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Rye Harbour

I remember walking here when I was a child. I remember the mudflats and, even then, how much I loved the wildness and bleakness.

How it's changed. As we walked passed the old cottages in the harbour I could see into them as it was now dusk. They looked like the inside of magazines. And I thought of the fishing families all crammed in there once upon a time. with no interest at all on how the interior looked.

I support a charity called Little Village. It's based in London and the idea behind it is that you donate baby clothes, items up to the age of five. It helps mothers who have fallen on hard times. What a great idea. And it made me think of the village that I lived in when I was a child. I remember the jumble sales at the village hall. Clothes were endlessly recycled until they couldn't be mended anymore. Not great if you were the youngest child as you got things 'last'!

The thing is that we were all in it together. It was seen as something we all did to help each other. Nobody had a huge amount of money. And the worth of somebody wasn't judged on how much they earned. In fact, I can remember playing with the boys from the boarding schools who came back in the holidays. We felt rather sorry for them because they appeared a bit lost and didn't know 'good' games or how to play properly.

I feel so sad that we have ended up in a society where the worth of somebody is judged on what they have 'achieved'. Which would be fine if the achievement was their ability to have happy, enduring relationships and to know how to enable family units which last. To know how to value themselves for simply being human and getting up in the morning. For knowing how to be kind and brave and attempting to tell the truth.

I am now on Twitter and happened to join on International Men's Day. I am very saddened to see how depressed and unhappy so many men are. I am not surprised. In the village I lived in men were valued as being good fathers. This wasn't about earning money. It was their ability to be there, in the family, to love their children, to provide boundaries for them and to plod on even when things got pretty unbearable. In return their families loved them.

It wasn't about what they 'achieved' at work. Achievement at work (for anybody) simply can't bring the happiness and contentment I am describing. Only relationships can do that.

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