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Tuesday, 12 July 2016

194. Beside myself Beside the sea…

I tried, I really tried…

To be positive (see last post below)

I had a lovely 4 nights in Cornwall – yup – no airport queues and being treated like low grade cattle for your green brown girl blogger.

I swam in the Cornish sea which, compared to the Scottish coast was like bath water. Though I did notice that my daughter, mum and I were the only swimmers not encased in rubber wetsuits.

For once I tried to avoid the news. There was no internet access where we were and my daughter’s mobile phone spent the whole holiday in rice in a tub as she tried to coax it back to life (unsuccessfully – hooray) after an adventure down the toilet.

There was TV which, as regular readers are aware, is a novelty for me having been without the zombie box since last millennium. Yes, I watched some foody programmes (there are more of them and they are more stupid than ever) I watched a bit of Wimbledon. I caught a programme called Dance Moms which, if you are interested, is child emotional abuse with choreography. I even watched France beat Germany with many in the French team, clearly ancestrally from the African continent. People seem a whole lot less racist – haven’t you noticed – when someone with dark skin is helping them win at sport.

I ignored the revolting UKIP song – sung at me in a shop in Leamington (en route). I ignored the comment about ‘more foreigners’ in a shop in Cornwall. I was determined to be up-beat.

I tried to forget about Brexit even though snippets of news which invariably snuck through, informed me that another architect of the final solution – Farage - had, rat like, left the sinking ship he helped to scupper.

I tried to stay optimistic as that social basket case – America (if you were wondering which one) had more recorded evidence of police officers shooting black American men. Only last blog I commented how shooting black Americans in America almost seemed legal these days.  And then the dreadful, but frankly unsurprising reprisal. Unsurprising in a country with a massive weapons fetish, huge social inequality and no gun controls.

Close to home I tried to tune out the self-pitying whining from Tony Blair, as he was vilified in the Chilcot Report for the invasion of Iraq. Last week alone over 300 civilians were killed in bomb blasts in Baghdad as Bush and Blair’s legacy continues unchecked. When asked to comment, an American aid stated that the US government was distracted trying to defeat ISIS and would not be drawn on the findings of Chilcot. Which is a bit like saying ‘We’re trying to stop a man-eating tiger killing people, don’t ask me why we released it in the first place – thank you – we’re busy’.

The international community recently celebrated the conviction of Chad’s ex-dictator Hissene Habre and also the sentencing of African War Lord Jean-Pierre Bemba for crimes against humanity. Together these guys haven’t caused one fraction of the devastation and global misery Blair is responsible for.

I wonder why this white, wealthy, British ex-public school boy with international contacts is not going to be indicted… (er - no I don’t).

I tried not to think about the total absence of official opposition in the UK, a vital part of true democracy. The arrogance and vanity of Jeremy Corbyn has to be seen / heard to be believed. The Labour party bickers and breaks around him and the country remains in shock after the exit vote he did precious little to prevent.

As his woolly has-been-history-teacher (no offence history teachers) persona rolls on, the only display of iron-will is in relation to his own position. Ironically, Jeremy is even prepared to compromise on the issue of Trident.  ‘The rank and file voted for meee’ he bleats as he glues his arse to the top seat. No they didn’t. They voted for a left-wing leader. Jeremy Corbyn was simply the only option put up by Blairites to make the competition seem fair...

I’ve tried not to focus on the fact that as we face the prospect of another female PM in Britain it is not a strong, compassionate, focused, imaginative, feisty, forward thinking woman from the Left but a Thatcher-esque Conservative. Theresa May is a woman who felt no discomfort in refusing refuge to unaccompanied migrant children in Europe fleeing war. She is also happy to use EU citizens living in Britain as bargaining tools in our negotiations with Europe.

But looking out to sea with an unbroken horizon gives a sense of wonder and calm that is utterly compelling. Then I looked down to the sand and pebbles and seaweed and driftwood, letting my eyes wander. As a very young child I used to love to beach-comb. I try now to be restrained and not collect / remove shells or stones. 

Initially my attention was drawn by small dots and spots of bright colours. They were everywhere. Also shiny glinting discs and irregular jauntily coloured shapes. Then I realised it was not the iridescent inside of a shell lined with mother-of-pearl. It was not an array of natural ocean gifts cast about like speckled jewels. The colours decorating the shoreline were bits of plastic bottles, containers, bags, broken down into fragments by the rocks. They were everywhere, spewed up by the sea-sick retreating tide.

As I focused properly, it was like seeing a botoxed, surgery-enhanced woman, alluring seen from a distance but repulsive up close.

The occasional whole bottle, can, lid, tangled with the seaweed, drift wood and bits of net and nylon rope. Looking closer there were the more unsavoury items including syringe casings and condoms, food wrappers, baby wipe containers, bits of nappies and dog pooh bags and so on and so forth. And this was on a beach that had a current blue flag for cleanliness.

I lifted my eyes back to the sea to watch the bravely performing waves, and the enticing horizon and thought...

…whoever steers the ship now, it’s just a matter of how hard we hit the rocks…


  1. Ugh. As an American struggling with how our country got so off-course, so insanely violent, your last line nailed it.

    1. in more positive (or desperate) moments I hope all this unapologetic social ugliness, aggression and meanness is a brief madness from which humanity will soon recover...