I'm happy to announce that the Tavern is re-opening for business; please come in and find yourself a seat at the bar.
Now, while I set about serving the drinks, I should perhaps offer a word or two in explanation (mitigation?) for the long silence. Blogging fatigue had well and truly set in when I hung the towels over the pumps and locked the door 18 months ago; whenever I spotted a news story ripe for comment, it turned out I had already subjected the regulars to a rant on the subject and I was in danger of recycling the whole repertoire.
To combat the blogging fatigue and a certain amount of overload at work, the Spouse and I have been spending most of our free time doing a bit of this...
(albeit in a rather more mundane vehicle)
...leading to quite a lot of this.....
...and occasionally this...
...in order to restore a sense of proportion.
It's certainly an effective way to get away from it all and, of course, we're not the only ones hoping to shake off the day-to-day stress in the mountains; we haven't yet bumped into the Prime Minister or Angela Merkel halfway up an Alp but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.
All this got me thinking; I recently noticed a picture of Mrs May in full poles-and-rucksack walking regalia in close proximity to this headline:
We're becoming a nation of couch potatoes: Number of British adults going for a stroll plummets 20% in a decade
I've written elsewhere of the peculiar phenomenon of otherwise sane and well-educated individuals becoming completely irrational at the mere mention of the name 'Margaret Thatcher', much as the playground gangs of my childhood lost all sense of proportion over opposing football teams; no self-respecting Rangers fan, for example, would join the Cubs and have to wear the detested green, while mere possession of a blue pencil-case would entitle the owner to a sound kicking from the Celtic contingent.
The juxtaposition of the two news stories led to an intriguing proposition; what if the rabid anti-May brigade are starting to conflate the woman and her much-publicised recreational pastime? Never mind the Communist-inspired mass trespass at Kinder Scout ('the embodiment of the working-class struggle for the right to roam') or our grandparents' tradition of a Sunday-afternoon stroll in the park; "We can't go for a walk; that's what Tories do!"
It's a far-fetched idea, perhaps but having seen at first-hand the mindless anti-Tory venom of the eighties, I can well believe there might be some kind of subliminal persuasion at work, aided and abetted by the myriad lures of electronic entertainment or the local shopping mall.