I feel a bit flummoxed today – now, that’s a good word.  Reminds me of my mother, actually.  Explains a lot!  She had some unusual exclamatory phrases, to say the least, shave a brick being one of them; my godfather’s ghost being another.  It’s funny how things come back to you, out of the blue …  Only the other day, I had to write down several more of Pop’s favourite words of wisdom which I must add to his page, The Voice in My Head.  So pleased I remembered.  Never more to forget.

I feel a bit like a deflated balloon.  The glorious weather has ceased.  Could that be the reason?  A large part of it.  Never under-estimate the power of the weather over one’s mood …  However, I think it’s more a case of the world in general; a world which, now, deems it acceptable to spend even a second of wasted time investigating Jane Austen’s tenuous links to the slave trade; a world in which scientists are injecting human stem cells into the embryos of monkeys; a world which is prepared to entertain the ‘snopaking’ of history in order to quell the baying, aggrieved left-wing activists; a world in which, yesterday, I read, online, that somewhere there are those who wish the words ‘mother’ and ‘father’, removed from use because they are too gender specific!  That somewhere must be lala land.  The thing is, the floodgates are open, now, and too few have the strength – or the courage – to push back in an attempt to re-instate them.  It gets tiring and the world becomes ever more bleak.

Ironically, this is supposed to be Happy Monday as here, in Scotland, it is the long-awaited day when non-essential shops and businesses are permitted to re-open.  One can consume alcohol  outside; eat a meal in a restaurant – accompanied by a nice glass of water – and go to the gym.  We are truly grateful!  Is this a return to normality?  Far from it.  Nothing feels the same.  The scaremongering was too successful.  The radio and television are awash with discussions and phone-ins relating to anxiety; the fear of the disease-ridden world beyond one’s front door; the onset of panic at the prospect of inter-acting with other human beings.  Meanwhile, the net continues to widen as the focus moves to those aged 40-44.  If I heard correctly on the radio, while driving, special adverts designed to push the vaccine are to coincide with the mind-numbing soaps, starting this evening.  That’ll do it!

By far the scariest news, however, is the suggestion that the vaccine could be rolled out to children by the autumn.  In a trial which commenced in February, that of AstraZeneca is being tested on those between the ages of 6 and 17, 300 volunteers having been signed up.  Volunteers?  Children?  Children, most of whom are acknowledged to be unaffected by the virus?  Aside from the obvious question, why, what kind of parents are prepared to offer their healthy offspring as guinea pigs for medical testing?   Anyone else thinking what I’m thinking?

Anything positive in this erstwhile Eden?  In town briefly, this morning, shop doors were open but it didn’t take me long to find one of the now familiar hysterics who would rather cling to the walls than pass another being in the aisle!  It was busy as though the world and his mother were still furloughed.  All the more reason to celebrate the freedom to imbibe on the pavement – and they were!  It feels strange, though.  All structure has gone and, in its place, a flock of beings sufficiently numbed as to be grateful for an extended lead.  As an observer – who, frequently, feels like a visitor to this planet – I was relieved to return to my car – and sanity.

The news, today, is dominated by the escalating war between Boris and Cummings.  Who didn’t predict that?!  Almost a year since the horror that is Dominic Cummings appeared – arrogantly and unapologetically – in the Rose Garden of No. 10, following his little jaunt to Barnard Castle to test his eyesight, amongst other things – what I thought, then, has now come to bear.  Fielding all calls for his resignation, Boris was prepared to be taken down in a bid to save his, then, closest Government adviser, rather than throw him to the wolves.  Even the numerically challenged could do the maths!  Cut loose before Christmas, however, the antithesis of affable, Mr Cummings is, now, beginning to spill and Boris is on the ropes!  Expensive flat refurbishment, the ‘bodies pile high’ comment, this feels like the tip of the iceberg.  Human nature at its best.  Any sympathy for Dorothy’s friend – and I don’t mean Toto?  Rather smacks of divine retribution for one who paid no heed to prisoners en route to his coveted position.  Ironically, that coveted position turned out to be a poisoned chalice.  What to do?!  Well, hang in there because, at least, one can count on his innate loathing of white stilettos!

This was to be a post of light-hearted trivia.  Oh, well …  Reflective of my mood, today, I concede I have failed miserably!  Not sure yesterday helped as, once more, we climbed Hill of Tarvit and surveyed the land of my childhood.  The most beautiful of days, God was in his heaven – thanks, Pop – and the birds were in full song.  The house, itself, is stunning.  Designed by Sir Robert Lorimer in 1905, it, now, belongs to the National Trust.  However, it is the setting which I have always loved …  The tree-lined driveway, complete with daffodils, leading to the mansion house nestled at the foot of the hill; the abundance of mature rhododendron bushes, yesterday heavy with buds just bursting to break free in a profusion of glorious colour; the grand old trees which have borne witness to several lifetimes and the ground covering of bluebells in the wood behind, leading up to the original style and the hill beyond.  Unchanged, I can almost glimpse the ghost of my youth, naively brimming with optimism; still believing that one day I, too, would live in a house in the country with a daffodil-lined road leading to its door …

Violins, please!  The mixture of emotions.  It is difficult to go back; to re-visit the backdrop of one’s childhood, happy memories of a time when one still believed that the good guys always win.  However, it is comforting, too, to know that these places remain, largely unchanged …  I drove through Stratheden, the ‘playground’ of our youth, the vast grounds, forever claiming one of my favourite views.  The grounds around which we would ride, waving to Pop in his office as we clopped by; the same grounds in which we, all, learnt to drive, way before we were old enough!  The tennis courts are gone now, scrub where we we used to play …  Just footprints in the sand.

I feel like Spike Milligan whose headstone bears the words, ‘I told you I was ill!’.  I did mention that I wasn’t at my most cheery today.  That said, the programme we watched, earlier, did nothing to help: Scotland’s Home of the Year.  Travelling the length and breadth of the country, the three homes they choose, weekly, are all much of a muchness: most minimalist; most bland.  It seems that cloning is, now, a requirement of affluence and sympathetic architects extinct!  Point in question, the hideous modern box dropped from a great height – thinking Mars – onto a vast plot on one of the most sought-after streets in Scotland: namely, Hepburn Gardens, St Andrews.  Home to some of the most beautiful old houses – now worth millions – it is, at once, a reminder of how low we have sunk!  A prison cell would offer more character …

Suitably enraged, it is now 1.15am and time to retire.  It will probably rain tomorrow … just channelling my inner Eeyore …

I slept on it and it is.

‘Thanks for noticin’ me.’      

Of course, the inimitable Eeyore …

This is Trish, signing off.