Anger is only useful if it fuels action.
Yesterday’s anti-Brexit march felt useful. I wasn’t on it as I was working, but just seeing the pictures gave me a sense of solidarity, a sense of hope; this madness will stop.
If it doesn’t, those of us who wish to remain in the EU will continue to campaign to return. Please don’t talk to me about the will of the people, or democratic process. When the referendum was held in the early 1970s and people voted to stay in the EU, or Common Market as it was then known, the leave campaign sprang into action immediately. To paraphrase a meateater’s saying, what’s sauce for the lentils is sauce for the butter beans.
Democracy is about argument, not things set in stone.
My outrage meter was just returning to somewhere above normal after POTUS’ announcement that he would reverse his inhumane decision to separate children from their parents and then blame the Democrats, when I realised it doesn’t apply to those families already separated. The trauma those children have undergone for this Trumplestiltskin to make a point, beggars belief. I cannot begin to imagine how this is going to affect them in their adult lives. The insecurity, the realisation at a much too young age that their parents cannot always defend them will leave an indelible mark. And all because this man likes to think he’s strong, and that this is the sort of thing strong men do. The truth is he’s weak, and the weak never know how hard they are hitting you. Continue reading
This Saturday will be the 14th January. I understand that on the other side of the pond the floss-haired one will be inaugurated as President of the United States, something that strikes me as a being a joke too far, as well as being a jolly disrespectful thing to do on the first anniversary of Aunt’s death.
Or so I thought, but Lyn has just emailed me to say it’s the 20th, not 14th, so goodness knows where I got that idea from.
Auntie Mary October 2015
I meet quite a few Americans through my work. I have yet to meet one who says (confesses?) s/he voted for Trump, which may be significant in itself as I am meeting those who travel away from their home country, and I know a large number of US citizens never acquire or use passports.
A woman today, I’ll call her Jane, told me she is returning on Saturday, and marching on Sunday as a Nasty Woman who is not going to be quiet. She won’t be alone; just her party comprises two busloads of similarly nasty women. She cheered my heart. Continue reading
It seemed people didn’t want to leave. I had been working and so unable to be in Trafalgar Square this afternoon, but I wondered if there might be some remnants of what had been going on, so I walked down from Green Park to have a gander. As I turned the corner towards the National Gallery I could see the flag still flying at half-mast, and a number of police in hi-viz jackets standing looking relaxed.
The screen caught my attention.
People talking quietly; some on their own looking thoughtful; some huddled together silently.
MORE IN COMMON
Today I pledge…
Like many people I have been on Twitter this evening, and on the internet. I have watched the news obsessively. The first I knew of the shooting of Jo Cox MP was when I picked up my ‘phone early this evening and saw an email from a newsfeed saying there had been reports of an attack on an MP.
Jo Cox was one of the few MPs in the House of Commons who made you feel every word she said was genuine. She was bright and funny, serious and committed. I am sure I am not the only one to have noted her as a future leader of the Labour Party, and a future Prime Minister.
For all my news scanning and watching, why she was killed is still unclear. There are reports that her killer suffered from mental illness, that he was normally a gentle person who did work in other people’s gardens for free. Other reports say that he shouted “Britain first!” before pulling the trigger on his home made gun. Continue reading
The second part of the journey was on a much busier coach. People are quite amazingly selfish. They put bags on the spare seats beside them, drape their coats across them, lie across them.
Excuse me, I said, is this seat free?
Barely a look.
A hunched shoulder and the sulky gathering up of belongings.
Thank-you, I said.
She wanted to get off at Cambridge, but didn’t seem to think it necessary to say anything to me. As she started to stand up, I looked at her. Do you want to get off here? Grunt. I stood. She moved past me. No thank-you, no acknowledgement of any sort. She’ll probably be Chancellor of the Exchequer in a few years. Continue reading
I could show you a picture of my newly naked arm. The consultant pronounced my healing stitches beautiful, which was enough to let me know I wouldn’t be asking him for art exhibition recommendations. I hope and expect it’ll look more pleasant in time. I scar fairly easily, so I anticipate a visible line down my arm for the rest of my days.
So instead, here’s a photo of tulips and ceanothus from the hospital grounds.
London has moved on from cherry blossom to ceanothus and lilac. The shrubs and trees in their glorious blues, mauves and white obtrude prolifically across pavements and brighten the dullest corners.It is incredible how, in such a short space of time, leafless trees are thickly green and abundant; roses have burst into bloom; the cherries are already forming as the blossom petals still carpet the grass. Spring is my favourite season; the embodiment of hope and possibility. Funny to say so when the first anniversary of Mother’s death is only a week away, and I hope it presages a new acceptance, and a shift to good memories infusing the future. Continue reading
It’s a year since I wrote this post.
I am so glad I was blogging a lot then. Now it is the anniversary of Mother’s last weeks and by reading back, I can follow the trajectory of those days; my visit in mid April and then the call to say she was dying; the five days leading up to her death. Afterwards.
Octavia and I were talking yesterday about the power of first anniversaries. Why does it feel so important that this month, day by day, I follow, relive, what happened then? The waiting for the inevitable; the knowledge that each time I left her might be the last time I saw her alive. Dementia robbed her of so much, but she was still recognisably my mother. Still someone I loved, with whom the connection was strong. So often those living with dementia are spoken about as though they no longer exist; no longer have rights; no longer have claims to be as human as us.
In the current issue of of the reader there’s a poem written by a woman about her mother who has dementia. It’s warm, celebratory, about the person not the illness. Continue reading
Oh happy day. Worth taking a short break from my work to write this. Someone from the charity that helps people with visual impairments is visiting Aunt and helping her gain confidence with her tablet. I didn’t think there could be a silver lining to age related macular degeneration, so this is a lovely surprise. He has been in touch with me, and Aunt’s first goal is to be able to read books on her Samsung. We have been trying for a year to find someone that would assist her. I thought the various groups that work with the elderly would have a team that would guide would be silver surfers. I was wrong. Technology can do so much to help the frail and infirm to keep in touch with others and maintain independence. I was surprised that Age UK, to name one charity, wasn’t pushing harder to encourage the elderly to embrace the internet and email. Continue reading
If you have followed my blog since 2012, you may well remember Odysseus Ginger Biscuit, the stray cat with an uncanny resemblance to MasterB who would come and go. The two boys would hang out in the garden, as like as two peas in a pod to look at, but with very different life experiences and outooks. Ginger’s time on the streets that had lasted at least two years of his young life had scarred him in more than body. The vet put him at about the same age as MasterB, but play was a foreign land, and he had a sad face and took a serious approach to life, scavenging where he could, snatching biscuits and naps inside people’s houses as an univited and unwelcome guest. His coat had a greasy feel, probably as a result from eating leftovers from abandoned takeaways.
Then, I managed to get him to the cattery. They had him neutered, and his good looks landed him a home in Kent. We kept our fingers crossed that it would turn out well. I wrote about it here. I haven’t seen any pictures of him since the first few days in his new home. They looked pretty promising, I posted them here.
We all made the Games. Yes, I know that was a slick advertising slogan by a certain fast food enterprise who I am loathe to endorse, but I find the photographs that line the walls of Knigs Cross underground intensely moving, and I think the statement is a true one. Also that you can reverse it and say with equal truth that the Games made us. And made an amazing, unforgettable summer of unity, pride, joy and hope.
A teenager said today that it was as though for six weeks we stopped fighting and hating, we came together and felt part of something that made us happy. Another said she had planned to get as far away from London as she could while the Games were on and pretend they were not happening, but had ended up glued to the television, on the edge of her seat, enthralled and mesmerised.
I wish we could bottle some of the atmosphere London has enjoyed, and take a sniff of it every now and then to bring back that sense of wonder, excitement and possibility; to lift us when we turn back to our old ways of national self-doubt and cynicism.