Sunday, April 21, 2013


 A five and a half carat rare blue diamond has been discovered in South Africa. It must be rare as its estimated value is six million quid which you have to admit is a whole lot of boodle for an itsy-bitsy stone. The fact that a diamond is blue or pink rather than old common or garden white is I suppose what makes it rare; otherwise diamonds really are two a penny and the whole industry is totally fraudulent. But as so much money is involved is that really surprising? Just think though how much poverty could be alleviated with some of that lovely loot. The same applies to the magnificent regalia adorning his holiness, the jewelled accessories and the abundant wealth that surrounds him. The accumulated monetary value of the Roman Catholic Church is obscene. How much could be raised if a lot of it was sold to museums worldwide and the result given to charity? This new pope is full of hot air about poverty and I say hot air because I doubt very little will be done about it despite the gestures of washing feet and personally telephoning his newsagent back home all pally-wally to cancel his daily paper. Good piece of PR that, no? Gosh what a jolly chap he must be.
Then there is the head of the Russian church who wears a watch worth £30000 and when it is revealed in a photograph has it carefully airbrushed out. Ostentatious isn’t the word for either of these heads or is it?
A Russian, Alisher Usmanof, tops the 1000 rich list with a fortune of £13.3 billion. The top thousand, in the UK and Eire are together worth £450 billion meanwhile millions are starving or on the breadline. Would you say it is all relative? I don’t think so, poverty is poverty and every year thousands risk their lives in an effort to escape it and make a better life elsewhere. Undocumented economic migration (if that is the right expression for it) increases year by year. Even crossing a small sea like the Med from North Africa to Spain or Italy is fraught with danger in a small totally inadequate boat crammed with people, as some have found to their cost, let alone sailing from Asia to Australia across the vast Pacific in the hopes of a better life. And do they find their El Dorado at journey’s end? Unfortunately too often the answer is their reception is anything but. They end up in limbo or sordid refugee camps, for example in France or, as the financial situation in Greece worsens and xenophobia grips, downright hostility and violence. The advent of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn would never have taken place in  better financial circumstances and immigrants, even with papers, would not have to go in fear of being beaten up every time they stepped foot outside their front door. If you are from Africa, Pakistan, or Bangladesh you cannot hide your ethnicity and are an easy target and the police turn a blind eye. Only a few days ago thirty Bangladeshis working as strawberry pickers were peppered with shotgun pellets from three Greek overseers who now, of course have gone into hiding. This was one incident to which the police couldn’t turn a blind eye. Evidently the workers were complaining they haven’t been paid for six months but this in Greece at the moment is hardly news. A question I would like to ask though is how, if they are so impoverished, they can afford to pay out a thousand pounds or more to the people smugglers? In a country with a low cost of living a thousand pounds is still quite a lot of money.
Well, having once more taken up Blogging, after this one, only the second, there will be a short hiatus as I will not be connected to the internet for a while. I am being banished, exiled via the narrow stairway to the deep north, i.e., the guest suite upstairs while a complete transformation takes place in which unfortunately I cannot help so I’m best just keeping out of the way. This is because the Comptroller of the Household, Clerk of the Closet, Master of the Wardrobe, Master of the Privy Purse, Lord Chamberlain and High Lord Constable has in his wisdom decided with the inevitable advance of old age my bedroom with its different levels has become too much of a hazard area and so it is to become the office and what is now the office, all on the flat, is to become my new bedroom. In consequence of which the house is beginning to look as if a tornado has hit it (emptying the jam cupboard for instance entailed removal and storage elsewhere (library windowsill for example) of 160 pounds of jams, marmalades, chutneys and preserves. This is the result of living on an island blessed with an over- abundance of fruit. The season comes the season goes, what does one do with it all? Kiwi fruit, lemons, oranges, mandarins, apricots, plums, figs, avocados, it’s impossible to keep up and much is given away to friends and neighbours.
The bedroom has been stripped bare and the next job is to remove Douglas’s computer to a temporary position in the breakfast room. Fortunately Chris’s computer will still be on line.
So until I’m safely upstairs and my computer is in working order which hopefully won’t be too long, it’s a temporary farewell I’m afraid.

1 comment:

Lewis said...

The whole extended family and sometimes the neighbours club together in those countries to send one bright boy abroad for his education. Tragedy strikes if he doesn't make it. In China they would all lose face immeasurably. So he sometimes turns to crime to repay them.