Monday, July 14, 2014
A busy weekend
Paul came over to my place at lunchtime on Saturday to have a look at Joe's new arrangements. Joe has moved into what was my sitting room and has crammed an amazing amount of stuff into it. He must have done some steady accumulating during the years he was in Canberra. In his new quarters he has his own bathroom and toilet so he has moved a step up from living in student digs.
Shortly thereafter we all went for a dosa lunch. Anne joined us. Dosas are always greatly appreciated.
After lunch we call came back to my place and sat around a table in my garden over cups of tea and coffee. We had some pretty heavy discussions with my explaining Hitler's rise to power, the intrinsically authoritarian nature of Leftism, IQ differences and such things. They had got very little enlightenment on such things from the usual sources. The fact that Fascism was "One big happy family" socialism versus Communism's "Class war" socialism would have been completely new to them.
Then on Sunday evening we had one of our big Indian dinners at our usual place to mark my birthday. For a variety of reasons some of the family group were unable to come but there were still 12 adults at table plus kids. Since we all know one another well it was a very happy and convivial occasion. George was there making his usual sterling contribution.
Paul was in high spirits and kept us all livened up. One of the things we discussed was the poverty of a modern school education. Paul was particularly critical of how little he had learned about history, English history in particular. At one stage I recited a few verses of Cowper's "Boadicea" and Paul felt incensed that he had been taught so little about those events. He had been taught Australian history almost exclusively, when the far more important history of Britain should have been outlined to him. Anne and I assured him that it was not always so. We in the older generation had been taught plenty of British history. George commented that when he had studied history in Britain years ago, history had started at the beginning, with ziggurats and the like. Paul felt mortified that he had never heard of them.
But it was a jolly meeting nonetheless. Very little alcohol was consumed. We were able to have fun without it and the conversation never stopped.
Joe had a good time with Dusty and Sahara, his nephew and niece. He plays with them much as I used to do with the earlier generation of kids. Matthew accidentally knocked a picture off the wall at one stage which embarrassed him but no harm was done.
Anne had good chats with Ken, as she often does. They have similar interests.
I think that what I enjoyed the most about the dinner is that it was in a sense traditional. I have been hosting dinners for family at that restaurant at least since 2006 so the tradition is not a long one -- though it is the life of a large dog! And I have put on dinners for various occasions -- sometimes more than once a year. And the recent dinner felt exactly the same as all those that went before. Some people could regard that as boring but I saw it as a pleasing affirmation of continuity.