We have made it to half term and the kitchen is now open 24 hours a day as teens and pre-teens raid it and cook up a vegan storm.
There are plates everywhere. Music is blaring out from all sides and clashes with Catalan news. I managed to escape on Friday night and Saturday for the festival events I organise. Daughter one came with me on Friday and daughter three was around for Saturday. When she was younger she used to put on a festival t-shirt and click people into events, but now she is pre-teen she is way too cool to do that.
I had misguidedly bought some boots from Shoe Zone the week before, mainly because I hate tights and I was cold. They are slightly higher than I am used to. By Friday my feet were beginning to hurt. Daughter one had to support me through all the cobbled courtyards en route to the event. By Saturday I was down to hopping as I didn’t have time to dig out any alternative footwear. Saturday was full of back to back events on everything from official secrets to whether politics can keep up with technology so it was not till around 5.30pm that I had lunch. When we got home daughter one was ready to go out for the night and my partner was very on edge due to the ongoing Catalan situation.
There was an interesting section in a talk about manufacturing a clash of civilisations where the speakers addressed whether empowering women could bring people together more. One of the speakers talked about his work in Blackburn and how mother and toddler groups were good places of encounter between different communities. It was everyday encounters and providing the space for these that could make a difference, he said.
That is surely where we have to begin to address all the gaping divisions we face being ruthlessly exploited by certain politicians. At the grass roots, everyday level talking about the things we have in common, about the common future challenges we face. We urgently need to find places and time for such encounters.
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk.