The land under our feet (A book review)

There’s a bit in the film Crocodile Dundee when Paul Hogan says of the aboriginal peoples of Australia ‘they don’t own the land; they belong to it’. Uncomfortable colonialist thinking aside, there’s a strong moral argument than none of us can really own the land under our feet. It’s not even something that we can own collectively. Because it’s not really ours to own at all. Unfortunately, though, nobody told the economists.

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What we’ve learned from 2020

Even without the global pandemic, 2020 has been a tumultuous year. In the UK, we’ve stumbled our way out of the European Union. The worldwide Black Lives Matter movement has challenged the way we think about race and about our own colonial history. And we’ve become ever more aware of (although, sadly, not necessarily more inclined to do anything about) the damage that we’re inflicting on the world around us.

So as the year comes to a close, it seems timely to reflect on what we’ve learned from the last twelve months. It’s tempting, of course, to simply put our heads down and get the hell out of 2020 as quickly as possible. But it’s highly unlikely that we’re going to draw back the curtains tomorrow on a new world of pandemic-free sunlit uplands. And so we need to learn what we can, in the hope that it will help us better to deal with the year ahead.

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Switching to winter mode

Now the clocks have gone back and it’s dark by half past five (and going to be dark by half four before long), we’ve had to make a few changes around here. Gone is the whole ‘finish work, head out with the dogs’ thing. Because if you work for yourself and get to set your own hours, you might as well acknowledge the changing seasons and adapt accordingly. Yup, it’s time to switch to winter mode.

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My golden rule

This is my first global pandemic, so I’ll have to confess that I’m not entirely au fait with the etiquette for dealing with everything that’s going on.

What the Government says we can and cannot do seems to change pretty much every day. And it would be very easy to get oneself quite worked up about whether what people are buying in the supermarket is truly essential. Or whether those people sitting together in the park are really from one, two or however many households it’s supposed to be.

And so I’ve developed my golden rule for pandemic living: Don’t judge.

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Work mode

I spend a lot of time each day doing stuff with the dogs. Whether that’s feeding them, walking them, running with them, training them or just goofing around with them. Molly, the older one, is a happy-go-lucky individual, who’s always delighted just to tag along. Ozzy also likes to get involved in everything that’s going on. But, when it comes to certain activities, she exhibits an extremel level of focus and drive and won’t let anything get between her and whatever she’s trying to do. We call this ‘work mode’. And it really is a sight to behold.

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