The world is a mess and it seems that a cut and colour is just not going to fix it!  Yes, Friday marked the end of the weeks of longing; the weeks of mutterings and avoidance of reflection of any sort.  To be honest, I couldn’t see out of my mop and was gratefully, therefore, unable to scrutinise the image to which I was subjecting the public but, no more.  Appointment made, mask on, the door was unlocked for my entrance where, inside, all were wearing masks, visors and cling-film aprons!  I was oblivious in my temporary state of euphoria borne of the prospect of reclaiming myself – and who would have thought ‘myself’ was inextricably linked to my hair?!   An embarrassing admission, to put it mildly …

Little things.  I could even tolerate my oh-so-pretty Liberty-print mask for the two hours or so, though rendered farcical by its removal for the purpose of eating and drinking the refreshments I had brought with me!  No matter, I was conforming – of sorts – for the greater good: my hair!  God was with me though, as is his wont, and his particular penchant for humour at my expense was ever evident.  Most who know me are aware of my aversion to Florence and the Machine and, thus, a group by the name of London Grammar who sound exactly like them.  Well, somehow, it always seems to happen that – for prolonged stays – the Spotify playlist in said hair salon is assured: Florence or Florence wannabe!  Why?  Just why?  In my book, it’s the equivalent of Japanese torture!  However, lockdown has incited a certain amount of desperation and, thus, a degree of uncharacteristic tolerance in its wake …

For anyone who has skipped the first two paragraphs, I’m back to my former glory!  Actually, talking about skipping paragraphs reminds me of the advice given to me by my ‘friend’, Charles Althrop, with regard to his last book, To Catch a King; Charles II’s Great Escape: something along the lines of, the beginning is just background so you may wish to skip to the chase!  I have never forgotten that or how lovely he was.  Made me smile.

Gosh we need something to smile about!  As I write from my table below the window, the rain is pitter pattering as the wind howls through its opening.  The grey sky and clouds cast an ominous hue over a world in limbo; a country and its people lost in a proverbial maze engulfed by an anxiety borne of uncertainty.  Months of enforced confinement have failed to re-charge batteries; rather, they are devoid of power.  Energy is lacking in the face of a future unknown as more and more jobs are lost, businesses fold and livelihoods are destroyed.  All around are masked zombies where once there were people; fear where once there was hope.  The easing of lockdown has not brought relief.  Subjected to months of scaremongering and negative coverage at the hands of government and media, the mood remains one of gloom and trepidation as the world continues to focus on COVID-19 and its aftermath: the race to fast-track a vaccination with talk of its being compulsory for all.  Where will it end?  The move from individual to clone was already underway before all this but the injection of fear has ensured its success.  Now, we need only look to our neighbour and await our next instruction.

Made in China.  Together, three of the most ominous words in the English language.  I have long feared China as it continues on its path to world domination, seemingly rendering all in its way powerless; however, listening to Jeremy Vine (week beginning 6th July), only served to enforce my cynicism.  The topic was, obviously, China’s proposed national security law for Hong Kong but, at one point, Jeremy asked an investigative journalist, on the line, to confirm some of the household items or services around him which are owned, or part-owned by China.  If there had been someone else in the house, he should have had them check there wasn’t a label on his back!  Seriously!  Do not quote me but, from memory, I was shocked to learn that China part-owns Thames Water; is responsible for the manufacture of the pylons through which electricity  is generated, certainly in that area of London; then, virtually every gadget bears its name – TV, mobile phone, kettle, toaster, bedlinen, clothes, everything!  Mere trivia in the wake of the networks involved enabling potential monitoring beyond belief or comprehension.

China may only be the fourth largest country in the world – after Russia, Canada and the USA – but it lays claim to the highest population.  In situ?  Surely not.  Everywhere one looks, there are Chinese abroad!  As a race, they are single-minded and thirsty for knowledge.  A British education is coveted and they have the means to pay for it.  Thus, our prestigious schools and universities have sought their funding, without foresight, denying places to our own.  Ironic, then, that in the face of COVID-19 – originating in China – that money source is, now, fragile threatening the very being of these prestigious bastions of learning.

I remember my days of Cath Kidston.  Quintessentially English?  No.  Made in China!  Popular across Asia, the company was sold to Baring Asia in 2016.  Gone were the days of the vintage prints and florals, replaced by quirky plastic and clothes bearing tractors or London buses!  It was symbolic that one evening, a customer came rushing in, at the last minute, convinced that she was in the right place to buy gifts representing a piece of Britain to take with her to Japan, I think it was.  She was aghast as she read each label, leaving empty-handed.  A sign of the times or just a portent of the future …

China is ruthless in its treatment of animals; that I know; that I abhor.  As a race, they have money and power and have, thus, infiltrated our schools of learning to the detriment of many, including my son.  They seem to move en masse, many speaking little English and with no desire to integrate.  To this day, I can only surmise how course work can be negotiated without sufficient knowledge of the language?  My point?  To be honest, I’m not entirely sure.  Could It be that I hate to be controlled?  Averse to enforced uniformity, I abhor crowds.  Ambition?  Greed?  Not in my dictionary.  Manners?  A must.  A misanthropist by nature, it is the person I seek …  I suppose, in my mind, China is a threat to everything I value.

It is one of history’s ironies that Communism, advertised as a classless society, tended to breed a privileged class of feudal proportions.’   Henry Kissinger, On China.

There is nothing I hate more than to generalise and, thus, my views are overviews gleaned, largely, from observation, alone.   One can characterise a race and deem all members the same but, in doing so, one denies the individual.  Take Scotland, for example.  Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP?  Imagine if ignorance meant we were all tarred with that brush!

All generalizations are false, including this one.’   Mark Twain.

This is Trish, signing off.