Yesterday I looked at the Postaday2011 blog – the ones who set the challenge to WordPress bloggers to post at least once every day in this year, to see what sort of topics they have been suggesting to help unblock bloggers’ writers block (something I don’t tend to suffer from, but then I don’t really ‘suffer from’ that much quality either, so maybe it comes as no surprise to you that this nonsense of mine flows fairly freely) and the topic for the day, or challenge for the day yesterday (and you don’t have to follow all the challenges, they are there to help get the creative juices flowing only – you can also give suggestions via the comments there or by mailing them to the blogging community – or at least those who took up the postaday2011 challenge) was to talk about something you’ve never talked about before.
Well, I still can’t think of anything that I’ve never told a living soul, but there are a couple of topics that I haven’t written or broadcast on youtube or spoken about on radio shows until now. So I’ll make those two things the topic of today.
One of them is very apposite, as it is 12th January, this being the birthday of my great grandma. I will not say her name as she was from a generation (Victorians) who did not bandy first names about much, but she was my mother’s mother’s mother. However, owing to a certain accident it was really her and great grandad who brought up my mother. But my mother and I used to call her “Grandma”.
She was like a second mother to me all through my childhood. She was always kind and faithful to Jesus, the epitome of a Christian, I can remember nothing bad about her. She died while I was still at school, but just going into the final year, so I was 17 years of age, and she lived in the granny annexe behind our house. It took me a long time to get over it, for my mother also, and I don’t think we will really be over it until we see her again in the next world.
I always think about her on the 12th of January as it was her birthday. She was 92 when she died, so if she were alive today she would be 122 today. She lives on in our hearts, and more importantly at the feet of her Saviour.
This is a private topic, and so I don’t refer to it much, but today I would like to do so.
A less wholesome memory, one that I haven’t spoken about or written about before but which also came into my mind since yesterday when I wrote that and I thought I would also write about it is that one of my already out-of-date passports (they cut the corners off and give them back when you get the next one as a keepsake of your travels) is very dirty. It has encrusted mud in it, most but not all of which I was able to clean out of it.
These days I only show my passport at hotels and airports as a means of identity proof but it is strictly speaking not needed and a number of other documents could serve, but in the days before Schengen you used to have to show your passport almost at every border crossing. And sometimes at border crossings you have to get out, and a passport of mine has been dropped accidently on the Latvian/Lithuanian border onto wet ground and got a bit muddy, but that is not the incident I am referring to.
In the incident I am referring to I was stopped in the mid 1990s for driving above the speed limit in a Polish town called Klodawa (it is known for its salt mine). I got into the usual discussion with the police person but this chap was unusually aggressive, and started to insult the British for our failure, in his eyes, to prevent Poland from being taken over by the Soviet Union. I have to admit that it was a personal failure on my part to fail to get Rooseveldt to listen to Churchill and to cajole Churchill into not capitulating too readily to Rooseveldt’s eagerness to withdraw American troops from any further hostile European engagement. I shall have to try harder next time I’m there, and while I’m about it I shall try to get the Americans into the war before 1941, and maybe I’ll have a crack at showing Hitler the error of his ways so that war doesn’t start at all. That probably would involve me in going back to the Versailles Treaty Room and getting them to allow Germany more lenient terms, but then if I had done that then that Klodawa policeman would only have gone and blamed the British for the loss of Gdansk/Danzig.
Either way, he showed his rage against our Queen and country by pretending to spit on my passport, tear it and throw it in the mud. Now I couldn’t find any of his spittle or other saliva/mucus-based products in the passport afterwards, nor any actual tears, but it certainly had a lot of mud on it from where he flung it into the mud puddle.
I have a theory that he was intending to only pretend to throw it just like he pretended to spit and tear it, but got a bit carried away and it actually left his hand without him really intending it to.
If he was astonished he didn’t show it, although I might have missed that as I ducked down to retrieve my document. But he simply walked off after that and there was no fine, so I assume he was cutting his losses.
I didn’t think to complain at the time, but people who I have told about it since have said that it could have raised a lot of a media stink and even a diplomatic incident, that it’s actually a serious matter what he did to my passport, an insult and offense against the state.
But I thought then as I think now, that far too much is made of these silly pieces of paper anyway, and that the real insult and offense is that depending on where you are born various states can limit your freedom to travel through this world that you were born into, and which belongs to the One who made you. And so I was just happy to have avoided the fine.
And that’s probably also the main reason why I haven’t really spoken about it.