COP26 in Glasgow. | YVES HERMAN


We seem to be in a particularly fluid era for newsworthy stories that hit the headlines on an almost daily basis. It maybe that after firstly Brexit and then the all encompassing Covid-19 pandemic, British news outlets are just seeking other lines of enquiry in which to indulge themselves - if not on a daily basis, certainly a very short week!

At the moment, all eyes are on the COP-26 environmental summit in Glasgow and the stories emanating from this august gathering of world leaders. Scanning British newspapers so far this week, it seems that the above conference is the only show in town at the moment.

However, I have noticed that what is actually said by the political delegates about our environment, is being rather marginalised by side stories of Presidents falling asleep within minutes of arriving at the conference and the Archbishop of Canterbury having to apologise for a comparison he made linking global warning to the behaviour of the Nazis. Hey, not to mention Greta Thunberg engaging in a foul mouthed tirade against both conference delegates and grown-ups in general.

However, my favourite story at the moment, is the fact that we are being lectured about global warming and its effects, by world leaders and their scores of experts, just as images of them in huge, traffic busting convoys appear in the newspapers, alongside the story that over 400 private jets have arrived at Glasgow and Edinburgh airports stuffed full of those who seek to lecture us all about our wasteful and anti-social ways.

COP26 in Glasgow

Anyway, reverting to my original point regarding how fast the news agenda can change, it didn’t seem like yesterday (it probably was!) that we were all being scared witless by the following - Christmas being cancelled ‘cos there will be nothing in the shops to buy because we don’t have enough HGV drivers ‘cos - blimey I don’t know do I? Then there was that terrible ‘petrol crisis’ you remember that surely?

That’ll be the one where television news boldly asserted one evening that there was a severe shortage of petrol at the pumps - and low-and-behold every numbskull in Britain headed for a petrol station with jerry cans at the ready to confirm the situation. This wouldn’t be so bad, but for the television news outlets then accusing people of panic buying after they had set the whole thing off was quite something to behold.

Happily for us in the media industry, Covid-19 is always a sure fire back-up headliner - because once the COP-26 (confusing isn’t it?) conference limps to a sort-of conclusion then we will be back to debates about pandemic numbers and third or fourth lockdowns in time for Christmas. That’s if certain mid-range dailies can drag themselves away from constantly probing the health issues, or otherwise, of a 95 year old recently widowed lady. Enough already!

It's raining it's pouring...

Rather like Mallorca I’m told - we here in the UK have been suffering from a surfeit of rain of late! It is said that the Inuit Indian Tribes of Alaska have 10 different words for the noun ‘Snow’. That is nothing compared to varying descriptions of rain that can be employed in a conversation held between two Englishmen. Rain can be - spitting - spotting - misty - light - intermittent - squally - showery - lumpy - torrential - Biblical - driving - on-and-off - cats & dogs - p****** down - lashing and a downpour.

And that’s without even breaking sweat - beat that you Eskimos! Nevertheless, as a non-obtrusive subject that can be employed when talking to strangers and servants alike - I believe the weather to be an admirable subject to break the ice of a first encounter with a stranger. Some would say that if you have nothing particular to say to someone - why say anything at all? Naturally enough, Spanish people think along these lines, as they don’t get our fetish regarding weather and the inexhaustible conversations you can have regarding it. The truth is, what we have here is a misunderstanding of what is behind our seemingly endless fascination with the weather.

This is because foreigners in general do not understand the protocol behind using metrological inanities as a way of observing the cut-of-a-chap’s-gib and acting accordingly. This tedious talk of weather has nothing to do with weather, never has been, never will be.

My mobile phone folly!

Even my closest friends could never describe me as being totally in tune with the 21st century and so I have to report a number of social media communication breakdowns. Basically, this means that my smart-phone is not as smart as it thinks it is and only works when it feels like it. This sorry state of affairs started before I disappeared here to Blighty at the end of July and has still not been resolved. In short - I am at the moment difficult to get hold of - unless, that is, if you wish to contact me on a landline.

Moreover the ‘cheap-as-chips’ UK mobile I had recently purchased, which I understand is much favoured by drug dealers, has also decided not to work. Before, anyone out there thinks that this state of affairs is a “bad thing” think again - it isn’t. Do you know - it could well be that scores of folk previously unknown to me - cannot contact me; oh dear, how sad! Moreover, do you know that - the less you use it - the less that anyone cares if you are dead or alive. This, I believe to be almost a state of grace in this over-stimulated world in which we live. I recommend it - really I do.