Dear John Crace

John Crace

…made even sweeter in knowledge of your support for Spurs!

Dear John Crace,

As yours is one of the first articles I read in the Guardian, I was surprised to learn of the impecunious state of your pension (Guardian 14/9/2019).

However, let me as a pensioner advise you that all is not lost. Pensions are perhaps the ultimate statement of hope that we will live tomorrow and so living for today is sacrificed for the future. Pensions are also the haven for smooth talking advisors who play on our expectations of linear advances of phantom money in a topsy-turvy world. Many pensioners survive on the state pension, including those WASPI women who have had to await an unforeseen extra year or so. With your talents as a parliamentary scribbler, you could easily turn you skills to fiction.  In fact, do you not currently report on the fiction spouted by our parliamentarians?

Your column is a joy to read and made even sweeter in knowledge of your support for Spurs!

Continue reading “Dear John Crace”

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Climate Change and Education

Thunberg

She is on strike, refusing to go to school…

On 25 July, Europe from Spain northwards burned. Europeans sweltered, hiding behind closed air-conditioned doors or splashing in pools and rivers.

The heatwave broke records across the continent: France 42.6ºC, Netherlands 39.4ºC, and Germany 41.5ºC, even Britain registered it highest July temperature.

The day before in the British heatwave, the Queen turned on an air cooler, no air-conditioning in Buckingham Palace, so that Boris Johnson would not sweat too much as he greeted her with his request to form a new government!

In the Swiss Alps, a massive undertaking to cover the melting Rhone Glacier with white plastic sheets has been undertaken. Laughable really, like sticking plasters being applied to the sides of the sinking Titanic. Continue reading “Climate Change and Education”

Jess

Jess in Potatoes 2016_2

…would lie on the warm earth around my growing vegetables

Our black and white cat Jess died today.

Death comes in many guises and for Jess it came neither brutally, in the way in which he caught mice and even small rabbits nor did it creep into the bones and sinews stealthily, but peacefully lying the warm sunshine minutes after his last feed. Mid-afternoon, he had entered through the open patio glass door and whined his usual miouw which said, ‘I want food.’ I fed him and resumed reading outside in the warm spring sun. The grandchildren came home from school to granny’s treat, a Malteasers cookie, and then they ran outside to play. Four-year-old Ivy loved to stroke Jess. His smooth black coat was irresistible to her. Normally, she would stalk the cat and, occasionally, it would yield to her gentle touch as she had learned from an early age to be gentle. ‘Nanny, Jess is not moving.’ Continue reading “Jess”

Old School

parliament

… disadvantaged politician who might just have wider appeal as Prime Minister than any narrow-based public schoolboy?

Chapter One 

1 February 2016

Pembrokeshire, home to the wild cliffs of west Wales and castles from the time of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn…’ Deirdre Fairbrother snapped the radio button off. She’d heard too many wonderful Pembrokeshire stories, if it was so wonderful, why didn’t more people live there.

Outside, the morning light which could often be fickle was clear and luminous. It shone into her artist’s studio. She liked days like this for she was alone with her oils and canvas with nothing on her agenda except a visit to her aged mother later in the afternoon. Loading her horsehair brush with a mixture of chrome yellow and magenta previously stirred on her palette, she touched the canvas again, and again more strongly, before standing back to observe the subtle change in her summer landscape. The season was well past now, but as usual she worked with care at her rediscovered joy. Bit by bit, she was starting to rekindle her original love of painting which she had foolishly set aside when she and Peter had started their family thirty-six years ago.

The shrill sound of the telephone disturbed her painting. She put the brush on the easel, walked out of the studio down a cold corridor to the hall and picked it up. Half past nine on a Monday was an odd time for a call. The words ‘West Albion Care Home’ were enough. She knew what they were going to say and her knees weakened. As she listened to the caller say, ‘I’m sorry, your mother has died,’ she put her hand behind her onto a chair and lowered herself, still holding the receiver. Mute with shock, she was unable to reply. Her ninety-two-year-old mother had been hanging on for weeks, but nothing could ever prepare one for the actual moment when someone announces that one’s mother is dead. Continue reading “Old School”

The Meaningful Brexit Vote.

Meaningful Brexit Vote

The declaration: Lost by 344 votes to 286, a Majority of 58, the Nos have it.

15 January 2109, Lost by 432 to 202, a Majority of 230; 12 March, Lost by 391 to 242, a Majority of 149; 29 March 2109, Lost by 344 votes to 286, a Majority of 58. What now?

Parliament has today voted down our Government’s proposal to leave the European Union for a third (and probably final time). Watching from the sidelines, it is not pretty. Continue reading “The Meaningful Brexit Vote.”

A View from the Boundary

brexit

The great thing about watching sports, like cricket, is that from the boundary spectators can see the whole panoply of the game develop before their eyes, whereas the players in the middle can only see a limited perspective, just the bowler, or just the batsman, for example. So it is with politics and our problem with leaving the European Union.

We, the great unwashed, are on the boundary seeing the whole picture on our televisions, social media pages, and newspapers whereas the players (or politicians) have their vision limited by party loyalties, constituency considerations and their own innate beliefs. Continue reading “A View from the Boundary”

A Really-Smug Story

a really smug story

Once upon a time, or olim as our scholarly protagonist Jacob Really-Smug was prone to say, there was a young country boy living on one side of a large river. From his countryside home he could dimly see in the distance the Big School across the estuary.

Each day he’d walk to his small country school, only to be bullied by the bigger boys because he was a bright teacher’s pet and he wore glasses. He hated games the most. Fearful of getting his knees dirty and scared of being kicked below the belt, he detested football with a passion which far exceeded that with which his classmates supported Rovers or United or Hotspur, the teams on the other side of the river. Worst of all he had to take off his glasses to play, so he was even more disadvantaged in the game. He hated football. Continue reading “A Really-Smug Story”