I pick up the paper over breakfast. The headline speaks of the utter horror in Gaza - it has gone on for years - it is appalling. Page 2 tells me that there are five fatal stabbings a week. Page 3 speaks of a Siberian blast of cold air which is going to envelop the British Isles for the next fortnight. Fold the paper and put it to one side and drink my coffee. Then make a pre-New Year resolution. Begone all this reminiscing, feeling sad, looking for bad news. The holly has shrivelled, the cards keep falling over, the best choccies have gone from the box, I cannot face another turkey sandwich................ but I am henceforth going to be the bearer of good news only.
Trawl the paper for good news and find three cheering stories:-
GP Taylor, the former vicar who retired to write the very popular "Shadowmancer" has come up with a new book for reluctant readers. It is called "The Doppleganger Chronicles" and has colourful graphics in a black border to suggest a computer screen, cartoon strips, text, illustrations - everything that we might see on the internet. He says, quite rightly, that today's children are really the first generation of readers who have been brought up on the computer. If they won't read "ordinary" books then we have to give them something else. I am sure it is significant that over 200 children queued to buy his first book in this format.
The white-clawed crayfish, native to the rivers of the Yorkshire Dales has been declining in numbers, forced out by the bigger, more agressive American signal crayfish. Now it has been bred in captivity with a sixty percent survival rate and is being introduced back into the rivers around us here.
So here we have two stories which give us somebody adapting to the modern age rather than sitting complaining that "things ain't what they used to be." And something/somebody struggling for survival against the odds.
Now to my third story which begins in such an awful way and yet has a happy ending. Some unspeakable person put his dog in a suitcase and threw the suitcase into the river (my immediate thought is that someone should do the same to him). Against all the odds the dog, a four-year old mongrel bitch, tore its way out, scrambled on to the river bank and was rescued, fed, dried, cuddled and given a warm home. There are still good, warm-hearted people in the world - they are in the vast majority -and they give us hope as we go into another year.
Happy New Year to you all.