That was the weekend, that was!  A whirlwind of chores for me and a continuous buoying of spirits – absolutely nothing to do with alcohol, in this instance!  I just find everything – and everyone – so flat.  Understandably, in that there really is little to look forward to.  Christmas?  I am blocking that out, for now.  The thought of Christmas, here, all but drains the blood from me!  We have to get away.   Two-week quarantine on return from Austria now in place.  Of course, it is.  Will things be different by December?  I’m not hopeful.  In my ideal world, we would be captives in St Wolfgang, regardless.  Suffice to say the bumbling hysteria continues; the incessant brainwashing and scaremongering is unfailing; the resultant mind-numbing is a given.  Fight it!

Life is full of the mundane – for everybody.  However, constant is debilitating.  As the lyrics of the Eagles’, Desperado, proclaim, highs and lows are a necessary combination or else it may be a case of ‘Ain’t it funny how the feeling goes away …’.  I, for one, need no convincing.  I am bored!  What’s more – God forbid – I might be in danger of becoming boring!  I know. Highly unlikely but …  Actually, talking of boring, as I write, I have been on the phone to BT for what feels like hours!  All I wanted was to dispute an automatic increase in my monthly direct debit and now, seemingly – having endured endless inane jargon – I have been offered a reduction and, for some ludicrous reason, a new contract!  Now waiting for a call back from Faults to establish why the internet cuts out immediately the phone rings.  Still with me?  See what I mean!  Mind you, it’s as though I have an out-of-body experience when I hear myself becoming increasingly irate and, dare I say it, rude!  Thing is, time spent on the phone to BT is time I can never get back – and I’m not prepared to give any more of my precious time away, anymore!

Moving on.  Let’s have a go at Apple – as I, hypocritically, sit here typing on my MacBook Air …  Apple.  Everywhere.  There’s a big Apple store (‘store’?!) in Edinburgh but, if you’re hoping to walk in and walk out with a lovely new laptop, you will be disappointed – oh, I should add, unless you are purchasing one at the higher end.  You see, recent experience has taught me that one can order online … and wait a month for delivery.  Ridiculous!  Are these things made in China, or something?!  No, I need it now.  Try the shop?  Of course.  Huge store.  I’ll just give them a ring and confirm they have the one I’m looking for …  The American accent on the other end of the line – strangely, robot-esque – professes to being apologetic but they do not have any in stock.  Sorry?  Your entry level laptop – I should imagine, your best seller – and you have none?  Well, we are in a pandemic!  The advice?  Order online – and wait a month.  Smoke.  Ears.  Just one thing, before I go and self-combust in the further realisation that standards are in the gutter, do you happen to have the MacBook Pro which is £500 more expensive in stock?  Funny that!  Those of us left in this world in possession of an iota of grey matter … can go to John Lewis!  John Lewis, it would seem, understand stock control.  It seems, too, that there is reward in engaging one’s brain – over one hundred pounds to be precise.  Never knowingly undersold!

On the subject of standards, I, too, have let mine slip.  It is, now, Tuesday and I did not post this yesterday, as is my wont.  Apologies.  Overnight, however, Nature has been rattled and Her anger is manifest in torrential rain, howling wind, overwhelming gloom and sunken temperatures.  Looking out, it could be November.  Did I miss something?  Funny how November, for me, is synonymous with grey and miserable.  Never February.  Perhaps it is because it marks the passing of October for another year; my favourite month.

Anyway, as I write, I have the television on and there has been discussion of the latest news items.  Where to start?  Perhaps, as seems to be becoming a habit, a reference to two words.  Two words, I might add, whose definitions preclude their juxtaposition – except in Scotland, apparently!  ‘Obligatory guidance’.  The latest gem from Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Education, John Swinney, regarding the forthcoming enforced wearing of masks by secondary school pupils on the move.  Embarrassed?  I am!  The definition of ‘obligatory’ is ‘compulsory’; that of ‘guidance’ is advice or information’.  There can be no such thing as compulsory advice!  Oh, help …

As for the ‘attempt’ at the actual instruction declaring that secondary pupils in Scotland must wear masks when moving around and in communal areas?  I despair of the whole mask situation.  Seriously, one has to question the benefit.  Yes, the idea is plausible, particularly on public transport, but, in reality, I suggest it could do more harm than good.  Why?  Surely, masks are only a barrier to the transmission of infection if they are clean?  Obviously but how many people are changing or washing them regularly?  Sadly, a rhetorical question.  Instead, said masks are shoved on, shoved in pockets, in handbags, in the car – in contact with everything – and then pulled out, repeatedly, and attached to one’s face, now a carrier of yesterday’s bacteria, germs and, perhaps that very virus to which it is supposed to be a barrier.  A complete waste of time? Rather, potentially, highly detrimental.

Who are these experts?  What makes one an expert?  Most never stop to question.  Most are, merely, programmed to receive.  It’s easier that way.  No need to think or make decisions for oneself.  Take instruction from the experts!  Honestly?  Have we all gone mad?  Whatever happened to common sense; the right to choose for oneself?  Sweden afforded its population that right, stood alone and followed its own course.  Everything I applaud.  Yes, it is a country in isolation and one whose handling of the pandemic is considered extremely controversial.  In the media, it has taken its toll, supposedly laying claim to some of the worst statistics – worse than than the UK, for goodness sake – but can these figures be trusted?  I repeat, Sweden chose not to follow the crowd.  A decision which, had it been recognised as, ultimately, beneficial would have reflected very badly on much of the world.  The articles I was reading yesterday, though, merely re-iterated the fact that figures can be manipulated.  Data can be sourced and presented differently.  Be cautious in one’s judgement.

Blanket acceptance should never be the default of intelligent adults.  Disinterest and laziness prohibit questioning but nothing good can come of it.  What has defined this reaction to COVID-19 – and set alarm bells ringing for me – has been the willingness of the majority to defer to ‘authority’; the willingness of the majority to renounce responsibility for their own lives.  Ironic to think that robots are considered the future

The news today, alone, has done nothing to dispel my general unrest.  Take the BBC’s decision to render both Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory as orchestral pieces, at the end of Last Night of The Proms, devoid of the age-old lyrics which, seemingly, do so much to offend.  No words.  Even Boris, on the lunchtime news, was incensed to the point that he, too, struggled to convey his feelings.  EmbarrassingPatheticUnintelligent?  All three and more.  How dare the BBC, for whose services we pay, endeavour to impose their values on me!  History cannot be changed; nor should it be.  One learns from the past, a different time.  Tradition, meanwhile, is intrinsic to the identity of this country.  The Britain which, once, was Great …  Orchestral renditions only?  Waste of time.  We, all, know the words and every one of us has a voice!

In desperate need of some light relief, let me end with a quote from a popular Aussie soap, the early showing of which is at lunchtime on Channel 5 (told you I had the television on – in the background!).

You can fit in anywhere as long as you have a fancy pair of sunnies!’ 

‘Emmett”, Neighbours.

Wise words from one so young!  Never underestimate the power of soap …

This is Trish, signing off.