Monday, February 27, 2006

Sun, sea and shrinks

I can’t quite believe that the monthly date with my lovely shrink has come around again. He has been on holiday, sailing in the Caribbean (you see we have things in common too) and he has a tan. My oh my, and older man with salt and pepper hair, who understands me, with a tan. Well, I could hardly speak. There was definitely more eye contact than usual, I’m not pubescent, so it can’t have been my imagination, I could hardly meet his gaze. As always he was full of insightful words of wisdom. ‘Seven months is not very long at all, considering the severity of the trauma’ he reassured me, ‘I think you are being too hard on yourself in expecting to be recovered already’. I told him I was bored, BORED of it all, I just wanted to be able to turn the switch off. Of course he understood, but he said I still needed to process it all, talk as much as I like, read about everything that I’m drawn to, try with all my might to comprehend, it would help me in the end. He said that if it made me feel any better, he was equally fascinated by everything that is flying about in the media about terrorism, Iraq, Hamza, anti terrorism spin (or was that laws?). It did make me feel better, maybe it’s not even because I was there, perhaps I would still be desperately trying to understand.

As ever, I walked away with a spring in my step, climbed into my little baby and headed for the sea. It was dark and freezing when I arrived and I had a rotten night’s sleep. I thought maybe getting out of London would help the sleeping thing, but it didn’t. I woke up on Saturday morning feeling exhausted and crabby, until I opened the curtains. The first thing that hit me was the expanse of blue sky before me. You never see that amount of sky in London. The heart warming hue of the light casting itself across the harbour lifted my spirits and awakened a part of me that has been dormant for many months. I laughed to myself as I watched the ferocious waves throwing themselves at the sea wall with a strength unequalled by human might. White horses were roaring in from the ocean, battered trees were grasping at the soil to stand their ground, I had to get out there.

I threw on my coat, grabbed my ipod and raced out to feel the elements. I walked and walked along the beach, the wind pounding my very core and the sound of the waves audible above the music. I can’t remember the last time I felt so free. Looking out at the horizon I realised that my mind was opening with the depth of my vision. When the curvature of the earth is the only thing that limits how far you can see, when the sky meets the ocean before your eyes, only then do you understand your place on this earth.

I rounded the headland and the white cliffs rose above me. The rollers were sprinting along the flat expanse of sand. As they broke they threw up spray which shrouded the entire bay in a salty mist. I could feel the power with which they thrust themselves upon the sand. With music playing in my head, the wind and ocean battling all around me, I started to run. I was filled with an energy that came from within, I skipped and danced with my arms outstretched as I followed the meeting of land and sea.

I danced like a woman possessed, anyone watching would have thought I was mad. Well they’d be right.

I have a psychological disorder borne from finding myself in a blown up tube hundreds of feet underground. In this day and age that makes me mad. I revelled in my craziness and the freedom it gave me from social normalities. For a few moments I could understand why my schitzophrenic friend doesn’t like taking his medication. There is indeed sanctity in madness.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

What a success

George and must feel very proud of your outstanding achievements in Iraq. There is no doubt that the world would be crumbling around our feet without your egalitarian fight for democracy. Thank God for your foresight, thank Allah for your wisdom, thank Buddah for your courage, thank Shiva for your integrity and thank oil for your motives

Round of applause.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


When I was at University in Edinburgh I found a rock. Not in the metaphorical sense of the word, but an actual, physical rock. Whenever I was filled with misery and despair I used to go and sit with my rock. It gave me strength.

The Waters of Leith are home to a fast flowing, steep banked river. In places it is a miniature gorge running through the heart of this timeless city. Only a short walk from my cobbled Georgian street I could immerse myself in a wilderness and escape from the tumultuous emotions of a young woman discovering what life was all about.

In this haven lived my rock. Come rain or shine, sunlight or moonlight, it never strayed. It was stoical in its presence, defying everything that the Scottish climate could find within itself to hurl at it.

I used to go and watch it to comfort my inner self. The white turbulent frothing water span and circled, sank and flew and growled over my rock. It was utterly reliable in its resilience. I sat on the banks, battling my own devils and elements, and I tried to become that rock. I drew strength from its familiar presence, its unfailing ability to withstand the pounding and pummelling it relentlessly received.

I left that place feeling calm and reassured that things could be worse, if my rock could do it so could I. It never moved, it lives with me to this day.

Over the last few months I have found myself another rock. This time it’s hasn’t grown from granite but from human flesh.

I have complained about some of my friends, how they couldn’t cope, were unable to understand. Many of them have been indescribable in the sensitivity of their support. My rock is one of them. It has dawned on me slowly and crept up on me from behind, but I have come to rely on him. He doesn’t judge, he listens and he tries his damdest to comprehend. His sensitivity is unfailing. He was the first and only of my friends to offer to accompany me on my first journey underground, In the end I did it alone, it was the way I wanted it, but he was wise enough to know that I might need support.

Now he has gone away. For a whole two weeks. I am disappointed in myself to find quite how reliant I have become. Part of me is glad to have the chance to fight this alone, but the rest of me is drifting down stream, anchor dragging, grasping for pebbles which can’t hold their ground.

Of course there are others all around, I have found support from fellow human beings that I had never imagined possible, and I will grow from this. I have just realised, despite all my efforts of independence and strength, that there will always be times in my life that I need that rock.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

There is no escape

I know there are people around me who think that I am getting 'obsessive' about this 7th July business. I have also received comments on this blog saying that I am 'self obsessed' or 'self absorbed'. They may all be right, maybe I should 'move on', stop thinking about it, stop writing about it, but I can't.

I am so aware of people thinking this that I rarely talk about it. I don't talk about how terrified I am for my life every time I descend underground, how angry I am with Tony Blair, how desperately I am trying to understand the bombers, how deceived I feel by this government, how I am losing my faith in this world day by day, I feel as if I am drowning in a swamp of spin and bullshit. The only place I can talk about it is here. That's what this blog is for, to vent this frustration and express my disbelief.

There is no escape from this thing. The only time I really truly forget it is when I leave the country. When I am here it surrounds me. I have to take the tube every day. I spend over an hour of each day underground. I listen to the radio, I read the papers, I watch the news, I surf the web. It is everywhere. Reactionary terrorism bills, angry young Muslims, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Guantanamo, Hamza, Palestine. Soon I will have to give my police statement, tonight I am going to City Hall to talk about the 7th July review committee, then I will be giving my testimony at the London Assembly. There will be the trial of the attempted bombers from 21st July, there will be the first year anniversary, and so it goes on. Trust me, it's not easy to move on, the odds are stacked against it.

So this week end I am running away. I am getting into my car and driving to the sea. It will be the first time since new year that I've been out of London. I am going to run on the beach, read trashy books, finish knitting a cardigan for my friend's baby, go to the butchers, the bakers and the local pub, chat to the neighbours and forget about all this for a couple of days.
The ocean is my church, it is more powerful than us all. When I'm in need of peace, that's where I go.

Friday, February 17, 2006

George W must be quaking in his boots

So heartening to see world leaders telling George W exactly what they think of his immoral, hypocritical, not to mention illegal, holding of prisoners in Guantanamo without trial.

'Last night, the secretary general, Kofi Annan, said: "Sooner or later there will be a need to close the Guantánamo [camp]."'

Sooner or later? What's wrong with NOW?

'Peter Hain said last night that the government believed the camp should be shut. Asked on the BBC's Question Time programme whether Tony Blair supported that view he said "I think so, yes".'

'I think so'? Compellingly convincing. Hard hitting to the core. These guys don't mince their words. Reassuring to know the world is in the hands of such razor sharp, clear thinking, straight talking minds.

The phrase 'pussy footing' springs to mind.

(And whilst I'm at it, how is what you're doing in Belmarsh any different Mr.B?)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Gee, they really don't make it easy doing this compensation thing. It took me months to decide whether to do it, now I've dragged myself through the painful form filling procedure, I feel obligated to keep at it.

Today I received a letter from CICA (The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority).

'I have now been advised by the Metropolitan Police that they have no record of your involvement in the July 07 terrorist attacks.

As is the case with all claimants who's involvement has not been recorded, The Metropolitan Police will be contacting you to take a statement, they will then confirm this in writing to us'

I guess I am not surprised, but I am upset, and angry. They have made me feel like a fraud. I am sure they have hundreds of false claims, but is this really necessary. The police will gain nothing relevant to their investigation by talking to me now. Surely it's a waste of valuable police time to send them round to talk to me just to prove I was there. We're probably only talking about 1,000 pounds worth of compensation here. Really, is it worth it?

I gave every contact detail I posses to an officer on the day, he wrote it all down in his bloody book. Where is that book? Why do I have to go through this again? At the time I was desperate to talk to someone, for someone to recognise that I was there, but I was surrounded by silence on that front.

I spoke to fellow passengers and heard that most had been contacted by the police to give statements. I felt rather left out, insignificant. Why had no-one come to talk to me? At the same time, I was told that these sessions were often hugely disturbing and lasted several hours, so maybe it was a blessing. Still, it was important for me for someone official to acknowledge that I was there. No-one ever did.

Now I've asked for money they're interested, they want to come and put me through reliving it all 7 months later. It has taken a compensation claim to make anyone interested in me. It stinks.

I had to go out there and find out what was going on, what support was on offer (not much). I emailed Ken, I went to my GP, (she offered me drugs), I called the 7/7 support centre hotline in the middle of one nightmare fuelled night. It was advertised on the internet as 24 hour, by the time I had called it, it no longer was. I finally went to see them, the woman I saw didn't know what to say, we sat in silence, finally she apologised and said it was her first day. I went to a Red Cross survivors meeting, it was on the 16th floor of a tower block. Someone actually walked all the way up as she was too scared to get in the lift. I was pretty petrified myself. The first thing we were told was 'If the fire alarm goes off it's real'....'Oh and there's a nice view of Kings Cross from here'. Jeepers, who are these people?

I am friends with the policemen who rescued us, the driver, and a hundred other fellow passengers. I have been seeing a psychiatrist for 4 months, I was off work for 2, I have PTSD, I was invited to the memorial service in St Pauls (after much perseverance). I am an active member of Kings Cross United, I have spoken to the press, I read out the names of the victims on our tube at our 6 month memorial service, but still I need to give a statement, prove I was there.

I just feel like packing the whole thing in. I don't want their blasted money, I don't want to go through it all again with the police, I am stamping my foot like a spoilt child, but I DON"T WANT TO DO IT!

I am off now to meet some of my fellow passengers and watch a play about that day. Maybe it'll help me with my statement, just in case I wasn't there.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I'm going to the SUN!!

Two months today, exactly, I will be stepping off a plane in Antigua. Oh deep joy!

I booked my tickets yesterday, I am soooo excited! I'm going sailing for 2 weeks. Sun, wind, ocean and hopefully a splattering of dolphins to add to the perfect cocktail. Heaven on earth.

This will be my first proper holiday since last July. I went kitesurfing in Egypt two weeks after 7th July. The bonus was that I missed the 21st July attempted bombings, the downside was that I was just along the coast from the Sharm El Sheik bombings which also happened to be in the same hotel chain I was staying in. I arrived home to find my phone inundated with text messages yet again asking 'are you ok?'. Irrationally I started to take it personally. I felt as if wherever I went something bad would happen.

Anyway, I'm counting the days 'till I see and feel the sun, the turquoise ocean, the white beaches, I think I deserve it. Am I making you sick yet?!

Clearly it is a fine excuse for much bikini shopping!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Multicultural mates & mutterings

Before I went to bed on Friday I had made my usual ‘things I have to do at the week end’ list. It is a vain attempt to stop me from wasting the week end away doing sweet ‘f’ all. It mostly fails, but at least I try.

Top of the list was to go to the demonstration against Islamophobia in Trafalgar Square. I wanted to go and stand with them and show solidarity. I wanted to talk to people and hear their views from their own mouths, rather than through the voice of the press.

In the end, I woke up on Saturday feeling tearful and miserable. A friend called and asked if I wanted to go dog walking and it just felt like an altogether better idea. Like many of my fellow passengers, I have become consumed with trying to understand why the bombings happened, it is always on my mind, always there. Sometimes, however, I just need to get away from it. So I went to take Homer & Hector for a long walk instead.

By Saturday evening I was feeling much better and drove across London for dinner at a friend’s. There were 8 of us in all, we regularly feast ourselves at this table, my friends are fantastic cooks. Not only do we eat, but drink ,smoke and debate into the early hours, I love these evenings.

Last time we were there it was the Garri Holness rape/compensation issue that stole the table. I was amazed at the strength of feeling that was unleashed, how strongly people felt, and how differing the views. We wrestled with this one for a good two hours, people were thinking, people were discussing, the energy in the room was fantastic.

It would have been only natural, this time, for the cartoon crisis to be the star of the show. We did have a chuckle at the Ann Summers ‘Mustafa shag’ sex doll story. I mean?! But, much to my relief, it fizzled out after that and I was glad to move on. I have been over and over it enough now, it has worn itself out for me, I know what I think.

Inexplicably it was the Kenneth Faulkner case that captured the conversation. Soon we were in full flow, on our finest form. I have to confess to being a bit of a stirrer on these occasions, but it is also something I feel strongly about. No-one has the right to kill anyone, in my mind. Certainly not for burglary for christ’s sake. I notched up a gear or two….’So you agree with the death penalty? Without even a trial by jury?.... Basically you’re saying that you or I have the right to decide whether someone deserves to die, just because they’re on our land?!’. Oh I was in my element.

Back and forth the opinions swung, but everybody had one. I love provoking discussion like this, drawing people out of themselves. Once it was sufficiently stirred I could sit back and watch it evolve. I smiled as I looked around the table and realized why I loved this multicultural city of ours. Only 3 of us could describe ourselves as British, 2 were Canadian, 1 Irish, 1 Jamaican and 1 Thai. London at it’s finest.

Then I started thinking about racial stereotyping, Muslims aren’t the only ones to have suffered this curse. It happens all over the world, and most prominently in Britain when a new wave of immigrants arrives. The Irish, the Jews the West Indians and more recently the Eastern Europeans. I couldn’t help laughing as I looked around at us all. The alcohol was flowing and the evil weed was in abundance. The only person not drinking was the Irish-man. The only person not smoking was the Jamaican. The Brits were doing both!

Welcome bumblebee!

A big welcome to blogland to one of my fellow passengers bumblebee.

She was the first person I met who was on the same carriage as me. When we met she remembered me, she said 'I kept asking you what was going on, as I thought you'd be able to see because you're so tall'.........'but you were bloody useless, I kept saying 'What's happening?' and you just kept replying 'I don't know'!

She made me laugh then and she made me laugh on the day with her infamous 'at least I know I'm crap in a crisis' comment.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The sun is out and I am smiling

In this game I seem to have found myself playing, the floaty highs are inevitably followed by doom laden lows. (Spiritual Emergency has perceptively pointed this out).

Someone who has suffered from depression wisely advised me a few months ago ‘There will be good days and bad. There’s not much you can do about the bad ones, but just make sure you enjoy the good ones’.

So I am going to indulge myself today and keep on smiling.

Last night I shared a bottle of fizz with a certain newly engaged blogger, she was radiant. Then my cousin called me from Geneva, his joy could be felt across the length of a continent. His wife has just given birth to a beautiful little boy (my second cousin?). They have suffered their own highs and lows but now, as their daughter said, their family is ‘complete’.

It was an evening full of happy, hopeful news and it has stayed with me. I am clinging onto it with all my might, holding it close and breathing it in.

Tonight I am going to meet another growing family, my fellow passengers from 7th July, old faces and new. Nothing could fuel my hope more than that.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Cartoon crisis

My head is much clearer today, and I am not too proud to admit that I have changed my mind slightly on the cartoon crisis.

Freedom of speech and thought is imperative. I have friends in China who can't access my blog, or even the BBC website. We must never, under any circumstances, succumb to this way of thinking.

Having read, researched and reflected I now have a better understanding of what is going on here.

I think that the motive behind publishing these cartoons was wrong. We must all be open to criticism and ridicule. We have all been victims of it at various stages in history. These cartoons were published to provoke, not (as I previously stated) as a joke. They were published out of hatred and racism and I cannot condone this.

However, the reaction to them has been completely unjustified. I sympathise with 'ordinary' Muslims whose name is being tarnished in the name of...what? Not in the name of Islam, not in the name of the Q'ran, but in the name of hate.

We live in a complicated world and these are difficult times. These latest riots and demonstrations have shown the two extremes of bigotry and hatred pitched head to head and behaving despicably. There is no excuse, there is no justification.

No-one is doing themselves any favours, the chasm between our cultures is widening at a cataclysmic pace. We need to talk, we need to understand, we need to learn to live together.

No-one is right, no-one is wrong, we need to learn to agree to disagree.

This whole episode has sickened me. There is no defense for senseless provocation, or indeed for retaliating with violence. If it wasn't so despicable I would call it childish, but it has gone beyond that.

I know that these people are not Muslims in the true sense of the word. Sadly there are people who happily throw them all into the same pot and the behavior of the minority tarnishes the image of the majority.

This has brought a lot back for me. I feel more nervous on the tube again, I am frightened by this senseless world. I am terrified that maybe I don't actually have the answers. If there are no answers then what? Where does it all end?

But I will not give up on this human race, the majority are good, honest, decent, loving citizens. There must be strength in numbers. Fundamentalism, from both sides, is stealing the headlines but that does not mean it is stealing our souls.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The 'wonderful news'.....

As I said, it's not mine it's Rachel's .

It has made my week, my month, my year. And yes mine was one of the girlie text messages that started 'Oh My God'!

I do not know anyone who deserves such happiness more than Rach & J.

It is such a joy to hear about love instead of hatred.

There is hope, there is happiness, there is love.

CONGRATULATIONS to two very wonderful, very special people who I am truly honoured and 'happy' to know!


Sunday, February 05, 2006

Ladies who lunch

I seem to have been doing a lot of lunching lately. I always like the idea, but in reality I’m not so fond of it. You tend to arrive home, early evening, slightly drunk, unable to enjoy the rest of the night, but too early to go to bed.

Here I am after one such lunch. It was Claire’s birthday, we had lunch at her parent’s. I didn’t want to go. I never want to go to anything these days, but I do it because I know I have to, it’s part of my ‘recovery’.

I was shaking and sweating and nearly in tears but I went. I had knitted her a scarf (I will tell you about my knitting addiction later) and she was over the moon about it.

I have known her parents for years, I worked for her dad, but still I found it hard going. I kept sneaking outside for a fag. It wasn’t that I really needed or wanted a cigarette, I just had be on my own. It was all chit chat, most of her friends work in film and there was gossip flying around. My mind was preoccupied, I couldn’t decide whether those Mohammed cartoons should have been published or not.

I think they should have, and I am angry that the extremist Muslim minority are giving the general community such a bad name. That’s what I think is happening, it was a bloody cartoon for god’s sake, They may have insulted Mohammed in a manner that westerners cannot comprehend, but at the end of the day it was a joke. The general Muslim community are not violent, the extremists are leaping upon this opportunity to promote their cause. It is tragic and pathetic at the same time.

That was what was on my mind today. Apparently Katie Holmes has been artificially inseminated by Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology, as Tom Cruise is gay. That’s what I learnt at lunch. I am normally a girlie gossip right up there with the rest of them but I just didn’t care.

Then the drama stories started. ‘We have been burgled 3 times in as many months’.’ I was followed to work by a stalker as my chauffer drove me’. It was all traumatic, none if it was nice. Everyone was sympathetic, shocked, ‘oh you poor things’. They all know my story, but I couldn’t mention it. I didn’t want to, I couldn’t ruin the occasion. But I can admit to feeling riled that others were getting such sympathy about being burgled. It seems that when you have been through something like I have it is too much for people to deal with. Not only do you have to go through the shit, but you don’t even get any sympathy. At the end of the day I know that sympathy won’t help, I know the only person who can sort this thing out is me. I am so fed up of being miserable. Sometimes I feel like shouting out to the world & letting them know how bad I am really feeling, but then again I just want to keep it to myself. This is my trauma, this is my life.

Anyway, on a happy note, I heard the most wonderful news today. That’s all I’m going to say.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Is everyone mad?

Today I had lunch in Primrose Hill daahling. It was lovely, the skinny jeans came into their own and the red wine was flowing.

I decided I wasn’t good for anything this afternoon but watching a DVD. I haven’t been to the DVD store for a while so I was hoping to be spoilt for choice. There have been times where I have got to the stage where I have seen everything in that place.

Well it seemed everyone in Highbury was staying in tonight, or had consumed too much red wine over lunch, the shelves were bare. After much deliberating, and overcoming my disappointment, I picked up Asylum. My friend Claire worked on it, and the lead actor (Marton Csokas) was rather yummy in the flesh if I remembered rightly.

It was filmed in a derelict Victorian psychiatric hospital near Leeds. I went up to stay with Claire whilst she was working on it. She said that the whole crew felt as though they were going slightly mad up there, the hospital was getting to them, they thought it was haunted, cameras kept on going missing.

She has come with me several times to visit my friend in hospital. We talked about the irony of her working in a Victorian nut house after everything he has been through. I told him about it but I’m not sure he really appreciated the irony. It was all still too present for him.

Months later she went to the screening and told me with surprise that it was actually quite good. My friend has a few days leave from the hospital these days. It is a struggle to fill his time, but every Friday he goes to the movies and catches a new release. Whilst I was off work I used to go with him. I came to love our Friday afternoon matinees.

When Asylum was released, she suggested we go and see it. I was slightly wary, ‘is it really a good idea?’ I asked, what with him still being in hospital. She convinced me that it would be fine, she said she thought he’d really enjoy it ‘it’s not depressing at all’. I believed her and suggested it to him. I could tell that he wasn’t very enamoured by the idea, but he was going along with it to keep me happy. Thankfully it was only on general release for a couple of weeks and by the time we had decided to go and see it the run was over. Thank the Lord.

I have just watched it. I know I am not the happiest, most sparkling being at the moment, but boy oh boy was it miserable. It was a good movie and all that, but what was she thinking? What, on God’s earth, possessed her to think that he would have ENJOYED it? Is she mad?!

To summarise the general message……if you’re mad you’re fucked……if you’re in love with someone who’s mad you’re even more fucked. Everything is fucked.

Great recommendation Claire. I think I’m going to bed.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Retail therapy rocks!

I've got to stop this shopping thing. I've been doing it for months now. You see I have the perfect excuse....I deserve it, it cheers me up! After everything I've been through, I tell myself, I deserve a new handbag, a girl can never have enough shoes, a bit of indulgence is good for the soul.

It works for a while, but it only takes a few days for the new top to be old. I've acquired so many new clothes I haven't even found the time or occasion to wear them all. But still I keep shopping. Tonight I hit late night Oxford Street, I purchased my 3rd pair of jeans in as many months. I am too scared to count how many pairs I have. It is materialism in the extreme and deep down I feel ashamed.

If the old, my tube was bombed, excuse starts to wear thin, I have another one up my sleeve. I have lost weight. That one never fails, it is practical and necessary. I have had so many extra holes punched in my belts that the cobbler is starting to give me funny looks. He probably thinks I have an eating disorder. How wrong he is, I have PTSD.

I don't completely understand how PTSD causes weight loss, but I have to admit, it is one of the symptoms I am quite enjoying. I haven't been this thin for years. My bosses keep telling me I'm underweight, but they're just jealous, they have been on the Atkins diet for 3 years and you wouldn't know.

Whilst I was off work for 2 months I ran like a woman possessed. Even if I achieved nothing in a day, I had to go running, it became my salvation, and I guess my calorie burner at the same time. I was doing it to keep sane, not to get skinny, but it's a welcome bonus.

So I am determined to enjoy this new slender me. I am going to wear skinny jeans for as long as I can. When I told my mum that none of my clothes fitted me any more she replied, as only mothers can, 'don't throw them away, you'll put it all back on again when you get better'. Maybe she's right but I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts. I might feel like crap but at least I look good!

Year of the sleepy dog

I enjoyed this 'thought for the day' this morning. Roll on 60!

Thought for the Day, 1 February 2006

Martin Palmer

At the weekend, Chinese people around the world, joined here in the UK by many thousands of well-wishers, noisily celebrated the New Year of the Dog... or rather, to be accurate, the year of the Sleepy Dog. The traditional Chinese calendar is based on five cycles of twelve years. Thus this Year of the Sleepy Dog will not reoccur until 2066. Indeed, in traditional Chinese culture, you only ever celebrated one birthday - your sixtieth - on the grounds that you had now reached maturity. From its roots in the religion of Daoism, Chinese tradition believes that true development takes time - and sixty years is just about enough time for this to happen.

It's not only Daoism. Most religions have long-term perspectives because they actually understand human nature, and are dealing with eternity. For example, in 1999, the Sikhs began their third epoch, which they decided would be the Cycle of Nature, with an emphasis on ecology. The cycle will end in 2299 - a three hundred year commitment to the environment.

This week, the United Nations Development Programme launched an extraordinary book entitled The New Public Finance, which shares this long-term perspective.

Instead of going for quick fix solutions it looks at the real costs of failure, bad planning and of national rather than international efforts to help the developing world. It recommends structures and solutions based around a timescale of generations rather than the relatively short life spans of most governments. The authors claim, that in time, it could unlock an astonishing $7 trillion for development.

It is radical and would take decades to implement. And this is one of its most important features. It goes against the usual schemes coming out of the United Nations - and indeed out of most governments - to reshape society through grandiose five year plans, all designed to assist the inevitable March of Progress.

So as we enter the Sleepy Dog Year, let's also think forward with the Daoists to the next Year of the Sleepy Dog in 2066, and imagine a world in which after decades of work, compassionate proposals have improved our economic structures, this time reaching even the poorest of the poor. And let us also imagine, along with the Sikhs, a world where in three hundred years time, things we set in motion now for a better world, will have come to fruition.

Then let's look again at the usual timescales we try to live by, and perhaps, in this Year of the Sleepy Dog, follow its example, stop rushing around, and instead find time to chew on things a little more.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

It's me!

A Holly Finch!

Thanks Judge, made me smile

Tonight I am weepy

So much for the year of the Dog. I got a card today, from a friend in Malaysia, with a picture of her dog, it made me smile.

I am so so tired. I can't sleep, I can't work. I was invited to a party tonight, a friend is having a launch party for his new company. Free booze, in a bar in Old Street. I am at home, being weepy. Pathetic, but I just couldn't face it.

I have just been reading 'A journal by the father of a son diagnosed with schizophrenia'. It is all so familiar, except it is my friend in hospital, not my son. It doesn't make it any easier though, and it made me cry. Our relationship has been helped by my PTSD. He was always very defensive about his illness, tried to convince himself, and me, nothing was wrong, it was just us, ganging up on him, getting him sectioned. But now that even sorted old, strong old Holly needs to see a shrink, he has opened up. He sends me cards telling me he knows how I feel. He talks about his sessions with his psychiatrist. He has looked after me and I think that has helped him more than anything, after having me look after him for all these years.

I am tired of feeling like this. I need the darkness to pass and the sun to rise. I am beginning to bore myself with this misery.

Tomorrow will be better.

777 Memorial Service

I received this today....

"This Tuesday 7th February will be 7 months to the day since the 7/7 London Bombings. To commemorate this and to demand an open-ended public enquiry [into the meta-reasons behind the bombings, and the police handling] a non-denominational Memorial Service will be held outside Downing Street on the morning of the 7th February, a ringing of bells and reading of the names of all those who died that day.

Meet at 8.45 am outside Downing Street.

For more info, please call 0785 439 0408 and check for updates on"

I might have to blag a dotor's appointment, please join them if you can