The darkest hour is closest to dawn
AS I WRITE these words in the early morning a north east wind is battering my house in the dark hours just before dawn and I remember from years ago a song by the Mamas and Papas had the line "…and the darkest hour is just before dawn."
In the distance I can hear the waves pounding the beach and in the garden trees creak against the cold wind.
My daily routine starts before six and as the year trundles I find myself at that quiet time doing numerous things including walking my dog, Marley, to the paper shop.
In these days of economic hardship the street lights in my road are switched off and so my journey starts in darkness at the darkest hour.
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I like the lonely time but do take care on Mondays not to go base over apex having tripped over the recycling bins waiting for TOR2 collection.
Now this might sound rather glum, but it isn't for two reasons.
The first is that the first shards of light of the new day push away the darkness and the dawn lifts from the distant horizon with the promise of a new day.
The second is the memory trigger that song lines allow and the Mamas and the Papas for me somehow capture a sunny time in my life during the summers of '70 and '71 working in camps in the good old US of A.
Everything seemed to sparkle then, or so it seems now.
It is all too easy, of course, to look back and say that the world was a better place but then, in the words of L P Hartley 'the past is a foreign country: they do things differently there' we are reminded that indeed the past is indeed a different place.
There are excting things happening and last week I pitched up to a consultation meeting about the proposal for the new South Devon University Technical College for Engineering, Water and the Environment that is, if the bid is successful, to be built in the Newton Abbot area.
The new university technical colleges will provide vocational education for the 14- to 18-year-old age group and will be a partnership between employers, educational establishments, local authorities and other organisations.
The meeting was charged with energy and despite feeling a little battered beforehand I left with a new spring in my step!
For those of you who surf the cyber world do Google the name and follow the various links to see how good this is.
It was enough to have local MP Anne Marie Morris jumping up and down in the House of Commons. Once you've had a good read of what is on offer then you will understand why she needed to get her message across.
Mayor Gordon Oliver is so often under attack for decisions that he has made, but then so was his predecessor Nick Bye.
I guess that if you seek public office then it is to be expected, but as I have said before no one has the right to insult.
One thing that has come under attack recently is his whopping great palm tree at the bottom of Hamelin Way. Have you seen it? It stands rampant on a pile of pebbles in the middle of one of the busiest roundabouts on the English Riviera.
I happened to be driving back from Exeter early one misty morning and there it was!
Whatever you might think about the cost it really is a bit of a statement. I am probably going to regret saying this, but I love it!
My worry is that the poor thing may not survive having been happily growing in warm sunny Spain before being transported to a valley bottom in wintery Torbay.
By the time you read this it may have its special coat on to keep out the cold. My suggestion for a palm tree warmer would be an 'attack' from the yarn bombing Guerilla Grannies!
Have you come across their work? I happened to be walking on the Goodrington rock walk the other day and found these colourful little figures knitted to trees, handrails, seats and other fixtures. What fun!
So my suggestion is to have them knit Gordon's palm tree a warm winter coat. Of course it is not a serious suggestion but I do wish the majestic palm tree well and hope that it celebrates the fact that South Devon really is a wonderful place to live.
Keep the smile.