2019 – well this is going to be fun!

As another year rolls over, I probably need to roll out another blog post. Though I am not sure I have a lot to say, maybe I should have taken to the keyboard in the midst of the Christmas festivities rather than pick up on the day when it all officially comes to an end. Perhaps, armed with a charged glass of port and a bellyful of goodies, I might have summoned up the words to express the horror that awaits us Brexit-wise but the whole process seems to have been deliberately engineered by Theresa May to act as Dementor, sucking dry any last breath of protest from even the most passionate. Even Boris Johnson seems to have lost his bounce – no bad thing obviously, but still…

So no Brexit then. And anyway this blog is supposed to be about Ava-Jane, so AJ news should come first. Unfortunately AJ does not winter well. The cold plays havoc with her skin, so she spends the season looking pretty crap. Being Ava-Jane that does not stop her grinning like a loon, and obviously in my eyes, still being gorgeous – see pics.

Overall she is doing really well. Still making progress at school. She will be moving into a more verbal class, to try to stretch her by interacting with children who communicate. It is a bit of a risk as she could end up being Billy-no-mates in the corner. She is the star performer in her current class as she now has quite a few words and a burning desire to communicate.

Her whole epilepsy thing is bloody hard to deal with, to be quite honest. As I have said before, it is in a continual state of flux with all sorts of different types of spasms that come and go. The approach to her medication seems to be from the Whack-a-mole School of Pharmacology. She is on quite high dosages of a number of pretty potent drugs. She has really been off her food recently, to the extent that, for the first time in her life, she looks quite skinny. Given that she doesn’t take much exercise, this is not a great thing. I was reading through the details of a new one she has, to see if it could have a negative effect on diet. It does, obvs! But also I noticed the below.

What is Topiramate for:

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  • The treatment of seizures
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Common side effects include:

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  • Seizures
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So the seizure med can cause seizures. Oy vey!

But we had a great Christmas. This was the first without Mum. It was weird, suddenly we had to make all the decisions. We could have had an Indian takeaway and watched Eastenders but no, we followed lock-step “Christmas, how it is done and how it has been done in the Family for generations”, no one dressed up as Father Christmas but Millennial Niece Molly did insist that we watch the Queen’s Speech. My sister Mary produced a feast that did all our memories proud.

Christmas always kicks off with a visit from one of the most cheerful people I know – Dave the Postie. He doesn’t even do our round anymore but he has a very special spot for our kids and always comes round with presents for both of them and leaves armed with mince pies.

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Ava-Jane is Father Christmas obsessed. She talks about him the whole year, though you need to know that what sounds like “Papa Chriii” means Father Christmas and she does a great Ho-ho-ho. But when it comes down to it, he still completely freaks her out, as you can see from these pics:

Our Xmas entertainment has largely been dominated by Mary Poppins. Otto appeared in the school play, which cleverly blended the film and Saving Mr Banks a film about the creation of the film. Then we watched both films and finally went to see Mary Poppins Returns, which is magnificent. Another highlight was a visit to London to see The Lion King.

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On the home front, the other big news is that we have sold Mum’s house… or we hope we will have by next week. The new neighbours seem astonishingly lovely and very keen to preserve the character of the property, so hopefully they were be converting the barns into an industrial depot!

I am afraid, dear readers, that mentioning charged glasses of port above prompted me to charge a glass of port, so Brexit it is. Or maybe not… How about worse than Brexit? No, not Trump, worse even than that. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Jair Bolsonaro: – newly sworn-in President of Brazil. Brexit looks set to destroy the British economy and our standing in the world, Trump obviously has ripped up America’s standing and seems set on the immolation of its political institutions but Bolsonaro has it in his hands to destroy the planet.

The Amazon really are the lungs of the world. The boffins are working on carbon capture systems in an attempt to remove carbon from the air – these don’t work on any sort of proper scale yet. What does work is trees, they capture loads of carbon and they work on a proper scale in the Amazon -–lots of trees in the Amazon! They are planning to build a road near where we live and I made this little video about the loss of trees: Trees but pulling up a couple of hedges in Buckinghamshire is very much small fry compared to what Bolsonaro and his cronies plan to do to the Amazon. One of his first moves was to merge the Environment Ministry, which was responsible for the protection of the rainforest, with the Agriculture Ministry – the guys who want to rip the trees up to plant soya and graze cattle. Apart from the planet destroying bit of burning the rainforest, he is also planning to remove laws to protect the indigenous people of the rainforest. Oh and he is a raging homophobe!

So there you go, worse than Brexit! And that is one of my main beefs about Brexit. It has absolutely consumed every ounce of our political attention and energy. Its ghastly, all-consuming Dementor’s Kiss means that we are unable to see anything else. Country after country is falling into the grips of truly frightening men who have more than a whiff of the fascist about them. All those countries that but ten years ago seemed to be promising new alternatives to the global dominance of the East/West dichotomy: India, Turkey, China, Brazil, South Africa are now in the hands of men who are openly taking on dictatorial powers in nominal democracies. Then of course we have Trump and Putin doing the same in their own countries.

And we shouldn’t believe it couldn’t happen here. You should never believe it couldn’t happen here. Let’s look at a plausible chain of events.

  • May’s deal fails in Parliament *whispers* “it will”.
  • May resigns/is kicked out – officially the anti-May Tories have wasted their one shot at getting her out but I am sure they could find an unofficial way to stab her in the back – they are good at that.
  • We then go from what Brexiteers like to tell us was the biggest democratic vote in British history to one of the smallest: the membership of the Tory Party to choose a new Prime Minister, which polls have just shown are madly in favour of being led by the Brexiest Brexiteer available.
  • So take you pick of the Etonian: Boris Johnson or Jacob Rees-Mogg to drive Britain off the cliff of no-deal Brexit? It’s what they both say they want.

(if this was a choose-your-own-adventure book, you could have the options “turn to p.24 for economic disaster as predicted by anyone who knows anything about these things” or “turn to p.72 for the sunny uplands and the unicorns”, but it isn’t, so p.24 it is!)

So what comes next? Do you think a narcissist like Johnson will say “Oops, my bad, I was wrong all along. It turns out the EU was great and please Monsieur, can we come back in?” No, if they have been blaming the EU red tape for dreamt-up ills for years they will sure as hell blame the EU when real red tape is backing lorries up the Channel Tunnel halfway to London and tempers flare in Northern Ireland. Blaming the “other” is straight out of the populists playbook.

I really am terrified that this could all get quite genuinely nasty. History doesn’t actually repeat itself as such, each instance is different. However, you can see some patterns where international agreements have fractured, the economy is fragile and posturing strong men are in charge thanks to promising the impossible and blaming their countries woes on a perceived “other” happen before and it doesn’t end well!

Oh well, on that joyous note, I bid you all a Happy New Year – let’s see what awaits us in 2019.

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