Reasons to be glad… plus Easter politics, flags and National Trust scones…

HERE follows a list of what my stuttering heart could have taken me from.

Friends and family, including my wife and our three grown-up children, a short holiday with the granddaughter, that little girl’s smile, my brother and his wife coming to stay from Hong Kong, bringing our 92-year-old mum, who hadn’t seen me since the unexpected event.

Playing my first game of badminton post heart attack, walking all the way into York, driving the car again. Doing a spot of gardening alongside my wife.

Oh, and watching her decorate the hall, landing and bathrooms. The use of paint brushes is banned on medical grounds, or that’s my story. Anyway, my decorating skills are the wrong side of useful, tricky for a man married to a busy perfectionist.

Going to a gig at Bluebird Bakery near us, as suggested by friends who came over from Leeds to see Alison Cotton, an experimental viola player whose music comes in profound and melancholic layers.

And, no, I’d never heard of Cotton or realised you could experiment with the viola, but that’s what she does, to heart-touching effect, singing beautifully when not pushing boundaries with that viola.

That was my first outing to a gig, with another planned next week – John Smith in Leeds, on what will be our 37th wedding anniversary. Where somebody put all those years remains a mystery.

The passing of time ought to have a deeper resonance when you have had a squeak with mortality. But if you frittered the hours on social media beforehand, it is likely you will resume squandering what should now be invaluable.

That’s how I can tell you about events I would not have missed if I’d been permanently detained in the great elsewhere.

Easter, for a start, I wouldn’t have missed Easter at all.

Not the pleasant Easter I had with friends and family, with the granddaughter hunting eggs in her great auntie’s garden, but the online, anti-woke Easter that was so aggressively flourished by assorted right-wing bores on Twitter/X and elsewhere.

Sensible friends who avoid social media spats and twats may be unaware of the great Easter ding-dong. Just so that you and they know, what happened was that assorted right-wing Tories, alongside those even further off the field, shared Easter messages in a way that was frankly weird, trying to out-Christian each other, and goad all the “lefties”.

If you are a Christian, Easter is the most important date in the year, as even an atheist kicking stones along a ledge can acknowledge. But all these Trumpian types wielded their Easter messages like cudgels. How weird. Liz Truss held a lamb hostage outside an abandoned church, but then she is certifiably weird.

Carole Malone even wrote a column in the Express under the headline: “Why are we forever apologising for saying Happy Easter” – a complaint about something which surely just doesn’t ever happen. Weird again.

When these dull culture warriors weren’t doing that they were banging on about supposed perversion of the union flag. Thanks is due, then, to the assorted people posting who showed all the occasions when the Conservative Party has drawn up new versions of the flag during conferences and so on (from that silly flag tree onwards) to suit its own purposes.

And then, at last, we come to the National Trust scones scandal. And if you don’t know about this, you lead a fuller life than I do.

The Daily Mail reported from a small hill in Lower High Dudgeon that the trust had sneakily introduced “woke vegan scones” made with margarine without telling anyone.

GB News also ran over-heated “news” items about this appalling scandal.

But best of all, someone spotted that in 2018 the Mail had run a feature about the vegan scones, including a recipe.

Ha, hoist by their own unbuttered petard!

All praise, incidentally, to the excellent Celia Richardson, (above) director of communications at the National Trust, who fends off these culture war skirmishes with endless wit and apparent good grace.

Mind you, and just to show that life is complicated, scones are definitely better made with butter and topped with jam and clotted cream. Although perhaps not when you are recovering from a heart attack.

One comment

  1. Nice to see the new head of the BBC come out all guns blazing. From my transatlantic crows’ nest it looks like Brexit template all over again. Surely the Great British Public won’t fall for that bait & switch yet again? Surely? Shirley? Yes, we’ve got the very best broadcasting service (everything taken under one roof) in the world; no, nobody could possibly set such a thing up these days; blimey it even costs less than just one of the many TV streaming services… so: let’s dismember it and flog off the bits to (American, probably) commercial asset strippers. We’ll all make a packet and we can ban that Stalinist, Maoist, Orwellian, woke, Kim Jong Un style license fee.

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