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Struck Dumb

I haven't felt like writing for a long time. Nearly every item of news depresses me. Certain stories - such as intensive octopus farming - are so disturbing to me I cannot bring myself to read more than the headline.

I once went to a gathering (party seems too frivolous a word) where the hostess disappeared halfway through the evening. "Where is x?" I asked. "Sometimes the thought of animals suffering overwhelms her and then she needs to be on her own." I didn't see her again that evening. I know how she felt.

But this isn't a blog about animal rights. It's about human beings who cannot see beyond their narrow self-interest, whose determination to carry out their plans tramples everyone and everything in their path.

It's not just the terrible war in Ukraine and the West's spineless response to the danger of Putin, now in collaboration with Xi Jinping. It's also our appalling and thoughtless greed seen in the way we pollute our rivers with raw sewage; watch houses disappear into the sea through coastal erosion; cut down mature trees in the dead of night; destroy vast swathes of the countryside to build HS2 when that project alone could fund so many improvements in our lives. But you know all this, so why go on?

Recently, I read an article which helped me clamber out of despair. It was about a woman who had lost several members of her family to cancer and was genetically prone to the same fate. Her response was to connect with other people at every opportunity. A chance encounter in a supermarket. A chat with her postman. It didn't matter who it was; she just reached out to everyone she came into contact with. Introvert that I am, it surprised me how much that resonated with me. So now I try to do the same and it helps. That and recognising the beauty around me, especially now the hedges are turning green and blossom adorns the trees. And I've started adult ballet classes which brings a smile to my face, if not the teacher's. Pas de chat? More like pas d'elephant, but who cares? It's fun. It's life-enhancing. It's bringing me back to the world.

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