What do we know to be true?  I believe it is Friday.  I believe it is sunny outside and I know that the pigeons have just deposited the end result of their chosen delicacies all over my car!  Why?  Just why?  This hasn’t been a good week, as it is, and my only saving grace has been immersing myself in Downton Abbey of an evening!  Perhaps, on the other hand, that is doing me no good whatsoever as it, merely, reminds me of an era in which I would dearly loved to have lived.  Yes, yes, knowing my luck, I would have been a lady’s maid but just to witness a bygone class and decorum would suffice.  The clothes, the country houses, the pride … what happened?

Instead, take a look around.  People, in general, are downright slovenly (good word!).  No pride in their appearance, more interested in an excess of consumption.  The streets of St Andrews are packed as they spill out of the pubs and eateries with massive queues for fish and chips and Janetta’s ice cream!  Masks?  Well, they’re everywhere but to little avail.  There are those who wear them outside, ignorant to the benefits of fresh air but, regardless, how many will ever wash them?  Outside the Dunvegan, the benches were packed as overweight, middle-aged men enjoyed their pints in the sun, people-watching and letting it all hang out!  God must be laughing up there as this ‘global pandemic’ renders mankind useless, scrambling for an ounce of common sense and, in its absence, most happy to await further instruction.  I am embarrassed.

I have had cause, yet again, to phone Scottish Power this week and the ensuing irritation is predictable.  I am prepared for the accent in the recorded message – kind of Nicola to offer her services – and, thus, hold the phone from my ear but the grammatical error I find hard to tolerate, repeatedly!  Surely, I am not alone?  Word for word: ‘We are, currently, experiencing high call volumes, at present, and apologise for the continuing delay …’.  Is there any need for the use of two adverbs with exactly the same meaning?  Trivial but telling and oh, so annoying when one is subjected to its repetition every two minutes!

I do despair of them all, however!  I have had a new email address for over a year now to which I have alerted all utility companies.  Not computing!  Encouraged to set up one’s account online, for some time now, I have been unable to access that of Scottish Power as it refuses to accept my password.  Fair enough.  Click ‘Forgotten Password’ and I must key in my email address to be sent the correct link.  Thing is, it, then, claims that I do not have an account and must register.  Not true but I oblige only to be told that my email is already registered so I must click ‘Forgotten Password’!  Images of Basil Fawlty!  How did this country ever win two World Wars?  Silly me!  That was seventy-five years ago when Britain was Great and ‘the great’ were educated; not post-Maggie in a world which has sold out to Artificial Intelligence …  Those two words never fail to make me smile as I remember the halcyon days of university when we thought it was hilarious to tell those who were none the wiser that that was our degree of choice!  Sadly, there is no such thing as artificial intelligence, in the literal sense, today; no striving to appear better.  Instead, there is pride in ignorance.

Artificial Intelligence.  Apple.  Monopoly.  Visit the Apple shop on Princes Street and it is like stepping into Disney World!  American and fake.  “How can we help?”  Wrong.  What these Stepford impersonators should say is: “Are you willing to buy, if so, we can help? “.  Mac laptops are expensive but, like everything else, they are made with a shelf life.  On purchasing, one’s excitement ensures one believes everything one is told – or not – convinced that the best justifies the price.  Of course, there is going to be no problem but, should there be, these wonderfully helpful people at Apple are on hand to make it all better!  Wrong!  Firstly, they do nothing without an appointment and, then, funnily enough – having lugged one’s laptop, desktop, even, into the shop and upstairs – there is nothing they can do.  Well, in Manny’s case – this week – he was told that to fix his screen would cost £450 and they could offer nothing in terms of trade-in!  Helpful?  It gets worse.  He was told that he could log-in to access his files by shining a torch behind the broken screen!  £450 to fix but it will work if you use a torch?!   As for the old Mac desktop (which works perfectly, I might add), which he struggled in with, he was told they would take it off his hands for £30 which, it was suggested, he could put towards a new phone cover!  No words.  Well, maybe, just ‘contempt’!

As I continue on my MacBook Air, hypocritical in the extreme …  That’s the thing about this world, one is driven to make choices in which one doesn’t believe for personal ease; one is encouraged to subscribe to the monopoly; one is persuaded to arrange the pros in such a way as they appear to outweigh the cons but who is fooling who?   Whatever happened to having the courage of one’s convictions?  Courage?  It may still be found in a dictionary: that’s a large book containing lots of words and their meanings, now , rendered unnecessary.

I’m depressing myself, here.  What’s new?  It’s not going to get any better as I end with further observations as to the predicted behaviour of ‘little people’; the ‘little ayatollah’.  Am I allowed to write that now?!  A colloquial term for those who, given the chance, behave above their station, the PC brigade would, in all likelihood, find a reason to deem the term racist.  Mind you, soon people will be too scared to write anything.  Ah, maybe that’s why nobody can write anymore!

Anyway, back to these clandestine control freaks who, given the opportunity, morph into monsters!  The security man, in his important tabard, at Morrisons or Tesco making – all by himself – the decision as to when his fellow man may enter his  domain; the very important waitress at BrewDog who is ‘in charge of’ the four tables outside and who is within whose bubble; the receptionist at the hair salon to which I have given my custom for almost forty years who blocks the entrance and repeats ‘I am just doing my job!’.  No.  You have over-indulged in your own self-importance courtesy of circumstances which afford you some control.  However, you have failed to compute that true power lies in flexibility: the ability to gauge a situation and adjust accordingly.  In the absence of intelligence, need a hand down?

Cynical, as ever, I am irritated in the extreme – who would have guessed?  Apologies, in advance, but I am not going to read over the above as I feel, in doing so, I may interrupt the natural spontaneity.  In other words, time, rather, for a large gin!

If I withdrew my friendship from everyone who had spoken ill of me, my address book would be empty!’

The Dowager Countess of Grantham (the inimitable Dame Maggie Smith!), Downton Abbey.

I would pay large sums to spend time in her company!

This is Trish, signing off.