The COP carnival is long gone, its long list of cartoon characters representing humanity are but memories, the flashes of inspiration, the loads of insights and the promises have been replaced by life as normal, or as normal as a Covid world can be. Perhaps nature has come to reap its bad harvest. And to mark it all, here in this little market town we splayed the night sky with a ton of fireworks whose stench told us what foul polluters we humans are, to say nothing of the CO2 fallout.
For two weeks I’ve had nothing to add to the disappointment COP26 has generated worldwide, but to reiterate that we are addicted to toys and treats and that has lead to tears. On the radio this morning I heard two people say how the long, slow autumn we in Britain are experiencing due to Climate Change is something they look forward to having more of in the future. Well, they will be surprised! We think no further than our noses.
I must admit, though, that the delayed autumn has been a boon to me too for this is my first week of being able to properly get outside and I loved the dazzling colours sparkling and dancing upon the lake at Stourhead, which is one of the most visited gardens in the world. We found a bench upon which to eat our sandwiches after my first, exhausting walk in months, little more than a couple of hundred metres. Earlier, an art gallery had asked me to have a full blown exhibition of my abstracts. As I well know, that’s a lot to do and organise, even if you are fit, so I’m going to fill a small wall and because their clientele is world-wide, I’ll produce convenient A3 sized prints of my work. Their enthusiasm added a buzz to our picnic and I needed it after a lonely year stuck in doors most days since January.
Last night, feeling jealous, through our windows I watched people enjoying the quaint Christmas lights this town puts up each year. The shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs were open until late and staff dressed in Victorian clothes served mulled wine and cider and little treats to the happy crowd. It is an atmospheric, gentle evening, one of those natural events England does so well. I tried to push Camilla out as she needs a break from looking after dull old me, but we hardly know anyone here as yet and she’d prefer to not go alone. This morning, the fruit&veg where we also refill our milk bottles, the cheese shop and the butchers who sell local grass-fed produce, all told Camilla that they did really well, which is great after the time they’ve had since Covid struck. Maybe next year I’ll be fit enough to go out and enjoy it.
Me the bush-boy, the mountain lover has become a little home bug, which shows we can change. OK, I’ve had no choice, but this creature who disliked being indoors when it was light outside, is now a sofa-surfing bug. And, yes, Covid did this to millions around the world. Covid has changed people’s behaviour. Two days ago I was talking over the phone to an art printer who said he’s never had abuse before but now he gets it every few days. “People expect me to be working all the time, even on a Sunday my phone keeps pinging with abusive texts.”
It doesn’t take much effort to gain control of our minds and emotions, we simply have to want to and to be assiduous. Here upon my sofa, my mind goes out to people who really have had the toughest time - hospital staff. Each day they enter Covid wards laden with the nasty bug… and some of them die, even when double-vaccinated due to the viral-overload. And now they’re facing it again. Concerned, I produced an A3 poster with a set of mental-well exercises from my books (endorsed by MIND) alongside a cheerful abstract. These are now posted in 30 staff rooms in London hospitals. The research-based exercises really do work, they’ve helped tsunami, war and earthquake survivors to find normality again. They can for us too. If you are interested, look on this website at - iaindryden.com/stressstamper. Apres COP26, we all need to change with the climate.