I won't lie. I was devastated by the Leave victory. On 24th June 2016 I felt bereaved. Brexiters berated me: I didn't have confidence my country they scoffed. Cheer up! It was a great day of liberation, we could be great again. If I didn't see that I was doing the country down.
I was now part of the problem they had just voted away.
I didn't understand it then. I don't understand it now. I lost all my Brexit supporting friends. I was a member of a different tribe, seen by them as an educated Europophile, one of the experts or elite, not one of them. They were the victors. They did it for their kids. It was their turn now, not mine.
What had they won? They didn't know. Some vague freedom or regained sovereignty, but they couldn't give any tangible examples. What had they lost? Nothing. The EU had given them no benefits the UK alone couldn't provide. By definition, because I had gained from EU membership, I was now part of the problem they had just voted away.
If they didn't feel any loss, my loss didn't matter. I was on the losing side and my views no longer counted for anything. The referendum win meant they were right. So many people couldn't be wrong. Could they? My daughter thought so. She posted a link to the results of the 1933 election in Germany to a gloating Brexiter asking if he thought those 17 million had been right too. He blocked her.
On 25th June I was giving a talk at my old university, representing my company. The university students were in shock. The prepared talks on careers and job opportunities were from a previous world. Some of the recent graduates had just seen their career plans potentially ruined. Everyone was trying to be positive but finding it difficult. It seemed like a victory for ignorance and lies and any attempt to argue was rebuffed with accusations of arrogance and elitism. Arguement was closed down.
Exercise and the outdoors were my only solice
So how to survive, living here in the midst of Brexit land?
I tried many things. Arguing on Twitter: made it worse! Writing to my MP: worse than Twitter. Crying into my pillow just gave me a headache. I couldn't sleep. Exercise and the outdoors were my only solice.
Walking and talking with my husband made me feel better. Together we started to learn about trees and birds and the history of the local country park. Or I should say, relearn what I had learned many years ago from my grandfather.
My roots are in this area. As we walked the footpaths I tried to connect with my predecessors and imagine what it was like in their day. They would have seen some of the same trees, the same walls, buildings and tracks. I suppose the Brexiters would have approved. Retreating to an imagined past world, but mainly a world of nature.
As we walked more and more we discovered hidden delights close to home we had not previously noticed. We slowed down, did less running and more walking, we saw more.
The trees have survived centuries, the migratory birds needed no visas, the buzzards could still soar magnificently overhead, the flowers still bloomed and the pond was teaming with frogs. Untroubled by Brexit the natural world around us was continuing. This was our respite from Brexit and its impact on our identiy, our finances (immediate and expensive) and our work (in a UK based European HQ).
Our garden needed work. We would reclaim it from the weeds and brambles and grow vegetables and meadow flowers. We would plant trees for our great grandchildren to enjoy.
This then will be the theme of "Rooted to the Spot". Our experience with the ups and downs of surviving Brexit and our reconnection with our local suroundings.