A friend from the North recalled the BBC television drama series “Our Friends in the North.” The North from which he came was Ulster; the North in the television series was Tyneside.
The series finishes with a single question; a question that has the strength fifteen years on that it had on the television screen in 1996.
The four friends from thirty years previously are gathered in Nicky’s house after his mother’s funeral. Mary agrees to meet Nicky for lunch the next day. There is a sense that the list of lost opportunities is going to grow longer and you almost will Nicky to say something. Mary leaves in her car and Nicky suddenly realizes that he cannot let another moment escape. He runs frantically through the streets, taking short cuts, and manages to stop her. Gasping for breath he asks, “Why not today?”
The question seems to redeem the previous thirty years.
Mary smiles at him and agrees.
Despite it being fifteen years since the series was screened, the image of the breathless Christopher Ecclestone who played Nicky is still clear in the mind, “Why not today?”
I remember when a friend died of cancer in 1997, that I vowed never to have to ask, “why not today?” Life would be lived to the full; days would be filled; moments would not be wasted, because moments are all we have.
Of course, the resolution slipped and countless hours of time were wasted, there would have been plenty of occasions when Nicky would have asked, “why not today?”
A lull in activity this morning brought a sense that the time must be used profitably. Gathering up my diary and an ordnance survey map, I went out visiting in a parish of which I have temporary charge.
Nicky’s voice is a good conscience, ‘why not today?’ Indeed, Nicky, why not?