Yesterday, after listening to a fairly typical adversarial slanging exchange from the house of commons I walked down the hill to visit Mum in her nursing home. The hate and smugly rehearsed retorts still in my mind, I entered the home and discovered it was one of the volunteer activities-lady days.
I greeted Mum, who asked me where I had come from as if I had green skin and antenna, then sat down to watch the activities commence.
This lady is a marvel. She has been coming to the home as a volunteer for seventeen years. Seventeen years! Without pay, because she wants to help brighten the lives of elderly people. And she does. On non-activity days, the sitting room is a sea of blue carpet dotted with the individual boats of plastic-y upholstered chairs each containing a mostly silent home-inhabitant waiting for the next cup of tea.
I'm not saying the staff don't care - they do, but there isn't much time to anything more than wheel or hoist the residents to the loo or pass on a few bright words before having to move on to the next necessity.
While I helped her round up spongy, brightly-coloured balls, arrange hoops and re-locate a bean-bag target practice I thought back to the House of Commons; to the seats full of heckling MPs and bitching heads of government/apposition who are supposed to be to be 'looking after the interests' of the British People. Do any of them really care? Or is it just about power and personal political positioning?
It seems to me that we could do with more people in power who actually have an interest in helping fellow humans; like our activities lady - no judgement, no questions, just a genuine desire to make things better for other people.