​Brexit.  The unashamed recruitment drive for space travel volunteers!  There is no reprieve and this week has borne witness to the utter chaos which was inevitable.  I was actually glued to the coverage on Tuesday evening when, once again, I couldn’t help but admire the stoicism of Theresa May.  As though thrown to the lions, she faced the heckling and crowds baying for her blood seemingly devoid of fear or emotion.  Respect.  Yes, of course, much of what she is enduring lies firmly at her own hand but she is human – with a penchant for big beads!  Each to their own.  Thankfully, I grew out of that phase.
It is Thursday evening as I write aware that I have an hour or so before Question Time.  By jove, I think I’m addicted!  Is David Dimbleby still in the chair?  I hope so.  Somehow cannot imagine the dynamic with Fiona Bruce in charge.  Anyway, I digress.  What is going to happen now?  It would seem nobody is capable of steering the country out of this mess, one instigated by David Cameron who, apparently, has just returned from surfing in Costa Rica!  He made a sterling effort of impersonating someone who pounds the pavements every morning in a pair of shorts when he was approached, on Wednesday, for comment.  Of course he backs the Prime Minister but he must have struggled to keep the smile from his face as he was seen to jog off.  Shorts in place, he definitely dodged the grenade with his name on it and ambition, meantime, rendered Theresa May devoid of foresight.  Boris Johnson has recently admitted that he bottled in the face of the doomed leadership – but not before stirring the pot in a manner worthy of a starring role in The Secret Life of 4 Year Olds on Channel 4 – and Jeremy Corbyn, who somehow performed the impossible in coming back from the dead, is merely hitching a ride on the wings of Theresa May’s worst nightmare.  Pray, God, things never sink so low as to enable him worming his way into power …  Mind you, his image has certainly been sharpened and whoever is responsible is deserving of some credit.  Charisma, however, cannot be bought – nor taught.
Question Time done and dusted and Fiona Bruce was, indeed, at the helm.  Verdict?  She was very competent and assured and the programme now has a much gentler feel – which is no bad thing.  Is that because she is a woman?  Not necessarily.  I do think, though, that David Dimbleby had an arrogance and ruthlessness inherent in his style of presenting; his comments could be biting and dismissive ensuring the recipient feel knee high to a grasshopper but that ascerbic tongue was what gave the programme its edge.  Oh well. Reading back, actually, I am interested to note that I managed to compose two whole paragraphs in ‘an hour or so before Question Time‘ … this isn’t just rattled off, you know!
I stayed seated a little longer to watch the first ten minutes or so of This Week courtesy of Andrew Neil.  Now, similarly to David Dimbleby, he is possessing of that acid tongue and an arrogance to boot; however, he very much lacks the finesse of the former being, instead, somewhat boorish in his characteristic white shirt and cream tie – something distinctly mafiosa about that.  Anyway, not a fan and, even less so, having watched him bully Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, in an interview following the resounding defeat of Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement on Tuesday evening.  Akin to a Bullmastiff intimidating a Labrador puppy, he served only to degrade himself in his unnecessary bid to establish power and control thus showcasing the prowess of Mr Hancock under fire.
However, the reason I mention This Week is that I had a bit of a light bulb moment!  As ever, Michael Portillo and Alan Johnson were on the couch and it was then that I realized that politics has lost all its heavyweights, as such.  No more the Harold Wilsons or the Maggies, the Tony Blairs, Neil Kinnocks, the Paddy Ashdowns and the Cecil Parkinsons.  Love them or loathe them, each had a presence; character; charisma of sorts.  In their place, David Cameron marked the beginning of the end possessing of the bland.  Theresa May is stoic and I salute her courage but she, too, lacks that je ne sais quoi.  Don’t start me on Jeremy Corbyn – though he does try – and as for Nicola Sturgeon … off the scale!   
Reflective of life, in general, the masses are engulfing the individual rendering all but the few bland.  Look at tennis: who will replace ‘The Big Four’ in the next few years?  In terms of Borg, McEnroe, Connors and even Becker, Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray, with their huge teams around them, have become increasingly regimented but, thankfully, remain individuals.  Still able to have our favourites.  Look at the women’s game, though: the Williams sisters aside and with the exception of, perhaps, Konta, Kerber and Sharapova, I have no clue who any of these young girls are!  Certainly no Chris Everts or Martina Navratalovas amongst them: players we remember; players with a presence borne of more than talent.
Going completely off piste, as is my wont – although not advised in Austria at the moment – I cannot leave the subject of Brexit without mentioning the ‘Brexit Box’!  Pause for thought as I contemplate the mindset (read ‘intelligence’) of the hundreds who have disregarded the request not to panic stockpile and bought these £300 boxes which include a month’s supply of freeze-dried food, a water filter and a firelighter system.  Help!  (Does anyone else remember the 70s series, The Survivors?)  This is, supposedly, in an attempt to counteract any food supply disruption resulting from a no-deal Brexit.  The irony is that it is this panic stockpiling which causes the empty shelves!  Ah well, perhaps I may have a more urgent use for the numerous tins of chopped tomatoes I seem to have accumulated due to memory loss when shopping?  Nothing worse than being short of chopped tomatoes!
I am so cold despite my layers of clothing but, then, I always feel the cold.  Interesting, too, that I am a mountain person despite that.  Let me explain.  In my book, there are two categories of people: namely, those who prefer mountains and those who prefer a beach!  Think about it, we are, each, one or the other and one’s preference is quite enlightening.  Given a character synopsis of ten strangers, I am almost certain I could ascertain the correct category for each.  So much weight do I afford this theory that in the ridiculous/never going to happen scenario that I were to apply for First Dates, I would stipulate that any prospective match must fall into the mountain category. End of! 
Anyway, my thought process was such that that was a precursor to mentioning all the holiday adverts currently flooding television.  I cannot deny it is lovely to see sunshine, blue skies and turquoise sea but, then, I can see the very same on Home & Away!  The fact is that the focus for the many is now the two week, all inclusive, summer holiday to Spain where alcohol is on tap from dawn to dusk, pizza and chips and the all-English breakfast are a staple and the exercise involved in securing one’s sun lounger – bang next to hundreds of others – represents the sum total.  English is the spoken language in these ‘compounds’ and, in the unlikely event that one hasn’t taken one’s ‘crowd’ with one, it is all but guaranteed that the person on the sun lounger, milimeters away, is one of the six degrees – of separation! 
The Secret Life of The Holiday Resort, Channel 5, documents exactly what is involved for those of us unlikely to ever sample such delights but even watching the first few minutes took all my willpower.  Interviewing several of the guests as to the attraction of the resort year after year, the same answer was given repeatedly: cheap holiday and cheap booze!  Apparently, on arrival, one is given a card which one, then, exchanges for a cup.  This cup is for alcohol and is yours for the duration …  The words ‘all inclusive’ should come with a government health warning!  For my part, I read ‘Help!’ …
Funnily enough, on Channel 4 at 8pm – just prior to that – was The Secret Life of 4 Year Olds.  Co-incidence?  Admittedly, equally scary, at least the concept of hope is still viable in the latter.
In an endeavour to lift the mood, I leave you with the unique, the inimitable Prince Philip …
‘People think there’s a rigid class system here, but dukes have even been known to marry chorus girls.  Some have even married Americans.’   (In 2000)
The Wisdom of Prince Philip, Antony A. Butt.
This is Trish, signing off.