2020 – and I don’t mean vision

What would you like to hear first, the good news or the bad news ? If I give you the good news, you will probably only read that bit and I couldn’t blame you. If I give you the bad news first, you probably won’t read me at all. And anyway you have probably already heard it, exhaustively. Or I could be sneaky and mix them up – shades of Glenda Slagg.

The hellebore bloomed on Christmas Day. Two self seeding white cyclamen managed a bloom each and the winter broom scared up a blossom. Hellebore’s other name is Christmas Rose and as there isn’t a green finger on the Raeburn hands, I was thrilled.

The first Christmas tree was dumped on 27 December, smack in the middle of the pavement. A fine for this is only applicable if you nab the dumper – a pursuit which should become a very lucrative electronic game because – unless you are prepared to turn into Lace Curtain Lil and keep watch with a high power hose – dumpers are harder to spot than snow leopards.

Terrestrial television gets the Golden Belch for the worst programming I can remember – except for The Tiger Who Came To Tea, a tiger whose skin moved in wonderful animation as it does in life and with the right voice (David Oyelowo).

Everybody was away – upstairs, next door both side and most of the street – so I got the silence I love on Christmas Day.

At the shops on Boxing Day, everybody was tired and pale and washed out and marked down. Extended shop hours give people a working schedule which is frankly unkind. And no, the answer isn’t machines.

You can’t say that the Australian bush fires were in the background – they felt very present – and since we can’t rescue or heal millions of burnt animals, their bodies will go back to the ravaged soil. What will happen to the homeless humans is another matter.

Now that Mr.Trump has stamped his thoughtless foot on Iranians in Iraq, British troops are in the Iranian firing line. And the Foreign Office has to tell people not to go there. Gosh, I wonder why ?

Is there a diplomat with a brain who can apply himself or herself to getting the young woman claiming gang rape out of Cyprus before she has a total breakdown or kills herself or both ? Once she is steadied – and that will take time – she will have to face some sort of hearing in the country where the offence (whatever it was) took place but properly represented. And Cypriot tills should stop ringing long enough to consider that this might have happened to somebody they know, somebody’s sister or somebody’s daughter. They have sex too and with people as distasteful as the young Israelis spirited quickly away so as not to disturb trade agreements (tills again). Nobody goes to Ayia Napa for the view.

They do go to the beautiful Alpine village which is the alleged model for the village in Disney’s Frozen, thousands of them, mostly from the Far East, dragging suitcases and expectation in the way that has come to make worldwide tourism and “anybody can do anything” frankly distasteful. You want to read about what the future in China’s hands may mean ? Read about Hallstatt. And stay home or go to a local resort.

Does anybody ever read those long lists of books and pop records, future television productions and films which fill unsatisfactory pages in papers ? A list is a list is a list, it is not intrinsically interesting and I haven’t the brainspace to carry around the media equivalent of a large box of Milk Tray.

The best book I got this Christmas came from Oxfam in Kensington High Street and it cost £3. It is called The Big Screen by David Thomas and it makes you think through the overview of cinema and all the other screens, I have chosen to read it rather than watching BBC4’s latest Nordic noir which is more like Nordic noodle.

If ever there was an occasion when it is wholly necessary to live each day at a time, it is New Year.

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