I met some friends on Saturday for a four hour lunch.
When I first arrived at Ruth's house, Ruth and Annie were discussing Melvyn Bragg's radio programme in which he and two experts had been talking about the political activist, philosopher and revolutionary Thomas Paine. They said "Sit down. We can't break off, or we'll lose the thread."
In the course of the afternoon we covered:
Melvyn Bragg's expertise,
the author of a Paine biography,
the bleakness or otherwise of Alice Munro,
whether or not a short story writer can go deep,
Jeremy Corbyn's love life,
optimism/pessimism about the future,
whether older people like us have always felt the world was falling apart vs the idea that the world really is falling apart,
what we thought of David Bowie and whether or not he warranted the media coverage when he died,
Bob Dylan and other heroes,
Colm Toibin's Brooklyn and Nora Webster,
what an old man that Annie saw on the bus was thinking,
why Ruth won't have an answering machine,
how cheering is the company of children,
how we thought about bad news when we were young - maybe scared (e.g. nuclear threat) but certainly not depressed as we are now,
the way the news is reported,
how a constant diet of news is poisonous to the spirit,
the superficial treatment of current affairs on BBC Radio,
which Radio 4 presenters drive us nuts,
whether the real trouble is that we have all been listening to Radio 4 for too many years,
the ingredients of Waitrose cakes,
people who won't face unpalatable facts,
how fed up we are with cooking,
which interpretation of the iChing is the best,
whether we are just a bunch of grumpy old women,
how I am (apparently) in the habit of saying "Well, that's the last book I am going to write"
how long we've been meeting (23 years).
These are just the topics I can remember two days later. But to sum up, the lunch was the least interesting part.
Another interesting conversation I had was with Tate and Gil. Sadly I am not allowed to report on this. But I can tell you that they think I'm improving on their car crash XBox game - Burnout. Yay!
Lastly, I talked to Lux on Facetime who was soooo excited about her wobbly tooth. I woke up to this photo of her sans tooth, going to bed, beside herself at the thought of the upcoming visit from the tooth fairy.
Melvyn Bragg may be the BBC's answer to Renaissance Man, but I am obviously Derbyshire's Renaissance Woman - I can have erudite conversations about Thomas Paine, Alice Munro, Burnout and the Tooth Fairy.