Give me an hour – and I’ll take several.  No, I really need to get this in the can asap.  I’m exhausted!  A proverbial onslaught, this week, if it’s not the abysmal weather, it’s the thought of stockpiling for the forthcoming emergency.  Well, isn’t that what we’ve been told to do courtesy of the new Prepare website?  Prepare for biosecurity crises – sounds painful – and future pandemics, among other things.  Fantastic.  Never look on the bright side when there’s a gloomy one to be found.  By all accounts, the end of the world is nigh.  Forget the ten litres of bottled water per person/day – that’ll kill you, if nothing else does – I recommend Tanqueray!  Top up on Vitamin D, though, because there certainly ‘ain’t no sunshine’!  Slightly stir crazy?  No wonder.  As May morphs into November, and the world goes belly up, there’s little to cling to but perspective.  I’ve just finished watching the live stream of a memorial service for a childhood friend.  Only months older than me, the church was packed with family and friends and, as her ‘little’ brother delivered his brilliant eulogy … what a life!  Cut short, yes, but, boy, she had fun and she was loved.  Family and friends, that’s all that matters.  The rest?  Padding.

Which, actually, brings me to something I’ve been thinking about a lot, this week – probably due to its relevance in the infected blood scandal and that of the Post office.  Compensation.  Monetary compensation.  For a long while, I have questioned it in terms of justice.  Money for a life?  Money for the innocent, wrongly convicted?  Money for the lost years?  How can a life or those years ever be quantified?  They can’t but the pounds are meant to appease.  In the case of injury requiring lifelong care, I understand.  Similarly, to compensate for loss of earnings but for a life lost through negligence?  I’m not sure how I would react, were it a loved one of mine.  Sordid and insulting are the two words which come to mind.  Would I accept it?  I hope I never have to find out.

I did sail dangerously close to the wind, though, with regard to the infected blood scandal in the early Nineties …  I had been working in the Family Planning Clinic in Edinburgh in the Eighties, prior to having my children.  Smack bang in the middle of the Aids crisis, I was privy to a wealth of information.  Ironically, only recently did I finish reading an old book from that period, the title of which I had never forgotten: In the Absence of Angels.  It is the story of Elizabeth Glaser, the late wife of Paul Michael Glaser – aka Seventies TV cop, Starsky of Starsky & Hutch fame – who was given a blood transfusion following the traumatic birth of her daughter, Ariel, in 1981.  The blood was infected.  Ariel died, age six, having contracted AIDS through her mother’s breast milk.  Born in 1984, her brother, Jake, contracted HIV in the womb but has remained relatively healthy.  Elizabeth, herself, died in December 1994 at the age of 47.  Strangely, having discovered a brilliant vintage book site, I ordered and read this before the scandal became newsworthy currently.  As I say, the title, In the Absence of Angels, had spoken to me all these years ago.

Who knew, then, that a year to the exact day before Manny was born – so, on the 11th March, 1992 – that I would suffer a horrible miscarriage at thirteen weeks.  Losing a lot of blood, I was rushed to hospital by ambulance and taken into theatre pretty smartish.  Spending a sleepless night on a ward for those post and pre-abortion – callous in the extreme – I was given no information and I didn’t ask.  Not the sex nor whether I was given any blood.  1992, one could say I was lucky …

Anyone excited about the announcement of the General Election?  Interesting choice of date, 4th July.  There’s just no avoiding politics, these days, such is the mess of the country and the world.  There are no heroes, though, just mediocrity, at best.  Unelected Rishi Sunak, diminutive, in his narrow trousers – way too short – his ‘blazer’, again, too short – and his hideously modern, narrow black tie!  Desperately trying but just wrong.  Then, there’s Keir Starmer, sleaze personified, in his characteristic black or dark navy shirt.  Two words: skin crawl.  That’s it, save the flannel and the constant – and vacuous – transferal of blame.  Nothing short of pathetic.  No faith, no trust, no hope.  Once upon a time, politicians carried some weight; were deserving of respect.  There were genuine characters; there was integrity.  There was Maggie, for goodness sake!  To my mind, there is only one person capable of leading this country now.  No puppet, she is an individual of courage, intelligence and vision.  Garlic in today’s world; one corrupt to the core, devoid of any moral compass.  I’m depressing myself.  Best not to think.  Airpods in for the next six weeks and concentrate on the emergency supplies.  Anyone for more toilet roll?!  Before that, a quick afterthought – I believe the election result may prove a suprise; that is, if there are any Conservative MPs left following the resignation of seventy odd!  Labour may be leaps ahead in the polls but never under-estimate the silent majority.  Silent?  Look at the public vote for Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest.  Don’t see any of them with their banners spouting hate in the streets.  Then, who could forget the infamous Independence Referendum of 2014 …  The voice of the dignified seem to speak when needed.

My goodness, it’s almost 8.30pm.  I sat down at my desk at 5pm and not a drop of alcohol has passed my lips!  Compensation, infected blood, hideous narrow ties, corrupt and vacuous politicians, emergency supplies …  There is no let up.  Through the window, I can see my resident pigeons happily feeding, perched amidst the leaves of the now bountiful tree in front of me as the evening light creeps in its petty pace.  Nature’s elixir.  A stark contrast to mankind’s continuing shame.

In my youth, I thought of writing a satire on mankind but now, in my age, I think I should write an apology for them.’

Horace – apparently!

Share the sentiment, whatever.

This is Trish, signing off.