On Sunday 5th August, at 9pm, a BMW hit two pedestrians crossing at the traffic lights on Marine Drive.
The driver was arrested on suspicion of being in charge of a vehicle while unfit through drugs and alcohol, driving without due care, and driving without a license, before being released.
The two pedestrians were my neighbours, and there is no release for them or their family.
In the words of their daughter Chrissie ‘Unfortunately for my beautiful Mum, she had a fractured spine, meaning she would never be able to dance again... The thing with the human body is that if part of it breaks, it heals. Cells regrow. But when the brain is damaged it can't regrow, it dies where the impact was. Over 24 hours we gave her a chance to see if she was still in there and able to respond, but her pupils did not react to light…
Mum had always said she wanted to dance until her dying day, and told us if she ever wasn't all there in the head she would prefer to die gracefully and not be kept alive with a half-life. The doctors diagnosed un-survivable brain damage and deemed it best we turned off the life support and let her die on her own terms.
They removed all of the tubes and she looked just like she did on a Sunday Morning... Fast asleep, not a care in the world. She was my Best Friend, my World, and I am so lucky to have been blessed with 26 years with her. I will try to spread as much love and joy as she did, and live my life to its full like she wanted me too.”
On the morning of the accident, Carol was telling my husband to cherish our children while they were young, as they grow up so fast.
Chrissie’s family have had a much-loved wife and mother snatched from them. Our village has lost a smart, funny and glamorous woman. A light has flickered out in the world.
We use that crossing all the time. It could have been me and my children, it could have been anyone. When we told our girls about the accident, the 5-year-old said she never wanted to leave the house again as it was ‘not safe outside’.
Part of me feels the same. I want to roll my children up in cotton wool and keep them inside forever. The other part of me wants to sell our house and travel the world and live in every second, for every second we have left, just as part of me hopes the man responsible spends his life in jail, while another part pities the life-time-jail sentence his conscience will serve.
Like so many, I am no stranger to grief. It’s a club we never want new members to join. On days when I am bent low with loss, I remember the mighty Maya Angelou’s words “They existed. They existed. We can be. Be and be better. For they existed."
As for what I can say to my neighbours? When talking about the loss of her son, Toni Morrison said “There really are no words for that. There really aren't. Somebody tries to say, 'I'm sorry, I'm so sorry.' People say that to me. There's no language for it. Sorry doesn't do it. I think you should just hug people and mop their floor or something."
So last night England’s women’s football team – The Lionesses – won world cup victory in the quarter finals of the women’s championships.
They are the first English team to reach consecutive semi-finals since Alf Ramsey’s fabled world cup winners of 1966. It was also the first -time women’s sport has been live on BBC Radio 5 live, and mainstream TV.
Last week, England women also won the cricket world cup for the first time, in a thrilling victory over India at Lords.
The match was described (by a man) as ‘one of the best games of recent times’ without, ‘for a bunch of women’ in parentheses after it.
The women’s Ride London Classique also attracted a prize pool of 100,000 euros which matched the total ride pool for the men’s pool for the first time.
Winner Corryn Rivera said “I’m really excited that this race understands we race just as hard, just as crazy as the men. It’s special to me that they respect that.”
Are the tables turning at last? Not when male presenters and editors, get paid more than their female colleagues to disparage and belittle them.
In the news this week alone, Dominic Lawson, of the Mail Online said, “in sports such as cricket, football and rugby, the attention now being lavished by television companies on the women’s game owes everything to the (understandable) desire to attract female viewers and very little to objective assessment of sporting quality and excitement.”
He went on to mock Anya Shrubsole’s bowling which had been described as ‘fiery and fast’ saying ‘Only by the standards of women’s cricket’. As the brother of Nigella Lawson, does he think his sister is only a good cook, for a woman?
Whether playing sport on the local cricket green, in the school playground with jumpers for goal posts, at Wimbledon or Lords, the essence of sport is the unbridled joy of giving it your all, in any environment you play in, against anyone else.
When you son or daughter comes off the pitch, having scored their first hat-trick or first catch at mid-wicket, you wouldn’t say ‘Great kid, don’t get cocky, you’re no Freddie Flintoff”. You would celebrate their achievement in the game in which they were playing.
Who cares how fast Shrubsole’s bowling was, they won the world cup. Lawson has only ever won by riding on the coat tails of his family’s name. He’s never won a world cup for bowling. He himself said “As a man of no sporting pedigree or distinction whatsoever, I am much more open to ridicule in making such a judgment.”
Making such controversial comments however, will make for many views of his column. I wonder if he has realised he’s a male Katie Hopkins?
Don’t get me wrong, as columnists, our job is to highlight events in way that encourages opinion and debate. I chose to use this precious space to promote equality, positivity and hopefully the odd smirk.
England wicket keeper Sarah Taylor, from Sussex, was forced to take last year off, due to anxiety. She returned to to win the elite prize in her sport, and is the first woman to play men’s grade cricket in Australia.
Sarah’s internal strength is just as impressive and certainly as inspirational than her physical prowess. One doesn’t come without the other after all. We don’t lift the heaviest bar, or throw the fastest ball on our first attempt. We try, we fail, we try again. We force ourselves to keep going, to keep pushing, in the hope of one day being the best version of ourselves.
My husband finished the London 100 yesterday, raising £1327 for the Charity Revitalise who offer respite for disabled people and carers. He got up the mighty Box Hill in 11 minutes and felt great. His Strava later informed him a pro rider climbed it in just over three minutes. Does his money mean to less to Revitalise for it, or maybe more, because of it?
In other news, I’m off camping to the Gower and I’m pretty sure it’s going to rain all week. As a child, we had a Conway trailer tent. My dad swears that the second the tarpaulin cover was removed, black clouds skuttled towards us, the wind got up and the sky grew thick with the promise of rain. I therefore spent far too long and far too much in Black’s buying technical camping gear I probably won’t know how to erect, nor will have need for. Other campers will no doubt tut at me when I arrive and say ‘All the gear, no idea’.
I don’t care. I have a stack of books to read and no housework for a week, no bath to wrestle the children into and no work. I shall sing in the rain.
So Lewes football club are the first to pay its female players the same as its males ones. Part of me is saying ‘Go Lewes’ but another part of me is thinking ‘This should not be a big deal, it’s 2017, but us women are still fighting for fairness.”
Lewes FC director Jacquie Agnew said: “We believe that there should be a level playing field for women in football… we hope to spark a change across the UK that will help put an end to the excuses for why such a deep pay disparity has persisted in our sport. Together with our owners, donors and sponsors, Lewes FC can show that equal pay can be implemented to the benefit of both women and men in sport and beyond.”
Let’s hope Lewes FC inspire other businesses to pull up their (football) socks. The BBC’s ridiculous gender pay gap has recently been revealed, revealing Chris Evans earned a cool £2.2 million in the last financial year whilst top female earner Claudia Winkelman took home a fifth of his earnings, collecting “just” £450,000.
I don’t think anyone should earn £450,000 for commenting on other people dancing. I don’t think people should earn £450,000 for dancing, not when nurses, doctors and fireman are earning pennies for saving lives.
As for Chris Evans earning £2.2million for telling us about his Ferrari collection or what his son had for breakfast? (did you know/care, he once bought a Ferrari once belonging to Steve McQueen for £million!) I’m staggered that people can earn so much for offering so little to our society.
Gary Lineker kicked his toys out his pram when he found out he’s the BBC’s second-best paid star; moaning: "This whole BBC salary exposure business is an absolute outrage...I mean how can @achrisevans be on more than me?"
All Gary does is eat crisps and monopolise dull talks about a match that already happened.
During the recent election, he attempted to turn political and commented; ‘Lunatics running the world and a choice between May, Corbyn and Farron….How joyous.’
With the kind of salary he is taking home, it won’t make a difference who runs the government. He might as well comment on what it’s like to visit a food bank, having never been and will never need to.
Jeremy Vine, who earns £750,000 a year simpered about The Telegraph's Matt cartoon which showed two newsreaders with the comment ‘And now my male colleague will read the Autocue more expensively’ – saying “As the father of two young girls, I hope they won't understand this cartoon by the time they start work.”
Worthy words Vine, but why not be the change yourself, by sacrificing your salary to take home the same wage as your female colleagues, or give the excess to women’s charities?
Am I the only one whose sick of men getting paid so much money to spout drivel?
SO the continuing battle to stop debating, and instead recognise and respect all non-binary people is making headlines.
What does non-binary mean? The same as Genderqueer (GQ). What does Genderqueer mean? It’s a catch-all name for gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine.What does that mean? It means identities outside of the gender binary and cisnormativity.
What is cisnormativity? Cisgender is a term for people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. What does that mean? It means if you remained the sex you were described (boy/girl) as you were plucked from your mother. (If your mother wanted to be known as ‘mother’ that is.)
It’s complicated, and some may say ridiculous, but in a world where the impossible is becoming possible, why not accept gender fluidity?
Film maker, trans campaigner and artist Fox Fisher, called people to be accepted for who they are in his speech after being made an honorary Doctor of Arts by the University of Brighton. He said: “I feel we are still struggling with the same issues. Trans people’s identities aren’t respected as much as they should be and we constantly have to prove, explain and justify our experience. We are constantly being put down and humiliated and a lot of trans people experience stigma, discrimination and even violence. I hope that in the future, trans people will be respected and recognised for who they are. I hope that non-binary people will receive legal and social recognition – that’s the X on the passport – and the right to marry as well. I want us all to be celebrated for being who we are and I want there to be a day when no one has to justify their experience or debate it with anyone because identities are not up for debate and never should be.”
Wonderful words, but it would be easier if we could get to a point where we no longer need to justify who we are to anyone other than ourselves.
Paul Sheppard, The Life Doctor, Hove – anxiety coach/therapist based in Brighton and Hove says “We all have our own version of reality and we fit everything into it. Accepting what we don’t understand is difficult, but we have a responsibility to try. To remain closed minded is to limit our world.
Another important thing to remember is that the way people treat us is often more about what is going on inside themselves. People transfer their feelings outwards, but we have a choice whether to engage with it, believe it, and wear it. We are never powerless.
Acceptance comes in understanding our versions of reality are simply that, our versions; they are not right or real. They are based on our perceptions and our experiences of life. Learning to develop empathy rather than understanding would be a better goal than universal acceptance. Empathy explores the possibility of understanding what others are going through, without needed to agree. This requires empathy, curiosity and the willingness to learn and educate from both sides.”
So Kirsty Allsopp has declared it unhygienic to have a washing machine in one’s kitchen. ‘It is disgusting, my life’s work is in part dedicated to getting washing machines out of the kitchen,’ she said.
I say she should get an actual life, but what do I know? I love laundry. The children know not to speak when we go down the detergent and fabric softener aisle in ASDA. It is my happy place, and if given long enough to sniff and scratch and sample, I’ll reward them with sweets at the till. Yes, I am a terrible mother, but by golly my washing smells nice.
Newspaper columnist Jan Moir says it’s a class issue. I don’t find it an issue, because I am pretty sure I’m not classy. This was confirmed when Allsopp went on to give tips about what else should and should not appear in your kitchen - no to a TV, yes to Maldon salt on the table, but only if in a salt-pig (not a real pig). No to any gadgets like coffee makers or blenders being on display, yes to white plates only. No to funny fridge magnet or wacky aprons, yes to the current wicker fad.
My kitchen currently lacks a proper floor, so I’ve laid down the husband’s Spurs rug from when they were FA Cup Winners in 1961 (smells like 1961 pub carpet) and my fridge is adorned with the worst fridge magnets I can find when I travel.
In other news, Peacehaven may have to change its name since their police station shut down. It has since become a haven of hostility and debauchery.
June Burgess’ heavy plant pots have been stolen from her garden, in a seemingly planned attack, “Whoever stole my plant pots must have had transport and been working with other people. One was made of flint and was really heavy – you couldn’t do it on your own” she said.
The newly opened Saltdean Lido was vandalised by a 16-year-old from Peacehaven. The windows of the Meridian Centre were smashed in the early hours of Sunday morning, as it becomes a hub of trouble, according to local residents.
Mr Duncan, 62, from Coastway Cabs, which has its office in the Centre said “This year has been the worst I have ever seen it here. You get kids doing wheelies on their bikes inside – there is absolutely no control over them.”