Ah, Sweet Misery of Life…

Ah, sweet misery of life, at last I’ve found you!

Those of you for whom the title rings a bell probably recall the version of Victor Herbert’s song (Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life…) sung by Mario Lanza but it you wish to have it at its most grating and annoying you simply have to listen to Jeanette MacDonald in the 1935 film, Naughty Marietta (She co-starred with Nelson Eddy). It is a song which has been parodied over the years, a tune to irritate and annoy, a torture to the ear and sensibilities, and I can’t be sure where my regularly used version of the title originated but “sweet misery of life” has always struck me as very appropriate and is often trotted out at suitably miserable moments in this household. Despite my lack of appreciation for Victor Herbert’s song, it was one of his greatest successes and, I suppose, mockery and parody are really a reflection of how popular this song was in its day.

Of course, misery, while not popular, is certainly ubiquitous at the moment. Covid 19 continues to cast a pall of worry over the country and even the announcement and rollout of a vaccine is tempered by the realisation that it will be late summer or early autumn before the greater portion of the population is vaccinated. Present levels of care and personal restrictions must continue and we will certainly have high numbers of cases after Christmas, following the greater levels of socialisation over the holidays. Misery!

Hopefully, there will be a pot of gold at then end of this rainbow.

Nature has conspired, with our present weather, to contribute to this general feeling of gloom and doom for we have had quite horrible weather for some time now. Gardening and even walking, our two regular outdoor pastimes, have been out of the question as we have had day after day of rain. Being confined indoors for too long is not the best for this one’s wellbeing and I long for bright and dry days to be out again but this seems so very unlikely at the moment. Misery!

Politics is not one of my regular subjects and who could blame me for doing my best to steer away from it as much as possible. We see reports from the USA with armed protestors on the streets challenging the results of a democratic election and this, it seems, with the encouragement of the President. Such actions in a lesser country of interest to the USA would prompt their interference to set matters to right – to restore democracy! Nearer home we have daily reports of the negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union with such nuggets as the Prime Minister’s comment that the British navy would patrol their fishing areas – hardly a suggestion indicative of goodwill nor of future accord between the UK and the EU. At home, political decisions regarding measures to deal with the Covid 19 situation have been made with a strong bias towards supporting business and people’s desire to socialise freely rather than following the advice of medical experts. Misery!

Days of sitting indoors are not the best for one! It’s miserable out there but days indoors quickly become tedious. I do my best to keep myself occupied with reading, far too much internet browsing, television and I make the occasional foray into the garden, generally with the camera in hand, to see how the flowering of the snowdrops is going and, I must report, it is going very well. Soooooo, all is not misery in the world! (By the way, Mary says that I am a misery-guts; that I seek it out and that I wouldn’t be happy unless I was miserable – figure that last part out yourself!)

Now, why not treat yourself to Jeanette MacDonald’s rendition of Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life or that from Mario Lanza or you can pass both by and see how the snowdrops were doing today – photographed in the rain with the photographer in full raingear.

All is well!

20 thoughts on “Ah, Sweet Misery of Life…

  1. My God, that’s nearly a flood, Paddy. I’d have thought with river near you that there would be run-off option.
    I’m lad that you report further about the beauty of snowdrops. Hurray! There’s white at the end of the tunnel.

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    1. We are at the bottom of the hill so the water runs down to us. On occasion, spring tides, following heavy rain and with onshore winds, the mashes flood very dramatically – the waters pours over the river bank and across the mash at a frightening rate, then onto the road to about 60cm in a matter of ten minutes. It is tidal so drops again when the tide goes out. Fortunately, it doesn’t come very far into the garden as there is a rise up from the road.

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  2. Anyone who doesn’t have to push some misery away when the news is on and it’s wet and windy outside is not in tune with the times. I wonder if future winters will seem less bleak in comparison with this one? It is always lovely to see your snowdrops flowering.

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  3. Well that helped luft some of the gloom deriving from covid, weathet, cabin fever etc. Many thanks. Another phrase from god knows where “oh joy oh rapture” often parodied when one overreaches oneslf in the garden “oh joy oh rupture”

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    1. It eventually came to me where the line, Ah, sweet mystery of life etc came from – from Mary. When she read the blog, she was able to tell me. She would always attend the Light Opera festival every year and a man used stand outside the town hall singing this song, in the style of Mario Lanza! That’s where she picked it up and she used sing it regularly until I made the little change to the lyrics. “Oh joy, oh rapture unforeseen” – HMS Pinafore!

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  4. Gosh Paddy! You certainly have a touch of the miseries today! That rainbow over your spectacular “garden feature” is well captured – and on Sunday we are celebrating the imminent arrival of the Winter Solstice! Its downhill after that!

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    1. We have had reports of your snow on our television news programmes. If the same happened here, the country would close down. Snow is quite uncommon here and when it does arrive it is rarely more than a short visit and a light fall only.

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  5. If only every misery ended in 5 minutes 18 seconds! Thankfully, the snowdrops last a bit longer. Yours are, as ever, quite lovely. I imagine they almost make you want to sing.

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    1. I enjoy the snowdrops very much. They are excellent garden plants and very interesting in their range and spread of flowering times so I have snowdrops from September to March. They also are great connections to a great many friends, very kind people who have sent me snowdrops or with whom I have exchanged bulbs over the years. A good pastime.

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  6. I have every sympathy with you and I think that you dealt with the state of the USA and UK with a very light touch. I have been trying to avoid mentioning the topics you have written about and it has been like mental constipation – It may do me good to just let it flow! And we are saturated too. I had to do some photos for a mag yesterday and it was a joke slipping around in waterlogged ground trying to double dig. Chin up – it must get better. I usually see out the old year hoping that the next willl be better. Surely it must be this year! Please.

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  7. I think you are not alone in those feelings Paddy! The weather has a lot to do with it. In Belgium we have had very sunny mild weather and it totally lifted my mood this week. Despite the news. Of course, when it rains, the political debacles don’t help, but I think the snowdrops do 🙂

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    1. I don’t like being inactive; I don’t find it good for me; I prefer to garden or walk or just be outdoors. We will be able to do so soon again.

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  8. Hello from the United States(Iowa)!Where a pandemic and recession/depression and cyberattacks aren’t enough-our President has shaken free of the last restraints and is gleefully planning a coup.Sadly,many old friendships have been broken over supporting or opposing this man.What will it take to unite us again?We have 32 more days of this administration,but help is on the way.It is very snowy and cold,but there’s always the greenhouse.I wish you in the UK all the best and a brighter new year!

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      1. Oh my gosh- so sorry-I meant to type best wishes to you in IRELAND and the UK.Writing while distracted by the news is a mistake.Best wishes for us all!

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