Now, if one is a cup half-full type of person, spring has sprung and all is going to be alright with the world. On the other hand … Granted, it is March 1st, today; St David’s Day. The sun was shining and the public were out in droves. Lockdown? What lockdown? Venturing into town to the post office, the pavements were milling and there was hardly a parking space to be had. The queues for ice cream at Janettas were reminiscent of a summer’s day. Do I feel all is right with the world? Quite frankly, no. The world is completely off-kilter. Every second word in every media outlet is ‘vaccination’, while there seems to be the threat of a new strain, daily. A year on, one’s life is not one’s own and the powers that be seem hellbent on ensuring it never is again. The necessity for the enforced affirmation of the vaccine at every opportunity – and by every two-bit celebrity – only serves to raise suspicion. Nothing can take away from the fact that it was developed in a matter of months rather than years and nobody can, therefore, dismiss the possibility of long-term side effects. Wheeling the Queen out, then, to admonish those hesitant to allow the injection of an unknown chemical concoction into their bodies for being selfish is, to my mind, the final straw.
Vaccine passports. Mandatory injection. What have we been reduced to? Allowing ourselves to be told whether or not we are permitted to hold the hand of our elderly father, mother or spouse; to be told whether or not we are permitted to see our children, family members! The individual has been lost in all this and who can really make sense of all this? A virus? COVID-19 has destroyed life as we knew it, possibly forever. Actually, most definitely forever. Nothing will be the same again. Yes, the loss of life is tragic but if the manipulated government figures are to be believed, everybody who has died over the past twelve months has died of COVID! Captain Sir Tom Moore, the last hero of a generation now lost to us, who was laid to rest on Saturday? Forget that he was 100 years old and had been suffering from pneumonia … he tested positive for COVID! Why? To scare? To Control?
Here, in Scotland, as Alex Salmond seeks to bury Nicola Sturgeon and her white stilettos, throwing her onto the blade of her own dagger – how apt – come the end of April, apparently, we are returning to the tier system. Superb! No let up. Meanwhile Nicola, if she still has a job, will be continuing with her spotlight on me daily political broadcasts … Did I mention that my cup has a leak?!
News is just in that Prince Philip has been transferred, by ambulance, to St Bartholomew’s Hospital where he will undertake tests and further observation with regard to a pre-existing heart condition. My heart sinks. I don’t want to lose him! We can’t afford to lose him! He is, and always has been, a character. An individual in the truest sense of the word; the definition of a real man! He sacrificed perceived machismo for duty, devoting his life to Queen and country – not dissimilar to Denis Thatcher’s role in Maggie’s shadow – proof of an ego requiring of no props. He is never more needed than now, at a time when the individual has been forgotten. In my prayers, I wish him a speedy recovery. Ironically, meantime, he is the only person whose illness they are at pains to emphasise is not COVID-related!
I wonder how Harry is feeling on the day that the nation is fed snippets of the big reveal-all interview with Oprah? Unbelievably awful, surely, and he is powerless, now, to take any of it back. Whichever way one looks at it, Harry has let his grandfather down. The grandfather who walked with him on the loneliest walk of all, behind his mother’s coffin; the grandfather who, proudly, handed over to his grandson the role of Captain General of the Royal Marines in 2017 – the patronage he, himself, had held for sixty-four years – allegedly, with words along the lines of, ‘Do not cock up!’. Well, that fell on deaf ears, didn’t it, Harry!
So with his 99-year-old grandfather, whom he hasn’t seen for a year, still in hospital after a fortnight and whose health is clearly a cause for concern, tonight the clips on the news – tasters of the forthcoming Oprah interview – include Harry bleating about ‘how unbelievably tough’ it has been for he and Meghan. Seriously?! Ensconced in the sprawling 7.38 acre luscious grounds of their £11million estate in Santa Barbara – with 16 bathrooms – having sold their souls to Netflix and Spotify for exorbitant sums in their bid to live a life of privacy, devoted to humanitarian causes, I can only think of two words – world peace! Harry, I was a huge fan. Struggling with the loss of your mother aged only 12, you had matured into an amazing young man; a son of whom Princess Diana would have been immensely proud. Then Harry met Meghan, an ambitious, manipulative American divorcee who saw, in him, her path to fame and fortune. She has both, now, and has secured her negotiating power as the mother of, soon-to-be, two Royal great grandchildren. At a cost to whom, though? Certainly not herself. It seems her mother is the only family she cares about. Harry, on the other hand? Always vulnerable, he was easy game. One can only hope he remains smitten and, more importantly, of value to Meghan because, in the cold light of day, he has sacrificed all that came before. Self-respect for celebrity? Regret is for life.
Loads still to write about an increasingly scary world but that would involve major running over! Anyone up for it? My readers – plural – in Uganda? I thought so. Bear with … Have you received your NHS leaflet, through the door, regarding the changing of the law apropos organ and tissue donation? On the front of said leaflet, it states that the donation of this kind ‘remains a personal decision’. Grateful for that acknowledgement, at least. However, the law is changing so that one must opt out – as opposed to opt in – from the 26th March. Failure to opt out means that it will be considered that one has agreed to be a donor at time of death. Got it? The thing is, how many people, actually, read these leaflets which come through the door? Well, do! While I support donation of the major organs – always had a problem with the thought of eyes – and one must always imagine the awful scenario of being the mother of a child in need, for example, I was taken aback, somewhat, by the unspoken agreement to certain things below the heading, ‘You can choose to do nothing’: for example, ‘it will also mean you agree to certain medical tests and procedures that may be carried out before your death as part of the donation process.’ Help! In my mind, I, now, have a bit-part in some scary horror film. Invasion of the Body Snatchers comes to mind …
The world, today, is most definitely scary and, apropos that thought, I continually question the lack of reporting on the situation in Russia: the near fatal poisoning of opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, last August by Novichok – a military grade nerve agent – and his subsequent arrest for a probation violation, on returning to Russia from Germany. He has been removed to a remote penal colony renowned for psychological torture and self-isolation to serve his two-and-a -half-year sentence for supposed embezzlement. Where is James Bond – alias Pierce Brosnan, of course – when one needs him? Worthy of the big screen, this is big! Yet, how many, in this country are oblivious to the name Alexei Navalny? Why? On the news, perhaps a couple of times at most, is corruption – evil – on this scale not worthy of reporting? Had Navalny tested positive for COVID-19 rather than suffered near-fatal poisoning by a nerve agent, would he, then, have been news-worthy?! Hats off to Joe Biden who has, today, imposed long-overdue sanctions on Putin’s Russia.
Shall I end on a positive? Perhaps more of a double-edged sword, in truth … It was reported, this week, that Whipsnade Zoo are involved in a project, led by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), which is helping train thermal imaging cameras to accurately detect their captive Asian elephants, 24 hours a day, even in total darkness. The cameras identify the elephants’ unique heat signatures. African elephants at Colchester Zoo are also being photographed and included on the database.
Pioneering, it is hoped that the use of these cameras in the wild will enable the protection of both the endangered Asian elephant and the African elephant, classed as ‘vulnerable’, for now, by reducing conflict with humans – a growing problem as man continues to encroach on their habitat. If successful, these cameras will, accurately, detect the presence of elephant, sending text messages to alert local communities or response teams. A boon for conservation? Of course, but at what price? Still no justification for subjecting these magnificent animals to a lifetime of imprisonment behind bars …
Oh, my goodness, some humour, quick – too early for Gin! Back to Prince Philip, then. In the absence of a direct quote, I recall one of his reported quips, in response to the press, on leaving hospital on a previous occasion. ‘Are you feeling better, Sir?’ To which the Duke, characteristically, replied, something along the lines of: ‘What do you think? If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be leaving, would I?!
The wisdom of Prince Philip. May we be privy to it for some time to come. Let me end with one of my favourites …
‘I have never been noticeably reticent about talking on subjects about which I know nothing.’
Don’t you just love him!
This is Trish, signing off.