Happy New Year

I liked the tone of the first Christmas message from King Charles. His emphasis on service and consideration for others, values too many in public life ignore these days, appealed to me. He credited his mother, our late Queen, for encouraging his beliefs. As he talked of light from darkness, a concept common to most religions, it was obvious he’s been reflecting on his loss as he takes on his new role without her.

Many of us will have suffered loss of different kinds over the past 12 months and life at its darkest can seem pointless. Loss is a time for reflection, whether it be loved ones, the death of idols or other events. We should value our pleasures but not just for ourselves. What we do for others matters.

I’ve been thinking about some celebrities lost in 2022, people who gave me joy and pleasure. Pelé, probably the world’s greatest footballer and such a contrast to many of the overpaid petulant “stars” of today; Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac; Sidney Poitier, a fine actor with a range from Detective Virgil Tibbs to Mark Thackeray in To Sir with Love; Mikhail Gorbachev, so different from Putin with his quest for peace and an end to the Cold War; Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek’s Lt Uhura, whose ground breaking role attracted attention from Nelson Mandela; Olivia Newton John, how many of you were tempted to buy a pair of leather pants after watching her and John Travolta?

As we head into 2023, life will change and we’ll lose people we love, those we’ve admired and those whose performances brought joy. We won’t always be happy and just like light and darkness there’s always good and bad. Those we love and trust may let us down and some derive pleasure from giving pain not joy, but most people aren’t like that. The majority want to do right by their family, loved ones, friends, neighbours and even those they barely know. By doing what we feel and know to be right, we can find light and a bright future. All the best for 2023 folks!

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