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United Diversity

What a fabulous photograph! Three beautiful young ladies engaging in the celebrations of a Royal event, coordinating their patriotic red, white and blue with their modesty ethos and headscarves. Three young Islamic followers sharing the joy of a Christian wedding.  I truly hope their experiences of the day was solely positive and affirming.

It’s a sad dark shadow on our society that there are those who will view this casual image so negatively. There are those who will snear and cry that these ‘types’ should go back from where they came (little realising that it’s likely somewhere like Bishop Stortford, or a country village, not some distant land; nor realising Islamists have lived, worked and died in the UK for a few thousand years).  There are also some who will genuinely believe these ladies have demeaned themselves, because they are not wearing black and they have their faces exposed.

Whilst there will always be those who favour an opposite negative opinion, and I hope they are a shrinking minority, can we please try and enjoy the positive, happy, inclusive, non-pigeon-holing of life.  It seems as society is trying to become inclusive and tolerant (detest that word), it is also becoming more focused on tagging and highlighting differences.  

I was reluctant to post this, you never quite know whether on such an explosive subject, readers will understand what I mean, and who will take offence. Fingers crossed.

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Posted by on May 25, 2018 in In The News, Life

 

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Siri? Alexa? No, Aunty

Picture the scene……. You are sitting comfy on the sofa, feet up, the late afternoon sunshine warming your exposed toes, your mind is occupied watching Columbo run rings around William Shatner, you are contemplating when to go make your poached salmon with vegetable rice and a splash of soy sauce, when the phone rings…….

Now I never get unsolicited phone calls, BFF calls during the week during her walk home from work, Bro-In-Law and Big Sis are away for the weekend, Nephew & family would be eating their dinner, whose left to call! I scramble to mute the tv and grab the phone. 

“Hello?”

“Hello you, it’s me” (Bro-In-Law) Utoh, problems? Brain scurries every which way

“Hello you” my brain is bemused, coherence not engaged

“You by the pod” that’s code for within reach of t’internet

“Yeeaaahhhhssssssss?” My brain is reaching wtf mode

“What time does the GP start?” 

Really? No, Hey we’re having a fab time, missing us, food awesome at that pub, etc etc, just straight in with the important stuff, lol.

“6pm Channel Four”

“Ta much”

Who needs Google when you’ve a me!!!

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2018 in General, Life, people

 

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I Hate Halloween (still)

 

Time for a repost…

It all stems back to a incident in 1973/1974 and some decades later the fear within still resides and affects my behaviour.

Way back then I was a small child, only child of the house. We lived in a new house in the village, there were no street lights and few neighbours. The room beside the main lounge/dinner, always named the little lounge, was where I would play most evenings, not disturbing my parents. The window, at right angles from the main lounge windows, looked out across the lawn and across the neighbours drive. It was a very quiet village and as my street was a cul de sac of only a dozen properties not much traffic either. It was never unusual for the curtains to be left open after all there was no one to look-in.

One of the main streets [the village centered around a t-junction beside an ancient Priory and river crossing] had the affluent estates, mansions of six or seven bedrooms in acres of land, some only years old some dating pre-victorian, and as the oil industry was beginning to boom on the coast these executive dwellings were rented to upper managements families, thus why we had American families in the village.

The ‘festival’ of trick or treating was unknown to my neck of the woods, yes we were aware of All Hallow’s Eve, the night of witches and gouls, stories of fright but other than that is was a non-event.

I vividly recall that night without much prompting, I was playing gymnastics in the little lounge. forward rolls, backward rolls and so forth, balancing, pretending to tight-rope walk when there was a knock at the window. I looked up expecting to see a familiar face who had tried to gain our attention by knocking at the front door but had not been heard, but I was much mistaken. I saw a light shining upon a glowing disfigured face with a blood curdling moan eminating and nothing but pure blackness around. I was petrified, scared witless at this utter terror before me. I know I screamed with all the effort I could muster. I ran into the main lounge and leapt to my Mother startled by my activity, the leap was close to record breaking for a 5/6year old. I was shaking, howling, in such utter distress and hysteria.

My Father hurried from the house. It was not until many years later that someone else told me he caught one of the teens who had taken part in this deed, had grabbed him by the scruff of his jacket, pulling him to within an inch of his face and shouted most violently at him.

The next day as I boarded the bus for school, I knew instantly who had been involved, the two american teenage boys from the large house and one local boy, they were a gang of three, their snickers and glares displayed their guilt. I was so angry, yet utterly intimidated.

It is now approaching dusk and my nerves are already twitching to close the curtains and lock the door. When I first moved into my home the first couple of All Hallow’s Eve’s I could not bring myself to be in my kitchen and cook because there was nothing to cover the window and door, eventhough there was no way for anyone to get to them, the fear was there. When I worked flexi-time at the Agency I always left the moment core time was over and drove home to get hidden in my home.

I don’t for a moment imagine those three fellows even remember frightening me that night, but I do. I hate halloween.

EDIT :: I still close the curtains early, I am still on edge should there be a knock at my door (which would be ignored), but I know I’ll be fine.

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2017 in General, Life, people

 

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Mature Teenagers

It’s time to play the music……. It’s time to light the lights……..

BFF has arrived and plugged her phone in, rummaged to find her comfy stuff, made herself at home; groceries have been delivered to make tasty home cooked foods, the shipment of Coke Zero has been unloaded (she’s a Coke fiend, I’m a coffee one), this is our idea of a staycation…. Doors are locked, curtains may or may not be opened….. Pleasing ourselves, watch a movie or two, stitch and create, render some donkeys backlegless, laugh hysterically at something silly until our sides hurt…….it’s like being a teenager left at home. AWESOME

*insert happy big grinning smilie face here*

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2017 in Life, people

 

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Running Wild

Last night Big Sis and I went to see this amazing play, an adaptation of Michael Morpergo’s 2009 novel about the Boxing Day Tsunami in Indonesia in 2004.  Lily Macready was riding Oona the 12-year old elephant along the beach, but she was behaving awkwardly, wanting to turn away from the flat calm waters, her flight or fight senses took hold and she took off deep into the rainforest as the devastating wave hit the shores taking the lives of many and destroying countless buildings.  The story details how Lily learns to understand Oona and how this majestic animal protects and guides her young charge. Stumbling into the dark dangerous world of greedy gun wielding animal hunters and bullying farmers burning the forest to plant plams to make the highly profitable palm oil (used in many products from soap and shampoo to cooking oils and convenience foods). Eventually stumbling into an animal sanctuary, sunburnt, shot, dehydrated and exhausted and being reunited with her Grandma.

I was not prepared for the play to be so dark and violent in places, something which noticeably upset the young children in the audience. The plot brought attention to the environmental plight of the region, the global zealous need for commodities and the cruel lengths the ruthless go to exploiting that market. 

Oona the elephant is mesmerising, her puppeteers seemingly effortlessly bring life to this charismatic character. The orangutans were lively, cheeky and the babies (being hunted to be sold as pets) were utterly mischievous. Even the tiny details as the fire flies were completely believable. There was a palpable gasp from the audience as the tiger was carried into the hunters camp, dead, valuable as a skin, a trophy, medicine, even though earlier we had seen the same tiger attempting to attack Lily and Oona. 

I would have liked Oona’s trumpet call to be a little louder, as compared to the volume and depth of the orangutans and forest noises it was almost overpowered. Also, we did not really get a sense of time Lily was missing, whether it was a couple of days or a couple of weeks.  But none the less it was a very engaging performance.

After coming home I took a look online to see if I could find out a bit more, and ended up confusing myself further. I thought the story was based on a true life event, although there was a story of a child being taken into the forest on the back of an elephant, Michael Morpergo’s book tells the tale of a boy called Billy, yet the play is a girl called Lily.  There was very little information about what Lily had experienced, or whether she stayed in Indonesia or returned to the UK, whether her father had died prior to the holiday and whether her Mother was killed in the Tsunami, key elements in the plot.

Never the less, I would recommend going to see the performance.

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2017 in Books, Life, people, Review

 

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Granny & Death & Terry & Me


It began by chance, a book sent in error from a club, a blurb that struck a chord, that became a twenty year trek through the wit, the word play, the entendres, the sideways swipe, the unobvious parody, the literal and the Literal musings of a man’s meanderings of a fantasy land. I have no idea why Sir Terry caught my imagination, whether there’s enough reality in the fantasy to hold a ring of truth or I was just entertained.

When two of his books, Wyrd Sisters and Soul Music were made into an animated series, I practically wore the VHS out watching them over and over, the colourful characters firmly in my mind I could see and hear them as I read and reread the books. The dulcet tones of Tony Robinson reading the audiobooks often accompanied sleepless nights.  Later when tomes like Hogwatch, Going Postal and The Colour of Magic were filmed, they were top of my birthday/Christmas lists, staying close to the story, capturing much of the books comedic quality without tipping over into absurdity. 

Every one of the forty-one works has had its own flavour, often parodying cliches of religion, science, mythology, folklore, business acumen, dynasties and continents or authors like Shakespeare, Tolkein, Dicken’s and Potter.  A few of his notable characters have burrowed and set up home in my psyche, Granny Weatherwax and Death being the primary.  I can loose hours perusing numerous quotes or mini scenes. Such as (in exaggerated witchy hag voice), “When shall we three meet again”, “I can do next Tuesday” replies Nanny Ogg in her West Country tone; or “On nights such as this, witches are abroad.  Well, not actually abroad. They don’t like the food and you can’t trust the water and the shamans always hog the deckchairs.” In this time of election decisions I’m reminded of Ankh-Morpork’s take on democracy, “Ankh-Morpork had dallied with many forms of government and had ended up with that form of democracy known as One Man, One Vote. The Patrician was the Man; he had the Vote.”

With the death of Sir Terry and the publication of The Shepherd’s Crown, the final novel, something had an end. I delayed reading the book as I wasn’t ready to say good bye to this comforting friend. Last week I took up the book and began. The first few chapters were pure Pratchett even if the content was the death of my favourite character, but after that the book felt disjointed and unpolished. After the epilogue Sir T’s PA Rob added a letter, he told of their working methods and how books came together, but with the last book there had not been the time to fully work on the drafts, although often the final draft had to be crowbarred from his hands as Sir T was ever quite totally ready to say it was complete and done. It’s well known that this is not his finest, but it is his last and maybe demonstrates that despite his failing mental faculties he was determined to write to the end and not leave us hanging.

Farewell Sir T, Granny and all. 

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2017 in Books, people, Review

 

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AWOL now back, more rejuvenated & rebellious 


Lol, my screw literally did fall out! I use a dining chair as a walking frame (the seat also acts as a carry shelf), the seat pad is screwed from beneath but recently one of the screws was unscrewing itself and I kept tightening it but a couple of weeks or so ago there was the sound of something hitting the floor, yes my screw fell out.

I’ve had a fabulously, relaxing, fun, couple of weeks as my BFF in the whole Universe came to play I mean stay.  Lazy mornings, tasty foods, evening DVD’s, selfish indulgence galore. An obligatory visit to the local yarn store (new crochet project in progress). Whilst there a flyer was spotted on the counter about a film being shown at the Library, as part of the community cinema. Sully, is a film we have both been wanting to see, so we trotted down the street and attended. It was an excellent film, I had to remind myself I was in public and not to growl at the personage I disliked. It was totally engrossing, thoroughly watchable and seeing it on a larger screen with surround sound added to the experience.  There is always one thing each visit that crumples us both into tearful laughter. This time it was our efforts to send her Dad a video of us singing happy birthday. The snag was keeping the thumb on the go button, it slipped and the looping short video made me look like I had a nervous tic, the dang app sent it so we had to type ignore that. Then inn the second attempt after explaining our error as we took a breath to sing, thumb shifted stopping the filming. We gave up and recorded a video and then sent that in messages. Her poor Dad must have wondered what on earth was going on! Still he and we all had a good hearty laugh.

All too soon she was packing for home, already counting down to her return (168 days).  We had jested that her cats might be happy to have her home, but also cold shoulder her for leaving in the first place, her cat Hunter came running as soon as he heard her voice and was rubbing himself round her legs, so pleased to have her home.

So, yes, a change is as good as a rest.  

Oh yes, I had a birthday in there too, lots of goodies and treats. Next year is an “0-heck” number, yikes!

Back to making working lists

  • Work on the web site
  • Carry on with crochet project
  • Try and keep things tidier
  • Research Greenwich trip
  • Clear and tidy desk + draws
  • Chase up Neuro Consultants Letter

That should do for now.

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2017 in General, Life, people, Projects

 

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