Having not written anything for a while, here’s a little piece of foolishness: 

We were enjoying dinner in our hotel, a reasonable 3 star. I mostly listen these days, never a bad thing, particularly in my case. Partly this is related to my increasing hearing problems, which I sort of overcome with hearing aids.. Whilst I’m fine with one on one conversations, ours was a table of seven, which can make it harder for me to slot into the general chat. At some point I had been increasingly exercised with what I saw as a major failing on the hotel’s catering front and I decided it was time to have my say.

A lull in the conversation gave me the opportunity. ‘THE PROBLEM WITH FOREIGNERS IS …’ I stopped in mid flow conscious that the whole restaurant had turned its attention onto me. Spoons and forks hovered in mid air; everyone was keen to hear what the problem with foreigners was.

Anita, stepped into the breach quickly, ‘You’re shouting again’. In any noisy place I do have a problem adjusting my voice level, and I often start out a bit on the loud side.

Sotto voce: ‘The problem with foreigners is that they have no understanding of the importance of having marmalade on the breakfast table.’ My table relaxed, understanding my frustration. 

For 3 days there were many kinds of jam on the table; honey was plentiful, but no marmalade. On the second day a marmalade raid had been launched from a neighbouring table to ours, to no avail. People were buying marmalade in the town and furtively bringing jars of the stuff to the table. I’ve had this before. There’s a Best Western where I used to meet a friend monthly for breakfast. One time they inexcusably ran out of marmalade and ever after we brought our own. 

Of course after I had enlightened my table quietly, none of the other tables understood that my complaint was essentially frivolous. This reminded me of Father Ted pretending to be Chinese in a delightful clip on Youtube. Going out to make amends for his faux pas, he’s greeted by a parishioner. ‘I hear you’re racist now Father’. ’No I’m not racist.’ ‘Oh, everyone says you are. Should we all be racist now Father? What’s the official line the Church is taking?’ The clip ends delightfully with a lady waving her shopping bags, jumping up and down and talking about foreigners taking our jobs. ‘Good for you Father Ted, good for you’.

Of course I’m not racist; I just wish they’d get up to speed on the marmalade front. I shall end this nonsense on a positive note from a favourite author and poet:


To be grateful for what is,

instead of underscoring what is not.

To find good amid the unwanted aspects of life,

without denying the presence of the unwanted.

To focus on beauty in the little things of life,

as well as being deliberate about the great beauties

of art, literature, music, and nature.

To be present to one’s own small space of life,

while stretching to the wide world beyond it. …

— Joyce Rupp, The Circle of Life

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