Grateful I’m able to smell flowers when many cannot

Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters
Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters
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Hurrah for Easter Monday! It’s the day for egg rolling competitions and, if you live in a little corner of Leicestershire, a day for kicking bottles – something to do with an ancient fight over beer, naturally.

The good people of Hallaton have been kicking their bottles – actually kegs of beer – for centuries.

I’ll take a deep breath of that sweet, clean air and be grateful that I am able to smell the spring flowers when so many can’t

There’s something about this time of year that makes us a little frivolous and it’s no coincidence the Christian festival celebrating Jesus’s rebirth should happen at the same time as the beginning of spring.

Every day we can see evidence of the world coming back to life after the winter, a renewal for nature and a chance to begin again.

Perhaps I’m being romantic, but there’s a reason most of the world celebrates a festival of fertility and a reason our chocolate comes in the shape of an egg at this time of year.

But this spring there seems to be something wrong with celebrating a coming back to life when every day we are reminded of the people who won’t be able to see the first tulips of summer this year.

It’s not just the terrible events in Brussels last week which have claimed so many lives. Earlier in March Isis used chemical weapons against Iraqis in Baghdad and targeted Istanbul, while the Kurdish Freedom Hawks exploded a car bomb in Ankara, killing more than 30 people.

There, too, the spring flowers are growing.

But there, like on other pavements and outside other public buildings around the world, there are flowers being gathered in bouquets and laid in remembrance of lives lost, not lives reborn.

If we’re talking about ancient festivals, perhaps we should also mention Egypt’s Sham El Nassim, which means, literally, the smelling of the breeze.

It’s celebrated by Christians and Muslims alike and has its roots in Pharonic times.

What’s good enough for Queen Nefertiti is good enough for me.

And this year, this spring, I’ll take a deep breath of that sweet, clean air and be grateful that I am able to smell the spring flowers when so many can’t.


I love that the Foo Fighters have thrown their rock-god weight behind a band who just want to practice in their parents’ garage.

Frontman Dave Grohl wrote to a council in Cornwall that had warned the teenaged members of Black Leaves Of Envy to keep the noise down after a complaint was received from a member of the public.

The band were told to keep their music to between 40-50 decibels which is, as Grohl points out, about the same sort of volume as a dishwasher at 15 paces.

Not only does he urge the council to support young musicians, but he and his band have also given advice on cheap soundproofing.

I just hope the sand and gym mats will do their job and the band can keep on playing.


I’m not entirely sure what Portsmouth City Council hoped to achieve by holding a vote on whether to advise residents to vote ‘leave’ or not when it comes to the EU referendum.

Are we really supposed to pay attention to what the council ‘recommends’ we do? Or are we supposed to make up our own minds?

What a crashing waste of council time – and does this mean that it’s now the council’s money that’ll be spent trying to influence the electorate, rather than the political parties’ pennies? If so, it gives new meaning to the term petty cash.

It’s March. The vote is in June. And even with two separate rounds of purdah gagging our elected officials, there’s unfortunately still plenty of time for them waste our money on this.

EU chiefs might pass ‘silly rules’, as the city council leader said in last week’s lengthy meeting, but it doesn’t seem to have a monopoly on passing silly motions.