Friday was a bring and buy sale in aid of Children in Need. About fifty home eddors from Sussex met up and exchanged toys, books, games and home made cakes. The total raised was nearly one hundred quid – not bad. I am not actually a great fan of things like Children in Need. I suspect that those kind of big charity events waste a hell of a lot of money once you take into account all the admin necessary in grant giving. And they do tend to rely on pity a fair bit. But, then again, money does get to all kinds of good causes.
After that the kids and I went to a library so they could have a quiet read and my chocolate cake induced migraine could ease. That was really nice.
In the evening we watched a bit of the Children in Need telly thingy and it happened to be a local segment featuring Allsorts youth project, which runs in Brighton. Pearlie seemed astonished that kids get grief from family and community when they come out as lesbian or gay. We tried to explain a bit, which ended with this exchange.
Allie: “So, that’s something you don’t need to worry about. Whoever you choose to love and live with, that’s fine by us.”
Pearlie: “Which, in my case, will be cats.”
So, that’s all sorted then!
I spent the evening reading Julian Clary’s autobiography. I then hunted through a lot of old sentimental stuff (letters, cards, tickets and so on) looking for a ticket I thought I had from a ‘Joan Collins Fan Club’ show I saw in Brighton in about 1988. I didn’t find it but I had a nice time looking through stuff.
I went to work. Leo had a pyjamas day working on a space ship that landed upstairs. He also filled a bag with lots of drawing and writing to be his ‘barkscrolls’. Pearlie spent a lot of time on the computer. She was using a free cd from the Independent to work on her family tree. This was an interesting task, involving lots of gender re-assignment and surname alteration. Pearlie also looked at Flash Earth – finding lots of family homes round the country. Dani knitted and aided children when asked.
Dani finally finished this bag!
I went to work. Dani and the kids went to the Rockery for a bit.
Autumn colour at the rockery.
They had to stay in for Leo to have a big strop for a while. He is suddenly very aware that Pearlie has a fine bicycle and he doesn’t. We are not really keen to get him a bike yet as he is nowhere near being ready to ride one. I don’t think he really wants one but he just wanted to point out the unfairness. Eventually he changed his demand to a ‘shopping basket on wheels, like Paddington has.’ He is having a little flurry of enthusiasm for Paddington at the moment, which is nice. When I was looking through old stuff the other night found my Paddington note book - a Christmas present when I was five or six.
We had our usual Monday morning rush of Dani to work, Pearlie to Kids’ Club and me and Leo to MMs. After MMs I had to go on to work. MMs was good, but is definitely in something of a transitional phase as it adjusts to the recent influx on new members.
When I got home from work I heard about Pearlie’s day, including afternoon at the grandmothers’ where they had a Scrabble fest and she beat my mum. She’d also done some French. Leo showed me his new Woodcraft Folk badge and told me about a singing session.
We waited in for Tesco this morning – their van was broken. My mum came round with emergency supplies. Pearlie spent lots of time on the computer again. She is enjoying a website of riddles – really enjoying the lateral thinking involved. Leo got involved with plastic animals and dinosaurs who are launching an attack on some Sylvanians. My mum tried to encourage him to get them to enter some kind of negotiation process but he wasn’t interested.
After lunch I took Pearlie to the hospital for her appointment at the gait clinic. This involved a long wait but nothing more invasive than a useful conversation about padded insoles and foot structure. It also involved some inevitable exchanges – “no, she doesn’t go to school – she’s home educated…Yes, she is very thin. She does eat…” But he was a nice enough bloke and Pearlie was pleased that he didn’t ban heelys outright – as long as she doesn’t wear them all the time! Looks like the Christmas budget needs restructuring if she wants a pair of those. They are something of a craze among Pearlie’s home ed friends.
Politics, Religion, an’ all that…
I have to say that I don’t, repeat DON’T admire Robert Kilroy Silk – or agree with everything he says. I am well aware that he is a racist, sexist, patronising idiot. What I was attempting to record was the bizarre experience I have watching political progs on the telly these days. I find myself agreeing with the words coming from the mouths of all kinds of unlikely people. I find myself nodding along with the words of Portillo on ‘This Week.’ This is not something I could have predicted! The world is all loopy these days. What I realise is that people speak clearest when they’ve got nothing to lose. Kilroy is the kind of person who has nowhere to go – he is a joke and even he probably realises this now – so he just speaks out. Portillo does the same, probably for the same reasons. It’s that ‘speaking out’ that I like. I think that ten years of mealy mouthed non-speak has made clear opinion very attractive.
Nic posted something interesting the other day about beliefs and tolerance and so on. I agree with a lot of what she said. I think I was brought up to scoff at religion – not helpful or sensible, or even kind. I caused quite a ripple in the family by winning the RE prize at school. I liked the O level course we did – which was split into three sections – Christianity, Judaism and Islam. I actually learned some useful stuff that has helped in life, albeit pretty superficial. So I don’t encourage the kids to scoff. They understand that people have religious beliefs, and that they matter to them. But it is a complicated business explaining religion when you don’t have any, and when you truly believe that it is a negative force in the world. I believe that more and more with every year that passes. Of course, there’s not a lot to be done about it!
It is also hard to explain that “yes, we have to respect X’s religious beliefs but we don’t have to agree with them because they include the belief that your mummies should not love each other and that we are not a family.” Like anyone else, we don’t like having to discuss the fact that some people hate and despise us for what we are. But we try to make it part of explaining our belief that no-one should be despised for who they are – for their colour, religion, nationality, sexuality – anything. And for children this is pretty obvious. When we talk about Palestine, or the Holocaust, or slavery, or the suppression of sign language, the children see the injustices so clearly. It’s a shame that children don’t have more power in the world.
I also have had dear friends who have been brought to the brink of despair through trying to reconcile their faith with their sexuality. They’ve had to deny themselves a partner, companionship, love and sex because they thought they were damning themselves to hell if they had those things. And they thought that the people who professed love and care in the name of religion would withdraw that if they told the truth about themselves. Such is life. I know that. But I look at the lives of friends who had all that to deal with and then I look at my godless family and I want to promote atheism – on street corners, with loudhailers!
And one of the things we do have, in this country, for now at least, is some freedom of speech. If I want to shout loud and proud about our godless lives then I can. And so sometimes, just sometimes, I will.
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