Thursday, April 30, 2009

A furthe posting for today, A WELCOME IS EXTENDED?, can be found on 'Mal's Murmurings'.

Seasons In The Sun

Sometimes, the weather makes one’s “pacing” easier; at others it proves the worst adversary. Recent days have seen a clear demonstration of this; a spell of dry sunshiny weather found me out in the garden, eager to tackle a number of overdue tasks and, even to feel inspired to make further modifications. When you can manage a little task it just feels so good, the morale is boosted and, one feels quite virtuous at having attained something that, in one’s lower de-staminated times, certainly seemed a task too far.

Experience has taught me the importance of retaining some energy, rather than go flat out to tackle the job in hand but, the temptation’s always there to do a little bit more. Surely one can manage that extra little exertion? Nine times out of ten I could; problem is, that extra little exertion is the proverbial straw that flattens the hump.

Five minutes more effort can mean several days painfully laid low, aching and feeling tortuously bruised in places one can’t imagine anyone having a name for; in fact, one has temporarily lost the ability to name even the familiar places. At these times, one wishes the world would end and, stamina permitting, one screams out the words that many hangover sufferer may utter the morning after, “Never again!”

Of course, at the weekend my beloved is around to keep an eye on me; she certainly doesn’t want to deal with the aftermath and, at times seems more aware of my limitations than I, in my better days, am capable of acknowledging.

Come Monday, the rains had arrived, drastically curtailing any desire to do a little more pottering about in the garden – guilt free, I’m able to take things easier! Wednesday afternoon, the sun breaks through in glorious splendour and the impulse to go forth and till the fields grows strong.

I settle for something a little strenuous and, transplant a few tomato seedlings, from the windowsill propagator into pots ready for placement in the greenhouse. Although not excessively hot, a little time in the sunshine coupled with a moderate exertion proves overpowering. The glow of satisfaction, at another little task completed, is counterbalanced by a tediously frustrating shattered-ness. In this instance the weather proved both friend and foe.

I can only give thanks for all the things I can manage and, a new preparedness to listen to my body.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Sunday lunchtime, a newspaper falls through our letterbox, it arouses our curiosity. Three sub-teen girls are going along the road, folding and delivering the aforementioned news sheets. I smile and think that’s it’s perhaps the periodical paper produced by the county council and the children are enjoying their little job, helping mum and dad out.

My beloved gets up from the table and brings the ‘literature’ through to the dining room. “It’s about green policy”, she reports. Sure enough, the bold headline news is ‘Protecting our local green belt’, not quite the kind of green policy I anticipated. I then glanced at the newspapers header which read ‘Harrogate & Knaresborough District News’ subtitled ‘Delivered free by your local Conservatives to over 40,000 homes’. So instead of a newspaper we have a propaganda sheet.

They certainly start them young on the propaganda trail, these Tories. A sudden disclosure flashes across my mind as the very young children go about their Sunday job, delivering these sheets of waste paper; Tories plan to re-introduce child labour.

I think about this for a couple of minutes, concerned about the corruption of innocent children for party political ends. I think a little bit more about it and, the realization dawns that they have to utilize the very young as anyone older, and with a modicum of intelligence, will remember the disastrous socially divisive policies of the Thatcher era. (Sadly, Blair and his ilk corrupted Labour, transforming itself into New Labour, by adopting the same monetarist policies; the very policies that led to the global financial meltdown).

How could one forget the Saatchi brothers inspired Tory campaign, which brought about their election victory at the end of the 1970’s, showing a dole queue under the banner heading ‘Labour Isn’t Working’. At that time unemployment was reaching the one million mark, within a couple of years Thatcher had transformed that into more than 3 million unemployed. They attempted to massage the figures by placing people onto different welfare benefits but the exponential growth of the unemployment figures continued, even excluding those numbers (in reality people) surreptitiously ignored!

I remember too the Poll Tax riots, which led to a U-turn in the policy of the Lady who was not for turning. Self-interest, greed, “no such thing as society”, was the legacy that Conservative regime bestowed upon the country. A legacy of broken lives and self-centred individualism is their proud claim.

But, the message I received yesterday was their readiness to re-introduce child labour.
Cameron and his ilk attempt to portray a conservatism with a human face but, the truth is that Thatcher’s cohorts will be disclosed once that veneer receives the least scratch. Tory ideas, practised by New Labour, helped to get us into the current difficulties, why should anyone trust the real full-blooded instigators of this change to rescue us!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Teddy Bear Substitute

They walk around self-obsessed; poor dears, they probably can’t help it. All those around them may as well not exist or, perhaps for these teddy bear bearers the only reality is themselves, the contemporary solipsistic tendency.

Wherever they go they chatter to their teddy bear, without whose presence their life would apparently be totally devoid of meaning. It’s quite strange how far the teddy bear, like the comfort blanket, has metamorphosed to meet the requirements of the discerning contemporary solipsist.

Of course I may be wrong; the problem may not be solipsism but, rather a total lack of manners. They wander around town, out in the countryside, in supermarkets, DIY stores, chattering away to their teddy bears. I suspect that these transmogrified teddy bears are extremely hard of hearing as it always seems to be the case that their owners have to raise their voices to reassure themselves that these pieces of plastic understand. I know they must be some kind of teddy bear; one can tell, by their owners whole demeanour, that the whole universe would fall apart without this faithful toy. Indeed, some owners have developed a technique whereby they can cuddle the toy under their chin, should hands be required to tackle some other task in their solitary universe.

Oft times, one may witness these sadly deluded people persist in stridently chattering to their plastic toy as they load up their shopping baskets, present the baskets at the till without uttering a word to, or exchanging a glance with, the till-operator. I was brought up to believe that such behaviour was the height of rudeness; perhaps their solipsistic outlook should make me feel more tolerant towards them.

It was quite a surprise to me when I finally discovered that this inanimate object, around which their entire existence seemed to revolve, had actually been called a ‘mobile phone’. Still, it certainly seems to have become a substitute teddy bear or comfort blanket.

I only wish it had been a dummy substitute; at least with their mouths filled I wouldn’t have to listen in to their hysterical shouting!


This posting also appears on Mal's Murmurings

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

tempus fugit - carpe diem

Doesn’t time fly by when one has nothing to do? Maybe I should correct that; one can usually find plenty to do but, time is always too short, especially when one has no fixed agenda.

There was a song, “Who Knows Where The Time Goes”, to which I always wanted to respond, “don’t ask me; it’s one of life’s little mysteries!” Mind you, there have been occasions when time seemed to hang like a leaden pendulum, especially when working as an accounts manager and we suddenly changed from old fashioned double entry book-keeping to a purpose built computerized system. Whereas on the one hand it was a much quicker process, much time was spent twiddling the thumbs, whilst we awaited the snail-mail delivery of our weekly printouts from the mainframe situated some ninety miles away.

Where once a simple glance at the ledger would show where any discrepancy had occurred, thanks to new technology, we now had to trawl through sheaths of lined paper filled with endless repetitions. Don’t get me wrong, accounts work was never mine by choice but rather a means of sustaining me whilst I got on with the important things in life. In those days, the only time that flew by was those hours outside of the office ones!

Later employment, working for the museums and art gallery service, both front and back of house, proved much more rewarding (even if somewhat less lucrative). Once the opportunity arose, not infrequently, to get on ones hobby-horse, time passed as if it had a rocket assisted launch. Even my last paid employment as a caretaker/steward at a thriving parish church, where I frequently toiled well beyond the appointed hours, saw the hours float away!

Nothing to do? I’ve been thinking about that, as my digits stray across the keyboard on auto-pilot: there’s always too much to do, especially the tasks for which I possess neither the necessary physical or emotional stamina! Stamina and intermittent brain-fog permitting, I can get on with my writing, watercolour painting, amateur website building etc, tending to the aquarium and pond inhabitants needs (sometimes not as frequently as I ought to – a missed filter clean/change here and there seems to occur due to lack of time and focus) and general pottering around in the garden.

I even manage to fit in the occasional socializing visit to ‘Open Church’ or ‘CafĂ© Culture’, events which health reasons had deprived me of for a rather prolonged period of time. One of these days, I may regain sufficient stamina to go to a gig or concert which was at one time a fairly regular part of my life.

I am extremely grateful for all that I can manage although still succumbing to bouts of frustration regarding the many things that I can no longer manage. Fortunately, “pacing” imposes itself on me when otherwise I would be tempted to return to the old boom and bust cycle. It’s almost as if my self-discipline now disciplines me.

Who knows where the time goes? I don’t really care, we only have one life and we’d better make the most of it!

Exporting Gun Crime

""I continue to believe that we can respect and honor the Second Amendment rights in our Constitution, the rights of sportsmen and hunters and homeowners who want to keep their families safe, to lawfully bear arms, while dealing with assault weapons that, as we know, here in Mexico, are helping to fuel extraordinary violence. Violence in our own country as well. Now, having said that, I think none of us are under the illusion that reinstating that ban would be easy."

In other words: Our president can deal with all manner of big problems, but the American gun lobby is just too strong to let him push a rational and limited gun regulation through Congress.

It's particularly infuriating that Obama offered this statement of powerlessness just a few days before today's 10th anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado -- and just after a spree of mass homicides across the United States took the lives of least 57 people.

No other democratic country in the world has the foolish, ineffectual gun regulations that we do. And, unfortunately, what Obama said is probably true.

Who will face down the gun lobby? – E. J. Dionne Jr - WashingtonPost

Friday, April 10, 2009

Gaza aid being blocked by Israel

Gaza aid being blocked by Israel
, says reporter

Thousands of tons of humanitarian aid intended for the people of Gaza are sitting at the Egyptian border because Israel has not authorized them to pass, says a freelance journalist on the spot.

Source URL:

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


Although the weather has been somewhat changeable, I’ve been able to spend a bit of time out in the garden. Whilst in the garden I’ve acquired a new and unexpected friend, who I’ve christened “Blackie”; I know it maybe shows a lack of imagination but the friend in question is a male blackbird who seems to spend an awful lot of time alone.

Whenever I venture out, he’s usually sat on the fence or the greenhouse roof; when he’s hungry he places himself in the middle of the ground feeder whilst nodding in my direction. So I pop back in the house to get a handful of sprinkles and, he stays in situ whilst I scatter them on the feeder tray.

Today when I ambled up to the more wildlife friendly area of the garden, he followed me hopping on to various shrubs and the fence. I always try to proffer a friendly greeting, perhaps it’s the tone of voice rather than the words used that matters, and we exchange a few sucked sibilant “tt,tt,tts” in full recognition of each others presence.

Each time I venture out and he presents himself (like an over zealous friend) in very close proximity, I’m almost overwhelmed by an amazing sense of privilege. Strangely, or perhaps not so strange, he’s a bit more wary of my beloved but she still delights in my enjoyment of the relationship.