I am still a prisoner of the weather. After the relatively warm day we had last Friday when I was able to go to the Cricketers next door and lunch with my friends and sit outside afterwards smoking a cigar, the weather has turned decidedly cold again – 3Â°C yesterday, with a chilly wind which made it more like -3Â°C. So any plans I had made to go to the club today for lunch,Â haven drive around the golf course, with Griggsy, have had to be abandoned. Maybe next Tuesday?
It is always a little personal triumph to get to another month, particularly as each month that goes by brings me closer to the spring, and hopefully the warm summer weather. This in turn means trips to Lord’s, the first of which this year is the test match against Sri Lanka, starting on Friday 3 June. I have optimistically purchased tickets for my friends and family up to 11 September, which seems an eon away. Having once decided on who is coming, and when, Â I shall send Â their tickets to them, as I could no longer meet them at Grace Gates, as I have done in the past, in that case, they might as well make their way to the wheelchair in closure in the front right of the Warner Stand, in their own good time.
With the onset of March one knows that spring is not far away but being warned by the old adage, The March winds doth blow, and we shall have snow, or, as my oldest friend Geoffrey Hanscomb, reminded me this morning, If March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb. Well there’s nothing lion-like about the weather today, it is very calm and overcast, perhaps it will improve then go out like a lamb, weÂ will see. One must take nothing for granted, however, with the English weather, I recall it snowing in May, not so many years ago.
Switching from the Englishmanâ€™s favourite topic, the weather, and looking at the broader picture of the two current big news items, the earthquake in New Zealand and the troubles in the Middle East, neither situation has improved. It is now just one week since the earthquake and although, in similar situations in other parts of the world, people have been found alive in anything up to 3 weeks after the disaster, it has been decided that due to the collapsed nature of the buildings, the likelihood of finding any further people alive is now passed. The final toll of dead or missing now looks as though it is approaching 400. A great tragedy indeed.
The situation in Libya becomes more bizarre by the day. Gaddafi was interviewed yesterday by someone from the BBC and appeared to be in a relaxed and jocular state of mind. More than once he declared that everyone in Libya loved him and no one wished him dead. He maintained that the bulk of the population were behind him and that the trouble was confined to a few isolated young men who had been supplied with drugs from Al Qaeda. He made it clear that he had no intention of leaving his homeland and, it was obvious, from the way he spoke, that he intends to crush any opposition whilst, at the same time, denying that there were no disturbances. This, at a time when almost the entire free world has declared that he must go. Even some of his erstwhile nearest friends and colleagues have declared that he is insane .Interestingly, it is maintained that he has something like $3 billion stashed away in the USA, which of course he denies. The Western powers are in a moral dilemma. Whilst clearly not wishing to intervene and become embroiled in another Iraq or Afghanistan, which they can ill afford,. how long can they sit back and watch innocent citizens being slaughtered. 1000 today, 2000 tomorrow and 4000 the next day?
God, or Allah willing the generals will join the other senior members who represent this country overseas who have already defected and turn against Gaddafi, hopefully within the next week or so, before too many more innocent lives are lost.
Speaking of the Gaddafi billions I heard the most staggering statistic, whilst listening to the radio during the night, Â China owns a substantial chunk of the USA through its investments in Dollar Treasury Bonds. Can you believe $1000,000,000,000 worth? Nobody seems to troubled by the amount of this debt and presumably it is well covered by the American gold reserves (housed in Fort Knox), which is probably more than we can say for our national debt. Heaven knows how much gold we have left in the Bank Of England, but, I do seem to recall, Gordon Brown, when Chancellor of the Exchequer, selling a large quantity of our gold at something like $265 per ounce – probably the lowest it has been for decades. Today the price of gold today is $1415Â and some aficionados predict it might well get to $2000 an ounce. Was this yet another error of judgement by what was probably the worst Chancellor of the Exchequer we have seen in this country for many a long year.