Monday, 8 August 2011

Strange Days

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

Sometimes I wake up and think there has been some kind of time slip. London is burning, the unions are enraged, the world economy teeters on the brink. It’s like the 1970s, only with dubstep instead of punk. (I don’t actually know what the dubstep is, but my godson tells me that it is what the young people like to groove to.)

The very odd thing about living where I live is that all this seems very far away, and slightly unreal. Here, the mighty trees go on growing, the swallows are practising their advanced flying skills, getting ready to go to Africa, the cows lie gently on the ground and chew their cud. I hear the shouting voices on the news, and sometimes I think they are just making it up. Can all of this really be happening?

My very old and dear friend the Political Operative calls. I have not seen him for a while, and I miss him, but I have been dreading this call. This is because he is having a great celebration and I cannot go to it. It is partly because it is a serious journey (secret foreign location), and I am not quite strong enough for that, but also because I saw at our highland games this weekend that I am still a little fragile for big gatherings.

I felt awful telling him this, and quite shy even writing it here. Come on, come on, butch up, I tell myself. Don’t make a fuss. But he was beautifully understanding and directed me to piece written by Matthew Parris about the death of his father. I just read it, and felt a great, swooping sense of relief. His theory is that one misses them more, not less, with the passage of time, and that is just how it should be. Where there has been love, there should be sorrow. It is meet and right so to do.

I see now why the Edwardians went into lavender, after the initial mourning black. I think perhaps I am almost in lavender. It says: there is joy again, but there is still grief. There is still fragility. The world is still a little off its axis.

It says: be gentle.


Camera battery is flat as a pancake, because I forgot to charge it, so here are some soothing garden pictures from the last few days:

8 Aug 1.ORF

8 Aug 2

8 Aug 2.ORF

8 Aug 3

8 Aug 4

8 Aug 6

8 Aug 6.ORF

8 Aug 7.ORF

8 Aug 7.ORF-1

8 Aug 8

8 Aug 9

8 Aug 9.ORF

8 Aug 9.ORF-1

8 Aug 10

8 Aug 10-1

8 Aug 11

And the gloriousness that is my Pigeon:

8 Aug 11-1

8 Aug 20.ORF

And the dear old hill:

8 Aug 22.ORF


  1. Never heard of "dubstep". Must investigate. Sounds like something George "dubya" Bush would say.

    Politics? It's all make believe. I'll stick with Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings for my reality checks.

    Lavender - I know you meant the color, but perhaps a bit of the fresh herb tied with a ribbon and hung above your bed (or tucked into your pillowcases) would also bring you comfort in this time of healing.

  2. Reading this made me feel much much calmer's events in London (in the same London borough that I live in) have given me butterflies in my stomach all day long today. Craziness. Sad and horrifying. Totally mindless.

    Your photos are so beautiful as always....especially lovely Pigeon.

    I really like Matthew Pariss' writing....will read that piece you mentioned this evening. I really like your comment about the Victorians.

    And finally, I've never heard of dubstep either...may have to look that up too ;)

    Best wishes to you Tania xx

  3. I think we do miss loved ones more as time wears on - perhaps with less brutal gut pain, but it's always there. My darling stepfather died in 1977 and I miss him even now, Mum too, but it doesn't hurt - it is just the idea that they are no longer with us to see what is happening - family stuff, things happening in the world and odd quirky things I know he would enjoy. He was a great chum of Gay, by the way ...
    In the early '70's he booked a table at the Savoy for us all to celebrate the new century - poor old lamb didn't live to see it and we couldn't do it as my dearest father was dying of cancer. What regrets.
    Maybe as we get older our memories of what happened all those years ago grow stronger, we remember the best times and are just sad that there are no more of them with those we have lost.
    Thinking of lavender makes me think of purple and Those Purple Shoes belonging to the Brother - would he be the brother that was in the catering trade in his 20s? Thus link between stepfather and your father.
    Small world?

  4. Sorry - got carried away in my waffling. Just wanted to say that I am so, so horrified about what is happening in London at the moment. Like you we live in a time warp part of the country and I feel very privileged that we do - it must be so awful for people living in the parts of London where the violence is happening at the moment with looters roaming the streets, smashing up everything, attacking the police (and their horses)and I would imagine, fearful to go out.

  5. It does seem slightly unreal. Too tired tonight to make intelligent comment. Thank-you for your words and pictures.

  6. I've been unable to tear myself away from Twitter and News 24 ever since I got home from work. I'm getting really angry about the less important things, like that beautiful old building in Tottenham that's been so damaged by fire it's being bulldozed, and the fact people are throwing things at the police horses. I am quite unreasonably cross about the latter even though I know there are far bigger things to be upset about.

  7. Marcheline - love lavender idea.

    Simone - such a lovely comment. Watching news from London now. Stay safe.

    Return of the Native - yes, my brother was a wine waiter for a while. Love how the very small world works. As for London, it's beyond all belief.

    Rebecca - not sure how much intelligent comment one can make. It just seems beyond thought.

    Alex - so understand about the horses. It is a small thing in the face of such destruction, but they are such beautiful and noble creatures. Perhaps it makes us sad because they cannot understand, but must just be ridden into the craziness.

  8. Jonathan, Warwickshire9 August 2011 at 02:03

    On today of all days, I am so glad to have your blog. I finished work at 11 this evening, and came home to see London in total chaos. It all seems so manic and hateful, and it makes me upset and frightened. My sister lives in Tottenham, and I can't sleep thinking about her. And all at once there seems to be so much hate in the world. But then I come here and see such kind words from you, and kind thoughts from other readers. This blog has become a safe place, and I just want to say thank you. I'm so grateful for it.

  9. Jonathan - always so lovely to hear from you, and that was a particularly kind thing to say. Thank you so much. The thought of someone feeling the blog is a safe place is unbelievably touching.
    I keep thinking of the people of London, and I hope your sister stays safe.


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