Moving house is like emptying an old suitcase and discovering that jumper you’ve been searching for for the last twenty years. All sorts of things re-appear – or are discovered as in the case of the spirit level I found in a bag with the hammer and picture hooks. Who can be bothered or is OCD enough to use one of these things? That’s what I used to think but, hanging all my precious works of art unaided, of late, I get it! Invaluable, it is so satisfying to see that bubble float into the middle, content in the knowledge that said painting does not require a tilt of the head for optimum viewing. Perfectly balanced. Job done. Now, just pick up that tiny bit of plaster that fell to the floor as one hammered in the nails in the perfect spot just a couple of centimetres along from the previous two … independent woman doing it for herself!
Little things. The point? Just made me surmise the ease with which balance can be achieved with the aid of a liquid bubble – when hanging pictures. It’s a shame the same cannot be said in life. In an upside down world, little is as it should be; merit is a five-letter word whose importance goes unrecognised for the most part, overshadowed by ego, confidence and bluff. As Melanie Reid spoke of those who had been key in her road to recovery and re-adjustment, the auxiliary nurses received a special mention. A job requiring empathy and kindness, it is a vocation rather than a salary; a salary which would be more deserving of someone who actually contributes nothing of any real value to mankind. Why do footballers come to mind?! A rhetorical question. Sporting genii in a field responsible for huge revenues, the average earnings for a Premier League player last season was 2.4 million according to a report from Sporting Intelligence. Weekly, that is a sum of £46,000. For what? Saving lives, educating the next generation, invaluable research, conservation or just plain human kindness? None of the above.
On the subject of exam results – topical in August – changed days, as ever. The achievement of ‘A’s at ‘A’ Level now seems commonplace pushing the ceiling ever higher to that of ‘A’*. Why? Why is it necessary to create an echelon higher than the highest? Complete madness creating monsters. No longer enough to attain the top grade, the additional star is supposedly the pre-requisite for greatness – or, at least, most university places. Quite frankly, in my day, we had names for girls who constantly achieved top marks and it wasn’t ‘popular’. Neither was it borne of jealousy. They were boring, goody two-shoes, pumpkin pains! Far better to be an all-rounder who just happened to be good at everything with, seemingly, no effort whatsoever. Claiming to have done no revision whatsoever was the way to go but the key lies in the word ‘claiming’! Add to that the word ‘gullible’ and the outcome was inevitable.
There is no such guise today. Competition is ruthless – and that’s just the parents! While we once jested about those we believed were locked in their bedrooms under threat of death, any humour is now obsolete. No time for fun, the bar is continually raised as teenagers strive to achieve that coveted A*at any cost; that ‘any cost’ too often being a euphemism for mental health. Stress abounds. Unavoidable, those who can cope are the lucky ones. Those who can’t fall victim to low self-esteem, eating disorders, self-harm, depression, all commonplace in schools today. What happened to ‘the best years of your life’? What happened to carefree days before being hit by the juggernaut of reality? Let’s face it, in a world which deems it acceptable for a baby’s potty to include an ipad holder on the side, there is no room for frivolity. To hell with nappies, there is no time to waste in that bid to make one’s parents proud. From child to accessory in the blink of an eye. Happiness? Apparently, that begins with an A* and ends in ‘bank balance’!
I’m depressing myself here! There must be something cheery to write about? I caught a snippet of an article online, today, which mentioned the fact that ‘they’ have developed robots which can feign handwriting. Made my day, I don’t know about anybody else’s! Think of the wasted money which has been poured into such inane research. Inevitably, upcoming generations will lack the skill enabling the formation of letters with the required implement thanks to the feral genie which is technology but is this the way forward? In the absence of education, let’s hear it for the robot. To think I used to hide deep down inside my beloved grey and pink flowery sleeping bag terrified out of my wits by Frankenstein’s monster as we gathered round the television for our Friday night midnight horror fest! Little did I know that that was merely the rehearsal: the Snow White version of a reality in the making.
What about a proofreading robot? Could that – or it (gender neutral, of course!) – eradicate human error responsible for the glaring mistake I came across recently? A best-selling book, I thought my eyes were playing tricks as I read the quote at the opening of a chapter, a letter clearly missing. Help! Mistakes abound in newspapers and magazines and I always feel rather smug as I convince myself I would never have missed them but this was no insignificant spelling mistake. I would hate to think that any book of mine could be published imperfect; in fact, I don’t think I would trust anybody to proofread any future tome now… Bear with! Bear with! Sanity restored, my dream may be in vain – can robots read?
I could be writing the screenplay for a horror movie here and now! Seriously, though, sometimes I feel as though I am a visitor to this planet. Familiar? No, just me, then. Oh, well … As August cascades into September – literally – and the last of my Dallas red nail varnish chips from my toes (too much information?), Summer 2019 bids adieu. Not one I shall choose to remember, it has been a difficult year for so many. Dominated by the Brexit fiasco showcasing unbridled egos more suited to ‘the terrible twos’, the news has been unrelenting and, as we head for Christmas, the Costa Del Sol and Balearic Islands endeavour to recover, once more, from the invasion of the Brits hellbent on securing a sun lounger, the obligatory tan, several pounds and a two-week hangover! Is it safe to fly into Palma yet?
To Autumn! Like an old familiar blanket, I find it comforting. Let the furore of the outside world continue. Shut the curtains, light the lamps, put another log on the fire. What will be will be.
‘I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.’
Anne of Green Gables, L. M. Montgomery.
This is Trish, signing off.