Getting up early and listening to the radio, as I made a cup of tea this morning, I listened to someone on the radio talking about democracy, and the fact that in essence democracy does'nt work. That the system we have is probably the best, founded as it is on hundreds of years of smoothing out the edges. That our form of government, with the house of lords and the royal family appearing in the formalisation of our laws and 'motions passed' is in essence the best.
Well earlier on this week watching the student riots in London, the charging of the crowds by policemen on horseback and riot armour dressed police against young people, I wasn't so sure though; and when Charles and Camilla got attacked, it made me look at the royal family with a slightly quizzical eye.
For a start it was a complete foolishness to take them through this part of London where everyone was protesting, and also it was a complete foolishness of the couple to be seen in an expensive car dressed to the nines when we are all told that austerity is to be part of the next few years of life for most people, and that we were slinging round the necks of our young people, high bills of maybe £50,000 for university costs to be paid off in the future. Given that these young people also have to find jobs, probably pay off mortgages for a greater part of their lives, would they even want to start on this life of debt!
I find it very demoralising sometimes this line between rich and poor, it was poor Camilla necklace that started this trend of thought, large emeralds in a setting of diamonds hung round her neck and outside angry youngsters, who would have heavy debts hung round their necks in the future, the juxtaposition was too close and uncomfortable.
Well the next programme was about walking, something I used to do early in the morning when I walked Moss. Getting up on Sunday, and wandering about the downs is something I miss. Seeing the moon still in the sky on cold winter mornings and the sun coming over the horizon in a fiery glow. Watching the little muntjac make its way home into the woods, and also the deer as they browsed along the edge of the woods.
Walking is a meditation, our minds become cleared of all those small nagging problems and fears, we are part of the greater world, unimportant in the great scheme of things. Sometimes i think it is the time when nature flows through us, welcoming us to the minutae of its abundant life. The skylark soaring up into a tangle of clouds in spring as you venture too near its young hidden in the grass, we are offered the grace of its beautiful song. A single blade of grass, is a work of art, yet their are billions around, insects climbing solemnly to the top of a blade and balancing precariously there.
The form and shape of trees, the music of the wind blowing through their branches, different as the seasons progress, I miss the old ash trees that grew up on the downs, though the beautiful willows here are good enough compensation, I cannot get over their silvery-blue leaves and their fissured bark.
Their are two landscapes that I love, the first is Wales, not always pretty, but still retaining a wildness that is different. The other is Somerset, full of hills and downs, and woods. Yorkshire moors I have still to come to terms with, their bleak bareness is so different and its just a tad colder up North - 3 degrees to be precise, though if you were to move further north it would be another 3 degrees! Essex landscape is also beautiful in its rivers and fields, but it is bounded on all sides by roads which I hate.....
But the one thing I meant to write about was the cutting down of the thorn bush under Wearyall Hill in Glastonbury. Now Glastonbury is supposed to be a magical place, it is the 'mecca' of alternative views and paganism, though in reality it has a very christian background, with the great ruined abbey there and its story of King Arthur and Guinevere.
So who committed the crime? well I can't answer that one, there are dark mutterings on the local paper, only that someone took an axe to it, leaving quite a lot of stump still standing. Funnily enough a sprig had been cut the day before to grace the table of the Queen on Christmas day, so whether that had anything to do with it I'm not sure.
The story goes that Joseph of Arimathea, a disciple of Jesus and a merchant, came to Britain and on coming to Glastonbury stuck his stick into the ground, and from thence miraculously a tree grew, and it is from this tree, over the centuries, many slips and cuttings have been taken to preserve the symbolic 'magic' of it. Its magic by the way is that it flowers on Christmas day, it doesn't of course, maybe sometimes 10 days later. But it is a hawthorn tree from a 'foreign' country that flowers at its proper season, like so many of the firs that we find in this country.
Its not such a calamity clones of the tree are apparently to be found elsewhere. The puritans or the roundheads in the 17th century also cut the tree down that was standing then, they did'nt believe that Xmas should be a time of festivity!