Archive for June, 2010

Pulling Together

June 30, 2010

Pulling Together

Are we in for a year of discontent and strikes? I hope not. “Not fair. Not playing. Go play with your own busted ball, this one is mine.”
No matter who caused it, or why the country’s financial deficit came into being, it is here and will stay, getting ever larger unless something is done about it. If someone owed thousands on one credit card, it seems ridiculous to keep getting more credit cards to pay the interest that continually forms month by month on each one until the whole pay packet is spoken for.
Oh yes, it is annoying if you never get into debt yourself, if you live on a modest income, look after what you have and never throw anything away, but we are in this mess together. It is even harder on those whose jobs are threatened, or who have not been able to get work since leaving full time education. And not all are blessed with the knowledge that they have a public sector pension to look forward to. As disclosed, many people are actually better off when they retire and quite a few can retire early and live in comfort.
Inevitably, we have a financially unequal society. But, the “Spend, now, pay later (with interest)” culture is what got us all into this mess.
So how is the debt to be paid? Hard decisions have to be made. We CAN live on less to preserve jobs. We don’t have to go abroad for holidays, throw out clothes, wear the latest fashion, eat nothing but ready meals, drink till we’re silly, spoil our children, turn Christmas into a squalid episode of indulgence.
Personal responsibility has eroded over the years. Time to think what WE can do for the Community, rather than sit back and grumble. Helping others brings great rewards. So does living simply. “Money isn’t everything.” “Enough is as good as a feast.” “The best things in life are free.” So I was brought up to believe.
Years ago, when some of my family worked in Africa with Mercy Ships, one of the boys asked his mum why the children there seemed to be happy — smiling and laughing. After all, they hadn’t got toys or anything else. Their food was simple and (in our eyes) monotonous.
Looking back to my childhood, everything was wonderfully simple. Sure life was hard at times, food was plain and only just enough, but we never went without. Simple toys and games like whip and top, marbles, skipping, balls, and hop-scotch, kept us fit and happy for hours. Would TV have made a difference? Yes, likely we would have been less fit and less sociable. No money needed for electronic games or mobile phones — they had not been invented. Perhaps it is time to rediscover simple pleasures?
I pity the rich who get everything they want.
Jesus said, “Consider the lilies of the field, they spin not neither do they weave. Yet Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
Looking to the beauty around us and within people, doing our best for those in real need might just enrich us beyond our wildest dreams.

The Sorry State of American Politics — a UK biddie’s POV

June 15, 2010

The Sorry State of American Politics — a UK biddie’s POV

I don’t usually dabble in politics, I find it a rather dry biscuit to swallow. However, the present situation as regards the BP oil spillage and the US reactions to this disaster makes me put fingertips to keys!
Without a doubt, the problem is huge, unpleasant for both humans and wild life, an economic disaster on a large scale and a great worry to all living in that very large area. It must also be a great concern to those, who, concerned with the need for fuel self-sufficiency, went ahead with the programme of deep water offshore drilling.
Per head of the population, America is the largest guzzler of fuel in the whole world but appear to do little to restrain its appetite. At least, an effort was being made to gain a little independence. Apparently, there is opposition to just about all the alternatives of fuel provision. ‘Not in my backyard’. Let’s hope they (and others) don’t go bio and ruin forests and food production in poorer countries.
Having made BP the red-eyed monster in all this, in spite of the drilling service and equipment being entirely American (so I understand), the whole thing has now being equalled with the magnitude of a terrorist attack, which took thousands of lives and shook America to its very core.
Certainly, the accident has had, and will go on having, dreadful consequences. I find it sad that nothing appears to have been said, and no regrets expressed, for those poor workers who lost their lives. (Or has such reporting been missed out by foreign media?) Surely there must be injured personnel too? We have seen dead and struggling birds, angry demonstrations, pictures of oil on sea and beaches that horrify. But men risk life and limb to bring in oil. Doesn’t anyone care?
BP has become the Whipping Boy for America’s financial ills. To me this is shown in that comparison with 7/11. BP will be footing the bill for the clean up. No doubt the lawyers are already reckoning their future fees. So where is the comparison? Has BP suddenly taken on the persona of a terrorist organisation out to ruin the US economy? Ridiculous!
To make this comparison devalues the loss of life on that terrible day the twin towers fell. It also appears to make the BP workers into terrorists out to bring down America. Of
I am saddened that Obama, someone I have a high respect for, did not think through his ‘vulnerability’ speech before opening his mouth.

What a laugh! A lady koala reading my book (NO she is NOT Edna Everage)

June 8, 2010
koala reads Red Boxes

Australian Lady, Janny Inkletter, reads Red Boxes — delighted!

And what does charming Mrs Janny Inkletter say about it? (No, this beautiful lady is not related to Edna Savage. She is the wife of that extraordinary ruler of Phools Paradise — Payton L Inkletter, writer and philosopher, king of wit)

RED BOXES: Easy yet moving to read real stories, innocent yet powerful memories of growing up and living in England through 1939-80
I had been anticipating reading this account of Gladys Hobson’s life, for not the least reason that she hails from England, my birthplace.
I was raised on stories of the British Depression era, War time, and post War era till the early sixties, told me by my parents. We emigrated to Australia in 1964 when I was barely 7 years of age, and I was always fascinated by the experiences my parents shared with me and my younger brother.
‘When Phones Were Immobile and Lived in RED BOXES’ was very easy to read, it made me laugh, it made me cry, it made think of my deceased mother very much, who I’ve missed greatly these past twenty one years. A lot of Ms Hobson’s experiences were very much like my mother’s, and I was especially struck by accounts of the fashion industry, because my mother’s work, before she married my father, was in the retail side of fashion. Despite war time rationing being over, it was a struggle for her to find the materials for her wedding outfit; however, one of the tailors that Mum used to deal with hand made her a beautiful tweed suit and lace blouse as her wedding present – it was a worth a small fortune. This made Ms Hobson’s account of her early career in the industry resonate with me rather nostalgically.
Thinking of the times when Ms Hobson was carving out her vocation in the fashion world, she would have needed to be quite a courageous woman; she, it should be noted, was raising her new family as well.
Even though poverty was a constant in the early part of her life, Ms Hobson’s tenacious spirit saw her overcome the struggles that a lot of her fellow countrymen shared with her.
I would warmly recommend this book to anyone wanting to have an insight into this era in Britain, and the making of our current senior generation. There is a lot to admire about how they came through the challenges of their times; things that younger people today would not understand, and maybe not cope with should – let’s hope not – such hard times return.
Janny Inkletter

Thank you, Janny for that thoughtful review.
The (enlarged) Second Edition of When Phones Were Immobile and Lived in Red Boxes — 1939 — 1980 (£7.50) can be ordered from any good bookshop, Amazon etc or directly (post free in the UK) from Magpies Nest Publishing.
(Please note, The smaller first edition is out of print and cannot be ordered from the publisher, but second hand books are sometimes available on Amazon)

The tragedy in West Cumbria

June 4, 2010

Go to my Writing For Joy blog for a fuller post and photographs.

A sunny day at Whitehaven.

We had only been home just over a week, from our holiday in West Cumbria, when that dreadful happening took place in the very place we visited.
Who was Derrick Bird? What made him snap and kill his brother, colleagues, friends and neighbours? Twelve deaths and eleven injuries, some life-threatening. Then his own life. The horror is too great for my mind to taken in.
Money pressures may be at the heart of it. It may be thought idyllic to live in this magical area, but beautiful scenery does not pay the bills. Anger and hatred, combined with low self-esteem can lead to violence, Someone snaps — have gun will shoot?
Those injured and dead, and their loved ones, are not the only victims. A mother has lost her twin sons — one of them having killed the other. Cain and Abel? The whole area is in grief.
At present I feel strangely detached. I know, deep down, we all have a darker side. We learn to have mastery over it and use it creatively. Even to the extent of only recognising our ‘shadow’ as a force for creativity. But is also a place, a cellar, where our ‘demons’ live. Once the ‘policeman’ dwelling in our ‘upper’ mind — the authority voice, a combination of ‘voices’ that taught us right from wrong— is subdued, then restraint has gone and all hell is let loose. But it is premature to speculate.
But we do need to understand what makes people break under pressure, that is, if we want to avoid these dreadful tragedies.