Dear Friends,

I was brought up believing ‘March winds’ & ‘April Showers’ bring forth ‘May Flowers’. Well today, in May, we had March winds and April showers rolled into one. Let’s hope the flowers are worth it. Although it has to be said the blossom on the trees is very beautiful and gives everyone a lift just to see it. Of course, there is a downside to all of this: I have mowed the lawn three times already and I swear the grass has grown an inch in the last twenty-four hours…I mentioned previously that during the latest lockdown my ‘go to’ place was Golders Hill Park. Now that we can venture further afield, I have another favourite place to walk. The nearest we have in London to the seaside is the River Thames. Lately I’ve taken to walking part of its length, starting at Kew Bridge and either going west towards Richmond or east towards Chiswick. Yesterday the tide was so low I walked between the two bridges all along the water’s edge. It was great fun, although I resisted the temptation to try to skim stones across to the other bank. We are very fortunate to have these opportunities to enjoy our surroundings. Hopefully, as the weather ‘improves’ there will be further opportunities to explore other new and exciting attractions, that were always there, on our door-step, ‘hidden in plain sight’…Science was never my strongest suit. I never really understood how the position of the moon causes the rise and fall of so-called tidal waters. It is a mystery to me. All I can do is marvel at it. As a child it totally bamboozled me that when at the beach the sea could either be right up against the retaining wall or too far away even to see it. I’ve certainly been impressed at the difference between high water and low water on the Thames. So it is that the sea, rivers, lend themselves to being used as metaphors for life. The most well-known being when we talk of ‘highs and lows’, of the ‘ebb and flow’ of life. But there is a critical difference. Science is so exact that it can predict with certainty when it will be high tide or low tide; when the tide will either be ebbing or flowing. Life is not so predictable. For many people life can conspire against them to such a degree, it is as if they are always waiting for the tide ‘to turn’ in their favour, to their advantage…But then, almost insidiously, the metaphor shifts. Rather than waiting for ‘the tide to turn’, its about ‘waiting for my luck to change’ and when that happens so many people fall into the ‘trap’ of seeking to engineer a change in their fortunes, because sooner or later their luck is ‘bound to change’. Around such folk, the vultures gather: in the form of the gambling industry. It has never been easier to ‘lose one’s shirt’ than it is now. Gone are the days of the football pools coupon, or a trip to the Bookies on the corner of the street. Internet gambling can drain your bank account dry at the press of a button. But hey, don’t worry, there’s always a moneylender readily available to help you clear your debts, pay your bills and get you back on your feet, provided you can afford the exorbitant interest payments. ‘Gamblers Anonymous’ is fast overtaking ‘Alcoholics Anonymous’. There really is no fun in ‘having a flutter’ Perhaps remember that next time you are tempted to buy a lottery ticket?

The ‘ebb and flow’ of life