War Memorial Gary Trouton

February Editorial

February 2005

Our Editor confesses to being non-plused by recent events but ends, happily on a more pleasant note regarding the local wild life

Hello again,

I am writing this in the middle of January and, I must admit, I am still somewhat shell-shocked. The enormity of the Indian Ocean Tsunami is still hard to comprehend. But so to is the apparent cavalier approach of our own Government. Every day some grieving family allows their grief to overspill as they plead for the bodies of their loved ones to be flown home. Perhaps even worse, we seem to be making some cheap capital out of how many British people died; first it is 200, then it is 490 then it is 416; and all the while a further 1000 or so remain missing. What possible kudos does this tragic government hope to achieve by manipulating these figures? Now we hear that grieving family members are to be faced with further heartbreak if the bodies of their loved ones are not found and identified. One distraught lady being interviewed on Radio 4 has been told that her husbands will cannot go to probate or any claim against his insurance be processed for at least the statutory seven years. As she said, she could be dead herself before her lost husband's estate is settled.

Before I could recover from the dreadful events of the Tsunami, I heard that Cumbria was the subject of some of the worst floods ever known in the area. One friend, who lives in a village just outside Whitehaven, told me that many houses in her street had literally dozens of tiles removed from their roof while the Village Co-Op, just recently re-furbished, had lost its roof entirely. Then, just to rub it in, we heard of the mud-slide tragedies in America! Is it just possible that the various predictions which say the end of the world will be preceded by a number of natural disaster, is about to be proved correct?

My world really has, this month, been turned topsy-turvy. The recently passed law means that parents can no longer smack their children without risking a 5 year prison sentence. On the other hand, despite their much trumpeted aggressive approach to combat binge drinking, the government is pressing ahead with 24 hour opening times for pubs. The majority of police forces are against it as are most sensible social awareness groups. Then we have the proposed legislature for round the clock gambling. Just where is this beloved country of mine going?

To revert to a more pleasant and acceptable theme, we have had some really nice experiences this month. Last week in King's Lynn, we were confronted by the cherry trees in front of the Post Office in full bloom. This week we have seen the aconites in flower and the first snowdrops bursting out on the Stoke Ferry common. The winter Jasmine continues to promote it's dominance of the winter landscape and some hardy shrubs such as the Japonica are in full flower. Even the birds appear to be confused! We have seen ducks, ring-necked doves, blackbirds and even fieldfare prancing their courting rituals. Perhaps of more concern, the Starlings have decided that our next door neighbour's roof offers a safe and secure nesting box and it is supposedly still several weeks away from the nesting season. So perhaps nature, as usual is taking charge of things and we mere mortals should just lay back and enjoy it!

Ray Thompson

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