in spite of feeling that I have nothing to say. I am feeling a little sheepish about having been away for so long.
It’s been up and down, mostly up, the past two months. In fact, most of the time it feels like I’ve turned the corner; you may not understand when I say that I am coming back into myself, that I am not on the outside looking at the strange ‘me’ I was for more than a year, but that that ‘me’ and the ‘I--myself’ I have always been are closing in on each other. Of course I am often sad but being solitary is not in itself a dreadful thing. Having decided to stay not only in Valley’s End but in my house until such time as I either must, or wish to move, has taken one major decision out of the equation. Sure, there are several other decisions to be made but they are not as life changing as a move. Which means that I can take my time over anything else. And if I don’t want to do anything, well, I won’t. In any case, perhaps the decision will be made for me when the idiots who call themselves ‘our government’ back themselves into such a corner that they take revenge on EU citizens living here without British passports and expel the lot of us.
I still follow the news obsessively and what sad reading it makes. Is humankind really turning into a nasty, mean, hateful, selfish, greedy, unkind mass? Sometimes I’m glad my years are numbered except that I feel guilty for leaving a huge mess behind for the next generation to clean up. Does every generation feel like that? Statistically things are getting better, poverty, disease and wars are decreasing, it just doesn’t feel like that. Perhaps the current older generation is the first without first hand experience of war, wide spread hunger and lack of basic necessities. We have food, clean water, shelter; we brought up our children to expect the same for themselves and their children, we live in peace and security. And still the world feels like a hostile place and far too many are viciously opposed to grant these blessings to those human beings who lack them.
What do I do? Stop reading and watching the media or get involved? My quiet little backwater allows me little personal involvement other than perhaps make donations to organisations that try to make a difference.
Organisations that deal with the continued existence of our planet are close to my heart and hand. When I look at my garden I could weep. This being the first year that gardening has featured on my pleasure list for several years, when old gardener and I have worked hard on at least two days a week, it’s been all for nothing. Or nearly nothing. Clumps of herbaceous perennials have dried up, shrubs are drooping and even trees are shedding leaves from the stress of coping with temperatures way beyond our experience. From Algeria in the west, to the Arctic Circle in the north and the Baltic States in the east a huge swathe of land is sweltering in unnatural temperatures. Similar conditions are devastating Japan, Africa, Canada, North America, Australia. Sweden, country of snow and ice for months on end has asked for help with huge forest fires. The global forecast is for more rainstorms in winter and heatwaves in summer. Here in the UK the effects are relatively mild, although we have hardly any rain this summer and scorching temperatures, the heath fires have been put out and we have so far only reached the lower 30sC. Too hot for me, at any rate. I hardly move between midday and 5 o’clock. I have read an awful lot and also watched quite a bit of afternoon TV. Of course, I am lucky, there’s no need for me to move if I don’t want to. I go to the air conditioned gym to cool off.
For the first time in a thirty year marriage I am marrying our books. We always had his and her shelves before, now I am sorting through both, discarding some and reorganising the rest. Boxes and boxes go to charity shops, some antiquarian books I hope to sell, novels are shelved in alphabetical order, others arranged according to subject matter. Any of the novels I will never want to read again go into the give-away piles. I seem to have chosen to read many more non-fiction books than fiction recently, have also started to buy new ones which is possibly rather stupid of me. Out with the old - in with the new.
For everything there is a season and not just a season but a whole new chapter of life. This is my fifth chapter: childhood and youth, a first very miserable marriage, a period of hard work and child rearing, and a second very happy marriage. I am settling into this latest, and probably last chapter of my life with renewed hope and the realisation that even now, and on my own, there are joys to be had.