Divide, and Conquer.

I went to London yesterday. I think there is a lot that people don’t understand about the world. A strange amount.

We were on Oxford street the majority of the time. I wanted to traverse Hyde Park and go on some boats because the sun was out. I wanted to trawl through a museum or two and have a gander at the Wallace Collection.

My friend wanted to shop in expensive department stores so shop we did. We entered Selfridges through the main doors because that is what Harry Gordon Selfridge would have done. I stared up at the magnificent building and the stunning front displays and imagined I was back in the early 1900s and the only department store was this magnificent display of architecture. Once inside I was transported to a world of glamour and excessive riches. Me in my glad rags. My ‘Sunday best’, as it were. I felt so drab and out of place. But it was euphoric, too. People treated me nicely because they wanted me to buy things. They showered me with samples and did a makeover on my face in the hopes that I would walk away with a bottle of expensive foundation or a Hugo Boss perfume that comes with a free bag.

I didn’t buy anything, of course. I am going to Morocco in early June with my father again, and my sister, and I am saving every single penny for that trip. We managed to find £60 return flights, and we will be staying with my father’s family so there will be zero hotel costs. But I do want to bring back things like Argan oil and clay tagine pots and some nice harem pants and maybe some summery tops. And those things are far more precious to me than factory made dresses costing a thousand pounds.

YES. A THOUSAND POUNDS.

Ok, not that much. But £550. For a sequinned gown. It was beautiful. But goodness.

They also do personal shopping! With champagne! Fancy that.

I really enjoyed my day out. I smelt amazing and had free expensive makeup on. And there were so many people to watch and observe and simply be stunned by. Affluent teenagers showering their credit cards on gleeful store clerks. Also the salesmen were so flirty. Telling me I had lovely skin and smiling and flourishing their wares at me. If I had a frivolous nature I would be charmed into bankruptcy!

It was a beautiful day. Marred, of course, by the devastation in the country. Everybody was on edge. Policemen manned every corner; I’d never seen so many in my life. Red alert, as they say.

I still felt safe, though. And happy. We are very lucky. Very very lucky and blessed. We have so much food and so much choice and so much affluence. We have organisation and kindness and order. We have security and care and effort. We have unity and consideration.

In other countries, they don’t have this. They have terrorists raining bombs down on them daily. Purging them from their homes. Sending them scattering in the wind under an ideology so warped and twisted from its origin of peace that nobody is sure of anything anymore.

One thing is certain, though. One thing. Behind all this aggression and cruelty is a lot of hurt. That is why it is so important to fight this hate and tragedy with kindness. KINDNESS.

For e.g., don’t torch a muslim place of worship. Don’t attack a muslim woman in central London. These people didn’t do anything to you. These people are hurting about this senseless horror just as you are. I saw so so much kindness on the news. I saw people opening their homes and businesses for those in need. Blood donor centres were overflowing. People travelled from all corners of the UK to offer a helping hand.

People care, you see? Some don’t. of course. Some are calling for the final killing of all muslims. Some are calling for the deportation and the banning of muslims. Some are attacking muslims and plotting their revenge.

If we hate our own people, Islamic State have succeeded. They have succeeded in dividing us, and that is how they can conquer.

 

 

Assholes.

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Books and Coffee

Friday we had an adventure.

We pushed through curtains of thick rain and heavy clouds to the city of intellectuals on a gloomy Friday. Did you know that around 30 of all nobel prize winners graduated from Cambridge? Or that Cambridge is not just a university town, but also an industrial town? Scores of markets were torn down to make way for some of the colleges by the river.

Saturday the sun came out, the brides walked their aisles, the tourists snippety snapped as popular  businesses rolled around in cash brought in from Asia and America, Africa and Europe. Namely among them, and I was one of the hundreds to succumb foolishly to it’s charms, was a quaint little affair called called Hardy’s Original Sweetshop.

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So needless to say, I enjoyed Cambridge thoroughly. There was a sea of tourists, most notable among them were the Chinese and the Americans, milling about all the most popular places, like King’s college, the Fitzwilliam Museum and most of the punting stations. We also photobombed some wedding shots, and I found The Haunted Bookshop, which appealed to me because a). it was haunted, and b). it was a bookshop.

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I am not too sure about the haunting though, I eavesdropped on a tour guide telling a crowd of bored looking Americans that there had been a little girl who was murdered there, and you can tell she is drifting about because she is always accompanied by a smell. I am not too clear on the particulars of the story. The bookshop was messy and small and glorious, with tottering piles of books fitted into every nook and cranny, little notes here and there, and the most exciting books hiding in the most intricate places. There is nothing quite like a long browse through volumes that were once thumbed by ancestors we only read about in books. I found some original Beatrix Potter, Austen and even Shelley! Worn covers and faded inscriptions inside were enough to tell me that the people of yore did in fact exist and they loved books just as much as we do.

The gardens were top notch, and the colleges were the stuff of day dreams and night dreams. And regular thought-dreams.

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The feeling that stood out the most for me in Cambridge was that I honestly thought I was in an entirely different world. It felt like I had stepped back in time, or was wondering the cobbled streets of another country. Roses climbed up old stone walls, greenery mingled comfortably with ancient architecture, flutes were played, coffee was had, and tudor houses hunched their breasts out over winding streets.

There was even one instance where I needed to call my husband, and I almost checked myself, thinking ‘oh no, I can’t call him I am roaming!’

But I was still in the UK! It really didn’t feel like it.

Cambridge is a sight not to be missed. Especially if you love books. There were books and bookshops galore. Plenty of coffee, ice cream and parks too. Imagine a fine summer’s day, sitting on a bench with a lovely view of one of the beautiful college chapels, coffee in one hand and an exciting novel in the other.. what could be better, in this ancient university town?