Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

What's not to like?


My Greek Cypriot hairdresser warned me yesterday that if I even thought of not voting for Stavros Flatley in the final of Britain's Got Talent, I could look forward to green highlights on my next visit. But why would anyone not vote for them? They reduce me to helpless giggles.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

WHERE ARE THE UMBRELLAS?




It was raining heavily on Tuesday morning and I was going to the gym. And the umbrella stand in the hall was empty. And there was no umbrella in the boot of the car.
And I didn’t know where they had got to. And I couldn’t remember when they had last been used, or when I had last seen them, or who might have borrowed them. And I couldn’t remember, for that matter, when it had last rained.

On Tuesday it was the six month anniversary of the fateful night in Mumbai when Will and Kelly were threatened with their lives. And said their goodbyes to one another. And I was intermittently on the end of a phone in London and at one stage did not know if my lovely son was alive.

It has been a long time. It has, in a sense, been one long extended event. And Christmas and New Year have been and long gone. And snow has happened and spring has arrived and public holidays have occurred and friends have gone away and come back and Rosie is coming to the end of her second year at university. And Will is still in hospital undergoing rehabilitation.
He is a star . Kelly is a star.
It does sometimes happen in life. A disruption to the normal flow. Of events . Of habits . Of time. When something prises you into a parallel world that runs alongside the familiar one. When what used to be important preoccupations are now barely recognised irrelevancies. You look across to the old familiar life and wonder when the tracks will intersect. ( I’m talking for myself here)

Three weeks ago Will and Kelly decided to go public with their story. They had absolutely no desire to , but they acknowledged that they needed to as they get no compensation from the UK government. And now the real world has been engaged, but in a kind of ultra way. Interactions with journalists and politicians,. Seeing images and stories in print and on TV. And messages coming in from the ether. From complete strangers and from long lost friends. Offers of help. Expressions of support . And many heartfelt greetings.

And they have been very gratified by the support that has been forthcoming.
And now that they have engaged the outside world it is sort of time for me to. And I hope I will have the kind of energy that allows me to get back to doing some of the things I enjoy. Like writing occasionally for this blog. About less important things like the disappearance of tab collars and , now that the warmer weather is here, the ghastly re-appearance of cargo pants. Or buying an umbrella.

Thank you one and all for all your kind thoughts.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Mumbai: The government concedes there's a problem

Yesterday, there was a half hour interview with Will, Kelly and Nigel on Radio Five Live, which you can listen to here, and which gives a graphic account of what happened in Mumbai that night. Later that morning Tess Jowell, the minister responsible, came on and under tough questioning from the news presenter, conceded that there was an anomaly in the law and that the government was looking into changing it. Will's website will be campaigning to hold her to hger promise.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Mumbai: The aftermath


For several months this site benefited from the insightful analysis of 'Harry Fenton' in real life, my friend Nigel Pike. Last November Nigel's son Will was caught up in the terrorist atrocities in Mumbai. Attempting to escape with his girlfriend Kelly Doyle from their third-floor hotel room, Will fell, sustaining serious injuries. He is facing the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

At every stage in in this cruel calamity I have been shocked by the incompetence and indifference of the Foreign Office, parts of the National Health Service and the British government which has abandoned Will, offering him a one-off payment from a Red Cross fund of a meagre £15,000. Had he been injured in a terrorist attack on British soil he would have been compensated. Had he been in a car crash, he would have been compensated. Had his injury taken place at work, he would have been compensated. But because he was the victim of a terrorist attack abroad, the government says it will give him nothing. Not a penny.

Will was a target because he was British. The terrorists went from room to room looking for British and American guests to execute. Since he returned to London from Mumbai five months ago, the British government has preferred to pretend he does not exist.

In today's Observer the full story of what happened after Mumbai is told. You can read my account here, and a report by the chief political correspondent here, and a leader here.

This morning Will and Kelly launched a website, a public appeal for a change in government policy and for funds to help them though the years ahead. You can read that here. Please do.

UPDATE
You can also listen to a radio interview with Will which went out this morning on BBC Radio Four's Today Programme