smokingboot: (Default)
In all the justified outrage at the scenes in Catalonia, I feel I have to - have to - express a few issues. I will understand if this doesn’t interest anybody, there is no need for you to read it. But I need to write it, for myself and for family.

First in the interests of full disclosure, most of those who know me would consider me a thorough Lefty. I don’t think I am actually, I think I am a centrist, but OK, there’s no way I will ever consider ‘Lefty’ an insult, so it will do. Also in the interests of full disclosure, I am half Spanish, and those I have spoken to on this subject are mainly from the land of my mother’s family, Andalusia. I also number in my family several members of the police force, though I do not think any of them are involved in the Catalonian controversy. One of them lives in Galicia, the other two live in Andalusia.

The first thing that I wish to mention is an opinion. Rajoy is a bloody imbecile, incompetent, selfish and stupid. It is unbelievably absurd, as well as disgusting, to set the police on the people with the results we have seen today. I do not approve of it, but I am not surprised at it either.

One misnomer has to be dealt with straight away; I read today of the separatist Catalan cause being likened to Scottish devolution/independence. There is no historical similarity. Catalonia has been a part of Spain since Spain became a federation of Christian kingdoms. It was a county/province administered by the Count of Barcelona, and Aragon was its Lord. Before that it was part of Al-Andalus, the Moorish kingdom of Spain. Before that it was Frankish, before that it was Roman and before that, it was inhabited by Iberian tribes, like everywhere else on the peninsula. Not that the people of this place lacked their own identity, power, language, ability, and often autonomy, they had all these things. But so did everywhere else. Catalans were no less a part of Spain than Castilians or Aragonese, Valencians or Galicians.

Then there is the attitude towards Catalonia exhibited by so many, this sense that if they want to be self governing they should be. I agree with this, but I wonder how most Brits would feel if London decided to have a referendum declared illegal by its government in order to secede from the UK. Some might think ‘Good Riddance,’ but many would consider the amount of British tax that has gone into making London mighty. London could certainly exist as a city state independent of the rest of Great Britain, but one can only sympathise with the deprived of Cornwall and Wales and other areas who have paid their taxes only to watch London grow rich, while they stay poor.They might at the very least want their investment back plus interest. In many parts of Spain, Catalonia is seen as the spoilt favoured child having got all the infrastructural spending plus its food at discount prices from within Spain. Small wonder if there is a certain grimness at the idea of the now opulent county deciding it doesn’t want to contribute to those poorer regions.

Another point remains that of attitudes.It must be understood that many Spaniards do not recall Franco with disgust; that as far as they were concerned, he brought them safety and peace. I have older family members who spoke of the civil war. My grandfather, god rest his soul, had the kind of mouth his eldest grand-daughter inherited, and was imprisoned by the communists and the fascists. After taking him away to be shot, the leader of the local communists sat my pregnant grandmother down with her two wee kids, and proceeded to burn her house down in front of her. I recall her eyes burning as though she still saw it, whenever she spoke of those times. Grandfather got out of his pickle by pretending to be a doctor, only to be arrested by the fascists later. They put him in prison where he mysteriously lost all his teeth… But he came home at the end of the war, and he would not have political talk in his house after that. He had been an important man, my mother talked fondly of being tiny and playing with the capes of the guards at the door. They were always polite, gentle to the children, and always called him ‘Don Juan Diego,’ with great respect. But they were not standing armed on each side of the door to respect him.

There were no heroes in that war, however much we dream of valiant idealists and No Pasaran. The fascists killed, the communists killed, the fascists raped, the communists raped, the fascists tortured, the communists tortured… and this is hard for lefties who love a good cause. But the fact is they all behaved like monstrous shits. Does this explain why the Spanish authorities have now behaved like such blundering bullies? Better than any other country embroiled in a 20th century war, Spain learned what it was to be torn apart from within, and to have everything turn to death. After the war, my mother was sent to her aunt’s farm in the country. She loved vegetables, and especially loved to break the poppies open and drink the bitter white milk in the stems. She never understood why the labourers looked so stern at the fields full of red flowers, wheat stems springing up here and there. She didn’t realise that those few slender sheaves meant starvation, not just for one farm but for all the labourers depending on that harvest. This was, of course, not down just to after war poverty but sanctions. The idea was that somehow if people got hungry enough, they would overthrow Franco. But they were too tired, and had faced despair too long. Food supplies came in from a few allies here and there… and Spain did not become a democracy. But neither did it die.

Perhaps this is why Spanish justice can be so brutally physical about keeping the law. Spain is a very young democracy, do not imagine those wounds have faded without scarring. It must be understood that what is happening in Catalonia is an illegal referendum, in a country which has seen more viscerally and brutally than any other part of Europe, what happens when a country splits against itself. And if the Spanish govt believes that Russian interference is involved in a deliberate attempt to sabotage the state (as is an increasingly popular view regarding such matters as Brexit, Trump, Le Pen, Wilders, etc) then the threat becomes even more dire. Rajoy is a stupid man, but he may well be channelling old and once very real horrors. If that is so, however wrong and repulsive it surely is, do not expect the men with the batons to be gentle.

For anyone who has got this far, thank you for reading this.
smokingboot: (Default)
Very old friends have contacted me, way out of the past.

They remember my mother and father, our early family...Dad was their parents' best man.
This guy, who was sort of Dad's best friend, was like Dad only more shrewd with money. He earned less but he built more, though he never reached Dad's price ticket. Both of them drank like fish, smoked, had multiple adventures and shenanigans...both of them did just what they pleased for most of their lives, and both died in 2015.

This guy told my mother he would like to sleep with her just to see what she looked like messed up. My mother's refusal was so lofty and pointed that though he laughed, he was stung enough never to speak to her in such a way again.

He told me I was ugly a lot, seemingly genuine in his surprise that I should have two good looking parents yet be such a minger. It hurt me, but I never had much time for him, and anyway what could I do about it? Besides, everyone thought I was ugly, some fat old man stinking of nicotine wasn't going to tip the scales any further. Even my hypersensitivity had limits.

But the conversation today made me think of these men, our fathers, crazy cowboys of the 70s who made their way in the world, earned fortunes that their parents would have considered beyond imagination... and were just really appalling to their families. Obviously they came from little kindness and very real poverty - or at least, I know my dad did -But by god they made up for it, they made money and married gorgeous women and had kids who adored them, and they squandered love like they squandered the fortunes they made. They were adventurers, gambling men, entrepeneurs... the kind of friends who will help you find a good time, but might get you killed on the way.

Old friends would like to meet. It will be lovely. But first I will let this curious feeling fade; it's a bit like pain. Not much, but enough to make me wait a while
smokingboot: (stars door)
A friend of mine linked to this blog http://awakingheart.com/home/2017/8/2/a-love-affair

There is a great beauty in it. The author talks of the bridge, the intersection within his heart between Christianity and Sufism.

I wish I felt anything like this.

After certain events - how can I put this - cracked me down through the spine, I still stood; but for the life of me I couldn't tell you how, or even where I was standing. At the time I called for help, all my spiritual studies fell away like shells and the darkness took over; it hasn't left. But it can be quite a warm, merry darkness!

Still, you can't stand in the dark forever, you have to travel; and I like travelling.

These roads through the red and the black are interesting. But for the life of me I see no direction and don't know how to find one.
smokingboot: (Default)
In the year of my death,
You had croup and your mother
Made the last priest in Troy pray for your lungs.
I had left you both then
In a cave on a mountainside
While my treasure ships rolled heavy
And a knife waited at home.

In the year of my death
Carcassonne; that was interesting.
You mowed me down, of course,
Screaming about heretics
I recalled knowledge of swords
Before I had a womb
But all I had time to do was scream back.

In the year of my death,
The good ship De Montfort: I counted you in
Chained profit, somehow with diptheria
Which killed you all and lost me my deposit.
Landed in Liverpool with sweet nothing
But a blade some strumpet turned on me
Yelling I had abandoned her.

In the year of my death
Hamburg: I was a doctor
A pulmonary specialist with a patient
When I heard the humming overhead
You reached my home, I never did again.
Oh, I didn't know you then
But I knew your work.

In the year of my death
I break the mad wheel,
Bored with this, and as for you,
You must be sick of me!
I pick the tree to root around my bones
And sweep the air so that a world
Of strangers and you wake, forget me, breathe.
smokingboot: (Default)
I can't like this page as much as LJ, it just doesn't feel right.

And I have been so busy! Arranging the hen party, Rome, Bruges, France, Spain and now Turkey. I am beginning to wonder if my life's angel is showing me gorgeous places in case it's time to go...

Turkey was wonderful. I need to go there again, and find those underground cities. Oh but my dreams were strange... Dad striding into my room, angry with me for not telling him about the attack and supposedly stealing some necklace in vengeance, a dream in which I found one of my cats tormented by the far right and rescued it, another dream with me murdering someone and getting away with it, so cleverly that even the person implicated by my machinations couldn't be harmed; Smokingboot as The Talented Mr Ripley.

I am not at rest at all.
smokingboot: (anger)
My cousin and his wife have returned from visiting the relatives.

There's a little sad news, or rather, not-sad-yet-but news.

The first is that in less than 2 months the Termagent has deteriorated considerably. She sleeps most of the time now and is very slow when she speaks, occasionally seeming to be elsewhere. He describes her as 'Looking like Uncle One,' and he thinks it's Alzheimers, but the description he gives of her appearance and behaviour is more like someone who has suffered a mild stroke. They need to get her to the doctors, see what's going on.

Also, at some point, he and his wife are giving up on GB and returning to Spain. They can make as much money flying over, working through agencies on 10 day stints and taking the money back than trying to stay here, pay huge rents and nursery/childcare rates. Besides GB isn't a great place for foreigners right now.Though my cousin's wife has never really adapted here, this does make me sad. It's like a parent you praised to your friends turning up in front of them drunk and abusive. I am embarrassed and ashamed of this country.

Yesterday I accompanied my cousin's wife to the Dr's. She works at St Thomas' so she is taking advantage of the hospital's excellent antenatal care; however, St Thomas' is in a different borough to the one in which she lives. At the 25th (?) week, and a few other similar points, her GP (within the borough where she lives) is supposed to do a check up, as opposed to the midwives, and it seems that the surgery with which my cousin's wife is registered does not provide this service; technically the GP is refusing to see her. So who will do it? Or will it just not get done?

To cap it all, we were approaching a bus stop where our bus was waiting. As my cousin's heavily pregnant wife waddled towards it the driver saw us and then studiously looked elsewhere as he drove off. It made me think that he was the embodiment of Brexit Britain, smallminded, petty, mean.

I wish we'd leave.

Harvest

Jul. 31st, 2017 06:21 pm
smokingboot: (Default)
I fell down in a faint by the cornfield
where the men were carrying a girl
between them, sheafbright
apple parings in her hair

They were singing, the hop men,
bringers of barley and
all the hedge cottonbeards
leaned forwards in a thirst

They called her 'queen',
her gold head tilted once
towards the fields, and once
in my direction.

When I woke, there were clouds
the girl was scattered to light
Like broken honeycomb in my mouth
Or a sun on the horizon.
smokingboot: (Default)
Channel tunnel. Easy. Who knew?

We were going acrosss to Bruges to pick up a piece of art we had seen in an expo in Beaugency. Got there, found that we'd arrived on Belgium's national day and everyone was celebrating at a free gig in the main square. Safe to say the night floated away on a sea of beer and music...

Next day we met the artist. He actually lives in the South of France, and promptly invited us to go spend time there with him, so we may well do that sometime. The piece itself is bigger and heavier than either of us recall, so we agreed to leave it in the Belfry until it was time to go. It's called the Faun Venetiane, and is a carved piece of wood with a bronze mask attached, and two old antelope horns given to the artist by his father long ago. Venice and masks and fairies and Africa... It is like a sculpture of our story. Is it beautiful? I think so, in a very Pans Labyrinth sort of way. I am expecting my cleaner to hand in her notice the moment she sees it, because there is no denying it could be seen as sinister to such a Christian soul (she received good news while at my house earlier in the week, and sank to her knees thanking god, full of joy. I wish I believed in anything so passionately) Anyway, the sculpture is still wrapped up because it's mainly wood and until we have a plinth/case/some way of keeping cats off, we need to keep their claws away.

In Bruges we also saw the Dali expo, with many of his sketches and designs...Hmm. In my considered opinion, he wanted more sex than he got. Dali's spurting sketches and floating sky vulvas seem a little desperate and dated - but then they would now, I guess. It never was about him being ahead of his time; he was his own time, and all there was in it. I respect that, though little of the work on display stayed with me.

The city was the star, with more holy iconography adorning walls than I've seen anywhere except the street shrines of Katmandu. Most corners held a statue on the upper walls, modern Maries, classic Maries, renaissance Maries, medieval Maries... On streets named after saints they might get a look in, but Marias were everywhere. There were also many depictions of workers and guilds. I know there is a story there in the little cobbled streets and alleys. Some call it the Venice of the North - then again some say that of Ghent, or Amsterdam - but no, it is not beautiful the way Venice is beautiful. You can still feel the village heart of it and a kind of wit too. Bruges has great prettiness, with maybe a few surprises of its own. Seems to be the way with water cities.


Bruges rainbow

Patience

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:43 am
smokingboot: (Default)
On the day before I travel to Bruges, my cleaner can't come, I have yet to get supplies for the cat sitter,there's a dispute over a broken ipad which has led to a tiny amount of odd behaviour and half the apple tree has split away; a fine meal for the local pig farm out of all these inadvertent windfalls, while I've spent the morning carving off the huge old branch and applying what can best be applied as an arboreal poultice in the pouring rain. Solutions for the tree include vaseline and duct tape. Part of me thinks they might also be useful re the dispute.
smokingboot: (Default)
This summer I've been making a real effort to go to free festivals in London. There are loads, and they're charming. The Lambeth Country Show was no exception, except that it had the most wonderful herb stalls of the lot. I wanted to buy things like mullein, skullcap and woad, stuff you don't see anymore, but I bottled out after buying some favourites of mine, Thyme and Vipers Bugloss for the bees, Catnip for kitties, Fennel and Dill for food and feathery loveliness, Roman Chamomile because it's irresistible. I should have bought southernwood and pennyroyal too. I should have just buried myself in a forest of herbs for the rest of the day...

And of course, always good to meet friends; the bro joined us, and all was great. The next day was about rest and catching up with someone who wanted to tell me some private stuff. Both nights I had terrible dreams.

Saturday night I dreamed I asked my father for some help with a hurt robin. One of its wings had been sheered right off, as though it had never had a wing there at all. It just hopped around while I tried to keep cats away. I wondered if the merciful thing was to kill it, then I looked down and saw on the ground one little dead bird, on top of which was another, smaller, dead bird, respectfully placed. Was I just collecting dead birds out of pointless cherishing?

Last night I dreamed I was having an interview with an old lecturer of mine: He was a small gentle man in real life; here he was berating me about my bad behaviour in the past, a paper of mine he had marked 17 and a half out of something. The paper was about fairies, but he said it wasn't pointed enough, and he had written awful comments about me. One was something about raging/flaming/some adjective describing overwhelming depression and there was something about psychopathy, which, in the dream, made me wonder if I was my father. Having realised that I wasn't, I took the lecturer to task, asking him how he thought these comments would help me at all. I reminded him of the room I had stayed in, where there were problems with ghosts. He laughed. 'Well, you would have trouble in that room,' he said, but agreed his words had not been helpful. I tore a strip off him. We were travelling with a group somewhere. I didn't care, not about the group, not about him.

Maybe this had to do with me having a PTSD episode last night, my first in a long time, triggered by something on TV. I don't know. But I feel very uncomfortable today and once again feel a kind of coldness around me.

God I need some decent sleep.

Festival

Jul. 14th, 2017 10:28 pm
smokingboot: (dreams)
Let's go swimming in music
The castles will come to us
even a brick wants to move
That's the reason things fall down

Show me your dance of passion
Cross my palms with smiles and silver,
I'm a black cat on the pavement,
Treat me well and you'll be lucky

And you may call it nonsense,
While I smile and pull you closer,
Going nowhere, Ima kiss you
By Carnival and Moonlight.
smokingboot: (Default)
I haven't quite taken to Dreamwidth, so find myself engaging with it less. My discipline is lax, and too much is happening. It has always been a point of mine to record my dreams, and even that isn't quite working despite my dreams being lurid and almost lucid.

There was one of some kind of crocodile birthing place, full of baby crocs. One full grown croc rose and grabbed a boy in his jaws. I didn't see any eating or pain, and in my dreams I felt a dismay but no tragedy. The croc had to eat, the boy was in the water...

Then there was yesterday's dream, where I saw an old friend (CD) and then woke up convinced R had gone to work. He hadn't - he was in the bed beside me. But I wandered round the house convinced I was alone till I heard phantom noises in the kitchen. Then it gets muddled between sleeping and waking.

Last night I dreamt I was in 15th/16th century clothing, except it was costume rather than real because the top and bottom were separates. I recall an ornate cape/cloak with slits through which I put my arms. In the dream I was marrying someone very unlikely from long ago, but it wasn't real... it was an elaborate staged part of a role playing game; people were meant to attack during the wedding. I saw the attack beginning; I was perfectly safe of course.

I had so many rings on my fingers they kept dropping off - the rings, not the fingers. I got them confused but didn't lose them.

In real life, visits from friends have been charming, dinner on my birthday was at a fantastic Japanese place in town, and a stranger cat is hanging around the house. He is very wounded indeed, a huge gash in his neck which stinks of infection. I have called the RSPCA who might be able to bring a cat catcher round today, but haven't been that helpful so far. He is too wary for me to catch him but he sits and stares at me. I have fed him a bit; if he dies - and he will die, if that infection goes much further - at least he will have a meal inside him. But I hope I can catch him, gangrene is a most unpleasant end.

Pride

Jul. 9th, 2017 08:07 am
smokingboot: (Default)
Well, that was fabulous!

It's a side of London people don't often get to see, exuberant, kindly, outre!The route was the same as the anti-austerity march last week, but much prettier. Rainbows and unicorns and glitter and sequins and little dogs and costumes...the usual suspects and many more. It was wonderful. I was there with a friend and her toddler; the little girl was not all that interested in the parade until the bikers rocked up, and then she was all eyes and ears, stunned and delighted.

There was a moment, 10 minutes before the parade was due to begin, when a small Movement For Justice march tried to crash the barriers. It's the first I have really had to do with these people; what a bunch of plonkers. Held up the march for half an hour because they wanted to join it at the front, to 'lead' it. Their cause? That Pride should be less of a celebration and return to being a protest. When it became clear that they were not going to be allowed to put their wishes before everyone else's, they wandered off down Regents Street and later declared all over twitter that theirs was a famous victory. Very odd.

Long after, I wandered down the streets towards Charing Cross, where people sang and danced and drank; the party was everywhere, the city smiling. I was given the glad eye a couple of times, which is always pleasant for my vanity. One was a dancer with exceptional moves. He and another were writhing expertly around in what I can only conclude were, um, enhanced underpants, because they were exactly the same brand and exactly the same shape. Soho was full of people being extraordinary and happy. Next year I will put on some sparkles and stay longer.
smokingboot: (Default)
It's Old Friend Time, as well as Not Doing Much On Account Of The Heat Time.

So that's me done, and this is my song today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMnYZIlLra8

Joy

Jul. 6th, 2017 07:35 pm
smokingboot: (dreams)
I do feel it, magic, luscious, fierce.

It's the part of me that laughs at absurdity; sometimes it spike up in fire, in wasp stings, in the observation of pretence. Sometime it bares a fang or two. But that's only half, a quarter perhaps, a fifth even, of my joy.

My real joy is just about happiness. Yesterday I went with an old friend wandering over Hampstead Heath, where they threw Gerald's ashes over a bush long ago. Trouble was, there were an awful lot of ashes and the poor little bush was grey as a wraith by the end of it. I recall dreaming of him, as an ingenue, learning something, fresh faced and happy. Yesterday what we thought was the very same bush had grown huge. Or maybe we got something wrong.

We found the wild swimming places. I am not convinced about wild swimming...but yes, it looked glorious. Bound to be cold though and of course, untreated, so the water must needs be full of whatever. Still, got to try it.

But still, green country, trees, water, people lying on the banks like colonies of seals, and so much happiness, just that.

It is a wonderful thing. Grand, grand to feel it. I become myself again.
smokingboot: (individualism)
Nothing like a bit of White Stripes to see one through a march...

Though the mood was ebullient I didn't join in the song, because... well, because of my uncertainty about Jezzah. I was there because it's impossible to accept a billion pound bribe to the DUP, Theresa May's denial of a 'magic money tree,' and 8 years of frozen wages for public sector workers, without parallel realities colliding.

But I was delighted to learn that he would be speaking at the end of the march. There were thousands of people, biggest and most well organised march I have ever been on. Len McClusky and other union leaders spoke of a General Strike. It's my hope that they don't do that; it squanders public goodwill on a given. Too many tory mps are weeing themselves over local disapproval for May not to surrender. The cap is on its way out.

Anyway I got to see the man himself. Owen Jones, who also spoke, is a pedagogue, Jeremy Corbyn is an idealogue. His hair is more white than it appears on TV, his face more determined looking. He speaks very well, ordinary clear language, confident but not too polished, not smooth or political sounding, even if he is obviously profoundly political.

He spoke of a new vision for Britain and I think he means it; if he gets into power he will push a strong very socialist agenda. His vision of a post-Brexit Britain is, I think, an entire change of political system, a different way of running the country. No wonder the tories are wounded and worried; but they are to blame for creating a scenario that gives their enemy such strength. This is another thing that was miscalculated by the tories and the mainstream press, this idea of Corbyn being 'unelectable.' It was hyped to such a hysterical extent that the reality of the man in interviews, at rallies, in person came back to bite them. They believed their own hype. I don't know what has shocked the mainstream media more, being wrong or being ignored.

He is very electable indeed. Those who lambast him should instead blame the ineptitude that led to such polarisation of opinions. This government is a travesty. It is no surprise, though some irony, that Corbyn can capitalise on it.
smokingboot: (Default)
I met a woman down on Thorney Isle
And she was cold of skin, of eye, and hair
Ice-like her frown, upon her head a crown
For all her feet were mud-splattered and bare.

So elegant her bearing, my surprise
questioned the strangeness that she seemed to choose.
Why be so grand, with coinage close to hand
Then wander down the Thames bereft of shoes?

She said, 'I who gained mastery of the world
Was once a child scanning the reed-edged foam
for flotsam, meat, or anything to eat,
A beggar without provenance or home

I who was here er Saxon found his way,
Or Caesar sent strong armies passing by,
I who first ran before the dreams of Bran
and heard the river raven's piercing cry,

Then I had nothing, rats and whelks beside,
Til blood and bones were ground to make my bread
And I grew bold, lustrous with kingdom's gold,
Adored by all and all my hunger fed

But I have not forgot what it was like
And this is why I stride the dirty flood
For I who shine and made the whole world mine,
Was once a starving child covered in mud.'

With that she turned and wandered far from me,
May all the folk of London feel her smile
though thieves and whores go scurrying through the doors
Of her old palace, built on Thorney Isle.

Pah!

Jun. 28th, 2017 08:16 am
smokingboot: (anger)
I am angry, so angry.

It would have been wise to record the wonders of our French trip here, I should do it to bring my fury levels down. But instead I am going to rant.

ID cards for foreigners? Air strikes against hackers? A bribe to an anti-gay, anti-women's rights, climate change denying bunch of not-quite-crooks with connections to 'dark' money and terrorist activities? And these get a billion at least. 'Investment in NI is good for all of us,' says that goon Fallon, aye, so good that it wasn't even mentioned in their manifesto. They've been ignoring NI for years only to suddenly consider 'investment' there a grand idea provided it gets them 10 votes. 10 votes. Even if it imperils the good Friday agreement, if it imperils the peace that reigns so tenuously there, 10 votes. 10 fucking votes. Cos they dare not face the commons without guarantees because they have no mandate from the people. Theresa May had the face to tell a nurse who hadn't had a rise in 8 years that there wasn't a magic money tree. Couldn't budget for kids school meals beyond 7 pence. Let's not even talk about Grenfell tower and the like. Ah, but come the hung parliament, the magic money tree suddenly appeared, and by god it's bountiful when a conservative government's collective fat arse is on the line. And still they lie, gaslighting us, pretending nothing has changed and that this is all normal.

I don't like Conservatism generally, but know some decent tory voters. They are quiet now, very quiet.

And that's wise.
smokingboot: (snail)
Under trees and dinosaur balloons
waiting for the band, tripping over
face painted kids,disaster!
There's no more jelly coconuts,
and that dog's nicked my ice-cream!
Might as well have a beer then.
Music's starting.
This is who we really are,
Not termite gods of cash
or savage mouths farting onto screens,
But dancers, story tellers, families,
Picnic blanket people playing
And everyone of us a king of summer.

One of the nice things about London in summer is the number of free festivals that pop up everywhere. The Crystal Palace Overground one was fab. It's so weird, how happy I was in France, then I came back and everything seems to be such a tense mess in the UK. The solution's to go somewhere with art and music and beauty and fun, and remember that's what real life is supposed to be like. Or at least that's my solution.


crystal palace free festival
smokingboot: (Default)
Things have been so good. The holiday was delicious, with chateaux and history and May roses everywhere...Then I came back for operation number 1, then I had that weird heartc lutchy thing again, more blood tests, more ECGS. And the summer is beautiful anyway.

My cleaner turned up on my doorstep and collapsed in tears. The tears grew more intense; She knew someone who died in the Grenfell tower fire, along with her 3 year old boy. She and others were going to go there and leave flowers and messages, when a friend told her that it was like the war in Sierra Leone as they remembered it. He described the smell, burning matter, some of it human. The fear of that smell stopped her from going with her friends.

She cried for hours. She told me about the war in Sierra Leone , the multiple rapes, the 'short sleeved or long sleeved' mutilations, her home burnt to the ground, and the tower brought all back to her.

'So far away,' she said, 'I thought it was so far away...'

She cried more, speaking of the fire, burning, dying, the feeling of fear, and it came back to life in her face. 'I remember the rebels sneaking past our village going to the British. They would sell them diamonds in return for cocaine and ammunition.'She stared at me. 'To kill us. Kill us. And then the British would try to 'liberate' us from them!' She laughed, a terrible sound, 'But we are not stupid, we know you. We know you.' Her eyes didn't see me. Then she came back, and wept over the tower again, again, again.

Sometimes she seemed strangely matter of fact. 'War comes. We know that in war, all is madness. We know what to expect from war. A bomb doesn't know where it is going to drop. And we left all that to begin our lives here again. And we are not safe.' Her tears flowed as she showed me pictures of the lost little boy and his mother.

'We are not safe. Here, in this rich country, the poor are not safe. This is not a war! Why were people not protected in their homes? Why? For money?'

I listened and comforted as best I could. She stayed for around 4 hours then went to collect her daughter. I watched footage of Theresa May walking quickly away from crowds calling her a coward.

God, I wish I was back in France.

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