The Future

Charli didn’t fancy a ride and I wasn’t sure I did either, but she said I should go for a spin as I was acting like I’d been cooped up for too long, so that’s what I did. The first ride of the year was … just OK.

The lanes are sopping wet and dirty – lots of mud and leaf debris and unidentifiable stuff. It was fairly cold and with a fairly strong wind to make it just on the wrong side of fresh whenever the clouds triumphed over the sun. But Charli was right – it was worth the effort to shake out some of the post-Christmas-New Year blues, and with a grim forecast for tomorrow, it’s smart to grab whatever chances there are to get out.

It’s not just the weather that’s bedevilled by grim forecasts – there’s precious little optimism around, about the state of the world in pretty well every respect. The trouble – as always – is that the pessimism is media-driven and all the major media channels are either owned by people with specific agendas to push or – in the case of the BBC at least – quite obviously cowed by those same media owners/channels (and/or government) into being an ever-weakening source of balanced information.

Whether the pessimism is well-founded is another matter entirely. I’m not optimistic about the long term consequences of global warming and over population, but I’m not going to sign up to the misery-fest that’s being peddled about every other aspect of life at the moment. It’s easy to mistake change for things going wrong when all it is, is change.

I doubt whether all the people I went by today who were cleaning cars are that grim. The two women who asked for directions to Checkendon seemed cheery enough. There was that air of mild gloom that accompanies any cold and wet British Bank Holiday but that’s what the British do. We’re not known for taking our leisure with a light-heart. (Hence, I guess, the car-washing, which is surely one of life’s least pleasurable activities.)

That all said, I can’t say I feel that chirpy. A friend of similar age to me is facing unemployment in a couple of months time and the prospects for anyone of our age aren’t great. Middle age, they say, is when you worry about your parents as much as your kids and that’s about right for him – with the added weight of worrying about himself too. And yeah, none of that’s my problem but it does – rightly – hang heavy in the air.

These tough times might be just a manifestation of change in the big scheme of things when history comes to be written, but change can have victims.