to be decided

Democracy is a curious beast. We elect politicians and then spend years complaining that they won’t do as we’d like. We regard Yes Prime Minister and The Thick of It as close to documentary. We wonder what on earth happened to kindness and looking after each other, and yet we don’t quite know how to make things better in the big wide world.


I’ve signed a petition, shared posts and sent random stuff to collection points for refugee camps. I can do that in pyjamas, coffee in hand, heat on. Safe at home, without too much effort. It’s not enough, but nobody would thank me for turning up at a camp, gormless & needing a bed.

And I am ashamed.

A huge refugee crisis is happening on our watch, and the media still talk about ‘migrants’, as if these people thought it would be a good idea to try out the British Isles for work for a while. As if they weren’t desperate, and dying.

A huge refugee crisis is happening on our watch, and NI politicians are still manufacturing their own “crises” to avoid having to grow up and take some responsibility. To do the jobs we’ve been trying to get them to do for years. To take their heads out of their own asses and see that there are real issues in the world. To stop being so self absorbed and to recognise our common humanity.

A huge refugee crisis is happening on our watch, and we are doing nothing.

What’s wrong with us?

chronicle of an empty nest foretold

Off they went, both my little people, for a week. A week of Irish dancing and carrying on with others from different parts of Europe, in Poland. Parents and grandparents scoured social media for updates from the festival or dancers. It’s entirely possible that one of us actually waved with excitement at a screen on seeing a pic with daughters in it. (Technology, eh?)

pier jumping not dancing

And back in Belfast we looked at each other, and around us, a bit like meerkats. Is this what the rest of the world is like? What do people do with their days?

We had adventures, doing things we don’t normally get a chance to do. There were cocktails, afternoon tea and a fancy lunch or two. We explored Parliament buildings, listened to music in a pub, and went to a different beach. We watched a box set, read multiple novels and had boring financial conversations with someone who understands these things. The house stayed tidy. There were no random explosions of energy or noise. No complex taxi arrangements negotiated with known unknowns via snap chat. No daytime TV. All was calm. Ordered.

We’ve had fun, of course. But yet…

Half of us are missing. Jake keeps having a sniff about to figure out where they’ve gone. We haven’t laughed as much. I remember now that watching soap operas is meant to be a social activity. My arms have ached with the empty. I didn’t start counting down the days until they were half way through; now I’m at hours. They’re coming home today, and I’m very excited.

A week, people. It’s only a week. They’ll be grown up in the blink of an eye, and we’ll all be laughing at my excitement of today.

This evening chaos, noise, squabbling and laundry return in full force. My arms and my heart will be overflowing.

(Expect the next post to be grumbling about chaos, noise, squabbling, laundry and teenage attitude.)

#2 Challenges

We all face challenges in life, we all juggle our own things. Health, money, family, jobs, or the lack of those, all impact on how we go about our everyday. Sometimes we muddle along fine, sometimes we struggle. I can get overwhelmed, and practically paralysed by anxiety at times. I ignore the issue until I have enough mental energy to deal with it- isn’t denial an interesting thing? Not always useful, I’ll admit, but often underrated.

Dealing with challenge is beautifully considered in the wonderful book We’re going on a Bear Hunt- “We can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, Oh no! We’ve got to go through it.”


What can help in getting through?


hearts minds

Reach out, connect, get help, offer help.

Being open about vulnerability- that may be the biggest challenge of all.




day 2 of Helen’s 3 days 3quotes blogging challenge