Robert Ettinger writes: Many might think that pessimism is the order of the day — with headlines describing unimaginable woes around the world, our own economy lumbering along, our weather being more apocalyptic than British — but I can’t help but be upbeat about things.
To be sure, there are many serious issues that have to be dealt with — quickly; but if we take a slightly longer view it’s clear that there are exciting and interesting times ahead.
It’s easy to be cynical about a couple of the big local events coming soon; in fact, it’s probably the default British position to be dismissive about the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics. But I can’t join the naysayers.
The festivities scheduled throughout the UK the first week of June are as much a celebration of ourselves as a commemoration of the Queen’s 60 years as monarch. I’m especially excited about the pageant on Sunday 3 June; up to 1,000 boats of all kinds from all over the world will move in stately procession along the Thames. The boats will be mustering between Hammersmith and Battersea Bridges, so the view from our windows on Putney Bridge Road is certain to be a spectacular sight — as it will be all along the flotilla route. Similarly, the atmosphere at the Olympics and the achievements of the athletes in the surroundings of one of the great cities of the world will no doubt be exciting at the time and will surely provide many long-lasting memories. I’m especially interested in the cycling road races on 28 and 29 July — not only because I’m an avid cyclist — but also because the racers will be crossing the Thames at Putney Bridge; so once again, the action will nearly be right outside our windows. These two events will offer all of us — Londoners, English, British — a rare double chance to show the world some of the things we do best. So while it may seem very much like the worst of times, it’s quite possible we’re right on the edge of the best of times.