Make a point of visiting us weekly!        Tell a friend about us. Seasonal Reflections:  January (3)

Through 2020 – JANUARY

Anticlimax. Christmas has been and gone, the New Year is here and the celebrations have passed (London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks were world-beating as always but did the weather create that black or red cloud that hung over the Thames blotting out the Eye, or was it a different make of fireworks not to be repeated next year?). Now there is an uncanny silence as the roads are still emptier than usual, lacking people dashing to and from work, and parents taking their kids to school.

The early-month’s weather is as varied as it often is in the UK, one day sharp blue skies and an edge on the wind, and the next a milder heavy greyness with a touch of drizzle.  Early bulbs are already coming up in the garden and on the windowsill a couple of Christmas-present Amaryllises are stirring into life while a pot of Hyacinths is showing flowers pushing up out of the thick bulb-leaves. Wildlife in the garden is sparse – the birds seem to come and go, one day not a wing in sight, the next day it’s a feathery competition, too early for frogs in the pond, who are probably deep in the sludge at the bottom,  a random squirrel suffering from insomnia scuttles along the top of a fence on his way to pillage the bird-feeder, a green woodpecker makes a fleeting rare appearance on his way by. A robin sings most days whenever we walk out. He seems to enjoy the company.   

The news has been dominated by horrendous bush and woodland fires down the south-eastern coast of Australia with record temperatures in the upper 40 degrees C, while the Western world holds its breath after an American drone takes out Qassem Soleimani, described as Iran’s most senior military leader. Predictably mass chanting in the streets of Teran followed with threats of reprisals and the also predictable tweeting by the President of the United States that “the US will hit Iran very fast and very hard” if it takes retaliatory action after the assassination of the terror chief Qassem Soleimani. The US president said that the military has identified 52 Iranian targets, including some “very high level” cultural sites, which he said will be hit if Iran launches attacks against the US.” (The Times 5th Jan) This is the stuff, as it used to be said, that sells newspapers! Hold your breath. Not a good start to the year that should see an election for the US President in November. May this not be part of his electioneering but a genuine response to intelligence gathered.

January, being a time of pondering the future, found me browsing a copy of the Economist – ‘The World in 2020’  - and an article about ‘The Coming Innovation Explosion’ and I read, “In electronics, chips will continue to scale down to three nanometres and maybe even one nanometre.” Small computer chip? I ask Google was a nanometre is. Back comes the answer: “nanometre – one thousand-millionth of a metre”.  W…h…a…..t???????????????? Er, let’s see… a thousand millimetres to a metre, that means a millionth of a millimetre!!!

In the wider news, arguably the biggest thing that raised the ire of the media as the month wore on was the departure of Harry and Megan from the royal fold, a flight to Canada, Harry returning to face the Queen, Charles and Will, to see if it was possible to work out a compromise. Basically, no. He will pay back some £2M+ of public money spent on their bungalow and, with the Queen’s blessing, go his own way as the couple seek to become self-financing and able to do their own thing without having the onerous task of ‘royal work’. This was followed by scathing media articles on both sides of the water and was it imagination that Kate and Will appeared smiling before the media cameras more than ever before?  Another difficult time for the royal family (especially after the Duke of York’s having to step down because of unwise friendships across the water). I suspect a greater public respect for the Queen, for Princess Ann, apparently one of the hardest royal workers, and Will and Kate who clearly have taken on their public role enthusiastically. Good on them all. Interestingly figures of a couple of million a year being spoken about as needful for Harry and his Suits-star wife, and yet one columnist who had been on Vogue magazine maintained that true celebrities, they had worked out, needed £50M a year to maintain the full celebrity lifestyle. Sounds like a lot of well-paid speaking engagements or a return to acting needed to achieve that. The couple seem to be on a lose-lose trajectory which is sad for a couple who have aspired to, and started to, help those in need in modern life. May they have the courage and grit to rise to it.  

Oh yes, Corona virus is coming to light in China, with first two cases in UK confirmed on 31st.  

Oooops, oh yes, on 31st we officially left the EU starting an eleven month transition period. Mustn’t forget that!

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