‘And if I only could
I’d make a deal with God
And I’d get him to swap our places
I’d be running up that road
Be running up that hill
With no problems.’ 

Yes, Kate, no need to rub it in!  Why is it that the song of the moment – the revived 37-year-old song of the moment – Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill, is laughingly so appropriate?  That’ll teach me to run up the stairs – after a jolly evening out – trip, twist my knee, jigger my cartilage and, consequently, my back.  Two weeks on, physio engaged, lesson learned.  Never take one’s mobility for granted and acknowledge the passing of years!  So, apologies for the break in transmission but only now am I able to sit for any length of time with the possibility of returning to the upright position.  Anyway, onwards and upwards, quite literally …

I have a wealth of topics to ‘attack’ in a world awash with disquiet and discontent.  Let me, first, get this off my chest, so to speak.  A question.  How many cars does it take to make a shallow person?  Answer?  Six, apparently.  Yes, slightly off-piste to say the least but, shamefully, a member of my family saw reason to boast to Becca recently – bumping into her in the aisle of a well-known supermarket – about the number of cars he has!  Worse, intent on digging deeper, he explained that his wife has a summer car – of course – and his teenage daughter who has recently passed her test drives a Merc.  Excellent.  Hurrah for genetics capable of producing three such different people from the same gene pull!  I find it fascinating, the character traits which emerge and the diverse values.  I suppose circumstance and life experience play their part but surely they merely tweak the foundations?  Same childhood, same upbringing but very different responses.  Self-esteem.  Never under-estimate its power for it is the armour against the slings and arrows of life.  Without it, one can all too easily fall victim to the poison that is insecurity – and the mis-shapen belief that the number of cars one owns has any bearing on one’s worth.

Now Friday, I over-estimated how long I could sit without suffering the dire consequences so, following an enforced gap, herein follows Part II.  Oh, and back to cars, the importance of and what they say about their owners …  Well, it’s better than addressing the news, God help us!  So, one’s car.  Black with blacked-out windows?  Keep on driving.  Says everything about the owner but I’m sure I have no need to spell it out.  Four by fours?  Two-a-penny now but that’s largely due to the new squashed versions for city dwellers who wish it to be known that they have money!  The genuine article purchased for specific reason – other than to declare one’s flourishing finances?  Love them for reasons of height, safety and kindness to dogs.  Estate cars?  They carry a certain je ne sais quoi, the complete antithesis of the squashed white Range Rover or the cloned Discovery.  Estate cars, preferably ageing, from an era in which there was pride in quality, tend to be driven by those who have nothing to prove.  Bought for reasons of practicality, most come with a built-in retriever or lab, today’s ‘poos’ or toy dogs, on the other hand, suited perfectly to the squashed white Range Rover!  You see, it’s easy.  There is a pattern.  As for saloon cars?  Ideal for salesmen … and others.  Restraint in a nod to the ‘woke’ brigade

All very rich coming from someone who doesn’t even have a car as of now.  Regular readers will know that I was forcibly parted from my beloved twenty-year-old Jeep Cherokee – bought specifically for our beloved Clumber Spaniel – this time last year when no part could be sourced for the power steering.  The perfect car, it was an extension of me and it is proving impossible to replace.  Never one for ‘make dos’, I am hanging out until I find – or can afford – the right one, once more, but I promise I shall hold myself up for mockery in retaliation when I do!

My notes abound, as one can imagine, but, in all honesty, the increasing doom and gloom fed to us on a daily basis is nothing short of overwhelming.  Boris has been deposed with the prospect of making millions instead and we are to be left with Rishi or Liz.  Superb.  Looking very much as though Ms Truss has it in the bag, Sunak is deservedly paying for the guile he displayed in the pre-meditated undermining of his former boss.  Once more, karma will out and, on the positive, no need to upgrade his school uniform …  I was certainly no fan of Liz Truss – the proverbial ‘pumpkin pain’ – but one cannot deny her spirit and determination.  On learning of her refusal to entertain either ‘woke’ or the constant moanings of the ‘White Stiletto’, she had my backing in an instant.  Go Liz!

What of the Lionesses and their Euros victory?  Ironically, their footballing prowess and achievement in the end was undermined only by the fixation on their sex.  So, females can play football?  Who knew?!  Of course, they can.  Two legs, two arms, they’re human, aren’t they?  Honestly, the focus became ridiculous.  The Lionesses beat Germany to win the Euros and they were deserving of every accolade.  Skill, dedication, determination, they proved the lot but, seemingly, all that mattered was that they were women.  How sad.  It’s hard to convey my thoughts without misunderstanding.  I take nothing away from the team but they deserved more.  Are we to suggest that they are only in the sport to promote feminism?  Is being women in the game the most important thing?  Surely not.  Whatever happened to merit or being the best one can for oneself?  Why does everything have to come down to male versus female?  Not only boring, it is demeaning.  Surely intelligent feminism is women doing it for themselves!  Can’t join a male golf club, start your own!  Stop forever holding men up as the benchmark.  Stop thinking of oneself as downtrodden.  Negative.  The male/female ‘war’ will never end until we celebrate both in their own right.  Similarly – and as Steve Biko said – being black is a mindset.  If one’s colour is one’s identity then one’s greatest enemy is oneself …  As for the ridiculous hyperbole that this was going to change the world for little girls?  Seriously?

Controversial, undoubtedly, but, before I leave that subject, a mention must be made of the ‘woke’ brigade who immediately, too, jumped on the bandwagon.  The use of the name Lionesses was sexist, for one.  Desperate – and ignorant.  In the wild, the role of the lioness is paramount and central to the pride.  It is she who hunts and provides for all.  Admittedly, I haven’t seen her pay cheque but …   Then, there was the inevitable comment about colour: the Lionesses are predominantly white.  Give me strength.  In future, all efforts must be made to extend the catchment.  Someone remind me, was this about a football match and a glorious win for England?

Finally, news that ‘snuck out’ but was just as quickly buried: Prince Charles accepting £1million in cash – in Fortnum & Mason plastic bags no less – for his charity in 2013.  I mean, that in itself sounds horrifically dodgy but then to learn that the cash came from Bin Laden’s half-brother?!!  Even I am near lost for words.  I said ‘near’!  Now, quite honestly, Prince Charles has come a long way since the Diana days and ‘tampongate’ but, rest assured, memory is a powerful tool and he is balancing, to say the least.  There is no room for error … and this is a catastrophic one, surely?  Am I the only one who thinks so?  The guy is supposed to be reasonably intelligent but this smacks of utter stupidity.  Cash in plastic bags is bad enough but the source of the donation?  If not money laundering, what was the deal?  Almost 3,000 innocent people died that September day in 2001, orchestrated by Osama bin Laden.  The world changed forever.  Twelve years later, our heir apparent is accepting cash donations for his charity from Satan’s half-brother.  Now, I have no further words except to mention that this titanic story has mysteriously fallen from the radar.  Damning in the extreme.

It’s good to be back.  Now, I must attempt to stand in a bid to refill my wine glass!  Might I also add that I plan to unbox my microphone tomorrow …

She collected herself best in tranquillity.’

Betsy Lyons, Head of English, St Leonards School.  July 1977.

A line from my last ever school report, surely most worthy of a Jane Austen novel?

This is Trish, signing off.

An addendum …  It came to me this morning.  How could I possibly be ranting on about cars and what they say about their owners and then fail to mention the most significant and glaringly obvious?  The Male Mid-life Crisis Car, of course, the most ubiquitous being the soft-top BMW or Merc.  Owner?  Ageing male over 55, characteristically balding –  while considering hair transplant, overweight with ‘new’ extra-white teeth in a bid to reclaim that elusive ring of confidence.  Somehow, they never get it right for vintage is the only way to go.  Think Bobby Ewing’s original red, soft-top Mercedes … would even make Shrek seem more attractive!  There, I’ve said it …