I had a lovely Good Friday yesterday.
It was certainly different to the Good Fridays of old.
In my twenties, Good Friday for me signified an “all dayer”. A day when myself, family and friends would hit various bars in Bath or Bristol and celebrate the bank holiday with an abundance of alcohol. I’m not sure that’s how Easter is supposed to be spent but it was a long standing tradition for us and one I enjoyed immensely. Probably a little too immensely on occasion (2010 for instance, when I went out on Good Friday and didn’t get home until Easter Monday; them were the days).
Yesterday was a real family day. The morning was spent with my in laws and the afternoon just the 3 of us strolling around the centre of Bristol. Despite the weather not being as gorgeous as it was last weekend (typical), it didn’t hamper our spirits too much.
While the weather didn’t hamper things, there was something I witnessed that did.
As we were walking back to the car from Bristol Harbourside my attention was directed to a small group of men.
These men were, shall we say, enjoying the benefits of a bank holiday in Bristol. Likely on an all dayer themselves, like I used to be.
It was about 3:30pm and I could tell they had definitely started early.
Lots of boisterous behaviour, lots of rowdiness and lots of being unable to walk in a straight line.
When I’m out and about with my son, I’ll often feel slightly on edge. My job is to protect him and I survey all situations with a tinge of trepidation.
These lads were right in front of us as we were walking over a bridge to our car. I kept my beady eye on them at all times, ready to act should they get too close.
As we were approaching Queen Square in Bristol, they were still heading in the same direction we intended to go.
A young man on his own was walking in the opposite direction to them. I watched as they caught sight of him and gesticulated loudly at him whilst making a strange noise. The young lad looked at them then looked away.
I turned to my other half who now had our son on his shoulders, and said “did I just see and hear what I think I did?” “Yeah” he replied “They made a racist slur”.
I could feel my blood begin to boil. I could feel the anger rising within me. I looked at the guy who was just walking down a street, minding his own business, totally undeserving of the vileness he’s just received. He was now about to walk past me and I just smiled to him. A knowing, sympathetic smile. Inside I was seething.
I wanted to catch up with those bigoted arseholes and give them a piece of my mind. I wanted to tell them how disgusting I found them. How there is no place for their ignorance and hate in this world.
And then I remembered a situation I found myself in last Summer.
It was 2 days after the EU Referendum and tensions seemed high wherever you went. Across social media I watched as people I knew tore strips off one another because of the way they had voted.
I was in our local pub on the Saturday evening with my boyfriend, we’d sat outside chatting to someone we knew whilst I was having a cigarette. I happened to glance away from the party I was with and watched as a small dog ran across the very busy road towards the pub. How the oncoming car avoided him, I’ll never know. I ran into the road and scooped the dog up into my arms, taking him back to where we were sat. He didn’t have a collar.
To cut a long story short, eventually we found the owners. Wes and a woman who had come outside to see what was going on had gone to some nearby houses to try and find the owners whilst I stayed with the dog. The owners now identified, they walked over to me to collect their dog. However, a bloke in the pub had now decided to get his two pennies worth in and wanted to confront the dog owners for their lack of responsibility.
The dog’s owners could barely speak a word of English. They looked concerned, frightened and confused whilst this reprobate decided to get up in their faces and chastise them for losing their dog.
It was disgusting. And I told him so.
Back at the pub and with the owners of the dog having now gone home, a group of men come out of the pub as we sat down, they wanted to see what the furore was.
I’m not proud of what I said when I was confronted by one of these men, sometimes my mouth engages before brain. However, this disgusting yob started to bleat on about how the owners of the dog should “fuck off back to their own country”.
“What are you on about you toothless fucking wonder?” I bellowed at him. “How fucking vile are you”? He didn’t have a tooth in his head and it was the first thing I thought of.
I was gone at this point. The red mist had descended. By now we’re up in each other’s faces, I’d only had 2 glasses of wine so was relatively sober, he on the other hand was anything but. He was that close to me I had to wipe my face as spittle left his mouth as he spouted his vile beliefs.
The landlord decided to close the pub early as a result of this situation and we were left to carry on with our night. I was speechless and furious at what I had witnessed and been involved in. Shocked that something so vile could take place on my doorstep.
Had my son not been with me yesterday, I think I’d have confronted the group of men who made a racial slur to the young chap in Bristol.
People who conduct themselves in this way need to be called out. They need to know that what they are doing is wrong, illegal and downright disgusting.
As we were walking to our car, I looked up at my son singing happily whilst sat on his Daddy’s shoulders. I turned to Wes and said “I’d be devastated if my little boy turned out like those blokes”. “They were like him once; young and innocent”. He agreed.
I want my son to grow up respecting everyone. No matter race or nationality, regardless of religion or beliefs. If that was my son, behaving in the manner I saw yesterday or last Summer, I would be totally and utterly horrified and likely take a long hard look at myself, for allowing him to turn out that way.