Maybe it is because I am getting older, or maybe it is because of lockdown, but my list of irritations is increasing daily. and I’m reminded of that wonderful ‘List’ song from ‘The Mikado’.  It is interesting that Gilbert’s fury at various irritations hasn’t changed all that much in the 100 years since it was written –  but I would make several additions.  Top of my list would be the fly-tippers and people who drop rubbish from their cars.  It is indicative of the public’s increasing indifference to the effect their actions have on society.  Football hooliganism is another.  The aftermath of major matches is horrendous to behold and very unpleasant for the innocent bystander caught up in it.  More general irritations include the appalling sound on our mobiles when hanging on to speak to someone and forced to listen to the mangled and  distorted noises of Beethoven, Mozart, or some other poor classical composer.  Add to that those radio ads that end up with the small print being gabbled by some voice over actor or actress at huge speed. Very annoying and impossible to hear, so what is the point?  Which brings me onto the PC brigade insisting on actresses being referred to as actors.  Why?  There is a perfectly good word for the female actor as ACTRESS,  which has been in our dictionaries for years.  What next?  Instead of the Oscar award for best actress, are we to have an award for the best actor who is female?

Of course, these are minor irritations and the list goes on and on.  More seriously, the major irritation I have at the moment is with our politicians and this is fast turning into anger.  The general incompetence of the cabinet is mind boggling.  But worse still is the corruption and sleaze, with every day bringing a new case ready for exposure.  More worrying to me is the effect that their actions will have on future generations.  Again I have my list.  There is the complete inadequacy of the education secretary – a rebirth of Frank Spencer  – who seems incapable of making a sensible decision. I could weep at what his actions are doing to our children, both at schools and universities.  The horrors of the health department are all too familiar. Lord knows where we will be by the Autumn.  Then there is the cladding scandal – four years on from  Grenfell and still nothing is being done.  The foreign office is no better, that poor woman Nazanin Ratcliffe still suffering in an Iranian prison – and so it goes on…  While all the while we have a buffoon of a Prime Minister. His performance at PMQ’s has me hurling things at the television.  We seem to be caught up in an episode of ‘Yes, Prime Minister’  – but most definitely without the laughs.

And why can’t they repair and re-open Hammersmith Bridge?

I go back to Gilbert and Sullivan again, who suggested we make the ‘punishment fit the crime’.  What a great idea.  I know what I would suggest for fly-tippers and those who leave rubbish. They should be made to clear up all rubbish for at least six months.  It might prove a salutary lesson.  Suitable punishment of our government is a more difficult decision.  Let me know of any suggestions.

On a happier note, my beautiful new rose, Tranquillity  is out – and so is my book,  A YEAR OF TRIALS FOR E.G. RAWLINGS.