My new header is our cherry tree - one of my favourite trees, not least because of the passage of Housman's in 'The Shropshire Lad', which begins - Lovliest of trees the cherry now. When I read it as one of my chosen pieces for our last Poetry meeting, friend J reminded me that I read it every year at this time of the year! I didn't know that but I shall no doubt read it again next year too.
This morning at our weekly coffee morning in the town, we were talking about the election (boring) and whether or not we could be bothered to go and vote. We were all (all women) of one mind - women fought and died to get the vote and it is our duty to go to the Polling Station even if - in desperation - we spoil our Ballot Papers - we must exercise our democratic right to be able to vote.
Young people today seem so sophisticated compared with how we were when we were young. How far the world has progressed in some areas. Looking back we were so innocent and certainly in the country areas (where I was brought up in what was a carefree, happy environment, in spite of the world war being raged at the time) we really knew little or nothing about the real facts of life.
How different from now with the internet leaving nothing to the imagination.
Yet as we agreed this morning, young folk don't necessarily know how far women have come in that time. Within our living memory there were many things women could not do without a husband's 'permission' and we really had little control over our own money and property. It was virtually unheard of for a woman to keep her maiden name when she married - and unless one wished to be seen as a 'hussy' then living together in an unmarried state was not to be contemplated.
Are we there yet in Western Society - to a state where everyone is viewed equally regardless of sex, married state, sexual orientation? I think not. Maybe we are well on the way but if you are in any doubt about this read John's blog today (Going Gently on my side bar).
But, to reiterate - we have the vote, we can freely go into the Polling Booth and put our cross exactly where we like without anyone else knowing (my father could remember when you were expected to vote as your employer wished) - so we must do it, even if - when we get there - we are so disillusioned with all the parties that we spoil our ballot paper.
And incidentally, if you do wish to do that - just write across the top, taking care to miss all the boxes that you wish to vote for no-one. The slightest mark inside any of the boxes and your vote will be counted.
Here is our other cherry tree, just as beautiful in its own way, although I prefer the perfection of the white one.