Cheery first or cheery last?  Yes, there is light in the darkness – if one shines an industrial torch!  The thing is, do I start with the good and move into the progressively bad or vice versa?  For my part, when asked whether I want the good news first or the bad, I always go for the bad.  Best to get it over with.  Writing this, though, I can’t bear to break into my critique on the latest doom and gloom, immediately, so upbeat it is … for all of five minutes!

The weather.  What can I say?  Apart from the fact that it’s not normal – nothing is – it has been glorious.  The sun has been a constant and the heat?  From whence did that humidity come, pray?!  It was never like this when I was growing up and, let’s face it, it plays havoc with the hair!   It also brings people out in their droves and to quote a favourite old saying of my mother’s, ‘The sights you see when you haven’t got a gun!’.  Yes, I know, explains a lot …

So, the Brits in summer.  Hideous – and they’re all here!   Why is it that Brits cannot do summer clothing?  Do they not have mirrors?  It seems most don’t care and out come the shorts and the peely wally legs (the men usually sporting the stylish combo of socks and Jesus sandals), beer bellies (unisex), skimpy tops and t-shirts, skimpy dresses – the onus being on the word ‘skimpy’ – and a dearth of elegance in any shape or form.  Somehow, in winter, the uniform of black serves to conceal most ills but released on the world, come July and August, there is no hiding as they bare all, regardless.  Maybe they are right.  After all, comfort naturally supersedes style or elegance in the long queues for Janetta’s ice cream, Tailabout Fish & Chips, Subway and Greggs … if one gets my drift!

Oh, to think Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck and Roman Holiday … the epitome of elegance.  Not a t-shirt in sight, no shorts, tattoos, crocs or Jesus sandals!   Grace Kelly?  Jackie Kennedy?  Effortless femininity.  Big sunglasses.  Big sunglasses!  Never underestimate those.  So, yes, a bygone age but what happened?  Is it just the Brits who cannot ‘do’ summer?  Rhetorical question.  Go to France or Italy and learn how it is still done.  Linens, cottons, block colours, simplicity – that je ne sais quoi.  Translator, quick!  Is it edible?!

I was supposed to be writing nice things first …  So not a people person, although Manny pointed out, at the weekend, that, for someone who doesn’t like people, ironically, I am the biggest people person!  A hooded compliment, I am assuming, or perhaps the emphasis is on ‘biggest’?  Suffice to say, in the last few evenings, I have, successfully, sussed out the best time to go to the beach and Sunday evening, in particular, proved idyllic; one of those evenings/settings which should be bottled.  With the sun slowly sinking, the crowds had dispersed.  Still balmy, the soft sand was warm underfoot as, flip flops in hand, I walked through the dunes and down onto the beach.  It stretched towards the water, in the distance, where I could see one or two paddling on the shore, some even swimming.  Clinging to the dunes, a few wind breaks remained as families packed up after an idyllic day.  As I walked, breathing in the fresh smell of the sea – a favourite from childhood capturing the essence of summer – I soaked in the sound of the waves, for once dominant as Nature reclaimed its solace.  It was perfect and I found myself smiling as all angst melted and priorities re-aligned courtesy of the great outdoors.  This was freedom; no charge.

It’s funny, as the years go by, this so not a people person seems to spend her time observing people!  For those who catch my interest, passersby, I imagine a story – anyone remember the golfer of the first lockdown?!  Enough said.  However, more and more, of late, I have noticed those on their own.  Not necessarily those walking their dogs – they’re never alone – but those who have no such companion.  Perhaps, like me, they crave the solace of a walk on the sands but some just seem lonely.  So it was that, as I arrived at the beach on Sunday evening, I noticed a young girl sitting by the dunes on her own.  She was all set up, sitting on her blanket, reading, while soaking up the last rays of the sun but it looked as though she had been there for some time.  I made a note to self that I must bring my book and blanket tomorrow – now, that would be good for the soul – before turning away.  However, on my return, as I walked back up towards the path, she was taking selfies – the sea behind her – intent on portraying that elusive idyll.  I felt so sad for her, aware that she was/is representative of so many.  The casualties of a digital age; an age dominated by social media; the age of isolation.  Desperate to fit in; desperate to create the illusion, if not; desperately living the lie.  All packed up, she walked past me as I stood, for a moment, committing the view to memory.  I tried to catch her eye.  I was dying to talk to her, to make her feel less alone but … this is 2021.  More’s the pity.

You see, the mood has sunk rapidly!  It could easily become drastically worse, were I to address the latest proposed Government doctrine: no travel, no entertainment; worse, the possibility of no university education without being double-jabbed.  Let’s face it, no living as punishment for those who choose to wait.  For choose to wait is the key for most, here; choose to wait rather than agree to a vaccine for which there is/can be no long-term data.  How many times have I heard that viable justification?  Does anybody listen?  Of course, not.  Instead, the many – and there are many – who are reading, listening and questioning the main-stream media and, in turn, choosing to wait, are wrongly labelled anti-vaxxers.  A convenient misnomer or, more accurately, a blatant lie whose purpose is to distract from the fact that these COVID vaccinations are NOT the same as the tried and tested ones of the past.  Just imagine how low the mood could sink if I were to go down that route … or, were I to mention, The Telegraph headline, yesterday (27th July), exposing the inaccuracy – nay, downright deceit – of the national statistics on the number of COVID hospitalisations published, daily, on the Government website: ‘Half of Covid hospital cases positive after admission.’.  Make no mistake, this truth is courtesy of leaked figures revealing that more than half of cases constitute those admitted for medical reasons unrelated to COVID – asymptomatic – who, then, routinely tested on admission, return a positive result.  Smacks of COVID, routinely, being put down as cause of death, regardless – and I heard evidence of that fact from the horse’s mouth!  Anyway, enough reason for alarm bells, in my opinion; enough reason to question all that one is fed.  Good job I decided not to mention any of it.

Like going down a rabbit hole …  Those alert will have noticed my reference to yesterday, above, as being 27th July.  No?  Oh, well, no reason to mention then except to say that today happens to be the 28th, while this post is dated 26th!  Confused.  Welcome to my world.

Let me end with my burgeoning drumming prowess.  Yes, my lessons have resumed and my innate talent is, once more, coming to the fore!  It is my most favourite thing, honestly, and I am so pleased that, at last, I am doing something that I have wanted to do since childhood.  Took me a while but I got there.  Not only would I recommend the drums to anyone – as therapy – but, might I add, it is one mighty skill!  The co-ordination required, let alone the concentration, is second to none – so difficult – but the satisfaction gleaned when one gets it right?  Huge!  Love it!  Forgot to mention that to John …

Suitably cheered?  If not, re-read Friday’s post and how our chance meeting with John Souttar led me to Hearts!  Oh, and remind me to tell you about the famous cupboard door next time.  Infamous!

I don’t know anything with certainty, but seeing the stars makes me dream.’

Vincent Van Gogh

… perchance to dream.

This is Trish, signing off.