Looking for a Rainbow

Well, we’ve come down to the valley,
Yeah, we’re looking for the honey.
I see a rainbow- I said, “That’s the land of milk and honey”

Me and my cousin, 
Me and my brother,
Our little sister too…
We’re going looking for a rainbow.

I’ve seen plenty of my friends articulate exactly what the results of Thursday’s referendum on UK membership of the EU means to them. And while I can’t speak for experiences as someone with a foreign spouse, or as someone who’s moved here from elsewhere in Europe, I can talk about how I’m feeling at the moment.

I grew up on the Yorkshire coast. Wikipedia tells me that the current ethnic makeup there is 97.5% white. That sounds about right. As an area of ethnic diversity, it wasn’t exactly cosmopolitan. I’m not saying that there’s a problem intrinsically with that (though I do remember some racist bullying at school). It’s just fact.

After I left home, I went to university in Manchester. For two years I lived in Rusholme, right off the curry mile. As a district it couldn’t have been much further from the place I’d lived for the vast majority of the previous two decades. People of all faiths and nationalities, living beside each other and for the most part getting on perfectly well.  After I left university I went to work for a small company, with clients across Europe and a few further afield

Then I came to London. Working for a startup with global ambitions, and then two large international companies. I can talk to my colleagues in India and China in the morning, and Canada and the US in the afternoon. Every now and then Australia comes into the mix too. And that’s before I’ve even discussed the rainbow of nationalities I come across every time I go to the office in the morning.

I listen to Canadian and West-coast American music. I eat food made in Indian, Chinese and Mexican traditions among others, and drink beer made from New Zealand hops. I have friends and co-workers from pretty much every part of the planet. I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t see myself as a citizen of the UK so much as the world. And the thing that’s upset me the most over the past few days is discovering that there are so many people in my country that don’t share my worldview.

People that insist that the UK is full, who aren’t interested in learning about different cultures. Who post racist graffiti, who claim to “just be saying what we’re al thinking”. Who stand outside the tube station draped in the Union Flag and cheering at the fact that the entire country and future has been plunged into a state of disarray and whose pensions just lost a huge chunk of their value. Who rail against difference because they don’t know any better and don’t want to learn.

Truth be told, I don’t know how I feel about the UK any more. Right now, I don’t feel like it’s the place I thought it was, or wanted it to be. And I don’t know if it’s even possible to turn it into the place it by all rights should be.

Evil, number two

The need to have something,
Becomes the seed to have anything.
Lonely tears have dried up,
And the brain cells start to fry.
My heart cries out for new things –
Turns to anything will do things.
My left side’s like a train crash
From all the things I tried.

I was so scared, I was lonely.
I got mixed up, Now I’m only…
Evil, evil number two.

We remain in mortgage limbo. After the bank said no to extending the current mortgage, they said “maybe” to another deal (on a slightly lower interest rate!). We’re waiting for them to make their minds up about it now, but I don’t really expect any problems.

No, the problems this week have arisen from other things. On Monday, we got home from work to find the front door smashed in. It’s utterly bizarre what goes through your head in these situations – my first thought was that the landlord must have done it – he has no keys, and must have needed access in an emergency. Or that J had lost her keys and had needed to break the door in. She’d got home first, about twenty minutes before me. The police were on their way, and I called the landlord to let him know what had happened. He wasn’t far behind the police, and after he’d had a few words with them, left again to get something to secure the door with.

It seems that when the door was originally installed, the space for the locks was badly cut, leaving a weakness. One that meant the door splintered, leaving the frame completely intact and the locks falling to the floor. The intruders, equipped with gloves, came in, started rifling through a desk, and then must have heard something that caused them to flee. All that was missing was a single piece of jewellery.

The damage has been done though – we now have a new door, but neither of us has slept well this last week, and every time I come home I have my heart in my mouth wondering if they’ve come back, dreading the sight of the door in pieces once again, wondering if they’ll be coming back with a shopping list of things to steal.

I thought this was a nice neighbourhood, and I’ve very much enjoyed living here, up to now. Now the move can’t come soon enough.