There are two things I very much like but when I share this with other people I notice the vast majority get the wrong end of the stick.  I therefore find myself (a) wishing I’d kept quiet and (b) trying to correct what I perceive to be terrible misunderstandings. However, my track record at persuading people to my way of thinking is zero so this blog will probably fall on deaf ears. But I’m a glutton for punishment, so here we go.

I wonder if you are trying to guess what the two things could be?  I must admit to being tempted to leave you guessing and saving myself a lot of trouble.  In no order of importance, the two things are playing croquet and listening to Leonard Cohen (not at the same time).

Croquet first.  As soon as I admit to loving croquet people tell me the game is devious and vicious (the implication being that if I enjoy playing croquet, I must be devious and vicious).  They tell me about hitting the opponent’s ball away into distant rhododendron bushes.  I tell them this would be pointless because it would be deemed a foul shot and carry no advantage.  To no avail, everyone is adamant that croquet brings out the worst in people and clearly disapprove of my involvement in such goings-on.  Sometimes, not often, people are sufficiently intrigued to ask me to explain the game, but their eyes quickly glaze over at my attempts to give a flavour of the game’s excitements and challenges; the glorious business of balancing tactics and strategy, the constant need to weigh up risks and assess the consequences of one’s actions, the fact that the outcome is uncertain right up to the point when the game is actually won or time is called (it is possible to be way ahead but for your opponent to create a break and relentlessly overtake you) .

Leonard Cohen?   Utterly depressing, pessimistic stuff, music to slit your throat by.  Not at all, I say, he’s funny, quietly taking the mickey out of life’s ups and downs.  Just listen to ‘Closing Time’ where ‘the gates of love they budged an inch but can’t say much has happened since’.  People are incredulous that I went all the way to the O2 Arena to hear Leonard Cohen live and loved every minute.  Mind you, it was heartening to find approximately 2,000 other people there too; I had begun to think I must be his only fan.

There are other things I like too – making soup, painting watercolours, listening to anything by Schubert, reading newspapers, watching Question Time on the tellie, gardening – but these things don’t attract widespread derision.

So, come on, what’s wrong with admitting to playing croquet and finding Leonard Cohen’s songs amusing?   Or shouldn’t I ask?

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So far as other people are concerned, you are your behaviour