Some of you know my wife for 47 years, Anthea.   Three of you call her ‘Mum’.   I call her ‘My love’.   Some of you may not have seen her recently and may be wondering how she’s doing.   I took this the other evening while we were watching a film:

68 - Anthea, Anthea Hendry, wife

Waiting to watch Andy Murray play tennis on BBC 1 the other day I caught the end of ‘Songs of Praise’.   The congregation were singing a hymn where the tune sat uneasily with the lyrics.   Undeterred they sang with solemn piety, even when they came to the words We magnify his strictness with a zeal he will not own.   I don’t know what that means.   Do you?   Did they?   The faces weren’t just solemn and pious … eyes were lent a self-indulgent gleam … the almost-smiles declared we are knowing … we are the chosen … we belong … aren’t we lucky.   I don’t remember faces looking like that in the Buddhist group I joined for a while in Keighley.

Amid spiritual experience I prefer faces that are thoughtful, perhaps surprised.   Faces that show wonder and inspiration rather than triumphalist complacency.

The return of the dawn chorus prompts me to feature this piece from my

m-b-s autobiography, ‘Life and Soul’ (Amazon as book or kindle):


There was the time I woke at five a.m. to the cheerful song of a blackbird.   At first I thought it was the start of the dawn chorus, but the others took no notice.   ‘Oh it’s only that old blackbird banging on again … just ignore it’.   And they went back to sleep.  

But the blackbird continued with its happy song.   Because it could hear another bird just on the edge of its hearing, and that bird could hear another on the edge of its hearing, and so on all over the country and eventually all over the world.

An unofficial dawn chorus … the early birds … sharing their joy at seeing light in the darkness.


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