“Bad times are just around the corner…” sang Noel Coward in one of his most famous lyrics. Well, if you live in the UK, the bad times have now arrived and with a vengeance. Every bulletin heralds worse and worse news and our poor country is failing on every level, with our Tory politicians largely to blame for this crisis and seemingly unable to deal with it.
So…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 it is somehow possible to 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 to get on with my writing. (This would be heavily frowned on now, but back 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! The word has stuck with me ever since.
It sums up how the British managed to survive the second world war. They coped.
But how to cope now?
Obviously the priority is to try and deal with the dire financial state we have been landed in. Everybody is affected, but some will be far worse off than others and in really desperate straits. It is to be hoped that the government will quickly help the poorest in society or the consequences will be terrible indeed. But for those of us who are still suffering, but less drastically, there are measures we can take to ease the strain.
For me, it is cutting down on small areas; not buying unnecessary luxuries, saving on heating bills by taking less showers, saving electricity by turning off lights and using white goods sparingly. There will be fewer car journeys and eating out at restaurants! This should quickly make a difference to monthly bills.
Another result of the present crisis is feeling mounting stress. The news is so bleak on all fronts I now only listen to the bulletins once a day. Instead there are plenty of diversions that cost nothing and give great pleasure. For those who love gardening this is a great joy and totally absorbing. There is always music to listen to – I find the classical variety most soothing but all music is diverting. This is also a good time to catch up on reading, especially all those novels that you may have missed. It is also a good time to catch up on neglected friends and relations. And for me, when the cricket is on, especially a test match, it is the best diversion of all.
Something I find very therapeutic is to try and fight the bad decisions the government are making, in any way I can. Only in this way will things eventually change, so I write to my MP, write angry tweets, and challenge the ministers in charge. My particular bugbear at the moment is the disaster that is overtaking our beautiful rivers and coastal waters with the sewage that is now pouring into them. The Water Companies have to be challenged to change their actions, or the damage will be permanent.
I hope my September blog will have more cheerful content – but meanwhile good luck to everyone with your COPING!