Day 2 – Houghton to Great Bircham

Nearly all telly programmes start – ludicrously in my view – warning viewers that watching, for example, Putin’s war in ghastly detail involving bombing, death, and rape “might be offensive to some viewers”. What do they expect? Do they think viewers live in a perpetual world of Little Bo Peep and The Sound of Music?

Anyway, following the nannying trend perpetrated everywhere, my walk commentary may be offensive to some readers. If it is, stop reading and get a life!

Over the years, I am sure I’ve started many walk commentaries with “ Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun,” and so we do today.

Miles of sandy paths cut through the beautiful county on the “Peddars Way”. Kind and generous hosts to see us on our way. Heroes Charles and Angela walk with us often as pathfinders.

Baby Wants Cake! 

Why do people accuse politicians of being liars?

The answer is easy – if politicians told voters the unvarnished truth, they’d never get elected in the first place!

Do people realise how darn difficult it is to run a country effectively when the electorate act like babies who refuse to recognise the inconsistences of their demands? People cry for better healthcare, “free” social care, better paid teachers, more money for defence spending and roads without potholes. Then they simultaneously squeal for lower taxes – while failing to notice the impossibility of having all these things at the same time. Voters want their cake, but they won’t pay for it by voting for the bills.

No, Nein and Non

Of course, it’s not just British citizens who practice such willful blindness. In the US, people want to see an end to gun crime and mass shootings but steadfastly refuse to ban guns. They complain about eye-watering debt but decline to vote for candidates who pledge to do something about it. Remember Ronnie Reagan who quipped, “Our debt’s big enough to look after itself!” – and so he let it balloon. Of course, when the debt parcel finally reaches the end of the line and bursts – as it surely must – the poor sods holding it will face a world-shattering debt crisis, and everyone will blame them for being lying, useless hounds.    

In Germany, voters want energy security but said nein when asked to buy the nuclear reactors that would have delivered what they needed. That’s why they were in hock to Putin’s oil. It’s much easier now for voters to lazily blame poor Angela Merkel and Gerhard Schröder for incompetence than accept responsibility for their own fecklessness. 

In France, poor Macron is trying to deliver vital pension reform – an essential matter that has been ducked by previous presidents who saw that the issue is electoral dynamite. Macron can only deliver it in his last term of presidential office when finally freed from democratic constraints. 

We live like babies, voting for politicians who tell us what we want to hear and then accusing them of being liars when things go wrong – as they usually do in the end.   

DH Lawrence’s poem “We Can’t Be Too Careful” sums things up. Here’s an extract:

“We can’t be too careful
about the British Public.
It gets bigger and bigger
And its perambulator has to get bigger and bigger
And its dummy-teat has to be made bigger and bigger and bigger
And the job of changing its nappies gets bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger
And the sound of its howling gets bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger…
And soon even God won’t be big enough to handle that infant.”

Lawrence died in 1930. The baby’s got a bit bigger since then, hasn’t it?

There’s an election in just over a year’s time – another mouthful of cake, Baby Dear?

Time Waits for No Man

Now, something to cheer you up. As you get older, you of course have less time left but it seems to flick by much faster than when you were a babe.

For a 10-year-old, a year seems an eternity, while for a 79-year-old, that same year passes by in a flash. A paradox of course, but the mathematics tell us this. For a 10-year-old, a year adds 10 per cent to their life, a huge amount. For a 50-year-old, a year adds 2 per cent, a tiny amount. And that percentage diminishes each year that passes! 

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