HOW TO COPE WITH BAD TIMES

“Bad times are just around the corner…” wrote Noel Coward in one of his most famous lyrics. Well, if you live in the UK, the bad times have now arrived with a vengeance. Our poor country is failing on every level and the politicians largely responsible for this crisis seem totally unable to deal with it. So while we wait for them to sort themselves out, it is up to us individually to cope as best we can.
I love the word ‘cope’ It implies that in spite of huge difficulties you can somehow surmount them.
When my children were small, we would holiday in Cornwall. Our cottage was a short walk from the beach and I would send the four children out each morning with a packed lunch and an instruction not to return unless there was a crisis. So the eldest, then about ten and his three younger siblings would happily spend the day on the beach, leaving me free to do my writing. (This would be heavily frowned on now, but then it seemed fine to leave children unsupervised) Once, on enquiring how their day had gone, my eldest son solemnly told me that there had been a crisis, but he’d coped. That word has stuck with me every since.
It was how the British got through the war years – they coped.
But how to cope now?
Obviously the first way, is to try and deal with the dire financial state we have been landed with. Everybody is affected, some will be far worse off than others and I hope government help will soon go to the poorest in society or the consequences will be terrible. For those of us suffering, but not so drastically, there are ways to help getting through our everyday lives.
For me it is the small things, like cutting down on all unnecessary luxuries, taking less showers, turning off lights, making fewer car journeys, and so on and so forth. It will quickly make a difference to the monthly bills.
The second problem is to deal with the stress. The news is so bleak on all fronts I only listen to the bulletins once a day. Instead there are diversions that cost you nothing, fill your time and give happiness. Everyone can find their own. For me, gardening is one, reading is another. I am returning to many of the classics I have neglected in the past. There is always music and at the moment there is cricket. For those who love the game this is an ideal distraction.
And then there are friends. Again, maybe catching up with old friends who have been lost for a while, particularly during the Covid years. Renewed friendships give great pleasure and cost nothing.
Finally, I find it therapeutic to fight for a better government in any way I can, with Tweets, letters to my MP, or firing off an angry letter to the appropriate minister. I am particularly angry at the moment about the sewage situation and the way our rivers and coastal waters have been allowed to be polluted. If enough people take action, eventually the government will be forced to listen. And it makes you feel better just to air your views!

Let’s hope for better times soon, so that my September blog can be a more cheerful one!