King Charles

I have just been watching the proclamation of the reign of King Charles. It is such a strange time. He doesn’t have a chance to mourn his mother before he has to take on the role of king.

It was very odd to hear the announcements, like those of a Lord Mayor. and feel that this has been going on for centuries but not in public. I fear that many young people will consider it old fashioned and unnecessary as there seems to be no respect for History these days. All that matters is “now, now, now!”

It was great to see women taking more of a part in proceedings but Liz Truss looks so plain and slim. I hope she manages to make more of an impact in the future. More than ever, we need leaders we can look up to, to give us a sense of continuity and trust.

I wish King Charles well. He has started faultlessly. This is going to be a difficult time for us all.

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Disillusion

I’m beginning to think that having faith in our Government is a mistake. For so long I have believed they are doing their best to run the country successfully. I have trusted that our local politicians know what they are doing. Now I wonder if what hubby says is true – ” that people only become politicians if they can’t do a proper job.”

I had four years as a politician and felt I contributed something to society but maybe running a whole country is too much for the present lot to handle. Perhaps they get hassled by special interest groups and can’t find a way through the jungle of expectations. Maybe the wrong people are recruited for the Civil Service or maybe they are not listened to. Journalists seem to be able to get to the root of problems but finding solutions seems to be too difficult for those in power.

It’s no surprise that no-one takes any notice when they are advised not to panic buy petrol. Silly us, we did as we were instructed and now probably won’t have enough to go away later in the month.

It’s no wonder I have stress -related problems. It isn’t only Covid that is upsetting everyone. Sorry for the rant but I’m feeling low.

Dog tales

However bad the dog’s dementia is he still has a mental clock that tells him when it is time for his meals (12.30 and 4pm) He has just got out of bed to remind us that he usually has a little walk before his tea. Hubby was going to take him out until he realised it was raining, horrible, light, drizzly rain that seeps in everywhere and blows in your face.

His visit to the vet yesterday resulted in him sleeping all afternoon and refusing to go for his usual walk this morning. I don’t think he wants to leave the house any more. He’s still limping so there must be more wrong than his dew claws.

It was great to be greeted with a tale wag when we returned from shopping but if he’s got arthritus as well as everything else I don’t know what we will do. He’s eating his tea and drinking water but it has put a real damper on what was left of Christmas. I gave him fish and rice for lunch as fish is brain food. I guess we’ll just have to keep him warm and not force him to do anything he doesn’t want to do.

Just watching him makes us sad as he walks into a room and then looks about as if he can’t remember why he is there (just like a human?)

He’s due to go back and see the nurse at the vets after Christmas but I think the calming pills were a bit too strong for him. One can’t help being concerned. Maybe if the sun comes out things will seem better. At least we are not stuck in a lorry in Kent – which reminds me, surely we can grow lettuces and tomatoes in this country!

Disappointment

The books came – but without the alteration that I had requested and been promised. This pandemic has a lot to answer for. I guess when everyone is working from home wires do get crossed. I’m not going to pretend 15th is publication day any longer. I’ll just wait until I know the ebook is ready and start from then. It looks as though all my marketing efforts will have to be on line. One book is unimportant compared with all the other economic problems at present.

I have lost faith in the British people to be intelligent and tolerant. This destruction of statues only confirms what I had felt about education since I left the profession. Not only are University students ignorant of the value of History and the importance of Language but younger pupils seem to think that the only thing that matters is NOW. Is Love Island really more important than the scout movement? What do we want our children to admire and emulate? It was Hitler who burned books, wasn’t it? I thought we fought against that. I thought we were a country where we had the freedom to disagree with each other without violence. It’s censoring Noddy all over again. Does nobody realise that to understand where we are we need to know where we came from?

And what are children at school learning? Whatever it is the others who come back will have to catch up. They all need to be back in September. How can folk get back to work, otherwise?

Rant over. You can tell I’m upset.

Education

I have just written a letter to the press about the British Education system. Readers will know I still retain the instincts of a schoolteacher, although I have been writing novels for over twelve years.

It was an article by John Humphrys in Saturday’s Daily Mail that stirred me. It was so close to what I have been saying for some time that I felt angry that the Powers That Be hadn’t realised what a mess they were making of a system that had been the pride of the country. I can well understand why the Grammar School system was considered elitist and  had to be reformed but what was needed was a reassessment of attitudes, an understanding of the importance of variety, the value of skills, practical and technical ability, caring and nurturing roles. Why do we pay footballers so much and carers so little? Which is more use to society? Why do we give celebrities so much attention and farmers so little? Why do we spend time on comics  who entertain us but turn a blind eye to flytippers who destroy our countryside? What do we think is important?  Hopefully things may change after this pandemic. Many of us put our trust in those in charge of this country, thinking they knew better than others abroad. I sometimes wonder.

Education in the fifties

Well, I finished the story and sent it off. It was really autobiographical and doesn’t stand a chance of winning a competition but I got it off my chest!

The 11plus was unfair for so many reasons. often because the line between those who passed and those who failed was different depending on how many places were available locally, just as Nan says. A pupil might pass one year and fail the next with the same score. However the idea that some children are academic and others practical with lots in between has been lost and with it the possibility that nurses and police can do the job perfectly well without a degree.Giving 50% of the students of this country a degree in any subject does not make them more employable. It just makes it harder for employers to find people with the right aptitude and attitude unless they spend their own money on apprenticeships.Perhaps this epidemic will show the powers that be the value of common sense and a willingness to learn and adapt – something that is rarely appreciated or properly rewarded.

Masks

I am expecting three parcels. I wonder which will arrive first, if at all! My book will probably be last but I also ordered three masks to equip us for using public transport in the pandemic and a pair of slipper/type shoes as mine have worn out. I could have waited until the shops open but the catalogue was offering a free puzzle book with each purchase and hubby loves crossword puzzles so I thought that would be a nice surprise.

Silly me! I had to use hair curlers yesterday as my hair is getting into my eyes. I do wish the Government would give some idea of the dangers in different areas, then perhaps more places could open. As for schools, I guess if I had a four of five year old I’d be unwilling to send them back but if I was still teaching I would be willing to return if I could be tested. I would be more concerned about the adults than the children.

Of course, if some hospitals sent patients back to care homes without testing it could happen that teachers weren’t tested, either –  and there could be one irresponsible parent who might risk sending a poorly child to school just so they need not be at home with them.

One bright light in the gloom – I donated three of my novels to the lady who puts a box out for people to take copies. Now to watch and see if they disappear!

Earth Day verse

Why do we call you Mother Earth? What force was it that once gave birth

to everything that moves or grows, each sound, each action – no-one knows.

Do we deserve this wondrous sphere? Is it our task to tend and care

for fish that swim, the birds that fly, the trees that reach up to the sky?

Is this, our home, a great design or has it just evolved in time?

The earth is here for all to use and yet this planet we abuse.

We dig out coal and gold and tin, use oceans like a rubbish bin

cut down the trees, pollute the air and wonder why no life is there.

Oh, Mother Earth, your children stray – please let us find another way

to value all the gifts you give and teach us all the way to live.

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Funny February

Such a lot of changes this week. First, hubby took me out to dinner on Valentine’s Night. We went to a Chinese restaurant and had rice with pineapple in it with chicken balls and beansprouts and a delicious beer.

Then, yesterday, I sent the manuscript of my chick lit novella to a publisher. Every time I read it I wanted to change something and I just had to stop.

At 4.15pm, with a casserole in the oven, all the lights went out. We had a power cut. Then we had a phone call suggesting we give them a mobile number and they would update us as to the progress of the repair. By half past five I had all the vegetables boiling on the GAS stove and heated up the casserole in a pan. We ate our meal by candlelight.

Do the government really expect us to do away with gas? We would have been without heat or light for nearly two hours. At least the freezer was OK. I reckon four hours is when one has to start to worry about contents.

It all came back on in time to watch Pointless. Now to concentrate on finding musicians for our charity gig in April and writing a story or poem to read. Roll on Spring.

gigface
reading at a gig

Happenings

As soon as I start moaning that nothing is happening it all changes! Today I had an invitation to give a talk and the first proof of our poetry anthology. Plenty to do now!

Last night I went to a meeting of West Sussex Writers. The talk was by Paul Holden of the Worthing Journal and he gave an excellent description of his life as a journalist and how newspapers have declined over the last decade. When he left the local newspaper he started up his own monthly booklet which is full of local history and topical news, especially the political challenges that face our town today with the dearth of investigative journalists. Without people like him the public would not be aware of how their money was being spent and the choices the Council make and we certainly wouldn’t have newly painted bus shelters and attractive flower beds! It takes a great deal of research and a dogged determination to supply the locality with such an informative publication and Worthing is lucky to have someone like him to provide it.

There are other publications that continue to do the job that newspapers used to do but so few of us buy papers now that they will soon die out. Advertisements for houses and cars will not keep them going much longer as folk go on line for their news.

This afternoon I pick up my leaflets advertising talks. I am no longer depressed.