On Sunday I listened to the Omnibus of The Archers. For non-English readers, The Archers is a long running radio serial programme and a story line has gripped listeners. An extremely dark story line of coercive control has been played out over the last couple of years (incidentally as I started to listen). It culminated with the victim of this abuse (the wife) stabbing her abuser. Last week she stood trial for his attempted murder.
On Sunday, in an extra long episode, we listened to the jury debate their verdict. And I listened with gratitude. Because it was so totally different to my experience of jury service at the start of the year. This fictional jury was made up of bigots, victims, chips-on-shoulders characters, couldn’t care less kind of characters who weren’t kept in order and then suddenly came up with a verdict that contradicted what they had all been saying… thankfully it was fiction.
Because in real life, I had been put together with 11 other people, who I had never met before and am unlikely to ever meet again. We were thrown together in to a case that was pretty gruesome and we listened and saw things that joined us in a common purpose. We were all utterly committed to doing our task responsibly for both the victim, the accused and society.
That experience has been a very special one for me, for a number of reasons. But as I listened to the motley crew on Radio 4, I was reminded of my fellow jurors who came together in one moment of time to do a job we were asked to do. It was special.
Thank you to them and thanks for listening.
During the Summer, while in Bulgaria for 4 weeks, I did something outrageous… drum roll… holding breath in anticipation…
I ditched a novel I was reading because I didn’t like it. It wasn’t my thing. I wasn’t enjoying it.
So I decided to abandon a book I would usually make myself slog through until the end. I decided I didn’t like something and I didn’t have to endure it.
I often dip in and out of non-fiction books and that has always been acceptable to me… but a novel… this is cutting edge stuff for me… It almost feels ‘naughty’…
I ditched a book and started a new one. When my courage has been a bit shaken over the last few weeks, I just say to myself, Hephzibah, you stopped reading a novel and started a new one- it doesn’t get more hard core than that. You can do it!
Thanks for listening
I have been to Royal Festival Hall in London’s South Bank numerous times. I used to live near it and it was a regular haunt and now it is my venue of choice to meet up with friends. I have performed there in my own right and also sung with my school choir. I’ve watched concerts there, been to talks and attended teacher training events, enjoyed the market and just sat and watched life go by.
I think my first visit was in 1987 and I’ve been pretty regular ever since.
But to my shame I’ve never noticed THIS….
the Nelson Mandela statue. It was installed in 1985 and for the past 29 years I’ve walked past it and NEVER seen it. Can you believe it!!!!
Last week, a friend said let’s meet at the Nelson Mandela statue and I had to google it as I didn’t know where it was. This is so hard to believe that I do wonder whether I’ve just forgotten that I knew it… but I had no recollection of ever seeing it.
So I arrived early and studied this wonderful sculpture. It is massive! It is so textured. It is amazing.
I’ve been really bothered by the ability to not actually ‘see’ something that I’ve walked past for nearly 30 years. The saying ‘none so blind as those that don’t want to see’ has been ringing in my ears. So once again I’ve been remembering to lift my eyes to look at the clouds. To be intentional in my actions. To consciously try not to ‘walk past’ life. It’s amazing how easy it is not to really live.
I’ve had an email from a parent saying I returned a slip to her unsigned- but I remember opening the envelope- but I didn’t actually end up signing the form! It’s a timely and humbling reminder that I need to be more mindful. I’m on auto-pilot and I don’t like it- it makes life a very bland place. I literally do need to wake up and smell the roses!
Thanks for listening