I hate ingratitude more in a man than lying, vainness, babbling, drunkenness, or any taint of vice whose strong corruption inhabits our frail blood
I spend a lot of time getting angry in this blog. Angry about politics, about the cost-of-living, about the global political situation, about idiots not being able to do their jobs properly. I could throw stupid drivers who cut you up at roundabouts whilst on their mobiles, or who take-up two spaces in the supermarket carpark with their badly parked 4x4s – we’re in Sussex, not the Sahara for goodness’ sake, into the mix. Oh, and people who ask you a really really urgent question on email, for which they absolutely must have a response by close of day, and who, then, when you have dropped everything else on your massively long to-do list to answer, ghost you, and fail to reply for weeks.
To be fair, there is a lot to get angry about. I actually switched the News at 10 off last night, something I never, ever do, as it was just too much. Anyone who has studied the Second World War knows that man’s inhumanity to man know no bounds. Not just the Holocaust either, but the actions of Stalin’s Red Army, the Katyń massacre, even, dare I say it, the carpet bombing of Dresden. The ethnic cleansing in the Balkan region, repeated in the Balkan conflict of the 1990s. The Rwandan genocide, the civilians used as human shields in Syria and the Iraq War, rape and torture regularly used as weapons of war, the Ukrainian refugee, working as a cleaner in the West Country, talking to her husband by FaceTime once a week, every time wondering if it will be the last call. My friend, mourning the loss of her nephew, a solider in Israel, the photographs on the railings in cities around the world of the kidnapped Israelis, the Palestinian couple who tried for years to have a baby, only to have their two-year-old killed in the bombing of Gaza. Yes, that is the point at which I had to switch over to 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown.
So much pain. So much horror. So much sorrow.
I have no answers, no ideas how to resolve this latest conflict. Nor the next one, nor the ones that will, inevitably come after. Neither, it seems do the politicians.
Instead, all I can offer, on a grey, slightly chilly November afternoon are a few things I have to be grateful for: there is roof over my head, clothes on my back, plenty of food in my fridge, paid for by a job I love, most of the time, I have some wonderful friends (yes, that includes you).
I live in a temperate climate, on a hill, not on a flood plain, and my daughter’s biggest worry today is whether the school bus will get her home in time for her lash appointment. I am surrounded by a loving, funny, slightly bonkers family, and I spend much of my week running around a field chasing a funny-shaped ball, alongside a bunch of the strongest, funniest, big-hearted women I know.
The autumn colours were vivid red and gold against an azure sky as I drove to work today, I still live in hope that one of the parcels under the tree this December 25th might be a pony, and it’s too wet and cold for my cat to be bothered about leaving mice on the kitchen floor.
This, and much more have I to be grateful for. Plus, there are rainbows. There’s always time to smile at a rainbow.