JUST be thankful for small, sweaty mercies. As this blog comes without a video feed, you are spared the sight of me sitting here and typing in my shorts after my Sunday morning run.
It took a bit of effort to get out after a semi-restless night, awake between two and three. But worth it in the end. I did a long loop into York through Clifton, went round the city walls to Skeldergate and then along Bishopthorpe Road, before cutting through to Knavesmire and heading home, to sit here and type.
Our latest guest has just departed, off to York Races where he is working as a cameraman. He follows the man from the Crimea, the young Frenchman and the British-born Australian. Now after a full week the house will just contain the two of us. We’ve hung up the electronic ‘no vacancies’ sign for a few days, to give ourselves a rest. So no strangers for breakfast until next weekend, when a busy spell begins again.
Anxiety can be a cause of poor sleep, and sitting on this ledge does give me cause to worry. Yet in truth my sleep has been shot through with holes for years. Some nights are good, many are not, but you just get on with it.
With the world being the way it is at present, any worries you may have diminish next to the plight of those it is best to call refugees. It has been heartening to hear reports from around the country of people either offering to help or house refugees, or donating clothes, tents, blankets and food.
Here in York, the Minster has offered to take in a refugee family, with the Dean of York, the Very Rev Vivienne Faull also offering to convene a meeting to discuss a broader response. Dean Faull told my old newspaper that York had a long history of offering sanctuary to those in need, with the city giving temporary shelter to 90 Kosovan Albanians in 1999.
This is as it should be, although the response from the city’s Tory council leader was less encouraging. He said that if the Dean wanted to organise a meeting he would be happy to take part. He then added: “But we can’t just say we as a city will take X amount of people. Issues like this have to be looked at nationally.”
Not much evidence of compassionate Conservatism there, I’d say, although plenty of people may well agree with such a view. I’m not normally one for signing petitions, but I did sign the one saying that Britain should do more to help the refugees. By yesterday more than 400,000 people had signed.
An alternative petition demanding that Britain lets in no further migrants appears to be attracting much less support. At times like this, it is good to be reminded that we Britons are not always small-minded and suspicious of otherness, and that we have higher feelings too, and can consider the plight of those in need.
Not all charitable causes can hold our attention. Our doormat seems to collect four or five of those charity bags a week, each asking for donations of clothes. If we filled all of those we wouldn’t have a thing left to wear.
One such bag was stuffed with clothes and left out at the appointed hour. Two days later it was still there in the rain, and so ended up in the bin.
Anyway, it is now time to step away from the laptop and head for the shower. No blog-vision in there either, you will be glad to hear.
- It has just been pointed out to me that I missed out an American girl from the above list of visitors…