|Hooray, hooray - the pole warmer is up!|
I have always felt that happiness is a decision.
It's not an accident, or the luck of the draw, or incidental.
It can, of course, be all of those things, but primarily I think it is an act of the will (even though sometimes it may prove impossible to accomplish).
And before anyone criticises me for being privileged enough to decide when I am, or am not happy, I don't think it's as superficial as that. Just look around you at the people who are, or who aren't happy.
There's no logical rhyme or reason.
Yes - I am privileged, if by that you mean I live in the west, have had a good education, have good health and have most of what I need to get from day to day.
However, there is (always) more to life than that.
And while I do have lots of things, I don't have a job, and although I live in the west, I live in Ireland.
Don't get me wrong - I love Ireland, I love this wild, wet, wonderful coast, I love the Atlantic beating in my eardrums. But Ireland is not a great place to live at the moment, any more than Greece is, or Italy, to name but two. Ireland is depressed - in every sense of the word.
Apparently our fearless leader is going to address the nation tonight, and I guess the burden of his tale will be just that - Ireland is not a good place to live at the moment..As I am unable to get RTE on my television, I won't be watching him.
And, to complete our joy, tomorrow is Irish Budget Day.
More cuts, more austerity measures, more gloom and despondency.
The newspapers will be full of it for weeks.
Everyone in Ireland is living in fear. There's no work, no money - no hope of work and no hope of money. Even the people who have any money seem terrified of spending it (well, maybe everyone is partying in Dublin, but they sure ain't in this neck of the woods), and I keep hearing that anyone who has any cash is doing their damnedest to get it out of the country for fear that it will be worth shirt-buttons in a week or two.
It's terrible to utterly lose confidence in something, isn't it?
And all very depressing, quite frankly. Cumulatively depressing.
I should probably be outside with a pick and shovel trying to dig up my house, so that I can remove it from the country, as everything I have is basically tied up in its ageing bricks and mortar. In fact, it's so wet here that maybe I could slide it off the edge into that wide Atlantic, and paddle it somewhere better, drier - more economically stable. I should pack the divine duo and the four cats into the car (especially poorly Hobbes and my little blind Pixie), stuff the hens into any spare spaces, mount Wellington, my enormous black cockerel, onto the bonnet, and tow the house away.
Where to, I wonder?
Denmark seems to be 'hot' on Irish lips.
|Digging up the house|
But if I can't tow my assets to financially greener pastures, maybe I could relieve my frustration by shooting someone instead.
Over the last few years the bankers - that generic term for everyone who has more say over my euro than I do - have come in for a lot of stick. And quite rightly, as by and large they have pissed an awful lot of money up against someone's wall. (And it wasn't mine. I checked.)
So let's shoot the bankers.
And no, I don't mind saying that out loud.
Jeremy Clarkson was pilloried in the UK this week for suggesting that public sector workers who went on strike should be shot in front of their families. In fact, it all became rather a storm in a teacup.(You'd think Britain had more to worry about, quite frankly.)
Jeremy Clarkson is a buffoon in my opinion. He is like some tiresome schoolboy who doesn't go away, who probably thinks the flour and water trick is still funny. But if he thinks people should be shot, why shouldn't he say so? Mercifully, his opinion doesn't make it be so. (And let's face it, anyone with half a brain could tell he wasn't exactly recommending a course of action.)
I've got to say, buffoon or not, I'd rather have him than that wet drip of an MP who bellyached loud and long about children having nightmares over their parents' fate as a result of Clarkson's remark. If I was in his constituency, I'd be campaigning for a by-election, but maybe his mother is proud of him.
(What has happened to make Britain so prissy these days? What has happened to freedom of speech? It's gone a bit lop-sided if it's OK for that clot to bang on about children's highly improbable nightmares, but not OK for Clarkson to have a bit of a rant. Maybe freedom of speech went out of the window along with our right to privacy. Daft really, as it's probably safer to let people have a bit of a rant than make them bottle it until one of them goes on a rampage.)
Sorry - I digress. I was meant to be cleaning my shotgun, ready for the shooting party, and stumbled on my soap box instead.
The thing is - I'm not sure who to shoot first.
It would be immensely satisfying to shoot a few bankers, even though I'd have to fight my way to the front of the queue here in Ireland, to have my turn.
It would also be doing the world a favour to shoot quite a few politicians (let's start with that weedy wet, that damp squib of an MP whose name I can't be bothered to remember).
But - and here's the thing - really and truly, it's the journalists we should shoot first.
Just think about it.
Where did you hear IT first? Where did you find out that you should be panicking? Who is always trafficking in anxiety?
It's the 'media', that broad, faceless mob. They are the ones who create the panic, the fear; so many of the problems - they take something that MIGHT happen (or might not) and make it happen, they augment it, manipulate it, shape it and decide how to present it, how to convince us that all is lost, that the worst is upon us, that our nightmares are realities, that the sky has indeed fallen on our heads.
They have more power over us than God.
They don't deal in words, they deal in emotive response, in the demolition of confidence, in the power of suggestion. They create unease, because stability doesn't serve them well.
And like sheep when a dog appears in the corner of the field, we all react.
The more we run, the better they like it - and if anyone stops running, they only have to lurch half a step forward and we're off again.
I heard a quote many years ago that I have never forgotten: 'A life lived in fear is a life half-lived'.
It's what we're all doing in Ireland at the moment.
That's what you call a shocking waste.
So, know any journalists?
Put crosses on their doors. We'll come by with carts in the half-light of dawn and take them away, because they're the ones who ought to be shot - first.
It might be painful to start with, but we'd all be better off in the long run.
And I don't care who watches.
But until I catch one, I shall have to carry on as best I can, and for a kick-off, that means making the most of every day. If nothing else, the Current Economic Situation (a phrase so much in common parlance, we might as well abbreviate it) has reminded us that our lives are full of simple pleasures that cost nothing. All we have to do is appreciate them.
So - for one thing - da-dah! - the pole-warmer is finally up (and no, we didn't pop it over its head - we opened it wide and invited the pole to step in, which it did, blushing coyly.)
|A snugly, buggly, blushing pole|
It looks great, and makes people smile. And, closer to home, this evening, behind the rain-filled clouds, there is a hint of pink in the western sky, and a half moon is skimming the bare trees. Despite the cold wind, it is beautiful. Also, my hens are safely tucked in against the fox and the weather, the fire is lit, my gorgeous boys have phoned to say all is well in their lives, and I - yes, I will be happy.
Who knows what the morrow will bring, but today I will be happy - and that can only make me stronger.
And while any remnant of freedom of speech remains, don't hesitate to let me know what you think!
PS If there are any politicians out there, having palpitations, just try to look on this as a metaphorical call to arms. You can do it.
PPS If there are any hide-bound H&S executives out there getting hot under the collar, first you must ask yourselves, is it safe to get hot under the collar. Then, and only then - I don't actually have a shotgun. I haven't finished knitting it yet.