Trumpledum, strange signs, tumble driers, NZ and Marcus Rashford

8 November 2020

There are gods, whether we believe in them or not.

The misfortunes of others don’t, as a rule, make me feel good but, for Trumpledum, I’ll make an exception.  Of course we must make allowances for his having being abused as a child and generally ridiculed as a business failure, a C-list TV celebrity and a golf cheat but sitting in his pram screaming that Bidendee has stolen his nice new rattle doesn’t make me any more sympathetic.

But let’s be fair and give him credit for the fact that, in his four years as president, Donald Trump did have one major achievement:  he gave us the word ‘covfefe’.

The Trumpettes (Javanka, Donald Minor and Wossname) will all get lucrative book deals even if their father does go to prison and certain social groups exclude them, so no need for tears there either.

I also felt a twinge of schadenfreude when Facebook disabled a group called ‘Stop the Steal’ and another group called ‘Stop the Steal’ emerged almost immediately and picked up 40,000 people from the original group.  Shortly afterwards, the second group changed its name to ‘Gay Communists for Socialism’.  Isn’t that lovely?

Meanwhile, before the final result was known, Joe Biden was calmly saying “democracy works” and asking people to be patient while Trump’s Terrified Tantrum continued – let’s hope he doesn’t spend the next two months destroying and sabotaging things just to make Biden’s repair work even more difficult.

Strangely enough, after talking about ‘magic’ last week, I had A Sign on Wednesday morning, about an hour after the polling stations on the west coast of America had closed:  I’m clumsy by nature and knocked over a large container full of water but it bounced off a windowsill so not a drop was spilt and I immediately thought it was an omen that Biden was going to win.  However, having trained as an accountant, I won’t actually believe Trump’s gone until all the states’ votes have been counted and all his lawyers silenced.

It could of course have been a coincidence linking a lucky save with my hope that Trump would lose even though my mind was actually focussed more on my wife who’d been in hospital for three nights after falling and concussing herself and had only been paroled the previous day (no bones broken, no internal bleeding and, mercifully, the lumpy bruise and black eye are on the side of her body she can’t feel, thank you for asking). 

Nevertheless, I have had, and heard of others, who have experienced similar events that seemed to offer more than appeared at first sight.

Shortly after my mother died (see my blog of 19 August 2018), I was gardening and a robin hopped towards me and sat looking at me.  Now I know robins do this all the time but there was something different, and comforting, about this one and I had no doubt that it was somehow comforting me and telling me mother was still around, even if only in my head.

Strangely enough, after my father died some 20 years later, my stepmother said she was sitting on their favourite bench in the local gardens when another robin landed on the back of the seat and looked at her and she said she felt exactly the same comfort as I had.

Also, some friends in Hertfordshire had a house with a small pond which the local deer would drink from and, normally, disappear at speed if they saw someone watching them.  After a long illness, Harry died and Sheila was standing one morning looking out into the garden when she saw a deer by the pond.  Instead of running away, it just stood and looked at her for some moments before it turned and strolled off.  She said she too felt the same reassurance and it had given her some sort of comfort.

Another friend later her mother who had said (as mine did) that if there was anything after death, she’d let her know and my friend said “Nothing too spooky please”.  Later, on a bad day, she was crying on the sofa when a picture of her mother fell off the wall. 

Weird innit?  All of these could have been distressed minds reading a significance into a perfectly natural coincidence, but we all read something more into them.  Perhaps we’re all mad.  Who knows?  Except that, as I said last week, there’s much more we don’t know than what do from what we’ve discovered so far and time is a dodgy construct anyway that, for simplicity’s sake, we imagine to be a straight line.

So onward to some other news you might have missed in all the excitement.

On 30 October, Essex firefighters were called out to release three young men from an industrial-sized drier on an abandoned laundry site in Bower Hill, Epping.  Apart from an almost overwhelming desire to hear the recording of the 999 call, I’d love to have been a fly on the wall when they got home:

“You’re late, where have you been?”

“Oh, just messing around with a couple of mates in a tumble drier.”

In New Zealand, the Labour party has an overall majority and can do what it wants but Jacinda Ardern has made a “cooperation agreement” with the Green party whose two co-leaders have been given ministerial posts outside the cabinet.  Ardern said the country would benefit from the Greens’ expertise on things like the well-being of children and the environment and climate change.

She’s also appointed NZ’s first openly gay deputy leader and her 20-strong cabinet includes eight women, five Maori, three Pasifika and three LGBT people.  I reckon that leaves anything between one and twelve straight white males.

Some people believe that the American accent is closer to how English was spoken back in those days.  If that’s true, why aren’t the antipodean accents more similar to American?  Neither could be taken for English whether it’s spoken by a Geordie, Scouse, a Devonian or a banker?  Actually, I have been asked in America if I was Australian and, in one shop, the owner said to my wife “Oh, say that again, your accent is so cute!”

In Thailand, an airline is selling tickets for circular flights over 99 holy sites so passengers can chant Buddhist mantras as they fly over them and, in Bangkok, it’s set up an airline-themed café where frustrated passengers can buy “in-flight” meals.  Not to be missed.  Even Freddie Laker, who owned an airline back in the 70s, referred to the food they gave their passengers as “jambon plastique”, but only at a private lunch after a couple of drinks.

Who knew, even before a couple of drinks, that since it gained independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1999, Kazakhstan became the ninth largest country in the world and more than ten times the size of the UK?

After talking to Marcus Rashford about his “immediate concern [for] the approximate 1.7 million children who miss out on free school meals, holiday provision and Healthy Start vouchers because their family income isn’t quite low enough”, Boris Johnson announced a £170m winter grant scheme aimed at helping low-income families.  Rashford said he was proud of the progress made by his campaign – and rightly so.

And Rabbit Hash isn’t a rather horrid-sounding stew for carnivores but a small village in Kentucky which has just elected a French bulldog called Wilbur as its new mayor.  Bonjour, y’all.

PS:  After my apology for the disappearance of several paragraphs from the middle of last week’s blog (now amended), both my readers said it made a lot more sense after they’d been reinserted.  Sorry – let’s see what the new improved WordPress system does to this one.

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