I see our world today and how it is disintegrating slowly but surely. I feel deep sadness and also anger possibly in equal measures. There is so much war and tyranny and then then are the natural events such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and extreme weather. No wonder people try to find somewhere else to live.
I know what it is like to be homeless or nearly so and to live in squalid conditions. When I was younger and my two children were only just at school, I lived in a series of one bedroom flats or apartments where the facilities for cooking and washing were very basic. At one point I shared a damp falling apart house where I and my children had a bedroom but shared the small damp living room and kitchen. There was only cold water, no hot water except from a kettle on the gas stove and the toilet was across the yard. I was on a council housing list and it was only when a doctor visited because I was ill that things started to change. I soon found myself with a nice two bedroom house but no furniture apart from a bed and a table. Luckily I was working and able to start to get the things we needed.
Later a few years ago my landlord asked me to leave. Again as I was in a different area and on a council housing list I managed to get a little bungalow with the help of the local councillor.
As I have written before I remember certain events from the Second World War and can easily understand how people must feel when surrounded by falling bombs and explosions. I have great sympathy for those trying to escape also for those living with a tyrannical leader.
But I see the leaders of various countries not wanting to help those fleeing such areas yet often it is those leaders who made the mess to start with. It seems to be a case of not in my backyard as the saying goes and let’s pass the problem on to somewhere else. I also understand that our country is small and has limited space for more houses but the refugee situation is only going to get worse as the climate changes force people from their homes to go and find somewhere else to live and work. Parts of our world are already turning into desert lands while others are becoming too hot to live there so what are we going to do as a world not just as one country? Surely we should all work together to help those in need.
Some forty or more years ago I painted what was for me a very special painting. I gave it the title of Sanctuary. I refused to sell it but one day it was in an exhibition and this woman kept coming to stand in front of it and wanted to buy it. On the last day of the exhibition I asked her why and she told me her story. I gave it to her after that. Her need was greater then mine.