The feel good factor…
In the strange and disturbed state that the world is in right now, there are some events that raise the spirits and make us momentarily forget the precarious position the country – and for that matter the world – is in and yes, give us for a while a ‘feel good factor’.
Mostly this comes from some sporting success. Although we haven’t had Andy Murray at Wimbledon this year, we have had the World Cup where we basked not only in the unexpected progress of our young players but also in the team’s general demeanour and behaviour during their time in Russia. A great deal of credit must go to their coach, Gareth Southgate, who from the start led his players with a calm dignity that endeared him to the entire nation. Although the general euphoria did not last for long, it was followed by further successes with the European Championships and Text Cricket matches. When our teams do well we feel good about ourselves. When they fail, a general depression descends.
There are other factors that contribute to our feelings of well-being. A Royal celebration, – birth, wedding or anniversary, – inspires in the country a sense of passionate fervour (except of course in the case of the fiercest of Republicans.) The happiness that lasted after Harry and Meghan’s wedding went on for many days. It was followed shortly afterwards by President Trump’s visit, which although it inspired mixed feelings, there was a general sense of pride in the fact that ‘we do these things so well’ and relief that we have an amazing woman as Queen and not a President of dubious character.
Even the weather this year has helped with the general feeling of happiness. The British Isles have had a very hot summer which actually lasted for more that a week. Admittedly the heat became rather alarming as the heat-wave progressed and we were all reminded of the threat of global warning, but on the whole the British public basked in the sun and disappeared in droves to the seaside. We are already missing the brilliant blue skies and piling on the sun cream as we revert to a more typical British summer of rain, cloud and wind.
Edna O’Brien gave the title “August is a wicked month” to one of her novels. I’m not so sure about wicked, but it is certainly a tricky time of year. For a start families go away on holiday and after a few weeks long held tensions often rise to the surface. Children have their exam results in August and the stress caused by success or failure is difficult to watch as they are filmed opening their results on the television news..
There is a general feeling of limbo in August. Politicians are away and no decisions are made. The country runs on auto-pilot while we all wait for it to pick up and return to normal next month. Maybe this is the reason why two world wars broke out at this time of year, one at the beginning of August, the other at the beginning of September. I’m always rather relieved when the holidays come to an end without some major catastrophe.
Meanwhile I am making a trip up to Edinburgh for the Festival. It will be an interesting diversion. More about that in my next blog.
I leave you with a picture of my re-potted pots which had suffered from the sun. The parched plants have been replaced with cyclamen, ivy and lavender.