Friday, 11 December 2009
Hey ho this was meant to be about Chatsworth
Yesterday I went with my friend Kate to Chatsworth to see the astonishing Christmas decorations.
For anyone who doesn't know about Chatsworth, it is the stately home of the Duke of Devonshire. The film the Duchess, staring Keira Knightly was based on one of the current Dukes ancestors. The house is always been used in film sets. The most recent being Pride and Prejudice and Mr Darcy was supposed to live there.
For a lot of the year you can go around the house and in November and December some of the rooms are decorated out with wonderful decorations following a theme. This years theme was the stories of Hans Christian Anderson. Rooms are filled with 20 foot Christmas trees beautifully decorated. Corridors are filled with swathes of greenery and baubles, or twinkly lights. The whole thing is a visual delight.
Unfortunately I didn't realise till I'd done the tour that I could have taken photos! So the ones here are of the famous Emperor Fountain and a sculpture of some dogs just hanging around on an unexpected path.
It was a lovely day. We had lunch in what was once the stables and is now a lovely restaurant and gift shop, before we had the tour. On coming out the sunshine was glorious so a walk in the gardens seemed apt.
On returning home Kate dropped me off and I went into my house and all the lovely day fell away. I just felt lost and alone again.
It feels like I'm standing on a beach and the waves are lapping round my legs and every so often an unexpected big wave comes along and knocks me off my feet. I then have to get up from my soaking and carry on enjoying the little waves hoping there won't be another big one, but knowing there will be, I just don't know when.
In fact, there has just been a giant one hit me. I've been coping okay with the day and I've just had a phone call from the press, asking whether I want right of reply to the victims about my son's behaviour. This is way out of my comfort zone and I haven't a clue what to do, or say.
The victims think Al should be inside for longer, they think they should be paid compensation and they think that either Al or his family should apologise for what happened.
Now whilst I understand that what he did in causing criminal damage to their property, and common assault is absolutely horrid to deal with, I don't make the laws. I didn't decide to send him down and not issue a fine or decide the length of sentence.
I also know that for Alex to be able to move on in his future he has to accept responsibility for his actions. Whether that includes being strong enough to apologise is very much up to him. I really think it would be a hollow victory for them if I start apologising for him.
I do not like how my son has been in the last few years. And this year imparticular has been terribly difficult for me. But I haven't stopped loving him. Or having faith that he could turn things round. This he had started to do in the last three months. To the point that he was a joy to have around; chatty, affectionate and not much sign of his terrible bad temper.
I do empathise with the victims, I know I would be baying for blood if that had happened to anyone close to me. But I can't make it better for them. And I won't apologise for my son. I understand why he has been the way he has.
As far as I'm concerned the Judge has passed his verdict. I accept that Al was guilty and needed punishment as deemed fit by the law. But he is my son, and even though I accept what has been given to him I don't know what purpose it will serve,
as he had already turned himself around.Other than it being the law which I can't and don't want to argue with.
There are two choices ahead of him, walk away and learn from what he has done. Or blame others and become vindictive and start the life of a recidivist. And only he can decide which path to take.
Oh boy this was going to be a happy post about yesterday.... hey ho!
Any advice on dealing with the press will be gratefully received.