old beginnings

It’s the first weekend of a new year. Whether you think it also counts as a new decade may depend on whether you’re the sort of person who’ll get lost down a rabbit-hole if they google “why numbering should start at zero”.

The fact that last sentence took me over an hour to write would tend to suggest that I am a rabbit-hole explorer who thinks 2021 will be the start of the new decade. But I also think I really can’t justify the year 2020 not being part of the Twenties, so it looks like I’ll stay sitting on the fence.
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the calm before the storm

I think a lot of people feel that 2019 hasn’t been the easiest of years. There have certainly been highs and lows in my own life, and I gather that even the Queen recognised something of the sort in her Christmas speech. I didn’t watch the speech, but the report on Time website says:

Talking about the need for reconciliation and forgiveness, Elizabeth says: “The path, of course, is not always smooth, and may at times this year have felt quite bumpy, but small steps can make a world of difference.”

Perhaps that’s why my attention was caught by the weather forecast this morning, which showed a constant and unexceptionable temperature all day long.
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neighbours

It’s Sunday; it’s the first of December. Which means that here in the UK, some people are celebrating the first day of Advent.

But the first day of December is cause for celebration for other reasons and in other places. In Chad, it’s Freedom and Democracy day. In Romania, it’s Great Union Day, celebrating the Union of Transylvania with Romania. It’s Myanmar’s National Day, and it’s Military Abolition Day in Costa Rica.
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mostly monotone

We all know that, as the year turns, Mother Nature’s palette of colours changes. But while we indecisive mortals might hum and haw about redecoration for weeks or months on end, visiting different shops, compiling mood boards, comparing colour swatches, holding fabrics alongside wallpaper samples, and trying out tester pots of paint, she just gets on and gets the job done.
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cat litter

I’ve always been fond of felines, whatever their size and, until I was actually in a position to keep a domestic cat as a pet, I had an extensive collection of tigers.

There were book marks, tea cards, themed birthday cards and calendars, soft toys of all sizes, an Esso tiger-in-your-tank key ring from the 70s, a Russian porcelain figurine, tiger’s eye quartz jewellery…

Some were given away, broken, lost or abandoned. Others must be in a box in a lock up in Spain with so many of my other possessions. A few survive: I’m sure there’s a supermarket trolley token with a cartoon tiger’s head in the bottom of one of my handbags and a Schleich white tiger called Frankie continues to accompany me whenever I travel away from home.
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shades of summer

Everywhere you go in the UK at this time of year, there are geraniums and pelargoniums of all shades blooming in tubs and window boxes, in the middle of roundabouts and in other public spaces and gardens.

Most seem to be the sort with pom-pom cluster flowers like old-fashioned floral bathing caps.
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correlations

Way back in the distant past, I studied maths. In fact, due to some bad choices early in my life, I actually got as far as starting to study maths at university, although I moved to a less challenging course after the first year.

Despite not completing the maths degree, I remember enjoying the history of maths module and I have fond – though somewhat blurred – memories of learning about relativity through stories of stick figures who chased each other across the blackboard, one of them flashing a torch at the other with the light never arriving as they were travelling so fast.
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