Today the British government has announced that by 2020, the UKwill take in up to 3,000 more child refugees. (Although, this announcement also contains the (frustrating) caveat that those who have already reached Europe will be excluded from the new initiative).
My fear is that these children will be so deeply traumatised, so broken by the horrors they have witnessed, that they will carry their wounds in places of quiet agony, affecting their emotional, psychological and in many cases, physical, development.
Not that I don’t welcome these children with a desperate surge of maternal passion that is quite foreign to me. Not that I would want the UK to take any less or to be any less involved. It’s just that I can’t get my head round the atrocities that these children may have witnessed. I can’t conceive of how they will communicate their loss, their grief, their horror and their fear; things that feel impossible to communicate ev
en as an adult, familiar with Western patterns of interaction and with a sound knowledge of the English language.
I want to help. I want to teach, or counsel, or care for or SOMETHING. Just something.
Despite German company, Haribo making their first gummy bear in 1922, they didn’t hit the US market until the 80s. I assume that it must have been even later getting to the UK, which explains why I don’t recall them being here when I was growing up.
When I was young, I thought that it was only kids that ate sweets. Adults were WAAAAAY beyond all those sugary jellies. Chocolate; sure, chocolate was different because there were obvious degrees of something like choco-sophicstication… Which explained how it was that whilst we kids dribbled and drooled over Milky Bars and Animal Bars, the grown ups could nibble sensuously on a Cadbury’s Flake and eat things like After Eights in a bubble bath.
So it is, that nearing 40, I am still waiting for that crucial, transitional moment, when I can look at a strawberry shoelace, or a bag of Tangfastics, with a sense of disgust.
Deep down, I just want to be a grown up with a penchant for 80% cocoa, fairtrade, dark chocolate made from hand selected beans grown in sustainable developments in deepest darkest Ecuador. Instead, I go mad for a jelly fried egg, and sometimes crave a cola bottle.
Now. apologies for ending a lighthearted post on a downer, but in keeping with the confessional nature of my H post, I must admit that I can rarely allow myself the delights of any of it, as my choices nowadays are generally (and spitefully) governed by Anorexia Nervosa. Bastard illness.
In my mid teens I discovered rock. And unfortunately for my parents, it wasn’t of the geological variety.
I literally fell in love with Guns n’ Roses.
There were others of course. I had flings with Aerosmith and Def Leppard, flirted heavily with AC/DC and Nirvana and occasionally eyed up Motorhead; but in truth, the sound of Slash’s searing guitar riffs, the crazy versitility of Axl’s FIVE OCTAVE vocal range, stole my heart.
In the years between then and now, I’ve played the field more times than Man U. I’ve been seduced by Opera, persuaded by Pop, lured by Classical, grabbed by Grunge and utterly captivated by my eventual partner, Country.
There are moments though, when a certain smell, a kind of summer car heat, a particular road, when I think of them. Like the memory of a first love, I am filled again with a hunger for that tender, youthful craving for some wordless void that only music can begin to voice.
There’s something about a pair of woolly gloves that reminds me of being a child.
Lucky enough to have an anxious mother (flip side reserved for another post!) I braved the cold winter looking like the sporn of Jo Brand and the Michelin Man. I remember shifting around like a gated racehourse as the wool and the thermals and the scarves and the hat were draped around me. Tugged at, squashed down and spun around; my body temperature would reflect a spring holiday on Kefalonia by the time I opened the front door!
Suffice to say, my new gloves remind me of those I’d wear as a kid in the 70s / early 80s.
Slightly retro colours, slightly itchy, and not lined, so that when you try to pull them on, your fingers get tangled on the skeins inside, and your thumb seems to head in the wrong direction, or your little finger gets confused and forgets it has a cover all to itself. Not to be donned in a hurry, my irritation is tempered by an odd feeling of nostalgia.
One difference, these gloves have 3 fingertips with handy touchscreen technology. (Handy. See what I did there? Ho ho.)
Now, if that ‘s not a sign of the times, I don’t know what is!