Saturday, 27 March 2010
Well, it's been a month or so since I last posted anything. It's not that I can't be bothered you understand, but because I've been really busy. Molly the spangle has been with us for about two months now and she is doing really well. She is however extremely tiring! Two good walks a day is doing us all the world of good. I've also been trying to structure a couple of short stories, trying to put a band together, chopping wood - tons of the stuff- pawing over plans for the house extension...... the list goes on. Anyhow, we had friends to stay last weekend, the first time they'd been to our new Shropshire home. It got me thinking about parochialism, xenophobia, nationalism and all those other 'isms' that are exclusive attitudes that to some extent we all possess by degrees. All communities, whether they be racial, geographical or organisational have rules of membership, sometimes unwritten, sometimes proscribed, sometimes blindingly obvious; it's what binds them together and prevents invasion by unwanted 'others'. We took our friends to a local village pub where we usually enjoy a warm welcome. No change there for Jane and me. There was however, a faintly stifled comment overheard at the bar -'they all look the same'. You see, our friends are Hong Kong Chinese in ethnic origin. They are also second generation born and bred Brits, with University educations, and excellent jobs which add value to society. Not surprisingly, our friends, thoroughly nice and decent human beings rose so far above it, it was to them invisible. It was more of an embarrassment for us as their hosts.
This childish and unenlightened comment by one person is of course not representative of the wider community view. However, the broadly held and expressed opinion that soon to be built affordable houses in the locale are a bad thing does come closer to demonstrating parochial paranoia.
Some of the reasons expressed are well founded. Others, such as 'we'll have to start locking our doors', and the implication that the new residents will in some way be not the right 'sort' of people are particularly distasteful. But for me the most amazing is the widely held belief amongst locals that their dog mess is in some way cleaner than that of visitors dogs. I have not yet seen a local clean up after their dog, and there is plenty of ground evidence to prove they don't, yet when the farmer recently had aborted calves attributed directly to dog faeces, well, it must of course be from the dogs of people visiting. God help us if these people move in, bring their dogs and are different because they all look the same. God help us if we have we have to confront our fears, prejudices and delusions. God help us if we have to realise that we are all 'others' to someone.
I enclose a pic of Molly because she is black, female and of doubtful parentage. Her breath and faeces stink and she is at times willfull. Amazingly, despite these attributes most people who meet her think she is quite cute and like to make fuss of her. Go figure.