Today where I live there were elections for both our town and new county councils, a busy day at the booth where I had to choose 8 candidates! Politics is my guilty pleasure, I studied it at uni and follow it closely. For me its not about a political party but the processes, culture etc.. Despite this keen interest, I am exasperated about the current political system and do wonder if we are at the time in history where our party political system will implode.
I always vote in every election and say a quiet thanks to the suffragettes every time. Although, I live in an area where one party holds every seat and there is never any competition, I still gamely go along and make my choice.
Today, for the first time ever, I paused at the booth and wondered why am I doing this, I don’t feel represented. In fairness, the town council was a fairly easy choice, I know a lot of candidates and despite party politics they are all good people trying hard to improve our town.
I struggled with the next layer of government, our new council. We pay one of the highest council taxes and yet I genuinely struggle to see how it is spent to improve services in our small town. All schools have deficit budgets and our library, with its opening hours cut, is always under the threat of closure, despite it being the hub of our town and housing so many additional services. I don’t have direct experience of services for the elderly but I am sure it is a similar state too as there are always local campaigns for all services. I despair at some of the decisions made around education and key services and do feel other towns in the county benefit more than others. Ironically the most common council employee in our town is not for services but teams of traffic wardens raising revenue which is not reinvested in our town. The wardens are legendary in their ticketing and not just for obvious violations but really obscure ones you didn’t even know were illegal!
I’ve lost confidence in regional politics how do these people represent me and provide the best services to our population? And this is just at a local area, I’m not confident in our national political system either. I’m an ordinary citizen and yet feel unrepresented. I can’t help but feel that is how extreme political parties develop, preying on the politically vulnerable and isolated, polarising opinion, turning people against each other and I am fearful that this is how our country may become. We need to become more focused on solutions, serving all members of our communities and respecting differences so that when we do vote we are confident that our voice is heard.
This month was all about nourishing the mind, body and soul in the great outdoors. It was Easter holidays and I know that our family relaxes best with being outside, that’s walking through the forests, following a trail, hiking to a local landmark and we embraced all such activities this month. There were also a few, bright days which led to beach adventures.
We also got good nourishment from a family get together for Grandad’s birthday where we ranged in ages from 9 – 87 but all enjoyed good company, warm sunshine and ice creams on the beach!
Given it was Easter and then a busy time at work, I didn’t get my planned nourish day, that’s the reality of being a working mum but I felt relaxed and chilled by the month, the outdoors is where I get to be happiest and grounded.
Every Saturday, normally just after lunch I sit down and read Caitlin Moran’s column in the Times magazine. I love her writing and each week, her piece is refreshing, honest and often, amusing. I’ve kept many columns for Little Miss to read in the years to come, to encourage, inspire and comfort.
This week’s column made me smile and remember the music, films and books which shaped me in my teens. I’ve made a little collage of some of my likes, I’m not embarrassed these are the songs, books and films which made me me!
In choosing my theme for the year, nourish, I wanted something which would embrace mind, body and spirit. Each week will have different elements, this week there is a social theme, which has nourished my spirit and heart.
Cocktails and a cosy pub ….
This week, I’ve enjoyed two nights out (and one on a school night too!). On Saturday I was at a cocktail party, I don’t drink but was so impressed by the mocktails put on for us, not only delicious but beautifully presented. It was a lovely party, a great disco soundtrack, fantastic company and a wonderful excuse to dress up and sparkle. Tuesday night was more intimate with just three of us out, but we got to sit in front of the fire in the pub on big leather sofas and catch up. I really enjoy the company of these two women and feel inspired and relaxed with them.
2. The little things ..
On Friday we had Storm Eric and it really was wild. By the school run time, the rain was of biblical proportions and even though it’s the one night of the week when Little Miss walks home alone, I couldn’t let her do that so drove to school to pick her up. I remember the feeling when I was little and would look out of the classroom window and see my mum’s or my friend’s dad’s car and the relief and excitement of getting home quickly. Sometimes nourishing someone is about making people realise that they are the centre of our lives and we will show our love in whatever way we can.
3. The calm after the storm
Apart from storm Eric it’s been a pretty yucky week weather wise. However on Thursday (my day off) and today we’ve had some gorgeous blue sky winter days. We had a family day out on the bikes today and the crocuses, daffodils and snowdrops were all in bloom. They’ve shown the glimmer of the spring to come and have raised spirits with the anticipation of the new season.
4. A space (room) of one’s own
My bureau is my place in the house, it contains my diary, writing books, lots of stationery and everything that I might need. I added a couple of cacti this week for decoration. and replaced my used winter candle with a new spring aroma, lime, basil and mandarin. It’s these little things that nourish my soul.
Remembrance day is always a well respected event in our town but this year, being the century of the armistice something beautiful is happening. Everywhere you look there are poppies, made by all members of the community. Outside the Girl Guides hut is a display of poppies made from red bottles and buttons, a church has a huge cross of poppies displayed outside, whilst another church has 99 ceramic poppies in their gardens. Members of the community have been invited to tie a ribbon to the large poppy on the pier made from chicken wire and wood, the effect is spectacular. In addition, local businesses and shops have taken one of the 99 local men killed in World War 1 and are displaying posters with their name, rank and age in their windows, many have created a window display with added details from their personal research which only adds to the care and respect we have for ‘our’ soldiers. One restaurant has hung 99 poppies in their window, it is a haunting but superb display. There are many events organised in the next few days to commemorate the end of World War 1 but I think the use of the poppy in so many creative ways is a fitting tribute.
Tonight we have been to the Scouts’ firework evening, a blazing fire and camp songs followed by fireworks, in the deepest, dark countryside. I really love the multi sensory delights of Bonfire night. The warmth and cosiness of new hats, gloves and scarves, the crackle and dancing flames of a fire, the smell of hot dogs and soup before the main attraction of the sparkling, colourful fireworks all on a crisp, clear, dark night. This is my favourite autumn night’s entertainment.