Two Neanderthal cave dwellers once sat on a rock watching the sun set in the west.
After the last few rays of light faded over the horizon, one said to the other in whatever language they had in those times: “Well, there goes another one. There must be an awful lot of them somewhere over there!”
Now that’s a fairly wretched joke of some considerable vintage, but it makes a point.
The reasoning power of the human mind varies from person to person, ranging between the food/sex/kill level and those who spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out the meaning of life itself. I rate myself somewhere in the middle of that, but maybe I am giving myself treats and should downgrade my estimate by a considerable amount. However, I do have my good days from time to time.
In the last week or so I have been trying to direct my rapidly-flagging intellect to anything and everything happening in 2012 which, like the sun mentioned earlier, is rapidly disappearing over the edge of the world.
Every year is eventful in its own way, operating on the law of averages in that whatever pleases one person will annoy several others. To cover them all is impossible in the space given to the task, so a degree of selectivity is unavoidable.
The terrible winter predicted by the climate wallahs did not materialise. It was just about ordinary and most of us got by without energy, food or health disasters, and by and by it got a little warmer, the days got longer and after a few dry days around Easter drought, famine and pestilence were the new weather watchwords. Hosepipe bans were made and the government panicked. I imagine some prayed to the Blessed Bert of the Parched, patron saint of the thirsty and manufacturers of watering cans.
Then it began to rain. After that it rained a lot more and so it went on for what seems like the rest of the year. Some hapless people were flooded out not just once, but several times over the months, giving the lie to those who spoke of once-in-a-100-year floods – not funny when they arrive less than 100 days apart.
The people of the UK are largely creatures of tolerance and reason, so by and large we did not take to the streets with assault rifles blazing into the sky, yelling various religious imprecations and saying nasty things about our dubious allies because across the Atlantic pond they were getting the same weather.
Anyone concerned with growing stuff, whether it was a few spuds or thousands of acres of grain, soon found this was to be a very wet year. There was little point in blaming global warming or the motor car – our climate is subject to change and has been since our friends of the first paragraph made brollies from the skin of sabre-tooth tigers. Well, almost.
A rather strident minority spent much of 2012 debating, campaigning and explaining why same-sex marriage is vital to civilisation.
The holy people went into it in great detail without much success. They did what they usually do – that is split into factions and called each other names. It kept them amused for quite a while.
Marriage itself is long overdue an overhaul which must surely conclude with a few carefully-worded definitions and guidelines. After all we hire politicians and the clergy to lead the people in thought and deed – currently few of them could lead a dry horse to water, therefore we could offer a little encouragement by sacking a lot of them when they fail to deliver the goods.
The Olympic and Paralympic games, along with many other sporting events, ran in some excellent results that were good for public morale and the statisticians.
In a year of economic gloom what little financial cheer that came our way was very welcome.
The experts kept telling us we remain teetering on the edge of the monetary doom, but there is never any shortage of cash to celebrate this, that or the other. On that note good ol’ Brenda clocked up her diamond jubilee with an over-the-top beano which served only to convince her not to be around in 10 years’ time when the event addicts will want to do it all over again.
I have selected a rather random batch of 2012 events to assist in easing 2012 into the history books, not all of them happy occasions. So I think I might be excused when I indulge myself to mention one aspect of 2012 which, for me, brought a great feeling of pleasure and satisfaction.
I have always wondered about the Selkirk of olden times, spending lots of my cash and time in books on the subject. For this year my early Christmas present to me was the second book of Walter Elliot’s fine work on Selkirkshire and the Borders, this time covering the period between 1603 to 1815. It’s a great big brick of a book, packed with details compiled by intense research of a kind I cannot begin to match. At twenty-five quid a go, the book is not cheap, but after reading it from cover to cover – even re-reading some especially good bits – I am happy to state that it is a bargain.
At this time copies of Craig Brown’s History of Selkirkshire in good nick change hands online around £500 or more – it’s a safe bet the same will be the case with Walter’s work 50 years from now, so prudent investors should lay away a few editions for their children’s future.
I have a few wishes of things I would like to see in 2013, most of which are routine beyond the point of boredom. One maybe is to know that good ol’ Walter is beavering away to complete a trilogy taking us up to, say, the independence referendum, when another dark cloud will appear on the horizon like an outbreak of plague.
Other sections of The Wee Paper will cover the passing year in better detail than I ever could, but I had a need to tell you what was significant for me.
Now it remains only my pleasant duty to wish everyone a Happy New Year in the hope that 2013 is the best year in your life, along with all the years to follow.
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Weather for Selkirk
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 8 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North east