Home » Backpacking in Thailand » Ploughing a lonely furrow

Ploughing a lonely furrow

Be prepared to put effort into achieving your aims. Nothing will seem to come easily now but you are known for your strength of character and gritty determination. Artistic and creative projects will help you relax. Aim to mix with positive people who always look on the bright side. Romance will be lively and exciting. If you are single, someone you meet late in the year will sweep you off your feet. Life will be demanding and so it will be important for you to arrange some spare time to relax and recharge your batteries.

– My Chinese horoscope for 2015 (Ox) (Yahoo! Lifestyle)



I’ve been worrying for a long time now that, like me, Margaret Thatcher was also a Libra/Ox combination baby. Only she was twelve years – a whole cycle – older, and quite a lot madder.

Gritty determination barely begins to describe her. I’m not so sure about me, I’ve been wavering lately. To become Prime Minister or not, appears to be the question. I’ve never been too good at being assertive, people often mistake it for aggression and call Security.

Sir Geoffrey Howe – I met him once – would have walked all over me, and he was described in the Commons as being about as effectual in debate as a dead sheep. Private Eye christened him Mogadon Man, after the popular tranquillising drug. Only, a dead sheep still has a sting in its tail (I’ve kept sheep, their rear-ends often teem with bots). Howe’s seemingly mild-mannered resignation speech kicked off the landslide that eventually buried his boss. That’s how I’ve always like to work, too. Under the radar.

My personal dead-sheep moment came when my prep-school headmaster, Jerry Cornes, called me into his study at the end of my next-to-last term. ‘Since you’ve come top of the sixth form for the past year’, he said, ‘I suppose I shall have to make you Head Boy next term, which is of course your last. But you must realise, you have no leadership qualities whatsoever.’

Had he known I was an Ox, stubborn and determined, Thatcherite in all but political conviction, he might have quailed. But I didn’t know it either. Not then. Nothing is coming easily now. It used to, doors would open, but not during the last twenty years. It’s been a struggle to get anywhere; increasingly so.

Especially as I have absolutely no idea where I’m supposed to be going. I’ve been prospecting for that new job for about six years now, out of work for three, and had only three interviews. Now I’m not sure I can be bothered to find a job. I’ll just stick to artistic projects. Live on my pension.

For, who will look after little Hunzi, while I am trapped in a garishly lit, open-plan office, surrounded by chipboard furniture and a cloud of cheap after-shave, being bullied by panic-stricken supervisors one-eighth my age and told (as if I didn’t already know) every other Monday morning by unproductive Facebook-surfing baboons, that, ooh, look, I’ve had a haircut. (I would put ‘#haircut’, but it would be bluffing. I have no idea what # means.)

I am indeed single. Some people might say singular, I don’t know. I’m pretty difficult, I guess. Traces of Thatcherite obstinacy linger. Do everything my own way. As for romance… I appear not to have a romantic synapse in my alien lizard-brain. So my ex-wives, bless ’em, would assert.

I have forgotten more birthdays, omitted to send more Valentine’s Cards, failed to suggest more weekends away, made more brutally honest evaluations of newly acquired lingerie and found it harder to say the ‘l***’ word, than any large lump of stone they could have brought into the bedroom and left in the corner.

So I think I’ll arrange some spare time. I can start by taking the dog for a walk, then lunch. That all seems pretty demanding. It’s blowing a gale today down on the beach, I could get swept off my feet… I’d better get my mobile and my li’l laptop plugged in before I go.

Charge some batteries, that’s the thing.

Look on the bright side. If I can’t be positive, maybe I should mix with more people who can.

I’ll soon put a stop to that.

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