All Change for the Nation…Hastings Battleaxe reflects.

Battleaxe couldn’t call herself a blogger if she didn’t write about the events of the last few days. Boris Johnson finally went, to be replaced by the charmless Liz Truss, who promptly appointed a cabinet of her talentless and dangerously inexperienced chums, ex-lovers and cronies. This in the middle of one of the greatest cost-of-living crises the country has ever faced, with the population on tenterhooks to see how a cobbled-up energy cost-capping policy might save them from freezing, starving, or at the very least, ruin.  Then, yesterday, just two days after Truss and Johnson went up to Balmoral, the Queen dies.  I’m not going to be my usual snarky self about HM. Many millions will be grieving and feeling lost, and I respect their feelings. So, in this unusually respectful mode, here is Battleaxe’s own personal Queen moment…

There’s the Battleaxe, collecting the Lady Denman Cup from the Queen at the National WI Centenary Meeting at the Royal Albert Hall in 2015.  Photo from the Daily Mail, ugh. I probably also committed the off-with-her-head crime of turning my back on the Queen to wave the cup at the assembled thousands – but look how Sophie and Anne are laughing…So, less of that. Talking of lost, I can’t even begin to speculate about the current mood of the nation. We are facing the unknown, uncomfortable prospect of King Charles III. We have no unifying religious faith. We have no wise elder statespersons to listen to or look to for leadership. Johnson got rid of the last of those over Brexit, and even if any of the present generation of politicians had any gravitas or leadership potential, Truss has ensured they were banished to the back benches. Our parliamentary democracy is weak and discredited. The opposition has little to offer.  So, lost indeed, with a large dose of stunned, is probably the best way of describing us.  Add to this days of burbling media hyperbole, no proper telly, no football….

Oddly enough, the events of the past couple of days did give the masses a bit of warning about the Queen. This photo was published of her with Truss at Balmoral, and many were struck by her evident frailty. For the first time, she appeared as she really was – a tiny, fragile, very, very old lady with the apparently super-tall gawky figure of our new PM looming over her.

It can only have been hours after that picture was taken that alarms would have been raised about her health. One understands that she actually died yesterday mid-afternoon, but we were all only told during the 6pm News on the BBC. I’d looked briefly earlier on to see that normal programmes had been suspended and the hyper-annoying bore Nicholas Witchell was droning on interminably over a meaningless view of the closed gates of Balmoral, so it was obvious what was happening.  Then, Philosopher and I switched on the News hoping to hear about the energy thing, but it was all Queen, Queen Queen, and Huw Edwards with his black tie on…

Does Battleaxe remember anything before the Queen? No. The Coronation in 1953? Yes, just. We were in Ireland then, and my parents went to a hotel in Bray near Dublin, The Royal Marine, where they had a TV – with friends – and took me with them. I toddled up and down the hotel corridors while they watched proceedings in the hotel lounge. I was given one of those commemorative gold coaches with detachable horses – very desirable and collectable now – but I was too young to appreciate it, and broke the wheels off the coach. I was also given a funny little green rubber cine viewer device, with a roll of black and white film images of the Coronation you could feed through it and make a moving picture. Have never seen another one since.

Yesterday was quite a day for Battleaxe. As well as the nation falling apart before our eyes, I had a meeting of our Book Club down in the Angler’s Club, which was as pleasant as ever, and then, in the evening, the first meeting of my Novel Writers Critiquing Group which would actually discuss the first chapter of my own novel… a really rather scary business.  They are a very pleasant bunch, mostly folk I have known for years, but nevertheless it was a bit nerve-racking. Only Philosopher has ever read any of the Great Work, and he was a bit equivocal. But we are not talking great literary novels here – it is Cosy Crime, inspired by the best-sellers of the likes of Richard Osman. However, the group gave me some useful pointers, and on balance, were complimentary. But now I’ve started down that route, I’ll have to finish the thing…

We are off to Italy shortly for a few days. Sorrento. The Hotel Tramontano. Yippee. Never mind that I have sciatica left over from that Friends Fete – see the last post, and a bad tooth which is going to have to be pulled out.

To finish off, as so often, something completely different. A little wood mouse keeps getting into the utility room and taking up residence behind the washing machine, feasting merrily on bits of dropped bird seed and the odd cat treat. Digby shows no interest in him, so we have had to get a special live trap to catch him and then release him safely well away from the cat’s view.  I think it is probably the same one coming back again and again. Philosopher has just caught him once more. Here he is. Cute, eh?

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