No one really knows, of course, what's going to happen in Europe. All one can do is list the possibilities and then attach probability factors to each of these. And then wait on events to see which possibilities move up or down. As Edward Fitzgerald (with a little help from Omar Khayyam) put it:- 'Tis but a chequerboard of nights and days, wherein Destiny with men for pieces plays. So it is that events this week have increased the probability that Greece will exit the eurozone. Or so some observers believe. Whereas others possibly don't. Or say they don't. I hope that's all clear.
As a good example of what I mean - After I wrote the above paragraph I read in today's Times that:- Prospects for a Greek exit from the Euro soared last night when the rising left-wing star of Greek politics moved to force new elections, which he is expected to win. And elsewhere I read that:- Greece's deputy prime minister has said the country will run out of money in six weeks unless it honours its bitterly-disputed EU bailout deal. Raising the obvious questions for the EU elite- Which can do we have to kick today? And, How far down the road? And, Will anyone believe what we say?
Occasionally, one realises that a particular word - possibly an old one, possibly a new one - has become not just fashionable but almost de rigueur among certain sections of society. In time, these words become so common as to be pretty meaningless. Such a word is mindfulness. Here it is appearing in the program of artistic events taking place in Liverpool next Friday night:- Take a walk under the stars in the candle-lit labyrinth: this ancient symbol of creativity and mindfulness. So what the hell is it? Well, a number of things, apparently:-
- The trait of staying aware of (paying close attention to) your responsibilities.
- A spiritual faculty that is considered to be of great importance in the path to enlightenment.
- A concept which refers to a psychological quality that involves bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis. Or involves:-
- Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally. Or involves:-
- A kind of non-laborative, nonjudgmental, present-centered awareness in which each thought, feeling or sensation that arises in the attentional field is acknowledged and accepted as it is. Or:-
- The first component of mindfulness involves the self-regulation of attention so that it is maintained on immediate experience, thereby allowing for increased recognition of mental events in the present moment. The second component involves adopting a particular orientation toward one’s experiences in the present moment, an orientation that is characterized by curiosity, openness, and acceptance.
So, there you have it. It's been around since the late 70s and will be with us for a good while, yet. I suspect. You can, of course, buy dozens of books on the theme of mindfulness. In fact, I'm thinking of writing one myself. Once I've figured out how to pen 200 pages of bilge and bullshit.
More here on Pioz, the most indebted village in Spain, and how it attained this status. I doubt there are many people in Spain not living within a stone's throw of an empty street or block of flats. I have not one but two within casting distance. As readers will know, it took six years (yes, six years!) of noise and dust to construct one of them.
I'd rather be in Spain than the UK but there are, of course, some small compensations to living in the Britain. Naturally, they're the obverse of things that (still) irritate me in Spain. For example:-
1. In the supermarket, there's always someone at hand for questions about where things are.
2. They always know the answer. And they call me Sir.
3. No one but no one ever asks for my ID card or makes me sign anything when I pay by debt/credit card.
Crossing the road to get to my regular café this afternoon, I reached the other side just as a group of fancy-dressed students was arriving there from the pub up the road, en route to a night out in town. One of them - a lady with a pint glass in her hand - hailed me in a friendly manner:-
Hey, mate. Are you with us?
That's just what I'm asking myself.
Ah, British repartee at its very best.
Finally . . . My daughter, Hannah, told me last night that my bedroom smelled like a hamster cage. I said it was because of the pot being smoked in the flat below, She demurred and suggested I open a window occasionally. I replied that, if I did, she'd lose her house-cat, who sneaks into my room when she thinks I'm not watching. And, in my view, is almost certainly responsible for the smell. Unless I have hamsters under the floorboards. You may scoff but I did have once, when my hamster and her 15 young escaped from their cage. And, no, I didn't get them all back. Chelford may now have a colony running into the millions.