When I was on a placement in Dorset I became really engaged with farming. I visited some of the best farms in the UK and I also saw standard, average and below par ones. I… More
I’ve been reading ‘Hope in the Dark’ by Rebecca Solnit. I picked it up at the Hay Festival earlier on in the year. I kind of kept going to read it but then finding something else to read instead. I by chance watched Josie Long on IPlayer and she recommended the book, so then I had to read it.
I have started trying to form an Amnesty International society at my university. This book has been invaluable in getting me to think more about what it takes, thinking about what I’m actually doing and having realistic expectations.
The book was originally published in 2005 so a decent amount has changed and progressed since but it’s eerie how in a way it hasn’t at all and how well the book still applies… Different people, same situations etc.
There is a large focus on American politics. Bush and Blair and the time of the Iraq war beginning. This was slightly before my time (as in I was about 9 so not really aware of the world) so it was difficult to get as involved with the book as I hoped I would. But Solnit writes really well and I get the points that she was making. I found it difficult to fully gauge some of the significance of what was written.
Solnit has since added a number of Forewords to her newer additions which are great introductions.
So very broadly, the book for me, mostly told me about what activism is, what has been successful and what it means to be successful or to have success or to not succeed. There were some really key thought provoking chapters in the book. Sometimes seemed screamingly obvious but not something you’d necessarily think about too deeply.
A quote in the book from Paul Goodman
“Suppose you had the revolution you are talking about and dreaming about… … How would you live, you personally, in that society? Start living that way now!”
Solnit looks into the emotions associated with activism and tragic events. Comparing despair and hope.
“Despair demands less of us, it’s more predictable and in a sad way safer. Authentic hope requires clarity – seeing the troubles in this world – and imagination, seeing what might lie beyond these situations that are perhaps not inevitable and immutable”
She looks at the different types of activists and news bringers. Those that do well in defeat and ‘doom’. This is linked to the psychology that activism is more bolstering identity that achieving results. ‘demonstrating one’s own virtue rather than the realisation of results’. I think I can think of a number of people who would be pessimistic, assume to worst and not try to make it work and then take in the glory when it turns out that they’re right. (which was more likely to be the outcome anyway)
I found it very true that “tales of decline and fall have an authority that hopeful ones don’t”
But activism itself can generate hope because it already constitutes an alternative and turns away from the corruption at center to face the wild possibilities and the heroes at the edges or at your side.
The revolution that counts is the one that takes place in the imagination, many kinds of change issue forth thereafter, some gradual, some dramatic and conflict ridden – which is to say that revolution doesn’t necessarily look like revolution.
Being able to see the world differently to what is put in front of you can be the biggest step in a revolution. Solnit uses a fantastic analogy of a theatre. Civilians being the audience and the actors on stage being presidents, prime ministers etc Big wigs. We don’t see what’s going on back stage or anywhere else in the theatre. But sometimes we do, sometimes we can see through the actors and when enough of us have, that’s revolutionary and that’s what the bigwigs are scared of.
What I really enjoyed about this book is that sense that even if you don’t see success or you don’t feel like you’ve made a difference, actually you probably have. In a small way you may have supported a movement, spread a movement to more people and in that way starting to stimulate a change or progression.
“It’s always too soon to go home. Most of the great victories continue to unfold, unfinished in the sense that they are not yet fully realised but also in the sense that they continue to spread influence.”
This is Earth, it will never be Heaven
Perfectionists don’t make very good activists essentially. When anything less than total victory is failure, progression is not going to be able to be appreciated. There will always be cruelty, violence, destruction but we can reduced it. ‘There’s an inability to to recognise a situation in which you are traveling but haven’t arrived to the destination. The world is always being made and is never finished.’
Victory is not some absolute state far away but the achieving of it. It wasn’t the moon landings but the flight etc
“The way you win people over to your side is try to present the information from some perspective they’re familiar with” Velasquez
A better world, yes; a perfect world, never.
I was told about a bulk store near Dalston Junction so headed there to have a gander. I’m going away for a couple of weeks so bulking up on some dried fruits, nuts and seeds sounded like a good idea/ excuse / justification.
It was raining. I was very wet.
The shop was small but sold a good range of things. Spices (!) Dried fruit, legumes, nuts, seeds, pasta and dried carbs, eggs, fruit and veg. They also had cheeses, washing up liquid and dog food! They had lots of alternative cleaning tools, cutlery and toilet roll! It was great. They generally had a couple choices of each. For example, for nuts they had walnuts and almonds. They also had chocolate buttons and yoghurt covered peanuts. Nom.
I brought my own containers… Couldn’t find actual containers so made do. Ha lol.
So you weigh your containers when you enter the shop and write the weight on them before you fill them up.
I got dried apricots, raisins and sunflower seeds. I’d seen the copper scrubber online and had been keen to get it so treated myself. It all came to £12 which is a lot but for the amount I got and the shop being quite niche and good quality it’s not terrible. I’d definitely go back.
If I lived closer it would be great for popping in and filling up when needed. Somewhere I can refill my spice rack !
The woman behind the till was really sweet and helpful and was great to talk to her about her plastic free adventures. It’s been re-inspiring to see someone else keen to do their bit.
One person wont change the world but It’s the little things that do add up. If you’re passing by why not pop in? I have realised that I need to live in the world that I want to see. So no plastic and be nice to everyone and eventually maybe the world will all become like that too! 😉 ❤ I can dream
I had a massive cook off a couple of mornings ago. I’m going back to university next week for my next placement and I’m not looking forward to it. Long story, haha. Anyway the way to keep me happy is to make sure I have lots of nice food! So I have prepared some of the dishes to have Buddha bowls for lunch – guacamole, lentils and hummus. And i stewed some fruits to have with cereal or porridge. I finally made something of all the blueberries I froze. I made blueberry compote for porridge or desserts. I made a big batch of butternut soup and an even more massive batch of veggie bolognese. Boom. Happy Rebecca
Also! I have been big time decluttering since I moved my stuff back home. There isn’t much space so I have donated probably over 50% of my books to local charity shops and same for my clothes and just things I like but never use. I realised that I had a lot of personal t-shirts that you couldn’t really pass on and was a shame to chuck out so I’m going to make this with them..
Should be easy right?? 😉
Rosie and I love food. V possibly more than each other lol.. #sorrynotsorry
We needed to get away and inspired by a cycle ride with her family Rosie suggested Brighton: sea, cycling and food. Perfect!
We booked a hostel in town. ‘Home’. Cheap and basic and all we needed. Our room was super clean and really quite cute actually and though a pub it was relatively quiet. Most of the noise was drunk passersby and the pigeon babies living outside our window. .
We arrived early Monday morning and looked for somewhere for brunch!
We usually do some googling for recommendations, get an idea of what’s around but a mooch is equally great. We walked around North Lanes first as this was closest to the hostel. We found three potentials and on returning to the first we found the fourth potential and ate there. It had seating outside which was the sale point as it was an absolutely beautiful day.
We had a mini full veggie English. It was a vegetarian cafe. At Wai Kika Moo Kau
It was really good!
Pesto on the tomato and garlicky mushrooms. Great bread and sausages. And potatoes. Felt surprisingly healthy and wholesome and we were bloody full!
We also got a coffee and a banana and peanut butter milkshake. It actually felt quite healthy too! Not thick and made or ice cream but light and delicate. Nomm.
On to the beach via a couple of the cute shops. We aren’t ones for shopping for things we actually need but we like browsing quirky things!
Beach! Was busy. Hot bank holiday Monday so no surprise there haha. But it wasn’t too bad. We had a bottle of prosecco that Rosie brought so that helped. 😉
We spent most of the day there. Stopped for an ice cream. We swam, read and dozed in the sun. I forgot how much I love swimming in the sea! I think when I was in the sea, by myself and just floating there I realised I was actually on holiday, not working, allowed not to study and I just relaxed and felt so peaceful!
We chose Moshimo a Japanese restaurant recommended for dinner. The website said that they were keen to promote sustainable fishing which is a definite selling point!
They had an outdoor and indoor bit. And we sat outside and it was it was really inventive. Just tables but the seats were benches that all joined up essentially. So that it gave the impression that diners were eating on the ground with their legs crossed!
We didn’t take any photos!
We had. Miso soup, vegetarian and fish sushi. Inc salmon and avocado and the vegetarian had tofu, sundried tomatoes and cucumber which was surprisingly good! The aubergine dengaku was amazing. The miso sauce was rich and creamy and I can’t quite place the flavour. There was definitely some sake in there too
The hostel had a big bowl of pancake batter to make your own pancakes in the morning which was fun and lots of nutella, so we bought bananas too. Nom. Yeah man
We had a big massive mooch day. Slowly working our way through the cute shops and letting ourselves get lost with the other tourists and locals. Was so nice to forget about life!
I love potatoes.
We found a cafe ‘Joes’ that was renowned for it’s hashes. We had to go.
It was far out of town, up hills in the heat but so so worth it.
We both went for the Spanish hash, I had vegetarian with mushrooms, vege sausage, egg. Rosie had meat which had same + chorizo on it 😛 . And all topped with cheese of course.
Was soo good! One of the only dishes I’ve seen Rosie not able to finish xD
Dinner was probably our downfall. I had even more potatoes lol. But we really enjoyed this restaurant – The Regency – the last time we were here. And we wanted to try the mussels.
I hadn’t tried scallops before so we got some to start. In garlic sauce. They’re great! Meaty and a lot less fishy than I expected. And the garlic sauce! nom!
Definitely a carb and heavy overload day. We didn’t deal well with this amount of food lol.
Couldn’t cope with pancakes that morning haha, bran flakes were called for.
We were hoping to go cycling but it was pretty miserable all day so we didn’t in the end. We checked out the Pavilion which is absolutely beautiful inside. Definitely worth a look and they had a tiny Jane Austen exhibition at the end which was a bonus.
We just had a super cosy slow day while it rained. Bought a rainbow umbrella and popped to different places that took our fancy. By the time we were hungry which took a while! We were gagging for something healthy and we had passed some vegan cafes a couple of times. We chose Larder because they do health bowls called buddha bowls and their food just sounded perfect!
It was absolutely delicious! I’d love to be able to eat that kind of variety every day. I chose the Buddha bowl, mix n match. So there was two types if hummus, with cous-cous, bulghar wheat with different flavours. and lentil dhal and yoghurt. And mixed with salad leaves. Rosie got the dhal platter which was amazing. The chutney was soo good!
We then tried to get into choccywoccydodah to get a bit of chocolate but their cafe was totally booked. So we went to a couple of chocolate shops nearby haha. Balanced eating and all that 😉
We picked up some chocolate buttons in montezuma’s (a whole shop of their stuff!!) and then jumped the rainy street to ‘Be chocolate’. They sell hot chocolate as well as your normal chocolate truffles and gifts and slabs of chocolate. Loads of free samples!! And so we decided to get a hot chocolate to share, you can choose dark, milk or white chocolate and with cream or just hot water. Obviously we chose milk chocolate with cream.
And oh my god. It was absolutely soul destroying. It was all you could ever want in a hot chocolate. It was literally melted chocolate in a cup. You know the chocolate fountains you get at parties. it was like we were drinking that. Totally totally beautiful and i was giddy for hours! Definitely recommend that to anyone looking for the perfect hot chocolate! And fair play if you can drink a whole one yourself! bloody hell!
We pretty much headed back to our room and chilled with books and snoozed. The rain had got worse and there was little else we could do that wouldn’t involve eating or drinking and we were so full! Safe to say all we did was pop to a shop and buy hummus and bread that evening .. and some Miso soup for starters too. and ate in our room with tv. Crashed!
The weather looked much more positive. So i got a bike out to rent for the day. Brighton Cycle hire we used and it was only £10 for the whole day! Defo recommend the company. Though we saw that Brighton is bringing in the self service bike hire things that London and other cities have.
Like my bike? Beautiful! 😉
We cycled to Hove and back and then to the Marina and back. We stopped in a coffee shop ‘ Bake out’ in Hove as it started pouring it down while we cycled. Rosie’s pretty drenched in the photo. Their food looked and smelled great but we managed to not buy anything as we booked ourselves into ’64 degrees’ for lunch.
eeeee, defo the poshest restaurant that either of us has been to.
This was the menu:
The vague-ness was very vague.. But the smells coming from the place were mouthwatering. We arrived and got a seat directly in front of the chef. This was really cool, we could sit and watch them create these masterpieces and we could see all the dishes we hadn’t chosen and what they actually looked like. We were recommended to get 4-6 dishes between two of us. The idea was that we would share and try everything .. which we do everytime anyway! We chose 4 and that was perfect.
We went for the Plaice, Gorgonzola, duck leg and Grass is greener. We got given extras like the soda bread with really airy marmite butter! Can’t say I’m a massive fan of marmite normally but it worked so well. Got us very excited for the first dish
The Plaice was so fresh and so beautifully cooked! The main flavours were the ones described in the menu. They balanced each other so well.
I didn’t take any photos of the gorgonzola haha! We started it before I had the chance to remember too. It was super interesting. All basis and sensations covered. Hazlenuts, cheeze, spicey kimchi, raw green apple pieces. It was really cool!
The duck leg. Oh my god. haha . the skin was so crispy and the meat so moist and beautiful. The sweetness of the jam and sourness of the fermented cabbage was soooo good. Running out of descriptive words lol. I just loved how it poked all the sensations and it was teasing all corners of the tastebuds.
The grass is greener was just unbelievable. It was ox-tongue and just fell apart in your mouth. So so perfect. The little ravioli on top had gravy inside it which was great fun. And a great delight to me, I love gravy.
So definitely one of the best lunches I have ever eaten and safe to say we were too full for desserts.. which sounded sooo good too! We ended on a passionfruit sorbet which again was incredible. Everything about the restaurant was great, the staff, the food. It wasn’t a cheap lunch but actually not far off worth what we paid! As a treat x)
We cycled around a bit more after this and did a last little bit of shopping. We stopped on the beach one last time while to rain was at bay and it wasn’t too windy. Was so nice. So snuggly. ❤
Before waiting for our train home, we grabbed a tea in one of the coffee shops close by. The flower pot bakery. Really nice place. I love copper and we both agreed that we want our kitchen to look something like this… simple done very well. sharp rustic.
Eee a whistle stop tour of our little adventure around Brighton! Mostly food obviously!
Totally recommend Brighton if you want a city break that isn’t a huge city, has a beach and doesn’t need to involved an airport!
We love Brighton!
We may have window shopped some estate agents … 😉
I wrote this about two weeks ago after I saw the film.
I’m currently in Devon on a university placement. I’m staying with two other girls on my course who I didn’t really know at all before coming here.One of them inspired us to go and watch Dunkirk as she had really enjoyed it the first time she saw it.
The film is intense the whole way through and the way it has been filmed, the dialect and story telling is amazing.
There are some books and films and pieces I come across that make me shudder and get a tiny sense of what the war must have been like and this film has really shaken me. I found Sebastian Barry’s Birdsong to do similar too.
We talked about the film afterwards. Said how the fact it isn’t always throwing body parts around and there isn’t much blood actually for us made it feel more realistic. I think I’m so far removed from any kind of war like environment that too much can be unrealistic. But this seemed to just be right. I felt like I was reliving people’s lives.
And the world we’re living in now.. is this what they were fighting for?
For my position in the world, my life could only be worse. I’m so lucky with everything I have. This film only showed me more. But I’m very privileged. I’m safe in a little bubble for now. But for people in general I don’t think the war was fought for the current state we’re in and going to be facing in the oncoming years.
The world is so volatile at the moment not including in the parts of the world already enduring war… which we have so little knowledge about. Pressures are rising. From the local, country wide to worldwide there is so much unrest. No one is happy with anything.
I still have a daily life that’s progressive and I could easily turn a blind eye to what’s going on. I’m in that fortunate kind of position and a huge number of the people in Britain are. There are many people in many countries that will go on as if the world is fine – just that food prices, petrol prices go up, the weather is unexpected, there are more restrictions put in place but they’re moan to themselves, to their friends and family but leave it at that and carry on. It’s their life that they’re concerned with; that their life isn’t altered too much is what they care about. I try not to be like that but it’s hard. I don’t feel like that’s enough. That we should be doing more to help those we don’t know or see everyday. We shouldn’t just take things for granted or accept them for what they are.
The privileged often have the privilege of getting their voices heard. They just need to see that those that aren’t as privileged at them need help.
Brexit came up. And the people I describe above who voted the leave. They have seen their world change recently – more people moving into the area, schools getting busy, GP appointments practically impossible to get. Their life has been affected and they left the Eu to stop it being affected more in the future.
It’s like they can’t see the bigger picture. They don’t want to or can’t I’m not sure.
But actually have they stopped and realized how much they really do have.
Some do and some don’t and not everyone who voted Brexit will be what I’m describing etc!
But this is the people I know.
I watched a short video from a girl who escaped North Korea and all the books I’ve read and articles.
I just don’t understand it. How have we got to this point?
I probably am just a rambling student who doesn’t know what they’re talking about but I think that life should be simple and can be simplified. Because what ever this is at the moment isn’t what anyone asked for.
Why is so much life being wasted. And not even just that but murdered, mutilated and devastated.
Feeling a little lethargic this morning!
Have now finished reading Pages for her and Pages for you.
I read them the wrong way round but it’s actually worked out perfectly. I read the older story (for her) before finding out the original story of when Anne and Flannery met. (for you)
While reading both books they made me look into my own relationship and some of the past. Anne and Flannery have an age gap. Flannery is 17 while Anne is 28. The gap is more of a mental and experience age gap than actual numbers.
It made me uncomfortable because I got so into it and it reminded me of relationships, especially one that I had when I was about 18. Made me cringe and made me think about the differences and what I thought I wanted and the naivety of me and Flannery. And knowing how the first novel ends after reading the second there’s just so many what could have beens or what have beens and how differently lives could have played out. But actually the end of Pages for her is pretty wonderful and each is in a much greater position.
There was something very delicious about the words in the book. Like I couldn’t be satisfied and kept on reading. There was so much connection and understanding and the words rung like satiety and hunger and devour. It was quite a naked carnal kind of book. Ripped of convention and propriety, honest and truthful, grounded lust and hunger, human raw emotion kind of book.
Signs of a good book I would say.
They could be placed in the LGBT category in a book shop. But what I loved about the books is that the fact that they’re two women hardly ever comes up. More so in the second. It’s not a coming of age book. It’s two people falling in love and a book about their relationship. It was refreshing. The women are probably bisexual, Anne certainly is but again, the word is never mentioned nor discussed. It would be very very easy to replace Anne or Flannery with a male character and the story would still work.
I’m glad I read the second book first, I think I’d be heartbroken to have finished the first without access the second. Ahh. I’m seriously moping.
I’ve been feeling pretty rotten over the last couple of days. Had episodes of probably what is vertigo, essentially, dizziness and that run down- bleurgh feeling. Feeling sea-sick as I woke up at 6:45 and as I tried to get out of bed the, ‘why am i doing this?’ question came to me and I got back in and emailed to say I wasn’t coming in. I have spent most of the day reading ‘Power’ by Naomi Alderman. I finished it. And i’m quite confused by how I feel about it.
I’ve had a look at other reviews of the book to get some other insights.
It certainly wasn’t what I was expecting and I gorged on the first 100 pages or so because of how inventive it was . I think as the story developed it did lose some of it’s realistic appeal to me. Yes, the story is pretty fantastical but I feel it wasn’t supposed to be just that.
I really enjoyed the first 100 pages because I really felt a lot of aspects were covered by Alderman. It felt like there was a lot of clear messages to be taken from it. How different people coped and reacted to the changes that happened. I think it wasn’t what I thought because it wasn’t actually as nice and successful as I’d hoped. I think the idea that women are more powerful than men, to me, would mean that greater, fairer things would happen. This wasn’t the case and my naivety has been put to shame! It isn’t power over another that is successful… Ever. It’s not dominance and submission (oi oi) but being on the same level and this is what this book shows. Too much power in any hands can be a bad thing.
The particularly poignant part in the book is quite early on and it is when women start rioting and cannot be controlled and are feared because of their power. There’s a dialect something like “what do we do?”, “we kill them.”, “But we can’t kill all the women in the world”
At this point it very is man vs woman. Which actually is totally pointless because both need each other.
And it makes you think about other riots and wars. And you think, this is pointless too? We are at war against each other. It’s pointless. It’s power not wanting to be lost. But what are we actually fighting for? Those at the top already, what are they actually defending that’s worth defending anymore? Are we asking to be heard or asking to take over and be in charge?
Most minorities just want to be heard and to have fair treatment. That’s what the women’s marches, the LGBT marches that i’ve been on have been about. They were for me anyway. How can humans be so anti-eachother? Just seems like such a daft concept when you take a step back and look and what we’re doing now and what we’ve done for ridiculous numbers of years. And for what?
I dunno, all I want is to achieve a couple of things that I’ve always wanted to achieve. Do good where I can and use what I have. Power has never been something I have been after so I wouldn’t know! #simplebutcompletelife
I lost the flow of the book by the end. I don’t think I quite caught the point of some of the character’s stories, maybe I haven’t digested it well enough yet. I thought the book was very honest and fair. There wasn’t an agenda to the book I think apart from a look into power and where we are at the moment. I think I wanted Alderman to talk more about the injustice in parts of the world but she didn’t go into too much detail. Having read a book recently which I reviewed a lot of the countries talk about – India in particularly the reactions really resonated.
So I’m moving out this weekend back home for the year. I’m on placements all over the UK and in other countries come next week so I’m pretty much going to be living out my car, Betty.
I’ve been in this little room for two years and It hasn’t dawned on me that I’m saying goodbye to it yet. I was reading and it’s been raining all day and with my cup of tea I saw a photo opportunity. My phone never sees what I see but it got close enough.
I’m half packed. It’s going to take a couple of trips. You can see the magazines i’ve yet to read and leaflets about jobs and careers on the side. You can see flowers that Rosie bought me. They’re probably past their best now but i’m not ready to let them go. There’s a half empty box for packing, my keyboard which was fun to play for the four weeks that it fitted in with my routine. My wooden post from one of the marches I went on. I intend to use it again at some point.. It did have a poster on it..
I do and don’t like the idea that I don’t know where I’ll be in a years time. I think I am naturally a home maker and I do want a home or nest of my own. My own nook. Makes travelling all the more special because you have something special to come back to.
I suppose I have just been in so many places that I’m just looking forward to not having too much upheaval for a short time. Until I get bored and a wandering eye ;)..
Over two weeks ago I finished a month of being plastic-free.
There are a lot of things that I can’t quite bring myself to buy.. yet? Especially if it’s just for myself.
If i’m buying for other people then there feels more of a justifications to buy something with plastic packagin. But I haven’t felt comfortable for example to buy a bottle/carton of milk so I’ve been making do with something I can make myself or none at all. A shame you can’t easily pick up glass bottles anywhere!
I have gone back to using what I had before hand. Bathroom cleaners, makeup etc. So we’ll see how I feel when they all run out!
I have managed another trip to wholefoods and was organised to bring some tupperware! It’s always so much fun x)