Yesterday I threw out a favourite old chair that had become rather decrepit. My wife calls it my pompous chair. It used to belong to an aunt who worked in the antiques trade so had a good eye for furniture though it isn’t especially old. This is me in the chair about five years ago looking suitably pleased with myself.
Despite my fondness for it, it’s always looked a bit out of place in our flats. There’s something about 1980s Buckinghamshire furniture that just doesn’t work in 50s London council flats. As soon as I removed it from our little place in Lewisham, it was like the room breathed a sigh of relief and became brighter. The old Persian rug seemed so much happier now that it didn’t have to compete with the Pompous Chair (I feel I should capitalise it now.) I put it out by our recyling bins thinking that it would be there for weeks but it was gone in twenty minutes. In retrospect I should have put it on ebay but it was nice to contribute to our very active local furniture foraging community. We acquired a solid oak kitchen cupboard this way. It’s nice to put something back.
We tend to dislike in others traits which we see in ourselves and so with me its pomposity. I didn’t get were I am today without recognising my own pompous tendencies. So this year I’m going to make a concerted effort to be more open-minded, to listen more and to try to understand even if I disagree. One of my best friends thinks I’m turning into a barking old colonel and I want to halt this transformation or at least postpone it. Wouldn’t it be nice to still take a delight in new things well into my old age? Perhaps I could be the most open-minded colonel at the Conservative Club.
It’s apt therefore that this year I’m going to be writing a column for the Guardian. I’m hoping that writing for a paper with a different political outlook will make me more broadminded (or it could make me even more decisive. Hanging! no wait rehabilitation! Pride! sorry I mean guilt). I don’t expect to turn into Citizen Smith but it might curb my more Blimpish tendencies. The first column looks at Angostura Bitters and contains a non-alcoholic cocktail that I’ve dubbed the Phil Mitchell.
Here’s to a less pompous 2015!