Something odd happened yesterday. It was a busy weekend. Some of the battered remnants of the South African book trade got together for a lunchtime party on Saturday. It was fun. The sort of fun that saw my post for the day being hammered out at 2 in the morning, with one eye closed. I made it just in time (2 o’clock for us is not quite midnight in WordPress land, wherever that may be). I’m still a bit nervous to go back and see what I wrote. WordPress has not closed my blog or banned me for life, so maybe it’s best just to leave well enough alone.
One of the aspects of parenting no-one warns you about is that it is no longer fun to have the sort of party that leaves you one-eyed at 2 in the morning. Or maybe that’s not quite right. It’s great fun. Until, at five the next morning, a pair of short but extremely vocal co-inhabitants of your home start a spirited debate about who gets to use the fluffy purple blanket. There is no mercy. No allowance for the fact that you might be feeling a little fragile. You will be bullied for Fruit Loops. Your little companions will cheerfully walk right past the kitchen to pry open one of your eyes to explain that you need to go and get them a glass of water because they are much too busy to. You will be very, very sorry about your little party.
And sorry I was. But I’ve always been a great believer in the idea that if you bring something down on your own head, you don’t get any sympathy. I fetched another fluffy purple blanket. I went through and made Fruit Loops. I told my little companions to bugger off and fetch their own damn water. Everyone has limits. And then I hammered out the post for the day. It wasn’t easy. The sun was unusually bright, and the noise of my fingers on the keyboard was nearly overwhelming (I think there’s something wrong with my laptop!) I had to be quick about it, too. We had another lunchtime party (our lives are a never-ending whirlwind of excitement.)
But I did it! I got the post out. I hit the publish button as we walked out the door. My post-a-day challenge remains on track. Why am I telling you this? I’m trying to explain why a quiet little post keeping people updated about my current endeavour should have been tagged “Winston Churchill”. But I can’t. It’s a mystery. I certainly didn’t put it there. I know that WordPress sometimes suggests some potential tags. Maybe one of those might have snuck in by mistake. A slip of the finger.
There’s a problem with that though. I reread the article. I checked all the pictures. There is nothing even faintly connected to Churchill in it. There isn’t even any mention of the war. Or England. Or fighting people on beaches. Churchill simply doesn’t belong there. It’s like I plucked his name out of the ether and slapped it down randomly on my post.
And on reflection, I think that’s exactly what happened. Whether you like him or not, Churchill’s was a great spirit. He was a dominant force in his own time, and he changed the world forever. Maybe people like that don’t go away. Maybe they stick around for ever, seeking out bloggers in weakened states and inserting themselves in their posts. I’m going to test this. Next Saturday I’m going to send the kids off to my mother’s house and see if I can get hold of Ghengis Khan by drinking three bottles of wine.
I don’t think it will work. Ghengis doesn’t belong here. He was all business. Not the good Sir Winston. He had a sense of humour. He was fun, in a terrifying sort of way. He was, in fact, a complete loony. Yes, he did some war stuff, but far more importantly he was obsessed with cheese. He liked a drink. In fact he liked quite a few drinks. If I follow through with my Ghengis experiment, maybe all I’ll get is old Winston again. And he was an enthusiastic amateur nudist. No other head of state has been seen naked by so many people, up to and including FDR.
I like people like that. He must have been a handful. He was certainly not a dry old soul who sat around signing treaties and redrawing maps. He was a rock-star. A hooligan. A force of nature. And if my blog is going to be haunted by an unquiet spirit, I’m glad it’s his!