I have never tried yoga. Perhaps I should. In this manic period of my life, anything which would enable me to relax would be a godsend but somehow, judging by past experience, I don’t think it would work. Take sedation, as opposed to a general anaesthetic: back in the day, I had my first impacted wisdom tooth out at the dental hospital and, sedated, I was supposed to be awake but relaxed and totally unaware of what was going on. Absolute rubbish! I was completely aware of the crowd gathering as they seemed to take it in turns, using brute force – knee in the chest sort of style – to try and loosen the massive root embedded in my gum. Who knew? It was an experience I shall never forget – despite the passing of many years – and nor shall I forget the resulting swollen face and the ensuing three weeks of pain! Sedation? I would never trust it again having absolutely no effect on me. However, I have witnessed others who seem to succumb without fight appearing, in the aftermath, as though completely plastered. Very interesting.

Then there were the antenatal classes at the end of which the small gathering of beached whales were encouraged to lie back on the mat – lights switched off, spa music switched on – and relax for ten minutes or so. Not a chance! Ten minutes seemed like an eternity as, around me, others were falling asleep. Weird.

I have probably had a sum total of two massages in my life and I am not a fan. One is supposed to lie quietly and zone out but that certainly doesn’t work for me. I just find it awkward being in someone else’s company in silence. Forget the elephant in the room, there’s a whole herd! Somehow, enforced relaxation is powerless in my case and, on that premise, I assume hypnosis, too, would be ineffective. Shame as I have always wondered who or what I was in a former life? Maybe better not to know …

Moving on, I have some notes here regarding Everest which I completely overlooked last week but which I found amazing. Actually, it was on Good Morning Britain a week past Thursday (30th May). Sir Ranulph Fiennes was a guest in the wake of the news that 11 climbers had died in the last 9 days in an attempt to reach the summit of the highest mountain in the world – and the subsequent call for a limit on the numbers undertaking the climb. Sir Ranulph, himself, took three attempts before finally achieving his goal in 2009. However, it was seeing the film footage of the queueing on the mountain which beggared belief. Honestly, it could have been a scene prior to the Harrods sale!

Earlier this year, I read Ben Fogle’s book, Up, which includes documentation of his successful conquering of the mountain. I listened as he talked about it on stage when we went to see him in Glasgow at the beginning of the year and I had also watched the Sky programme on his climb. Never once, though, did I imagine the reality; or the reality now. There is one rope up the mountain for both the ascent and descent to which the climbers attach themselves and the sight of the resulting queue looks utterly surreal; totally incongruous considering it is the top of the world and not a bus queue in Clapham! Debasing something almost magical to the realms of the mundane, once more, one questions human nature; and, once more, the sheep syndrome rears its ugly head.

Rainy Rome seems like a lifetime ago now – for the Romans, too! Apparently there has been wall-to-wall sunshine since we left leading us, once again, to question why? Is it me? Is it Becca? The following may go some way towards clarifying the debate … Picture the scenario: 30th Birthday party organized in favourite city, end of May, in friends’ wine bar/gallery. Attending, amongst others, two old friends from uni, one of whom is from Munich. Now, as a gallery, Sacripante hosts many different art exhibitions but on Saturday, 25th May 2019 – Becca’s 30th Birthday – the subject matter just happened to be Adolf Hitler! Speechless. Funny side? Of course. There is always humour to be found in the absurd – just maybe not quite yet for Becca.

Adolf Hitler. The evil catalyst for the D-Day landings of 6th June, 1944. Yesterday marked the 75th anniversary of that pivotal day commemorating immense courage and bravery and the estimated 10,500 Allied forces who were killed, missing or wounded. Completely humbling, nobody could have missed the coverage or have failed to be moved. Thought-provoking in the extreme, one watched the dwindling band of brothers who remain, now in their 90s, and surely questioned the world today. I did. It was sobering. What has happened to us?

I couldn’t stop thinking about that yesterday, the then and the now. These veterans radiate pride – and rightly so. Deserving of every accolade, those who put their lives on the line in the name of freedom – our freedom – exude immense humility. A sense of duty and allegiance to their country ensured there was no questioning their fate. Most no older than 17 or 18, they possessed a maturity belying their years. Now, seventy-five years on, such qualities are rare heightening the sense of nostalgia. In a world crippled by disconnection, the pride has gone. The very nucleus of family and community has all but disappeared and, with it, a sense of direction; a discipline borne of belonging; a sense of duty borne of identity. There could never be another WWII – thank goodness. However, the small band of veterans remaining embody the very qualities which were necessary to defeat the evil they faced: courage, pride, a sense of duty, loyalty, selflessness and humility. It is little wonder this momentous anniversary invoked such emotion. In remembering those who fought for our freedom, one is faced with the reality of a world which would seem to have forgotten that which is truly important.

‘So perhaps as we wrestle with the political tumult of our own times, we should embrace what this anniversary has seemed to offer us above all – a sense of perspective.’

ITV News at Ten, 6th June , 2019.

This is Trish, signing off.