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BARBICAN LIFE


other more sporting motifs. Here was a worthy ‘happiness break’.


Should I consider the Greek debt


crisis? With any luck, it shall pass, I thought. They are lying to themselves about how much they can afford to spend – but are we any better ? Our national borrowing continued to rise month by month until just recently - we turned the corner a few minutes ago. It is hard to lie to anyone these days – the social media or the satellite in the sky will find you out !


The London Ballet Company’s


Olympic Dreams


at the time, but looking back, it is her elegant execution of those dance steps that has stayed with me. In order to be happy, start early - find some happy adults – you will then know what happiness looks like, and have something to aim for.


Joy and its expression is all the more important in this climate of recession and rising food prices : Sophie Wright, director of The London Ballet Company, does much to take your mind off it – I went to the Bridewell Theatre for 45 minutes on a January lunchtime to look at her interpretation of ‘Olympic Dreams’ – here, in this world of apparent ‘dereliction and dismay’, Sophie has ‘despaired not of our natures’ - and with a surprising depth of interpretation from a young vibrant team, put forward her energetic, beautifully executed portrayal of our forthcoming summer : jostling crowds on the tube, ‘on point’ amongst


The Greeks have borrowed too much, and are not raising enough taxes to pay for what they think they can afford to spend. Did you hear about the taxation issue surrounding swimming pools, (which are taxed) in Athens? The big GPS satellite discovered that there were many more pools than were being declared in Greek tax forms! They sacked the economist who told them that it would be cheaper to pay for a taxi for each railway passenger to take to work, than let the public purse pay the wages of all its rail workers – that was nearly ten years ago! Let Merkel do her work, controlling though it sounds. Let Cameron squirm in his difficult position at the edges. We pay them, after all, to do just that. He has started controlling spending in his UK plans, but it has to fall a further 19% in three years to hit targets, three times the rate for three times as long. Look at all those indices – an inheritance of profligacy – I turned away. My ‘soaring’ had gone well, but I was back on the ground. It was time to look to my household, and try to perform well in the little world in which I live – I would shelve the indices which measure our collective performance for the moment. Shall I rail against the modern celebrity cult, as they had in my TED conversation group, for subverting our definition of values and integrity ? Careful, now – is this so modern a phenomenon? I shall water the plants in my little balcony, and remind myself that it was the Greek physician Euphorbus who gave his name to my spurge – genus of ‘Euphorbia’. The King after whom it was originally named, Juba II (circa 50 BC to 23 AD) ruled a part of Eastern


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Algeria, then called Numidia, and was well known for his scholarly efforts in the environmental and botanical fields…. Endearingly, he was not above following the celebrity cult of his time: he decided to call his discovery after his Greek doctor, because Augustus Ceasar had recently dedicated a statue to Antonio Busa, his personal physician ! (picture of coin, showing Juba II) Plus ca change . . . I liquidised and checked the soup – not bad, a little more


celery salt, methinks, and then it will do. No doubt there is an index measuring the salt in soups, and dictating its ideal levels, but I still like to be guided by my taste buds. It is essential to draw the line somewhere to keep out the ‘noise overload’ out there: Apparently, there is a Prince’s Trust Youth Index, which this year tells us that a lack of structure is likely to be detrimental to school marks and one’s child’s overall wellbeing. . . ‘2,136 16-to-25-year-olds were interviewed, and amongst them, more than a quarter of young people (27 per cent) claim they did not have a set bedtime while growing up. This increases to 39 per cent among those who left school with fewer than five A*-C grades at GCSE or Standard Grades Level 1-3’ we are told. Well, there’s a surprise! Whatever happened to common sense, I wonder. I put on my ‘dreadful brown hat’ as my son calles it, and set off to collect him from school. The very thought of his eager, shining face put a smile on mine. Happily, I started planning our evening meal, stepping off the comfort zone of the Barbican Highwalk into London Wall – tinker, tailor, soldier, spy – no, more likely to be fund manager, computer expert, broker, banker – looked over by St Giles, St Anne’s, St Vedasts, and St Pauls. Blessings galore, if we only stop to ask.


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