God is laughing!  Apparently, this is World Sleep Day.  A celebration of sleep.  Well, one can shove that up one’s gilet!  I can honestly say that I have never felt so tired in all my born days.  Why?  Utter boredom, for one.  Then, there’s the fact that I am inclined not to switch my light off until 2am or later.  Once upon a time, my mental cut-off was 11.30pm but, over the years, the hour has advanced and advanced until now … Elvis and I would be perfect for each other!  No, I am aware he is buried six feet under in the Meditation Garden at Graceland – when he’s not moonlighting in multiple chip shops – but it is well known that he insisted on ‘partying’ all night and then sleeping for much of the day.  I would draw the line at uppers and downers, and I’m not sure veggie burgers carry the same element of cool as a quadruple Big Mac but I could certainly hang out until dawn …

It is innate.  Mind you, in my formative years, my head need barely hit the pillow and I was gone.  Clear conscience?  Always.  Never over-enthusiastic to greet the day, nonetheless, I was/am resolute in biting the bullet.  Anticipation is usually – hopefully – worse than reality and, once up, I am fine.  Then there’s today …  I went for a long walk on the beach yesterday evening.  Tick.  I only had one Gin & Tonic – alright, one large, half the bottle Gin & Tonic!  No, I jest.  Tick.  I was feeling rather smug, however, as, earlier in the day, I had made an appointment at the pharmacist to have my blood pressure checked and emerged without necessity to cart me off to the hospital next door!  Lovely chap, he even put my BMI down as 25.  Pardon?  Was he visually impaired?  Absolutely not.  Rather, of discerning character.  The fact that I had to pay £7.50, up front, before entering the Consultation Room …  £7.50 to have one’s blood pressure checked, voluntarily, because the GP practice one registered with a year and a half ago – completing multiple forms – has never bothered to contact one nor offered an MOT.  Remind me what GPs do these days?

Anyway, back to my evening routine, obviously preclusive to sleep.  Oh, I watched Question Time, as per normal on a Thursday night.  It does have a tendency to raise one’s blood pressure – and, furthermore, encourage one to question one’s place in this country.  Most in the virtual audience would, I surmise, fare well in Tiger Lily – in-joke requiring reading of archive material.

What of Fiona Bruce?  It took me a long while to get used to her as a replacement for David Dimbleby.  He was my main reason for watching.  Arrogant, most often rude, intolerant of fools and extremely sharp, there was an excitement which was lost with his successor.  However, I do concede that, two years on, she has found her confidence.  Just one note to self: do not watch when in Scotland – for obvious reasons!

Question Time over, glued to the couch, seemingly, I convinced myself that I should try and delete some recordings.  Should I watch an episode of Starsky & Hutch?  Tempting but, for nostalgic reasons, I never delete them anyway, constantly reminded why I loved the 1975 version of David Soul.  On his fifth marriage, one could say the years haven’t exactly been kind.  Now 78, he lives, quietly, in London and, while, 46 years later, the beloved duo continue to be watched the world over, he and Paul Michael Glaser receive no royalties whatsoever!  Whatever happened to decency?  Fairness?  Right and wrong?  Interestingly, the Sound of Music ‘children’ receive not a penny, either …  Life.  Anyway, David Soul will always be Hutch to me and his songs forever played in my car – and loved.  I do have his autograph, by the way, but that’s just boasting!

The upshot was, I didn’t head upstairs until almost 1.30am when, climbing into bed, I opened a new book on the life of Jane Austen.  A sleep aid?  Very funny!  I studied Jane Austen for a whole term in Second Year – spring 1979, if I recall – and enjoyed every minute of it.  Not as much as Pope – Alexander – but definitely time well spent.  I hate to admit that I can barely remember her lesser-known novels – Northanger Abbey, Persuasion – but Pride and Prejudice should adorn every school curriculum.  Her books are a critique, a social comment – full of irony and humour – on the British landed gentry of the late 18th century, concentrating – in the main – on the onus upon young women to marry well in a bid to secure both social standing and financial security.  To think, the lessons were all there for the taking …  Looking back, we nicknamed my mother, Mrs Bennet, as she desperately tried to engineer a suitable marriage for my sister!  As for me?  She threw in the towel very early on, realising that I had inherited Pop’s disdain for any form of social climbing.  Never mind, two out of three ain’t bad?  To be honest, I don’t really think her record is worthy of note …  Ironically, today, I am reminded of her Mrs Bennet traits every time Roddie calls and relays to me all those from yesteryear who have married well!  Makes me smile.

Almost 900 words of nothing.  It’s good to chat, though – about nothing.  Today I feel drained of fight; devoid of the energy to discuss AstraZeneca and blood clots, the White Stiletto‘s impending resignation – bright spot – or even the Care Quality Commission survey revelations regarding the imposing of DNR orders, without consent, on more than 500 care home residents (known) during the pandemic.  Actually, this blatant breach of Human Rights is far more widespread within the care sector, including the disabled in the community and even one young person suffering from dyspraxia, asthma and learning disabilities!  So sinister, as is so much thrown up by this pandemic.  Most, meanwhile, are content to be herded and instructed.  Well, to be honest – oh, the irony! – who wants to surmise an underhand attempt to wipe out the elderly and disabled, in society, as though worthless?  Exactly!  Head and bury come to mind.

Right, that’s me!  I am off to tune in to Born Free‘s 37th Anniversary virtual event at 6.30pm.  Large Gin?  It is Friday!  Achievements this week?  My wonderful new page on my website – this website – A Voice Outwith the Crowd.  A home for my increasing collection of gentle’ poems, the photograph depicts me in my perfect place – not another person in sight!

I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion.’ 

Henry David Thoreau

This is Trish, signing off.