day when I worked with US State and USAID we may have had an ambassador leaving for another post with high words of encouragement for our islands but Mr. Fletcher takes the cake..."shine on you crazy diamond" sums it all up just right.

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    1. There again the world is full of crazy diamonds just waiting for the light to catch them.

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  7. Powerful statements from Mr. Fletcher, especially given his job title.

    This: "The driving quest of diplomacy is for imperfect ways to help people not kill each other."
    And this: "... if we cannot win the argument for tolerance and diversity in Lebanon, we will lose it everywhere. . . . The real dividing line is ... between people who believe in coexistence, and those who don’t."
    Could apply to US or UK politics, as well.

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  8. Yes, each line is layered with meaning. Clever, in the proper sense of the word . Perhaps the most memorable comment " You gave me extraordinary friends, and you took some away."

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  9. Here in Vancouver, BC we are in stage 3 water restrictions and have been for weeks. No watering lawns, no car washing and hand water plants with an on/off device. Big fines if caught. Fires burning all over the province.
    Good link.....Have you ever heard of Brandon Stratton, Humans of New York. He takes pictures and tells a short story about his subjects. He has also on occasion been asked to travel with the UN to share stories. Right now he is in Pakistan.I follow on facebook, he is rather accomplished.

    Coronation Street is a must in our household. My dear mumsie would watch it with have an I on the tv and the other asking how my day was a school. Then she would race out to her nursing job. Back then I thought it was a stupid show. My mumsie always said that was the area we escaped from or we would talk just like Raquel!!!!

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  10. I read an article about Mr. Fletcher a few weeks ago. Rather extraordinary man. There won't be another like him again soon. But If there was one, there IS hope that, somewhere, there will be another. His comment about holding up a mirror brought me to tears.

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  11. In our household, we come to a stop at 7:30 p.m. as well. Rabid Coronation Street fans we are....been watching since I was around 7. That's a long time ago!

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