A Remembering Community

In Memory of Jo Cox

The neighbours get together

It’s a pity that the nation’s politicians don’t live in the trees lining our street. If so they could have received absolutely stellar advice that would have sent them scurrying back to their manifestos to make such changes that would set the nation on fire.

Or maybe not.

We were having an impromptu street party in memory of Jo Cox, a respected Member of Parliament and our Brexit murder victim. We were one of many across the nation honouring her life, and mourning her unnecessary death.  Conversation went on through the cocktail hour into the summer evening until a barbecue was wheeled over, meat and bread were produced, and before we knew it, it was 11 pm.

People analysed, rejoiced, didn’t rejoice, and picked apart nearly every detail of the June election. Some comments were strongly against, some strongly pro.   I could have put it down to the British spirit in their DNA, for loving to watch conflict, a spirit that has moved from mirthful jollity at a medieval public execution to the enjoyment of battling politicians on TV.   The only thing is, this same characteristic has been evident in each of the 11 countries I have lived in.  So, maybe it’s a universal frustration over politics.

Our neighbours talked at length about the WHO, the WHEN, the WHERE, the WHY, but seldom the HOW. What to do about it?  You can’t.  They’re all the same. It wouldn’t make any difference.  So we go on talking, frustratingly, because there’s “nothing else we can do, is there?”

Yes there is. In Britain, anyway.  Try reading Practical Politics by Titus Alexander, who advocates including an element of political education in every university course.  Or go to the non partisan  Democracy Matters website that keeps Britons updated on what’s happening in Parliament, with opportunities to get questions answered, to take responsibility  or get involved.  Political literacy, they tell us, is just as important as being able to read and write.

In other countries you may have to look more widely for your own support. My homeland, the USA, might be a little tricky these days.  I long to hear how you’re handling it all.

Sheila’s Earl Grey Punch

Our party gave me the chance to try this non alcoholic punch (alcohol an optional extra), a recipe that has slept dormant for decades in my scrappy ring binder. It comes from Sheila, a long-term friend and excellent cook.

Make a pint of hot Earl Grey tea. Pour it over 10 cloves  and 3 tablespoons sugar. Stir until dissolved.  Chill.  Quarter fill a jug with ice.  Remove the cloves and pour the tea over the ice. Add 1 pint clear apple juice and lovage or mint leaves. When it’s time to serve, add 1 pint dry ginger ale.  Decorate with apple slices.

Alcoholic option:   Calvados.

Reminder: an English pint is 20 ozs, around 600 ml.

My comments on this:  I should have replenished the ice cubes frequently.  Chilled is better.

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