Saturday, 5 January 2013

Starting 2013, looking back at 2012

The story has it that Tsar Nicholas I once proudly proclaimed that Russia had two generals in which she could confide, Generals Janvier and Février.

Well, maybe. But this year, the English equivalent ‘Janvier’ is proving far too feeble to put up a fight on Nicholas’s behalf. Well, not unless he could persuade his enemies to stick to the North of the country and kept them out of doors, where they might get drowned.

Not that I’m complaining, mind. If I have to put up with the general dreariness of winter with its painfully short days and, in the wettest English year on record, the tiresome rain, I’d rather it was at 10 Centigrade than -10, any day of the week. Any year of the millennium.

The Russians will just have to make other arrangements to defend their territory.

We had our first badminton coaching session of 2013 today. We love the coach, who’s well into her seventies, with a level of fitness that would be enviable in someone twenty years younger, breathtaking in someone her age.

Like most sports coaches, she has a salty way of expressing herself.

‘Well, if you thought the shot was going out, why didn’t you call it out?’

‘You’d get to those shots a lot better if you didn’t superglue your right foot to the floor.’

‘If you think you’re supposed to play shots off the frame, why do you think they bother to string rackets at all?’

I suggested to one of the other players that she’d missed her calling in life, in diplomacy.

‘British Ambassador to Argentina perhaps?’ he suggested.

‘A perfect appointment. I can just see her saying to them: “You what? You wanted which islands from us? And you want them when?”’

Though, thinking about the advice she offered me repeatedly this morning, what she would probably be saying to Cristina Fernández de Kirchner would be ‘you need to get to your shot early. Otherwise your opponent will smash you straight back and you won’t know what hit you.’ Be warned Mrs Kirchner: that’s what happened last time.

Listening to a couple of 2012 retrospectives, I particularly enjoyed some remarks about the US elections.

‘There were moments in 2012 that made you proud to be British,’ said one commentator. I was already bracing myself for more self-congratulation about the Olympics, but instead he surprised me. ‘Like when Mitt Romney became a candidate for President.’

Great value at $18
A statistician pointed out that the US elections had cost an average of $18 per head of the US population. By contrast, the 2010 General Election in Britain cost only 50p a head. But I’m not a cheapskate: I’d be more than willing to fork out another ten or eleven quid to take me up to the US level if we could get rid of that dismal waste of space Cameron, and replace him with someone more like Obama.

Bad buy at 50p
Come to think of it, I still have some US dollars in my wallet. Where could I send them in the States so that we can get the Tea Party out of Congress and get things moving over there too?


Anonymous said...

Your badminton coach sounds darling! Will not say much about the political climate. I am told Obama is a smart man. Let's continue to watch and see what he does with this difficult situation. Happy New Year!

David Beeson said...

Many thanks Aries!

Very fond of the badminton coach. Rather like Obama too, though. Still, you're right. Let's wait and see what he delivers. And let's all have a happy year, I hope, as we do so.