​There is nothing wrong with an expandable week.  Needs must.  It was either that or just post ‘On Annual Leave’!  How I wish …
So what has ‘a woman in her fifties with no skills’ been doing to delay, once more, her latest comment on the world and humanity?  Multi-tasking, basically!  Embroiled in a world of lawyers, advocates, forensic accountants and tax consultants – forcibly, I might add – I have little time or focus for anything else and this week has been particularly testing.  Of course, it never rains but it pours and my beloved car – having just returned from a costly overhaul at the garage – decided to further test my strength in a crisis when it suffered engine failure on the top of a hill rendering the power steering and brakes all but useless.  Don’t panic!  I could almost hear Captain Mainwaring cry – so, I didn’t.  Trivial in the great scheme of things, I spent Monday with the AA and watching ‘her’ being loaded onto a truck.  Strange how one can become so attached to a car; no longer an inanimate ‘object’, as it were, but a three-dimensional character.  Definitely a ‘she’, though, and whilst, admittedly, a little fickle, ultimately she won’t let me down.  I think they call it blind faith!
I feel as though I am trying to justify why I have failed to do my homework!  A tendency to write ‘to do’ lists in my head each day, it really does irk when said tasks are not completed.  Self-inflicted discipline or a form of OCD?  Probably both but I have always been this way and I am too old to change now.  Where was I?
‘It is a topsy-turvy world we live in … ‘  Yes, grammatically incorrect but that line came into my head in the voice of Tom Cruise!  For some reason, I think it is from the famous scene in Jerry Maguire when he comes back to tell Dorothy (Renee Zellweger) that he loves her and embarks on this whole speech only for her to interrupt and tell him that “You had me at ‘Hello’!”  Heart-melting stuff.  Well, it is Tom Cruise, after all.  Good things come in small packages and he is one reason I should be thankful for being of small stature (5′ 4” and don’t forget the half!).  I was, actually, going to write ‘one reason I should be thankful for being a dwarf’ but thought better of it. 
Since I last wrote, much of the news has been dominated by little Alfie Evans and his parents’ fight to prolong his life.  Born with a rare, undiagnosed degenerative neurological disease, Alfie had been in a coma and on life support for over a year, oblivious to the battle going on around him.  The doctors at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool believed there was nothing more could be done for the toddler.  In a vegetative state and with no prospect of any quality of life they, in their professional opinion, believed that Alfie should be taken off life support and allowed to die.  His parents, naturally, struggled to accept the inevitable and there followed several legal battles with multiple appeals at both the High and Supreme Courts.  Unsuccessful, the little boy whose story had touched the nation and divided opinion, died on 28th April. 
Echoes of little Charlie Gard who, at 11 months old, died in July 2017.  Born with a rare genetic disorder causing progressive brain damage and muscle failure, within months he was in Great Ormond Street Hospital on life support.  He was blind, deaf and could only breathe with the aid of a ventililator.  At first, hope was offered by a neurologist in New York who was working on experimental treatment; however, further seizures resulting in catastrophic brain damage rendered, in the Hospital’s opinion, any such treatment futile.  The parents fought the decision taking their case to the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights but they were over-ruled and Charlie was allowed to die.  At the time, The Washington Post wrote that the little boy ‘became the embodiment of a passionate debate over his right to live or die.’
On the flip side, Noel Conway (68), was in the news this week fighting for the right to die with dignity.  Suffering from motor neurone disease since 2014, he is in a wheelchair and has almost no movement below the neck.  On a ventilator round the clock, he took his case to the High Court proposing that assisted dying should be available to people aged 18 and above, who were of sound mind, with fewer than six months to live.  His application was rejected in October 2017.  Earlier this week, he challenged that High Court Decision at the Court of Appeal.  Once again, he was unsuccessful.
A topsy-turvy world?  Court battles in a bid to prolong the lives of catastrophically brain damaged babies whilst an adult facing the hell of a living entombment is denied the right to die with dignity.  Meantime, a nation of animal lovers, one would never allow one’s four-legged friend to endure such suffering …  It doesn’t add up.  Is the law protecting the individual or has the individual, in reality, been lost in the system? 
This week, four Amur tigers, who have no say in their future, were transported from their former home in Sweden, to Chessington World of Adventures in Surrey.  Prime exhibits in the multi-million pound Land of the Tiger attraction, they have been bred in captivity and denied their freedom in the name of conservation.  An endangered species, Chessington claims its Learn Your Stripes initiative will educate visitors about the Amur tiger through a series of activities and events ‘while also raising funds for the Chessington Conservation Fund (CCF), protecting tigers in the wild.’  Slightly contradictory?  I wonder what percentage of the revenue engendered by these captive animals will actually go towards  protecting the species in the wild?  Makes total sense to spend millions of pounds on new enclosures if one genuinely believes these animals should be protected in their natural habitat – not!  As for educating the gullible public paying a small fortune in entrance fees?  One would learn as much if the animal were stuffed!  Deprived of his/her natural habitat, one can learn nothing about the tiger’s natural behaviour.  However, might I suggest one watches footage of Amur tigers in the wild whilst donating the entrance fee – and cost of the inevitable fast food partaken within the park – to the Born Free Foundation, a charity genuinely dedicated to the protection of wildlife in the wild.  A lesson in foresight and compassion; clarity beyond the greed.
Talk about doom and gloom!  Apologies.  Obviously, still traumatised by the past few days, steel oneself for next week’s ‘delight’ – I’m in court on Wednesday!
Let me lift the mood.  Becca mentioned me in a comment on facebook just a short time ago and I opened it to find footage of my friend, Hugh, alerting me to the chance to be shown round the familiar locations depicted in the film, Notting Hill, followed by a picnic with the man himself.  As I replied to Becca, at last an opportunity for Hugh to spend more time with me – or us!  The fact that one must donate to Comic Relief … do you think my advocate would condone an explosion in my expenditure for a worthy cause?!
Further lifting the gloom, I shall end with Pop’s favourite joke as told to me, on the phone, this week.  Like me, he laughs throughout – which is the best part!
Builders are renovating this old house in Dublin – obviously uninhabited for some time – when they come across a hidden cupboard.  On opening the door, they are met with a skeleton!  Round his neck, on a ribbon, is a medal which reads: Irish Hide & Seek Champion 1958! 
So simple.  So clever.  So Pop!
This is Trish, signing off.