What’s in a date! I haven’t a clue which day, week, month, let alone season it is and do you blame me? Life. The weather. All I know is that it will soon be Christmas – yippee! Even better, I won’t have to unpack my reindeer and sleigh as … they’re still on the table! No, that elusive tub has not been forthcoming so there they remain. Tell me, how many years’ bad luck is that? No matter, I’ve done time in lieu.
So, it’s not Monday, 24th May, as I write, but Tuesday, 25th May. No apologies, I only succeeded in posting last Friday’s on Sunday and that was a mammoth task. Now I’m chasing my tail. I have a time limit, though, as today is, actually, Becca’s Birthday and celebrations are in order. I do believe Kate and Wills are, even, in St Andrews … Today, however, also marks the first anniversary of the death of George Floyd – and I suppose, forever more, the 25th May will be associated with him. Not an association I would choose for my birthday! It did lead me to think about dates, though: those one remembers; those one would choose to forget and those of spooky coincidence.
Dates which come to mind immediately – for me? Well, obviously, 11th April which marked my personal equestrian triumph at Hallyburton all these years ago in 1977 – have I mentioned it before?! – but one which will definitely live with me is 31st August, 1997, the death of Princess Diana. We had been out for dinner the night before and the wine had been flowing. I was up about 5am, dying of thirst, and found the Sunday papers, through the door, at the bottom of the stairs. ‘Dodi dead. Diana injured …’. I can still see these words in front of me. Shock. I never went back to bed and the hangover paled into insignificance as we sat glued to the television as details unfolded. Diana was dead and it was as though we were rooted to the spot. It was awful. Historic. Unforgettable. Then, a week later on the 6th September, the funeral. I remember the tears just tripping my face all day, particularly as I listened to her brother’s eulogy. Years later, I was lucky enough to be able to tell him, in person, how I would never forget his words and I treasure his reply to my subsequent letter in which he touches on that sad, sad time.
9/11. The significance of these two numbers, etched in one’s mind. Yet again, I remember that day as though it were yesterday. It was lunchtime and I was sitting at the little table in the kitchen having my lunch while watching Neighbours on the small TV opposite. Suddenly, the screen changed and all I saw was a plane flying into a tower block … I had no idea what was going on but I would soon learn that I was witnessing the second plane flying into Twin Towers and the tower block crumbling before my very eyes! Almost impossible to compute. Only five months earlier, we had been captivated by New York and taken photographs of the children standing beneath the famous landmark. Who could have known? Strange, too, that both Becca and Manny have a snow globe of the city, bought in Saks as a momento of our trip. The Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building … all there but no Twin Towers. This was April 2001, five months before the world changed.
Two historic dates which I lived through and which shall be forever etched in my memory. Any more? Well, I got married on 12th October, 1984, a date more significant for the Brighton Bombing when the IRA planted a bomb in the Grand Hotel, during the Tory Conference, with the intention of killing the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. In hindsight, should I have read something into that? Then, there is Manny’s birthday on 11th March, 1993. Exactly one year before, I suffered a miscarriage on 11th March, 1992! Now, tell me that’s not spooky?
Finally, I have mentioned before that I wear my paternal grandmother’s engagement ring which is incribed with the date of said betrothal – 10th May, 1925. Fast forward eighty-seven years and that date is cited, for all purposes pertaining to our divorce, as the date of our legal separation! Not sure what that is telling me but it’s nice to know I carry the date on my finger, just in case I forget …
Don’t panic! I’m short on time, here, so I shall be brief. Should I expand on George Floyd? Can’t resist! My loyal reader will already be au fait with my thoughts on the man – a criminal who died, wrongly, subjected to police brutality. Nobody deserves to die in that way and, understandably, it provoked world outrage but, personally, I don’t believe it was a racist murder and I do not subscribe to the ensuing Black Lives Matter movement – for reasons upon which I have been ‘vocal’ in the past year. All lives matter and focusing on colour only serves to segregate further. Black people do not have the monopoly on grievance yet George Floyd’s death seems to have given free rein to those intent on finding cause for discontent/hatred in everything! Even history must be deleted … What of the inverted racism which is, now, lauded? Black Girls Hike? Forgive me – or maybe not – but that makes no sense whatsoever!
Has George Floyd’s death brought any changes for good over the past year? Not genuine ones, no. Yes, one turns on the television and there are an abundance of black and coloured faces: presenters, newreaders, reporters … everywhere! Open a magazine and every second page is donned with a black model. Who is buying this? So contrived. So forced. So insincere. Personally, I would hate to think I was the token white! Nothing should be about colour. Everything should be about merit. Steve Biko was a clever guy recognising that, only when one stops identifying oneself by colour, will the world do the same …
‘See it’s not about races
Just places, faces
Where your blood comes from
Is where your space is
I’ve seen the bright get duller
I’m not going to spend my life being a colour.’
Michael Jackson, ‘Black or White’.
Such a great song. Such a talent. In the end, such irony …
This is Trish, signing off. So brief? My pleasure!
p.s. Unchecked, apologies. Jane?