"But how can you live and have no story to tell?" Fyodor Dostoevsky
"...depending on which survey you believe, the nation is either thrilled, indifferent or mildly annoyed."
And so, the longest apprenticeship in history finally comes to an end. This Saturday, a 74-year-old billionaire signs on the new feudal overlord at Westminster Abbey, although he's been on the job since his well-regarded mum departed last year.
And depending on which survey you believe, the nation is either thrilled, indifferent or mildly annoyed. A set of findings that only prove one thing: you can't trust surveys.
Further afield, in the remains of the empire, the surveys are somewhat more conclusive. Australia and Canada may vote to break ties, as could a few Caribbean islands. Meanwhile, it's in the balance in New Zealand and other places.
I'll be watching because the old colonial Brit in me welcomes the pomp, the ceremony, the marching bands, sights and sounds that we do so well. But with bipolar sentiments around aspects of the 'firm', a cynical voice shouts, "Really, they want me to pledge allegiance like a serf?"
I'm not sure what is the constitutional provenance of this oath, especially as I'm asked to give my loyalty to a 9-year-old child as part of the rigmarole.
"I swear that I will pay true allegiance to Your Majesty, and to your heirs and successors according to law. So help me God."
Given that the pledge played to a less than enthusiastic reception, the Palace PR machine sought to blame the Archbishop of Canterbury. Did I hear echoes, "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?" I suppose poor Justin Welby sees it as an occupation hazard taking hits for royals.
The pledge includes a reference to 'God'. That immediately begs the question, 'Which God?'. Should the Jedi feel excluded? Anyway, let's not go down that rabbit hole.
Yet, that's not the most bizarre part of the coronation. The presence of two splinters of wood that I'm asked to believe came from the cross used to crucify a Jew named Yeshua (aka Jesus) stretches credibility to breaking point. At the minimum, I'd want to see the carbon dating test results before I'll buy that.
There will be two haunting apparitions at the coronation. Prince Andrew will be there, and the lingering shadow of the princess of hearts manifest in the form of the ginger one.
Naturally, at this time the future of the crown comes up now. But let's be clear; the Windsors aren't going away anytime soon despite the attempts of the 'republicans' to press home their message. They've already received warning letters from the Home Office with a reminder about new provisions in the law that limit protests. Understandable really, because it's not a good look having climate activists gluing themselves to horses.
But, of course, this is not an attempt to intimidate, merely a polite reminder. Still, when Hong Kong reminds protest organisers of their obligations, that's suppression and threatening, according to Fat Pang and his Jesuit crew. Hypocrisy isn't a strong enough word.
The coronation isn't garnering much attention here, unlike the death of Queen Elizabeth II. No doubt there will be private functions but I'm not aware of anything else.
As Charles takes over, I'll be rude enough to give him some advice. The secret appears simple: keep your mouth shut, wave, and feign a bit of mystery — a case of less is more.
Lastly, I wish King Charles well. If he can pull off the trick his mother did, then the country will have a solid core as politicians pivot playing their games. That's welcome, for sure.
Walter De Havilland was one of the last of the colonial coppers. He served 35 years in the Royal Hong Kong Police and Hong Kong Police Force. He's long retired.