I’ve moved flat

Last weekend I moved flat—from one side of hall to the other—to make way for a development company to come in and arrange for the demolition of my old flat. Not quite the scene from Pixar’s Up!, but because the student hall of residence in which I live and work is to be extended over the next year.

So, I moved from here…

Lounge (before)
Lounge (before)

…to here

Lounge (after)
Lounge (after)

Yeah, I know. It’s almost identical.

That’s certainly made it easier to unpack, but it has been unexpectedly unsettling.

On the morning after I moved, I woke up in my (almost identical) bedroom and wondered where the wireless network point, that I previously could see from my bed, had gone from the ceiling in the hallway.

I got up and walked into my (almost identical) living room. It simply looked like someone had packed everything into boxes, changed the view outside my windows, and then left.

This flat has different creaks and noises at night. The heating system sounds different, as does the washing machine. Not things that I would have anticipated, but when everything else looks so similar it’s quite disconcerting.

This flat also seems to have more avian visitors. There is a small family of I-haven’t-worked-out-what-yet living in a nest near the front door, and a few nosy jackdaws that have got up close and personal, as well as ripped open a black bin bag that I’d dumped outside for a couple of hours while I waited for the rain to go off.

What is nice is that on this side of hall, I can hear birds singing in the morning. There is less foot traffic on this side, too. I’m looking forward to the relative quiet, and fewer disruptions at night—my previous flat was on one of the main paths in and out of hall.

After only a few hours, last weekend, my oldest, Reuben, said, “I’m really beginning to feel settled in your new flat, daddy.” After a few days to unpacking and getting used to the new sounds, so am I.

If you want to come visit, you will be made most welcome.

I vote for compassion

Polling place
Polling place

This afternoon I exercised my democratic right to vote; the first time I’ve voted in St Andrews since I was a student here in the early 90s.

I pray that the country votes with compassion, for a fairer future, to include and enable more people within society.

Austerity simply doesn’t work. It has been cruel, particularly on those who are impoverished or disabled.

I guess a lot of it comes down to what you see the role of government being. For me, it’s not to punish those less fortunate than ourselves; it’s not to normalise poverty and deprivation; it’s not to make the country a less secure place (in all meanings of the word); and it’s not to make the wealthiest few percent of the population even richer, which is what has happened under the Conservative government.

It is the task of the strong to lift up the weak, not crush them.

There is a lot of uncertainty in the world just now, a lot of fear, a lot of parochialism. We live now in a world that is more connected than it has ever been. I can communicate in real-time with people on the other side of the planet. Through social media I can find out the news, as it is happening, hundreds and thousands of miles away, before the mainstream media channels have distilled it, filtered it, and reflected it.

That we are so connected presents new challenges and new opportunities.

As a society, I would like us to embrace these opportunities—find ways for us to work together and collaborate on this tiny planet of ours, not close our metaphorical doors, pull up the drawbridge and believe that we have everything we need to look after ourselves, thank you very much. We don’t. We are connected. That’s one reason that I still feel so upset about Brexit—it is shortsighted, it is an insular approach, and a complete and utter waste of time and money.

Anyway… I voted. I didn’t have the opportunity to to write anything more than an X. I just have to wait in hope, and trust in the wisdom of crowds.