My Daughter’s Trainers


With recent and not so recent terrorist attacks, the world doesn’t feel like such a safe place at the moment. Not that it’s ever been a bubble-wrapped world, but each week at present seems to bring an atrocity that no one could have expected. People out enjoying life, whether on a beach, at a concert, watching fireworks, in a shopping mall…doing normal stuff and then suddenly not. 

School’s out for summer and discussions of holidays and days out come with a side of caution. “But what if…?” enters conversations. “Aren’t you worried about…?” “But if we don’t go the terrorists win.”

(And I know that the threat to holidays and day trips is such a first-world issue, a tiny tip to the whole mess of a situation that affects millions in far more fundamental ways. I know and I feel ashamed of my petty concerns.)

Immigration issues and the possible expansion of the EU to include Turkey definitely influenced the Brexit decision. “But if Turkey join, we’ll essentially have a border with Syria.” Racism has been more blatant since the vote, racist attacks have increased. Red-top newspapers seem more than happy to tar all Muslims with the same brush. Watching ignorant reaction to the news is as depressing as watching the news itself.

I want to feel positive about our world. Most people are good. Most people want to live their best lives and can identify the difference between a militant extremist group and the 99.93% of the faith who equally want to live their best lives without harm.

But at the moment it’s hard. It’s hard with the abundance of images and comments.

And then yesterday I was washing Boo’s trainers. She was off on Brownie pack holiday and needed her trainers, but they were covered in cow poo.

Earlier in the week we’d taken part in our local Race For Life. Set on the Houghton Hall estate, the location was beautiful. It was also home to Brittish Longhorn cattle, sheep and deer. Even though the herds had been penned for the event, the ground was spattered with pats. In 26° heat, they were steaming! 

“This is vile,” I thought as I scrapped the dried poo from the treads of the soles. The white stained green and the hot water brought back the stench of the dung. But it also made clear my stance on ISIL.

The event had been great. 1500 girls and women ran, jogged and walked the 5k route to raise funds to save lives. We strode forth, our Pink Army, despite the heat, despite the pats, despite a desire to plant ourselves around the refreshments stall and do a sponsored ice-cream feast instead.

The whole field wasn’t bad, only small parts of it. We avoided areas that would have led to certain poo coverage. 

Nevertheless, there wasn’t a single one of us not effected by the poo in some way. Splashed calves, soiled shoes, a photo request that inadvertently led to the combination of a small child and a large pat!

It would have been more pleasant if the poo hadn’t been there. But it didn’t stop us from completing the route, it didn’t make us not want to do it all again next year. The beauty of the field far outweighed the mess and the smell of the pats. The sense of achievement and good achieved by our fund-raising made the world feel good. 

 Doing something felt better than not doing it. Staying at home would have kept Boo’s trainers box-fresh white, but we also wouldn’t have enjoyed ourselves as much as we did. 

Nobody knows when or where the next attack will be. Nobody knows who will be affected next. But we can’t shut ourselves away on the off chance that it will be us. Heed guidance, but do stuff. Keep seeing the world as an inherently good place. There may be cow pats out there, but they don’t define the field.


3 thoughts on “My Daughter’s Trainers”

  1. Great analogy. I so appreciate hearing your perspective, as someone who’s physically much closer to where so many horrors at pre taking place. The parallels between the increased racist hate there and here are so disturbing…it seems clear that history is repeating self.

    1. Teflon Man’s oldest daughter is au pairing in Munich at the moment. Thankfully she was nowhere near the mall shootings and is safe and well. Also thankfully I don’t get much chance to keep abreast of the news, let alone knee-jerk rolling news, which makes everything a hundred times worse. The first I knew was him saying he’d received a text to say she was safe.

      I’m just hoping that those with power see sense before history is repeated. But it’s up to all of us to call it when we see it, rather than turning a blind eye.

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