Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Sleepless in East Yorkshire

It has been just two weeks since the story broke that Davis was going to make his gesture and free up the H&H constituency for a proper representative. In those moments of wakefulness which were common, but thankfully have now diminished, I ask myself, ‘Why am I putting myself through all this?’

Well, it began at an early age... yes it did… my wonderful, kind, tennis-playing Dad, Arthur Jones, died from lung cancer when I was 5 and I haven’t forgiven whatever caused it. I have a good idea what did: he was in the army right through the war - in ordnance which means he was close to all kinds of chemicals involved in weaponry. He had also smoked a bit so I wouldn’t let my mother do it. I now know the story of tobacco. There was also the explosion at Windscale (now re-christened Sellafield) in 1957. Added to this, I understand from my mother that some of the hospital treatment Arthur had was hopeless.

From all this I think I learned to be suspicious of human activity in general. I’ve only made these connections in the last few years, and it still makes me cry when I think about it. This suggests to me that this is the deep motivation for what I do.

We moved into the wilds of the Cotswolds where my mother got a job teaching in a boarding school and I was a rather feral kid - usually to be found in the woods in a tree house with a book and the cat. This was therapeutic for me, but lonely for my mother (widowed at 29).

By the sixth form (Plymouth, 1970) I was deeply worried about pollution. My spin on the Affluent Society (a popular paperback at the time) was to use the expression ‘Effluent Society’. I became an English teacher in Hull and East Riding and I know that my preoccupation with human effects on the environment had a big influence on what went on in my classroom. Luckily, kids are interested in issues of social and environmental justice too.

Ah well … off to badger the burghers of Kirkella


rachel carson fan said...

Very moving

Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" opened my mind to the madness of our industrial effluenza economy and the diseases it gives us

All beings are interconnected, after all:


Cybernaut said...



We have control of cyberspace. Please enjoy taking control on the ground.

'The Flying Facebook Circus'

Keith said...

Hi Shan, just a note to wish you all the best on election day.
Keith. (Recruitment & Canvassing Coordinator. South Devon Green Party)
PS. Love your expression "effluent society"

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