Friday, December 15, 2006

A Winter's Tale




















So this is what it’s like in Britain in December. Regular readers will be aware that one is normally surfing at one’s summer residence (Mum’s house) and spiritual home of Noosa Heads at this time of year but one has, shall we say a burst pipe in the cash flow system and the plumber (lottery win/book deal) failed to materialise this morning. Although I did get a delivery from Play.com so it is not entirely bleak. I now know why it is called the silly season.
I have been afflicted with what Jean Paul Sartre called ‘the gloom of things’ for some weeks now. Sartre was not generally known for his cheeriness. In fact if his glass was half full, he considered that a result, particularly if it was pastis. I have also noticed this downturn in the zeitgeist extends beyond the panty pad. People who regularly spend winter in London also seem to be experiencing it. They really should know better, or at the very least, should have had the decency to warn me.
It is very dark a lot of the time. I had heard this but who could possibly believe night could have completed its descent by 3pm? There are reports today that this is the warmest December ever on record. How can cold ever be described as warm, or even mild? It is dim, dank and miserable. End of. I now understand why Christmas is so important in the northern hemisphere and the reason for all that illumination. Lights in trees are the only thing standing between you and suicidal despair. Even minced pies and mulled wine are starting to make a sort of vague sense.
I never understood the wind chill factor, that phenomenon that ‘makes it feel colder than it actually is.’ How is that possible? It is as cold as it actually is surely. If the wind chill factor were a genuine thing, then it would work in reverse but you never hear anyone say of the Sirocco for example, it will feel hotter than it actually is now do you? Another meteorological incidence that has no converse is humidity which only seems to be a factor in hotness. The amount of humidity is a contributory factor in the unbearableness of heat but not of cold. Yet, clearly, damp is a form of humidity which makes the occurrence of coldness feel that much worst. It’s a mystery.
Another puzzle that refuses to be solved despite unprecedented efforts across two nations over nearly ten years is the conundrum of Princess Diana’s demise. A report released today concludes that she was killed in a car accident. You don’t say. There seems little scope now for incorporation into a Spooks storyline for the next series but that is unlikely to dampen the enthusiasm for conspiracy theorists proposing that the Duke of Edinburgh, MIs 5 and 6, the CIA and various secret services that no one knew about because they were that secret murdered the princess.
Harrods owner Mohamed Al-Fayed persists in his belief that Diana was killed because she was about to marry his son Dodi, who was a Muslim. It is rather a shame that this event didn’t come to pass as having a Muslim in the royal family might have contributed significantly to what the Government likes to call ‘community cohesion’. Mr Al-Fayed may even have retrieved his royal appointment for Harrods. Quite a bit of family counselling would probably have been involved. Or, more likely, they would have been the chav family from hell. One can only imagine the nightmare scenario if the Child Support Agency had had to get involved. Prince Phillip would’ve needed a restraining order for his tongue lest he fell foul of hate crime legislation and it’s a dead cert that Diana would have become first best friends with the Beckhams.
But it didn’t happen that way and it cost £3.6 million to find out what we have all known all along. A massive simulator had to be built to prove that you can’t stage a car accident on a completely unplanned journey in a car you didn’t even know was going to be used. Officers had to traverse the world over a three year period re-interviewing hundreds of people about something that happened up to nine years ago. Not that the officers minded that probably. I don’t suppose the head of the inquiry former Met Commissioner Lord Stevens minded getting a fat post-retirement consultancy fee either. All because no one has the guts to stand up to one sad, mad old man who unfortunately lost his son in an accident.
Since I’ve developed such a taste for maths I thought I’d do some to see if I could find some alternative uses for the £3.6m that might have pleased Diana and this is what I came up with.
1) 4.5m school dinners.
2) Medication for 1m children with HIV/AIDS in Africa for a year.
3) 500 annual childcare places.
4) Annual salary for 150 youth workers.
5) One youth centre or hostel for the homeless.
The day hasn’t been totally without joy. Tony ‘Blah Blah’ Blair has been interviewed by police over the ‘loans for honours’ business. He is the first prime minister this has ever happened to. Blah Blah is now ‘known to police’. I certainly hope they’ve placed him on an Acceptable Behaviour Contract. Pleasing as it all is, I would rather be surfing. I have just one more question. Why is it the season to be jolly exactly?

View from my bedroom window on a shuddery winter dawn by me

6 comments:

Ms Baroque said...

Because we're still here.

That's so pants said...

Good point. I feel better already.

fringe poet said...

Why would you want to leave with a panorama like that?

That's so pants said...

Do you see waves? I'm not seeing any waves.

andie said...

because of bethlehem - and the fact that we are all saved. or some of us are, or could be - need to check on this, actually -

That's so pants said...

Yes Andie, I think you will find that terms and conditions apply.