It would be remiss of me not to mention the political turmoil of very recent times. A group of power-hungry, mostly public-schooled men, stood up for something they said they believed in, argued with things they said were facts, and, when their hypothesis was accepted by a slim majority of people, rejoiced with such obvious dubiety, those in the slim minority could almost have thought the men didn’t believe it after all.
After the result of the referendum, many people thought they had felt the full force of bombshell that would hit them harder than anything in their lifetimes outside their personal spheres. Not so. We then lost a Prime Minister, half a shadow cabinet, most of the public-schooled men, a few homophobic pretenders, a wannabe (and a mother), and our national sense of identity in the bargain. A collective bigotry that had been on a low simmer was dialled up to boiling point, bolstered by the confident hand of safety in numbers.
I am unable to find a sassy way to segue into how interior design can offer solace. But I will say this: two days after the vote, I tore up the laminate flooring in my new dining room, hallway and living room. The floorboards below were different in each. One room was dark, dirty and slightly boggy, making the space look like an eighteenth century watering hole; the addition of some contemporary furniture jollying the boards out of their history into the future. The hallway was mismatched, bits of pristine wood jigsawed to fit in with those that had been there since the beginning; some sharp tacks and many different colours. The living room was smoother with more continuity; later additions by a canny builder who’d spotted an opportunity for significant amelioration. Afterward, tired by the sheer physical labour of hoisting hundreds of slices of melamine away from the true core of the building’s foundations, I felt a bit better. It is a mess, and needs some careful restoration, but it is the starting point for the kind of improvement that fills me with hope for what it might become.