January 2021

It’s the future!

Well, I’m sure I used to have a comic as a kid that was called 2021 or something similar. An impossibly long away date when nothing would be the same. Well, surprise surprise, it’s almost exactly the same. I mean, the good stuff is undoubtedly better: technology, food, standard of living and all that but the bad stuff… We all thought we’d moved on from fascism and racism and misogyny and other such nonsense but we’ve now witnessed an attempt at a right wing coup against the Capitol in America. I know it just looked like a bunch of inter-bred losers on the videos that were posted, but political upheaval is almost always perpetrated by morons. I don’t feel the need to reference that statement, just read a bit of history.

As I write, we still don’t know the outcome of Trump’s misdemeanours. Many of us are hoping for a prison sentence. It would be sweet to witness, but I doubt that will happen, despite the fact that people died due to his instructions and an actual gallows was erected outside the Capitol! But I suspect he will come out of it unscathed, as all charlatans do. The elite look after the elite, although referring to that pathetic excuse for humanity as elite does seem to be stretching credibility. I read an interesting piece in the Guardian that calls for all enablers of the orange maniac to be brought to justice. I think it’s right. You have to root out rot at the source. My garden is constantly under attack from bindweed, that pretty, white-flowered creeper that covers hedgerows across the country. I only have to leave one piece a centimetre long in the soil and it will repopulate the whole area within one season. It’s a nightmare and I think agent orange would be the only viable solution. The thing is, to keep it in check, I have to keep on top of it. It’s no good just ragging the white flowers away with a bit of stem; I have to remove it all, dig deep and get my fingers into the soil to filter out as much of the stuff as possible. I think that’s what we have to do with the extreme right. They are dangerous and destructive. They don’t just want to live in their own idealistic world, they want to eliminate everything and everyone that doesn’t fit into that world view. We’ve been here before and I thought we’d learned that lesson back between ’39 and ’45. But maybe not. Folks will beat you up for not wearing a poppy but they will then vote in people and politicians who are actively trying to reimpose a world that the guys that we buy the poppies for fought against. Granddads and Great Granddads and Great Great Granddads (and many Grandmas as well) died so that we could re-elect the people that they gave their lives to defeat. You couldn’t make it up.

And I know, there are right-wingers out there who think I’m the extremist.

We seem to have negotiated the presidential inauguration without any blood-letting (am I speaking too early?) and it’s a refreshing change to have some hope in the world. I know not everyone is a Democrat and not everyone likes Joe Biden but there must be an appetite for normality again. I have friends on social media who are decrying the fall of Trump (and, if we’re lucky, Trumpism) but most of them were never politically motivated before. I’ve known many people who shouted for Brexit and Ukip and controlling our borders and embracing sovereignty for decades and do you know what? They never engaged in political discussion until they were wound up in 2016. Politics was boring to them. So it is definitely down to the dumbing-down of politics that has drawn so many shallow thinkers into the ring (shallow political thinkers that is). In years gone by, I used to wish that more people would engage in politics. It just shows that you have to be careful what you wish for.

But I’m meandering into moaning territory again and I should be celebrating the New Year and all that might come with it. We have to remain hopeful. Okay, there will still be some casualties: Glastonbury has been cancelled again but that has to be started around now so there is no certainty for them to start spending the vast amounts that it takes to put on. We might get lucky with others. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for Cropredy in August. It’s still possible but it depends on the next couple of months.

And we already have a few snowdrops appearing. They cheer me up enormously because they are the first sign of renewal. Crocuses and Daffodils next and then maybe even washing on the line. With the warmer weather I hope that we will, at least, be able to return to meeting family and friends in gardens. Going through winter without that is incredibly tough and a great many people are beginning to struggle with the situation. Being locked into the house is stressful even when you live with a wonderful partner or family; I can’t imagine what it’s like for those who are afraid or unhappy. It must be torture. So we have to count our blessings (I sound like a proper old person now!). But I think we do. For most of us, we’re getting through this. We’ve all lost friends or loved ones or at least know someone who has but there is hope on the horizon and, although we all feel far worse than we did last spring (and I’m not sure why) we know that this will definitely end at some point. Everything does. And this will become a memory. Probably a vivid memory but still a memory. Nature has hammered us in the past and we’ve had some lucky escapes: apparently SARS could have been even worse than this has been. And Africa suffered with Ebola, a disease that seemed more akin to a zombie apocalypse than an infection. But the good guys find a way through it and, as a species, we keep surviving. A hundred years ago this would have wiped out probably half the population but we are in different times with different skills. And I think it’s important to remember that we are all part of the same nature that has brought this upon us. There will be time for reflection and, no doubt, apportioning of blame, but that is for after. For now, be grateful that we live in these times and we have the tools and the knowledge and the skills to deal with it.

I’m not exactly sure what this blog is about. I rarely have a plan before I start writing and I have to admit that this is all far more for my benefit than those of you who read it. Nevertheless, the writing process normally kicks in and that magical triangle between eye, brain and fingers creates something coherent and half worthy. This feels like a directionless ramble and, having just read through it, it reads like a directionless ramble. But then so does life at the moment. But, despite that, we are all travelling in the same direction (at nine hundred miles an hour) and we will all arrive in roughly the same place at some time in the future. I don’t usually look forward to the future (too much anxiety) but for once, I am. And I hope we all can. We’ll never know how close a shave all this was. Maybe not at all, maybe surviving by the skin of our teeth. But it’s been a shared experience. And it should make us all better people. I know, some have an amazing talent for not bettering themselves but I hope they become increasingly a minority (oxymoron?).

So, February beckons. I wonder what it will hold for us? More of the same? A bit of light relief? God help us no more disastrous events. As the sun slowly moves further down my garden as the days progress, I wish everyone well. Good health, both physical and mentally, and look forward to catching up on all the missed hugs.

The photos are sparse this month but they are there to cheer as much as possible: a snowy outlook, a determined apple, and a friendly deer.

So, I’ll see you again in February. In the meantime, check out my Website!