So the month kicked off with a showdown between two English clubs in the Champions League Final, I confess that I found the match a bit of a let-down. As with the Europa league, both Spurs and Liverpool had massive games to get to the finals and hat’s off to them. Seriously. But for the actual final, Tottenham conceded a penalty within about a minute of kick-off which took the wind out of them. Try as Spurs did to get back into the game, Liverpool sat back a bit and concentrated on keeping possession, occasionally bombarding Spurs on the break and in the end beating them 2-0. It was so compelling that I went and put the kettle on in the second half.
By middle of the month the UK’s political world was gearing up for a new Prime Minister and the Conservative leadership party was in full swing. Johnson was bottling out of early public debates (I wonder why) yet seemed to constantly be ahead in the polls. ….
By the end of June it was annoyingly down to Boris Johnson (clearly ahead) vs Jeremy Hunt. Really? Well, it seems that Hunt (who comes across as the better statesman and more trustworthy to me) has really got his work cut out to win it. I just cannot fathom how the hell Johnson gets away with it. He never answers questions, always side steps responsibility and accountability where things have gone wrong and takes the credit for other’s successes… and apparently has never knowingly taken cocaine up his nose!
The headline image above is of a burning oil tanker, attacked off the coast of Oman. Things have been heating up in the Gulf with Iran being starved of income by the US and hitting out, now starting to attack shipping off the coast of Oman. The US policy seems to intensifying the situation and continues to increase the risk of things tipping over the edge towards a major military escalation. This would be disastrous as it would almost certainly quickly fan out across the region and way beyond.
More ominous international news from Hong Kong as the ruling authorities attempted to take the heat out of the protests on 15th June by suspending the Extradition Bill. This falls a long way short of the demand to withdraw the bill. The Pro Democracy marches and protests are growing in size and becoming increasingly confrontational, blocking off big parts of the city under the watch-full gaze of the global media. On the 17th June, almost 2 million people turned out onto the Streets of Hong Kong to support the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF) and in memory and recognition of a protestor who fell to his death the previous week.
In the UK, Ford has finally announced, this month, that it is closing Bridgend engine manufacturing plant. Another massive blow to the UK car industry. That’s another 1,700 jobs gone in the plant and who knows how many in the supply chain?
More on climate oddities this month as the Met Office confirmed the hottest June temperature for 40 years. The last weekend, in particular it was hitting 34°C for our annual camping expedition with family friends (which was, yet again the highlight of the month). We had to abandon the campsite on the hottest day (Saturday) for a pre-planned Nottingham Uni Open Day trip for our daughter. This seems to be the new norm for most parents who’s kids are going to Uni. We find ourselves scheduling day-trips all over the country with our teenage offspring, hoping they will be sufficiently inspired to go for a place with at least one of the Unis we’ve visited. So we left the campsite soon after 6am and return 12 hours later and it was definitely worth it. Nottingham Uni presented well. Set in lush open grounds on the edge of the city with plenty surrounding forestation. A great reception from super friendly, knowledgeable and articular students, with compelling presentations form the staff who were totally into their research. Very satisfying to get back to the campsite in the evening and open a warm beer. As usual, with 5 families contributing to the BBQ we ended up with a fine feast. Memories of relaxing, chatting, drinking grazing on left-over from supper with Malcolm strumming his guitar as the sun went down. All of a sudden it’s transitions to evening with the stars appearing one by one, and there we are, all relaxing around our traditional long table, laid out in the middle of our tents, to the sound of Mr T strumming on his guitar. Peaceful.