I was reminded of something I read by John Donne, ‘Sir, more than kisses, letters mingle souls; for, thus friends absent speak…’when I received letters from two friends now living many miles away; it was so true. Their words, written in their own inimitable ways were so different, yet in those words I could still hear their voices as clearly as if they were in the same room with me.
While I enjoy emails, and being able to Skype those friends who, like me, enjoy dabbling in computers, there is still something very special about a handwritten letter or message in a card; although the increasing costs of postage are fast rendering the paper and pen version of correspondence a luxury to be indulged in occasionally; rather like those now frowned upon indulgences like; butter, cream, and alcohol. Though I confess, I still believe that a little of what you fancy does you good – in moderation.
I‘ve been reading Free at Last, the diaries of Tony Benn for 1991 to 2001 and am still only half-way through, but his views, once considered by many to be maverick or outlandish, are proving more acceptable and honourable than any of those held by today’s politicians at Westminster. I blame the media, as well as members of his own political party, for encouraging the denigration of his ideas and concepts. Reading his diaries delivers a view on what a life dedicated to the service of his electorate really meant. He believed that his constituents came before party; such a view would have been poison to someone like Tony Blair, and those who think like him, believing that the party, like John Mortimer’s Mrs Rumpole, is ‘she who must be obeyed’.
Of course, being honourable, honest, and having principles you feel you have to ‘stick to’, is probably rather old-fashioned these days when lining one’s own pockets and offering to use one’s influence in return for money is making headlines in the daily news. It just goes to show – nothing changes, only the names and the faces. So many highly qualified people are having difficulty in making a living, while these political fat-cats get sleeker by the minute, with no end in sight to their globe-trotting glitzy persona. Ah well, a good book on my shelf is a friend that might turn its back on me, but remains a friend.