It has now been four days since I returned from hospital to a more domestic setting. And four days in which I have had to supress all my natural impulses, and try and learn to relax and rest and take it easy.
You might think that would be easy. Just think of it as a ‘holiday at home’ with ‘butler’ service provided by my partner, I told myself. Sit down in a comfortable (reclining) armchair, write, eat, watch television and allow the sun to warm the back of one's neck through the closed window.
It has been much, much harder than I thought it would be. The basic problem is that my medical problem (thrombosis, pulmonic embolism etc.) while serious has no outward indication and, apart from a slight tightness across the chest, I actually feel fine. But I’m not. And I have to keep telling myself the same.
Walking up stairs is a problem. Not because I can’t, but rather because I can too easily! I have to tell myself to climb three steps and pause and the next three and pause and so on. When I need something, it is an automatic response to get up and get it. And if I do get up quickly, there is no stabbing pain or twinge to remind me I’m ill. Presumably the only indication that I will get is when I drop dead! However, let us not dramatize this too much. I am feeling well, indeed very well, when you take the ‘waiting on’ that Toni is doing into account!
I keep telling myself that this enforced, unnatural tranquillity is only for a fortnight and then I can start taking little walks. And I’m already 4/14ths of the way through!
Given what has happened to me over the past week or two, my view of life has (in the short term) changed somewhat – priorities change when a doctor explains the significance of my condition with horror stories in which some foolish patient ignored medical advice and went for a walk smoking a cigarette AND DIED! Well, I don’t and have never smoked, but the import of the story is not lost on me! Therefore, in the reworked version of my ‘way of life’ the two ‘luxury’ basic needs that I have are to drive the car and go for a swim.
I have been told that driving a car may be possible in ‘a couple of months’ – and there is nothing which defines captivity for a driver than lack of access to wheels. The going for a swim is even more tenuous. My usual daily total for my swim is 1,500m. crawl. I have been told that in a month or so I might be able to complete four lengths in a slow breaststroke! Now that is going to be difficult, the temptation to do more will be almost overwhelming – but the possible outcome of ignoring advice is, after all, terminal! So I may well stay in line!
Although the last two weeks have been somewhat focussed on me and what is happening to me (at least to me and mine) the outside world has, allegedly been carrying on as if there were nothing wrong with me!
The travails of the Conservative (“Lower than vermin”) Party in Britain over Brexit would be laughable if it were not so important. May is a disaster, but I am not sure what sort of leader would be able to take the terminally divided party forward. And certainly looking at the dearth of talent on the ‘government’ side there is no one who immediately springs to mind as intellectually, politically or morally eminent enough to take the party out of the morass into which it has sunk. I suppose that we, the people, are looking for a politician of the calibre of Sir Robert Peel who was prepared to split the Conservative (“Lower than vermin”) Party in the repeal of the Corn Laws because it was the right thing to do for the country above the needs of the party.
I think that even Peel (1788-1850) would be uncomfortable with the grotesque anachronism of Rees-Mogg, and the fact that this reactionary throwback is the most favoured candidate for the leadership of the Conservative (“Lower than vermin”) Party in the eyes of activists, is a crushing condemnation of the present positioning of a right-wing minority government that doesn’t seem to have any idea about what specifically it wants from one of the most significant episodes in the history of our country since the Second World War!
Meanwhile in Spain there seems to be a descent into the world of the comic, given the news that fills our television screens. This infantile approach to government is not helped by the fact that the minister who is mostly in the news at the moment has both the name and the look of a cartoon character himself. Señor Zoido (sic.) is the Minister for the Interior and is responsible for the present hysteria in Spain as the investiture of the next President of Catalonia approaches.
So far, in their frantic response to the independence issue in Catalonia, the Spanish government has dismissed the Catalan government; instituted direct rule from Madrid and imprisoned Catalan political leaders.
The past President of Catalonia, Puigdemont went into exile in Belgium and in an embarrassing series of inept actions by the minority right-wing Spanish government they attempted to use Interpol and an International Arrest Warrant to get him extradited to Spain where he would have been arrested. It was clear that the Belgian authorities regarded the warrant as baseless and the Spanish withdrew it before it was ignominiously rejected. They are now paranoid that Puigdemont (the only candidate for the presidency) will somehow or other make it back to Barcelona for the investiture.
Zoido (sic.) has been poncing his rotund, porcine way across our TV screens preening himself on the risible (but expensive) and futile ways in which he has ordered the security of the frontiers. To illustrate the security of our borders, on TV this morning one reporter drove from Spain to France and back again with no police or security at the border, illustrating the expensive waste this political propaganda continues to be.
Our glorious walking joke of a national president keeps himself out of the limelight – as he always does when anything difficult raises its head, pushing others into the firing line in order to save his own non-existent prestige.
To some extent, it is necessary for the minority right-wing national government to concentrate on Catalonia because, otherwise, it would have to focus on the number of PP corruption cases that are coming to judgement. Bear in mind that literally hundreds of PP officials, ex ministers, workers, etc. are involved in billions of euros of corruption presently in the courts and you can see that any distraction from the systemic corruption of the party is a positive for them.
I also fail to see why they worry. No member of the government ever resigns, no matter how overwhelming the evidence of wrongdoing is. Documents, film, tape recordings – no matter the evidence they ignore it all and hope that it all goes away. And with the politicization of the judicial system in their favour, they have little really to worry about. At the moment, however, some of the accused in the most notorious of the corruption cases are ‘singing’ and implicating all of our favourite villains in government.
Even so, I do not hold out much hope for those thieving criminals to be behind bars any time soon. After all, look at the thief that is the husband of the sister of the King. He has been tried and found guilty; he has been given a seven-year prison sentence. Is he in prison? No, of course not, he is living in Switzerland and recently went on holiday to Rome. As his philandering father-in-law once remarked on a television broadcast, “Justice is the same for everyone!” Except of course for when it isn’t!
So, in spite of the fact that I am stuck in the house, my irritation and disgust reach out through this country and the United Kingdom. It keeps me occupied!
Tomorrow is the Catalan investiture, so I expect Spanish hysteria to reach a point of melodramatic queenliness unparalleled in recent political history. Each action they take against Catalonia merely serves to make them appear more ludicrous and less democratic.
Bring it on!