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Rock Maze
  • Writer's pictureNeil

God and the French

I have a confession, I don’t understand religion. I think I respect those for whom religion is a part of their lives, it’s just beyond my comprehension. As far as I can see it’s just problematic. France, as far as the state is concerned, is completely secular. You can only get married by the Marie and children can only attend state schools. You can’t bring religious iconography or garb into a state office or building. It all stems from the Catholic church becoming too powerful so the state and the church completely separated. I’m not sure whether that’s a good thing ur no but I bet it solves a whole load of problems.

History moment........The 1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and State (French: Loi du 9 décembre 1905 concernant la séparation des Églises et de l'État) was passed by the Chamber of Deputies on 9 December 1905. Enacted during the Third Republic, it established state secularism in France.

As a good Cornish boy I had a Methodist start in life more Methodist than many. I don’t think dad had much religion in him but mum had enough to make sure all her sons had a plentiful dose. Back in the day we went to Sunday school every Sunday, got involved in Chapel Services. Alcohol and smoking were completely infra dig. I’m surprised we were allowed sugar in our tea.

Another bit of history ....... One of the key figures in the abolition of slavery movement was John Wesley, who was one of the founders of Methodism.... Many slaves were used in sugar production and Mr Wesley thought that a boycott of sugar by devout Methodists would be a good way of showing disapproval of a trade which he despised.

As a boy there were two things completely frowned upon in our household. Smoking and alcohol. So there’s no surprise that I smoked like a train from my late teens until 25 years ago. I’ll do the maths for you, I was 38 when I stopped. Any permanent damage? Yes, of course there is. I’ve been diagnosed with borderline chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). I also embraced alcohol with a vengeance. Is it any surprise my liver is punishing me? As for other, more illicit substances, I’ve tried some, even grown some, but generally been faithful to alcohol.

As an aside our mother had some other rather unhelpful ideas. At least one of my brothers wanted to play in Bugle Silver Band but because practice was on a Sunday or they played in pub gardens or some went to the pub after band practice it was deemed “unsuitable".

Similarly we were all had piano lessons and some of us had violin lessons but, at least in my case, I wasn’t allowed guitar lessons. Far too rock and roll!

Do I regret the punishment I put my body through? Not at all. A futile exercise anyway, I can’t change anything now. So I’ve got knackered lungs and liver. Thankfully I didn’t get involved in sport. So no bad hips, no arthritis, no brain injury (football, rugby, boxing) and I didn't have to suffer the disgusting changing room smell of sweat and liniment. I win!

Are there things that I wish I had done differently? Well no actually. I’ve not got enough time left to have any regrets. What I can do is continue with the things I want to do and maybe still try something new.

Since my first diagnosis I have loosened up my inhibitions a bit. I learnt to swim at 60. I’m not very good but I’m not so scared. An effect of this is I’ve also got a couple of kayaks, buoyancy aid, a wetsuit and a whole lot of respect for the water.

Is there more to do? Well if I stick sensibly within my capabilities I can continue baking, walking and doing things to the house.

Lockdown is really frustrating, probably much more for me than you. You can plan for life after lockdown or whatever residual restrictions there may be. I just hope to see the restrictions lifted enough to live a little while I still can.

In the short term I can still do a few things. I can heat up the hot tub, why not?

In the medium term? I would really like to get out in the motorhome and even the kayaks.

In the long term? There is no long term.

I don’t really have a list of things I want to do or try. I don’t have any secret desires I need to satisfy (well maybe a couple).

I just want to see my family and friends as much as I can.

The Coffee Club is one way of doing that so don't forget;

Topic: Coffee Club 26 Jan

Time: Jan 26, 2021 10:00 AM Universal Time UTC

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