Monday, 25 April 2022


 Relax. Here comes the sun.

Last week having talked about age I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised to receive, out of the blue, a letter from “Pure Cremation…the fuss-free alternative to the traditional funeral.” That’s probably preferable to and cheaper than the black-horse-drawn hearse that I saw recently.

Horse drawn hearse, horse drawn funeral

But enough about death (as Vladimir Putin certainly didn’t say.) It’s hard to remain in good spirits given those horrors in the Ukraine, the drip of mendacity and unpleasantness in the House of Commons and the rise in inflation leaving crumbling wrecks of businesses in its wake.

2022 isn’t looking like being a vintage year. But there must be some good news.

1. Gardens. 

The balmy spring weather has brought wonderful colours and smells. For smells try to beat Wallflowers.

How to grow ranunculus, or Persian buttercups - Saga

For colours the blaze and abundance of Ranunculi (I hadn’t realised it’s called Persian Buttercup) and for sheer cockiness wildflowers like Mallow and Campion. 

We have a wren building a discreet nest in an ivy hedge and the bad-boy magpies are cruising around – four of them together like a team of bikers – glaring and snarling “who you looking at loser? Back off.”  An avian orchestra of sound, an ice cold glass of Pinot Grigio, summer and sunshine to come. Bliss.

 2. Sounds to snooze to.

Smooth Chill - Lakes & Nature Background Wallpapers on Desktop Nexus (Image  1285838)


The author Philip Pullman is suffering from the extended after-effects of Covid, needing to fall asleep, suffering arthritic pains all over.  That’s me without the Covid so far. And I’ve discovered a radio station called “Smooth Chill” that claims to play the world's most chilled, relaxing, trip-hop music. I turn it on and doze off to its rippling sound.

3. Cricket. (Not for everyone but think of sunshine and a picturesque ground). 

The world's best cricket grounds? Castles, cows and carpets - BBC Sport

There’s something about the smell of freshly mown, curated grass, the lazy elegance of a cover drive and the scorecards that capture the summer-to-be that I’ve always known. 

It has a timelessness and serenity that nothing else has. It’s a world of cucumber sandwiches, Pimm’s, Victoria sponge and beautiful equipment – the best Dukes cricket ball costs over £40; cricket bats over £500 like the Kookaburra Beast Pro that will, they claim, “strike terror into your opponents”. Modern cricketers, if they wear and use the best, are fully-clad spending well over £1000 for starters but no-one has just one bat or just one pair of gloves. Cricket has become more expensive than golf but it’s more graceful and more unpredictable.

4. Economising. 

We all need to do this in the current economy. I’m going through my monthly bank statements cancelling all those items I once thought were nice to have but either don’t use or need . Magazines, Apps, variants of Netflix I never watch, storage of items I’d forgotten I owned, hundreds of books I didn’t know I had and had I known wished I’d never bought. The sheer sense of virtue in clearing up and cleaning out is refreshing. 

5.  Fresh vegetables.

Fresh Vegetables Wallpapers - Top Free Fresh Vegetables Backgrounds -  WallpaperAccess

I used to believe a roast haunch of meat was what  I needed most – a haunch for lunch – heaven! Now I’m beginning to appreciate a melange of fresh vegetables but a word of caution about organic vegetables which need extensive washing and peeling according to research in Spain which showed 52 types of bacteria in samples tested over the past two years caused possibly by their using (presumably organic) sewage slurry. Cauliflower Cheese for lunch nonetheless.

So cheer up. We’re on the brink of Summer. Smell the flowers, snooze in the sun, listen to the sound of cricket and, for a while forget about parties, Covid, lies, overdrafts and bombs. 

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