Yesterday (Sunday, 28 May 2017) I had a story (‘Tomatoes and Their Part in Brexit’) published on Alfie Dog Fiction. Don’t you just hate people who start off blog posts like this? I’ll move on… straightaway… although, you’ve got to admit that, in my case, this sort of thing is rare.
I don’t have much to say writing-wise. Last week, for all of us in the UK, has been Manchester week. My connection with the city is that I was at university in Manchester in the 1970s, about a mile from Victoria Station, (below the site of the Arena where the terrorist attack happened). I recognise many of the placenames mentioned in the News: Deansgate, St Ann’s Square, Didsbury, Whalley Range. I lived in Fallowfield, where the bomber had his bomb-making factory. I have good memories of Manchester.
Although I’m hurt and angry, I was not so poleaxed by the Manchester bombing that I was unable to do anything else last week. I went to work. It’s high season for exams, so I was invigilating GCSE, Functional Skills and every sort of vocational qualification. On Tuesday, I took part in, and minuted, a PCC (Parochial Church Council) meeting. Yesterday, on Sunday, we had an amazing day, attending my granddaughter’s Christening, with friends and family. Today, I replanted my tomato plants and sewed more seeds – lettuce, radish, marigolds, poppies, echinacea. The weather has been glorious, hot for the first time this year. I got on with life, ordinary things, the insignificant things. Or are they insignificant?
We’re all fed up with seeing ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ on mugs, tea towels, t-shirts and everything else, but that’s what people in Manchester are doing, with enormous dignity, showing love, bravery and solidarity. Actually, I didn’t expect anything else. We’ve had terrorists in the UK before. In July 2005, on the occasion of the Seven/Seven attacks, my husband rang me at work at quarter to nine in the morning, saying, “I’m okay.” “Yes, darling. Why wouldn’t you be, darling,” I replied, not knowing the news. A few minutes later, ambulances, sirens shrieking, would charge out of Colchester, down the A12 to London. A decade previously, we had the IRA, and before that, the Blitz.
Our hospitality has been abused. We believe in democracy, freedom of speech and thought, fairness and supporting people who are down on their luck. We believe that primary school girls should be allowed to go to a gig to hero-worship a big girl. Keep calm and carry on suddenly has real meaning. Keep calm and carry on writing what we believe in, because we live in a liberal democracy and we can.