As a woman and a human being I believe I deserve respect and I do not get involved with people who don’t treat me with respect. But it seems that everywhere I look now there are women being disrespected in horrible ways. There was Malala being shot in the head for speaking out in the belief that women deserve an education. There are Nigerian schoolgirls being kidnapped because they go to school. There are women being attacked and raped or having acid thrown on them in India for such crimes as refusing to marry someone that they don’t even like.
Now I don’t think for a moment that any of this is particularly new (unfortunately!) but perhaps because of the internet and the impact of social media on the global stage, I think these things are just being noticed more. And so they should be. A world where women face violence, harassment and persecution every day of their lives is not a world I am happy to live in. It is unacceptable that anyone, male or female, should be treated as if they were the dirt beneath someone’s feet. Everybody deserves to have their dignity respected. So don’t ignore any harassment that you receive or think that it doesn’t matter. It does matter because if you don’t speak out then people will think it is acceptable to mistreat you.
And don’t allow other to be bullied either. If you see someone being picked on, don’t do nothing. If you’re afraid to intervene, then go round the corner and call the police. But don’t just walk away. If we want this world to be better than it is today, then we have to make it that way.
I never realised when I first started doing the Facebook thing that it would turn me into a grammar nerd. The urge to correct bad spelling and grammar is so strong that sometimes it is really hard to resist. One of the most prominent and frequent errors occurs around the words ‘there, their and they’re’. So let me explain.
‘There’ refers to an unspecified place, as in “The Beatles are over there.” ‘Their’ refers to things that belong to them, as “The Beatles have their hats on today.” ‘They’re’ is an abbreviation of ‘they are’ as in “The Beatles have arrived and they’re on stage.” I hope this clears things up. I know a lot of people on Facebook will continue to get it wrong.
I can understand if English is not your first language or if you are dyslexic or have other learning difficulties; fair enough then. But if English is your first language and you went to school I can’t help thinking that you should know this stuff. Perhaps that makes me a pedant but then so be it!
There is what I find a disturbing trend on the TV nowadays and that is what I call the modern freak show. There are programmes about people who have terrible crippling disabilities and diseases and the cameras are delving into every aspect of their lives.
I know that some good might come of this in helping publicise rare medical conditions and perhaps encouraging research into these disabilities and if it helps people in the future then it can’t be all bad.
But personally I never watch these shows because it would make me uncomfortable. There’s an element of schadenfreude about this sort of thing. It reminds me of the old Victorian freak shows where they would charge admission to look at badly deformed and disabled people.
Obviously the programme makers have permission to do these programmes or they wouldn’t be broadcast but I just find this whole sort of thing extremely unpleasant. Am I wrong? What do you think?
I hate fox hunting because I think it is unbelieveably cruel! I can understand that if someone is a poultry farmer and a fox gets into their hen house then they might have to shoot it to save the lives of their hens. But if they must kill it, then do it with a quick clean shot. To tear a panic striken animal to pieces with a pack of dogs is an act of barbarity that should not be allowed in the twenty-first century.
Some people will say it’s traditional but that is a pathetic argument. It’s the same argument they used to try and justify slavery. If it was traditional to be a peodophile, then would that make it okay to be one? Of course not! Just because something is traditional doesn’t make it right.
And there are those who will say it is a sport. No; tennis, football and rugby are sports. Ripping wild animals to pieces with dogs is not sport; it a an act of gross brutality.
My favourite place is Glastonbury! I just love it there! I want to go and live there some day. Its such a lovely place and I always feel so relaxed there. I love all the eccentric people wandering around in purple cloaks and green velvet hats (or whatever else they’re wearing)! It reminds me of Hogwarts!
I feel that Glastonbury is the place where it is easiest to be my authentic self, I don’t have to pretend there, I can just be. I see it as a spiritual centre and a seat of learning as well as being a warm, welcoming and healing place. And whenever I go there, it feels like a homecoming.
I wrote this poem when I heard about the tragedy at Sandy Hook School in Conneticut. It’s called “Twenty Six”.
Twenty Six is just a number
But once they were lives;
Lives of children and teachers.
Now they are gone,
And no-one knows why.
Why is the question we all ask
To try to make sense of this tragedy;
As if knowing the answer
Could stop evil in its tracks.
Evil lives among us.
It seeks to divide us,
Make us argue over gun laws
Or politics or religion.
Evil wants to divide us into us and them.
We cannot let evil win.
The way we defeat it
Is to stand together in love.
There is no ‘them’;
There is only us.
I have noticed, particularly in current American politics, that there is a trend to be divisive. There are a lot of people who like to say “I’m right and you’re wrong” but I would rather have a friend than win an argument. Surely it is obvious that the world would be a better place even we all learned to get along with each other. So let’s try to make 2013 a year of peace. We might not manage to stop international wars but let’s not make war in our own hearts. I am well aware of how easy it is to get angry. I am a red head with a temper to match!
But whenever I lose my temper I almost always end up regretting it. So this year I’m going to try not to be so grumpy and when people irritate the f**k out of me, I shall do my best to just walk away. Peace man!
Gary and I both liked this film a lot though the fact that its set in one of our favourite time periods goes someway to explaining why. Its set in 1930s Mid-West just before the end of prohibition. The cast is pretty stellar too with a cameo from Gary Oldman, who is always one of my favourite actors, and Guy Pearce plays one of the meanest baddies I’ve ever seen.
However I must say, if you don’t like the sight of blood and graphic violence then don’t go and see this film. It even includes a brief glimpse of a pair of testicles in a jar! The script is by Nicholas Cage and I thought it was really good and the soundtrack is to die for! It’s all folk songs and stuff like that which I love and includes performances by Emmylou Harris and Wille Nelson and a really original version of the Lou Reed song White Heat/White Light.
The photography was very beautiful in parts as well and it was very atmospheric. As a historian I didn’t spot any obvious historical inaccuracies. I think Hollywood is getting a bit better at the research. All in all, a great film that we both enjoyed very much!
About four weeks ago our old washing machine finally gave up the ghost. I wasn’t particularly worried because I thought ‘we’ll just get a new one’. It was under a service guarantee by British Gas and after an engineer had come round and pronounced it dead, they gave us a £90 coupon towards getting a new machine with the specification that we had to buy it from Comet.
So Gary and I went online and looked at washing machines, and particularly the customer reviews and I chose a model. The one I liked the look of was a Candy machine so we bought it and arranged an installation date. On the appointed day two Welsh engineers turned up, took one look under the sink and said they couldn’t fit the machine because the taps under the sink were too old and there was a water leak there.
So disappointed we called out DynaRod, all still under the household insurance, and they came out. The man from DynaRod said the taps under the sink are fine, in fact the old taps are better than the new ones and there was no leak under the sink. Now I was starting to get annoyed because I believed (and still do!) that the Welsh engineers lied to me and I do not like being lied to!
So we called Comet again (on their premium rate line at ten pence a minute) and the same Welsh engineers came back and installed the new machine. They also took away the old machine. They didn’t stay long but it was Saturday afternoon and I expect there was a rugby match on that they wanted to get back to.
So when they were gone I tried our new machine but…I could not get the dratted thing to work. Gary had a go too and he couldn’t get it to work either. To say I was livid does not start to cover it. And then the dishwasher went on the blink as well. By now I was beside myself and ended up in tears. I was also amazed that the Welsh gits did not test the machine before they left to check it was working.
So we went back to the Comet store and insisted on speaking to the manageress. She was very nice and she refunded our installation fee of £30. She advised us to get an engineer from Candy to come out. He’s supposed to be coming this Monday. In the meantime a different engineer came out to look at the dishwasher. As soon as he looked under the sink he discovered why it wasn’t working. The stupid Welsh gits had disconnected the hot water supply to the dishwasher!
There was no reason for them to do this as the hot water supply to the washing machine is on a separate feed! The engineer also discovered a water leak behind the dishwasher where a washer had come loose. It took him about ten seconds to replace the loose washer and fix the leak. He thought the Welsh gits had disconnected the water supply to stop the leak but why didn’t they just change the washer? He also said that the Welsh gits should have tested the machine to check it was working before they left which was what I thought and what they conspiciously failed to do!
The hope is that on Monday the Candy engineer will finally fix the washing machine but both Gary and I are not that hopeful. We expect he’ll say it needs a part and we’ll have to wait another week for that to come. I thought we’d just get a new machine quickly and easily. I didn’t expect it to turn into a saga to rival Gone With The Wind! Nowadays it seems that nothing can ever be simple!
There’s a new craze on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter for something that’s called dogshaming. It consists of posting a picture or video of your dog with a sign next to them saying something like ‘my farts are smelly’ or ‘I wee on the carpet’.
A lot of people seem to find this hilarious but I’m sorry but I don’t. I think that for the love, loyalty and total honesty that you get from a dog the occassional widdle on the carpet or smelly fart is a small price to pay. A dog is one of the most beautiful animals on this planet and I just don’t think its amusing to want to reward their love by humiliating them.
If any animal should be shamed; it should be us. Dogs don’t start wars. Dogs don’t chop down the rainforest and pollute the whole planet. Dogs are infintely better behaved than most humans (apart from the bum sniffing!) As far as I can see dogs have nothing to be ashamed of but we have!