losing our tempers – a grand collection of old cars


Friday 12 August 1664

….I to White Hall and did much business at a Tangier Committee; where, among other things, speaking about propriety of the houses there, and how we ought to let the Portugeses I have right done them, as many of them as continue, or did sell the houses while they were in possession, and something further in their favour, the Duke in an anger I never observed in him before, did cry, says he, “All the world rides us, and I think we shall never ride anybody.”…

Dr Martin Israel. I am particularly struck by part of his bio. Martin Spencer Israel was born on April 30 1927 in Johannesburg. His father, an ophthalmic surgeon, took him to the liberal synagogue, and at the age of three he felt called to “a lonely life in order to discover life’s meaning”. As a child he spent much time in the company of African servants in whom, he said later, he saw “an authenticity of character absent from Europeans”.

I once asked a very wise mentor of mine, a priest called Dr Martin Israel,  (1927-2007)what was the difference between murderers and us and he thought for a moment and said one word “self-control”. He spent some time talking to prisoners so he should know what he was talking about. We give away to violent anger we lose our self-control or as we say we just ‘lost it’.

What to do? Emotions are part of our make up. It is very British but very self-defeating to stuff it all down which I’m sure in the long term does as much damage as anything. We could always walk away or leave the scene but that solves nothing, except minimising the risk of being arrested for assault or saying something that you later regret.

it could be a good approach to examine why we get angry in the first place and an obvious candidate would be frustration, and the feeling of not being listened to, or the feeling of being ridiculed. If there is this type of history it attains some of the characteristics of a septic wound and it does not require much of a stimulus to provoke a reaction. I suppose you could also define losing your temper as a statement of impotence.

This is where preparation for life is so important possibly taking the form of discussing your feelings with a trusted friend if you have a trusted friend or a counsellor if you do not. If you can somehow rehearse what it feels like to be challenged or annoyed by somebody, then you can avoid losing your temper in the first place. The loss of control seldom makes you happy indeed quite the converse. People don’t do it for fun they do it because they cannot help it so it would seem logical to say that the more self-knowledge you have less likely it is for you to fall into traps. For example to discover that a difference of opinion with someone reminds you of the excessively critical nature of your father, and the beating you got when you were young. Isn’t that something you could dispose of? Also, another important point to bear in mind is that you will lose the trust of your friends because they never know when you will blow up next and you will therefore tend to attract other angry people.

Eckhart Tolle (Americans please note the E at the end of his surname is silent). I’m on his mailing list and he sends a very apposite phrase on a weekly basis. Today’s is “Incessant mental noise prevents you finding the realm of inner stillness that is inseparable from being”

Last night, my wife sat up in the dew of the night to watch the shooting stars, it being the season. She saw four or five. The night was clear and we became more aware of the planes with their bright lights coming into land at Bristol airport. This is pure boys toys stuff on my part but I am on a website called www.flightradar.com which shows the exact position and altitude and destination of each plane in the sky. I can then correlate the data on my screen with seeing the actual plane flying over. The site also shows me what it looks like from the cockpit when landing. The fact that you can do this with any plane landing anywhere in the world is quite mind blowing but I suppose most of us get so blase about technology these days we don’t give it a second thought.

I have noticed that it is far easier to write material on a Sunday morning and I’m sure that without being aware of it I do get psychically contaminated by the busy thoughts of other people. It is normally quiet in our little bungalow but this morning it is “quiet quiet”, I could almost say peaceful, and I’m very tempted to spend more time writing and reading. I can understand why people go to monasteries.

Anyway, I wasn’t intending to write 750 words but sometimes they just write themselves with comparatively little effort on my part. I find the diary of Samuel Pepys very inspiring and triggering for digging into my vast memory resource which we all have of course.

I do very much enjoy giving compliments to people. Whilst in the grounds of  Wells Cathedral, I saw a lady dressed entirely in a 1960s type lemon two-piece suit with a hat to match and I could not resist telling her how lovely she looked. She responded that this was part of her normal dressage whereupon I responded I would love to see her when she really makes an effort to dress up for a special occasion. After I have given the compliment I always walk away with a smile. I do not want anything back so to speak.

Also while I was having my trip yesterday in Wells market, I bought an asparagus and cheese quiche which I consumed on the spot. After taking the first bite I realised that the person who made them had an understanding of food because together with the normal ingredients there were small halves of button tomatoes on top, well cooked, which lightened the whole lot up and made the whole thing a meal in itself. I went back and told the stall holder that it was the one of the best quiches I have ever had and indeed a work of art. The chap said he would pass it on to the cook.

I wonder why we cannot spend more energy encouraging each other. It does not cost anything, makes people feel human and valued, and just makes that little contribution towards a more humane society. My theme on a good day for dealing with people is encourage encourage encourage though admittedly you do need a starting point of something they have done in the first place. Also, I need to feel that the person is good tempered as in the discussion above. I adopt the same attitude to artists.  When giving a compliment, I don’t think you should just give a bland complement but look at what they’re trying to do and with your remark try to help them forward in their endeavours.

So we are off to the Camerton car show or as it is called the “Norton Radstock Classic Vehicle Somerset” show.

I think I’d better make this a separate entry otherwise this page is going to be ridiculously long what with the many illustrations that will undoubtedly appear.


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