Pinging world

Still here.

My dad died, his cancer sped up, it was terrible, still is. We were also lucky to get him off the NHS ward where they were lovely but overworked, including by a confused and lecherous patient who wouldn’t stay in his bed, and to a hospice where we could stay. Sue Ryder, which is a charity and so depends on charitable donations. I think we got the pain control as good as it could be, and that is the be all and end all and what hospices specialise in. It’s been 6 weeks since I made it through a day without feeling stricken that I won’t see or touch him again, but thankfully my grief is very well-behaved and discreet. I find my dad in the garden and so I’m gardening very devotedly. The other thing that reminds me of him are my finger nails, which I stopped biting in the hospital since you spread germs that way. A side effect was that I could tickle his feet, which he used to like a lot. Now I can tickle my other half’s. Other than that,they’re almost more trouble than they’re worth, stained from soil and chlorophyll so I end up painting them to hide it.

Was invited to a seder – first seder in maybe 20 years, it was fun. I liked the stuffed courgettes and the little children (couldn’t eat a whole one) very much. I’m a bit worried that the wine brought out the worst in me during a game of squares, where I recall murmuring to my young opponent “None of this adult-lets-kid-win stuff – I’m playing for real” followed by exaggerated jubilation as I cleaned up shouting “Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! &tc”. The magnanimous angel child suffered all this with unbelievable dignity – he probably felt sorry for me.

Saw my brother a couple of days later. We ate vegan Eritrean at Adulis in Oval before striking out broadly north on foot, following our nose. We didn’t meant to go to the Imperial War Museum, and once there didn’t mean to visit the Holocaust Exhibition (I was exposed to Holocaust history way too young and began to avoid it as soon as I could) but we kept climbing the stairs and soon there was nothing else except that, and given it was Pesach it didn’t seem right to turn our backs. I liked that in each room you could watch and listen to survivors – the same faces all along – telling their experiences of that particular aspect – from life before the Nazis, the atrocities they witnessed, the liberation of their camp, to how their experiences affected them in their lives that followed. The other thing I liked was that at each stage the curators restored what I think in this matter is rightful emphasis to individuals rather than social forces. Names of the architects and perpetrators of the genocide and mass murders were named, and faces were faced. At the same time, at every stage the exhibition escaped the utterly counterproductive view of the hated, friendless Jew by describing the efforts of those who opposed the Nazis, from the Danish government to the White Rose. I appreciated the scale model of Auschwitz-Birkenau for getting the picture of how industrialised and peculiarly 20th Century it was. This is a well-documented set-back for the waxing Holocaust revisionism of those who hate Jews as a project – and their allies – unwittingly or wittingly – in this enterprise, those who hate Israel.

Went to a hustings in advance of the May 3rd GLA elections. The Chair allowed people to waste questions on things that the GLA has no control over. The Conservative incumbent is the most knowledgeable and articulate but I cannot vote for a party which has attacked British society as the Conservatives had. The Labour candidate was thin. The Lib Dem candidate comported himself as if he were some kind of umpire rather than a candidate. The Green candidate was good at criticism but flimsy on plans and examples – unconvincing.  That said, I thank them all for making it a contest. Notwithstanding dislike, disdain and mistrust for both Green and Labour mayoral candidates, I can’t imagine voting any other way. It’s down to the least worst choice.

Not voting is holding the door open for the far right, who thrive on a low turnout.

My ideal candidate would be a place-based – definitely not religious – communitarian emphasising the importance of individual actions in regeneration. They would support a London Living Wage and campaign on the side against wage inequality. They would meet calls for more police on the streets with initiatives to give young people a thrill and opportunities to gain kudos. Transport would be cheap and cheaper before 7.30am and after 8pm. There would be electric vehicle charging points and car share schemes. Bike lanes would be expanded. And now I need to call my mother.