Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Back to the garden

It has long been my view that the main trouble with our MPs is the frenetic lifestyle they lead in their artificial bubble at Westminster. It does not give them time to think – not that many of them are capable of that activity anyway.

From my lofty detachment 200 miles away from what is laughingly called the "centre of power", things sometimes look very different but, most of all, the ability as a "home worker" gives me the opportunity to ponder over the day's issues, to think them through in the calm and privacy of one's own home.

The real secret weapon, however, is the garden. A tiny postage stamp of a plot, we have nevertheless over the years turned it into an oasis of calm, styled as a forest clearing, with a stone bench from which one can retreat into one's inner thoughts (pictured).

It is not at all difficult then to imagine oneself in a completely different world, and let the thought processes stew, before climbing back up that "wooden hill" to the office, ready to do battle with the world again, through that gaping portal of the internet.

Sometimes, though, it doesn't help. Despite the thinness of the media fare today – one gets used to flipping through the newspaper and then turning to the net for more information – there is quite a lot going on … too much. The situation in Geneva, with the WTO talks is getting really interesting – and needs some serious treatment.

There is a fascinating interview in Defence News with Society of British Aerospace Companies' chief executive, Ian Godden, which touches on European defence integration. This needs some careful analysis. Then there is the situation in Zimbabwe and, of great interest to us is a recent article in the Zimbabwe Independent about China's role in African politics.

These are just three of the things we would like to do today, but to do them justice, any one will take what amounts to a day's work. And then there is the dog. Daughter has decided to take the family to France, leaving us dogsitting a huge black Labrador called Jeeves. And he likes walkies …

Choices … choices. Back to the garden, methinks.