Saturday, 5 January 2013

'Out of the mouths ...' bubble-wrap, strawberries and temptation


When our kids were little I recorded some of their cutest sayings in a notebook. ‘How clever of clouds,’ my youngest opined on a long car journey as her sister formed ‘horses’ and patterns in the various formations, ‘To make shapes!’

I sometimes dip into the notebook to chuckle and smile.

‘Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast Thou ordained strength ...’ the old Authorised Version of Psalm 8:2 puts it. Despite years of involvement with church I still had a hazy idea it might have been Shakespeare. So much for my English degree ... so much for most places not using the AV these days ...

I’ve not kept the notebook up to date since the girls were in their early teens. I should have done. They still come out with wise words and things that make us laugh.

‘D’you know,’ my eldest observed the other day, ‘The guys who work in bubble-wrap factories must practice remarkable restraint.’

I found myself wondering whether the management put squares of bubble-wrap aside for them to use to relieve their frustration. I used to work on a fruit farm in the summers during university breaks and they’d tell us to eat the first strawberry and then we wouldn’t be tempted to scoff any more as we started to pick. I’m not sure it worked.

If the retail figures from this Christmas are anything to go by then people have been fairly restrained in terms of spending. What expenditure there has been is necessarily at the expense of something else.  All these downloads and apps. I must be the only person still buying CDs.

I did reasonably well last year in terms of self-employment, but we’re still being careful. We allow ourselves a decent roast on a Sunday, a bottle or two of wine each week, the occasional restaurant meal. 

‘I can resist anything except temptation,’ said Oscar Wilde, a veritable walking bubble-wrap factory of bon-mots.

Working for myself the temptation isn’t so much to go out and do some retail therapy, drink endless cups of coffee or go down the pub.  Yet it is all too tempting to mess around on Facebook or mug up on trivia on-line rather than knuckling down to chasing new business or developing relationships with existing clients.

I’ve made New Years Resolutions on that and broken them already. But there’s always a second chance.

I wish you all whatever you’d wish yourselves this New Year. For myself, enough to keep food on the table, wine in the pantry and time to write. Now about that novel ...