Posts Tagged ‘Prince of Wales’

Letter From New York 06 18 15 From Waterloo to refugees to Laudato si…

June 18, 2015

Sitting at the dining room table at my cottage, I am looking out toward the creek, seeing a grey and moody day outside. It is almost chill and I’m wearing a fleece jacket to ward off the cool. I am in a slightly cranky mood from both the grey and that I am being told I must have flood insurance by the company which just bought my mortgage from the last owners of it who had bought it from someone else. In the fourteen and a half years I have been here, I have never had to have flood insurance before.

Part of me shrugs and goes: just one more thing to deal with and I will. My neighbors to the south of me have had some flooding issues but I am much, much higher than they are. We’ll see. But while I fight it, I guess I am going to have to get it and figure it out from there.

In the meantime, the British Royals have had a busy week. First there was the 800th Anniversary of the Magna Carta and then it’s been Ascot this week and then today we have the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo in which Wellington defeated Napoleon once and for all. It was a ghastly, bloody battle in which a full quarter of the combatants were killed.

Many wrote accounts of the battle after it was over. The victors hardly felt jubilant in the wake of the destruction. But it did change history. Since then, the British and French have been allies, not enemies and have not fought each other. Napoleon was ushered into exile and his dreams of European hegemony faded. It ushered in the British Century and the great days of the British Empire.

Today there was a service at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London to mark the Anniversary, attended by Prime Minister David Cameron and the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.

In South Carolina, there is mourning for nine individuals killed at a historic black church in Charleston by a young white man. The suspect, Dylann Roof, has been apprehended in Shelby, North Carolina. It is being labeled a hate crime. It is alleged that Roof entered the church during its Wednesday night Bible Study, stayed for an hour and then began shooting.

Obama expressed sadness and outrage and called for a national reckoning on guns, not that I think that will happen. One of the people killed was the Pastor; Obama knew him.

Laudato Si, Praise be to You, the Pope’s Encyclical, a letter of teaching, was published today and challenged the world to clean up its filth. Controversial even before its official release due to a leak, it is stirring up conversation about man’s relationship with the planet. Conservatives are not happy about it and some have been basically telling the Pope to mind his own business. But he considers this his business and he is going to have his word heard. Addressed not just to Catholics but also to every living human on the planet, Francis took a bold step that will probably only make him more popular to most while infuriating those who disagree with the stances he has taken.

It is the beginning of the Holy Month of Ramadan, a time of fasting, praying and spiritual rejuvenation for Muslims.   It moves with the lunar calendar.

Today there are more displaced people than ever in the world, over sixty million. Over 11 million are from Syria alone, some outside the country and some within the country. If all of them were in the same country together, it would be the 24th largest country in the world.

Lester Holt is now the permanent anchor of the Nightly News on NBC, the first African American to hold such a post. Brian Williams is not coming back to the chair he vacated when suspended in February, at least not for a while. He is going to ratings challenged MSNBC to deliver breaking news. It’s a lot like being tossed out of the Major Leagues in baseball and sent back down to the Minors.

And, apparently, he is getting a lot less money.

Outside, it is still grey, moody and gloomy. I am playing jazz on Pandora to lighten my mood. Soon, my friend Susan will be here and we’re going to Local 111 over in Philmont for dinner and a catch-up.

Letter From New York 04 05 15 On the way from Delhi…

April 5, 2015

It is Easter, the most important and holiest of Christian holidays, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, the central moment at the heart of the Christian religion, celebrated each day a service is held. Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again, in all his glory to judge the living and the dead.

If I were in Hudson, I would be at Christ Church Episcopal, celebrating Easter with that little community, listening to my friend Lionel sing his Easter solo. There would be coffee and cakes and community afterwards and then, probably, I would have cooked an Easter dinner or a group of us would have gone out for Easter dinner.

As it is, I am some 30,000 plus feet in the air, in the final hours of the long flight from Delhi to London, where I will spend a few hours and then head on to New York and to home.

The flight has been uneventful, which is always what one wants a flight to be.

A very young lady from India has been very unhappy and has spent most of the flight screaming at regular intervals, a series of wails that soared through the cabin. She has now, I believe, exhausted herself and slipped into sleep; she lasted six and a half hours.

While I napped, I never completely fell asleep as I could hear her in the background. It reminded me of a time when I had teeth pulled. I was asleep but was going around a wheel with a candle at the bottom and every time I went round, the candle burned me.

When I boarded, I was handed a copy of yesterday’s Daily Mail from London, a paper short on news and long on gossip.

It did report the depth of unhappiness Prime Minister Netanyahu holds about the potential Iranian nuclear deal and a great deal about Nicola Sturgeon, who heads Scotland’s SNP. She may be the power broker in the general elections in Britain in May. Seems she did a right fine job of outdebating her English rivals. She’s being hailed “Queen of Scots” today. If her party wins a predicted 40 or more seats, she could align with Labour and form a government. That wouldn’t have happened since 1924.

There was also a huge exegesis of the fashion turnaround of the last ten years by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and wife of Charles, Prince of Wales.

Several juicy stories about politicians in sexual peccadillos followed.

All fascinating.

And here I am, having awakened in Delhi and, if all things go as planned, will fall asleep in New York, half a world away from where I have been living the last two weeks.

One of the things I was thinking about this morning as I was closing my suitcases was the light in India. Everything in India seemed bathed in a softer light than New York, as if light came through a filter, even when it was at its hottest and brightest. I remember thinking that in other trips to India; how different the light was. It may be the dust and the pollution or some other factor.

Indulging myself, I have been reading Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, great fun for long flights and travel. I have several of them on my Kindle.

Sitting here in my seat, I have a sense of traveling away from somewhere; a sense of movement, which I am sure, would have been intensified a century ago when the only way to India was by long sea voyage.

Today we are catapulted from one world to another, with just hours to adjust. I think I would like to have that time at sea to contemplate what I had seen, heard, felt and experienced.

Now I am rushing to make sense of things. It is the way of the world in which we live, a rush of things, a rush of information, a rush between places and a rush to assimilate the information we are receiving.

Yes, right now I would like to be on a deck chair on a steamer slowly making its way back to London so I could pause and gather my thoughts, feel my way internally through my experiences.