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A hungry dog believes in nothing but meat

Built by an enlightened reformist …. sorry?  Say that again!  You can’t seriously be saying that this place was built by an enlightened reformist?  Yup!  It is part of the Peterhof – Peter the Great’s Summer Palace which in modern terms is about an hour from the centre of St Petersburg (as the architect of its conception, birth and building modestly called it  and it remained until being renamed Leningrad and abruptly returned to its original name after Glasnost in the late 1980s).  St Petersburg was the icing on the bun of Peter’s vision.  He felled forests and built it as ‘The Venice of The North’ as a celebration of his victory in the war against Sweden.  I have noted before that you would if you could.  I’m honest enough to admit that I might ….

When I was raising my daughters I used to challenge them regularly when they asked for something they ‘needed’.  I used to ask them what they really and actually did need?  Mean wicked mother that I was, I started to gently confront them when they were about 3 years old.  Because from where I’m sitting what I really NEED is little.  I need enough food to fill my belly and no more.  I need shelter.  It can be as simple as you like but would ideally keep me warm in winter and cool in summer and would clearly vary according the climate I live in.  My body is my greatest gift and to have it functioning fully is preferable.  At the moment I have a rickety leg as a result of a foolish fall 4 weeks ago and I am learning how frustrating it is to NOT be able to move fluidly if at all.  Clothes on my back, shoes on my feet are probably a need.  And enough money to buy what I can’t grow or make myself.  Those are needs.  The rest – the car, the travel, the extensive wardrobe, the TV, the wireless, the CDs, the phone, the IT paraphenalia etcetera etcetera ad tedium – those are wants.  And I think it is extremely important to do an audit from time to time and remember what the difference is.  Call it a sanity check – call it a ticket to self-righteousness but I do believe it’s important.  Peter, THAT Great Peter, you see thought that this extraordinarily extravagent building (which is just a tiny wing  of one of his Palaces) was needed … I’d say it’s the icing on the cake, le cerise sur le gateau, the cherry on top which is why I’m having this little moment of pondering cherries because it happens to be the weekly photo challenge this week ‘The Cherry On Top’ and here you can see the rest of the entries, all wonderfully creative and worthy.

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PS:  The title – Chekhov’s ‘The Cherry Orchard’ (I would, wouldn’t I?) – one young intellectual (Pishtchik) to another (Trophimof) when talking of borrowing money  notes that just as all he can think of are bank balances and interest rates a hungry dog thinks of nothing but meat, a metaphor for single mindedness born of discontent … in this epoch the Chekhov generation of intellectuals were exchanging earnest views which led to  the discontent that in turn gave birth to  the Revolution of 1917 … I think we might do well to learn from that – after all that revolution led to a system of government that most in the ‘modern’ world believe to be unworkable.  It is also perhaps worth noting, given that the Cherry on the top of the photo for me is the modern Russian flag a-fluttering in front of the ludicrous affectation of the supposedly enlightened Peter, that the US, the UK and France all seem to be craving strong Government whilst simultaneously being afeared of the strong arm of Putin …. perhaps a return to understanding what we need as opposed to what we want is required.  Perhaps.

44 Comments Post a comment
  1. Hope your leg gets better soon. I have back and hip problems, started as I turned 50!!!
    And it really affects you, mentally and physically. I was always very active so it is not easy to have to accept that I can no longer do everything I want.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 25, 2016
    • It was such a silly slip and I could not have imagined that it would cause me such frustration (nor my poor husband having to put up with his petulant wife) …. I do hope your hips are behaving themselves!

      Liked by 1 person

      July 25, 2016
  2. Sorry to hear about your leg! what gorgeous pictures Fiona! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    July 25, 2016
  3. Pan #

    A food for thought post 😉
    And one many people would find handy in balancing a budget as well as life pursuits..
    This post also reminds me of a saying I heard decades ago that has stuck with me and I have passed along..

    Life is full of inconveniences and few problems.. The biggest problem is not knowing the difference..

    Not moving fluidly ? Welcome to the Klutz Klub 😄 I didn’t have to hurt myself to join..
    Hope your on the fast mend..

    Liked by 2 people

    July 25, 2016
    • I love that saying – first time I’ve heard it but I can feel it becoming a keeper already! I’m improving all the way but Two Brains is very worried about me making the long drive back to England – my middle name is stubborn so I will with a wish and a prayer!

      Liked by 2 people

      July 26, 2016
      • Pan #

        Gotta say it, can’t help it and I know you will…

        But..

        Be careful and take extra care getting back, please.. 💛

        Liked by 1 person

        July 27, 2016
      • Thank you. For the first time, I must admit I feel a little rattled. I am driving to England on Tuesday which will take me either via Paris to see my God-daughter who is doing 6 months of her MSc there or pretty much past the church where those brutes slayed a priest yesterday. An 84 year old priest. Its unimaginable.

        Liked by 1 person

        July 27, 2016
      • Pan #

        Have a good visit with your god-daughter.. I’m sure it will be as welcome for her as it will be for you.. And with the state of chaos in the world, these moments of connecting help keep us sane 💛

        Liked by 1 person

        July 27, 2016
      • They do – you know I haven’t seen her for over a decade as her family (she is my brother’s daughter) moved to Australia in 2003. I am SO looking forward to buying her lunch and hearing her version of life 🙂

        Like

        July 27, 2016
  4. I think it is important to try and never get complacent, losing the difference between wants and needs. It can be a fine line sometimes. A mother needing a moment to herself. A whole evening? Is it a need or a want? (I ponder.) Well, if her sanity is depending on it, we must preserve mental health!
    (This is what I do. Thank you for allowing me to let it out.)

    Liked by 2 people

    July 25, 2016
    • Sadie that is DEFINITELY a need! My daughters are all grown up now but I still remind them that I need ‘me time’ in every day …. when they were little it was like a screaming for oxygen, the need to have some time to myself. We need to preserve your mental health and all other mummies too – what on earth would the babies do without us?

      Liked by 1 person

      July 26, 2016
  5. Wow, that must be something to see. I hope that your leg is better soon. But tell me, how often do we have “non-silly” slips or accidents? Some how, we always contribute even if it is to not get out of the way fast enough. Go easy on yourself and your injured leg. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    July 25, 2016
    • It’s mind-blowing. St Petersburg could give you cultural indigestion it is almost overwhelming. The Peterhof itself needs at least a day to do it justice – it is quite boggling that Peter was a reformist in his day …. but equally boggling to me is the notion that those really fine minds sitting around discussing all across Europe truly believed their ideas would not only fly but not be abused. It’s all about balance, I guess – something I clearly need to work on personally given the almost comic circumstances that led to me being peggety-sue!

      Liked by 2 people

      July 26, 2016
      • I hope to get their one day. Nobody thinks their ideas will be abused. It’s all about the law of unintended consequences, I guess. Rest your leg and heal quickly. Cheers!

        Liked by 2 people

        July 26, 2016
  6. Wants and needs, you know my current belongings are mainly needs – much of the wants are gone now. And that icing on the cake without the flag is amazing! Hope you get to feeling better soon, rest awhile, I would hate for you to make things worst! Positive vibes sent your way! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    July 25, 2016
    • I almost referenced you in this post, Terry but was concerned you might not want to be aligned to the Russian flag!! But you are my exemplar of paring down life to needs only – I’m very proud of you and would not have boxed your ears if you were one of mine!! I’m lazing about doing very little here and the sun is being VERY cooperative with a nice light breeze …. if I had some cupcakes with a side of ice-cream I would think I was in Heaven 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      July 26, 2016
      • Thank you for separating me from the Russian flag. And I too am enjoying the sun and light breeze – although it will again be 100 degrees today! Have a good one my friend! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        July 26, 2016
      • Not quite so hot here – only about 90 … very tame indeed!!

        Liked by 1 person

        July 26, 2016
  7. That was a nasty accident you had….perhaps you should console yourself with an ekegant sufficiency of cherries…
    Wants and needs….perhaps if we could learn to determine which is which for ourselves rather than swallowing the instructions of the media…

    Liked by 2 people

    July 26, 2016
    • The cherries were just coming into the stores when I left the US …. I glutted. Since arriving in France, the cherries are abundantly in the shops – I’m glutting!! As for swallowing media instructions – I find it gives me indigestion and wholeheartedly agree that we need to trust our own instincts far, far more in this life of ours!

      Liked by 2 people

      July 26, 2016
  8. You’re absolutely right, of course, about how little we NEED. For our wellbeing there is enough beauty in all the world that is around us. We should often stop and remember this. Hope your leg will soon be well enough for you to get out and run, as that nourishes both body and soul, doesn’t it x

    Liked by 2 people

    July 26, 2016
    • I knew you’d get it, Lady Posh! I’m mending slowly, oh so slowly and trying to exercise patience because I do, I do want to run – it really does nourish the whole x

      Like

      July 26, 2016
  9. I listened to Bernie Sanders speech last night at the democratic convention and he spoke of what you’ve so aptly expressed. We must take care of people’s needs. I think I could live quite happily out here in the woods wearing the same outfit everyday, sitting in the sunshine reading, and never feel the need to leave. But money and power are quite corrupting (just look at our 1%) and you are right – we could all end up having governments that really are unworkable just for the sake of change. I hope that our leaders are cognizant of the issues you raise in your post. If not, we are in deep trouble. Clare

    Liked by 1 person

    July 26, 2016
    • That has to be the most flattering thing anyone could say to me – to liken me to Mr Sanders who I believe is a really very very smart and truly enlightened man. I too could live very simply but you are so right that money and power corrupt. I fear for the future of the US, of the UK and of France if the foolish keep running towards glass houses which will honestly result in a return to Kristallnacht and far far worse. I am not actually a political animal in the true sense – I do not align slavishly to one party nor another (though if I were an American I think I would probably have to – it’s a system that demands it) but like my father listen to the arguments of both sides and try to consider what is best for the moment. What I see at the moment is greed clouding judgement – the immigration card is being flaunted as a lure to people who foolishly believe that if ‘they’ are stopped in their tracks magically all will be well (for that read ‘I will have more’) and it simply is not so. How can it be? And where, by the way is compassion and love in all this posturing?

      Liked by 1 person

      July 26, 2016
      • I think we have to look to those closest to us for compassion, as the news tends to present a picture of a world devoid of empathy. Many Americans have chosen to declare themselves Independents, voting for the best candidate, but since the Republicans have launched themselves into the party for the rich and entitled, the poor and middle classes have depended upon the Democrats to protect them against this conservative onslaught of late. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders were eloquent in their speeches last night and I felt a glimmer of hope for the US.

        Liked by 1 person

        July 26, 2016
      • Keep the candle burning. I’m right behind you feeding the flame 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        July 26, 2016
  10. Nice distinction, Osyth. Hope your leg mends soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 26, 2016
    • Hugely frustrating but some things won’t be rushed! I’m glad you liked the differential – I think it’s important

      Liked by 1 person

      July 26, 2016
  11. Oddly enough (but perhaps not that odd as our tiny minds( mine not yours.. sorry) work in similar ways I think; I am currently composing a post about wants v needs.
    I’ve posted about the subject a couple of times before but maybe it’s time for a recap…

    Liked by 2 people

    July 26, 2016
    • Not odd at all – we do have a common thought process and outlook. I will enjoy your post when it appears …. I think it is very timely to tout the reminder – greed (in all its ugly forms) seems to be all-pervasive at the moment 😦

      Liked by 2 people

      July 27, 2016
  12. The big and bloated government is blinded by the fat of its girth, never again to see the tools of its relief until the excess is removed by the strength of the people! As to the audit, I found it incredibly liberating to find that all my “needs” could fit in a 5′ x 10′ enclosed trailer with room to spare!

    Liked by 1 person

    July 26, 2016
  13. lindywhitton #

    A while ago when a kitchen gadget died I vowed to stop replacing gadgets and use my basic kitchen tools more. Our needs are basic and few – our wants can take over our life if we let them.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 27, 2016
    • Very true and I like the fact that you decided to go back to basics in the kitchen. I wonder what, if anything, you actually miss 🙂

      Like

      July 27, 2016
  14. Heading across the ocean into the land of discontent and ill will delivered at the 4th grade level by Putin’s new “Best Buddy”, The Repulsive Better Watch Your Back Donald, there is a remedy for pain & illness that would fit comfortably in a 1950’s Old West movie script.
    My father, a man that severely disliked the company of any individual with the title DR. in front of their name lived by this. Fortunately for him, he stayed in extremely good health most of his life. I have no doubt that there are variations of this remedy throughout this world and beyond.
    Simply, just throw back a shot or two or three (whatever floats your boat) of whiskey, No Nursing the shots allowed, AND… it will quote, “Either kill you or cure you.” NOT WHILE YOU’RE DRIVING, OF COURSE. Because alcohol never fancied my taste buds, the time I followed this prescription, I really thought I was going to f**king DIE!
    It’s a roll of the dice or a flip of a coin, a 50/50 chance of it working and you “won’t give a rip if your leg is throbbing before amputation” or… you’ll join the “I think I’m going to f**king DIE club!”
    By the By, did the doctor suggest any physical therapy down the ‘sooner road’ rather than the ‘later road?’ It can be a dread, but it did help my leg injury… until it didn’t and surgery became the answer. You might get lucky.
    TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF, PLEASE WITH A ‘CHERRY’ ON TOP. 😊

    P.S. – The Orthopedic Surgeon was on top of his game that day and I was as good as new.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 28, 2016
    • All you say is correct – the politicians are out of control and fed by the naïve. I entirely sympathies with your dad …. In my case I have a Doc I trust who has told me not to be an invalid so I wear a support and walk a little – I’m just an impatient mare who wants to be hiking and running 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

      July 28, 2016
  15. Through many trials and tribulations, I turned to God asking him to put this that or the other right and give me certain things.
    Oddly, (or maybe not!) He always delivered, but not always in the way I expected, nor in fact wanted when I got it! Eventually I gave up and I said ‘OK, game over, you win’, I am not going to ask you for another single thing, as you keep giving it to me and it is not what I want. From now on, do not give me what I want, give me what I need’.
    The letting go was immense and everything became, not easier in the physical sense, but so much more acceptable and bearable, and within literally days, monsieur le Frog stepped off a bus and into my life – he is not what I wanted exactly, but perhaps what I needed all along.
    I too (as if you ever had any doubts) was the wicked ‘not’ step-mother. My children never presented me with a Christmas or birthday list, but again, got what they needed from me – I don’t mean boring, useful or even practical stuff, but things that showed I knew them and what they would treasure and learn from – mainly things to do rather than stuff to keep, building a toy room of memories and not plastic breakables and loseables…………
    Lindy xx

    Liked by 1 person

    August 23, 2016
    • That is beautifully put – I need add nothing except that you have given your children the strongest of foundations and value systems. They are fortunate indeed (as is M. Frog …. Funny isn’t it – HB2 was what I needed and in no sense what I thought I wanted) xx

      Like

      August 23, 2016
      • When I am back, I will share some of the amazing adventures that Kate has been up to in Central America (she is still there sky walking throughout the cloud forest today!)
        Got SO much catching up to do that really needs to be done over wine and good food…….your place or mine?
        P.S. wait till you hear about my involuntary detox situation – almost needed up hospitalized,,,,,

        Liked by 1 person

        August 23, 2016
      • Oh Heavens that doesn’t sound good! Kate’s adventures sound amazing and I will be in France from Mid November to probably July so plenty of opportunity for a glass and a gas! Take care and profiter de Tuscane xxxx

        Like

        August 23, 2016
  16. What an opulent building! I agree that all other things besides the basic needs of – food, shelter, basic clothing and health care – are just wants and our lives are not dependent on them. We need to mind the wants.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 14, 2017
    • That is a fraction of the actual building and then there are the gardens .. it is gluttony beyond belief and Peter the Great was actually an enlightened Tsar having lived much of his life in Europe learning to build ships etc … I was quite seasick when I was there but the fact is that greed is still prevalent in the world and these days in much lowlier quarters than a tsars palatial backyard. Nullify greed and we might have a chance of survival! Thank you so much for commenting … I value your presence 🙂

      Like

      March 14, 2017

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