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Reflections

Ed and Peter


Ed Prichard in conversation with
Peter Hotston

Peter is a senior programme manager, working with DEFRA as a Strategic Portfolio Delivery Advisor for the last couple of years. We met at school in the late 70s and spent many years making an unholy racket together in various bands. Today, he continues to write and perform solo or with his band.


Strange days indeed

Peter summed it up perfectly: “Life on Mars”.

Nothing is what it was, nothing is what it seems. Everything’s changed, plus c’est la mȇme chose…

As the situation continues to unfold/unravel, there’s a feeling of being powerless, with a government that has managed to spin the Blitz spirit of the Spring into constant own goals, chagrin, blame and backbiting; they appear more dazed and confused, divided and confounded every day.

To counter all this, I’ve called on reserves of self-sufficiency and resilience that got me through a difficult past decade. As a result, I’ve manged to carry on as normal as much as possible.

I’ve busied myself with things I can control – my work and writing, my wife’s business and taking on the renovation of a falling-down Georgian cottage. (Sometimes it’s good to have a reminder that when we’re long gone, this house – built over 200 years ago – will probably still be standing in another 200 years’ time.)

I spent some time laying a toxic relationship to rest and resetting my relationship with my grown-up children (20 and 22). We’re not out of the woods yet but the trail of breadcrumbs is finally leading us in the right direction. I worry about the pandemic’s effect on them both.

Reading the Stoics has helped too – every day there’s another gem of wisdom that puts all this in perspective. Over centuries, plus ça change… It’s made me think hard about what I can do to make a difference. But thinking isn’t enough, it’s time to act.

I fear there is a hard road ahead for us all, with the virus showing no sign of abating and the country slewing towards a cliff edge, apparently with no-one at the helm with a sense of direction or a grasp of the consequences.

As I write this, we’re on the verge of going into a second lockdown. I think we can safely say it won’t be over by Christmas.

So what comes next?

Who knows? Life goes on. It may just continue to be “Life on Mars”, rather than the much longed-for but unlikely return to Earth as we knew it. And yet, despite all this, I’m still hopeful about the future. Bring it on.

Ed Prichard

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