Last night I went back to my old neighbourhood where a group was playing jazz in a new photo gallery and someone declaimed verse surrounded by lovingly prepared food. It was a hot evening and the new venue had drawn around a vast crowd of chattering, animated arty folk.  So unlike where I live now.


I moved here more than two years ago but still have met very few of the neighbours. I tried to engage in conversation with one about his use of insecticides and pesticides because I want our plums, figs, cherries, tomatoes, almonds and veg to be organic. He responds to my “Hello”s with aggressive scowls, anger and accusations.


Grayson Perry: “My dad was a skilled electrical engineer. My mother was angry. That was her job… My father left when I was four because my mother had an affair with the milkman, who turned into my stepfather. He was a violent thug. My mother was quite disturbed herself and incredibly volatile.”


Though a founding member, poet Hugh MacDiarmid was expelled from the National Party of Scotland (a forerunner of the SNP) for being a communist and from the Communist Party for being a nationalist. He called the Scots vernacular “an inchoate Marcel Proust – a Dostoyevskian debris of ideas – an inexhaustible quarry of subtle and significant sound.”


Central to MacDiarmid’s vision was his belief that the Scottish psyche could not be adequately expressed in the English language alone, and that to develop and write in a synthetic Scots was the only way to achieve a coherent national voice


We whipped round the gallery, unimpressed by so much, through some doors and suddenly there was Christ Delivered to the People in Cookham, Stanley Spencer’s “Holy suburb of Heaven”.  That the teenager was also impressed made my heart leap and together we stood silently drinking in the frenetic energy, domestic sagas, dramatic light.


My life gets more complicated because of Brexit and May’s shambolic government pushing through “the will of the people”. 3/4 of 18-24-year-olds voted Remain, as did Scotland and London. Statistically, Leave was voted for by people with low or no formal qualifications who get their news from The Sun.


“Theresa May demands respect from EU over Brexit…”  Respect is not demanded, it’s earned. Thanks to May & her fellow Tories, Britain is ridiculed, its reputation not so much in tatters but flailing around in a sewer.  In her sixties, childless, she should resign from blighting future generations’ hopes and prospects.


Ireland’s Leo Vandakar said “We voted for the 200,000 Irish women who have travelled to Britain since 1983 to end their pregnancies. We have voted to look reality in the eye and we did not blink.  We have voted to provide compassion where there was once a cold shoulder, and to offer medical care where once we turned a blind eye.”


Predictably, I wept my way through Lion. 80,000 children are said to go missing in India each year, an increase of around 84% in the two years between 2013 and 2015. Many are sold to brothels, trafficked for organs, end up as slaves or find themselves, apparently, as jockey camels in the middle east.


All over the country, Thousands march, humour prevails.  Spiderman’s placard reads “With great power comes great responsibility Ya radge orange bampot”. A baby has one that says  “Babies Against Trump”.  A courageous Greenpeace protester para-glides through police snipers as Trump plays golf : “Trump Well Below Par #resist”.


The Tory leader doesn’t strike me as overly blessed with insight or brilliance. She invites Trump and lays on Blenheim, Sandhurst, Chequers, Windsor, a smiling Queen. Trump insults his host, recommends she sue  the EU (which he would like to topple, along with NATO) , plays golf and flies off to meet Putin.


Beautifully written, profound and thought-provoking This is Going to Hurt is quite simply one of the funniest books I’ve read. It’s also very moving. The NHS, once the pride of Britain and envy of the world. has, for decades been gradually dismantled by successive governments, crass money-saving incentives and stupidity.


Sarah Palin calls Sacha Baron Cohen “evil, exploitative and sick” after he posed as a wounded military veteran and interviewed her. “HOW DARE YOU mock those who have fought and served our country. Truly sick.”  America only fights just wars, wouldn’t dream of dropping atom bombs/napalm, selling arms, or using war to grow rich?


Headlines this morning:  UK government plunged into chaos.” How can you plunge into chaos something already flounderingly chaotic?  Events in Westminster appal on every level and just get worse & worse. Explain how the vicar’s daughter who couldn’t lead a group of scouts around a campsite, was elected to run a country?


Eternally attention-seeking, Boris Johnson has resigned.  The Eton- & Oxford-educated father of 5 who told British voters Brexit would make Britain richer and more independent appears to have no moral compass. New York Times headline: “Johnson has ruined Britain.” He’s certainly jeopardised national security, the economy, and innumerable work/educational opportunities.


Rees Mogg, not so much “Honourble Member for the 18th Century” as the Middle Ages. Ex-Etonion, Oxford, Hedge Fund Manager, millionaire, father of SIX children, anti-abortion, even in cases of rape…  What qualifies him to make decisions for the British people? And who actually votes these people in?


Michael Gove, Brexiteer, expenses scammer (which MP isn’t?), mooted bringing back capital punishment. As Secretary of State for education, approved creationist schools and suggested presenting all schools with signed copies of the King James Bible. The NUT passed a vote of No Confidence in him. Why don’t voters follow suit?


Invited friends for a drink. One arrived with a headache and left with a bleeding leg. I have no idea what happened.  Other than that, it was a good evening : local wine, good food and plenty of rain – fabulous storm after blistering spell of cracked earth cracked & scorched plants.


I’ve been grumbling about British Airways for a while but didn’t realise the extent of their descent into crassness. No longer included in the advertised price is a) food b) a cabin bag!! c) seats and d) the return flight, any of which might come in handy on a long haul 2 week trip