Mighty Life List
Oct 9 2012

11 a.m. Weak Whiskey Soda, 5 p.m. Nap


Ben Franklin’s Daily Routine

Lately I’ve tried, and failed, to impose a daily routine on myself. This morning, I’ve been pouring over Daily Routines and it’s making me feel a little better. My proposed daily schedule is militaristic compared to Winston Churchill’s:

Despite all this activity Churchill’s daily routine changed little during these years. He awoke about 7:30 a.m. and remained in bed for a substantial breakfast and reading of mail and all the national newspapers. For the next couple of hours, still in bed, he worked, dictating to his secretaries.

At 11:00 a.m., he arose, bathed, and perhaps took a walk around the garden, and took a weak whisky and soda to his study.

At 1:00 p.m. he joined guests and family for a three-course lunch. Clementine drank claret, Winston champagne, preferable Pol Roger served at a specific temperature, port brandy and cigars. When lunch ended, about 3:30 p.m. he returned to his study to work, or supervised work on his estate, or played cards or backgammon with Clementine.

At 5:00 p.m., after another weak whisky and soda, he went to bed for an hour and a half. He said this siesta, a habit gained in Cuba, allowed him to work 1 1/2 days in every 24 hours. At 6:30 p.m. he awoke, bathed again, and dressed for dinner at 8:00 p.m.

Dinner was the focal-point and highlight of Churchill’s day. Table talk, dominated by Churchill, was as important as the meal. Sometimes, depending on the company, drinks and cigars extended the event well past midnight. The guests retired, Churchill returned to his study for another hour or so of work.

In conclusion, I need more whiskey sodas in my day. I also need a social secretary, and a wife.

Are you good with routine? Will you marry me?

Jan 31 2011

Painting as a Pastime by Winston Churchill

The best parts of Winston Churchill’s Painting as a Pastime*:

On libraries:
“As you browse about, taking down book after book from the shelves and contemplating the vast, infinitely varied store of knowledge and wisdom which the human race has accumulated and preserved, pride, even in its most innocent forms, is chased from the heart by feelings of awe not untinged with sadness. As on surves the mighty array of sages, saints, historians, scientists, poets and philosophers whose treaures ne will never be able to admire — still less enjoy — the brief tenure of our existence here dominates mind and spirit.”

“It is a mistake to read too many good books when quite young… The first impression is the one that counts; and if it is a slight one, it may be all that can be hoped for.”

“The boy learns enough Latin to detest it; enough Greek to pass an examination; enough French to get from Calais to Paris; enough German to exhibit a diploma; enough Spanish or Italian to tell which is which; but not enough of any to secure the enormous boon of access to a second literature.”

“Just to paint is great fun. The colours are lovely to look at and delicious to squeeze out. Matching them, however crudely, with what you see is fascinating and absolutely absorbing. Try it if you have not done so — before you die.”

“One begins to see, for instance, that painting a picture is like fighting a battle; and trying to paint a picture is, I suppose, like trying to fight a battle. It is, if anything, more exciting than fighting it successfully.”