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Meat, Monuments and Margaret Thatcher

Some eccentricities could only happen in America...

I was over in the States for the Easter holidays and love spending time there but they really do have different perspectives on many things. Two that stood out in particular were dating sites specifically for people with STD’s and adverts for bacon flavoured mouthwash. The latter turned out to be an excellent April Fool’s marketing joke. It was topped, however, by genuine bacon flavoured ice cream and desserts in a major food chain that were genuine which is so bizarre it makes you wonder about the strength of the pork marketing lobby...

Washington does do monuments very well – one of the newer ones is for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. which is beautifully located off the main Mall but unlike many other monuments did not quite work as well for me as other memorials. It was apparently quite controversial when erected as it was a non – American sculptor who designed it. Given his stature and the fact that he is the first Afro – American honoured in the Mall it seems odd that the monument is in white stone and he does look rather stern rather than compassionate and passionate which is the way he is normally perceived and portrayed. If you do wish to see the memorial, I thoroughly recommend you go between mid – March to mid – April. The Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington was something I was unaware of and we happened to be there at the right time. New England in the fall is world famous and superb – Washington for the Cherry Blossom festival is on a smaller scale but equally beautiful. The Japanese government made a gift of thousands of Cherry trees to the American government and there are many wonderful magnolia trees there as well making the flowers and foliage even more spectacular.

Margaret Thatcher – her passing away has highlighted the high emotions she generated from both sides of the political spectrum. It has been fascinating seeing the difference in coverage in the USA and the UK media. The American press and the reaction from President Obama, Nancy Reagan, Henry Kissinger and many other prominent politicians was highly reverential and complimentary about her role in international politics. Coming back to the UK, whatever your conviction politically, to have a “Witch” song played and celebrating hear death with mock funerals cannot be in good taste by any standard. What struck me most was the sadness of a national leader who had dementia with close family passing away in a hotel room with most emotional contact being with friends and political allies – the Ritz is a superb hotel but having close family around when frail and vulnerable and close to end of life would surely have been preferable. I happened to be in Grantham on the day of her funeral – there were a few floral tributes outside the home where she grew up, a few flags flying at half mast and the museum paid their tribute with a book of remembrance and a few mementoes but the dignity of her funeral and the number of people who paid their respects to the first female leader of the Western world demonstrated a great deal about her place in history. Looking forward, her grand -daughter Amanda was remarkably composed and dignified – to do a reading at such an emotional family occasion with worldwide coverage does her a huge amount of credit. Look out for this young lady – could she become the first female president?

Spring has finally arrived so enjoy the longer days and sunshine and here’s to the beautiful month of May.

Best wishes,

Awen

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