The merits of enduring love by New Forest Mark and Hugh

Here's to happiness

Mark and Hugh signoff 600x400

New Forest Mark and Hugh reflect on the Prime Minister's marriage and consider the merits of enduring love.

Ed note: This week Hugh and Mark consider the beauty of bonding, being I think rather generous to our PM but who's to gainsay them, we sure need more kindness around in these cantankerous times!

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As one or two of you may be aware our Prime Minister recently married his fiancée in a very private and intimate ceremony. It says a great deal for his team that those that were in on the plans didn’t spill the beans, or the rice. There’s loyalty in their small cabal and I’m sure that the couple were hugely grateful for the privacy they enjoyed during such a private moment.

 We humans are not the only ones who bond for the long term; love stories abound and not just for us, animals are also more than capable of enduring love.

Til death do us part

Not all of us are lucky enough to get the whole ‘getting together’ thing right at the first attempt. There are those who are fortunate enough to nail it at the first go and I think you have to agree that they invariably appear to be sickeningly content and happy. As we stroll past their perfect house with manicured lawns we yearn to hear the crash of china against a wall, the deafening ungodly language and the loud slam of the kitchen door as, once more, he is banished to the shed. But no, there isn’t the distinctive chink of broken crockery as it slides from the dustpan into the bin. There are no cracked windows, red wine stains on the net curtains or broken wine glasses on the lawn. Irritatingly, despite the hefty bribe of half a packet of Hobnobs and a mug of sweet tea the milkman has nothing juicy to report. Some couples are simply blissfully happy.

I reckon we ought to put to one side our grudges and wish the newly weds all the happiness in the world. When all is said and done they have a baby and they are in love and if that doesn’t make us happy then nothing will.

Monogamy? It’s for the birds

I sometimes ponder that birds might be baffled that we humans can tell one another apart, after all, they all look the same. The national treasure that is David Attenborough has documented some almost unbelievable rituals. In one episode concerning Emperor penguins his team filmed the males which were stood (on ice if you please) with the new-born chick nestled in a special pouch above the feet. The females were away for months on a long hunting expedition in order to regain their strength after the gestation and birth. On their return they waddled across miles of ice in order to rejoin their enormous colony; after searching for a short time they found their long term partners. Incredible. Blimey, after just five pints at the local I struggle to find my own missus.

Too much of a good thing

Couples that have been forced together because of this awful lockdown have fared one of two ways. Some have found that they have enjoyed one another’s company so much more than before with cups of tea in bed, sharing the cooking and having so much more time for the garden. In the Times today was an amusing story of couples who have had so much time on their hands that they have devised novel strategies on how to cheat at Bridge! Apparently the Bridge Grand Wizards (or whatever they’re called) have barred the couple from competing for two years! You just know that you’re reading a British newspaper when you come across an article like that.

By contrast there have been couples who have found the recent extended imprisonment the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Previously the brief separations granted by hobbies and pursuits had been a godsend; now however because of enforced and extended close contact the grim reality of the loveless marriage has been laid bare. Some couples have found lockdown to be the catalyst for change.

As with most separations this could be seen as bittersweet. The sorrow of parting might be offset by the relief of a complete change; a new direction. Having recently suffered such trauma I wish them all the best. It wasn’t easy for me and I doubt it will be easy for them but life is all about beginnings and endings.

Live without you? I’d rather die

I expect you’re the same as me in finding stories of couples that cannot live without one another unbearably touching. There are many accounts of the bereaved partner dying not long after losing their loved one.

I was chatting to a doctor friend in a pub and we were discussing wellness. He looked me in the eye and told me to never pursue a medical claim; if I did I would never get better and that he’d seen this happen so many times. What he was saying of course was that our attitudes have a huge influence on our health. If we convince ourselves we are ill then we shall remain ill; the opposite applies equally. I realise there are limits. A person with one leg might be as positive as it is humanly possible to be; but in the morning he will still have only one leg. What the good doctor was inferring was that in many cases we can think ourselves better. Chemical changes engendered through positive thoughts seem to repair us. How fascinating is that?

Sadly the opposite is also true. Many of you will have heard tales or have had first-hand experience of loved ones that have decided when they should die. I know of two occasions when people who were close to the end, laid in a hospital bed and surrounded by well meaning family visitors, waited until they were alone before deciding to go.

In the same poignant way, sole surviving partners of what had been a long and happy union sometimes choose death over separation. That’s what you call true love and those that have known it are truly blessed. These poor, lonely and emotionally broken souls would rather take a chance in another, unknown dimension; gamble on the chance of rejoining the love of their life rather than remain in this world, alone. Beginnings and endings.

Three times a charm

There was once a US president who commented that in life there were two types of people; the critic and the man in the arena. In the case of Mr Johnson the critic might talk disparagingly of a man of multiple marriages; that a leopard can’t change its spots; that the union of Carrie and Boris is doomed. I don’t see it that way at all. Why shouldn’t people be allowed to have another go? After all, there’s every chance they might have a long and happy future together. Reading between the lines it would appear that she recognised the slightly less than pleasant attributes of a certain member of their team before others. Perhaps she could be that steadying hand on the tiller that our Prime Minister needs? Maybe she will help him to choose his friends more carefully? In any case, she’s the woman so she’ll run the show, and rightly so.

In the mean time I think we can draw succour from the fact that the media now finds the time to play the blame game. Yes, Covid is finally no longer front page news; our media has returned to its normal hobby of being spiteful and saying ‘we told you so’. Believe it or not, this is good news. However dreary we might find it, we are returning to normal.

Here’s to happiness

We are close to the end of this trying time and we can almost taste the freedom. If all goes well will you join me in burning your mask?* Today we have numerous clever-clogs who with pinpoint hindsight are telling anyone who will listen what ought to have been done and when. Well bravo to you, enjoy your next pint or ten. Let’s leave those bores to one side and concentrate on a happier future, the newly married Mr and Mrs Johnson being part of it. Why don’t we wish them all the best.

(Ed note - caveat on that, we're part of the wider world which is still in the thick of it. Lots more patience required...but that doesn't preclude happiness.)

carrie boris and well wisher


More tales and cartoons for Lymington and the New Forest from Mark and Hugh

If you'd like to read previous articles on diverse subjects written by Mark and illustrated by Hugh's cartoons, just click here!


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