My Summer Holiday: I’m still in Ontario, about 3 hours’ drive north and west of Toronto, on a 50-acre property with a large pool, a forest, 2 Malamute dogs, and four brilliant women writers with whom I am humbly pleased to pass two days. Too content. It’s difficult to get worked up about anything when I am so blessed and pampered.

But I hear in my head the screams and cries of fellow human beings fleeing the horrible war-torn countries and I see the physical devastation caused by the bombs and destruction and I feel guilty and apologetic for being so blessed and fortunate, and yet I sit here and do NOTHING. And I apologise (again) for being so maudlin and useless. I live on the periphery of experience and on the outskirts of life and I indulge in twaddle. No excuse.

I remember reading what Jane Austen said after hearing reports of another battle (remember she lived during the Napoleonic wars): “So many thousands killed. How dreadful. And how glad I am that I know none of them.” Me too, I’m ashamed to say.

I remember when one of my children (my older daughter) had her appendix out. The day after surgery (slow by our standards today, but there were complications), she walked across her hospital room with difficulty and pain,and I shuddered in utter sympathy, feeling (?) her pain. Not exactly, of course, but so involved. It occurred to me then that if we were all caring, genuinely caring, human beings, we would feel that pain and that involvement with all other human beings, not just those who are related by blood.  And do something.

We’re all related by blood.