Bring Me Sunshine.  That’s what it says on the sign which sits beside the television – always in view, then!  The one below reads And they lived happily ever after but that’s on the floor where it belongs …  I like these signs dotted around.  Bring Me Sunshine is a rare find which I bought many years ago, now, in a little shop in Stockbridge – full of knick-knacks – which I used to love.  It closed down, of course!  Anyway, sometime later, I did come across another one which I bought for Becca.  A lovely sentiment, to my mind, it is just Morecombe & Wise!  Their signature tune – and a huge part of my childhood – I can, forever, hear Eric and Ernie singing away at the end of the show as they skipped off the stage, kicking their legs behind, as was their wont.  A happy song reminiscent of happy days.

I have just uploaded a post onto my Seriously?! page apropos the enlightened use of books in the form of an interior design tool.  God forbid anybody could be expected to buy a book to read!  I can only shake my head.  However, after my rant on Monday, I thought I would try and write something upbeat …  For all intents and purposes, then, I shall endeavour to avoid the news.  The mess this country is in is becoming increasingly shameful, let alone non-sensical.  It seems inevitable that there will be a second lockdown, of sorts, but to what purpose?  Released from our enforced confinement, once more, the virus will take hold, inevitably, along with that of the cold and flu as winter draws ever nearer.  There is no point.  Look to Sweden – and learn.

It is beautiful outside, as I write, and I plan to go to the beach this evening for a touch of Nature’s healing.  Thankfully, the sea is not the realm of the fly; the biting sort!  By fly, one imagines something of note but, of late, we have been plagued with swarms of what amount to little more than specks of dust.  Dangerous specks of dust!  As soon as one opens a window, they appear, floating in the air as though butter wouldn’t melt but, let me assure you, they bite!  Impossible to catch, they are relentless, constantly round one’s head, but, more surprising, is the high-pitched buzz, like that of a mosquito.  What are these things?  The only defence seems to be in keeping one’s windows shut but I crave fresh air and cannot sleep without it.  It’s been a trying week, as one can gather …

One thing which did make me smile was the sight of an email from Triple Creek Ranch in my inbox.  Triple Creek Ranch.  A luxury – working – ranch in Montana, it must be more than thirty years since it featured on the erstwhile Holiday programme, a weekly must on BBC One.   Always sad to remember Jill Dando, perhaps I associate the programme more with Judith Chalmers … and, obviously, that’s because she presented the ITV version, Wish You Were Here!  Oh, well, no matter.  The point is, many years ago, I was captivated by the piece on this ranch in the mountains of Montana where one can stay in luxury lodges but, at the same time, throw oneself into ranch life.  Hopefully, not literally, be it that it involves morphing into a cowboy – my absolute dream!  The scenery is breath-taking and vast and I can think of nothing better than donning jeans, a checked shirt (obligatory), cowboy boots and the hat and spending the day on horseback.  Cowboys.  Real men.  The great outdoors.  Sleeping under the stars.  Eating baked beans from a tin while listening to the cattle moo-ing in the background …  Too much of The Virginian when I was young?  I have one picture on my wall in my bedroom: a black and white framed photograph of Trampas, or Doug McClure as was his real name.  Cheers me everyday!  Not telling at all.

Back to Triple Creek Ranch.  Following the programme, I signed up for their emails straightaway and still receive them to this day.  I will go there one day.  I made a promise to myself.  The fact that, back then – in the 80s – it cost something in the realms of £10,000 for eight days …  Never forgotten that.  Undeterred.  One only lives once.

It is funny, the set ideas I have – and have had forever – of the places I want to go.  Not really the norm, I have been lucky enough to tick many of them off my bucket list and not one has disappointed.  From the age of five or six, I vowed to go to Kenya, to Elsa’s grave in Meru.  I did that in 2000 with Virginia McKenna, no less, and I shall never forget her offering to take my photograph.  Joy Adamson, herself!  A little girl’s dream.

Then, there was Salzburg, the most beautiful city.  Landing, for the first time, on the runway in the blazing July heat of summer 2000, it was magical.  To see the mountains and the fortress … I shall never tire of that welcome.  Returning many, many times, Austria is in my heart; a part of me and, God willing, we shall spend Christmas in St Wolfgang, once more, this year.  Risk versus reward.  The Swedish approach.  The intelligent approach.

Wimbledon.  Again, a childhood dream which did not disappoint.  We have sat on the most coveted seats on Centre Court and shared the excitement of Henman Hill.  Unchanged, The Championships adhere to a bygone era when sportsmanship, dress, etiquette and manners were assumed.  May it always be so.

Imagination affording escapism.  What would one be without it?  A necessary release, and particularly, now, when one’s freedom is being so blatantly curtailed.  The Government’s attempt at strategy is nothing short of shambolic while the media would have one believe there is no end to this.  Meanwhile, there is a big world out there and none of us is here for very long.  Risk versus reward?  Absolutely.  Grandparents deprived of spending their last Christmas with their loved ones?  A no-brainer!   As the festive season beckons, so, too, do curfews and enforced restriction on numbers within one’s own house!  Laughingly, care homes are, now, to be prioritised in the chaotic test and trace ‘system’ which, seemingly, sees fit to direct those displaying symptoms from Twickenham to Aberdeen.  No more than six in the car, I hope!  Come to St Andrews.  I have yet to see one person entering the COVID-19 Testing building which is ‘policed’ by, at least, five Marshalls at the door!  Word insists ‘Marshalls’ has a capital ‘M’.  Of course, it does.

I have little to write of cheer while the subject-matter for my Seriously?! page is ever increasing.  A damning indictment.  Keep an eye on that page, though.  Shoot from the hip!

In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count.  It’s the life in your years.’

Abraham Lincoln

This is Trish, signing off.