It’s two o’clock in the morning. Kenneth Hugill, an 83 year-old farmer in Wilberfoss, East Yorkshire, whose isolated farm has been plagued by crime, wakes up and hears a car nearby. He gets up, looks out and sees a vehicle approaching without its lights on. So leaving his 78 year old wife Sheila in bed, “straight up, the brave little fella, without a morsel of fear…..” doesn’t take ” ‘is stick with ‘is ‘orse’s ‘ead ‘andle” (with apologies to Stanley Holloway) but his shotgun, and he goes outside.
“Don’t get mad, get even” was a piece of advice given me many years ago as I honed my negotiating skills as a corporate lawyer. There is only one thing worse than “losing it” in doing a deal or in public life for that matter…..and that’s letting it show.
As I curl up in front of a roaring log fire this February Sunday afternoon, the weak sun washing the grey sky with a strange half-light and “out there” looking very cold, nursing a most acceptable glass of Pinotage from the Cape, I am reflecting on just how lucky we, in this Island Nation of ours, really are.
As I get older, as, last year, a few dear friends slipped this mortal coil far too early but, in their desperately sad passing, gave us what Wordsworth called Intimations of Mortality, as I see so much hate and selfishness in this World yet also never cease to be amazed by the kindness of others, by the wonder of Nature, by the simple hope and flame of optimism of humanity, those words “peaceful, healthy and prosperous” take on greater significance and they are not passed on to you lightly.
Just before Christmas 1843, London publishers Messrs Chapman and Hall published a book that sold half a million copies (and sold out) by Christmas Eve; to great acclaim (and with, I guess, not a few gnawed-at consciences) Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” had arrived.
With the Supreme Court deliberating in the grandfather of all reality tv shows and with MPs apparently talking of little else as they selfishly seek party or individual political advantage (plus ca change…….!), one could be forgiven for thinking that Brexit and how it will all pan out is actually a Westminster Show.