Feeling much better.

Things have been happening.

First, most 20150519_120432important, and the best fun, was that my lovely friends Réjane and her husband Yves spent the afternoon with us while they were on a short trip to the UK. (See what I did there? I managed the acute accent on the “e”! Impressed?) It was just wonderful. Yves and hubby had not met before, and got on really well. We sat and drank tea, ate berry muffins, took a short walk to The Shop, came back, drank more tea, ate more muffins, walked round our little garden, and had a generally wonderful time. We exchanged birthday presents – I was finally able to present her with the cacti, which look great in her house, and I received some Yves Rocher products, two hand made carrier bags, two French magazines (one of which has some wonderful knitting patterns in – must learn French knitting terms), a pretty necklace, – a whole host of lovely things.

Also, I’ve had my assessment with the NHS for the depression which reared its ugly head recently, and have been advised that one-to-one counselling is the way forward. So now I’m awaiting the phone numbers to try out and see where the shortest waiting list is.

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The garden is looking beautiful, because of all the rain and then bits of sunshine. Going bonkers, in fact. I think May is my favourite springtime month of the year. Everything is so fresh and green, it all looks brand new. One poppy has opened, and there are lots and lots more waiting to burst open. The bluebells have been, and in some cases, already gone. The tulips are fabulous.

Knitting – have done the back, one front and one sleeve of this pattern. I had done two thirds of the second front, but messed it up. There are two pattern panels, and then there’s the shaping as well. But it’s fine. I’ll cast it on again tonight. The sleeves I’m doing slightly differently from the instructions. No pointy cuffs, just the diamond pattern up the centre of the sleeve. It looks nice. I was a bit concerned about the length of the sleeve, but after much faffing about with the calculator and the tape measure, it’s all come together. And I made a note of what I did so I can make the second sleeve match.

So generally I’m feeling much better.

Although the cat is not great. She’s very constipated, and it’s furball causing the problem. Took her to the vet’s today and she has had some treatment, we have medication for her and special food. She makes no fuss at all at the vet. He can do whatever he needs to, no complaining, no hissing, not even a miaow. And now she’s being very affectionate (for her). That means she lets me pick her up and cuddle her, while she purrs very, very loudly. Back to the vet on Thursday for them to check all is well. If not they’ll have to anaesthetise her and do a proper enema. Hmm. We shall see.

Not the cheeriest way to end this post, but she’s not exactly poorly.

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Some post-election thoughts.

Have waited a couple of days for the news to sink in. If you don’t live in the UK, you may or may not know that a Tory (Conservative, right-wing) government was elected with a majority.

The vitriol on social media has been astounding. I am very, very disappointed, but am not comfortable with insulting people who voted/think Tory. I do find it hard to understand though, but that doesn’t mean I’m right and they’re wrong, just that I feel very differently about life.

It was a democratic election. Nobody rigged any votes (that I’m aware of, it tends not to happen here). Nobody got threatened, hurt, or killed because of their point of view. I accept that.This is what the majority of the UK want. And that’s the trouble with democracy, really. An awful lot of people have to put up with what even more people choose. But the alternatives are worse.

I do think a different voting system would be fairer. Proportional representation, for example. (see this page from the BBC). Scroll down that page to see how many votes it took to elect each MP. There is a huge, ridiculous differential.

The resignation of the leaders of three parties, one major and two minor, is also very sad. On a personal level, it will free all three of them (Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage) to get some sleep and spend some time with their families. On a political/professional level, it’s a disaster. Nigel Farage’s politics I find particularly repellent, but nonetheless he is a human being and deserves compassion, if not my vote.

What’s worrying now is that with a clear, if small, majority, the Tories now have a mandate. Not just permission, a mandate. To do what? to continue taking money off the most vulnerable in our society. There are thousands and thousands of people who have to go to food banks. You can’t just turn up at a food bank because you fancy some free food. You have to be assessed by the state machinery, then, if you qualify, you receive vouchers which the food bank will exchange for food.

I would just like to live in a kinder, safer society. A society where people who need help aren’t demonised as “shirkers” or “scroungers”. (As in “workers vs shirkers”). I would like to live in a country where there aren’t any “zero hour” contracts. How can you possibly plan a budget when you don’t know if you’re going to get work each day until you actually get up in the morning? I’d like every person in the country to feel valued, and necessary, and part of the whole. Instead of which, we have a huge sub-culture where people are just so ground down and feel so hopeless, they don’t even bother to vote. Even though they are the people whose vote would make so much difference to us all, and especially to them. I actually think we should have compulsory voting, like in Australia. With a choice on the ballot paper “None of the above”.

And the injustice of it all makes me very angry and sad. Sad enough to actually cry about it. If tax were properly collected from everybody, including big business, and the bank CEOs didn’t award themselves huge bonuses, the deficit and the debt would be easily sorted out, without punishing the needy.

There is a view held among some of the upper classes which is that rich people are rich because they are inherently superior to the rest of us, and that poor people are poor because they’re just stupid. There are other nasty little tentacles to this sort of thinking: eg prostitutes do their work because they like lots of sex, and are therefore just sluts, homeless people deserve to be homeless, and so on and so on. Now. The Tories won’t actually admit this, but their coded soundbites (eg workers vs shirkers) show that this must be how they think. Why else would the rich continue to become richer, while the poorer become poorer? It’s a form of eugenics. Repellent.

Enough for now. I need to come to terms with what’s happened. That we’re in a minority now. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still continue the struggle for a fairer, more decent society.