10th May.  A significant date.  I wear my paternal grandmother’s engagement ring on my right hand with the inscription ‘J.S. to A.M.A.  10.5.1925’.  I like to remember it for that reason …

Back to the future.  Oh, help!  Staying strong.  Staying away from devices of any sort and averting one’s eyes to passing newspaper headlines goes some way to easing the ‘pain’ but, in the end, one must face the fact that one is cycling the wrong way.  The thing is, it is actually the right way; it is just that everyone else is going the wrong way!  Confused?  In a country in which it would seem most are now delusional, she of the white stilettos, prone to memory loss and with a tendency to terrorise chihuahuas has been re-elected as First Minister.  Admittedly, she had no opposition to speak of with the loss of Ruth Davidson and, thus, it is almost understandable; however, realistically, her support has nothing whatsoever to do with politics.  Her appeal lies in her brash Scottishness as she promotes herself as one of the masses in stark contrast to Boris, he of the educated elite born, of course, with a silver spoon in his mouth!  Nothing to do with politics.  Everything to do with grievance borne of envy.

As demonstrated, empty words designed to incite are persuasive when aimed at those driven by emotion rather than reason but, at some point, there comes exposure.  Thus, Ms Sturgeon, while attempting to play down her vehement, and exclusive focus on independence in the lead up to the election, had no answers to the fundamental questions she faced.  Moreover, these were the same fundamental questions she was unable to answer in 2014!  How can she possibly demand another ‘once in a generation’ referendum when she has nothing to offer?  Currency?  The Bank of England controls the pound sterling so – seven years on – one would suggest that Ms Sturgeon had had sufficient time to come up with an alternative for her independent Scotland?  It would seem not and, although worthy of derision, I, for one, am grateful for the continued absence of the ‘sturgeon’, the ‘haggis’ or even the ‘neep’! 

Then, there is the question of how one keeps those pesky, elitist, privileged, posh English Tories out of the glens?  The all-incumbent border.  In the spirit of ‘woke’, why not garner some bricks and cement and make a few tweaks to Hadrian’s Wall?  Dating back to 128 AD, it’s only history after all and apparently, today, it’s fine to ‘change’ the past – or even erase it – for the ‘greater good’.  Breaking up the union of 314 years – the ‘greater good’?  Don’t be ridiculous!  Catastrophic for this country, left in the hands of an untrustworthy egomaniac who, seemingly, cannot see further than the toes of her shoes (she does appear to have alarmingly big feet), it would equate to giving in to the whim of a toddler, the only difference being that a toddler can be forgiven a lack of foresight!

What about a hug?  Just a mere six days until one is allowed to hug.  God help us all!  Read those words …  Green men?  Intelligent life?  Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning.  That reminds me, Peter Pan is now to be considered racist while Snow White, the treasured fairy tale, is deemed a worthy catalyst for discussions on rape culture!  All the esteemed scientists pale into insignificance when it comes to society’s ability to, single-handedly, erode the very concept of childhood.

To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub …’  The unforgettable lines from Shakespeare’s Hamlet – well, one of.  I had to learn that famous speech as a punishment at school, once, and it has never left me.  I confess, however, that I have my Oxford Dictionary of Quotations open beside me, merely to check the punctuation.  One of my favourite tomes, I refer to it frequently in my search for quotes.  Those of literary origin found on Google pay no heed to the correct punctuation.  What’s new?  Punctuation is a thing of the past, seemingly unnecessary – and alien – to those pupils of the digital age.   A great loss pervading writing, in general.  Spellcheck just doesn’t cut it and most are oblivious to the reason for the red underline … and there’s the rub.  I love that phrase!  Just so resigned.

Some time ago, we recorded a programme entitled, ‘The Truth about Sleep’.  So it was that, the other night, I decided to acquaint myself with its findings.  The truth is, the actual programme was sufficient to send one to sleep!  Deadly dull subscribing to all sorts of ridiculous studies, the thirty minutes I struggled to endure, of course, upheld caffeine and alcohol as detrimental; the real culprit being, however, screens.  Not rocket science.  Dr Michael Mosley moved from study to study as it was concluded that sleep deprivation could be linked to obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.  Again, not really rocket science but at least the results of these earth-shattering studies – of which there are far too many – justify the cost of their existence!  For my part, I was already aware that five hours in the land of nod is insufficient but I couldn’t stay awake long enough to ascertain how I can force myself to turn off my light before 1.30am.  Retreating to bed to read soon after midnight – practically daytime – I thought I would check my phone one last time.  Brilliant!  1.30am and not a page turned.

Ending on a positive – need I repeat that? – I was introduced to a brilliant comedy series on Netflix at the weekend: Grace and Frankie, starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as two ‘friends’ whose husbands are long-term partners in a law firm – divorce lawyers – and who come out as gay after thirty years of marriage; the husbands, that is.  Worse, they have been in a secret relationship for the past twenty years!  Created, in part, by Marta Kauffman of Friends fame, it is comedy at its best as the viewer bears witness to the love/hate relationship between these two women, now fellow dumpees, acted superbly by two greats.  My current raison d’être!

By the way, I forgot to mention my reason for the cycling analogy in the second paragraph: many years ago, on a family trip to New York, we happened to hire bikes in Central Park.  The fact that these bikes had no brakes as such – requiring, instead, that one pedal backwards – proved of little consequence as I, confidently, led the way, marvelling at my expertise.  Unfortunately, I was oblivious to the existence of a one-way system!  Never did like to follow the crowd …

‘”A hug,” said Pooh, “is always the right size!”‘.        A. A. Milne 

Always and forever – and, more to the point, whenever!

This is Trish, signing off.