Stamping On Snails (& Other Ways To Reclaim Your Power)

Okay, so the world’s going to hell in a carrier bag, and we all feel pretty powerless to change things. Although many of us are trying to do our bit to, in some tiny way, influence the change we want to see in the world, it’s easy to become disheartened, and even rather frightened by what’s happening out there.

I propose that, in small ways, you find a few small acts that will make you feel just a smidge better, whatever your personal brand of politics.

I, for example, will be stamping on snails with relish this year. I shall name them all Trump, and whenever I see one, I will squash the nasty blighter with my boot and give a cry of “Take that, you slimy bastard!” It will make me feel better.

I will also grow a Trumpet vine (Campsis). It will grow into something beautiful that I can take pleasure in, so that whenever I come across Trump’s name on TV or see it on Facebook, which I currently do at least five times every waking hour, I will be reminded of something good and wonderful and green.

I will exclusively use the word “trump”, and drop all other words previously used, when talking about farts. My mum, who hails from Staffordshire, always said “trump” not “fart” when I was a child. I feel the word needs to spread beyond our borders to the USA, inverting the political stink which is currently emanating from there. With a five year old boy in the house, we talk about farts often, so this will be a fun one.

Lastly, I will speak out when I come across things in my daily life that smack of intolerance or ignorance. I am happy to be disagreed with, and I am equally happy to express my disagreement.

Last summer, returning from a fantastic family holiday in Portugal, I encountered a particularly unpleasant woman at the Gatwick Airport car park office. She was shouting at the staff, all of whom were probably immigrants or descended from immigrants to this country. In a home counties accent, she was talking to them in what I can only describe as pigeon English, as though they were all idiots, which they were not. Her elderly father had parked illegally and she wanted the staff to open the barrier and allow them to leave without paying a fine. To achieve this, she seemed to feel the need to take a horrible, offensive tone and manner, assuming wrongly, because of their skin colour, that none of the staff could understand English. They were polite and professional, but clearly horrified and offended, and I, though friendly and sympathetic to them, did not call her out on her behaviour. I should have. And if I could go back in time, I would give her such a lecture on human decency and respect.

So please, whether you agree with my politics or not, make a decision this year to take an interest in what’s going on around you, and speak out if you see something wrong. And find small ways to make yourself and others feel better in this big, new, scary world.

The picture at the top of this post is from our holiday in Portugal last year, and it reminds me of sunshine and happy times. It makes me smile. Next time, I promise to get back to the subject of gardening. I just had to get all this off my chest. x

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