Vivid Views is my series of articles, blog posts and press releases show-casing my work as an author and reflecting my many years in business and self-employment. They are a blend of my real life experiences, professional insights, personal views and fun stories.
My hope is that in them you find enlightenment and inspiration. 'As Honest As The Day Is Long' is the 25th in the series.
Lost as I was in my horticultural paradise, my mind fully engaged in pressing thoughts such as to choosing which Bordeaux or Bourgogne should accompany dinner and which glasses to serve it in, I did not hear the limousine pull up alongside where I pottered. I became aware of the intrusion only when the vehicle's passengers spilled out and their piercing jibber-jabber assailed my hearing. My initial reaction was that a bee, or a bevy of the buzzing beasties, had flown into my ear. They might as well have, the effect was the same. I jumped up as though stung.
Squinting into the mid-afternoon sunshine I could at first see only a pair of polished brogues protruding beneath grey striped trouser bottoms, clearly of Savile Row origin. “Dear god!” I thought, instantly conscious of my tatty garden garb, “What monstrosity of supposed civilisation has descended on me?” My question was soon answered. The revelation turned out to be more ghastly than my worst fears. As my gaze travelled upwards I saw before me the unmistakeable, pompous visage of a … a ... politician!
“Good day sir,” came the introductory whine from the devil creature, “I am Horace Hornblower, your prospective parliamentary candidate in the up-coming by-election caused by the unfortunate demise of my esteemed colleague the Right Honourable Sir Willie Wang-King who, as you may be aware, sadly passed away when the hot air balloon he was preparing to travel in blew up.”
The fact that a politician might disappear in a poof of his own hot air did not seem to strike Hornblower as even vaguely droll, so I restrained a smile and with feigned gravitas inquired, “How dreadful, Lady Wang must be distraught?”
“Yes,” sighed Horace, “She's looking forward to the acquittal!”
I chose to let that bombshell revelation pass without comment and quickly insisted, “Look, I am terribly busy here but if you would like a cup of tea then … ”
Before I could finish Hornblower cut in and launched into full Honest Horace mode.
“I'm sorry,” he bellowed, “But I can't keep shying away from difficult questions like this. People want us politicians to be up front with them and tell them the honest truth, even if it makes for uncomfortable hearing. And that is why I will never apologise for saying, 'Yes please, I would love a cup of tea', and if that upsets some people then so be it. I'd far rather be known for stating loud and clear to the whole world, be they at home with their families, at work with their colleagues or at play with their children that I am now and forever will be proud to say, 'Yes, I will have a cup of tea', than duck the issue and ignore my duty to the people I serve!”
I let him finish his faux pious diatribe before continuing very deliberately, “As I was saying … if you would like a cup of tea ... then there's an excellent tea shop just along the road. I won't say that they'll be delighted to see you but … ,” and here I faced him squarely and raised my voice, “I, sure as heck, will be thrilled to see you go! - and that sir - is the honest truth!” With that I turned my back on him and returned to my roses.
As Hornblower clambered back into his limousine and the attentions of his fawning entourage, I congratulated myself on having practiced the 'honesty is the best policy' principle of which politicians know very little. Lingering long into the summer evening with my exquisite and soft scented rosebud companions, I lived my regular reluctance to let my paradise day end. The old adage 'as honest as the day is long' came to mind. By that measure, politicians live very short days. .
I am Tom Riach. I live and write in the sunny south of Portugal.
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AS HONEST AS THE DAY IS LONG is an original copyright Tom Riach feature.
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See you there! Regards, Tom.