“What’s libertarian?” Beloved couldn’t give me a definite answer. We were both guessing.
It’s late Sunday morning and we are having breakfast. I must hurry because I want to watch a programme on German TV at 10 am our time, a weekly discussion on socio-political and cultural topics. At breakfast I invariably open my IPad to check the day’s news: on the BBC, The Guardian online and HuffPost. The three teenaged girls who appear to have run away from home to join ISIS make the headlines. They’re either still in Turkey or have crossed the border into Syria by now. Their families are distraught.
“Authorities Failed Girls”, screamed one headline. Instantly I get cross. Is no one responsible for themselves anymore? Or have fathers and mothers abdicated responsibility for their underage children and expect the authorities to take over?
So then I thought of Libertarianism . I looked it up on Google. I often look up definitions on Google that I used to look up in dictionaries. I don’t think I like it. I like the idea of the weak and helpless being safe in the arms of a benevolent society until such time as they can help themselves again.
Getting back to the three teenagers. Apparently there are dozens of young people from European countries following the call. We all know that ISIS revels in unspeakable acts of cruelty and barbarity. They say these young people are brainwashed into joining; what kind of mental deficiency allows them to overlook these acts? We all have this pat little phrase: ‘I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy’. I expect we even mean it some of the time. If these girls and others like them know what they’re doing they deserve everything they’re going to get.
The discussion programme on German TV was on the Police. Your friend and helper in times of trouble on the one hand and the abuser of power on the other. It was a lively programme, spoilt for me by the sole politician member who tried to monopolise it by dragging party politics into it. I shout at the screen: ‘yes, yes’ we all know that’, 'you are repeating yourself', 'that’s not the point’, but he paid no attention to me. Politicians never do. The moderator wagged his finger at him to shut him up. Do these people not know how annoying they are? Hides like a rhinoceros, politicians.
I was glad when it was time for Sunday lunch. We have a thing about Sunday lunch. It’s special. I cook meat and several vegetables, roast in winter, and there’s often a starter and aways a pudding. Wine at lunch is not a good idea because I must walk Millie in the afternoon but the weather was foul and I knew I wasn’t going to go far, so I treated myself to an extra glass. Beloved has sherry beforehand and wine with, but then he only has to fall into his chair afterwards, where he promptly nods off. I like our Sunday lunches, they are cosy and companionable, with a table cloth, good china and glassware and candles on dark days. We had roast pork, roast root vegetables and apple tart today.
The bottom field was awash. Sue was sloshing through with Jake, a gorgeous long-haired golden retriever, about 100 years old. Jake never misses plunging into the river, Sue was racing ahead, waving at me from a distance. Normally we stop and chat. Not today. Brian was throwing tennis balls for his two collies, Murphy and Badger - Brian likes Irish stout. I lifted my golfing umbrella slightly so I could see him. ‘Filthy weather’, ‘that wind goes right through you’, etc. "Go on, get on home. Have a nice cup of tea", Brian advised me. Nice cups of tea figure high on an Englishman’s list of priorities on a day like today.
Millie didn’t seem to mind having her walk curtailed. Poor girl has to go in for yet another operation next Thursday. A growth on her belly, not a fat lump this time. I’m being extra nice to her, feeding her lots of biscuits. If she gets too fat she can’t have an operation, so I’d better watch it.
J.K. Rowling has written a couple of thrillers. I finished one of them lying on the sofa, duties done for the day. I never read her Harry Potter books, nor ‘A Casual Vacancy’, her first book for adults. The latter has been turned into a TV series; I saw the first episode, didn’t like it, and gave up on it. The thrillers aren’t great either but, what the heck, I’ll try anything once.
Which brings me to supper, very light because of the large lunch, eaten in front of another German TV programme, a cop show. English cop shows are cosy and bloodless and usually portray genteel murderers in picturesque villages, solved by bumbling policemen with a side kick who makes inane remarks. German cop shows are nastier, grittier, full of big city realism and the kind of murderer you want caught, hanged, drawn and quartered. I know which one I prefer. The English variety is soporific, asks nothing except suspension of disbelief, an ability to overlook wooden dialogue and looks pretty. What more could you ask on a wet evening in February.
There you have it, Sunday chez Friko. It might make a fitting punishment for my worst enemy, being bored to tears should describe it adequately.