February 1st 2025
Putin's war in Ukraine grinds on though news services rarely mention it these days. No one predicted the terrible consequences. It's not so much the pointless military and civilian casualties and the random bombing of Ukrainian towns but the multi-various troublesome knock-on effects upon the rest of the world. Some say it's the reason Trump got back into The White House before his assassination at last month's inauguration.
World energy and fuel supplies have been thrown into disarray and several African countries are experiencing food crises unlike any they have known before. Bank interest rates continue to soar and the relatively settled world order we knew before is becoming a distant memory. It's like the title of a well-known African novel - "Things Fall Apart" for that is what is happening - things are in the process of falling apart.
It was very cold in northern England today. The temperature has barely risen above freezing for a week.
Our sleep was fitful under a pile of quilts, blankets and coats. I am fearful that our pipes will freeze for, like most other people, we haven't used our gas boiler throughout the winter. With prices up to ten times higher than in early 2022, it makes us wonder how anybody can still afford to heat their own homes. It is becoming a secret luxury only enjoyed by the rich.
We normally spend the day at Heat Centre 23 which is located in the former Waitrose supermarket at the bottom of Ecclesall Road. Each day more and more people arrive and it can get quite packed but at least its warm. You can even shed your outdoor coats, hats and gloves as you soak up the reasonably generous heating like sunshine on a remembered beach. The meals are basic but nutritious, costing little more than three or four pounds per person. Today we had kidney bean stew with dumplings. Some other visitors stared longingly at our bowls.
We left Heat Centre 23 just before it closed for the night and made our way home through the snow. An ambulance roared past at breakneck speed, its blue lights flashing. Another desperate suicide perhaps. We were huddled figures moving along with our fellow citizens like characters in a sixteenth century painting by one of the Breughels - Older or Younger. It doesn't really matter.
We sold our cars for knockdown prices but we are still connected to the electricity network. Once a week we have a shower using the electric shower unit in the bathroom. We use the kitchen timer to count down the seconds. Two minutes thirty maximum. That's all we can afford until the prices rise again.
We still listen to the BBC news on Radio 4 each morning. Prime Minister Truss was blethering on again about what her government is doing and how we are all "pulling together" like British bulldogs in the face of this crisis. Another news item spoke of homeless people and beggars marching on parliament in their droves but that won't happen until springtime comes round again. In the meantime, we must simply endure. That's all we can do.
Visiting your site regularly for a while, after reading this ... ahem ... nicely composed dystopia despite being a pretty lazy commenter, I thought I ought to at least leave as short com(pli)ment.ReplyDelete
The peace of the night!
Hello Sean. Thanks for revealing yourself as the bishop once said to the actress. Best wishes, Neil (YP)Delete
What you describe is already close to reality for many people across the world. For example, I was deeply shocked by living conditions I saw in rural areas of the Balkan states. But it doesn't lessen what's happening here - drip by drip we are slowly in danger of drowningReplyDelete
It's all so fragile. It could so easily collapse like a stack of cards.Delete
I didn't read the title until I hit the line, the temperature has barely risen above freezing for a week. Then I thought, what the hell? I read the title and the penny dropped. Well written and I hope to god you're wrong.ReplyDelete
Oh, you thought Trump had already been assassinated?Delete
Apparently I missed that too. SighDelete
One can only hope it won't come to that, but as The bike shed said, for many people similar circumstances are reality already.ReplyDelete
We're doomed I tell ye, doomed!Delete
The best part of this is Trump's assassination. I truly hope things don't turn out the way you've depicted, but with China ramping up its Military actions, I fear your story might be more accurate than we'd like.ReplyDelete
It was a very bloody scene when Trump keeled over and plunged from the stage. Melania had not been searched by security.Delete
I've never been so worried in all my life and we are in a relatively good position. We've already discussed and implemented ways to save. I worry about my 89 year old dad, living alone in his hard to heat house and my youngest son who lives alone with only his meagre wave to pay for everything. Will we end up all living here, in our house, just to keep warm?ReplyDelete
We have a wood burner so we can always heat the one room and do basic cooking on it.
What the hell has happened?
How can heating your home become a luxury?
It turns out that there was a very delicate balance. How does your husband get on with your dad? If possible, bring him home - at least for the winter. Needs must.Delete
Viva Las Vegas.Delete
I look forward to the next chapter. Year by year sequels, taking it up to 2030 would be good.ReplyDelete
We will probably be seeing it unfold in real life.Delete
But you've been able to keep more of your own money,ReplyDelete
You Can Trust Truss! (Especially if you have a hernia!)Delete
There are historic events you read about and think "I wish I'd been there", but this is a time when we wish we weren't.ReplyDelete
I wish I had never lived through Brexit, COVID, Trump or Johnson. They belong in the same supermarket trolley.Delete
What a nice cheerful read this morning before work.ReplyDelete
Yes indeed! A bundle of laughs Jennifer.Delete
Britain may not experience this but I'm sure some countries will suffer such hardship.ReplyDelete
I am pleased that you are confident on Britain's behalf Red. I am not.Delete
My first thought was "does it snow in Bethlehem?" and google says it might but they didn't collect taxes during winter because of that. Hmmm...ReplyDelete
I hope for a better future, Neil.
One might feel more optimistic if a benevolent god was shepherding us.Delete
What are you, some kind of Communist?ReplyDelete
(Channeling the right-wingers, here.)
I am as red as a clown's nose.Delete
My comments seem to be disappearing, Neil...ReplyDelete
Like my savings!Delete