Help!  It’s almost 4.30pm and I’ve done nothing of note.  Somehow, in my sleep, I made a list of all the things I had to do today and I just can’t get motivated.  The sun has taken the day off, also, and the sky is overcast and bleak.  I don’t like it.  Definitely a mood-depressant but, then, I’ve always been affected by the weather.  Beggars the question why I continue to live in this country?!  In all seriousness, when this is all over, I love the idea of a bolthole in St Wolfgang to which we could escape for months on end.  One of the most beautiful places on the planet, it is, as though, in a time warp.  I know I’ve described it many times before – and there are many photos on my Gallery page – but, nestled on the lake with the mountains towering above, it is truly breathtaking.  In that little Austrian village, the majesty of Nature, successfully, dispels the urgency of the rat race allowing one’s soul to breathe, once more.  Humbling, one is encouraged to reassess one’s values and priorities, acutely aware of its magic.  I would, happily, never leave.  One day … watch this space!

I hate being one of these people who, constantly, has a ‘to do’ list in her head.  Sometimes, I can ignore it but, rarely, and how I would dearly love to do nothing, free from guilt!  Thankfully, I have, successfully, sent one pressing email and have, now, allocated myself one hour to do this.  Yes, I have tried to work to a time limit before but, if at first …  Giving it a go!

I have, already, overdosed on news, today, and it has done nothing to lift my mood.  Glad to hear Boris is, supposedly, sitting up, there is little else about which to be jolly.  (How I wanted to write ‘to be jolly about’ – and I suppose I could have – but not grammatically correct and Betsy will forever remain in my head.  That makes a hell of a lot of ‘stuff’ in my head!).  I can see, of late, there is a pattern developing in my writing whereby everything is worthy of a tangent!  Increasingly at ease committing my thoughts to print, it is very much organic with little heed to notes or subject matter; very much a case of ‘go with the flow’.  I hope there is still some semblance of logic to be derived, regardless.

Less of the rambling.  It seems this lockdown is set to continue for the foreseeable future.  It has its highs and lows and I think acceptance is half the battle.  It, certainly, affords plenty of time to think.

The world continues its life and it is beautiful.  It only puts humans in cages.’

An excerpt from a piece posted on Facebook.  Whilst no mention of the author, he/she should be applauded.  Humbling, it puts the human race right back into its place – one piece in a great big jigsaw puzzle of a world, ultimately governed by Nature.

‘You are not necessary.  The air, earth, water and sky, without you, are fine.  When you come back, remember that you are my guests.  Not my masters.’ 

If Nature could speak.  Words of wisdom to which we should pay heed.

Rewinding to the bit about putting ‘humans in cages’ …  A valuable lesson for all.  How does it feel to have one’s liberty restricted?  To be isolated and deprived of social interaction?  To be bored?!  How does it feel, as the weeks progress, to see no end?  Thankfully, we have the tools necessary for entertainment and company – books, television, radio, phone, the internet – yet, still, we are disgruntled and down.  Our lives – those we took for granted – are being controlled, for our own good.  Think then, of the wild animals we, as human beings, confine to cages, for our entertainment!  Are you ashamed?  I am.  You should be.

Forget the argument that such cruelty is in the name of conservation.  Conservation of what exactly?  A wild animal in a concrete prison cell from whom one can learn nothing?  Often taken from the wild when young, the animal may know nothing else for the rest of its life yet its instincts remain.  Whether it be to cover great distances in search of food – as the polar bear – or to live in a family, as the elephant who craves the company of its own – we, as human beings, have deprived that animal of its freedom; its natural life.  Confined for the rest of time.  Resigned to a life of unbearable isolation and boredom, many fall victim to psychotic rituals such as the lion who, endlessly, paces up and down; the chimpanzee who, continually, bangs its head against the glass of its enclosure or, incessantly, pulls its own hair out; or the bear who, repeatedly, vomits, eats and then vomits again!  Nothing could be further from natural.  Nothing could be more cruel.

These animals will never be – can never be – released back into the wild.  Should the species become extinct, all that will remain is an exhibit in a cage.  Is that conservation?  Far better that the poor animal be stuffed for, in truth, all we can learn from our ‘prisoner’ relates to its physical presence.  Nothing about the animal, itself, nor the life it was born to live; born free.

When was the last time one heard of a zoo programme designed to return animals, bred in captivity, back into the wild?  All this talk of endangered species as a justification for captivity is insulting.  The two are not related.  Wild animals in cages/enclosures are nothing more than money-making exhibits.  One need only look at the cost of entrance to any zoo.  Quickly checking on Google, Entrance to Edinburgh Zoo – at the Gate – is £21.95/Adult and £12.50/Child.  That is a total of £68.90.  Would you pay £68.90 to see a prisoner in his prison cell?

Ironically, further down the page, I noticed an entry regarding the purchase of Membership for Edinburgh Zoo.  I read the first sentence: ‘Our charity’s animal food costs alone are more than £55,000 every month.’  £55,000?  One can only imagine the charity’s monthly revenue!  Regardless, one can only imagine how different things could be if £55,000 were ploughed, monthly, into funding the protection of these animals in their natural habitat rather than into sustaining them in their misery.  In these days of advanced technology, David Attenborough has made it abundantly clear the scope of knowledge and entertainment which can be gleaned from film.  No more is there any excuse for any animal to be deprived of its freedom.

Perhaps, now, we will understand …

We could learn as much about lions by studying them in their cages as we can about men by studying them in their prison cells.’    Virginia McKenna.

The Lions are Free, Bill Travers.

This is Trish, signing off – 3 hours later!