hide and seek

I was found earlier, as I hid under the quilt. I wasn’t hiding from a girl in particular, but from the world in general. A world that requires me to engage. To pay bills and write notes to school, to transport dancers and consider meals. Imagine how I’d be if I had to consider a job as well. Some days getting out of bed is an achievement: pity any company that relied on me.

Some days hiding from the world, avoiding interaction, is the only way to go. I don’t understand other people. Half the time I don’t understand myself.

The general election returned a Conservative majority. Many, many people voted in hope for a better life under a Conservative government. I hope they’re right.

I hope the poor, vulnerable and disabled  receive the support they need, and social security to be able to have safe, warm homes with adequate food and clothing.

I hope all people have opportunities to learn, flourish and contribute to wider society.

I hope the National Health Service is valued, and kept in public hands, for all of us, if and when we need it, regardless of our ability to pay.

I hope the UK remains part of the European Union.

I hope that education and educators are supported and respected.

I hope that there is a strong voluntary sector to target services for those in most need.

I hope that the issues arising for all of us out of climate change are addressed seriously.

I hope that agreed international standards of Human Rights remain enshrined in law, and are supported by all government activities.

I hope that the politics of fear and ‘othering’ is replaced by collective vision and partnership.

I hope that consideration of social justice and equality underpins the government world view.

unicorn

I may be living in a fantasy world, under my quilt, but what’s wrong with that? There’s money to make it happen, but instead there’ll be another £12 Billion cuts to social security, hitting the most vulnerable, and favourable tax arrangements for the very wealthy. Dave and his mates will still make money out of companies he sells national resources to. Those on benefits, non nationals, the EU, and asylum seekers will still get the blame for whatever is ‘wrong’.

Maybe the Conservative voters are right to seek solace with the familiar. A shiny future awaits, despite all the evidence? I hope so.

I’d really love to be wrong.

In the meantime, I feel like this guy.

unicorn2

 

 

in which Grandma doesn’t get a kitten

The referendum on Scottish independence is over: 45% Yes, 55% No. Great Britain will continue to exist. The level of public engagement has been remarkable and the desire for change clear, so what happens next?

My niece, Little Miss Awfully Grown Up, was clear about why a Yes vote would be a good idea, “because then Grandma will get a kitten.” I don’t know if Grandma was aware of this deal. Perhaps it was negotiated with the leaders of the Yes campaign in a last minute ‘tell the people what they want to hear’ moment. You know those moments. If you’re a parent, you really know those moments- a child is playing up, displaying personality and a desire to be in control of things, and you, the grown up, make a random suggestion to shut them up. You haven’t thought it out well, you’ve just tried out various combinations of words to see if they will ease the chaos. Sometimes they cheer up immensely, behave the way you want, and then you’re stuck. What did you say? Is that possible? Does Grandma even like cats?

not actual Grandma
not actual Grandma

Early this morning, as the No dominance was clear, I saw a telling exchange on television. Yes campaigner Hardeep Singh Kohli asked No campaigner  Man in Grey Suit (it was early, I can’t remember his name) what, exactly, the promised DevoMax was going to look like. The man demurred, it was early days yet, they still had a lot of work to do. The comedian nearly exploded, “You’ve had years to prepare, how can it be early days?” But we all knew how. The ‘vow‘ was a last minute, cobbled together, ‘shut them up’ statement, and now they’re going to have to step up and deliver. Against the wishes of many in parliament, without any actual plans, and under pressure from the whole of Scotland. Closely watched by all in the UK who wonder about the constitutional situation.

The referendum is over, but the conversation isn’t. Scotland continues to lead the way.

Updates on the kitten situation as I get them.

dismantling christmas

1 THFC jingle bell

2 broken armed ballerinas

3 tiny snowmen

4 little angels

5 sparkly stars

6 Santa garments

7 smelly candles

8 members of da crib

9 red reindeer

10 shiny baubles

11 soft toys

12 pulled crackers

All tidied away for another year, leaving 1 happy dog, 4 despondent people and a briefly neat front room.

fragment

“Have you ever considered self harming?”

She hadn’t expected that one.

What was a true answer? In these circumstances, what was a ‘right’ answer?

Her child, home sick from school, sat to one side; her husband the other. The questioner was a nurse, a government assessor, sitting in judgement. What was safe to say; indicating the truth of the thing, without being too explicit?

“I told you that I went to see the GP recently because things were feeling worse… That’s what I was worried about.”

The nurse paused before she resumed typing.  What was she writing? Would the official report of this assessment be anything she recognised?

She fidgeted, and rocked a little the chair. Nothing made up about this anxiety. Her hands were cold, clammy. When was this going to be over?

“What stopped you?”

Divorce, miscarriage, bereavement; she’d never felt as vulnerable as government assessors made her feel. The last time, she’d cried nonstop. A gibbering idiot, uncomprehending of the mechanics of ‘systems’. There were no tears this time, just a feeling of being cut open and bleeding across the grey carpet of the anonymous building.

The Christmas lights across the street flashed with council cheer: pink, red, green, yellow, blue.

The keyboard silent, the nurse waited.

She gathered herself, and raised her head.

“The other people in the room”, she said quietly.

Meanwhile her body language screamed, “Move on, ask about something else, stop making me worse.”