The start of January is as good a time as any to enjoy the beauty of the British countryside. The mounds of dead vegetation from the autumn have been broken down by the winter so you see everything for what it is, stripped bare and covered with a film of moisture, black trees stark against the grey skies. Horizons melt in ranks into the distant mists, giving the feeling of a Japanese print, and the lush green of summer is supplanted by the blue-green of the foliage hardy enough to survive the winter. It may be cold and rather muddy, but it can be very atmospheric and pleasing to the eye.
Our walk didn't exactly proceed as we'd hoped. We tried to avoid muddy paths but ended up carrying half the county on our wellies. When our route made detours to avoid further mud we ended up by the railway, then walking along a busy main road for half a mile, before passing what must have been the largest steaming manure heap in the south of England. Never let it be said that I don't know how to show my wife the best things when I take her places.
|BBC Christmas comedy, as visualised by cattle.|
Maybe I'm a tired old relic of my 1980s youth, but when I was younger, comedy was funny. It was called Alternative Comedy, and it was a reaction to what had gone before in that it gained its laughs without offensive racial stereotypes or grotesque parodies of other minority groups. It didn't need those devices to gain cheap laughs because its practitioners were genuinely very talented and amazingly funny. I feel privileged to have been of a generation who was still just about able to catch that crop of comics before they grew fat and went off to do pantomimes, and I feel sad that judging from current offerings we seem to have lost something in the comedy that is reaching our screens today.
If someone who has a public profile genuinely aspires to be seen as part of the wider transgender community and to stand up and speak out for that community then it behoves them to put their money where their mouth is. Creating a taunt that hangs like a yoke round the neck of visible trans people on the streets of Britain, then inserting crass references to transsexual porn in your later work can not really be seen as making a good start in the matter.