I just had a really good rant. I won’t be publishing it, but it has cleared my head. It was all about people whining that they want “justice” and “answers” about the death of their loved ones in Care Homes. I have news for them – there is no justice, there is just stuff that happens. There are no answers, just opinions. And most of all, there is no point dwelling in the past. Yes, you can learn from past mistakes, but once it gets past a certain point the 80:20 rule cuts in, and you spend a lot pf time going nowhere.
Instead of appearing on TV demanding “justice” or “answers” in relation to the death of my father I will post a haibun today. It was first published in the April 2021 issue of The Haibun Journal.
In John Clare’s Footsteps
a grass cup
five speckled eggs
— my fathers’ hands
Despite social distancing rules, one of my cousins helps me adjust my tie in the crematorium car park. He says that he only wears ties at funerals. It’s the same for me. Dad’s generation, on the other hand, didn’t think they were properly dressed without a tie. We weren’t allowed to see him at the funeral home because of the covid restrictions, but I think of him wearing the grey silk tie my sister provided.
As we wait, I look over the ranks of rose bushes to the fields beyond. The scent drifts on the breeze. John Clare, the Peasant Poet, was born and lived a few miles from here before his descent to the asylum. Our family walks used to take us through these fields, where skylarks scattered us with song. I can only see one today as it rises to the clouds, but, in the manner of the modern larks, it does not seem to sing.
I haven’t turned the news on this morning. For one thing, I didn’t need to, as it’s all there on my screen when I switched the computer on. For another, it’s dull, repetitive, negative, depressing, and it’s often not news.
If I turn on this morning the news will be much the same as it was last night. In one case recently, the coverage from South Africa was exactly the same as it had been the night before, apart from the fact that several things had become inaccurate. References to “tonight”, for instance, should have been “last night” by the time it was shown for the second time.
Optimism has been shown to be beneficial to health. This isn’t just some New Age mindfulness wishful thinking – it’s endorsed by years of medical research. Readers Digest tells us that Laughter Is the Best Medicine and, again, this is backed up by medical research. This article probably isn’t the most scientific, but it is the most comprehensive list of the benefits of laughter.
After much thought I actually stopped watching the news as much as possible a few years ago, and have felt much better since. I may be slightly worse informed, but I’m a lot happier.
Let’s look at journalists next. Who are they? It seems to me that they are people who talk about the things other people do. Often, they talk about this with the benefit of hindsight, which we all know is the best way to be right. The opening quote, which I now find to be by Kipling, sums the situation up as well today as it did in 1931. Unfortunately I can’t blame journalists for the bad news bias. They are merely reporting events in a way that attracts the mist interest. It always seems that bad news attracts the most attention, and misery, as they say, loves company.
It is traditional , in the UK, to run ourselves down. When the Chinese started with coronavirus they built a hospital in two weeks. As someone told me, this is a clear sign of Chinese superiority, as it would take us years to build a hospital.
I pointed out that it’s a clear sign that the Chinese Government shoots people who stand in its way. You tend to have fewer stages to go through in China. In the UK you have planning, public enquiries, NIMBYs, and Health & Safety.
In general I’m sure that China has just as many problems as we do with big building projects, but when it comes to swift and decisive action the Chinese Government model has no equal.
On the other hand, we just converted a conference centre to a hospital in two weeks and the story deserves more prominence. We also have tons of equipment being delivered and Formula 1 racing teams and various engineering companies are gearing up to produce machines to assist with breathing.
It’s looking good to me.
But the main stories are about how we supposedly mishandled the ordering of ventilators, are leaving staff without proper equipment and aren’t testing enough people.
Something I’ve noticed is that they seem to favour interviews with doctors and nurses coming off shift – that’s definitely not going to produce optimistic views.
I’m not going to say that the government is brilliant (I think you may have noticed a few criticisms in recent weeks) or that we should have bad news kept from us. However, the Government does deserve some credit and it wouldn’t hurt to be more positive.
Finally, I just saw a segment about the Medway Queen on Flog It. One of the people who appeared on the TV was a WW2 veteran who had been saved from Dunkirk by the Medway Queen. Compared to Dunkirk, a few weeks locked down hardly counts as an inconvenience.
This is the Coronia, another Dunkirk ship, based in Scarborough.
Well, Pride goethbefore destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall, as they say in Proverbs 16:18. And so it came to pass that the BBC decided not to proceed with the filming, and failed to tell us until we rang. There is a fair amount of wailing and rending of garments going on locally at the moment as many spinsters of the parish (and a few married ladies) were looking forward to seeing Matt Baker.
Which all goes to show that it is unwise to count your chickens before they hatch.
The publicity would have been nice, but all is not lost as we have a journalist from Notts TV coming to film. It’s a slightly smaller crew than the BBC (in fact it’s one man with a camera) but it’s TV all the same.
However, talking of cynical media tricks, isn’t that a cute, but out of context goat in the featured image? It’s worth a dozen extra views.
Only a short post for now as I am busy with more salt dough. With only a week to go I need a 300 shapes for kids to paint and 100 tiles for our art installation. See, the media is rubbing off on me, I’d never have said “art installation” last month. I’ve handled so much salt in the last week I swear my fingers are beginning to mummify.
They look like alpacas but they are meant to be lambs
If archaeologists ever dig me up all they will find is my finger tips and three gold teeth. It’s not much to leave to posterity
On the other hand, what has posterity ever done for me?