25 May 2017

You Will Not Defeat Us

On Monday night I was playing around on Twitter and then suddenly, my heart dropped.  A potential explosion at the Manchester Arena.

I followed the story for about an hour.  At that point, there was no real information coming out. Trying to piece together conspiracy theories, people saying that it was just a speaker that exploded, others saying that nothing had happened at all.

By 11.30pm all I knew was that something had definately happened, but not what.  I woke at 7.30am to hear the worst news imaginable.  A terrorist had detonated a nail bomb, killing, maiming and injuring dozens of people.  Children. 

I cried as I watched Olivia Campbell's mother on the television pleading for news of her daughter.  I sobbed when I heard of her death.  Every story I read makes me cry.  I think of the wounded in hospital, with terrifyingly bad injuries and wonder how their families are getting through it.

But why am I telling you this?  You know what happened.  You have felt and are feeling exactly the same feelings. We have all been glued to the news, to Twitter and people's stories about what happened for the past two days.  I won't talk further about what that man did.  It was monstrous. How you can specifically target children and their parents and subject them to what happened is something I can and will never fathom.

What I want to talk about today is how this country comes together in the worst of times.  We become the best of ourselves in times of adversity and conflict.

Police and ambulance crews dashing to scene, without regard for their own lives or whether any more explosions could happen.  Every level of staff member from receptionists to surgeons upon hearing the news running to their hospitals to help.  To save people.  Taxi drivers turning their meters off to ferry anyone home who needed it.  Droves of people offering their homes, food, and blood.  Anything that they could do to help.

When we are divided we are weaker.  Be it politics, referendums or people trying to drive us apart.  When we are strong is when it matters.  The Olympics.  The clean up campaign arranged on Twitter after the London riots.  Now.  

CharleyHasted on Twitter sums us up pretty well.

British Stages of response to a terrorist attack:
-Mocking terrorists

I found in delight the #BritishThreatLevels hashtag on Twitter today.  When I saw it initially, my heart again sank.  I knew that the threat level had been changed to critical.  My heart rose when I saw hundreds of people, and gaining by the hour, saying that they were not afraid of terrorists.

We are afraid of tea running out, of people on the bus actually talking to us; someone who doesn't fancy "a cheeky Nandos"; 1 centimeter of snow; the incorrect use of their, there, and they're.  We are not afraid of you.

So terrorists, listen to us.  You will NEVER defeat us.  You will NEVER knock us down because we will ALWAYS get back up.  Even when the EDL turned up in Manchester today, they were thwarted by Mancunians who would not dealt with their hatred.  Not today.  Not ever.  

You will NEVER turn us against each other because at its heart, this country is one.  Name one other country who has, two days after an attack, fought against terror with talk of tea and sarcasm.  

We are STRONG. You are COWARDS. We stand together with every country that you have attacked, whether the media bother to mention them or not.

I sometimes wonder why we are called Great Britain.  Today I remembered.

Gifts Should Celebrate The Person, Not The Day

It’s always hard to pick the right gift idea for someone. More often than ever, many people are just asking the other what they would like before they get it. The gift becomes a formality, the gift-giver a middleman in a transaction that often does little than help the recipient save some money. If you want your gift to mean something, then why not pick something that goes beyond celebrating the big day by helping them get what they want? Celebrate the person, instead, giving a gift that’s all about them.

About them
How often do you really tell your loved one just how much they mean to you and what kind of impact they’ve had in your life? If you’re one who loves any opportunity to gush about what makes you feel happy and loved, it might be quite often. But that doesn’t mean that getting it in writing or getting it with some time spent on it isn’t a hugely memorable experience. If you’re worried that whatever you’ve bought doesn’t have the emotional impact you want, then why not create a little heartfelt message of appreciation? For instance, you can create a jar of love notes that contains little bits of positivity that the recipient can go back to time and again. Or you can create a love notes photo book that has you and your loved one taking a trip down memory lane with lots of great snaps from over the ages.
Unique to them
Everyone has a few things that they’re not going to share with most of the people they know. Their birthday itself is one thing that they might not share with a lot of people. Why not commemorate the person by commemorating the day itself? For instance, you can get vintage old newspapers from the day they were born, showing how the world was when they first came into it. You can also use the web to look up what songs were on the top of the charts when they were first born. If you want to put some effort in, you can create a playlist or a mixtape for them containing the number ones of their birthday every year.
With them
If you’re really special to that person, then the gift that means the most might just be your company. Especially if you haven’t had a lot of time to spend with them as of late. It might be something as simple as a meal out. Or you can treat them to a spa day. If you’re both the adventurous type and can clear the time, you can consider some of the more exciting and unusual getaways. Visit a hobbit hut, spend a weekend in a treehouse, or just go explore somewhere neither of you have ever been before.

More often than a gift itself, it’s the experience of receiving the gift and the emotional impact that lingers a lot longer. The next time you have to think up a gift, think about celebrating the person, not just their big day.