At work: After Australia Day we celebrated one of our tenants birthdays. One of the earliest social events after I started work there last January was this guys birthday. The birthday passed successfully but without much to note. The oddest thing was the sensation. I worked for over 7 years in my last place and you get used to events/anniversaries coming around again. For some reason I was very conscious of repeating myself and I was surprised how uncomfortable it made me feel. This weekend we have the start of this years 6 Nations rugby tournament - also an event we utilized at work to break the norm and also something that made me feel weird simply because of the repetition. Maybe because I did spend 7 years at my last place (several too many probably) I am taking the repeats as a warning not to stay too long here? Who knows.
With my friends: I found out yesterday that my friends mum had died after a long struggle with illness. She was a lovely woman that had shown me unexpected kindness and hospitality in the past so I will miss her. My friend has lost her mother and her daughters have lost their gran so it is them I feel for most and I wished I lived closer or could rush around without intruding. My thoughts and feelings are with them and I would like to give then more practical support than that, but all in good time - the news is still very fresh.
With the missus: She is in Scotland this week as her brother in law has recently past and she has gone for the funeral and to support her sister and nephews. Thats another place where I would like to be offering more than moral/emotional support but for a while have to sit on the sidelines.
With Family: I managed to reconnect with my brother a little bit this week. I'm still not entirely convinced that he is just putting a brave face on a much deeper depression but the fact that we have opened up a dialogue again is encouraging.
In The Wider World: Barely days into office and Donald Trump is delivering his promises of right wing populism and in doing so is making the world that little bit nastier and more dangerous. I write of course about his plans for a wall along the Mexican border, his travel ban on people from Muslim countries and his refusal of refugees. (Not to mention opening the door to who knows what hellish thing in the future if his antics get used as a benchmark for what is 'acceptable').
This week I have been mostly re-reading: If This Is A Man and The Truce by Primo Levi.
It is a total coincidence that I happen to be re-reading this pair of books in the week that saw Donald Trump's madness become official American policy and also the week of Holocaust Memorial Day. Levi wanted to document his experiences in the Nazi death camps primarily so the world could understand and could stop it from happening again. Towards the end of the book his words ring out and given the events of the past week start to sound ominous -
"In every part of the world, wherever you begin by denying the fundamental liberties of mankind, and equality among people, you move toward the cocentration camp system, and it is a road on which it is difficult to halt. " (Primo Levi)