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Greda Thunberg has really upped the ante in the 'paragon of virtue' stakes as she sails across the Atlantic to attend the United Nations climate summit in New York in September in her little boat, hand carved from a tree that she planted in her own garden as a child, somehow knowing that, one day, it might be needed to teach humanity a thing or two, such was her incredible knowledge and foresight...
What do you mean it's a racing yacht??? You mean one of those big boats made from fibreglass, and all sorts of plasticy type of materials not to mention the aluminium and steel??
Did you know that the building of boats is tightly regulated these days, you just can't decide to make a raft for yourself and go sailing off into the sunset, well, maybe you can still build a raft but you certainly can't build a, just under 4 million pound racing yacht, in the back yard. Oh, no!
Boat builders have to be trained because of all the toxic chemicals involved in the process and 'must wear respirators throughout the construction of fibreglass hulls because of the fumes generated by the catalyzing process. Air emitted from the building must also be controlled in accordance with the regulations of the EPA. Workers wear Tyvex suits to guard against splashing hazards, and chemicals are carefully stored and disposed according to regulatory requirements.'
Doesn't sound very environmentally friendly to me!
I was also wondering how she got to Britain to catch the boat, did she walk, has she been on the road since her fine speech to the EU?
The boat will be powered by solar panels and hydro- generators, which I'm assuming were made in a factory somewhere, powered by oil and or gas, and made out of metals mined from the earth and plastics derived from oil. And it has a computer on board, most probably made by children somewhere in the far east on a 14 hour factory shift and full of metals, toxic materials and plastics. Hmmm...
Ah, Greda, not quite cutting it in the paragon of virtue stakes after all! Now if only you were a transgender, mixed race, vegan, refugee who had been brought up in a forest by wolves and dressed only in leaves that had fallen on the forest floor, then you would really tick all the boxes for the virtue-signalling, neo-liberal fascists.
By the way, does anyone know how she's getting back?
So, Greta has staged a comeback in the 'paragon of virtue' race for sainthood. Out, last week, she has recorded an essay over 'ambient music' by the 1975 with the proceeds going to Extinction Rebellion, and it is every bit as nauseous as it sounds. I heard it while driving to work on the Zoe Ball Breakfast Show and was I thankful I hadn't eaten any breakfast that morning!
And Boris is the new PM! He seems to have got off to a good start with a very positive speech which highlighted just how long it's been since we heard anything positive about the future of the UK, and a very pleasant change from all the doom-merchants and naysayers. While I'm most definitely not a fan of the Tories, I'll give him the chance to prove his worth and hope that he does something positive for the ordinary working people. I’ll support anyone who gives the ordinary man and woman on the street a fair deal.
The car is still in getting serviced but appears to have reached the end of the road, literally. I expect to get the death certificate tomorrow. According to the mechanic, it might need an oil pump which would probably cost more than the car’s worth so it will probably be heading to that old scrap yard in the sky, or thereabouts. I’ve already got my eye on a nice little Fiesta runabout so I’m hoping it can’t be fixed.
I’m all settled down again since London and will plan my next escape once the car is sorted. There’s nothing like a reality check for bringing things back into proportion. While it is nice to indulge in a few romantic daydreams about escaping and living the high life in London, I am, at the end of the day, a realist and time spent in the company of the older members of the family soon brings you back to earth.
My mother is from a family of nine, five sisters and four brothers and I love them all dearly. These people are the foundations on which our family is built. They lost their mother at the age of 43, when they were still in their childhood and teens. The universe seems to have compensated them for it, by seeing them all into pension age but unfortunately, we lost two of them in the last five years. My aunt Maybid (short for Mary Bridget) and my aunt Catherine, known to us all, as auntie Kate, or auntie Kaffleen, when we were younger.
They range in age now from 70 to 84, and between them, are suffering from a variety of health problems. Two have vascular dementia, a result of being smokers for most of their lives; others suffer with diabetes, lung problems and other lesser health issues. It is sad to see these people who were the icons of my childhood and youth, age and decline. Where once I looked up to them, I am now, literally, looking down, as time and illness, shrink them before my eyes. None of them are at death’s door just yet but the doorway is within view. It will be a strange day when they are all gone so I’m going to make the most of their company while they are still here. Although, my uncle Andy who is the youngest, is in strapping health and should easily be around for another 15 years at least. He is still working, albeit part-time, he never smoked except when he was nine and bought 10 cigarettes. He smoked them all and by becoming violently ill in the process, soon put an end to any desire to ever smoke again. He was never much of a drinker either and hikes for miles every week, over bogs and mountains with the local hiking club. He’s a great story-teller and there is no greater pleasure than when they get together and talk about events from the past and the families and characters they knew growing up.
Talking about hiking, my sister finished the Camino last Monday and duly collected her certificate. She stayed on in Spain for a week and her husband flew over to meet her at the end of the walk. She is due home tonight and after all the heat of Spain, she’ll be welcomed back to the pouring rain of the cool north-west.
Well, England/London was brilliant as always and heart-breaking to have to leave. The trip to Bel Canto on the Saturday was definitely worth the trip alone and very reasonable considering, it is in the heart of London and the height of the tourist season. Me and my sister have decided that we'll do it again next year for our birthdays, as they both fall in July. But next time, we plan to stay in London and make a weekend of it.
I didn't get to the Van Gogh in Britain exhibition, the last ticket sold out as we were trying to buy them and there was nothing available until the Thursday but unfortunately, I was back home by then. I was hoping to do a quick weekend trip before it finishes on 11 August but it's just too expensive as the car had to be taxed and is also in getting serviced. But that was the only disappointment over the weekend. We had some nice pub lunches and trips to the Sussex Downs and the coast, and at Wilmington, I even met a 'long' man!
So, all in all, it was a very enjoyable weekend and to be honest, I've been struggling since I came back home. I am just so unsettled and do not want to be here. I cannot relate to the culture/the politics or most of the people. I have outgrown Ireland and really feel that I need to leave for a few years, at least.
I've been looking at jobs in London and there is one in a hospital in the same role I have here, that I'm really tempted to apply for. It closes on Monday so I might send off the application over the weekend. As Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson said or rather sang, 'There must be more to life than this.'
Going back to the previous post, on the question of forgiveness, part of why I find forgiveness difficult is because there is an arrogance about it. To say to someone 'I forgive you' seems to me to be rather self-righteous. When Jesus was forgiving people in the Gospels he didn't say, 'I forgive you', he said 'you are forgiven' or 'go away and do not sin again'. Don't worry, I'm not about to go off on a religious kick but there is a lot we can learn about ourselves and the nature of humanity from the stories in, not just the bible, but in other ancients writings like those of Lao Tzu.
Lao Tzu was a Chinese philosopher who is credited with founding the system of Taoism. If I had to choose a religion, Taoism would be my first choice although there are a lot of similarities between Taoism and the teachings of Jesus. I'll have to check out what he says on forgiveness and come back to this.
In the meantime, I'm heading to England tomorrow for a long weekend and it's getting late and I have an early start in the morning. I have a few outings lined up. I'll be checking out the Van Gogh in Britain exhibition at Tate Britain on Monday and I'm dining out in Bel Canto on Saturday night which I'm really looking forward to. Fine food and opera all in one, should be fun!
And as to forgiveness, I'll leave that to 'God'.
My sister headed off last week to walk the Camino, she’s started in the south of France and is walking to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain. For her, it really is a pilgrimage and not just a chance to post a selfie on social media. Five years ago, this week, she lost her sixteen year old son Jude, to a brain tumour and is struggling with the loss more this year, than when he died. The truth is, she hasn't fully grieved her loss and is trying to find some way to work through it and so, she thought that walking the Camino would help, and something she felt she had to do.
Around the time he died, I was going through a very rough patch too which went on for some time. It was the culmination of all the traumatic events that had happened in my life and they came back to haunt me in one crashing blow. One day, I was sitting thinking about all that had happened and feeling sorry for myself and asking the usual, 'Why me?' 'Why did I have to go through so much?', wallowing in self-pity and then, another thought struck me. I thought, 'Well, why not me? Yes, why not me? What is so special about me that I should I be exempt from suffering? And, if not me, then, who?’ Could I point a finger at anyone and say, 'No, give my suffering and pain to them'. And I couldn't because as much as we might feel there are some who do deserve to suffer, (like the Tories) no-one really knows what is going on in anyone else’s life or what burdens they may have to carry so, why not me? And that was a big turning point.
There is a lot written on the subject of trauma and forgiveness and it is often said that, in order to move on from past traumas, we have to forgive. I’ll be honest, I always had difficulty with this and I know others who think the same. I’ve forgiven no one for what they have done to me but what I have come to realise is that it is not those who have injured us that we have to forgive, it is ourselves. This was another step forward for me, to forgive myself for having allowed myself to be vulnerable or for putting myself into a situation where others could use or take advantage of me. I did not always have control over the events or situations and often, my biggest fault was naivety, believing people to be friends when they were anything but. In forgiving myself however, I have been able to make peace with the past and move on and the days or sitting feeling sorry for myself or ruminating on the why’s and wherefores are now over.
They say, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger and I have to admit, it was touch and go with that one for a while but in watching my nephew and my sister struggle and fight for his life, how could I throw my life away so, I soldiered on through the pain, like my sister is doing now, soldiering on across northern Spain. And that is all you can do with that kind of pain and sorrow. If it is something that happened in the past, there is absolutely nothing we can do to change it. All we can do is sit with the pain, grieve our losses and eventually, we move on or at least, find a way to live with it.
I now have a full understanding of how and why things happened the way they did and the part I played in it. That is another important step on the road to making peace with myself, being able to look back and admit to how I contributed to some of those events. I don’t mean that I consciously sought pain or suffering but because I wasn’t acting with full consciousness, it was almost inevitable that I would attract the wrong type of person into my life. I had a victim mentality and may as well have been walking around with a large sign above me saying, ‘use and abuse’.
Growing up in Northern Ireland and being brought up Catholic, didn’t help either as both those things feed into the victim mentality.
I’m reading a book at the moment by Dr Gabor Maté. It’s called When the Body Says No and it is about pyschoneuroimmuno(endocrino)logy(try saying that after a few beers!) It details how stress is linked to cancer and how there are similar patterns of personality/behaviour in a lot of cancer patients. They are usually people who can’t say no and who insist in taking care of everybody and everything. Then, they end up ill with cancer and when their past is delved into, there is usually a history of abuse of some kind, usually in childhood, where they were unable to express their emotions in a healthy way, especially anger and remained that way into adulthood and so they are still operating from a place of sub-consciousness.
I thought this was interesting, especially this week, when it was announced that Willie Frazer had died from cancer which he had been battling for some time. Willie Frazer was the founder of FAIR – Families Acting for Innocent Relatives – and was full of hate and anger. His anger was understandable; he lost not only his father but several other family members at the hands of the IRA. He could not make peace with the past or let it go, and it may have cost him his health and his life.
Also, on the news this week, was the result of a government consultation on plans to deal with the legacy of the Troubles where it was revealed that a majority opposed an amnesty for veterans. I have to say, I was very disappointed to hear this. There has been a lot of suffering in Northern Ireland and anyone who lost a family member or friend in the Troubles has my deepest sympathy. But, you cannot change the past and if you have lost someone, how can you ever really get justice? You can’t bring them back.
But, there are still a lot of people here with the victim mentality who won’t let the past go. They wear their suffering where everyone can see it, they are victims, they keep dragging it up, like the scab on an old wound, they can’t or won’t leave it alone, picking at it and picking at it, never giving it time to heal. Each side, claiming victimhood, at the hands of the other.
There are very few of us who get a free pass through life and don’t have challenges, pain or loss to deal with at some point. We can piss and moan about it forever and a day but it won’t change anything. In the end, there is little that can be done other than to sit with the pain, face it and deal with it, cry, go for a long walk, find a way that works for you to get through it because you have to go through it, there is no way around and if you don’t deal with it, it may be waiting for you further down the road or it may be quietly eating at you, in other ways.
Thankfully, I have now come out the other side of my ‘pain’, and while it was a tough road, I can look back now and see that it was both a learning experience and a period of great personal and spiritual growth and I would never have fully grown up without facing that pain and dealing with it. I still have no forgiveness for those who were instrumental in contributing to my suffering but I can see now how nasty, weak and pathetic they really are. I’m not angry at them because I don’t have the energy to sustain that kind of anger and they’ve taken up enough of my time and energy and they’re not getting any more. Actually, not only am I not angry, I don’t really feel much of anything for them, they just don’t really matter and maybe that’s the best place to be. Maybe that is forgiveness?
I was feeling creative tonight, well it beats doing the ironing! Just a little practice landscape to keep the creative juices flowing over the summer, although I'm beginning to think that is just a rumour! We've had 2 months of cold and wet in May and June, then 2 warm days and now it's wet again but slightly warmer!
I was walking the dog up around the river this morning and all the wildflowers/grasses and weeds(??) were blooming so I picked a few added some calendula and white foxgloves from the garden and voila! I'm very pleased with this and it got me wondering why are some plants regarded as weeds and what makes something a weed as opposed to a flower? I stopped trying to dig the dandelions and buttercups out of my flower beds as I had noticed that dandelions are one of the first plants to flower in spring and an early source of nectar for bees. I bought 3 grasses for my garden and they don't seem to have taken, looking at the wild grasses I thought, why did I bother to buy something that grows freely anyway so the grasses won't be getting the chop again either.
Here we go again! Another day, another incident and another opportunity for the Neo-liberal Fascists to display their 'liberal' principles in a virtue-signalling, social-media, feeding-frenzy of self-righteous indignation. And who is the target this time? None other than Tory minister, Mark Field, suspended now from his job for 'assaulting' a 'climate change' protester. Oh, the howls and screams of protest as they rabidly set out on another hysterical and media-fuelled witch hunt, to publicly disembowel the latest target for their ire. They won't be stopped until he has been hounded from his job, stripped of all human rights and banished to some dark corner of hell, to ponder the errors of his ways, dressed only in sackcloth and ashes and made to self-flagellate on a daily basis until he is allowed to return but only after making a humiliating public apology and being psychologically castrated!
I mean, the audacity of the man! To manhandle this weak and helpless woman, this victim of the patriarchy, a symbol for our times of all that is liberal, truly feminine, deep and meaningful, and not forgetting, all self-sacrificing, not just for the sake of women everywhere but for the entire eco-system of planet earth! What a gal! Move over Gerda! There's a new paragon of virtue in town!
And, would you believe it, before the screaming had died down, what should happen but none other than another rich, white, Tory male should find himself at the centre of another feminist storm when it was reported that his partner was heard to shout 'get off me' in the middle of a row, than the media feeding-frenzy found another target to aim their self-righteous indignation at! And who should it be but none other than the potential next Prime Minister himself, Mr Boris Johnson! What a present to the Neo-liberals, two in one week! (I wonder, is there a sale on? I might be able to get my own patriarch that I can stomp all over with my self-righteous feminist principles!)
Then, there was a story on Donegalonline about a National School in Wicklow that is going 'gender neutral' allowing boys to wear skirts and girls to wear trousers (with parental approval). They are also providing 'gender-neutral' toilets. The insanity spreads, like a cancer, as the Neo-liberal fascists inculcate their anti-Trump, anti-Brexit, pro climate change, all-knowing, all-inclusive, immigrant loving, self-righteous, virtue-signalling on the rest of us!
Let's not bother that 'gender neutral' clothing would be neither skirts nor trousers (so go figure that one out!) and let's not bother with the realities of the psychology of a child's mind or the fact that most children have no idea what 'gender' even means, or that they operate at a level below full consciousness. No, let’s keep indulging the stupidity, let’s not bother to challenge it publicly, lest we be seen and neanderthals, nazis, racists and homophobes. Let's just keep our mouths shut and let the tyrannical 'liberal' emperors stomp over everything in their fine new clothes!
Number 3 son got married a couple of weeks ago and a great time was had by all! It wasn't a traditional church wedding as neither bride nor groom are religious but it was held in the historic and very picturesque, Guild Hall, in Derry. The reception was in a marquee in the garden of the bride's family home which sounds very posh but wasn't really. it was all very relaxed and casual and one of the best weddings I ever attended but maybe I'm biased. And as a bonus, Liverpool won the European Cup that same night which added another layer of celebration to what was already a very happy occasion and we sang and danced into the wee small hours.
I was trying to upload a picture of me in my wedding finery but it keeps coming out sideways. I then tried to change it to my profile picture but again it kept coming out sideways and there are no options to move/resize or rotate the image. Extremely frustrating! It's a fairly simple process to upload a picture and it should be straight forward but the OU seems to be years behind with updating the technology and what you can do with your blog.
Meanwhile, back in the world of politics, we have the 'night of the long knives' as the egotistical and obnoxious scrabble about for the job of PM and leadership of the Tory party. Boris, 'the buffoon' is, of course, the front runner, making him the prime target for the Neo-Liberal Fascists in the media and the EU. Don't be fooled by the 'tomfoolery', Boris Johnson is a perfect example of the old saying, 'stupid as a fox!' Which could be dodgy enough for Boris, considering the Tory position on foxes???
Maybe it's just me but there is something profoundly repulsive about Jeremy Hunt, he has a strange starey look about the eyes which I don't trust and makes me suspect he may actually be, I was going to say Artificial Intelligence, but I have serious doubts about the intelligence part of that but most certainly, very artificial or just full of artifice.
Rory Stewart seems like a reasonable human being but then I remember he is a Tory! I don't have a favourite, after all, they are all Tories but when you sit back and look at the whole thing, you realise what a complete and total farce it all is. An unseemly scrabble between weak men with big egos because lets face it, if there was a real man among them, he would stand out a mile.
I have to say, though, wasn't that an interesting bit of gossip about Michael Gove and his past dalliance with cocaine? Old dull and boring Gove, who would have thought it? Although, they do say, it's the quiet ones you have to watch, I wonder what else he gets up to?? Can't you just picture him in all that bondage gear getting a damned good thrashing from a dominatrix! Hmmm,,. maybe I should consider a career change...
Meanwhile, things are hotting up in the Middle East as the dark forces of the ‘Empire’ (CIA, Saudi Arabia, Mossad, Bilderburg) up their game in an attempt to start the war to seize control of Iran’s oil.
When I look back now at the events of the last 19 years, I have to wonder was it a coincidence that the secular states in the Middle East were the ones to be attacked and the leadership removed, think Iraq, Libya and the attempt to topple Assad in Syria. Was the dark hand of Saud operating in the background and pulling some of the strings all this time? It is refreshing to see that online, at least, the attack on the ships in the Hormuz Strait is fooling no-one and I haven't seen a comment yet that believes Iran was responsible. Will that stop the sabre-rattling and a war? I would hope so but considering the past and Iraq, I doubt it...
Another week, another election, and another drubbing for the powers that be. Theresa May is finally going, and not before time. Exaunt stage left please, Theresa, and do us all a favour and don’t dance again, at least not in public. My eyes can never unsee it! Dancing Queen? I don’t think so, more arthritic stork. In fairness, I have to say, it takes a special kind of talent to be even more useless than David Cameron. I’m sure she’ll find a use for it somewhere, maybe the European parliament…
Come to think of it, what do MEP’s actually do all day? They can’t bring in legislation, they don’t get to vote on leglislation, the commission allows them to look it over, so what do they actually do? Apart from long trips on the Brussels gravy train or shopping in their private shopping centre?
I see Martina Anderson, the Sinn Fein MEP had a makeover and a few elocution lessons for the election campaign, they had her well-scrubbed up. You can take the girl out of the bog, but can you take the bog out of the girl? Well, they gave it a go, maybe there’s a beauty salon in the shopping centre? Of course she got elected, the sheep will vote for anything, if you wrap it in the flag of convenience
On the Euro vote, the Brexit party wiped out the rest in the polls and of course, the arguments are still raging on line between remainers and leavers. Everyone claiming a majority, when the figures show, that the majority didn't even bother to turn out and vote. Turnout averaged 36% which is 15 points short of a majority of voters and a whole 64% short of how many could vote. Maybe it's time to set a threshold of 51% so that if those turnout figures aren't reached, then the vote is invalid. Or maybe, add None of the Above to the ballot paper and make voting compulsory. Then, at least, we would have a truer picture of what the people want.
Why people didn't bother to vote, is anybody's guess. Maybe like me, they are sick of the sound of 'Brexit' or maybe, like me, they have lost all faith in any government institution to actually put the interests of the people before the interests of the party and their corporate friends...
Brexit isn't the only thing that I am sick of hearing about. I don't know about you but it seems to me that there is a massive pester-power campaign going on in the media. I don't have Sky TV, just Freeview, and there are about 5 or 6 subjects on telly at the present time, World War 2, the Royal family, Brexit, climate change, cooking and home makeovers of one kind or another and then there are the repeats, of the repeats, of the repeats!! There is so little worth looking at, that the minute I hear 'climate change' or 'Brexit', I turn over but most nights I find myself turning off and watching Youtube. At least, it has some variety and provides an escape from the endless droning of brexit climate change WW2 royals, brexit climate change WW2 royals, brexit climate change WW2 royals....
What I feel is happening, is that this is part of some grand brain-washing scheme by the media (or the powers behind the politics) to wear us down until we sink into apathy and despair and just give up (if you don’t believe this could happen, watch Century of the Self). For whose benefit, I’m not entirely sure but I just get the feeling that in a boardroom/Bilderburg meeting somewhere, there are a group of, most probably men, (Rothschilds? Soros? Et al?) sitting back and having a great old laugh at the rest of us.
Laughing at how easily we are manipulated and led around like fools in a merry dance, being played off one another until gradually we become worn down by the constant fighting, bitching and arguing but mostly by the sense of powerlessness that no matter who you vote for, what arguments you make, what evidence you present, the truth remains buried and/or distorted, the rich get richer, the poor stay poor and the government still gets in…
I don’t know about you but I feel as if I have just come through 3 weeks of ‘shock and awe’ on ‘climate change’. Between the media, Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion, we have been bombarded with ‘climate change’ propaganda. And no harm to Greta, she is supposed to be a clever girl but maybe she should start looking at the real scientific facts and not just the misinformation pumped out by the IPCC.
It was also quite nauseating to watch all the neo-liberals fawning over her. They even trotted out Ed Miliband for the all-star, and old has-been, meet Greta Thunberg Show. I wonder if the neo-liberals are planning a comeback or maybe a coup to oust Jeremy Corbyn. However, I’m also beginning to wonder if Jeremy has already crossed over to the dark side of the neo-liberal, politically correct and all-inclusive fascist movement? One of the biggest disappointments recently was watching him jump on the Greta bandwagon by declaring a ‘climate emergency’. That should make for an interesting conversation, the next time he speaks to his brother Piers!
Greta also stated after her speech to the EU that she was going to travel home by only using ‘green’ transport. A noble idea with absolutely no meaning in reality, unless she planned to walk home barefoot across fields which is the only real way to travel ‘green’. Because every car, bus, train, boat and pair of shoes has been made in a factory somewhere using oil and products derived from oil because there is no human process anywhere on earth that doesn’t impact on the environment in some way. Unless you live in a house made from mud that you built yourself, grow and eat only your own vegetables using organic methods, spin your own cloth from your own crops and make your clothing by hand with a needle carved from wood and never fly, drive or travel, use a phone or any modern appliance, then you cannot be truly ‘green’. What is wrong here, is that we lack perspective and proportion but mostly, it is because we are narcissistic about who we are and what we can do. We, white folk here in the west, think we know it all about everything. We know how to fix the planet, we’re going to save the world, just like we knew how to bring all those indigenous and primitive tribes to civilisation. Because our way, is the best way, simply because it’s our way and anyone who thinks differently is stupid, misguided and ignorant. Gawd, bless us, one an’ all!
Meanwhile, in a boardroom or Bilderburg meeting somewhere far from us plebs and guarded by the forces of the state, while we’re all being distracted and arguing away about ‘climate change’ and Brexit and any other item they can use to keep us divided, other darker and more sinister forces are at work. In case you hadn’t noticed, there is a nice little build-up of tensions going on in the gulf as the US and the Saudi’s sabre-rattle towards Iran and the anti-Russian rhetoric is starting to build up online again too. Is there a war looming while we’ve all been looking the other way?
Going back to Brexit, I have to say, it was great to see the Tories getting trashed in the council elections. Roll on the Euros! The Shinners got a bit of a drubbing here too and lost 4 seats on our council. It was heartening to see a move away from the old 1690/1916 parties and a swing towards independents and Alliance. I’m sure the murder of Lyra McKee had some influence on this. Not that it makes much difference to the politicos, they’re still trying to get the Assembly up and running again and still churning out the same old rhetoric. ‘It’s not us, it’s them! Ya, boo sucks!’
Another interesting thing that happened a few weeks ago, it was actually the week before Extinction Rebellion started their protests in London, but wasn’t mentioned anywhere on the BBC, was the protest in London by 22,000 bikers and veterans in support of Soldier F. In case, you don’t know, Soldier F is being prosecuted over the Bloody Sunday shootings. A travesty if ever there was one. I don’t live very far from Derry but there are many there who disagree with this prosecution. This soldier has been scapegoated and hung out to dry by the powers that be. There are several reasons why this should not go ahead. For a start, soldiers act under orders so if there are going to be any prosecutions, it should be whoever gave the order. Secondly, under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, all the Republican and Loyalist prisoners were freed. If they did not have to serve out their terms, then no one should be brought before the Courts for any of these past issues and events. The Attorney General John Larkin suggested a while ago that there should be no prosecutions for anything prior to the GFA and that we should draw a line under the past. Of course, he was met with howls of protest from most of the politicians and only Basil McCrea of NI21 supported the idea. Come to think about it, I haven’t heard of NI21 since!
Standing back and looking at the overall picture in politics, here and around the world, it seems as if we are living in the age of neo-liberal fascism and God help you, if you stray from the narrative or question the ‘issues’.
One of the big ones getting a lot of press at the moment is the transgender issue. Now, I’ll be honest, I’ve avoided this one for a while because I just don’t get it. I see these men saying they’re ‘in the wrong body’ and they don’t ‘feel like a man, they feel like a woman’, and I’m thinking, ’Well, I’m a woman and I have no idea what that even means?’ And there’s another thing, why do so many of them look like Jackie Collins circa 1977, all big hair, make-up and frocks?? What’s that about? I mean, I would like to identify as the very spoiled daughter of a multi-millionaire who gets to jet- set around the world and generally have a high old time. But then I have to face reality so, sorry guys, but putting a frock on, mutilating your genitalia and calling yourself Barbara is not going to make you a ‘woman’ or female and vice-versa. A big part of this too, is that we have the medical knowledge to put in fake body parts and do this type of surgery whereas if you lived 100 years ago, it was ‘take yer ma’s frock off and get a grip!’
Then, there was another story on MSN about some singer who has come out as non-binary, whatever that means?? (I always thought binary was a computer language and so logic would dictate that non-binary would not be a computer language but there you go!!) Well, anyway, here’s my advice to him and anyone else who has a notion to share their thoughts on their gender identity, don’t, please, keep it to yourself. I don’t want to hear about it or listen to another over-indulged ego rambling on and personally, I don’t really give a shit!
Part of the problem today, is that every stupid thought that goes through someone’s head is regarded as valid, especially when expressed by children and teenagers. And with internet access, where everything is going on 24/7, there are no end of websites in which to indulge these whims and fancies. By the way, when did we decide that children knew everything and should be allowed to decide everything and run the world? And why are we so afraid to upset them?? I always thought the job of a parent was to embarrass and harass your children at every possible opportunity, is that not how they build up some resilience before they have to deal with the real world?? Anyway, the reality is, that 99.9% of what runs through our heads on a daily basis is nothing less than garbage and should be ignored. This is actually good advice for your mental health and another one is 'don't believe a word they tell you'. There is far too much indulgence of every stupid notion we have and in this age of ‘inclusion’, all expressions of such, are to be paraded publicly and then the entire world bent to accommodate those whims, no matter how ridiculous they are.
And I blame celebrities for fuelling this nonsense, with the exception of that old Corrie stalwart of yesteryear, Jim McDonald. In this time of neo-liberal fascism or if by chance we should start to lose the run of ourselves, begin listening to our own mental crap and taking it seriously, we would do well to remember his deep philosophical expressions and ask ourselves when these notions strike, not 'What would Jesus say?' but 'What would Jim McDonald say?' And the answer would be ‘Would you ever catch yourself on, young fella/wee girl/ miscellaneous?’ A must for egos everywhere and the best advice you'll ever receive!
Oh, and don't forget tomorrow, vote early and vote often!
I managed to save about 80 lives yesterday with nothing more than a discarded cup from McDonalds. I was up around the river in Sion with the dog and was checking out the tadpoles, there hasn't been much rain and most of the pools of water in the fields had disappeared. I was going to go home and get a bucket but found the cup in a ditch so filled it instead, took it home and put the tadpoles in the tub in the backyard with the ones I had brought home a couple of weeks ago. I may go back up in the morning with a bucket of rainwater and see if that helps those who were left behind. It gives rain for later in the week but I don't think they'll last until then without a top up.
So, they're happy now feeding on cucumber and swimming around. I'm going to hold on to them until they get a bit bigger then move them to the allotment. They should help keep some of the pests at bay and are a better solution than chemicals.
I just finished watching a lovely little film on Netflix. It's in the children's section and it's based on the book The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery. In the midst of all the protesting, death and general misery, this is a heart-warming and heartfelt little gem. I just loved it and will no doubt watch it again. Highly recommended for children and adults alike.
This is the latest from the art class. I forgot to bring a canvas last night so borrowed a small one and did this. It's from a photo I took from the top of an Grianan Aligh at Burt in Donegal. What makes it memorable for me is this is the day I took the pain in my side which ended up becoming an inflamed gallbladder. This is looking towards Inch Island and Faughan (pronounce fawn).
I had another painting finished but it is away getting framed as the art teacher wants me to try and see if it will be accepted into an Open Art Competition which is on in the Glebe Gallery in Churchill which isn't too far from Letterkenny. I don't really expect to win but it's good experience. This is oil on canvas (A4) and took all of 90 mins or thereabouts.
Great to see the Grand Prix back but what is going on with Vettel??? He has grown a moustache over the winter break and it's awful! Some people suit moustaches, like Freddie Mercury but some don't, like Seb. He looks like a 70's porn star! If anyone out there knows him (they say we're only 6 degrees of separation from anyone) tell him to shave! Puuullleasseeee!
I've had workmen in all morning, putting in new windows so I had to seek refuge in the library. When I was down there, I read a newspaper or at least part of one. That's the first paper I've read in years, there was an interview with the wonderful Ralph Fiennes and also, a piece on the Bolshoi Ballet who are coming to London's Royal Opera House, later this year. I must check it out.
Apparently, Ralph lives alone and drew the distinction between being alone and being lonely. This is something I have to explain quite often too. I live alone too and I love it. I'm quite happy in my own company, probably too much so, but everyone should try it. They say you're not fit for a relationship until you've lived alone which is probably good advice.
The windows are all in now and the mess isn't too bad. The floors all need washed and there is a film of dust over everything so I may get on with it and start cleaning up!
With the spring equinox, we're back in growing season. I just spent this morning planting potatoes on the allotment. We're off to a good start this year and have peas, garlic and broad beans already planted. I'm still not up to full strength since the op so I have to be careful lifting and moving around. But since we're doing the Charles Dowling, No Dig, the demands aren't too great. I also noticed when I was over there, how much better our soil looks compared to those around us. There is definitely something in the 'feed the soil, not the plant' method, and we've only been at it for 10 months.
Then, I finished the short course, From Brexit to the Break-up of Britain. There are still a few others I might try over the summer, there are a few Forensic Psychology courses that look interesting and there is one on Art and the Mexican Revolution which also looks good.
I always say if I had been born in America, I would have become a forensic psychologist. When I was a teenager, I read a great book called The Michigan Murders, it was actually one of the first books I ever read. I was fascinated by how the FBI Forensic Psychologists were able to profile and help catch the killer and I had a deep interest in the psychology of serial killers for many years. I've read several books on the subject and used to buy a monthly magazine which detailed individual cases.. My interest may have been triggered by the fact that I was growing up in the middle of a conflict where there were many mentally, questionable individuals running about with guns! I always felt that the 'Troubles' provided an outlet for those with psychopathic tendencies. Psychology is a fascinating subject, delving into the psyche and finding out what shapes and drives us. I must see if I can find the book again.
I had a lovely weekend away in England, I went over to visit my sister and we managed to squeeze in a trip to London on Saturday. There were a couple of exhibitions on in the Tate Modern that I wanted to see, Pierre Bonnard's, The Colour of Memory and Magic Realism, Art in Weimar Germany 1919 - 1933. We didn't manage to get into the Pierre Bonnard exhibition as we had walked up the 3rd floor, only to be told, we had to go back down to the entrance and buy a ticket and the gallery itself was very busy, so we just did the Magic Realism instead and had a look around some of the other exhibits. It was ok, but like a lot of art movements, they haven't travelled very well. They are of a place and time in art and some of them were quite cartoonish and overall, I only liked one or two of the pieces.
Picasso's Weeping Women was also on display in the gallery. It is quite a gaudy painting but what made it worse was the ugly frame which did it no favours at all. I found this with a lot of the paintings in the National Gallery in Ireland too, so many were let down by clunky, overly ornate frames which detracted from the art. i prefer my art, for the most part, in plain white frames. In relation to the rest of the 'art' we looked at, I have to say there is a lot of brock masquerading as art. As my sister remarked, a lot of it looked like A-level art projects and left her cold. I had to agree, Modern Art is very subjective and to be honest a lot of it really doesn't appeal to me, I'm conservative in my tastes and while I recognise that sometimes art can express the social and political, it has to be done well in order not to appear pretentious or ridiculous.
So, we headed for the National Portrait Gallery which has an exhibit on at the moment; Elizabethan Treasures, Miniatures by Hilliard and Oliver. I loved this one; the detail was fantastic and took real skill and a very steady hand. I would definitely recommend you go see them, if you can, the exhibition is on until the 19th May. We also had a look around the portraits: there was our own Seamus Heaney and a large one of Judy Dench. We weren't very impressed by the Judy Dench portrait, she looked like a doctor and all the character was missing from her face. I did love the portraits of Ken Dodd and Stanley Spencer. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to take in as much as we wanted but I have to go back over in the summer for the Van Gogh in Britain exhibition so we hope to get back to the NPG as well.
I managed to rattle through Mark Blake's, Is This the Real Life, a biography of Queen while travelling. I thoroughly enjoyed this as it details the fact from the fiction of biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody. Highly recommended!
For Paddy's Day, the cousins and their children came around and we had some great food and a few drinks and a good time was had by all! All in all, a wonderful weekend and made even better in that I'm not back to work until Friday! Yayyy!
Is there anything left to believe in? Is there anything of honesty and decency left in the world? Has all the magic gone and not just gone, but gone rotten? Politics is a cesspool where democracy and accountability have become nothing more than words in a propaganda war; the Catholic Church, a so-called Christian institution, a playground for paedophiles; the business world, whose rotten practices have led to the corruption of governments and the abuse and exploitation of millions; the world of entertainment, its rotten underbelly exposed with stories of rape and assault, not that it was really much of a surprise since the casting couch has been common knowledge for decades, probably since the beginning of Hollywood. But, even the world of science, where logic and reason used to be the foundations of scientific truth, has been swallowed whole by the lie of ‘global-warming’.
Now, Michael Jackson, who is again, the focus for allegations of sexual abuse, after the documentary last week which detailed the alleged grooming and sexual exploitation of Wade Robson and James Safechuck.
I loved Michael Jackson, I grew up with him and don’t remember a time when I didn’t know who he was. My father never bought a record in his life and seldom had a good word to say about ‘pop stars’, but he bought Rockin’ Robin back in the day which I only found out when Michael Jackson died. But we all loved him, especially back in the 1980’s, when he soared to global mega-stardom. My children loved him, his movie Moonwalker was never off in my house. My eldest boy wanted to be Michael Jackson; he wanted black skin and an afro hair-do. I hope this isn’t racist - poor old Motsy, John Motson, who I thought had long since retired, got into a bit of bother recently because he said some footballer was ‘big, black and brave’. He was condemned as a racist for saying ‘black’ but if someone says I’m white, is that racist? I mean, I am white! This is like that nonsense back in the 80’s when the words of Baa, baa, black sheep were changed because it was deemed racist. You get black sheep, that’s not racist it’s just a fecking sheep! Then, Amber Rudd got into all that trouble for saying Diane Abbot was ‘coloured’. What do you say in these days of fascistic political correctness, a person with a lower or higher percentage of melanin in their skin??
Anyway, back to MJ who managed to be both black and white! That’s another thing, he was called a liar many times for claiming he had vitiligo and accused of skin bleaching. The coroner’s report after he died, confirmed that he did have the condition and apparently, he used skin whitening creams to even out the discolouration.
Anyway, getting back to the afro, as I pointed out to my son, there isn’t a perming lotion in the world that could curl his very thick, straight hair, much to his deep disappointment. He loved and still loves to dance, he danced like Michael Jackson and there is video footage, somewhere, of him doing his best Michael Jackson moves. I never entered him into any moonwalk dance competitions, but in all honesty, if Michael Jackson had landed to my door, to take my sons to Neverland for a week or a weekend, I doubt if I would have refused. We believed in the image of childlike innocence and made allowances for his strange behaviour because of his upbringing and life. No-one has ever had a life like Michael Jackson’s and no-one, in the entire history of the world, has experienced that level of fame.
When the first allegations of abuse came out, I was unsure. It seemed as if it was part of a plot by the boy’s father, to extort money out of Jackson, to make a movie and the doubts weren’t entirely dispelled when he decided to settle out of court. When the next allegation was made, Jackson fought it in court and was acquitted. I assumed the jury had more detail and knowledge about the truth of it all, than I did and it seemed that his reputation had been restored, at least for some. Safechuck and Robson, spoke in defence of Michael Jackson in that case and Robson did again, in 2003, when he was in his 20’s.
Years after both those cases, other facts have come to light. Michael Jackson apparently didn’t want to settle the first case but his insurance company did it, out of fear of loss of revenue, in case, there was a protracted court case. Jordi Chandler also refused to testify and a year after the settlement legally emancipated himself from his parents. He also left the US in 2003 so that he couldn’t be called to give evidence in that trial. We can only speculate as to why. He never reconciled with his father who committed suicide a few months after Michael Jackson’s death. Again, we can only speculate as to why but apparently, no-one from his entire family attended his funeral.
Michael Jackson is no longer with us and is unable to defend himself. So, until there is irrefutable proof, the questions will remain unanswered and people will, I’m sure, debate it for many years to come and believe who they choose to believe. Watching the documentary made me think that, if the allegations were true, it appeared to me, to be behaviour that had been learned. His sister LaToya had made allegations of sexual abuse against her father, many years ago and was publicly ostracized and condemned for it. It was interesting to see old Joe Jackson sticking so closely to Michael during the Gavin Arvizo court case, considering their relationship wasn’t always that good. LaToya also made a statement condemning Michael but later retracted it, saying it was made under duress from her husband. She did apologise to Michael and the two were reconciled.
We have also heard in recent years, allegations of paedophile rings operating in the entertainment world and with the fame Jackson attained at such a young age, is it possible that he himself was a victim? That is not to excuse his alleged behaviour in any way but, if true, it could provide an explanation for it.
The allegations haven’t hurt his record sales, not that they will benefit Michael Jackson in any way. I myself don’t know who to believe. There is so much conflicting information online and in the media. I have trawled through hours of it but, to be honest, I still can’t wholly believe he was a paedophile. He had an aura, an attraction that drew people to him, maybe I don’t really want to believe it.
Will I listen to his music again? Probably. I have a Motown collection which has a lot of Jackson Five hits on it. Human Nature is my favourite Michael Jackson song and I can’t imagine never listening to it again or any of his music, for that matter. What difference will it make now, anyway?
At the end of his life, Michael Jackson was unrecognisable, compared to the happy, smiling boy who sang those wonderful songs, Ben, Rockin’ Robin and the great cover he did of the Smoky Robinson song, Who’s lovin you? A pale shadow of the handsome young man from the 80’s who danced and moonwalked his way into our hearts and to stratospheric heights of fame and adulation.
The fame, the pressure, the lifestyle and the allegations all took their toll on him as he grew older, his features distorted beyond recognition by all the plastic surgery and he became more reclusive. It seemed that he was headed towards a Howard Hughes like future, a rather sad and lonely end for someone who was idolised by millions. But then, as we have seen in recent years, many of our idols and institutions have been shown to have feet of clay. Then again, who of us really knew him? We knew the image, we knew where he came from, we all knew our version of him. But which one was the real one? Was he gay? Was he straight? Was he a paedophile? Predator or victim? Would the real Michael Jackson please, stand up?
Or was he just a sad man who was robbed of his childhood and never got over it: a lesson to us all on the perils of fame and money, and how destructive it can be, if not managed right. There are no black or white answers at least, not enough to wholly convince me one way or the other so until then, I will hold a little piece of my heart for him and wonder in shades of grey.
I had a day out to Dublin at the weekend, met up with a good friend and we decided to try Wagamama’s for lunch. It was very disappointing, some of the staff hadn’t showed in so all the curry options were going to be at least 30 minutes which, of course, they didn’t tell us until we were about to order. We settled for a chicken and prawn with veg, stir-fry with brown rice. What we got was a brown rice stir-fry with a 3 prawns, very little chicken (about half a fillet between both of us) 1 mushroom each and some very uninspiring looking veg. We complained and got it for half price but it wasn’t even worth that. We won’t be back!
On Tuesday, 5 of us headed to the Millenium Forum to see the Royal Moscow Ballet perform Swan Lake. A great night was had by all and I didn’t even mind missing my art class for it. Highly recommended! Keep an eye out for them, as they are touring Ireland, at the moment before moving on to Holland and then Poland later on in the year.
I had a couple of days off work last week too; the best 2 days of the week and the year, so far, weather wise at least. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long and we are now back in a cold spell. But what really pissed me off about it, was all the bloody doom and gloom merchants. You can’t even enjoy a good day now without the whole ‘climate change’ terror on the media. I don’t know about you but I am sick to death of being terrorised about everything.
Don’t sit in the sun – you’ll get skin cancer!
Don’t eat meat – you’re destroying the planet!
Don’t buy new clothes – you’re destroying the planet and exploiting the poor!
Don’t fly anywhere- you’re destroying the planet!
Don’t light your fire in the winter – you’re destroying the planet!
Don’t use plastic – you’re destroying the planet!
Don’t drive a petrol or diesel car – you’re destroying the planet!
Arrrggghhhh! I can’t stand it! All the joy is being sucked out of life with this constant terrorising of the population: everybody, guilt-tripping over everything, and stressing out. It’s no wonder everyone is depressed and anxious with this constant onslaught of fear, negativity and misery.
I've been on a bit of a reading binge again. First up, Alan Cummings autobiography, Not My Father's Son. This was an interesting read and for anyone who doesn't know him, he played the role of Eli, in The Good Wife which is how I came to know him. Alan's father was a bit of a psycho and he suffered badly from his bullying and abuse. But in spite of all that, he got out and did very well for himself. I won't say anything more about it, I don't like to give too much away but a good read and I would definitely recommend it.
On a similar theme, I was in the library 2 weeks ago and saw Operation Lighthouse by Luke and Ryan Hart. I had heard them on the radio, the day before, talking about their lives and the book they had written. Coincidentally, it was on the recommended display in the library when I went in to return the Alan Cummings autobiography so, I thought, I would give it a go.
Luke and Ryan's father was also an abusive bully, controlling and manipulative. He was never physically violent until he was completely murderous, and he shot and killed their mother and sister and then shot himself. Their reason for writing the book was to show that while a relationship may not always be violent, it can still be abusive through the use of coercive control. Their father wanted to control every aspect of the lives of his family and did so through his bullying and demanding behaviour. They were also appalled at the sympathy shown to their father by the media after he murdered their mother and sister and how little sympathy was directed towards his victims. I would highly recommend this, if for no other reason, than to open our eyes and minds to the quiet acceptance of abuse in society and the tendency towards victim blaming in the media.
Another, in the real lives genre, was Gavin Edward's biography of River Phoenix, Last Night at the Viper Room. This tells the story of River Phoenix's life, from birth until his death, at aged 23. Best known, in my house at least, for his role in Stand by Me, the Rob Reiner directed film, from the short story by Stephen King, The Body. A favourite of my son's when they were growing up and one I still watch fairly regularly.
River's parents were a couple of hippies who became part of the Children of God cult in the US and who travelled around and lived, for several years in South America, preaching and recruiting on their behalf. The leader of the Children of God cult, David Berg, advocated sexual relationships between children, and between children and adults. River's parents parted company with them when they started prostituting women to attract more recruits but there is evidence in the book, of River being introduced to sex, at a very young age.
There is no doubt his death was a tragic loss. He was quite heavily into drugs and although, he had been clean for a couple of months while shooting, what turned out to be, his last film, the moment he got back to LA, he was straight back to the drugs. How much of his drug use was a result of his upbringing, we can only guess at but the lack of education and involvement with the Children of God, I'm sure, played a part.
I never knew that he was interested in music but it turned out that he was more interested in making music than movies and there are some videos of him with his band, Aleka's Attic, on Youtube, if anyone is interested. Sadly, the talent he had, never got to play out into maturity, like so many before him. That's the thing about drugs, it only end one of two ways, you either stop or die. But an excellent read and highly recommended as it also contains snippets about many of the other actors who came to prominence in the 1990's, like Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp and Leonardo Di Caprio.
In case anyone missed it, the 'yoof' had a day off school on Friday. They went on strike for the day, to demand us grown-ups do something on climate change. While I admire their enthusiasm, I think they might have been better off staying in school and studying some real science as opposed to 'environmental' science. They might have learned a thing or two about C02 and realised that, like King Canute trying to stop the sea, they have about the same chance of stopping 'climate change'.
The other thing about all this 'save the planet' stuff is the arrogance. How self-righteous and arrogant do you have to be to think you can 'save the planet'. What is it about us here in the West, that make us think we know it all about everything and are so sure of ourselves, we don't even have to bother to check the facts. That's not to say there aren't issues that need addressing especially around plastic pollution but when I look around me, I see a much better world than the one I lived in 40 years ago.
There are many more trees now and not just around my town but across the entire country. The rivers and waterways are all much cleaner and most of our rubbish is now recycled too. There are still many more green spaces than urban and people aren't getting shot or blown up every day either which is a really big improvement!
No sooner than I call for a change in the political structure, than 7 MP's split from Labour with Chuka Umunna leading the charge. In his statement, he said,"It is time we dumped this country's old-fashioned politics and created an alternative that does justice to who we are today and gives this country a politics fit for the here and now - the 21st Century,"
I wonder if he was reading my blog at the weekend?? While it would be nice to think that Chuka et al were just what I was looking for, I don't really have much confidence that they are the great hope for the future, I had in mind. They are long on rhetoric but rather short on actual ideas and since they're all Blairite pro-Brexiteers, I don't envisage a startling and original manifesto being issued anytime soon.
But just in case they're looking for a few ideas to get them started here's a few of mine...
Complete re-structuring of the Government with a move towards issue-based politics. This will take some time to set up but if it is done one issue at a time it is manageable. I'm not sure how many politicians we would actually need but we may not need more than one or two for each county. Changing to issue-based politics would also get rid of the need for general elections as we understand them now and instead, you would have a ballot paper with the issue on it instead and I envisage this working on a county by county basis and getting rid of the constituency model we have now. So, if the country was to go to war, for example, it would be up to the people to make that decision.
Proportional representation would be used until the changeover was complete and anyone standing for election would have to have been a resident of that constituency for a minimum period of 2 years.
Ministerial positions would then be advertised as jobs and given to the most qualified and experienced. This would reduce the size of government further because all you really need is a leader and a good accountant to dish out the money.
Overhaul the tax system to ensure everyone pays their fair share. This would stop the rich and obscenely rich from paying nothing. Devolve some tax powers to the counties with more of the tax raised staying within their areas. Put the betting tax back on and stop gambling being advertised on TV.
Fair employment legislation. This would break up the 'old boy networks' that have reduced social mobility and would help to build a competency based society not one based on who you are and what your daddy owns. Get rid of the Honours system.
No public money for private schools and an overhaul of the public education system with parenting as part of the school curriculum along with philosophy and personal &social responsibility. This would get people thinking again and as parenting is a basic for the foundation of a good society, as good parenting produces good people (mostly), especially when they've been educated in their personal and social responsibilities.
No public money for the private sector unless they pay into the system,
All large companies to have worker's representatives on their boards.
Well, that's a few to get started on, I'll have to start fleshing things out now, you never know who could be reading and who knows, someone, somewhere might be interested in creating a real alternative, some day!
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