Mood Indigo

So, what’s it like to live in London while the political, economic and cultural system implodes around you, I hear you ask? It is utterly draining and sad, is what it is. All the big stuff with Westminster and sick-looking Boris and weepy-eyed Samantha Cameron, all the horrified posts and the rabble of the media conversation, to the littler things like the Spanish mother at our kid’s school, turning up post-Brexit-day, hugging the tiny French TA, crying together, the Polish caretaker looking on, shocked and worried, the powerlessness that so many Londoners feel as all of the worst warnings from smart people are proved true, while the leaders all freak out and drop out – argh, it is really awful and sad and horrible. The same Spanish mother told me yesterday that she was hassled by someone in a restaurant yesterday, who told her that her time was running out – that she has two years left to live here and then she had better go back to where she came from…so ugly.

I’m obviously an immigrant here, though a privileged one as part of the Commonwealth, so I am currently safe – from what, I don’t really know – probably safe to stay here, and safe from awful ‘we don’t want your type here’ racism, because I am white, from New Zealand (‘just like England in the 1950s’ so the black cabbies like to tell you) and therefore from recognisable UK mongrel stock so I don’t seem to threaten anyone or their jobs. I don’t know what it would feel like to be born here, like my Polish/Sri Lankan friend, and have a half-Polish daughter, and suddenly feel aware, like never before, that she and her kid aren’t really welcome here like they thought they were before last Thursday – before half of the country voted to end of the right for people like her to be here. And what a poorer, sadder, insular, backward place we would be if we cut off European supply. The people and the accents and the food and the culture and the way that people who are not like you, being among you, turns you into a smarter, more tolerant, educated, better person. What a stupid ugly backward step to have taken.

It is hard to feel untouched by this, so I have to post some photos to think about something else.

Here is Ned and then Ned and Casper doing some stuff with sticks in a medieval hunting forest:


And, you know, convening some sort of den-related forest meeting:


Mid-term break day at the zoo. Noah has just discovered there is butter on the ham roll. He is TOTES not having any of it:


Two of the boys getting a Kray twins haircut from the proper Cypriot barber and his son:


Chocolate and churros after from the Spanish cafe:


My hair triumph – Ms Neradah taught me the ways of the Alpine plait:


Marylebone Summer Fair – a journey of food and balloons and real estate-branded goody bags, both free and really not-free (£60 later):


The youngest in tiny terry towelling running shorts with a rainbow elasticated waist band and spiderman JANDALS:


These Frame jeans, one half of the Selfridges sale haul – the other, a Stella McCartney tight denim jumpsuit with flares and a zip to the crotch – a saving of £800 and absolutely clothes to wear *everyday*, I thank you:


Same 70s jogging outfit, really great breakfast at the Riding House Cafe. Otis only ate about three mouthfuls of those pancakes and sugary clotted cream – so I helped him. Total blood sugar level chaos, but very, very good:


This Sunday, a walk through the park with the dog and six kids to see the new Serpentine Pavillion:


There is much to love about living here, and I am thankful every day for those things. I really hope we can get back from this tattered, wounded, angry place we woke up to on Friday, but I can’t see how.


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11 Responses to Mood Indigo

  1. I couldn’t agree more. I’m so ashamed and so cross.
    As for those who whine that just because they voted Brexit doesn’t mean they’re racist, well done to you for casting your (and our) lot in with these foul bullies. Maybe not every Brexiteer is racist. Just dim? Selfish, shortsighted, insular, bonkers, shall I go on?
    Did I mention that I’m cross?
    It’s all very troubling. And I fear it has brought out the belated angry Facebooker in me, how embarrassing at my age. Sorry fb friends! You’re in for another screed about now.

    • theharridan says:

      I am just waiting for some proper leader, like my sensible dad, or God, or someone, to pop out from behind a tree and say ‘SURPRISE! This was just a fun experiment and we have decided to stop it now. Back to life as it was before, though we have learned that a lot of you are very unhappy and we will try to deal with that. But, first, lets snuggle back into the bosom of the EU!’. And it would be prosecco and street parties all round. But there is a Pandora’s box issue here too – now we have released the monsters, we can’t put them back in.

  2. Jo says:

    So very depressing isn’t it and up here in Lincolnshire 74% voted out! I feel very out of step with my neighbours.. On another note my youngest has those shorts in pale blue and bright green. They are very short aren’t they 🙂 xx

    • theharridan says:

      I need more of those shorts. Are they the Jools Oliver Little Bird range? I think it is an excellent bunch of cheerful things, though I am no fan of Mothercare. What a bore that place is.

      • Jo says:

        Yes Rainbows on everything please, love the Jools Oliver range and will be so sad when he’s too big for it anymore! Xx

  3. jane says:

    Please keep writing and posting about this. AND THEN INCLUDE more pictures because your children are part of my hope for the world. I am in the U.S. and am so worried Brexit is a foretaste of Trump to come. So horrific and really scary. Are you still looking at a possible relocation back to N.Z. or is that now off the boards for a few more years?

  4. theharridan says:

    That is a lovely thing to say – I do hope they (the kids – I mean The Kids in general) will be ok and will get through this ridiculous climate we have dumped them all in. And in the meantime, I hope my kids will grow out of their fighting and become tolerant people, open to change and cooperation, liberal and kind. With access to 27 EU countries, if at all possible…

  5. felicitybevan says:

    Still so sad about this. What a humungous mess – I’m particularly resenting the notion that because I’m older (has nobody told them that 60 is the new 40?) and live in Wales I was pro Brexit. No way.

    I grew up in a petty and parochial post-war society and am so proud of how in the last decade or so this country has morphed (largely) into a tolerant and welcoming nation. For the sake of all our children let’s hope this continues. And your kids – well I guess you’ve put all the right things in; they’ll grow into fine adults.

    • theharridan says:

      I hadn’t even thought about how weird it must be to be casually marked as a bigot because of where you live – I am well aware that most of London feels the same as me (although it doesn’t take long to get to the dissenters), and I am wearing that privilege very proudly – but I hadn’t thought about the reverse. Dreadful. And I really do hope that people can go back to being decent but it feels like once you have opened Pandora’s Box, it is hard to go back. I WANT MY COUNTRY BACK (to how it was last week).

      Well, I am also glad that 60 is the new 40 as my husband is 53, so PHEW there will be life in the craggy dog a little while longer…

  6. jena says:

    I am an American citizen of recent Swiss and Scottish descent, I have lived in the UK for 17 years, and today I was harassed for ‘not having lived here long enough’ by an AA attendant to the breakdown of my car – truly uncivil, frightening times.

  7. theharridan says:

    That is so horrible and unnecessary and i think it signals something very dark and emerging. I am sorry you had that experience. I am going to be wearing my safety pin for real and I think all this has to be taken seriously. What have we done to ourselves?

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