Coming Up For Air


It’s almost two months since I wrote anything here. After two months of hard work and exhaustion, when at the end of every day I could hardly think, let alone read, let alone write, I’d wanted my first post on returning to be full of gladness. But at the end of those two months, just as I was beginning to feel I might be about to surface again, we here in Britain have plunged over a cliff and are are falling into the unknown.

It seems impossible in the face of this to write what I’d hoped to write. I’m not going to try to put into words how dismayed I am at this decision, a choice that was always far too complex and much, much too important to have been made in this way.

I’m not one to shrink from reality, so I’m not going to bury my head in the sand. We are all going to have to ride this out, like white water rafting, and trust that we won’t perish in the rapids. And after too many metaphors in just two sentences, I’m left with this; the certainty that what will carry us through is attention to small things, the things that frame and form the bigger ones. Listening to each other. Stopping to look. Stopping to make tea. Greeting each other with a smile.


No one can say where all this is going to lead, or even who will lead us, but we can still make choices. We can turn to each other with love, and listen; we can do all the little things that will begin to help us heal.



10 thoughts on “Coming Up For Air

  1. The sense of shock at the Brexit decision is palpable – I really thought ‘remain’ would just make it. As an ex-pat, I am watching with sympathy and interest. The world won’t come to an end, and I’m sure everyone will do everything to make the best of it, but there is a totally unknown and unpredictable world ahead.

    1. Almost everyone, everywhere, is stunned. I’ve been reading that a lot of people who voted Leave never thought it would go that way and wouldn’t have voted Out if they’d believed it would happen – and are now regretting it. So many people used it as a protest vote against issues that have nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not we should stay in the EU. It should never have been put to a referendum, which I had thought all along – it’s such a mess, and has stirred up such a lot of hate and fear and brought about such disruption not just here but all over the world. I feel ashamed, as well as horrified. A lot of harm has been done and it will take a lot of putting right. I just hope that lessons will be learnt and that this will mean perhaps the beginning of a change in attitudes and behaviour. We are not fundamentally a nation of angry xenophobic racist people, but we have been blatantly lied to, and many of us have felt uncared for and abandoned by government.
      Thanks for your thoughts, and your solidarity!

      1. Governments need to sit up and take notice of the people they represent, sadly, this has become a world-wide phenomenon, just look at Trump. There is no logic to the stands that people are taking, but they are trying to assert themselves, unfortunately without necessarily thinking through just what the outcome may be.

      2. We all need a lot more honesty, a lot less self interest and greed, to take us to a position where we can trust that we are being told the truth. I think we need to look for these qualities in ourselves and demand them in our leaders and in the media, and only then can we feel able to trust those who should be guiding and leading us.

  2. I still have an entirely surreal feeling about this. I can understand certain scepticism against the EU as establishment, and although I’m totally in favour of it, I do think it can work in better ways – but to withdraw the clock and leave…? It’s very sad, but perhaps also a warning signal, for politicians on different levels, national as well as international?
    If we imagine ourselves 50 years ahead from now, who knows what the landscape will look like? In the end, that’s what history is about, it’s written in an instance, and afterwards, told in length.
    I grew up in Sweden, “outside of Europe”. In our referendum in 1994, only 52 % was in favour, so it was a small majority who made Sweden join as of 1995. I now live in The Netherlands, where the Brexit has given new energy to ideas of a Dutch “Nexit”. Whatever happens, it will go into the history books.
    On a different note, I’m glad to see you back, and I like your spirit – the unknown is also a starting point, for all of us.

    1. Thank you for all that you say. I’m interested to learn that you grew up in Sweden and have that ‘outsider’s’ view of Europe and the experience of scepticism when Sweden joined. There have always been people in Britain who were uncomfortable with the EU but I wasn’t one of them even though of course the EU has faults and drawbacks. The trouble is that a large number of people who voted ‘out’ were not voting about the real issue of whether we should be a part of the EU but instead about their fears on immigration which were played up in a scandalous way by the Leave campaign and the UK Independence party, and another large proportion of people voted purely as a protest against the way they have been ignored by the government in Westminster who have become so isolated and insular. As I said, the question should never been asked in a referendum.
      Thanks again for your kind and thoughtful comments – and it’s good to be back!

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