It is wise to sidestep discussing religion or politics in polite, or even impolite, society to avoid stirring up a veritable hornets’ nest of opinions.
Mind you, what do House of Lords bishops discuss when they get home for tea? “Did you have a good day in the House, Bish?”, you might ask them. “Sorry, mustn’t discuss it,” they might reply, tetchily.
Life must be pretty boring for them in that regard. But in addition to acne, bodily functions and modern millinery, off-limits discussion subjects often include royal personages.
I’ve fallen foul of that previously, so there’s no way today that I’ll be drawn into commenting on that US-based, egotistical, self-centred, unfeeling, self-righteous, arrogant, noisy twerp of an ex-royal, and his missus, who calculatedly humiliated his close family publicly by making outrageous remarks about what he called the “pain and suffering” of his own upbringing.
It beggars belief that the privacy-seeking prince launched such an attack to seek publicity for his latest high-profile media venture, just a month after his grandfather’s death which also robbed his loyal grandmother of her adored husband.
No matter how much compassion he claims to show for others, especially in the realm of mental health, seemingly he’s prepared to kick others when they’re down to promote his own agenda.
But, as I said, no way am I going to voice my opinion on that. It’s more than my job’s worth. I’d rather focus on family love stories than family war stories.
That said, I’m not a natural romantic. I don’t do soppy. If I came home with flowers and chocolates for Mrs F, she’d immediately conclude I was after only one thing. No, not that. She’d think I was seeking permission to buy yet more stuff for my workshop. She might be right.
Despite me trying to convince her that the pandemic’s “no hugging” and “two-metre distance” rules also applied to married couples living together, she wasn’t convinced.
I’ve got my work cut out now that restrictions are easing. An affectionate hug from Mrs F is an unforgettable experience, as the doctor treating my subsequent rib injuries concluded.
It was inspiring, though, to read that Shetland is to hold its first Pride festival next summer. When you consider the prejudice, bigotry, suspicion and legal sledgehammers that typified life for the LGBTQ community, not least from many religious groups (but I can’t possibly comment on that, as you know), it’s great to see more movement towards acceptance that love and affection between individuals stretches way beyond gender classifications.
Such an event would have been unthinkable, indeed illegal, as recently as 1967. Society still has a way to go, but it has come a long way recently. Good work, Shetland.
Which takes me to a true love story about a young Aberdeenshire couple. I’ll call them Ben and Heather.
With Heather celebrating a significant birthday this week, Ben decided to organise a romantic gesture to mark it. As they’re outdoor enthusiasts, he decided on a dreamy date on the 563-metre Tap o’ Noth, near Rhynie.
It’s Scotland’s second-highest hillfort – the highest is Sutherland’s Ben Griam Beg, not far from Forsinard station – and could date from 2,000BC.
Ben’s intention was to climb the hill while Heather was at work, hide a package including champagne and chocolates there, then magically uncover it on their hillwalking date together next day. Wonderfully romantic.
When he reached the top, he was horrified to find it busy with people. He soon twigged that this was an archaeological team currently carrying out a history-making dig there.
Instantly he faced a perplexing dilemma. Might he be the first person ever to bury something close to where archaeologists were painstakingly excavating? What if the team accidentally uncovered it afterwards and changed the course of history by concluding that ancient Picts weren’t primitive peoples but actually sophisticated summiteers feasting on buried Prosecco and Markies choccies?
Ben took the risk and Heather was ecstatic when the subsequently undisturbed summit surprise was revealed. Pardon the pun, but Ben perfectly Pict the time and place for a loving gesture.
Perhaps a certain ex-royal person could learn from that?
Unfortunately, when it comes to such questions, I couldn’t possibly comment.