I am confused. While my ongoing saga with banks has to go on hold 'pending inquiries', the rest of the outside world has become a confection of unanswerable questions. As an avid consumer of newspapers and news channels, one likes to enjoy opposing views. Weighing up the pros and cons and recognising one's own prejudices have been part of a daily process.
Every sane person currently looks forward to a future filled with uncertainties: how do we avoid World War III? How much will we have to pay for energy? Will the NHS be there when one needs it? What damage will come from climate change? And in the local short-term, do we stop Edinburgh and many other towns disappearing under a pile of rubbish? What trains will be running and when? Subjects to keep one awake at night.
Shamed Prime Minister Johnson, however, looks forward to 'a golden future' while his rivalling successors, in a contest of warring butterflies, battle over tax cuts and how to deal with illegal immigration. One doubts very much that these are top of the agenda in surgeries, hospitals, small businesses, shops, restaurants and most households. There used to be an advertising slogan 'The Future is Electric'. It may be right but will we be able to pay the bill?
Not sure that I look back in anger – which is what everyone did when I was young – at what is gone on but I do look back thinking things really were better once. My electricity is on a smart meter but my gas is not so I have been deluged with demands from British Gas that I read it. The meter is in the cellar into which I do not wish to go as there is a dead mouse down there. I should have removed it some months ago but mice scunner me. So I gritted my teeth – the mouse has pretty well disintegrated – and went down.
However, British Gas did not like the numbers I gave. I know why. They have been estimating my bills and I live in a three-bedroom house, bought in the days when we were having it so bad under Margaret Thatcher – depending, of course, on your point of view. Mine, should you wonder, lies somewhere to the right of Ken Loach which is not, though a delightful man and great film maker, hard to be. Their asumption is that as well as central heating the bill must, given the premises, be for a family of four or five like nearly everyone else in my street.
Given what they charge and the profits they make, surely gas companies could at least send someone to read the meter and stop sending me emails asking me to fill in surveys on how they have done. I don't need Amazon but I do need a corner shop that stocks essentials like batteries and light bulbs and washing powder and tins rather than ready meals. As for central heating, I grew up where in winter there was ice on the inside of the window panes by morning so a cold bedroom comes naturally. Nor do I shower or bathe every day being a product of the Amami years when come Fridays the bath water got shared, first my brothers then me.
I suppose what I am trying to say is that some people will be unable to cope and need help, but others just have to face up to the fact that there are an awful lot of things one can do without, most of which people in the past managed fine without. The nation's health allegedly improved under rationing. You don't need a car if there is a decent bus service for instance, and my grandmothers survived with a larder and slab of marble and no fridge.
Anyway, the day whoever it is goes in to No.10 is the day I leave the country to grab me a gondola. I will miss the first three weeks of whatever happens so I suppose I will just look on in anger.
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