Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Sunday, 21 December 2014
I don't deserve it
I ran into my lovely young friend (ex bar-girl) in the garden of the pub the other day, and she said she had just got back from the funeral of the poor girl who jumped off Clifton Suspension Bridge with her new-born baby. It turned out they were old friends from schooldays. The outside of the church was packed with journalists taking photographs and notes apparently, and I was not surprised to hear that.
The day before, she - D - had sent me a text saying that she had asked her three year-old son who he would most like to see over Christmas, and he said me. She had to tell me about this.
The little lad has - for some inexplicable reason - really liked me from the first time we met, or at least met when he was old enough to focus his eyes. As soon as he could get a few words together, he would shout out my nick-name when he saw me from some distance in town, and now comes running up for a big hug. I am so flattered - and confused - by this.
He now encourages his mother to take him to the pub so he can see me, and - funnily enough - this is all the excuse she needs to go there for a quick drink with other friends.
The other day, I was in a charity shop when I saw a top-quality pair of compact binoculars for sale for not much money, so I bought them to put on eBay, where they probably would have sold for about £80, being made by Bausch and Lomb.
I was just about to photograph them for listing, when the text came through about little Zak wanting to see me over Christmas, and I suddenly decided to give them to him as a present.
H.I. suggested he was too young for them, but it has always been my theory (and hers, actually) that many children are put off telescopes and binos for life by being given crap ones with unusable optics. They make these cheap, plastic things to give to kids for Christmas as if their eyesight is nowhere near as good as adults, but of course it is usually much better.
If a kid looks through a crappy, plastic-lensed telescope and cannot even see the moon properly, they will put it down and probably never pick it up again.
There was a letter written to an astronomical magazine once, and it was from a man who had lifted his daughter up to the eyepiece of his enormous telescope to look at the deep space above the Arizona desert where they had gone, and she stared at the starry vista quietly for a while before bursting into tears.
He lifted her down and asked what was wrong. She said, "Oh Daddy, it's too beautiful. I don't deserve it."