I would like to say that my silence meant that I had taken to the mountains in a bid to replenish my soul but, of course, I would be lying.  How tempting, though, to escape to the wilds, far – oh, so far – from my fellow man.  My fellow man?  Not sure there’s anything fellow about the men around here.  Most bear no resemblance to me and mine and, increasingly, I wonder what happened to anyone like us?!  Are we, in fact, part of a huge mind game whose power lies in isolating those of like/sound mind?  Divide and conquer.  Ironically, my mind was wandering to the plot of a horror movie – and then I realised I was in it!  Oh, well, keep smiling and keep on keeping on …

Sadly, I have been nowhere near a mountain, have seen neither hide nor hair of Ben Fogle and, quite frankly, I just ran out of inspiration.  There is little positive to write about and, much as I might try, I couldn’t even make the Olympics fun!  Actually, on the subject of the Olympics, is there anything, now, which is not an Olympic sport?  Creeping in from stage left are skateboarding, sport climbing and futsal, to name but a few.  To be honest, give it another three years and there might be the added bonus of wonderful spectator ‘sports’ such as philately or, even better, watching paint dry!  For now, though, huge congratulations to Tom Daley, Charlotte Dujardin and the British Eventing team.  Pure skill.

So, what has been happening to enforce this period of silence?  Well, the weather was beautiful last Wednesday and the beach was perfect.  No, of course I wasn’t there during the day.  That would just be silly.  One has to plan these things; observe and plan.  The human beings referred to – loosely – as my ‘fellow’ man are creatures of habit.  Thus, the hordes of staycationers relocated here from the familiar surroundings of the Costa del Sol and the Balearics – where the full English is two-a-penny – are largely, fixated on food and drink.  Lured by the call of both, the beach all but empties by six and voilà!  So simple.  Choose life; choose mealtimes …

I think I am suffering from a numbing of the brain – and, obviously, a penchant for catchy logos – and who could blame me?   Stay here, go nowhere.  Well, my car, at least!  Unable to source – or, seemingly, replicate – the original power steering pressure hose, it has been reduced to a decoration amid ‘hilarious’ suggestions that it should be scrapped.  Who would do that?  Yes, it may be eighteen years old but it has had one good owner – me – and, unwittingly, it has morphed into my right arm.  I will not give up on it – and I have been very clear on that!  Put it this way, here for a few days, Manny came with me to start it up in an attempt to keep the battery charged.  As we sat in it, engine purring, we reminisced as though about an old friend …  It was, then, he suggested we, all, have drinks in it the following evening!  Not a bad idea, in fact, mockery aside.  Anyway, still on the case, never underestimate the power of hope – and the kindness borne out of the strangest scenarios.  Paul, at Jeepey Ltd, could not have been more helpful, nor my old friend, Struthie.  Tomorrow morning, I am on the phone to Phil.  Such fun!

So, car-less, there was a moment, there, when I thought I might be footless, too!  Being a fitness fanatic – obviously – some time ago, I managed to procure a nasty blister when out on one of my evening country walks.  So what?  Well, so a lot, actually!  I had continued to wear shoes, fighting through the pain, until, climbing into bed one night, I noticed that the redness was spreading to my foot and both it and my ankle were swollen.  Superb.  Sepsis, that’s all I needed!  I suppose it is almost five years since I endeavoured to cut off my left thumb with a Swiss Army Knife …

Keep it raised, wear flip-flops to traverse land.  I did all that, for weeks, and, thankfully, it was sunny which saved me from certain ridicule as I went everywhere in said casual attire.  Did the swelling go down?  Intermittently.  The redness?  Not really.  The puffiness round my ankle?  No!

What to do?  A telephone appointment with a GP, who doesn’t see patients anymore, in a month’s time?  I, actually, need my right foot!  Well, the Pharmacist, then, and I know a nice one so off I drove (not in my car) in my flip-flops.  Yes, I had to fill in some ridiculous form while he was right there behind the counter but, obviously recognising the severity of the situation, he emerged, my side.  Graham!  Did I have time to get my finances in order?  Perhaps the ‘s’ in finances is optimistic.  An hour could do it but who should get the reindeer, the 2013 bottle of Cervaro and the framed, faded photograph of me and Teasy at Hallyburton?!   Thankfully, Graham reassured me that I would live to complete my forthcoming bestseller and sent me on my way with a tub of Sudocrem.  He laughed as I assured him I had his number on speed dial.

Foot intact, flip-flops, finally, ditched, I have, today, done something to my wrist!   Nothing to do with my drumming lesson, I might add, the virtues of which I cannot extol enough.  The best therapy.  No time for blues when concentrating on hi-hats, snares and base drums and the satisfaction when the rhythm kicks in … love it!  Starting on songs next week.  Wait until I tell Jeremy – as in Clarkson.  Yes, I should mention that – after ‘a few sherries’ on Friday night – Manny carried through his long-time threat and completed my application for the next series of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?  Hilarious, at the time, I received confirmation on Saturday – not so hilarious!  They don’t call everyone and he did upload a photo so …  He did omit to mention, though, that, under no circumstances, will I wave, inanely, in the introduction!  Oh, well, if I receive that phonecall – and, strangely, Manny is convinced I will – then refusing to wave will be the least of my worries.  The moral, of course – some things should just remain a hilarious idea?  On the other hand, one is only here once.

Apologies.  I have been distracted by life’s trivialities while trying to take a break from the big stuff but the big stuff is going nowhere as the world shrinks for those who choose not to be vaccinated and the screws tighten on those prepared to trade civil liberty for a COVID passport.  Ironic, is it not?  On the day it was announced that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) had advised the vaccine be rolled out to all 16 & 17-year-olds across the UK – a total of 1.4 million children – without the requirement of parental approval, Bev Turner was on This Morning to discuss the daily news.  The aforementioned item was not included.  Instead, Bev was told that, among other things, she would be invited to comment on Jennifer Aniston’s revelation that, as a treat, she allows herself one crisp or maybe one M&M!  Seriously?  The news of the JCVI’s decision, meanwhile, was given its own slot courtesy of one of the doctors on the programme’s payroll.  I wonder why?

On Jeremy Vine’s Radio 2 show, later that day, I caught the phone-in topic on the suggested responsibility of the unvaccinated to declare their medical status to their vaccinated work colleagues for reasons of safety.   Once more, seriously?  Forgive me but that makes no sense?  Oh, but the vaccinated can still catch COVID.  Oh, and the vaccinated can still pass it on.  Therefore, regardless of being double-jabbed, the vaccinated must still live in fear of the unvaccinated who, in turn, should be more fearful of the vaccinated from whom they can still catch the virus.  Got it?  No, of course I haven’t.  It’s worthy of a comedy sketch!  If only Dave Allen was still of this earth …

See what I mean?  I can distract with my waffle and bore with my trivia but the big stuff remains.  Be thankful, I only touched on it today.

The little things, I can obey.  But the big things – how we think, what we value – those you must choose yourself.  You can’t let anyone – or any society – determine those for you.’

Morrie Schwartz

This is Trish, signing off – a little late.