One of my favourite stories is ‘The Little Match Girl’. Hans Christian Anderson’s achingly sad fable was corruptly used by me often when my daughter’s were growing up … I would tell them they were NOT poor little match girls when they were crying for something they perceived they needed more than anything in the whole wide world.
Cold, lonely and scared, undernourished, ill-clad this little girl is dying and as her life degenerates to a flicker and whispers into death she strikes her matches for warmth and in their light she sees things that she wishes she had and amongst them her Granny, the only person who ever showed her love in her meagre little life, reaching out from her celestial place. When her pathetic little frozen corpse is found in the morning she is smiling and the strangers that stumble upon her look at the matches round her and surmise that they know why she smiles – but of course …. she was cold and her matches made her warm so she died content. None have the need nor the will to look beyond the obvious. Speculate and instantly conclude is part of human nature. We suspect that we know the answer but often the answer is not as we so skillfully deduced at all.
I give you a picture of the city I am living in taken a couple of days ago on a hike and looking down on the river which actually and genuinely IS that colour …. it is caused, I am told by the limestone which the mountains surrounding us are formed of. When I first visited this area some years ago, I assumed there was a problem with chemicals. Be careful who you damn without knowing all the damned facts!
PS: The title is a reference to the Weekly Photo Challenge this week labelled ‘A Good Match’ … my Game, Set and Match invokes three things in the picture – look closely now …. there’s the stadium where the Six Nations Rugby Game between France and Scotland was played just a couple of weeks ago and there again are three skyscrapers built for the 1968 Winter Olympics – they were designed to rotate slowly to give their super-human athletic tenants a constant and gracefully revolving 360° view of the city and the mountains that encircle it (in the end they remained still but the intent and bravado of the engineering, given that the city is gearing up to celebrate the 50 year anniversary of those Games next year is quite breathtaking) and finally a set of two bare trees, almost twins standing like naked watchkeepers over the city below. And the city is …… over to you!
And here, just because I can and because my tenuous title is a tennis call, is the masterly Jacques Tati in Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday showing us how to serve with flare: