Virginia Barton



In 1720, in a Letter of Advice to a Young Poet, Jonathan Swift wrote:

“. . .A commonplace book is what a provident poet cannot subsist without, for this proverbial reason, that ‘great wits have short memories:’ and whereas, on the other hand, poets, being liars by profession, ought to have good memories; to reconcile these, a book of this sort, is in the nature of a supplemental memory, or a record of what occurs remarkable in every day’s reading or conversation. There you enter not only your own original thoughts, (which, a hundred to one, are few and insignificant) but such of other men as you think fit to make your own, by entering them there. . .”

The “few and insignificant thoughts” are exactly what will be found here in Commonplaces.

26 May 2017: Images

“A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loudly lamenting: it was Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted because they were no more.”

19 May 2017: Promises, promises

A snap General Election has caught us on the hop. It is one’s civic duty to vote, but hoards of people haven’t registered. You have only three days left!

5 May 2017: Struggle

Struggling is on my mind because I am trying to write something about my parents. A few simple paragraphs to show how they seemed to me, which might account for myself being the way I am.

28 April 2017: Baa baa black sheep

I can’t remember not singing. As a family we all sang, even those that couldn’t; my dad groaning like a grampus. But in appropriate places, like church. Never in a bank, perish the thought.

12 April 2017: Fourscore years

Yes Virginia, you are jolly well eighty years old. Promise I tried not to advertise it but the inner sixteen in me bobs up every now and then and I do love a party.

4 April 2017: “Come out!”

If you have been to Bethany, less than two miles from Jerusalem, you won’t have forgotten the stoniness of it or the light; a small village in New Testament times that was home to Lazarus and his sisters.

25 March 2017: BST

British Summer Time has come at last! On January 2nd we thought it never would. Now, we have until the end of October to revel in longer days, warmer temperatures and all things wide awake.

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