• neil

Day 29 (15 April): KISS

KISS is an acronym for “keep it simple, stupid” which had its origin with the U.S. Navy in 1960. The KISS principle is that most systems work best if they are kept simple and unnecessary complications are avoided.

This is increasingly the way in which I am trying to live my confinement. I am trying to avoid grumpiness, vindictiveness, moral superiority and nastiness. Why do I say this? Because initially I found myself spending a lot of time on social media being annoyed by snide, badly informed, partisan sniping and poisonous insult. And sometimes I made the mistake of joining in. What a fruitless exercise. So I have decided not to look at the conspiracy theory articles and the angry brigade rants anymore. I really do not need to have an opinion on Chinese plots, American plots, WHO funding, presidential stupidity or 5G provoked mass extinction - because the powers that be will not be phoning me asking which line to take.

The Serenity Prayer says it well:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

If we had been living in our villages pretty much anywhere 500 years ago, we wouldn’t have had all this data bombarding us. We wouldn't have felt compelled to have opinions on affairs far away. We would barely have known what happened beyond the local market town.

But maybe not:

I imagine myself in 1520, dropping into the local tavern at dusk after a hard day’s ploughing. All I want is a mug of mead, a bowl of stew, a crust of bread and a friendly jest. And then the neighbourhood troll starts up:

“Alright Neil? What do ya reckon to this Field of Cloth of Gold business then? Is Henry going to stick it to Francis or is he just going to roll over again?

And while we’re at it, did you hear the Portuguese have discovered some islands they’re calling ‘The Islands of the 11,000 Virgins’. That can’t be right can it! And that bloody King Manuel I has started a public mail service. They’ll all be bloody plague carriers and they’ll be over here delivering our Amazon parcels. And don’t get me started on that bugger Leo excommunicating Luther. What a stitch up! He just wants to keep the indulgences money.

And, poor tired ploughman that I am, I have not researched a coherent and thought-through answer on these issues - and if I had it would not make a whit of difference.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

So I’m going to enjoy my mead and my bread and leave the plots and the conspiracies to others.

Crumbs of Comfort

And I am enjoying my bread. I took a dusty copy of Paul Hollywood’s bread bible from shelf this morning and kneaded my way to a couple of crusty loaves. One for now and one in the freezer.

I can see why he had that affair. You have to do something while you wait for the dough to rise.

If you haven’t tried it (baking, not affairs) then don’t wait any longer. It’s fun, the kitchen smells great and you get such a feeling of accomplishment. And you get bread.

Throughout the process I was constantly nipping between the kitchen and the terrace to supervise my seedlings. I could tell from the way they kept chanting the serenity prayer at me that they don’t need my supervision, but it is so lovely to see the first green leaves appear above the earth.

I might not be Mother Earth but I’m somewhere between Father Flour and Father Flower.

I received a rather wonderful email from EasyJet this morning stating

“Bags now just 1 euro each - book before Friday 17 April”.

So while you’re busy baking and gardening your bags can go off without you. It's cheap and the health risk is virtually non-existent. They could go see if there are still 11,000 of those virgins.

My hoe has just been delivered (we already had the rapper joke).

I'm torn between the excitement of a new toy and fear of it all going badly wrong.

The point is to leave the good stuff and cut away the naughty stuff with the hoe. It is now ten days since I put my plants in the ground and, no surprises, nothing has yet flowered and everything is shades of green. This is a disaster waiting for Neil in order to happen. Perhaps I'll leave the hoe with its homies for now and go have a glass of wine. It would appear that novinophobia is a real phenomenon. Honestly. I've seen the studies.

Give a friend a video call. But do your hair first.



75 views3 comments

Recent Posts

See All