​Don’t you feel, sometimes, as though your life is an experiment watched from the outside?  No?  Only me, then.  It’s just that, the minute I sat down at the computer, my phone rang in the other room; the minute I get into the bath, the phone rings or the doorbell goes … and so on.  Anyway, life is full of interruptions whether one likes it or not and one is thrown many curved balls along the way.  I didn’t realize, however, that mine would play out like the box set of Dynasty!  Seriously, lies, lawyers, forensic accountants and letters out of the blue … and that’s only part of my week.  If only it were fiction!  One day, hopefully, it will all be in print with my favourite preface, ‘This is a true story …’
Tara Palmer-Tomkinson was found dead, today, aged 45.  It seems never ending, this death toll.  Manny surmised that youth is no guarantee of longevity and it is imperative that one doesn’t waste time.  Do what makes one happy rather than be hostage to a bank balance.  I think Tara would have agreed.
Born into wealth and privilege, she seemed to have it made.  She was pretty, clever and talented but, in the end, that wasn’t enough.  The missing ingredient was self-worth.  Is money really the root of all evil?  Is it the catalyst for self-destruction or is it just that nobody is allowed to have it all?   
Last Saturday, Scottish rugby had something to be proud of beating Ireland at Murrayfield in one of the most exciting matches in years!  Choked with the cold, I chauffeured Becca into town, in the evening, dodging the throngs of drunks along the way.  Honestly, driving through them is like Russian roulette so, stopping in the Grassmarket to throw Becca out, I was more than a little surprised when one of them got into the passenger seat!  Thankfully, it was only my old friend, Lisa, whom I haven’t seen for years … I digress.  Made my night, though, as I happily returned home to my cosy fire and Piers Morgan’s Life Stories.  Get the tissues out!   It was Barry Gibb …
What a lovely guy and what an amazing talent!  The soundtrack to my life, really, the Bee Gees catalogue of music is incredible and will live on forever.  I think Pop would give me that!  I have this image of him sitting in his chair in the Morning Room, paper in hand, ‘watching’ Top of the Pops whilst berating the likes of T Rex, David Bowie, Sweet and even Elton John.  True, their clothes were outrageous and they were caked in make up but he insisted the music would never last.  The paper always went down for Pans People, funnily enough …
Yep, I remember seeing the Bee Gees on Top of the Pops, in the late 60s, singing Massachusetts.  It’s a beautiful but sad song and all the more poignant, today, when you look at them so young and, thankfully, so oblivious as to how their lives would play out.  Barry was the eldest of four boys and, now, is the only remaining brother.  Not interested in school, they were inseparable as their music became all-consuming and, together, they penned classic after classic as they travelled the world and amassed millions along the way.  They wanted for nothing with mansions, private planes and a life one can only dream of but, once again, harsh reality was only round the corner and the reminder that nobody can have it all; money means nothing and is no protector in the face of life’s tragedies. 
Strangely enough, not long before he died, Robin Gibb was a guest on ‘Loose Women’ when he, actually, questioned whether the great family tragedy in the early deaths of his brothers was payback for all their wealth and success?  How sad. Sad that, in his bid to make sense of it all, he, too, seems to have concluded that nobody can have it all; that, in the end, the talent which secured no end of wealth had to be counteracted by loss.  Would that one were given the foresight of what was at stake …
I have on one of my bedside tables, amongst a pile of books, a biography of Karen Carpenter -‘Little Girl Blue’ – and that was a hard read.  I still remember where I was when I heard that she had died in February 1983 – having lunch in the Granary Bar which was part of the then Dragonara Hotel.  That unmistakeable voice could be heard as they played ‘Yesterday Once More’ and we all tried to take in the fact that she was dead, aged 32! 
The book only served to corroborate what I already knew having watched the film of her life on television – for which Richard Carpenter had acted as a consultant thus giving it authenticity.  Of course the ending is sad but what stuck in my mind was the last scene on the night before she dies: supposedly on the road to recovery after time in hospital with anorexia, Karen goes home to visit her parents and asks if she can just stay the night rather than going back to her apartment.  She climbs the stairs to her old room and her mother shouts up to ask whether she would like it if the two of them went shopping the next day?  Karen says she would like that and turns to continue up the stairs only to hear her mother say the four little words she had craved all her life, ‘I love you, Karen’ …  She smiles.  She didn’t live long enough to go on that shopping trip but she had actually heard her mother tell her that she loved her.
‘If anorexia is classically defined as a young woman’s struggle for control then Karen Carpenter was a prime candidate. The two things she valued most in the world, her voice and her mother’s love, were, exclusively, the property of Richard.’
New York Times, on the death of Karen Carpenter, 5th February 1983.
So, the moral of it all?  I suppose the one I learnt a long, long time ago and which serves as huge consolation to me, now, as I watch my security go ‘down the Swanee’ … money means nothing.  The two most important things in life are family and self-worth.  Anyone who grew up watching ‘The Waltons’ – and loves that programme, as I do – knows that!
‘The love and warmth I knew in that special family was like a pebble dropped in water that ripples through my life to this day.’
John-Boy (Earl Hamner)
Good Night, everybody!
This is Trish, signing off.