That’s the Spirit

It’s been five years since I posted here. Five whole years. And what a journey I’ve been on in the meantime, quite literally.

Since last tapping some words on this blog (which I started over 8 years ago), I’ve visited 150 RNLI stations on The Lifeboat Station Project.

Once the restrictions are lifted — whenever that may be — I can’t wait to complete the remaining 88 lifeboat stations with renewed vigour.

A SPLENDID TORCH

After such an intense few years, and as we career into Lockdown 2.0, I’ve enjoyed the headspace to lift the dust sheets from these pages and breathe life back into them.

There are still a few tweaks to be made but things are mostly shipshape again.

Then came a timely tweet by Michael Warburton yesterday featuring a clip of Jeff Goldblum impressively reciting a quote by playwright and Nobel Prize winner, George Bernard Shaw:

Here’s the quote in full:


This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognised by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no “brief candle” for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

GEORGE BERNARD SHAW

Magnificent, isn’t it?

The words really tap into a simple sentiment that I consider to be vital more than ever in times like these — the sentiment of community spirit.

To my mind, community provides hope and, with hope, we can function.

A READYMADE SYMPHONY

Like Michael’s tweet, George Bernard Shaw’s quote seems particularly timely as we settle into our next lockdown.

It had me thinking back to the last one and the weekly clap for carers ritual. It gave me goosebumps every time, making me think I really must record this.

So, on the fifth Thursday at 8pm, I set up my microphones in the garden in readiness.

As it transpired, I couldn’t have chosen a better occasion. The moment was perfect from start to finish, a readymade symphony:

The recording begins with a chirruping bird, then the beat of a distant pan. A lone clapper soon becomes hundreds, dogs bark, car horns sound, tambourines clatter, tubas parp, all emblazoned with fireworks in the middle distance. Glorious!

And, as I listened to so many humans uniting in our extended neighbourhood, I thought…

that’s the spirit.

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