​You know I hate computers and, yet, I have been sitting in front of this screen for most of the afternoon.  Why?  To be honest, I had intended to do a quick bit of research for a certain person’s Birthday on Thursday before embarking on this, my ‘gentle critique’ of recent days and events but I have very definitely gone off-piste – and, no, that is not intended as a pun!
I feel obligated to comment on these fashion websites I have been perusing … and the models!  Seriously, life has obviously dealt them some very cruel blows because not only do most look anorexic but one would assume they ate heroin for breakfast prior to spending the rest of the day in the tattoo parlour!  Harsh?  Well, what happened to ‘happy’?  When did smiling go out of vogue?  Time on that Zara website is time I can never get back … not sure whether to place an order or phone the Samaritans!
I had, originally, planned to write about respect – or the lack of it.  Therein seems to lie the key to so much that is wrong with this world today but it was watching my friend, Virginia McKenna, on the One Show which brought it to the forefront of my mind.  I am no television producer but, surely, inherent in the job description is the ability to ascertain a suitable mix of guests?  Why, then, would anybody think it appropriate for Virginia McKenna, OBE – the quintessential lady who, at once, embodies all the wonderful qualities of a bygone era now so sorely missed – to be sharing a couch with The Hairy Bikers?  Lovely, they may be, and they were there to promote their new vegetarian cookery book but the link was just too tenuous.  Add to that the fact that the presenters seemed, largely, to ignore Virginia and I found it increasingly awkward to watch. 
The programme progressed with little, if no reference to Virginia – and certainly none to Born Free.  There was much made of an enormous inflated pig floating in the sky outside the studio in a nod to Pink Floyd and the fact that it was 50 years since the release of their iconic album.  Never a fan of Pink Floyd, I have no idea which album that might be – but I’m sure Virginia must have it in her collection at home!  Honestly, the Hairy Bikers, Pink Floyd … the juxtaposition was becoming increasingly nonsensical.  Forgive me, at this point, Virginia was allowed 5 minutes to promote the release of ‘Born Free’ on Blu Ray and, following a short clip, she was asked, briefly, about the reality of co-starring with wild animals.  All very well but this amazing lady was really there to highlight the Foundation’s latest rescue of two lions, Ciam and Nelson – one from a former zoo in France and the other bought as a cub from a circus to be kept as a pet in a private French home.  As so many times before, the work and effort put into the logistics of securing such precious cargo and flying them ‘home’ to Africa was immense and Virginia and the Born Free team of experts were with Ciam and Nelson all the way, eventually witnessing their first steps onto the African soil of Shamwari and a life ‘beyond the bars’.  Worthy of an entire programme, I should have thought, but there was no mention; no time.  At 85 years young, Virginia was joined on the couch by Kasabian.  Now so ridiculous, it was funny!  Kasabian were to end the show by playing their latest offering and thus Virginia was led outside to herald the first chords of ‘God Bless This Acid House’!  I was laughing but more in utter disbelief as to what I had just witnessed – a complete lack of respect!
Set on a path to discuss the importance of respect, the lack of which permeates every part of our lives today, the world was a different place when I woke, yesterday morning, following the terrorist attack in Manchester.  A 22 year-old suicide bomber had calculatingly chosen his moment of carnage; to end his own life in a bid to cut down the innocent and disembowel the lives of those left behind.  Surely devoid of any human feeling, one cannot begin to comprehend but, as these attacks become more frequent and more random, so the darkness encroaches on the sun and each one of us retreats a little more inward as one is forced to evaluate one’s life … 
Respect – or the lack of – could never be more relevant.  To be capable of such evil and be prepared to die in its deliverance, one must be truly lost.  The world, today, is full of young people who have no path.  Dis-illusioned by life, they are the offspring of a world driven by greed and self-promotion in which the family unit has been shattered.  Cast aside and without that protective arm, guidance and enveloping love, self worth is deprived of all that is necessary to grow; in its place, there is only self loathing, the true fodder of evil, itself.  Salman Abedi must have believed his life worth nothing.  One can but surmise that he travelled to Libya, directionless and thus extremely vulnerable, only to return, himself, a weapon of human destruction!  Therein is what frightens me the most.  The whole world has lost its way and, sadly, there is no rewind button. Once again, the irony lies in the fact that man believes himself to be the superior race.  The reality is that his lack of respect for this planet, and every other living creature on it, will inevitably ensure his own demise …
‘Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
A hero perish, or a sparrow fall.
Atoms or systems into ruin hurled,
And now a bubble burst, and now a world.
Alexander Pope, ‘An Essay on Man’.
This is Trish, signing off.