Do I have a problem?  Am I alone in making zero effort with clothes or appearance anymore?!  What is the point?  Once upon a time, I used to religiously wash my hair every second day but now?  Look, it’s not as if I am going anywhere or likely to see anybody upon whom I wish to make an impression so … one more week won’t matter.  Only joking, although, isn’t there an old wives’ tale that, eventually, one’s hair cleans itself?

Then there’s my outfit for the day – at home, seeing nobody!  I’m sure the postman or regular delivery guy returns home at the end of the day even more depressed than he was at the start as he tries desperately to expel from his mind some of the awful sights which have greeted him at the door.  Just me?  Yes, I may be exaggerating somewhat but the truth is I have, unwittingly, established a ‘uniform’ for myself of late: jeans, white strap top beneath sweatshirt, boots and scarf – not forgetting the pearls!  Always.  Never without.  Trade mark.  Call me Audrey.  In my dreams!  Now, there is somebody, though, who made simplicity an art form.  What is one’s image of Audrey Hepburn?  Little black dress, pearls and the obligatory over-sized sunglasses.  Perfect.  Or, perhaps, a pair of navy or black cigarette trousers and a white blouse.  Whatever, the truth is there is nothing wrong with a uniform of sorts.  To my mind, simplicity is class.  Think, too, of Jackie O.  She, like Audrey, always stuck to primary colours – and sunglasses.  What was that song title in the 80s?  The future’s so bright I gotta wear shades!

Always good to dream.  Nothing wrong with talking drivel, either.  Before I leave the captivating subject of clothes and uniform, however, I must tell you about my favourite card ever!  Never failed to make me smile.  There are two nuns on the front and one of them is turning to the other with the question, ‘What are you wearing tomorrow?’.  So ridiculous, I love it!  I used to send it to anybody I could – as I would to this day – but, sadly, it seems it is no longer available.  Let’s face it, most cards are awful now.  Either rude, crude or just downright boring.  In search of a humorous Birthday card, one could be gone for days, weeks, months.  An impossible task!  Better to make one oneself.  In fact, the best card I received for my big Birthday last October was one from my dear friend, Caroline.  She of my university and Napier days – Graduate Secretarial Course, if you please – when she, Mary and myself used to sit one behind the other in our typing and shorthand classes and, regularly, think of ways to torment our poor teacher, Mrs Pole!  Dressing identically was par for the course and, simple as we were, we used to get so much enjoyment from it as she, determinedly, tried to ignore the obvious while desperately trying not to smile.  Happy days!  Anyway, that’s Caroline who never forgets my Birthday and always sends me lucky dips – as I do her – ever hopeful.  Last year, however, I nearly spilt my glass of champagne as I opened her card only to be faced with a digital version of myself!  God knows how she did it, technical halfwit like myself, but it was – and is – so funny, so much so that I have taken to photocopying the image, cutting it out and sticking it on card to enhance the future Birthdays of all my friends.  Be warned!

Nearly six hundred words and not a mention of that awful word nor a single political comment – yet!  It cannot last as the country is poised for Boris’ announcement regarding the latest restrictions in England.  Sick to death of it!  Meanwhile, that awful Ferrier woman, in Scotland, is blatantly refusing to resign following her COVID one-woman tour and, quite frankly, having learned of her salary, I am not surprised!!  SNP MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West she, reportedly, receives an annual income of £82,000.  £82,000!  I wonder how many nurses can claim that salary or teachers, for that matter?  Jobs that matter!  Incensed.  Devoid of dignity and class, she is an utter embarrassment.

There is an underlying mood of rebellion.  In fact, forget the ‘underlying’; there is a definite mood of rebellion.  People have had enough.  Life, as we, once, knew it, is going to the wall as we continue to be bombarded with negative data designed to frighten, so inducing unchallenged submission.  Given, there are plenty who believe that they are, quite literally, in fear of their lives – and a ridiculous number who, consequently, will not venture beyond the door – but, at the same time, the numbers are growing of those who, like myself, read and research and refuse to be denied their basic liberty as dictated by a Government, some of whose members, clearly, are intent of doing what the hell they like, regardless.  A Government who for almost 200 days – something in that realm – has declined any invitation for debate on Good Morning Britain or This Morning, to name but two.  Too afraid to be challenged by Piers Morgan?  Why?

The country was subjected to an enforced lockdown for four months – spring and summer, most of – and for what?  Granted, one could say it was a knee-jerk reaction to a virus we knew little about and, yes, it may have protected the NHS from becoming over-burdened but – and it is a huge BUT – at what cost?!  While the economy is in tatters and livelihoods are in the bin, more importantly, huge numbers suffering from cancer, heart disease and strokes have died as treatment has been halted in favour of keeping beds free for COVID – often just in case.  Routine appointments have been cancelled, one cannot see a doctor face-to-face and the isolation has been extreme leading to a huge increase in suicide and mental health problems.  With schools closed, children have been kept from their friends and the disruption to higher education and the lives of teens has been immense.  Constantly, we are reminded of the huge death toll amongst the elderly citing the figures inflated by the demise of those in the very Care Homes which were forced to take patients – infected with COVID – off-loaded by hospitals to free up beds for the more worthy!  Moreover, don’t forget the blanket ‘No Resuscitation’ mandate in these Homes.  Those, seemingly, deemed expendable who survived – spared the fate of dying alone – are sentenced, meanwhile, to whatever precious time they have left wasted without family and friends.  What is the point?  I guarantee each and every one of them would rather take the risk of shortening their time left just to spend it with those they love.  Risk versus reward.  The Swedish way.  Civil liberty intact and a nod to trust and common sense.  Why are we ignoring it?  I question why I am living in a country which allows children to die alone?!

I am not a lone voice.  Strange, though, that one never hears about Sweden in the news anymore.  I, regularly, turn to Google but there is little to be found.  Why is that?  One hears nothing about Sweden in the media.  Why is that?  Then, there is the Great Barrington Declaration, an open letter proposing an alternative to lockdown, advocated by a group of infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists across the world and signed by thousands.  Take a look.  Great Barrington Declaration.  Apparently, Google ‘lost’ it for a while!  If I am not mistaken, though, it sounds very familiar … could it be the Swedish approach?!

Like hitting one’s head against a brick wall.  Oh, well, I did try to avoid the subject but it is all-consuming.  One thing, though, never lose one’s sense of humour.  The ability to laugh is a lifeline I, for one, could never be without …

Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.’

Victor Hugo

Or, as Ricky Gervais puts it,

If you can laugh in the face of adversity, you’re bullet-proof!’

This is Trish, signing off.