LOOKING BACK ON JUNE

Now that we have finally reached July I have been looking back over the last four weeks and it seems to me that June was a month full of contrasts, good and bad. On the plus side there has been the weather with constant sun and high temperatures – rather extraordinary for England and more like the South of France. I have become used to waking up to blue skies and will feel almost cheated if we return to wind, rain and grey skies – which most of us expect from an English summer. Nancy Mitford famously quoted that all you need to survive the summer in England is a fur lined raincoat. But June has been different. Clothes kept for holidays abroad have now been dug out – and worn. Suntan lotion and sunglasses have been flying off the shelves and shortly there will be a ban on water. The strange upshot of all this it that when we do have sun here we feel we must make the most of it. Long lines of cars head for the coast, the London parks are full of people scantily dressed and in between watering the parched garden plots I have happily spent my time reading in the garden to the neglect of everything else.

Another plus has been the overload of Sport. England has been doing rather well and this always affects the psyche of the country. The cricket, in both men and women@s games, has been both superb and exciting. In motor-racing Louis Hamilton continues to win – and then there is the World Cup! Even here our football team is showing great potential and contrary to all the dire warnings about Russia as hosts it has turned out to be a wonderful and heart-warming event. At every venue the Russians have been welcoming and kind and proud to show off their beautiful cities. The football itself has been exciting, with some big surprises along the way. I saw one small boy in floods of tears being led away from Germany’s defeat and early exit. I wonder whether this will mark him for life. It is about to become more challenging for all the remaining teams with the knockout rounds beginning. I am rather dreading the England match next Tuesday. Hopes have been raised and so much hangs on the young shoulders of the team. I hope we manage one more round.

Against all this there has definitely been the downside aspect of June. News from both sides of the Atlantic has been dire. If we thought Trump couldn’t sink any lower, then we were wrong. Harrowing pictures of small children kept in cages separated from their parents makes watching the news nigh impossible. Yet we are told he is a very successful President by one half of the nation who seem only interested in ‘America First’ – no matter what the cost and the actions he is taking on all fronts with affect the world. The state of the UK is no better as the hopeless Brexit situation rumbles on. The Government squabbles, ministers insult each other and the Prime Minister, nobody seems able to find a solution, yet time is fast running out. Soon we will have crossed the Rubicon and no voice of reason seems to be emerging. Meanwhile all the things we, the general public, actually mind about and expect the Government to be doing, are being woefully neglected. Our housing, education, environment and most of all our NHS, are in a mess. Sadly no politician in either party seems able to sort out the priorities.

July will be an interesting month. I predict storms ahead.

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