In The Morning, When We Rise

I have a habit of singing – or honking – along to myself as I start making the breakfast and this song popped up from the depths just recently.

It reminded me of just how much I enjoy the early part of the day – before it really gets going, when it is all mine.

The 5.00 a.m. pills, puffers and potions having been dealt with, Leo goes back to bed and I have the house to myself for an hour or so, before the chaps arrive to start the working day.

The dogs wander in and out, too sleepy to do very much, and I make a cup of Earl Grey to take out to the table on the inner balcony to enjoy the morning. The sun has hit the hill of Grifo Alto across the valley but everything between is still in the shadow of the mountain behind the house, soft greens and greys, the yellow flowers of the guachipelin groves muted and the bright red of the poro trees softened to a dull crimson. Small birds are chirping and warbling, but no other noise intrudes.

This, of course, in the dry season. In the rainy season I look out on the top of Grifo Alto and the summits above San Antonio clearing the white cloud that fills the valleys, an occasional breeze piercing the veil to reveal cattle grazing on the slopes. Different, but still peaceful and lovely.

Looking back, our decision to move from France all those years ago has paid off. Costa Rica is by no means an earthly paradise, and its vanted eco credentials would not stand impartial enquiry, but it has been good for us.

A climate which has kept Leo alive, a national health service which has its langeurs – some indefensible – but should you have an emergency is on to the problem like a shot, and a popular attitude to government which in effect derides it and circumvents its edicts whenever possible.

I was horrified to read, both officially and from friends, about the restrictions on normal life imposed in France and the U.K during Covid…..need to fill out a form to walk the dog, limited to a few miles from your home, police pushing you off park benches, prohibited to visit your elderly relatives…what a shit show.

Here, yes, small businesses were hit by closure orders while the big boys carried on trading, but people used their commonsense about limiting contact, much as Sweden seems to have done.

The then government, of course, followed the same path of those in Europe and the U.S.A….over ordering of useless PPE through cronies with no experience of the market including the obligatory tart. Injections were made compulsory for civil servants to use up some of the incredible number of doses ordered given the size of the population…but then we had a new government, voted in by people fed up with rule by oligarchy.

It has faced obstruction by the National Assembly, where the same old gang congregate and all the institutions of government, plus the judiciary and the press, all in the hands of the oligarchs down the decades.

Still the government is making progress…slowly, but progress all the same.

I can’t say the same of the U.K. or France.

Governments mad enough to cripple their own economies – already hit by the lunacy of lockdowns – by sanctioning direct Russian fuel supplies which they end up buying anyway, paying intermediaries top dollar for something which they were previously getting cheaply.

Governments whose reaction to disapproval of their policies is oppression rather than dialogue.

Governments who aim to outlaw non electric private vehicles – never mind that most people can’t afford the electric behemoths.

Governments incapable, or unwilling, to control the banks.

I could go on, but would need another cup of tea….too early for gin. The sun is not yet over the yardarm but it has risen over the mountain. The flowering trees take on their true colours, the pasture is green and the toucans in the tree by the house are croaking into action as the warmth envelopes them.

Time to start the day.


57 thoughts on “In The Morning, When We Rise”

  1. France is a shit show right now, for sure. The French seem to have studied at the school of Newt Gingrich — say no to everything, all the time, while offering no credible alternative, never mind the hypocrisy (Newt famously went ballistic over Clinton’s blow jobs while carrying on an extramarital affair of his own), never mind the effect on the country or the lives they are supposedly wanting to improve. There are a lot of things that could be improved here, but bringing out the guillotine or hangman’s noose every time folks are annoyed is hardly the way to start a much-needed discussion. I see we are both taking the same approach to the chaos: hiding out, hoping to wait it out. From time to time I do worry about pitchforks at the gates.

    1. I well remember the egregious Newt. Never was the phrase ‘all mouth and trousers’ more apt.
      I think it is the refusal to discuss which brings the guillotines out of the museums….Macron even refuses to talk to the milder unions who want him to postpone his pension reforms for six months to try to come to a solution while his police act like the sturmabteilung.
      Yes, I do worry about the pitchforks at the gate….so do my neighbours. We are all hoping that the government can hold the line on inflation, or things will turn nasty.

      1. Yeah, Macron is being pretty unreasonable, too. Maybe he was the golden boy for too long, too accustomed to getting his way. For the life of me I can’t figure out why he insisted on raising the retirement age, when he should have seen that it would be an easy target and when so many other reforms are needed, reforms which could have been more easily passed. There is an idea being floated that it is past time to reform the constitution to shift power from the presidency to the the assembly and senate. That might help.

        1. This constitution is the brainchild of de Gaulle….he could handle it until his latter years, Macron can not.
          I would prefer that power rested with the assembly and senate if only because the presidential elections are a’vote against’ occasion rather than a ‘vote for’. He won because he was not Le Pen…not so sure he would have won against Melenchon.

  2. What a lovely way to start the day, and I don’t mean Donovan.
    The writing brought us right into the view. We all sat there drinking tea and petting the dog on our lap. Not that we had much choice there.
    The UK government will change within two years, but whether this is an improvement we know not. Scotland’s government will certainly change for the better now Nicola’s cabal is broken. The French will continue to avoid work.
    Now, rising with a missing hour because of changing the clocks, we wearily gave out at the cloud dropping its contents across the district. Tailwagging dogs pull reluctant women covered in waterproofs across the park, an occasional jogger splashes past, and half the world wakes up wondering why the time is out.
    We are not jealous of your summer view…

    1. Donovan not your cup of tea, I suspect!
      No daylight saving here, thank goodness, so no panic about whether one is falling back or springing forward and calling an IT expert to change the clock on the oven.
      Looks like a rigged election with the SNP… does Hamza know he is well ahead, one wishes to know? Oh for a Reagan victory, the Greens out of the coalition and a general election with plenty of Alba candidates!
      What choice will there be in the U.K. elections? Hunt and Rishi v unique private pension Starmer?
      France? I think Macron will get through because the chaps that really give aggro – the immigrants in the suburbs of the cities – don’t give a damn about pension age…they work off piste as it were so are not affected.
      Given your weather this morning best to stay home with a decent pie.

      1. Unfortunately the pies have run out!
        Donovan, or Donny Leitch as he was probably known, was good on his day.
        I have an album rotting here somewhere.
        Forbes or Regan for me too, and a few Alba to give life to things.
        The Greens are all off their heads.

  3. In the morning when all the active minds are asleep and there’s a sense of peace lulling the air, that’s my favorite time also. I’m up at 4 most mornings and love that time, before political jabbering and craziness enters the sleepy consciousness. With you all the way. As for the other restrictions and nutso occurrences …they might have opened stores and lightened Covid restrictions but something more lethal has moved in its place. Divisive insanity.

    1. Luckily we seem to have been preserved from a lot of that. Current president denied calls from the LBGT community for a minister for their concerns on the grounds that there was already a minister for minorities. No sign of great dissent over that… discussion of trans rights, no history of slavery so no discussion there either and, thank goodness, the political community have stayed with their traditional slanging matches not gone in for demonising their opponents as is happening in the U.S.

  4. I hear you and wonder, is the grass greener there or here? Sadly, it’s hard to tell. Hard to know. Or are we just the generation at the end of the line that says, I’m glad I don’t have to live through more of that? Thankfully, there is green grass, sheltering trees, animals who know better, and yes kind people making a difference, like you!

    1. I sometimes wonder what difference we can make. We can make an animal’s life better, but on the grand scale no one in power is listening to people who just want kids to have enough food, a decent roof over their heads and the education to use all the talent they have. Who in their right mind wants kids blown to hell in countries that don’t want to use the petro dollar? No one, so where are these politicians coming from who do just that?

    1. Gin….bring it on! But I might not make it through the rest of the day if I start that early….
      You’re right, nothing is perfect, but I’ll happily make do with the imperfections of the early morning.

          1. No longer being religious in my old age, it’s just part of my DNA at this point. It probably is a good thing practicing sacrifice anyway. Our world is predicated on instant gratification and expectation.

  5. What a fabulous way to start my ‘reading day’ too. Your landscape descriptions are as evocative as your politics is passionate – and both are accurate of course!

    1. That’s most kind of you…glad you enjoyed it.
      I’m sorry not to be involved in your presentation…
      A…technical incompetence
      B..a two quid voucher would be tempting if I could get my hands on the physical book…but with the international post as it is only DHL gets through and that costs rather more than I would like to pay!
      I hope you will give feedback from those lucky enough to be virtually present.

    1. Crumbs, difficult to decide.
      I don’t think I would have enjoyed Costa Rica so much had I come here when younger…I liked a faster pace then.
      France offered a great deal in terms of leisure activities – festivals, vide greniers, historic monuments – but as decentralisation got under way there were too many local barons with too much influence. The corruption was all too plain and tax planning became impossible.
      I enjoyed the Scotland of my childhood…..but seeing what it has become under the latest First Minister I would not wish to return to it.
      England? I enjoyed living and working there….
      So what is the answer? I suppose I enjoy living in places which are a little anarchic, a little defiant of authority and all those countries have been that in their time. As CR still is, then I shall have to plump for that.

  6. I do enjoy your posts! Here in the US we’re not allowed to disagree either, which gets very old. We also killed our economy during Covid, but at least we didn’t have the ridiculous restrictions about not wandering too far from home. Nothing about the way the pandemic was handled made the slightest bit of sense!

    1. Doubting ‘authority’ is built into my genes, I think!

      When young I was introduced to Kipling’s honest serving men

      ‘I keep six honest serving-men
      (They taught me all I knew);
      Their names are What and Why and When
      And How and Where and Who.’

      And in later life was introduced to
      Tony Benn’s five questions to be put to those holding power, whether political, economic or social –

      What power have you got?”

      “Where did you get it from?”

      “In whose interests do you use it?”

      “To whom are you accountable?”

      “How do we get rid of you?”

      A combination of both influences helps to detect any bullshit emanating from ‘authority’, and, by golly, the covid business reeked of it.

      Not that ‘authority’ gives a tinker’s cuss what I think, of course……

      You might like this – – based on chats with friends in London as the lockdowns were coming to an end.

  7. All the world’s a stage and I have no idea who wrote the script, but when I get my hands on them… 😉 Those who seek power ought to find themselves instantly disqualified from holding it. Except for myself. I am beyond corruption. Glad that Costa Rica has some cojones. England’s still quite nice provided that you can avoid any and all interaction social, legal, and fiscal. The new “emergenvy” tax on birds twittering in the hedgerows is beginning to spoil even the dawn chorus, although it pleases me mightily to think of HMRC being paid in guano.

    1. I don’t think I could live in the U.K. any more…I would be so busy ducking and diving that I would get dizzy and and fall into a canal….for which no doubt I would be fined for not having a licence.

  8. Definitely the best part of the day, when it’s peaceful and you have it to yourself, and can watch the daylight begin to appear and hear the first bird song. I just wish I didn’t hate getting out of bed so much during the winter. But on those occasions when an early morning appointment cannot be rescheduled, after the first few groans and shivers, I love it.

    Although spring is certainly springing here, it is still glacially cold first thing.

    1. Winter mornings in Europe….this says it all

      Cauld blaws the wind frae east to west,
      The drift is driving sairly;
      Sae loud and shrill’s I hear the blast,
      I’m sure it’s winter fairly.

      Up in the morning’s no for me,
      Up in the morning early;
      When a’ the hills are cover’d wi’ snaw,
      I’m sure its winter fairly.

      The birds sit chittering in the thorn,
      A’ day they fare but sparely;
      And lang’s the night frae e’en to morn,
      I’m sure it’s winter fairly.

      Up in the morning’s no for me,
      Up in the morning early;
      When a’ the hills are cover’d wi’ snaw,
      I’m sure its winter fairly.

      But yes, even then early mornings are beautiful – if well wrapped up!

        1. Unmistakable, isn’t he!
          Your comment reminded me of childhood days with frost on the inside of the bedroom window……freezing bathroom…..and the gallop down the stairs to a warm kitchen!

          1. It did its best, but with no heating except the small wood burner in the living room, it couldn’t really make much of a difference. Although it probably did, no idea how much worse it would have been without it.

          2. Reminds of why we moved to Costa Rica. One winter at -18 even managed to get through walls over a metre thick, oil fired radiators at full blast and the Godins belching heat.. A week of walking round in layers topped off by a natty wooly djeballah was enough…

          3. I think it’s known as ‘la vie en rose’, where it could be better called ‘la vie en blue with cold’.

            You certainly made a good decision. 🙂

          4. In my first year in France neighbours said confidently that it never snowed…..oh yes it did! And how. The best part of it – apart from keeping warm sawing wood, was seeing my neighbour towing his grandaughter down the snow covered road on skis. Not exactly jet ski stuff,,,he was driving an ancient Ami.

          5. Our estate agent assured us we wouldn’t need any form heating, just a jumper if it got chilly. ‘You’re south of the Loire!” he laughed, making us feeling quite foolish that we’d not known it never got cold once you crossed the river.

            Wonderful image of the old boy and his granddaughter. Not sure you’d get away with that today.

          6. Pappy – the neighbour – was something else. He had ‘borrowed’ the skis from the dilapidated chateau up the road, inhabited by three sisters known as the ‘six fesses’, reckoning that they would never find out as it was too cold for them to venture out to the outhouses as they would be huddling over the fire in their drawing room.

  9. Things haven’t been perfect back in Blighty, that’s for sure. I don’t envy any government, of any hue, trying to deal with a pandemic and, overall, still think the lockdowns were the right thing to do. We could have done without the hypocrisy and lying (though don’t all governments do that?), the inept (or corrupt) PPE procurement, the criminal manslaughter of allowing transfers from hospitals to care homes… The vaccine was good. You are right about the bankers of course. The apparent value placed on some in society is is sickening. Ah – Russia. The trouble is, I don’t think the West can afford to let Putin win this time. Maybe now he’s just waiting for NATO solidarity to fall apart (it has cracks), or the Republicans to win in the USA. Or maybe someone will supply Ukraine with some more modern aircraft.
    Music – I have never been happy without it and recently established a monthly music night in the local pub. It’s a blast. Joyous. Entirely accoustic and everythng from rock to blues to folk to music hall and back again, with a bit of cheese for good measure. I come home thinking that, despite the idiots with an over-inflated sense of their own importance, it’s not such a bad place to be after all.

  10. I’m a member of a Facebook Group based in the U.K. and it reassures me every day of the essential decency and happy daftness of the British people. Some things do not change.
    As to Covid, yes, the first lockdown was probably a sensible response to the the as yet unknown, but after that…no.
    I would like to see criminal prosecutions for those responsible for falsifying the Oxford trials of hydroxchloroquine resulting in the deaths of the elderly patients, as for those responsible for the untested transfers from hospitals to care homes and the isolation which permitted the deaths of those inmates thanks to the misuse of opoids .
    And who decided to use the modelling of Imperial College which had got it so wrong over foot and mouth and pig flu? Guilty parties who will never face the fury of families as any enquiry will be a whitewash.
    The vaccine was not a vaccine, but a genetic cocktail. Leo was told by the big chief of his rare illness that he could not take it and that I should not either given the risk of ‘shedding’ after taking it which would affect his immune system
    I’m surprised Russia did not act earlier to intervene in the Dombas . Having U.N. observers noting the shelling of this russian speaking region for years, what had restrained them? Personally I think Poland will be happy to make Western Ukraine a state to eventually be absorbed into theGreater Poland of the Middle Ages.
    Music is something else…how I used to enjoy folk nights at the pub! Good for you to set this up and how I agree that music and cheese can set the world to rights!

  11. Don’t know why, but somehow missed this – I haven’t heard that song since the mid-sixties – the end of school, starting work, Dillon, Donavan and Baez a background to my world. Thank you. And thank you for the glimpse into your world. Reminds me of my life in Brazil in the 70s, not the great cities where I worked, but the small villages and towns we visited in the interior – so beautiful.

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