Saturday, 1 April 2017

April Fool

YEARS ago when writing a weekly humorous column for my local evening paper, I would often draw upon discussions from a loose gathering of regulars at my corner pub
here in Great Marton, our Irish Sea resort's oldest hostelry. (I've also written columns for daily papers in places as distant and diverse as Hong Kong and even Salt Lake City.)
These characters were mostly retired, with a scattering of police officers, journalists and others in service industries affording them occasional days off in the week - when the pub was least busy and most amenable for discussion by coal-lit fires.
They were full of worldly wisdom, though shockingly reactionary at times. I called them 'The Men in Grey Cardigans', in contrast to those 'Men in Grey Suits' who reportedly ran the Tory party and got rid of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher when she became too big for her boots.
They would listen politely and encourage views from us younger debaters round the fire of the Saddle Inn's locals' room, known as 'The Commons' for its forthright discussions. However, while the young were occasionally more 'clued up' on recent events and practises, you can't beat experience.
I was often made to feel a bit of a fool but, like the traditional English custom of April Fool, that painful situation passes with time and I learnt a lot.
Even today, as a fully fledged veteran member of the Commons, I seek advice there on practical tasks at home that I'm struggling with while, in more relaxed mode, cheerfully sharing and enjoying the banter and clash of their usually politically incorrect views.
What is most noticeable among these senior ranks, now embracing female members and greater diversity, is that all are allowed to have their say, though often being jeered at later. Through it all, tempers remain calm and hospitality is shared for, above everything, we respect our fellow man - or woman. We can all be the fool, so readily, that we look kindly on those temporarily so labelled. None of us have all the answers, that's why friendly debate is popular.
When we are alone, or in more sober circumstances, it's also possible to share others' views and feelings, through reading - with a little quiet contemplation most welcome in our dynamic, modern world.
On this free website we offer such entertainment and even enlightenment in our books or muses and poems. It was started by journalists tired of all that bad news. Any purchases readers make, through publishers Amazon and FeedARead sponsored by the British Arts Council, help support this non-profit making site.
We hope you enjoy it, wherever and whoever you are . . .
Even in our foolish moments!

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