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First of January 2022, today, a new year for all of us who are still here, on the planet.
Amongst the possibly millions of people who died in the last few days across our world is my friend Liz. She passed on the 29th December, suddenly, an aneurism striking down a very fit 73 year old. That for some reason made it all a bit more shocking. She was as fit as a bear….or not, perhaps.


One of the many memories of Liz is that we all laughed a lot with and at each other and the circumstances we found ourselves in. Liz was sharp, cutting at times but could take it on the chin too. We worked as colleague community workers and were heavily involved in exchanges between the Scottish Borders and Thierache, a small ‘region’ in north France, Departments Aisne and Nord.
The most recent trip was pre COVID when we led a group to the 100th anniversary commemorations in Thierache where the first visit was made to France, 1918, during the signing of the surrender. We were the only non French group to meet the French President during the proceedings. Along with a German and Belgian group, who had travelled from Spa, in Belgium, covering the route taken in 1918.
Friends, read about it, the armistice at the end of the Great War, 1918. And find a fascinating story.
Liz was a key guest, she had led many groups to the area, made so many friends and took part in the full cycle of life, famiiy, work and play between French, Scottish and English people – Liz and Stan lived in Yetholm, on the Scottish – English border.


A sombre memorial, lots of laughs too.


First of January 2022, today sees a list of the Queens (the politicians) new Year honours list.


This Colonial Empire Upper class patronage exercise in patronising a handful of so called ordinary citizens includes the odd teacher, social worker and lollypop – er and oodles of Eurocrats, civil servants and bankers. Currently, sports women and men who had success in Olympics or world championships etc. get ‘honoured’ for success in said games. People have views on this too. It’s even got a hierarchy of it’s own where it’s not possible for ordinary people to climb the ladder of ‘recognition’.


Frankly it’s a ‘who you know’ system led by the private school clique to help each other. It involves money for political parties and awards in return. Citizens aside.


Many observers have written about the failings of this whole idea, not least of all it’s flaws in not treating people equally. But the UK does that on so many levels.


If I have a point here, it’s that the Liz characters of our general acquaintance don’t get the recognition for what they do either at work or in the community – in the case of Liz, both.Now I hear those saying it’s up to all of us to propose people for awards but thats flawed when you get an idea of the selection processes.
The broken parts of the United Kingdom of which at time of writing there are many, include a hierarchy that doesn’t care about the majority of our citizens. It keeps poor people poor, rich people richer and likes to hang with the above medal recipients or one show time TV personalities and one off winners.


Those who spent 50 years saving the broken bits from breaking all together – see COVID tales for example – are now assumed over by politicians and senior public servants, even to the point of being planned for – ‘get the volunteers to do it’ –


Plainly this model should be scrapped, yes, find alternatives that recognise life, kindness, caring and progress, but get rid of the corrupt systems that currently prevail.
Liz, you were no less deserving, but you just were not going to get there.


Mind, if Liz got an invite to the palace, she would love it – she did like a good hat and her laugh would have cut through the nonsense.


And I give her the fullest of Recognitions.


I’ll miss her and our cups of coffee.