Excellent.  14th June and still the, now characteristic, torrential rain.  Whatever happened to summer?  Whatever happened to four seasons?  Whatever happened to life, as we know it, Jim?!  Much as the weeds love it, it’s draining …  Oh, well, perspective.  Imagine being Taylor Swift, out there for three hours every night in a sparkly swimming costume in the freezing cold – for £10m!  Yes, apparently, that tidy little sum is what she’s left with after all the outlays.  Good on her.  She is one hell of a talent.  Intelligent, good-looking and refreshingly honest, she writes all her own songs, plays multiple instruments, manages her own life and, despite it all, appears to remain completely grounded and lovely.  Restores one’s faith.  I’ve seen clips of her talking about school and how she spent a lot of time on her own, shunned by her ‘friends’.  I’ve also heard her say she believes in karma!  Me, too.

No blank page, today, I’ve got notes galore!  Some good, some bad.  Some funny, if not so scary.  How about the suggestion that two thirds of Brits suffer from anxiety, supposedly, over securing a sunbed on holiday?  Now, that’s what I mean by scary – because it’s completely and utterly believable.  Out there, like sheep, at 5am in the morning, putting their towels on one of the hundreds of sunbeds – lined up, bang next to each other – so that they can take full advantage of the all-inclusive full English before plonking their ample bodies down on said sunbeds for the entire day in a bid to secure a mahogany tan.  Hell doth exist!  I do find it mind-blowing, though, that so many Brits pay to travel to these destinations with the sole intent of lying in the sun and drinking copious amounts of alcohol soaked up by as much British food as they can eat.  For, that’s the thing, they love nothing more than being surrounded by home: same people, same cuisine, same everything …  Devoid of curiosity.  Devoid of any desire to expand anything other than their waist lines.  What a waste!  There’s a big world out there and so much to learn; so much to stimulate one’s brain.  Restraint!  Each to his own.  Suffice to say, the mute button on the remote control is melting, as of now, with all the coverage of the Scottish fans who have descended on Munich for the start of the Euros tonight – Scotland v Germany.  Oh, help!  Pray God they do not believe we are all like that …  Munich and its surrounds are so beautiful, too.  Perhaps one should be grateful that they have no desire to venture further than the stadium or the nearest kneipe.  No Top Attractions in Munich required.  Excellent.  The evolution of man …

A tad cynical?  What, me?  Perhaps I am just going a little stir crazy as the incessant rain teems down outside.  Perhaps a sun lounger on the Costa del Sol and a copy of the latest trashy book would be preferable?  Not a chance.  Try getting a lobotomy on the NHS!  Good to know, though, that a quarter of children between the ages of five and seven, in this country, have a smart phone and that teenagers from eleven upwards are spending, on average – daily – seven and a half hours on their phones.  Forgive me, but I thought the title ‘parent’ came with a non-negotiable responsibility?

Two twelve-year-olds were found guilty this week of the murder of an innocent teenager in a park in Wolverhampton, last November.  They stabbed him with a machete (the blade of which was almost 17″), the fatal wound to his back almost 20cm deep, going through his heart and almost out through his chest.  Pure evil.  Children capable of that?!  What kind of monsters are they?  Leaving their victim to die, they went home, wiped the machete with bleach before hiding it under a bed, and played video games … and there’s the rub!  Satan online.  Add to the mix, no parental nurturing or guidance.  Still, I believe any child capable of such brutality is devoid of a heart.  No words.  Ironically, the grandmother of one of these monsters had several:

‘We cope with whatever comes our way.  We rally around as a family, together.’

Bully for you!!  Worse, she went on:

I have always told my family to tell the truth.  That is important.’

No concept of reality.  Clearly, these boys had no hope but to commit such a heinous crime goes much deeper than that.  The scary thing is they will not be the last.  We live in a country, now, where children are to be feared.  As for the debate about naming them … without a shadow of a doubt.  Their entire families deserve to be named and shamed, if not locked up!  May they never walk free.

Changing the subject, Michael Mosley …  I found myself completely caught up in his disappearance last week, my heart sinking when his body was eventually discovered on the Sunday morning.  So many questions unanswered.  I couldn’t, for the life of me, understand his wife’s comment, either, that she took comfort in the fact that ‘he so very nearly made it’?  Bizarre.  I would have thought that knowledge devastating.  Regardless, what of the fact that he, supposedly, was feeling unwell when he left his wife and friends on the beach to make his way back to the villa in Symi? He had no mobile phone with him, no water and she only realised he hadn’t made it back when she returned to the villa at 7.30pm?  You’d have thought, at the very least, she would have insisted he take one of their mobile phones and, then, would have checked that he was back safely – and feeling better?  So strange.  All so strange.  So many questions.  So many what ifs?  The poor, poor man.  Yet another reminder that none of us knows what tomorrow may bring.

Nothing but gloom.  Apologies, but it does feel like that.  Doesn’t help that I have become addicted to MASH, either.  Guaranteed to hit you where it hurts!  I sit with my large glass of wine and my hanky, of an evening, tears streaming down my face courtesy of the most incredible writing.  First aired in the late Seventies, I remember having a crush on Alan Alda/’Hawkeye’.  What girl didn’t?   BJ, Colonel Potter, Klinger, Charles Emerson Winchester III and Lieutenant Houlihan … they’re like family.  Admittedly, it has the pull of nostalgia – I can still picture Pop watching it on a Monday evening, ensconced in his seat in the Morning Room – but now, all these years on, I can appreciate its masterpiece.  Like all the best plays, it is a study in mankind; an exposé of human nature as depicted in the fictional 4077th MASH unit during the Korean War.  Nothing if not intelligent, it is, at once, funny, sad and incredibly moving.  Whilst its genius, however, may span the years, at its heart is another time; one of caring, selflessness and family.  All we have lost, today.

Three hours ago, this man was in a battle.  Two hours ago, we operated on him.  He’s got a fifty-fifty chance.  We win some, we lose some.  That’s what it’s all about.  No promises.  No guaranteed survival.  No ‘saints in surgical garb’.  Our willingness, our experience, our technique are not enough.  Guns and bombs and anti-personnel mines have more power to take life than we have to preserve it.  Not a very happy ending to a movie.  But then again, no war is a movie.’

‘Hawkeye’ Pierce

Neither is life.  No promises …

This is Trish, signing off.