In the wake of the atrocious attack in Manchester last night, I feel have to say something. But like so many people today there are simply not enough words to express just how sad,  shocked, upset, fearful, determined, defiant and united we feel as a city.

Mancunians are renowned for our understated attitude to getting on with things and coming together as a community to stand in the face of adversity. This isn’t the first time Manchester has experienced violence like this and I don’t suppose it will be the last. While that saddens and angers me, I am reassured by the resilience of my fellow Mancs in that we will carry on.

For those who are pointing the finger and trying to divide us, my message is that we are all children of the same God and we would do well to remember that. Darkness will never overcome darkness, only light can do that. Hatred can never overcome hatred, only love can do that.

For the people of Manchester my message is, stay strong our kid.

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Wednesday Hodgepodge – 31st August

1. Do you think the world became a more dangerous place on September 11, 2001 or are we just more aware of the danger? How has your own life changed as a result of that day?

I think the world has always been a dangerous place and acts of terrorism and violence are everywhere, and have been for a very long time. (The English people are a hodgepodge of races, descended from wave after wave of invading peoples from more than 2000 years ago. Invasions weren’t very pretty – rape, pillage, destruction, repression etc. Terrorism is nothing new!)

I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s and here on the mainland UK the IRA were at their most active, so seeing the results of bombings and violent attacks on the establishment were, sadly, commonplace. The scale of the events of 11th September was HUGE, but in reality it was just one day of terrorism. I lived with it day in and day out throughout my childhood and early adulthood. I was there when the IRA bomb was detonated in Manchester in 2006 too. I think when you have lived with terrorism in your own country and in your own home town especially, hearing about acts of terrorism in other countries doesn’t have quite the same impact on you.

As for whether how my life has changed since then, I can honestly say not a lot!! The anti-terrorist precautions that we had in place since the IRA became active are still in place – such as the fact there are no litter bins in our city centres and train stations etc – and as I don’t fly the security measures at airports haven’t touched me at all.

I have to say Joyce, this was an extremely difficult question to answer and I’m not sure I’ve answered it very well!!

2. Did you think your parents were too strict when you were growing up? How about in hindsight?

At the time, I thought my parents were not too strict at all, but with hindsight I wish they had been a bit stricter with us.  For example, I wish they had made me do chores as a child because as an adult it’s something I struggle with. I hate housework and washing up for example, but if I had been made to do it as a child then maybe I would feel differently now I’m a married woman with my own kids.

3. Share one random but candid fact about yourself.

Like Joyce, I have a “Who Am I?” tab on my blog that lists lots of random facts about me so to come up with a new one is making me think deep and long….

Ok, here we go, how about this? When I was a teenager I plastered my bedroom walls with posters of David Hasselhoff.

4. Would your nearest and dearest describe you as simple or far too complicated?

I think my nearest and dearest understand me very well and therefore it doesn’t matter whether I am straightforward or complicated. There are those amongst my friends who say I’m too complicated, but I think that’s because they don’t understand me very well.

5. What is your favourite stadium or carnival food?

The English culture is vastly different to American culture, so we don’t really do stadium or carnival food! The rough equivalent would be if I went to a football match (which I do from time to time) and the best on offer there are pies and a drink of Bovril.

6. Tornado, hurricane, earthquake…how many of these natural disasters have you experienced? Which do you think would be the scariest?

I have experienced all three, admittedly not very strong ones, and I wasn’t scared by any of them. Our cook tent was hit by a tornado on our last Brigade camp and was brought down by it (I’ll write the story of that sometime, it was no ordinary tent and it has a lovely back-story); went to see the Blackpool Illuminations once with my Uncle David and there was a hurricane (didn’t see too many lights because the sea kept swamping the car); and I was mildly perturbed during an earthquake when I was at work one day. Nine floors up the Hexagon Tower wasn’t the best place to be when the earth trembled!

7. Labor day weekend is approaching so a work related question seems appropriate. Growing up, did your parents assign you regular chores? Were you paid for doing those chores. If you’re a parent do you assign chores to your own children? Why or why not? 

Aha! See my answer to number 2 for the first bit. Now I’m a parent I don’t assign chores to my own children as such. We have a communal way of living and my kids have been brought up with the expectation that if they see a job that needs doing they should step in and do it. It doesn’t work all the time and they do have to be asked to do things, but as they mature they are getting the idea that the dishwasher doesn’t load itself and clothes don’t miraculously wash and dry themselves. Emma is far better at it than Ethan. Not sure if that’s a girl/boy thing or whether it’s because she’s nearly 18 and he’s only 12.

That last question was inspired by a post Mindee wrote on Monday. Everyone go say hi to Mindee. She blogs at Our Front Door and she’s funny.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I have already started to plan Christmas presents for this year. I know it might seem a bit early yet, but because money is extremely tight at the moment there won’t be much at the end of the year to splash on gifts. Homemade and handmade with love is going to be the order of this year!