Wednesday, 31 May 2006

Morning has broken....

When the weather is fine and the wind not too strong I like to start my day with a cup of coffee on the patio at the rear of the house which is exactly what I did this morning at 7.00am.  The views are lovely any time of the year but right now they're wonderful.

The grass garden was made two years ago on the site of an old chicken house and I've put lots of both siberian and bearded irises in alongside the grasses, one of which I grew from seed filched from the lakeside grass garden in Toronto.

Another view which just misses the summer house is across Harry's field to David Davies's copse, which is full of bluebells and baby rabbits at this time of year.  Usually Harry has a maize crop in this field which he sells to the nearby race horse stud farm for winter fodder.

Finally, a pic of the Welsh ponies in my paddock.  A neighbour owns these and many more ponies and he breeds and shows them.  The chestnut with black mane and tail is a stallion and he's currently serving - or trying to - two of these mares, having sorted the others out earlier.  I was lucky to get a shot of him looking presentable because he's almost permanently chancing his arm.  <g>

When I was a little girl buttercups were almost the only wildflower my mother would let me pick and it may be a bit infantile of me but I'm just thrilled to have so many growing on my own paddock

Tuesday, 30 May 2006

pik n mix

It's possible to have happiness without being content, it's possible to have joy without being happy, it's possible to be content whilst not having either happiness or joy.  Happiness is the only one to allow gradations; you either have or don't have the other two. 
I wonder which combo imbues life with more satisfaction.  Answers on the back of a postcard 

Monday, 29 May 2006

Breaking political insight

Money can't buy happiness shock headline.
David Cameron has publicly opined that life is about more than money - it's about happiness and  I think he's almost right. 
One of the common barriers to happiness seems to be that so many people have bought into the capitalist illusion of materialist consumerism as a fulfilling way of life and the pursuit of this is bound to ultimately leave them discontented and disappointed.  Many people will never earn enough to satisfy their desires for material goods even if only because once they have bought an item within months it will be out of fashion.  Whether it's washing machines, High Street fashion, mobile phones or sound systems you can bet that once people have gone deep into debt to purchase it a newer, better, larger or smaller model with more twiddly bits and flashing lights will be on the market and they're back with the also-rans.  Alternatively they may be among the 'fortunate' ones who are able to keep up with these consumer fashions but, no matter how wealthy people are, there is always something they want that they can't have, whether it's a particular house or talent or personal attribute.  Money cannot buy happiness and is the wrong currency for buying contentment too.
I believe that what increases happiness is a very personal thing for each of us and therefore Cameron's not correct to think, as he appears to, that governments can do anything to promote public happiness - what they can do is cease tampering with people's private lives and allow them to get on with seeking whatever they define for themselves as happiness. 
What's the betting that he could break the mold in the pursuit of happiness and reassert the old Tory value of less government regulation and more personal decision making?  Given the source of party funding, nil chance I suspect, more's the pity.

Unconfirmed Factoid

Would-be terrorist martyrs have been warned that after long arduous searching Allah has perforce had to accept the only virgins available in the substantial numbers required.    Male Star Trekkies.
See, what goes around does come around!   

Saturday, 27 May 2006

Shooting from the hip

Galloway has said that he believes that some people might think it morally justified, logical and explicable if Tony Blair were to be assassinated and there's been a media uproar about it.  Panelists on both Question Time and Any Questions all condemned Galloway's remarks and claimed to find his comments appalling and unacceptable.
Well excuse me but Galloway was right.  A great many people view Blair as someone who set out to kill innocent Iraqis totally outside the law and against the wishes of his electorate.  Kill he did and on his orders the killing goes on and on. 
Some idiot on TV said that people who opposed Blair's war should keep in mind that Saddam's police took thousands of people off the streets and murdered them.  Yup, he did.  Blair and Bush reinstated those very same police to protect the Iraqi public - so consider,  would you ask a policeman the time in Baghdad or report crimes of violence to them?  I suspect not because - and reports appear to bear out my suspicions - these crimes of violence are too often committed by those same well-practised policemen. Some of Bush's troops on the other hand don't take them off the streets to murder them, they simply shoot them where they're standing - IN the street.  When tired of that, they burst into people's homes and shoot down whole families in cold blood.  My Lai anyone?
If you object to Galloway's remarks then consider that if you were an Iraqi you might easily view Blair as a butcher of women and children.  No law, no UN, no other country can stop what Blair and Bush are doing, not because they think they're right or just but because Bush has bigger guns and Blair's his bitch. 
Would you assassinate Mugabe if you could?  If not, why not?  Cos you see, I would.  It's not only Iraqis who think assassinating Blair would be morally justified, I do too.

Wednesday, 24 May 2006

Holy Bones!

I'm one of these DaVinci afficionados that the culture pundits appear to think are dim n dumma but I find it a fascinating theory - so much so that since reading the book when it first came out I've also read 'The Holy Blood And The Holy Grail' which was a source book for Dan Brown and also the subject of the recent court case alleging plagiarism, and I'm about to get stuck into 'The Gnostic Gospels'.  Expect some unusual quotes <g>

I went to the cinema to see the DaVinci film on Sunday regardless of the bad reviews it's received from critics.  In my opinion, the film was a drastic oversimplification of the book and lost much thereby, and truth to tell Tom Hank's acting was a bit wooden altho a kinder person might say it was 'restrained'.  Nevertheless I enjoyed it and don't think people should be put off by what they read in the media.

The Booker Prize demonstrates, imo, the value of professional literary judgements :O) 

It could be lurve.

I think I've fallen in love.  My putative prince has the look of a man who's hard, and hard in a way I find overpoweringly attractive.  If his performance in actualite follows through....... well, I may desert my principles and give him what he really really wants.


So, that would be a Labour vote for John Reid.

On second thoughts, nah............. this hard thing will pass in 2 minutes <gg>


Tuesday, 23 May 2006



There'd be far less litter in this country if blind people were given pointy sticks. 

Saturday, 20 May 2006

Down came a blackbird.........

I'm a Mum and Granny and I absolutely adore babies and tiny tots.  If my circumstances had allowed I would have had a dozen and I'll always regret that I didn't have more.  I love everything about infants and toddlers - to me it all exerts an almost visceral attraction. 
A couple of weeks ago I was in a city shopping centre and in one of the walkways came across a crying toddler, all alone and clearly lost from his mum.  I approached him and as I bent down to try to reassure and console him it suddenly struck me that somewhere my approach to this screaming distressed child was recorded on cctv.  I dithered.  I was afraid of being suspected of having nefarious intentions, perhaps of trying to steal the child away.  I imagined the parent coming and alleging that I'd been trying to kidnap him or even worse. 
I'm ashamed to say that I left him out there at risk while I went into the nearest shop and asked the first assistant I saw  - an adolescent boy btw - to take charge of the situation. 
This small incident which was in the event satisfactorily resolved has preyed on my mind and conscience since.  I decided yesterday to cease allowing the current media promoted panic about child safety to change my behaviour.  There is nothing wrong with acting responsibly towards children in a vulnerable position as this little lad was.  There's nothing wrong in talking to babies in supermarkets.  There's nothing wrong in bending over a buggy and returning a dropped toy or in playing Boo with a carried tot in a queue.  I'm going to return to behaving the way my maternal instincts tell me to behave. 
So if you're standing in line in Sainsbury's and some woman is chucking your nipper under the chin or making a blackbird peck off his nose - then it's me or someone like me and if you don't like it then ask yourself if you want your child to be left alone, lost and distressed because decent caring people have been frightened off from showing that they give a damn.  Then what kind of person is going to be bending over him, saying 'come with me, we'll find your mummy'?

Friday, 19 May 2006

Recycle with freecycle

Do you have something useful that you never use, maybe an unwanted gift or something you've stopped using?  Are you interested in recycling unwanted or outgrown possessions from your garage, shed or spare room?   Does commercialism leave you cold?
Do you want something but think that your intended use of it doesn't justify the expenditure? 
Take a look at this website where you can give, swap, share or find for free that high chair, strimmer, rowing machine or laptop.  This isn't something for making money and it doesn't cost you anything either.  Take a looksee at

testing testing 1 2 3

Tony Blair, within a week of animal rights activists being gaoled for 12 years for conspiracy, has signed a petition demanding the continuation of scientific testing on animals.  Putting aside the facts that 1) Blair has signed a petition addressed to himself, and 2) these animal rights people have not been found guilty of harming anyone or anything and yet have received a longer sentence than the man who raped a months old baby, this issue has raised a lot of opinion comment from the movers and shakers in the media. 
All thus far have endorsed the testing of medicines on animals.  Thalidomide was tested on animals.  6 young men in the UK were very recently brought to the point of death during the human testing of drugs which had formerly been tested on animals.  Nevertheless regardless of our sympathies with research animals and our doubts about the efficacy of animal tests were we or one of our loved ones suffering from a dread disease or likely to have children with a vile genetic illness then we would donate our own kittens and puppies to laboratories if we thought it would help.  I know I would.
The opinion pundits however appear to be united in one ethical objection to the use of animals, and that is for the testing of cosmetics.  Cosmetics apparently are a matter of vanity only and there is no moral justification to cause animal suffering solely to save people from the results of their own egotistical and vain foolishness in using cosmetics.  Actually this is pious self-righteous unthinking hypocrisy.
Women in every culture are under pressure to 'make-over' their natural appearance.  The thinner we become the more we are congratulated.  Endless TV programmes push the advantages not only of cosmetics and hair dyes but also of sugical 'enhancements' and chemical prostheses.  Adolescents, prospective brides, mothers to be and women in their middle age are bombarded with advice and commercials implying that in order to be happy they must conform to an idealised thin, waxed, glossy haired, wrinkle and spot free image of women at their stage of life. 
Women in public life are often judged on their physical attributes; the wives of politicians are sneered at for having large mouths, too fat, old fashioned hairstyles and generally  being less than 'perfect'.  Beautiful film stars are ridiculed for having a little underarm hair.  Women are powdered, painted, shaved, styled, deodorised and perfumed until little of the natural woman remains.  Many women live their whole lives letting no-one but their mothers and sisters know what they really look like.
Men appear to be going down the same primrose path to self-denial with their scents and face creams, gels and exfoliants, tooth bleaching, hair dyes and cosmetic surgeries.  The commercial propaganda which is intended to make people feel uncomfortable and inadequate in their own bodies isn't going to slow down, rather as each year goes by it picks up speed and I expect that before long will extend down the age range to draw in prepubertal children.  Already there are endless body creams for infants - and no age group has a more perfect blemish free skin than infants and tiny tots.
Is it then okay for skin creams to be untested? If the styptic pencils or scented aftershave that young lads use are carcinogenic is that okay too?  Does it not matter if 13 year olds lose their sight when experimenting with eyeliner or mascara?  If a woman chooses to have breast implants does she deserve all the illness she gets from leakages?
If the substances we choose to put on our skin should not be tested on animals then what about the stuff we choose to put inside our bodies?  If the constituents of bioactive yoghurt, sports drinks, tandoori pastes and bottled water are tested on animals, why should infant shampoos, cosmetic creams for adolescent acne and deodorants not be tested?
If anyone wants to discuss this with me and point out where I'm way off target then I'd be glad of feedback.
PS. Cats have 9 lives....................................  which makes them ideal for medical experiments.  ;O)

Wednesday, 17 May 2006

'Christian morality'

If we remove Christianity from the scene then what defines ethics and morality? asks Stuart......
Your question is founded on the notion that non-Christian cultures do not have ethical/moral codes whereas in fact we know that they do - indeed one of the stumbling blocks to social harmony between countries and within them is the firmness, not to say intransigence, of the moral codes of other and competing religions.
Your question also suggests that atheists and agnostics have no moral code which I also believe to be untrue and that many and maybe most atheists and agnostics would deplore the circumstances I outlined in my piece Suffer the Little Children.  It's also the case that within Christianity there are  some very wide differences in moral/ethical codes - the Plymouth Brethren, Strict and Particular Methodists, Opus Dei and Christian Scientists for example vary enormously.
Perhaps given the lack of social homogeneity in respect of ethical issues it's simpler to remove morality from the equation in cases like this and just ask whether the best interests of this child have been neglected, not only by her parent but by society as a whole.  Was/Is she at risk in terms of her physical and psychological health?  I would say she is at risk as evidenced by the late night party going, the smoking, the alcohol consumption, the exposure to her mother's drug habits, and her age-inappropriate unprotected sexual behaviour.
Imagine the risks to life of any infant born into this incredibly dysfunctional household and the only question needing an answer is not what would Christian morality say but what does the law say and why is it not implemented?
Shall I be smitten by lightning for the hubris of arguing ethics with a Minister?  :O))

Tuesday, 16 May 2006

Suffer the little children


An eleven year old little girl is on the social services At Risk Register.  This means that her upbringing and welfare are supposedly supervised by a social worker.   The child lives with her 34 year old single mother who has five additional children by four different fathers.  Several of the other children have already been taken into social services residential care.  The mother is a drug addict and living on welfare payments in council accommodation.
The child, who smokes 20 cigarettes a day, goes to a party, gets drunk, and has sex with an older boy.  She 'decides' to keep the baby which is due in a few weeks and her mother says she is 'proud' of her for it.
What sort of a society allows this level of child neglect to pass without censure and without taking the child into protective custody?  Pity the child, and God help the baby.

Tuesday, 9 May 2006

Dog days are done

Why can we no longer take our dogs into a shop?  In the case of cake shops, and any shop displaying uncovered foods, not allowing animals inside is perhaps understandable but hardware shops?  Does a dog looking at a lumphammer or a shelf full of lightbulbs damage them or make them unsaleable?  Why are there no hooks for tying dog leads to outside shops these days?
And I hate to seem uncaring here, but if my dog is unhygienic in a cake shop, why aren't guide dogs similarly unhygienic - or is it that no dogs on the far side of a glass screen create hygiene problems but that the dimndumma government which introduced this regulation either thought it seemed more 'caring' to ban dogs or that it's okay for a cake consumer to catch some dire dog-related disease - as long as it's caught from a guide dog?
LOL, I'm such a cheery bunny aren't I? 

Let's Party - NOT!

Start another political Party?  Never! 
Political parties are the bane and ruin of democratic societies because of the 'party line' (where there is one) and because of the crude and bullying Whipping system where the policies are ad hoc.  Except for the Party leaders, all politicians in the UK are duty bound to vote for the Party line, regardless of their own beliefs or consciences.  When we vote for our local Member of Parliament therefore in practice we are voting for a Leader we have had no voice in choosing and as a practical consequence we vote in favour of all his decisions, present or future.  So Blair can say, because New Labour won the election, that each and every decision he makes is with the support of the British people.  We all know that this is a perversion of the truth.  He makes a decision, often without even informing his Cabinet - who are supposed to share in and be equally responsible for those decisions - and then the Whips enforce backbench compliance.  What the Party system delivers is autocracy dressed up in democratic flimsy.
On the other hand, if there were no Parties, or alternatively if we all chose to vote for an Independant candidate and let the Parties go to the dogs, then parliamentary alliances would shift and change according to the issue and MPs would vote according to their conscience and/or to the wishes of their electorate. 
In my opinion, MPs cannot function as our delegates because for them to truly know the balance of opinion on any issue within their own electorate is impossible.  The only way it could be done is by endless Referenda and that would be a huge and unfeasible undertaking.  So MPs would be representative and therefore their character and beliefs would be the critical factor in their election.
I want an MP whose values and principles I approve of.  I want an MP who will judge issues on their own merits and vote accordingly - not one who votes the way he's told to regardless of his conscience or what he knows is right.  What's more, I don't want MPs funded by powerful individuals, either British or foreign, as happens now.  I don't want some rich foreign mogul deciding how I should live my life.  I want an MP who is funded only by his direct electorate.
Several years ago, Tony Blair was asked, I think by William Hague, exactly what principles underlie New Labour - and he was unable to answer.  This, in my opinion, is because he has no principles beyond the maintenance of his own position in power.  I see no signs of difference in this one crucial matter between Blair, Brown or either of the other Party leaders.  They lie before elections, safe in the knowledge that once in power the electorate have no means of redress.  In power they lie because, more often than not, they can keep the evidence of their lies a state secret.  I want an MP that I can deselect if he fails to live up to his pre-election promises.  Lacking that there is no penalty for venality among politicians - and my God but they are venal.
Political Parties?  I would outlaw them in favour of democracy.

Monday, 8 May 2006

Bloody government

You all must have felt, as I have, that there is virtually no area of life, either personal or professional, in which government hasn't stuck its nasty little fingers.  In fact, I'll award a medal to anyone who can name anything in life that has escaped - and I bet you can't! 
Even if all government intercessions were beneficial I would object to being nannied - after all what sort of choice is that which is limited to the range of choices the government has decided you may choose amongst? 
But it's not all beneficial and it's not all fair or just or equitable or, let's face it, even sensible and bit by bit they have changed the kind of people we are and the lives we lead.  Is there anything now that we can do exactly as our forebears did it?  From being born to dying and at all points in between they have us tied down, restricted, and needing to meet their criteria to get permits. 
Whatever your job - paid, home or voluntary - you know the government has poked it's ignorant and meddling fingers in. 
Whatever your hobby - gardening, angling, botanising, bird watching - the government has laid down rules and regulations that prevent or hamper your doing it the way you want to do it. 
Whatever your home life - married, parent, single, co-habiting - the government is in there, telling you what you can and can't do - and usually how to do it too.  And getting it wrong.
And who are these people doing this to us?  They're no-one of any moment, no-one of any real account in their own persons.  They make life changing decisions affecting millions of people and before you know it, they're out of office, perhaps out of the HoC and back doing whatever they did before they sucked up enough to get into the Cabinet - being teachers, solicitors, advertising copywriters and farmers - and, worthy as those professions are, what makes one of their number any better at making decisions for us than we would be at making them ourselves?  I've met a great many teachers with political aspirations whom I wouldn't trust to take my dog for a walk without getting her or themselves lost or run over - and solicitors - well, don't start me off!  :O)
Members of Government should be shot on sight.

Friday, 5 May 2006


Thinking about what I wrote in 'Too young for Jung' it struck me that I may have left the misleading impression that I'm something of a libertarian when it comes to adolescent sex.  Few things could be further from the truth - particularly when it comes to my own family.  In my opinion youngsters under 16 - or for that matter under 18 - who are still at school and therefore completely dependant on their parents for housing, food, clothing and everything else have no business wasting good homework and revision time on illicit and unwise rumpy with unsuitable boy or girl friends.  (If they feel they need to experience the joys of adulthood at first hand then they should be allowed to do the weekly supermarket shop single-handedly or clean the household lavatories. <g>)
But mine is an objection to under age sex of a very different order from objecting on the basis that the sex itself is harmful to teenagers - it's not that the sex is bad for them, but that underage sex is a distraction from the main task of adolescence - ie learning that only those who can be responsible for potential outcomes have the right to make independant choices and that without personal responsibility there can be no right. 

Wednesday, 3 May 2006

Is schooling asocial?

"Aye lass we of the send them down the mines when they are ten committee agrees wiz you."

That's another thing....
In fairly recent times gone by youngsters were expected to work. My parents' generation began full time work at 14, and in those days full time meant 48 hours per week.  Their generation worked during out of school hours too, helping with seasonal agricultural tasks, shop work, in laundries and on trawlers and pleasure boats, carpenters shops and funeral directors.  You name the trade and school age kids had part time and holiday jobs in it.
Then the UK went almost directly from shoving 7 year olds up chimneys and down mines into forbidding under 16s to engage in any remunerative work whatsoever - paper rounds aside - and even paper rounds are strictly controlled. 
One year British workaday society was made up of the entire age range gamut and then suddenly school age youngsters were withdrawn from daily contact with their communities.  Not only that, but they were incarcerated with others of exactly the same chronological year of birth.  How would you like to be forced to spend every weekday with a peer group made up solely of people of exactly your own age plus one older person in charge of all?  I can think of fewer more unhappy and less developmental ways to spend over 10.000 hours of the most synaptically active period of life.  It's no wonder that modern youth don't know what life is really about - they're removed from it and kept in seclusion in classrooms.
Healthy activity is something sadly lacking in youngsters lives these days.  They're overweight, inactive, unhealthy and often bored to the extent that vandalism seems like an exciting wayto pass time.  They often have difficulty relating to people outside their age cohort, resent being asked to do something useful and seem unable to undertake the simplest tasks such as changing a plug, dibbing in plants, hanging laundry or cooking a simple meal.  Youngsters now are mere children, and for most that state lasts until they are well beyond their teens. 
It's time we rethought schooling and stopped trapping all young people inside stuffy classrooms full of their resentful bored and socially inept fellows.

Tuesday, 2 May 2006

Too young for Jung?

At the beginning of the 20th Century sexual intercourse was legal for British girls aged 13 and over.  In the odd southern state of the USA it's still legal for a girl to have sex, and if she wishes, get married at that age - indeed Jerry Lee Lewis married his 13 year old cousin and many others have done likewise - our own British aristocracy among them.  In parts of the Indian subcontinent, Malaysia and Africa it's common for both girls and boys to marry in their early teens and sometimes before that.  These teenagers weren't and aren't irreparably harmed by engaging in sexual activity.  Their lives aren't forever ruined.  They don't suffer psychological trauma.  Their health isn't undermined.  Their childhood isn't 'stolen' from them.  They don't need years of therapy and support groups.
It's normal for youngsters to want to see what the fuss is all about, after all, adolescence is a physical change that is all about sex, about changing from a 'sexless' prepubertal child into a fully formed sexually mature adult.  It's also, in our western culture, a time when young people take on adult roles and responsibilities, when they 'try their wings' and nothing is more normal than for them to want to engage in this forbidden and thus doubly exciting activity, to want to do what adults do - in the same way that 13 year olds may try cigarettes or a swig of lager or wine, or using obscenities in a public place, staying up til the small hours, reading unsuitable books, watching Cert 18+ films - engaging in sexual activity is one of those signs of being independant, of making your own decisions, using your own discretion. 
Who can blame adolescents for wanting to make their own decisions about their own bodies?  And, as long as they don't produce any offspring until they actually are responsible independant adults or get some dreadful std, what damage can sex of itself do to them? 
In my opinion, what harms them most is the titillated professional 'shock' tone of media reports and the general condemnatory community reaction where one sexual partner is over 16 and the other under 16, coupled with the exaggerated language used to describe the awfulness of their experience, the doleful prognostications of their ruined lives and desolate futures.  The laying on of shame like some vile unshakable miasma on them and their families is what, in my opinion, does the most harm and the most lasting damage. 
Those who react to the revelation of such sexual behaviour by a witch hunt, by taking it as read that the youngster has been 'abused', by insisting that the outcome is ruin, wreckage, damage, harm, ill health, pyschological trauma - they are the ones who by their reaction bring about these very results.