Christmas Trees, Snowflakes & Brexit – Week 49 : 2018

December 7, 2018

Despite listening to probably about 10 hours worth of music per week I seldom listen to it on the radio, I listen to speech. I try and listen to intelligent stuff like the news or podcasts but occasionally I can’t get to turn the dial quick enough to avoid some tosh. Listening to BBC Radio 5 Live there was some *snowflake* slot about parenting. They were bemoaning that we all turn into our parents. This rueful reflection was coming out of old timers who were having anxiety attacks about turning 35.

Out of all the illustrations such as getting great pleasure at irritating your kids with banal and unfunny jokes at their expense came the observation that like their father one of them now had a dedicated stick that they kept for stirring paint. I’m guilty, as charged.

On a trip to London I was taken with some headphones Matt has that are wireless, that is, they don’t plug into a device, and pick up a bluetooth signal instead. I bought a pair and they can be a bit temperamental but there is no looking back now! On a bike there are challenges of where to put the device so that you can cycle and listen through headphones. This overcomes all this.

 (Yes, I know one school of thought is very anti wearing headphones when riding a bike. Frankly I can provide a long list of things more dangerous. I don’t listen during traffic congested urban areas.

So how do you get to sleep? Frankly amongst the many challenges we all face then this is not one for me. I become comatose very shortly after shutting my eyes. This is a considerable bonus when camping. However I always do something that I once read in a book. I start to think back during the day and think of the 10 positive/pleasing things that happened. This can be a telephone call, something complicated that you sorted out, the surprising delight of a breathtaking view in the countryside, finding that elusive item in a shop or, often, a superb bike ride where I rode well. Try it.

Brexit? Weirdly I’m enjoying the latter stages of the debate, it’s like a boxset with no end in sight. Every day a new position or information becomes evident and so each side either attempts to suggest it means nothing or the other side suggests it does. In the meanwhile it is a feeding frenzy for TV News Channels, newspapers and social media on a 24/7 cycle. 

I enjoy the tactics of the Government whether harnessing Cabinet ministers, the EU or the Bank of England, on separate days, to keep hammering home their point of view whilst pretending to be ‘honest johns’ just telling you the way it is. The Opposition who really don’t seem as a Shadow Government to mind Brexit but want to press and harry the Government into an Election or jettisoning the Prime Minister and just take every opportunity, irrespective of the merits of the argument. After this you get the implacable Brexiteers or the Remainers MP’s who I suspect mainly speak for themselves rather than the public. We as the spectators have a sketchy grasp on whether it is all doom and gloom. Whichever way it still has some way to go. I’ll pull up a chair.

 In attempting to save the planet we have moved from real Christmas trees to an artificial one. We haul this out of the loft every December. Not that I wish to be grumpy but assembling it takes as long as the 18 mile round trip to B & Q to buy and then stick into a base and push into the corner of the lounge. The artificial tree comes with every branch separate and needing to be hooked into the central shaft/trunk. Anyway we can all agree it looks very pretty.

Lastly on Christmas, Anna and I went to the local pub on Saturday night with other neighbours for our annual Christmas dinner. It was very convivial and the conversation and drink flowed. One neighbour recounted a less than happy Christmas Day lunch at his house last year. His new partner’s children attended. 

One daughter was very dismissive of his considerable efforts to produce a splendid meal. This didn’t bode well for an easy afternoon. The daughter, who by all accounts is carrying way too much timber, bemoaned her weight problem. The neighbour appearing sympathetic volunteered he knew what her problem was. All faces turned toward him to listen to his considered opinion. “Well you’ve got an over active knife and fork!” I’m not sure if she’s coming around for Christmas lunch this year.

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