Sunday, 18 October 2015


Last night was bonfire night in Hastings, with a parade etc and a big display. I was with friends - we had vegetarian sushi before we all went out and drank wine. Enjoyed it much more than usual. Town was full of people and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

I had to work yesterday, so it was a welcome relief. One big job is going well - another is stalling under the weight of a difficult client and a load of other peripheral distractions. This week will also be busy - but I have stuff going to print, so at least there will be completion. I really need some spare time to look at money issues this week - not looking great so far.

have read quite a few articles this week about Grammar Schools. I have a very strong memory, aged about 12 or 13, of my mother getting into a terrible row with some of her sisters over who had gone to grammar school - and who had failed or passed their 11+ - there were 7 of them so it was quite a mixed bunch. The row was really more about 25 years of frustration and resentment at being judged as a child and found wanting. When I was 11 - I was much brighter than most peers but had no confidence and found it very hard to communicate - I also has problems with certain teachers - my mother had been a librarian and my reading age was far more advanced than my classmates, but I was repeatedly held back by one member of staff who refused to accept that I could read any better than my classmates - and an English teacher who took me out of the ‘top’ set and put me into a lower one because I’d had the gall to correct him once. I know I would have failed the 11+ and it would have been almost impossible for me to get into a grammar school - and I know other students who developed much later - and still others who peaked too soon. Listening to pundits advocate dividing children into ‘can do’ and ‘can’t’ groups with broad strokes makes me very angry. Even on my degree courses and when I’ve taught - some people hit their stride very late and flourish unexpectedly. Everything happens in it’s own time and at the right time if it’s properly supported. I’ve read too many comments and articles about damning kids to ‘trade’ and raising up the more privilege this week. Makes me very angry.

If you missed it - my MP, Amber Rudd, was on Question Time this week. She was staggeringly bad and exemplified everything that was wrong with the Tories. I was ashamed of her. There has been much coverage of an angry and tearful woman berating her for the Tax Credit cut due next year. half of this town survives on Tax Credits. It’s going to be bloody.

The weather is cooler - but still really good - with plenty of sunshine, long may it continue.

The house smells a bit damp today - it has rained at night a couple of times. One of the problems with living by the sea and facing north - I just have to get used to it.

I went to a meeting this week with a view to setting up an alternative / fringe festival in Hastings as a reaction to the rather controlled, funded, curated stuff we tend to get. It was interesting - I’ll have to see how it goes, I can see myself putting in far too much work for no return and watching someone else get all the benefit and credit.

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