What a difference a week makes!  Actually, what a difference a day makes!  What has happened?  I remember watching a television series in the 70s called Survivors.  Whilst I can’t remember specifics, it was, basically, about the aftermath of some sort of apocalypse which had decimated all but the few – nuclear, I should imagine.  Anyway, what ensued was nothing short of dog-eat-dog as the remaining pockets of people fought for their own survival in terms of food and provisions deeming all others the enemy.  It was a real insight into the innate instinct for survival, sometimes at all costs.  Fast forward almost fifty years and, scarily, it wasn’t so far off the mark.

Consumed.  Brainwashed.  Every media source is driven by it.  There is no escape.  Moreover, it is addictive!  The world has all but ground to a halt and even the intelligent amongst us, the sceptical, have little choice but to pay heed to the hype.  A natural cynic, I have believed, from the start, that there is a lot more to this than is being released into the public domain.  This is a virus the symptoms of which, it is claimed – for the majority – are mild.  Why the strategic incitement of hysteria?  None of it adds up and I think that is what makes it all so alarming.

The unknown is a classic trigger when it comes to panic.  Human nature is such that there is a desire to know howWhy?  Meanwhile, we have been fed the story of someone in China supposedly contracting the virus by eating an infected bat at a ‘wet’ market in Wuhan!  Apart from the inevitable ‘yuck!’, are we really supposed to give that suggestion any credence?  I, for one, don’t buy it.

Regardless, numerous countries are in lockdown, the streets deserted and planes are even, now, being told to turn around in mid-air!  Shops are being stripped of provisions and hand-sanitising gel has the status of gold dust.  It is getting to the stage that people are frightened to leave their homes for fear of becoming infected.  Now, believing myself to be quite sensible and not one prone to hysteria, of late, my eyes and nose have begun to stream and I have an associated cough. The symptoms of a cold!  Normally, I would think nothing of it but, sufficiently brainwashed, even I am subject to doubts – and little wonder.  The latest news bulletin referred to the ‘deadly virus’ whilst warning that the likes of hotels are going to be turned into makeshift hospitals as the country moves into wartime mode.  Bombarded, at every turn, by the latest figures and developments, the mind cannot help but be infiltrated.  I have just had a panicky phonecall from a friend and, as we discussed the implications and tried to apply some form of logic to the situation, a light came on and we drew our own conclusions!  However one looks at it, the world has, successfully, been crippled.  By what means can it recover? Money talks.  Those without will be fair game and, rather like Monopoly, the outcome lies in the name.  Is this all just part of a ruthless, strategic plan?

I am beginning to scare myself!  Once again, though, it does give perspective to that which is important.  Material possessions are worthless.  A life spent planning for the future rather than living for today?  Wasted time.  It could all be gone tomorrow.  What further evidence is needed beyond those who have lost everything in the floods?  Those, in Australia, who have lost everything in the bush fires?  The ultimate lesson in perspective.  There is a big wide world out there – or was – so get out and see it.  What is the point in sitting at a screen all day – zombified like everyone else – seduced by a number?  That’s all money amounts to, a number on a screen.  A number which dictates the ability to pay one’s mortgage, rent and bills; a number by which we are all held captive.  In effect, we were, all, already brainwashed …

It takes a pivotal event in one’s life to make one take stock; to look at what is truly important.  Eight years ago, that happened to me and I see the world very differently now.  The best laid plans?  Forget them!  Nothing is guaranteed.  What have I learnt?  Life is about experiences and making wonderful memories.  Grab every opportunity.  So it is that, as the prospect of my country pile shrinks to a teepee, I have spent birthdays at the top of the Spanish Steps, enjoyed cocktails in The Hassler, seen Tosca in Rome, ridden down the Via Appia, sat in some of the best seats on Centre Court, savoured champagne in The Ritz and spent Christmas in St Wolfgang!  I am so lucky and I have loved every minute of them all.  A house?  Like Scarlett in Gone with the Wind, I’ll think about that tomorrow …

There is nothing more important than the past to me.  We are our past but, in learning to live one day at a time, it is liberating.  Constantly worrying about the future is a fool’s game.  Nobody knows what lies ahead.  Could be that, one day, my photographs and memories will be all that I have to keep me warm on my little patch on George Street but, boy, I’ll have some stories to tell!

‘”What day is it?”, asked Pooh.
“It’s today”, squeaked Piglet.
“My favourite day”, said Pooh.

The inimitable, A.A. Milne.

This is Trish, signing off.