Twenty-five years ago today, television presenter and journalist, Jill Dando, was shot dead on her doorstep outside her home in Fulham.  The nation’s sweetheart, she was riding high both in her professional and personal life, preparing for her wedding to gynaecologist, Alan Farthing, later in the year.  She was thirty-seven-years-old.  Only two years earlier, Princess Diana – to whom Jill Dando bore a striking resemblance – died, aged thirty-six.

I remember the shock of both, and exactly where I was.  Does it seem like yesterday?  Yes, but, at the same time, it also feels like a lifetime ago.  Mid-thirties.  Marilyn Monroe, too, was only thirty-six.  Beautiful blondes, forever to be remembered that way.  Forever young …  Bob Dylan, the poet who penned the lyrics to the song of that very title; lyrics of love and hope.  Like a prayer or a blessing, it is all wishes rolled into one for those he loved most, his children.  I remember hearing the song for the first time and being struck by its simplicity, and its message.  Life is precious and oh, so fragile – increasingly, the reminders are everywhere – but it can also be cruel and extremely hard.  It seems human nature has no conscience.

It hasn’t been a good week.  I have a feeling I said the same of last week.  Let’s face it, it hasn’t been a good year!  Admittedly, the sun may be shining, as I write, but do not be cajoled into believing it is warm.  Oh, no!  Be prepared at all times – as was the Chinese girl I saw on the beach the other evening: red wellies, a thick scarf and gloves, she had clearly gleaned the fashion prowess of an Eskimo before venturing forth.  Laugh, I might, but I was the one freezing.  Not to be repeated this evening.  After all, I have a lovely new orange cagoule to adorn!

Not a good week.  To think we live in a country in which, I have just learned, more than 30 million people watched the Christmas episode of Eastenders!  So much of which to be proud …  Hardly Morecambe & Wise, is it?  Then, there was the lady who told Jeremy Vine that her son works on a luxury yacht in the Med which costs 770,000 euros per week to hire – and that’s without food and fuel.  Would that buy happiness?  Don’t answer that!  What about the townhouse overlooking Regent’s Park which has a price tag of £29million?  Showcased on some programme about the most expensive homes in the UK, the interior has been predictably savaged, now rendered suitably beige and devoid of all former splendour.  Perfect.  Not surprisingly, aimed at the wealthy Chinese market, the orchids, strategically placed on every surface, only served to further woo the agents representing their clients – along with the obligatory 5G and multiple EV charging points, obvs!   Drowned on dry land …  Becca has taken to sending me reels of The Tots on Instagram.  Whether intellectually challenged or completely hammered at all times, they behave as if they have totally self-combusted in a world gone mad!  Seemingly oblivious, though – and happy as Larry.   Perhaps that edge which creeps ever closer has less to be feared than we think?

Wednesday was, certainly, a day the Household Cavalry would choose to forget, when five horses – out on their daily morning exercise in Central London – were spooked, subsequently throwing their riders and bolting.  The lasting image is that of two of the terrified animals – one black and one grey, visibly streaming with blood – galloping through the busy traffic-filled streets near Buckingham Palace, colliding with a bus and a taxi along the way.  Completely surreal, it is something which has never happened before.  Thankfully, there were no serious injuries to either riders or public but the two horses have both undergone operations and continue to be monitored.  Supposedly spooked by crashing building materials near the Palace, my question is how, or why?  These horses are meticulously trained to be unflappable in crowds, to be undeterred by loud noise; to be virtually bullet-proof!  Exercised in Central London every day, why would the sound of concrete being dropped into a skip suddenly knock them off?  It makes little sense to me and my cynical mind.  Yes, I am aware that one spooked horse is liable to set off the others but to that extent?  I wondered at the possibility of one or more of the horses being darted from a distance, designed to incite mayhem and panic?  Just my over-active imagination?  Suffice to say, I find it difficult to swallow that these magnificent creatures, diligently schooled to face all eventualities, should be triggered by something so mundane.  Of course, the next day, many of the numpties in this country were calling for the use of service horses to be banned.  After all, they love nothing more than banning things!  Imagine a London devoid of all pomp and circumstance?  Imagine a London without the Household Cavalry?  Imagine a London without the Monarchy?  All so predictable.

It hasn’t been a good week and yet the SNP are self-combusting before our very eyes!  Karma in plain sight.  Surely, a great week for Scotland?  As Humza ‘Useless’ Yousaf’s residency in Bute House hangs in the balance, I have to say that I was somewhat surprised at his move to dump the Greens but I, for one, applaud him for it.  Sorry?  Praise for ‘Useless’?  I can’t quite believe I committed that to paper!  Strategically used by Sturgeon, forming a power-sharing alliance in August 2021, the Scottish Green Party have sought to inject their poison throughout the country, their mantra encapsulated in two words: progressive and inclusive.  The damage, to date, has been far-reaching.  No more!  As the White Stiletto is poised to rot where she deserves – along with her ‘husband’ and the rest of her heinous puppets – the fate of Humza ‘Useless’ was always signed.  His strings were far from invisible, his voice never his own.  Still, it’s been an unforeseen gift of a year for he and his family to cherish as the removal vans stand poised to descend on Charlotte Square next week.  The wolves are baying as karma beckons and Scotland is afforded, surely, the chance to cleanse the corruption and regain some semblance of respect.  One pressing problem, however, is that of overcrowding in Scottish prisons …

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the light surrounding you.
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
And may you stay forever young.’

 Bob Dylan, Forever Young.

Courage and integrity.  Too much to ask?

This is Trish, signing off