I think that there ought to be a name for the period between the 27th and 31st of December. Maybe we should call it the ‘Drearies’ or the ‘Doldrums’ or perhaps ‘The Down Time’. Something that sums up the short dark days and the sudden total lack of any urgency even to get up and start the day.
Christmas itself acts as such a powerful motivating force throughout December. There are the cards to write and send, the presents to buy and wrap, the food to plan and shop for and then prepare. The house to decorate with a tree and with all those special bits and pieces that have been carefully stored away since last Christmas.
And then, quite quickly, Christmas and Boxing Day are over, and we are marking time until we may or may not once more don our gladrags to welcome in the New Year.
Sorry if that all sounds a bit depressing. I have had a lovely Christmas surrounded by the people I love most and have been thoroughly spoiled on my birthday. It’s just that for a few days I am home alone as one daughter and family have gone to Stockholm and the other daughter and family have gone to Oxford. I had also booked up to escape for a brief break in the sun with a friend next week, but her husband has quite suddenly become very seriously ill, so we have cancelled our trip. I am naturally disappointed, but I am much more upset for this very special couple, who are now facing many months of his radio- chemo- and immunotherapies to treat the aggressive form of cancer with which he has been diagnosed.
However, I have decided to stop brooding and focus on as many positives as I can. To help with this I got up this morning, dressed in something warm and comfortable enough to accommodate the mince-pie extended waistband, put on my Look Fabulous Forever face topped off with Cherry Red lipstick for extra ‘oomph’ and have just given myself a good talking to. Yes, this is a rather dreary time of year, but the days have already started lengthening and there is much to bring hope and cheer in 2023 both on a personal, business and global level.
First of all, after two months there is real progress with the building work in my flat. The spaces have been opened up, the bathroom is taking shape and the kitchen is partly installed. There’s still lots to do, but hopefully I will be able to return home by the beginning of February. I see this as marking a new chapter in my personal life. There are a few things besides my living areas that I’d like to change and I have decided that it’s ‘now or never’. Returning to some brand new spaces in a place that I love is just the impetus I need to answer the burning question I have posed myself: ‘How do I want to shape my life for the next ten years?’
Secondly, we have some quite big, bold plans for LFF in the coming months. The general business environment remains challenging but two opportunities have arisen in the short and medium term which will be very exciting for us to exploit. I can’t tell you any more just now but I promise to share the good news when I am able to do so, but our plans mean that 2023 may be a very significant year for our business and will also bring benefits to you as our very valued customers.
And what of the wider world? With a war still raging on European soil, inflationary pressures and an energy crisis, there seems to be little to cheer. But that’s mainly because the news that we are served is skewed towards the negative on purpose because of a belief that bad news is true journalism, whilst good news has no moral mandate and is less intellectually satisfying. That may be so, but in the spirit of creating a more positive frame of mind for the coming year I thought I’d share news of some optimistic developments with you.
Clean, limitless fuel
This astonishing advance for humanity happened on December 5th 2022. For the first time scientists combined hydrogen atoms via nuclear fusion and in so doing released more energy than was consumed. Unlike coal and fossil fuels, fusion reactions generate no CO2 emissions or other byproducts. And since it runs on hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, it’s virtually limitless in its production potential. With that much energy, we may be able not only to reduce our emissions footprint, but reverse it. Very good news indeed, most likely for our grandchildren!
Good News for Sharks
Sharks and rays are one of the species most threatened with extinction, so the good news is that trade in over 100 types of sharks and rays is finally about to be regulated. According to the Head of Conservation at the Shark Trust, there has been a flurry of activity in the last quarter of 2022 which saw proposals in Panama to tackle the trade in these endangered species, whilst in Portugal the Atlantic High Seas Management Body agreed groundbreaking safeguards for the South Atlantic population of Shortfin Mako.
‘Can’t Buy My Silence’
As a young woman Zelda Perkins worked for Harvey Weinstein in London and her silence about the sexually predatory behaviour she witnessed was bought with the Non-Disclosure Agreement she was forced to sign. Having broken that NDA to give evidence against Weinstein, Zelda started a campaign called ‘Can’t Buy My Silence’ which has contributed to significant developments in ‘Me Too’ related law. On December 7th, the US Congress voted to pass the ‘Speak Out Act’ which will now make it impossible to silence victims of sexual assault and harrassment via NDAs. A huge landmark for both the USA and the wider world.
The Eradication of Malaria
For 25 years Adrian Hill, Director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University, has focussed on developing a vaccine against malaria. This year clinical trials of such a vaccine have shown a high degree of efficacy and this will now be widely available in 2023. The implications are hugely exciting as the vaccine should significantly reduce the high levels of mortality caused by malaria in Africa. It will also be of benefit to travellers and put us firmly on the road to eradicating the disease.
And eventually there may also be good news for those suffering with Alzheimers. There are more than 140 drugs currently at the trial stage, some showing promise of slowing down the rate at which Alzheimers affects the brain, and some designed to prevent it developing in the first place. Again, these drugs may not yet be widely available, but they provide hope of a future when effective treatments may be able to combat this truly horrible disease.
Writing about all these positive developments has really lifted my mood, and I hope that it’s had a similar effect on you. In this spirit I’d like to thank you for your wonderful company in 2022 and to wish all of you and your families a very happy and healthy 2023!
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Thank you so much Tricia, another super blog, as always. Wishing you and your family a really happy, healthy and peaceful 2023 with a lot of exciting moments!
Hi Tricia - thank you for yet another uplifting blog - I agree the press always focus on negative news - wishing you a very Happy and positive New Year x
Happy New Year Tricia. Your blog this week really struck a chord regarding the current reporting of ‘news’! Doom and gloom seem to be the only criteria that is required by most of the media and a persistence in only ever highlighting the negative. If you weren’t feeling a bit down before you watched the tv news, you will be by the end! Fortunately, a Christmas gift, from one of our daughters, was a subscription to Positive News. To quote their blog,“It’s the first media organisation in the world that is dedicated to quality, independent reporting about what’s going right. They are pioneers of ‘constructive journalism’ – a new approach in the media, which is about rigorous and relevant journalism that is focused on progress, possibility, and solutions”. They publish daily online and Positive News magazine is published quarterly in print. So, here’s to an optimistic 2023 and an awareness of some news is good news!
Great blog Tricia. Look forward to hearing about the new plans
Dear Tricia - thanks for including my campaign in your positive thoughts for 2023! A couple of friends sent it in to me and I was really thrilled. Hope your 2023 is bright and beautiful. All my best Zelda
Wow Zelda I didn't expect that! I have seen you represented in the film 'She Says' and I think you are amazing . Good luck with your campaign which is very much needed. Tx