Anyone for politics – again?  No, don’t worry.  I’m just going to wing it this week so trivia it is!  Dark and raining outside, I am feeling a weird sense of peace washing over me as Becca has gone to Edinburgh accompanied by my phone – printing photos for me and, yes, I could have sent her them but ‘Hello’, this is me!  As I’ve previously mentioned, Jessops is now my second home as I endeavour to make a photographic diary of our forays to Rome and Austria over the years.  I see no point in confining photographs to one’s laptop or phone and, thus, I am printing and album-ing, as it were.  Helps to explain/justify the bank balance, too!  Actually, I’ve really enjoyed the process as I re-live every location; every memory.  One thing, the October sky in Rome is such a rich blue … why, in God’s name, do we live here?!

Told you this would be full of drivel.  Loving not being a slave to my iphone, though.  I have had a couple of calls on the landline but that’s it.  No checking emails or texts, it is completely liberating.  Said landline, however, seems to have a mind of its own: originally, it spoke to me as the number flashed up on the screen and, of course, that drove me nuts!  No idea how to render it mute, I was ignorant as to the fact that I was in possession of a mind-reading device – out of the blue, no voice and no number with no intervention from me.  Voilà!  I, now, have no idea who is calling me rendering me somewhat vulnerable.  The secret, though, is to be selective in the dispensing of one’s number … Shona!

On the subject of phones, I read a recent statistic (just who is responsible for all these invaluable studies?) which states that a quarter of us make fewer than five calls per month.  In fact, the youth of today admit to being nervous when it comes to speaking to someone as opposed to messaging.  Says it all, really.  Human beings are losing the ability to communicate naturally; the spoken language in danger of being consigned to the past.  Think how many messages are misconstrued because one is unable to hear the words or the all-crucial tone of voice.  In preparation for the imminent invasion of the robot …

I knew the 13th October rang a bell.  Well, not in the same way as the 12th October – that auspicious day thirty-five years ago when I really should have turned A Different Corner – but it’s Marie Osmond’s 60th Birthday.  Help!  That means that Donny is 62 this year.  Anyone still with me?  Basically, it also means that time stands still for no man.  What is it, though, about 60?  Why is it that that sounds so old?  I suppose it’s because, growing up in the seventies, 60 was the age of the granny; one step from the grave!  That characteristic grey/white hair – short and permed – glasses, floral dresses and fur coats (with knickers, I hope!), God-fearing with a penchant for a wee sherry.  A wee sherry?  Somehow, always associated with grannies, it is absolutely lethal stuff!  So, not much changed then.  Well, 60 is the new 40, apparently, although I can’t say I was a huge fan of 40.  Truth be told, I remember being really sad the night before my 17th Birthday!  I loved being 16 and would happily have pressed the pause button.  (Ironically, all these years on, that feeling is somewhat vindicated.)  For some reason, I was very conscious of how lucky I was.  I didn’t take any of it for granted, savouring every bit of my carefree childhood, intuitively aware of that invisible, protective bubble – my safety net – beyond which was real life.  Not surprising, then, that Peter Pan was – and remains – one of my favourite stories, something I shared with Michael Jackson!  I think, though, the inimitable Don Henley captures the unmistakeable poignancy in his beautiful song, The End Of The Innocence:

‘Remember when the days were long
And rolled beneath a deep blue sky
Didn’t have a care in the world
With mommy and daddy standing by.

When ‘happily ever after’ fails
And we’ve been poisoned by these fairy tales …’

Enough.  Age is just a number, regardless.  Is there any significance in the fact that this cottage is infested with spiders, though?  Honestly, it’s a full-time job keeping on top of the webs.  I truly believe that, if I sit still for too long, I’ll be entwined!  What happened to Trish?  Haven’t seen her for a few days.  Oh, didn’t you hear?  Tragic.  She was caught up in the web!

I have switched off to much of the news, sick to death of Brexit.  Now, however, there is Extinction Rebellion, the environmental pressure group which believes using civil disobedience as a means of protest against climate change – primarily – will compel the Government to take action.  Nobody could deny the urgency for change, or the need to acknowledge it, but I do question the method of protest.  Yes, bringing much of London to a standstill is newsworthy, highlighting the plight, but it is a double-edged sword.  Causing havoc and disrupting everyday lives is damaging but, moreover, potentially dangerous.  What of the life-saving ambulance which cannot get through, prevented by extremists super-glued to the road?  The over-riding public reaction has, I think, been one of anger and the footage I have seen, quite honestly, pathetic: a grown man/father lying on the road sobbing for the future of his children?  Get a grip!  What happened to perspective?  If only Pop were alive as I can only surmise his derision.  A Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, he abhorred the hysteric and I always remember his recounting the patient who threw herself on the floor of his consulting room, arms and legs flailing, in a bid for attention.  He got up from behind his desk, stepped over her and went for a coffee.  On his return, miraculously, normal service was resumed.

Politics was to be off limits today but it is, seemingly, all-consuming.  Forgive me.  Newspaper headlines continue to be dominated by the subject but that, actually, leads me nicely on to another bugbear – weekend newspapers.  Would you like a bag?  More like a flunky! (Pause for a chuckle, I know.)  How else am I to get an entire forest back to the car?  Seriously.  The first thing I do when I get home is put most of it in the recycling.  What an utter waste!  All I want is one newspaper detailing the latest news and relevant articles.  Business, Finance, Sport, Travel?  I’d like to think I have a life.

Time for bed as another week beckons.  Reading Melanie Reid’s book, The World I Fell Out Of, late last night, her words seemed particularly poignant.  Through tragedy, she has learnt the true meaning of hindsight, the pathos of which she is desperate to impart.  Included in the final pages is the following quote from the writer and birdwatcher, Simon Barnes:

‘Life in the twenty-first century is like being perpetually stony broke, unaware you have a pocketful of diamonds.’

Once, again, the power of words.

This is Trish, signing off.