Virginia Barton



In 1720, in a Letter of Advice to a Young Poet, Jonathan Swift wrote:

“. . .A commonplace book is what a provident poet cannot subsist without, for this proverbial reason, that ‘great wits have short memories:’ and whereas, on the other hand, poets, being liars by profession, ought to have good memories; to reconcile these, a book of this sort, is in the nature of a supplemental memory, or a record of what occurs remarkable in every day’s reading or conversation. There you enter not only your own original thoughts, (which, a hundred to one, are few and insignificant) but such of other men as you think fit to make your own, by entering them there. . .”

The “few and insignificant thoughts” are exactly what will be found here in Commonplaces.

22 June 2018: Gooooal!!

That’s “Goal!” yelled at full throttle and as long drawn-out as you can hold your breath. Give it a try, preferably in the middle of a field. Or in the pub with your pals when your team scores.

15 June 2018: Kugelis

You can’t go wrong with this Lithuanian “side,” even on the hottest day. Teenagers love kugelis; it fills all parts other padding-out foods fail to reach.

8 June 2018: Half came home

After I stopped crying on the way home from Lithuania, I realised that my head was as if I had been working on a jig-saw puzzle for too long.

1 June 2018: Once Upon A Summer’s Day

The time has come and tomorrow the interment will take place. There will be friends gathered from far afield, relations and nearest of kin. I suspect there will be a full house and I fully expect the sun to shine.

25 May 2018: Outward bound

The time is fast approaching for me to go again to Lithuania, this time to attend the interment of my beloved husband’s ashes in the church we chose together many years ago.

18 May 2018: The Duffer

I never minded flying until I had children. Then in a trice I was smitten with aviophobia. What a boring name that is for the condition.

11 May 2018: Things my Mother taught me

Classic put-downs are supposedly character-building. I’m sure I’ve put them down myself, probably when making a witticism at someone else’s expense. It takes a toughie to rise above such things, an amnesiac to forget them.

4 May 2018: Tongues of Fire

Do you find Confirmation the most mysterious of the sacraments? Certainly it has taken me many years to get to grips with the Holy Spirit — and aged 81, I am still at the groping stage.

27 April 2018: Worldly goods

It has to be said that “Sink the Bismarck!” with Kenneth More in the lead role was BH’s all-time best film. I tried to steer him to less war-like topics, “You’ve Got Mail,” for example, but he always chose the Bismarck.

20 April 2018: Between the Lines

The weekend Financial Times is delivered on Saturdays by either Billy or Barry. Known familiarly as the FT, it is a pink broadsheet. With what do they dye it, I wonder?

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