​So …  This week, rather than bemoan life in general, I have decided to concentrate on the smaller niggles which escalate into those so exasperating that one becomes obsessed!  Keeping calm, the ridiculous misuse of the word ‘so’ is a current obsession: why, when asked a question, must one always preface the answer with ‘So … ‘?  Just answer the question! ‘So’ has no relevance whatsoever; contributes nothing.  Similarly, the excessive use of the word ‘like’ by those of lesser years?  Why?  Like parrots, they seem to pick it up from their friends and I think it becomes a nervous habit of sorts.  No matter.  Not only irritating, its misuse sounds, immediately, uneducated and unintelligent.  Misleading?  More often than not but a habit worth breaking.
Nothing is quite right in my world when Ken Bruce is on holiday!  Who is Ken Bruce?  The stalwart of Radio 2, weekday mornings, nonetheless.  Somewhat of an anchor over the years, I love his gentle Glaswegian lilt and relish his sarcasm.  My background when at home, does he have to take holidays?  He’s only chatting and playing music.  Doddle.  Supposedly without warning, however, my life was thrown into further turmoil yesterday with his absence.  He’s off for a fortnight!  Not a good omen.  Speaking of omens – or little signs – as I persevered with his stand-in whilst attempting to tidy my life away upstairs, I recognised the opening bars of Tom Odell’s latest single (‘a gramophone record with only one tune’ or ‘a 45′) which immediately buoyed my mood … for all of five seconds!  Several little beeps later, signifying the demise of the batteries, Tom was silenced before he’d even begun.  Why?  There is a dearth of good music today – in fact, in this techno world, a dearth of what I’d call music. That of Tom Odell, however, is god sent!  Wonderful tunes and intelligent, thoughtful lyrics the likes of which will live on.  For some reason unknown to me, though, my radio chose to deprive me of a mere three minutes of enjoyment.  I say the reason is unknown because, when I switched said radio on once more, there was no further beeping; the batteries have not been replaced and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.  Note to self: there is someone, or something, out to get me – or Tom Odell?  Definitely me, then!
On a similar note, following said trauma, I did risk venturing out – on public transport, no less.  Believing I had plenty of change for the bus, I required a further five pence to make up the exact fare.  No problem.  I have a little coin purse with a zip compartment for coppers of which I am forever trying to get rid.  Five pence, then?  What were the chances I would only have four?  I knew it before I had even checked!  Once upon a time, that sort of thing would have knocked me off; I would have believed it an omen of things to come.  Not any more.  I now find humour in my ability to predict the inevitable and, after all, pre-warned is pre-armed!  As to why these things happen to me?  Perhaps to serve as a reminder that in the greater scheme of things …
Accents.  I have avoided this subject forever but no more.  Accents can make or break; enhance or destroy in an instant.  One cannot underestimate their importance.  Agreed?  Perhaps not.  A delicate subject, long regarded as being inextricably linked to class, it is one which is rarely addressed.  However, I grew up in an era abound with the Queen’s English: television, films, there wasn’t an accent to be found.  Moreover, there was a pride in the way one spoke, in one’s use of English.  Long gone, as in so much of life today, that pride has been replaced by a general debasement to the lowest common denominator.  A badge of honour to speak in a pronounced accent, there is no attempt to be grammatically correct; let’s face it, grammar has not been part of the school curriculum for years.  Overheard snippets of conversation are laced with four letter words, a form of shorthand in this modern age, and television is flooded with ‘soaps’ promoting the norm … Love Island?!
Think about it.  One sees, or meets someone for the first time and immediately judges that person on his/her appearance.  Then, said person opens his/her mouth!  So important.  Be honest, an accent can grate or enhance.  Personal taste, of course, but, regardless, it is a factor of great influence.  Lorraine Kelly has been on television for thirty years but today her accent is so much stronger.  She seems to deliberately exaggerate it as though believing it endearing.  To many, perhaps.
Scottish television is laced with horrendous adverts incorporating accents I find intensely irritating; similarly, those on Scottish radio.  Thankfully, I have the ability to change the channel or press ‘mute’.  Those, too, interviewed in the media and somehow taken as representative of our nation?  Not in its entirety!  Thank God for the likes of Billy Connolly, Ken Bruce, Fiona Bruce, even, Ruth Davidson and my friend, Cathy MacDonald to name but a few.  Enough said. 
One of three, my accent is neither like my brother nor my sister’s.  Born in Glasgow to Glaswegian parents, we grew up in Fife but school drew a catchment from all over the world and, thus, we could never be pigeon-holed.  As a young teenager, however, I spent hours listening to the likes of Donny and David Cassidy in my bedroom, singing along and mimicking every nuance to the extent that, seemingly, I have never lost that twang!  Just the other day, I was helping a tourist at the parking meter in town – an American – when he, immediately, asked if I was one and the same.  Never fails to make me smile.  In fact, throughout my life, my surmised country of origin has ranged from Ireland, Canada, USA to New Zealand.  Ironically, feeling slightly homeless!  Never underestimate the power of the voice.
Completely unrelated, I cannot finish without making reference to my final scribble on my piece of paper: the news that Carol Thatcher – daughter of Maggie – is to auction more of her mother’s personal belongings. 
In 2015, a similar auction at Christie’s in London raised £4.5 million.  More than 400 dresses and handbags winged their way to South Korea, apparently bound for a window display at a shop in Seoul!  The first female Prime Minister’s red box was sold for £242,500.  Such was the demand that few of Baroness Thatcher’s possessions remain in Britain which is sad as she as she is certainly deserving of a museum in her honour.
What of Carol Thatcher, though?  What kind of person auctions off one’s mother’s belongings for personal gain?  Her twin brother, Mark, believed the first auction to be ‘simply abhorrent’ and the ensuing rift between the siblings seems never to have been resolved.  I am with Mark.  Reminiscent, too, of the Christie’s auction of Audrey Hepburn’s personal belongings in September last year courtesy of her two sons …
Disrespectful.  Greedy.  Sad.  Just a few of the words which come to mind.  Personal gain, another.  The interest and demand engendered by these auctions only serving to prove that the lives and legacies of both women were worthy of public display.
Now, in years to come, which one of my children will be flogging this for personal gain?!  Laughable as that may sound, there is no personal imprint to prove that these words are even mine!  Small mercies.  That’s technology for you.
‘I always get to where I am going by walking away from where I’ve been … ‘
Winnie the Pooh.
Makes perfect sense to me.
This is Trish, signing off.