It’s a pretty lonely life here at the Eye of the Fish – tough at the top, as they say.

But there are some things that have become a sort of yearly tradition, and one of those is to leave a gone fishing sign, or something that indicates that the author may indeed return one day. Readership plummets as well, as everyone is at the beach and no one is reading a blog. Which is a pity really as it is the time when I have the most time on my fish fingers, tap tap tapping on the tiny keyboard. But the iPad doesn’t work so well 6 feet under water, or so it seems. Perhaps I need a diving bell.

This year seems to have been particularly long, with no breaks, unless that is just the new normal under the Covid hellscape we live amongst now. For light relief, I have been reading Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year – written in 1722, so not contemporaneous with the plague in London which of course headlined during 1666 and the Great Fire (which mostly put an end to the Black Plague as well as burning down the timber St Paul’s cathedral). There are a lot of parallels between then and now – they of course had a much nastier pox and a lot less medicine, but they also had nutty deniers and crazy concoctions as well, although none quite as stupid as “drink bleach” or “stick an UV light up your insides”. There was a fair bit of locking up the seriously ill, and then occasionally burning down their house (with them inside, naturally), which is almost as bad as the Chinese approach at the moment (welding the external doors shut). There was no vaccine back then, but we are so much more clever and advanced these days, developing a vaccine that almost guarantees that you won’t die (and then for the brainless Zombies of the Undead to refuse to take it).

Of course, for every dark cloud there is a silver lining, and it was certainly that way for young Christopher Wren, who got a commission post-fire for some 50-100 replacement churches. I think only 53 churches were actually built – but still, not a bad record. Like the Miles Warren of our generation, only not as successful nor as prolific. (Post-script: is this Sarcasm? Hmmm. Time shall tell).

One thing that I have been doing over the past couple of months, while isolating at home with the dreaded lurgy, is to watch a lot of Game of Thrones, seeing as the whole thing seems to have been put on Prime late in the Sunday night to watch. It did make me hyper-aware of how much GoT is modelled on the British Anarchy Monarchy and the countryside full of indescribable plebs (the plebs feature in Love Island and things like that…). However – so many of the characters of the GoT franchise seem to have been taken directly from life of the modern monarchy, that there are so many parallels – draw your own conclusions, although I’ve made some subtle suggestions in the pictures above and below. Peter Dinklage really deserves someone better to play.

Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth and Maisie Williams as Arya Stark

One of things that I do really wish would happen is for the two Princes to stop pussyfooting about, and commit to some genuine ultra-violence. None of this pathetic whimpering behind a Netflix screen mouthing vague obscenities, hiding behind the skirts of your Queen or lover. Time for these two young would be rulers to seriously get down to duelling and a dirty great knife fight. When you think about it, there’s probably no rule against it – Kings and Princes have always been able to chop off a rival’s head at a whim, and who is going to stop them? Not some aged courtier that’s for sure, or the Court Eunuch, of which there seems to be a fair few contenders these days. Fight to the death boys! Off with his head!! Are you for Team William or Team ‘Arry? Avenge the insult to your favoured wench my ginger-bearded sculker! House of Windsor should have it all over House Stark, or the bloody Lanisters. Or is the modern day Lanisters actually House Windsor, seeing as in reality it is still House Saxe Coburg, in drag since Hitler was in short trousers? Oh the wicked paths we tread! Watch out for low-flying dragons!

The other thing that watching Game of Thrones makes me yearn for is another visit overseas, and particularly to Dubrovnik, city of my dreams (long before GoT made it popular). Or perhaps our country could provide a suitable backdrop for a GoT Down Under? GoTDU? Do we have any buildings as magnificent as the grand cathedrals of Europe to stand in as the background props that the HBO team have with their show?

Of course we do – as could be seen when PJ and his team built the sets for LoTR and tH – opportunities abound – some better than others.

Should we have left our House of the Rohan up, down in te Wai Pounamu, or is it better that every last pebble was restored back to the original state? You decide – myself, I’d quite like to have a bit of the architectural ruins!

IN the mean time, assuming that summer does indeed last longer than that nice weekend two weeks ago – have a nice break and I’ll hope to see you all back here again in 2023.

Happy Christmas !