It is after all National Blog Post Month, and I’m very conscious that NaBloPoMo seems to bring out the natural rebel in me, as my time at the keyboard dwindles. Perhaps I’ve been spending too long reading the efforts of those determined to post every day of the month, keeping me richly entertained, at times.
And it’s a hairy month too, as sportsmen the world over release their inner Village People as they bring to the various arenas some specimens on top lips that take us straight back to the 70s; the decade of style unsurpassed. And again I rebel, keeping said fur, and much more beyond the top lip, on show all year, every year. But there is a serious side to Movember, don’t forget.
Perhaps my lethargy at the keyboard has been down to lack of sleep, for these past few days there has been very little as I spend the wee small hours glued to a serial drama from Down Under. It is of course nothing to do with Skippy, or Neighbours, and all to do with events at The Gabba. Gripping stuff. But perhaps it’s just as well that they’ve decided to shelve the fifth day, giving me a chance to build up reserves before The Ashes moves on to Adelaide and beyond. The joys of DAB radio and headphones on that bedside table.
All that and Borgen too, the final series, as we follow Birgitte, and Kaspar and the others around the politics and the media, their lives and loves in their sub-titled world. It will be a real shame to see it end, but actually I think the Danes have it about right. Quit at the top. We are far too anxious to keep successful series going, spinning off others, introducing variants, until we’re all heartily sick and cynical about the whole damn thing. But Borgen will suffer no death of dwindling audiences. And a three-series boxed set might be a great one to watch again in the years ahead.
And as winter begins to make a mark, so the thrush has been feasting. Sunshine in the gloom. It’s those rowan berries again.
I haven’t forgotten Independence either. I know we’ve gone through the 300 day mark; and there’s the White Paper to come in a few days. Indeed just the other day I referred a good chum in the direction of the World Prosperity Index. That’s the one that ranks the UK in 16th place. Sliding back ever further, back behind that Arc of Insolvency as Labour’s Big Hitters down Westminster way would have it, the mighty Iceland and Ireland. Go on have a look at the top ten countries in the world.
And while we’re at it let’s consider again the shame we have in being the fourth most unequal country in the world. I was asked recently who the top three were. I now know them to be Singapore, USA and Portugal. But the report from Sheffield University is nearly four years old now; four years of doom and austerity, extending the 30 dismal unequal years that went before. We may well have displaced the Portuguese on the podium by now.
Let’s ponder the other end of the scale. Sandwiched between Japan and Germany, in the top five societies are none other than the Scandinavians – Finland, Norway and Sweden. No doubt the Danes aren’t far behind.
And, hardly surprising, these same nations also feature at the top of that WPI too. Keep these in mind as we consider what the White Paper outlines for us. 24 March 2016. Mark it down now. What type of society would you try and shape, if you had the chance? I guarantee it’s not what we have right now.
Sadly, there has been no cycling of late, the horse-riders of the parish will have been glad to note. Iodine, that’s cropped up a couple of times too, for there are wounds healing, and stitches suppurating. Enough of that, for between iodine and red scarfs, that old Guy Marks classic has been entertaining The Urchins in the car, as we ask the waiter for one, and match our eyes to the other. But I’ll be back out soon, and typing too.