Thought of the Day

I don't believe in morality, but I believe in ethical conduct as set out by His Holiness the Dalai Lama: "Ethical conduct = a way of behaving that respects others’ right to be happy".

Tuesday, 4 October 2005

Honouring our roots

The blog is like a tamagotchi, if you don't take care of it, nobody would read it and it dies. So, although I am super busy at work facing the year-end madness of sending 3 books (one of which counts 3600 pages!) and 8 loose-leafs for press by November, I feel the Kantian imperative of posting something. This past weekend I had the honour of attending the Lofty reunion and meet the extended Lofty family. Steve's mum has been working for years on the family tree, which I find very fascinating, and for the occasion she proudly showed her researches on a detailed chart with photos, where I appeared as well… in my pyjamas! :o ) Steve's cousin Jennifer is still laughing about it. Funny to notice that all the components of the families, present on the tree, were local: all from Middlesex. The only exception was Lindsey (from America), Steve's aunt Sheila (who moved to Australia) and me. The senior Lofty members were gathered around a table chatting intensely. Amongst them, Steve's grand mum, Eileen May. She is great. In her '80s, in fantastic shape and still very bright. I also think that she is (and not she was) a beautiful woman, which is usually hard to say about an old lady. She plays bowls and admitted that she doesn't like losing. She also told me that her husband, with whom she has been married for over 60 years, was a placid man. But she revealed that once she got angry and threw a chair to him. :o ) Despite this episode, she has got a noble quality in her manners, and I love her cynic and sharp observations, especially when coming from senior people. Steve told me that she has always had a strong character, which still emerges now but it is somehow softened by the action of the age. Well, I would love to age in such a lofty way. I lost both my grand mums in ‘98/’99, and I was particularly close to my paternal grand mum. I have only a granddad left, who is 87. He is in good health, except for his knees which he injured working on the fields for over 60 years. The signs of the sun and fatigue are also impressed on his face. He was always described by my uncle as a harsh person, hard worker, authoritarian and demanding. The person I have met and the person I know now apparently is completely different. He developed a funny sense of humour and a detachment from life which is proper of the old wise. He used to be a wine producer and a peasant. Well, he thinks he still is. Although still mentally capable, he starts forgetting things and thinks that someone is carrying on taking care of his land and producing wine for familiar use. Sadly, this is not the case: his land was sold, and nobody in the family is carrying on the tradition. At the moment, he is worried about his nuts. he still owns 65 nut trees (true) and is concerned that the wild pigs could destroy them (?). He found out a solution: to kill one of the pigs and leave the corpse there so that the other pigs would sense the danger and stay away ... How sweet. I think I am going to call him one of these days. Our telephone conversation always starts in this way: Me: NONNO!! [shouting because he is deaf on one hear] = GRAND DAD!! Him: Pronti! [instead of “pronto”!] = Hello! Me: COME STAI? = HOW ARE YOU? Him: Sto rittu! E tu? [Dialect from Marche; in Italian would be: "Sto in piedi"] = I am standing, and you? Me: STO BENE. TI CHIAMO DA LONDRA. = I AM FINE. I AM CALLING FROM LONDON. Him: Pare che stai qui! Che dice gli inglesi? = It seems you are calling from here! What news from the English people? … ... always the same incipit...

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