Duggie’s Ramblings – January 2024

The month of January is the beginning of the New Year in the western world. Not all civilisations follow this dating model. The Chinese New Year is in February and the Islamic New Year is in July. The mighty Roman Empire left an enduring legacy in months and particularly, but not exclusively, also in plant names.

The first month finds its root in Janus, the Roman mythological god. He was represented by a statue with two heads, one facing for-wards and the other backwards. This rep-resents, among other material and ab-stract symbols, a gate, to come in or go out of! Perhaps the people of the Roman Empire (only the people of the Roman Empire?), lived in the past or the future, a time of hope. The present was a difficulty to be faced. I recall a saying, ‘today is to-morrow’s yesterday’! Does that help with the burden of daily life? Does/did the statue of Janus?

The Empire of the United Kingdom has all but disappeared into history and films, to be replaced by the mighty United States of America. In that country there are 50 million people over the age of 65, all with a vote! The present and last Presidents are within that age group, as may be the next elected president! One of the comments made is that old people in power are send-ing young men to risk their lives for the reputation and glory of the former.

Recently, I was shown a photograph of a local supermarket with empty green shelves, which are usually full of fruit and vegetables. However this was not the main reason that this was shown to me. Shelf space was being freed up for, yes, you might have guessed, Easter eggs! Easter is 31 March, over 70 days away! The treadmill of treats continues to roll along for whom? Where one goes, the other supermarkets will follow hastily. Fortunately, butchers, bakers and candlestick makers do not follow so quickly, if at all. Before then is Valentine’s Day!

I am reminded of the sage words of Evelyn Waugh, “Two of the saddest words in the English language are, ‘too late’”.