As you know, my blog mostly concentrates on a very domestic sphere. Rarely does the outside world penetrate the fences and hedges of the garden and it is easy to forget what is going on in the wider world. I like to think that is one of its appeals – it certainly is for me – a chance to have a short break from the stresses and violence of the modern world.
However, madness came to Yorkshire last week and I don’t feel that I can ignore it. The murder of Jo Cox in Birstall, West Yorkshire, affected people across the UK and beyond, no matter which side of the EU referendum debate you are on. It felt particularly close to home to me for 3 reasons – firstly, it was so close to this beautiful place that we have chosen to call home. Secondly, it happened outside the library where she had been holding a surgery and, as a librarian, this could have been any one of the places in which I have worked over the years. Like a local MP who genuinely wants to improve the lives of their constituents (and it appears there are indeed some out there), a library is the centre of a community and, illogical as it is, it seems even more wrong to me that something so terrible could happen as someone leaves from running a surgery there. The third reason is related and even more illogical, but nonetheless true. I worked in Leicestershire for many years, where there is also a Birstall and where the library was in my area. I don’t know the Yorkshire version at all, but every time someone on the news says Birstall Library, I think of the one I do know, with the dedicated staff who worked there and the whole thing feels ever closer.
I hope that the senseless death of Jo Cox can bring some good, both in the fund that has been raised in her name, and in halting the negativity of both sides of the campaigning. I suspect the former will be true, but I am less sure about the latter. In theory, at least, both campaigns want what they feel is best for Britain – but that is being forgotten in the personal nature of the mud-slinging.
I can’t just morph into a happy tale of the cats – it wouldn’t feel right (although normal service will be resumed next week I promise), but I do want to end on a more positive note, so I will finish by telling you of a different type of Yorkshire madness. I have a colleague, now working in Aberdeen but originally from Yorkshire, who has set off on an adventure of truly amazing proportions. He has pledged to run from the southernmost bit of Scotland to the most northern tip during his precious annual leave to raise awareness of mental health issues. This means running the equivalent of a marathon a day. In the library, some of us are supporting him by wearing pedometers, to see if we can collectively beat the number of steps he has to take during the journey. So far, I’m not doing very well, so I think I need to ‘step’ it up a bit!
Good luck David Main – we are all incredibly proud of you and behind you all the way (even if we do think you are a little bit crazy …)
If you would like to know more about David’s Big Run and take part in his daily challenges (mostly sofa-based, he assures us), follow Runmainia on Facebook or check out his website at http://myrunningwebsite.uk