Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Still a Young Fogey I

On a rare personal note, allow me to put away my smoking pipe and pull out a stogie, for today is the first day of the rest of my life. I've no idea why I think turning 40 is somehow a special cause for celebration, something that can happen to anyone, only the satisfaction, I suppose, that it does require a little luck and a little patience to make it thus far. After all, I've had to wait all of forty years.

40I'm not sure I have much in the way of wisdom to part with today, but I will implore you not to listen to the cultivators of perpetual youth, the ones who superficially say 40 is the new 30. Our generation has long been programmed to dread getting older, to dread the coming autumn of our youth, so we pretend we have the power to slow down time and turn back the clock. I say we little restless children of the summer of 68 should get well and truly over it! No need to rush things, that's for sure, but no need to regret the best things that can only come with the fullness of time: knowledge, experience, maturity and wisdom. I should think that a mature culture would want to worship the elderly and the gifts reserved for age.

So we should look forward to getting older and wiser, and for celebrating more days like this one. You know for the lucky ones, they do come with the upside reward of receiving a couple of fine bottles of splendidly aged single malt scotch from those you love. I pray I will be one of the lucky ones today.


Mark said...

Happy birthday sir! And may you have many more :)

Matt said...

Very best birthday wishes!

David Byers said...

They say life begins at 40, so in a way you have just been born, and that means I turn one this year!

Kipling said...

Congratulations Beaverbrook. You are a man born in the Sixties but not a man of the Sixties. There must be a Chesterton quote that would be appropriate for this occasion but I can't recall it. Knowing the readership of this blog I'm sure we'll get it in the comments shortly.

What is it about your generation anyway? Fear of death? Fear of responsibility? Fear of basic civility? I am a child of the Reagan-Thatcher years - AMEN! - and so do not really understand.

Beaverbrook said...

Thank you, gentlemen. I'll have you know I spent much of yesterday afternoon at The Duke of Kent, washing down a toasted barbeque beef sandwhich - yes, a lunch fit for a queen - with more than a few pints of draft on tap. So please excuse my delay in responding. No fear of death here.

Quotes: Read T.S. Eliot's Little Gidding

..."Let me disclose the gifts reserved for age
To set a crown upon your lifetime's effort.
First, the cold friction of expiring sense
Without enchantment, offering no promise
But bitter tastelessness of shadow fruit
As body and soul begin to fall asunder.
Second, the conscious impotence of rage
At human folly, and the laceration
Of laughter at what ceases to amuse.
And last, the rending pain of re-enactment
Of all that you have done, and been; the shame
Of motives late revealed, and the awareness
Of things ill done and done to others' harm
Which once you took for exercise of virtue..."

And if this clears youthful eyes of their illusion too harshly, then I suggest more of the same:

Edmund Waller:

"The soul's dark cottage, batter'd and decay'd,
Lets in new light through chinks that Time hath made:
Stronger by weakness, wiser men become
As they draw near to their eternal home.
Leaving the old, both worlds at once they view,
That stand upon the threshold of the new."

Churchill's Parrot said...

Congrats to you Mr. Beaverbrook!

Tis true life begins at 40. One's skull has scarely hardened prior to. Around 55 it takes a bit of a turn towards slowing, however, which then continues until about 65. At 70 one is certain the grim reaper lurks around every corner until 75 or so, when a stange new youthful giddiness (gallows humor?) kicks in. By 80 you're all ready to start over again (unless, of course, you are dead.)

90 is reminiscent of a second adolescence but without all the asininity and genital-obsession. 100 is just plain funny.

This brings us to 108 - our current station. Feeling a bit bloated and gassy today but otherwise all goes it quite swimmingly.

There you have it - the forecast for your next 68 years should you choose to accept them.

Happy Birthday my good man!



J.K. Baltzersen said...

"Lord Beaverbrook,"

Happy birthday, sir!

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday. Life may not begin at 40, but there's a decent argument that substance starts somewhere in that vicinity. I'm shocked to learn that I'm older than you. I assumed you were a distinguished gentleman in your early 70's. (I mean that in the best way, of course.)