Well, that’s a depressing title, if there ever was one.
Let me explain. I realise I’ve persuaded all sorts of people to sign up for this blog (THANKS SO MUCH!) and yet I have remained silent for months on end. And it started so well!
I can in part blame a hectic schedule – not only am I on tour (and was on tour all autumn) but my partner and I are running the village pub… it’s a shortish story so I’ll bore you with it…
My partner’s darling brother Frank was the Landlord, for 15 years and tragically died of Covid on Jan 31st in 2021. When lockdown started lifting, the Lease was still held by his Estate and since my partner was the Executor, we were faced with a dilemma. Do we open the pub and let our little community get back together to have a little fun and friendship once again, or do we hand the keys back to the Brewery and let the ownership of the pub pass out of the village for ever?
So of course you know what happened. And it has kept me insanely busy, organising new fire doors, upgrading the kitchen and generally trying to improve the place. No idea how long we’ll be in charge, but it’s fun while it’s lasting.
Also, I got sick. No, not Covid, but one of these super-colds that make you feel you’ve been lamped by a bear. (I gather its nickname is Novid…!) My partner got sick too. He’s still not entirely better many weeks later. And then I had my Christmas concerts to perform with my dear friend Barb Jungr, and then it was Christmas… So you can see that it has been a bit on the busy side!
But if I am honest…
… I have been in a state of blue funk ever since I read an article in the Guardian that said (and I paraphrase) that a survey of the country had shown that the vast majority of people don’t feel it is their responsibility to do anything to combat climate change – they believe that it’s government who should be sorting it.
So while you and I were saving our Christmas ribbon, recycling blister packs with Superdrug, putting on an extra jumper instead of whacking up the heating and making many many small but incremental changes to ensure that we tread more lightly on this glorious planet, most people can’t be bothered to check whether packaging is recyclable, or they’re trading their old moke for a nice big diesel car, eating salmon and wiping their bums with the softest Cushelle. If that isn’t enough to provoke despair.
And running the pub has been instructive. I’m working hard there to make it a little more carbon neutral, but I am surprised by how little my fabulous staff seemed to know about recycling and the use of plastics.
Now you know …
… why I titled this piece “despair”. We are hurtling every faster towards climate catastrophe and hardly anyone is doing anything about it. Have you seen the movie “Don’t Look Up”? It’s wonderful and, manages to be very funny in spite of the fact that it’s about a possible catastrophe. A very important movie, methinks. I saw it the other night and boy, did I identify with the Jennifer Lawrence character. I won’t tell you any more for fear of spoilers.
But I also watched “It’s A Wonderful Life” again. If you’ve never seen it, watch it immediately. It’s about a man called George Bailey who is “discouraged”– but who is made to see that the tiny actions and accidents of his life have made his town a better place. It’s about hope and decency and, when push comes to shove, doing the right thing in spite of all temptation to do otherwise.
So I am willing myself to soldier on like George Bailey in the hope that all of you are doing so too. If you haven’t read the pieces on salmon, avocado, or soft loo paper, please do. And pass it on. It’s all very well being righteous at home, but unless we really make the world aware that the cataclysm is around the corner, we really might as well eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow…
Meanwhile, after much thought, I am going to slightly change the blog. I simply haven’t got time to do the enormous amount of research for the kind of pieces I was writing – each piece took at least a week because I have to read the scientific papers VERY slowly in order to have even the slightest chance of understanding them. And I suspect people haven’t got the time to read them… so expect some different kind of stuff from now on.
But you can always expect two things…
Your Plastic Fact Of The Week
Although not obvious to the naked eye, small pieces of plastic debris deemed ‘‘microplastics’’ (particles less than 5 mm in diameter but larger than 1 micrometre) are the most abundant form of solid waste on Earth. (Source here)
A picture of the world’s most delightful (though annoyingly shouty) dog.
Here is Miss Piper taking part at the pub.