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It has been a very emotional week, seeing the images from Catalunya and hearing from friends and family who voted, watching videos of the Catalan police being hugged by members of the public because they are utterly bereft at being forced to act against all their loyalties to family, friends and home. No one seems able or willing to step back from the brink and any hope of dialogue seems a long way off.
And yet, despite the fact that it is almost impossible to focus – particularly for my partner who is having to live all of this from far away – we go on with our daily lives. I rang him at work on Monday and he was very upset. He has just been in Barcelona the week before visiting the place where his mum’s ashes are scattered. His mum was Catalan to the bone, forged in the Civil War and the long, long years under Franco. Identity is something so elemental as we are finding out in the UK post-Brexit.
To top it all daughter one’s Spanish passport is ready to be picked up. I’m hoping she can pick it up herself and it doesn’t require her dad to accompany her. The first person on the door of the consulate is a member of the guardia civil.
Yet the rest of the world seems to go on as normal. I went into work on Monday and no-one even asked me about the Catalan situation. When I mentioned it they seemed more interested in talking about what happened in Las Vegas, which was clearly dreadful. The news moves on from one awful situation to another.
When I got home, late because of a traffic incident, only son was waiting with a Powerpoint presentation he had done on our trip to London on Sunday. We stopped along the way at a vegan market, something only son was clearly not very impressed by, before getting stuck in lots of traffic en route to daughter one’s international universities event at the Hilton Hotel. In the end we only stayed for about 10 minutes because it was mainly business schools and science stuff. “Do you do philosophy?” daughter one asked one French university hopefully. “We specialise in engineering,” came the reply. Oh dear. I thought only son would think the trip in itself was very boring, given he dislikes car journeys a lot. “We got to London and went into a palace,” he wrote in the Powerpoint presentation.
It all goes to show how different people view things in different ways. The important thing is to try to listen to each other, however hard that might be. The alternative is much worse.
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk.