Life, Love and Loss

A lot has been happening in my family’s life over the last month. My mum has now moved into her new built home which is lovely place and I must get some photos of it too. But as for now I don’t have any yet.

Her dog that is a rescue dog called Milly and absolutely loves the new home and is even after nearly 3 years is beginning to trust me a little more too and not see me as a person to bark at and be fearful of all the time, which is great.

Mums dog Milly

Just got back from a weekend in mums new home after visiting with a friend who was helping us do stuff in the house too. The house is looking much more like a home now with a lot more of mums boxes from the movers unpacked. Her place is looking lovely now.

My friend Justin that was helping us with the move has also just started a new job as a mental health support worker. One of the area of guidance and advice that he will be offering to people is talking to people who are suicidal and providing them with help and support or offering interventions where necessary such as hospital or 999 calls.

This leads me onto something that I have been avoiding talking about on this blog, to friends or family or anywhere to be honest for about a month. But a wonderful human being that used to be a supporter of my blog called Ashley Peterson took her own life in October and I very much feel like the world has lost one of its brightest lights. She had a lived experience of depression and was an author, former mental health nurse and wonderful human being, with great warm, kindness and humanity.

She commented on one of my blogs on the 16th October and then on the 18th October took her own life. There was no hint on her blog or in her comment that she was in any way at that time suicidal or in any way struggling. Its often those that you lest expect or at least at unexpected times are the ones most vulnerable. Having lost an aunt and a brother to suicide already I am so very sorry for her family and what they must be going through now because of the hole left in their lives and the light going out of such a bright and loving soul.   

I always try to keep an eye out for certain people that I worry suffer in the emotional waves of their life and where possible and practical try to support friends and strangers alike for want of a better description help to help those in need and keep them in the land of the living rather than let them prematurely pass into the land of the dead.

I find it upsetting that not all that fall can be caught and that not all that feel lost, can be found in time to be saved. It’s hard enough to know one day everything must pass and all will one day will be gone, but it is particularly sad to me to know when those that commit suicide often feel like they had nowhere to turn instead of taking their own life there is always another option and it is sad when they depart that they did not know at the time what the other option was.

Eric Clapton – Tears In Heaven

Had the Covid Flues

Well I was not expecting my next post to be after a visit to the pub on a night out, I normally steer clear of social media or at least Facebook after having a drink of Guinness but what the heck its Monday night and I am now home now and have Tuesday off work too woo who.

I also did not know it at the time but my last heart opening post about relationships was written while I had Covid-19, well it just goes to show what I open up about when illnesses is at my door, hell it was almost like a confession. I knew I was feeling unwell, cold and hot sweats and completely lost the ability to sleep.

Yep caught it

But it was not until my test came back as positive that I knew I had covid-19 I was unable to speak and concentrate so stayed at home and could not work but when I finally though that I had better test myself to see what was going on and whether I should leave the house is when it came back with a positive result of the covid kind.

I must admit I am lucky I had it mildly it still beat the crap out of me for a few days but I never worried that I was not going to be ok. I have been immunity jabbed up when asked to by my doctor and have my next booster and flue jab next month so doing everything I am supposed too.

It is kind of strange to know I have now had it but very grateful for the scientific advancements many deny or take for granted that have potentially saved my life. It’s been a couple of weeks after having had it and I still get tired which my boss has noticed too, hence the couple of days off this week.

I am feeling ok in myself but a little tired at times which is not particularly unusual so all in all I very grateful for having come out the other side.

The Doors – Break on Through (To the other side)

I could also talk about the UK government but then again unless you already know what is going on you probably would not believe me about what the feck is going on. Good old British constitutional democracy at its finest where the party in government gets to do to what the hell it likes so long as the people in parliament keep on voting to allow it to happen. We had a Prime Minster she fecked up by damaging the economy and promising loads of money to the rich and scrapping taxes after the debt fest that is covid-19 and then resigned within about a month of her leadership (shortest term ever as PM in UK) .

Her party with the most MP’s decided then that they were going to invent a new system of electing a new Prime Minister and so they voted for a new leader of the conservative party who, hay presto becomes leader of Britain or Prime Minister tomorrow with out a citizens vote or right to vote cast. So longs as the majority party in the house of commons agree then they can do what the feck they like.

Oh well roll on the next election when they let us have one!

Spreyton a village of Devon

I watched the Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring again recently and it just reminded me of what an absolutely wonderful film that it is.

I have not watched it in what must be nearly 10 years and there are so many little magical moments etched on my memory such as the scene below where they arrive at Bree.

There’s talk of strange folk abroad

The whole Hobbiton in the shire storyline really does make me think of what my own County of Devon and Village of Spreyton where I grew up might have been like had we in an imaginary  alternative reality grown up in middle earth.

Spreyton has its own folk songs and stories such as that of Uncle Tom Cobley and all! A folk song about a resident of Spreyton who set off with a number of people from Spreyton to Widecome on the other side of Dartmoor to get to Widencombe Fair.

There is a print of the song and story below and my Dad has one of these prints hanging in his home

Next is a photo of a what is known as Devon long house, this one is called Stockhay Cottage and was where I live for some of my time when in Spreyton.

Stockhay Cottage

Stockhay was given a Grade II listing in 1988. The Historic England description is as follows:

Grade II. House, formerly small farmhouse and linhay. Mid-late 17th century farmhouse, mid 19th century linhay, modernised circa 1970. Plastered cob and stone rubble; stone rubble stack topped with 20th century brick; thatch roof.

The thatched roof once nealy caught alight when my father put some logs in the fire that got to hot and set the chimney, the fire brigadge were called and came out and prevented the fire from setting fire to the thatched roof. 

The property was also one in which had plenty of wildlife around it. We would have hornets that would nest in the thatch and also bats that would be living up in the roof space too.

I also have a photo of Spreyton from the air, as you can quickly see it is surrounded by fields, wildlife, farms and greenery.

Spreyton from the air

The first mention of Spreyton is in the Domesday Book of 1086, where it is called Espreitona or Spreitone. The name is Anglo-Saxon and means “settlement in the brushwood” (from spraeg (brushwood) and tun (settlement or farm). Spraeg has also given us the modern word “spray”, as in a spray of flowers. The Anglo-Saxons settled Devon in around 700 AD. Spreyton may well have been chosen by one of those early settlers as the site for establishing a farm – although it is not inconceivable that it was a Celtic settlement before then.

The settlement would probably have started as a single farm. Dependants and labourers would have settled nearby and other families would have joined them, leading eventually to the typical Devon village with a central settlement surrounding a church and a series of scattered hamlets and farms.

Spreyton Church

Ode to my Family – The Cranberries

New Tory Govt crash and burn the price of the £

The beautiful political landscape of a democratic nation in a state of flux right now!

The new UK Conservative Government announced a load of tax cutting and borrowing policies this week that resulted in a crash of the pound against the dollar to an all time low as even the stock markets reacted to the UK government as if to say ‘what the hell are you playing at, doing that with your economy’.

When a governments or political parties boast about tax cuts to benefit your wallets, what there really saying in this day and age is their actually trying to reduce the amount of goods, services and support that they are trying to provide to you and others.

You might feel good to have a few pence or pound in your wallet each month but what there really trying to tell you is all those ongoing government problems that they have not solved concerning how to hire more doctors and nurses and reduce waiting times for health services for the one in five over-50s who have dropped out of UK workforce who are on National Health Service waiting list for treatment are not going to have an improved system of care anytime soon to help get them back into work and be healthy contributing members of society anytime soon.  

Over the first 46 years of my life I have had the support of my government at times its shelter and protection and healing as well as an opportunity to again be given the chance to stand on my own two feet and live, work and be free to make my own way in life once again.

I don’t expect something for nothing or to live off handouts. I work full time, pay for my own food, shelter and life expenses. But there have been times in my life where I have needed the help from the UK government to enable me to again be in a position where I can look after myself once again and be independent.

I don’t know where or how well or even if I would still be alive today, had my life not occasionally  been injected with some government support in order to help my become well again, once sick or fed and sheltered again when at risk of being homeless or unemployed and impoverished.

Benefits, health services and provisions of homes for the homeless are in no way god given rights in any country to any citizen and due to an inherent mental health condition that I was most likely born with, I will always be at risk of losing everything due to an illness that can trigger potentially at any time and under the right circumstance.  

I do my best to look out for myself, do all I can to keep my mental health stable and well but ultimately I am potentially blind to when or how I might become unwell again and whether or not my life will be structured with enough safeguards in order to come out of my illness on the other side at an as yet undetermined time in the future. Having a national health service really has kept me alive and mentally well. Had I been born in a different country or at a different time I just don’t know what support and assistance I would be able to have in order to maintain a good quality of life for myself.

I have personal lived experience of when a society decides to invest in its people rather than just its banking system, the huge gains and returns on that investment and I am very grateful for the assistance that I have received. At the very least I wish to vote, fight and advocate for others as well as myself to have a reasonable quality of life and social support in order to help them when they are down and not just help them to help themselves when they are rich and assume those that are not wealthy must just fend for themselves and hope for the best health, endure the worst poverty or die trying.

The Killers – Human

Britain’s changing times

You might be surprised to hear that Britain does not actually have a written constitution, and you might even think well if the rules are not all written down in one place then how do they all know what to do and how their country is run and why it is run that way. Well in many ways it’s complicated although when it comes to which institution holds the most power it is actually quite simple and in some ways advantageous and in others ways potentially dangerous.

But in plucky British stiff upper lippedness ,it is seen to have worked for Britain up until now and so if is not broken nobody sees any need to fix it. Although with the present ongoing attempt to leave the European Union there is a slight constitutional problem and alas as yet unfixed and this does matter to both Britain and European Union. Because although Britain might not have written constitution but EU does and Northern Ireland is one hot spot where the rules and regulations of one power block clash with those of another power block in that of European Union vs. Britain. As Britain is the least powerful partner in the divorce between the two and as it is Britain that is choosing to walk away from the European Union and where potentially the European Union negotiates with Britain regarding what powers it can have and what trading it can do with European Union and what it can’t when it has left the EU, this puts Europe in a powerful position and Britain in a potentially weak position.

So even after all that Britain still has no written constitution, so why is this the case and what does that mean for British power, laws and how does it get things done. Well ultimately our Parliament in little old Britain is sovereign, Parliamentary sovereignty is a principle of the UK constitution. It makes Parliament the supreme legal authority in the UK, which can create or end any law. Generally, the courts cannot overrule its legislation and no Parliament can pass laws that future Parliaments cannot change.

That is our strength and weakness pretty much tied up there the ability of parliament to create or end any law and to also pass laws that any future parliament can then go on to change. For a little old Blighty it means it has both the potential to adapt to matters of the day to enact laws and you would hope guide a country forward to do what is the right thing to do at the right time to do it. But on the other hand as power corrupts and people can given power, contracts, knighthoods and money so as to empower those whom support and prop up the institutions of government as they exist , then it also has potential for corruption and exploitation by those that benefit from and propping up the status quo.

This is how I feel

Congress woman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stated in a debate in congress once that ‘Religion and faith are not about exclusion’. This is also my faith and my comprehension of God that I understand and believe in, hope for and have faith in, that can answer prayers or force us collectivly to work to answer our own prayers within this life for this world and for those who come into this life in the future. A force for goodness and justice that will enable us to answer our own prayers and give what we can and should to others so that they may be clothed, sheltered, fed and loved.

I just thought I would go onto Twitter and have a look at what other people views and expressions were at this moment in time and came across a lovely clip of democrat congresswoman from New York Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez relating to faith, humanity, god and taxes!

AOC Flips the Religious Freedom Argument on Its Head

I found the clip above emotionally and spiritually empowering and refreshing to know there are people that believe so passionately in views that I can respect and agree with concerning faith and conviction of what others are entitled to or should be protected from. I don’t buy into a Church that sells it’s belief in the good are Godley and are deserving of their wealth, good health and power status. I feel if Jesus were alive, preaching and teaching today there are many aspects of my society, its systems and institutions and mechanics of wealth and poverty creation and sustaining of that wealth and poverty which would deeply concern and anger him on how humanity treats its fellow humans. Christ would discuss matters of economics, politics, scoail justice and equlity were he around today.

If you’re not born in the right country with the right type of passport and amount of money at the right time you risk a whole lot of pain and suffering due to global inequalities and dependent upon the degrees of latitude and longitude that you were born on the globe.

These inequalities look to become far greater this century than they have been for many a year and those that look to escape the poverty, starvation and move to a place where they may have a chance of a better life will have walls built to stop them, boats sailing to catch them and be imprisoned in migrant camps, once they arrive on a foreign shore and be blamed for wanting a better life.

We don’t look to a future of greater food resources or medical resources for the people on this planet but instead one in which there are depleting resources for people and planet on a more hostile environment.

Though knowing there are advocates in positions of authority and power such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez does spring forward hope and optimism for the future.

Placebo – Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) (Cover) Official Music Video

I just don’t feel how you feel    

A momentous time in British history is presently unfolding with the passing of Queen Elizabeth II and the closing of the Elizabethan age and the dawning of the age of Charles III. There has been a huge sway of emotions from people including friends and family as they mourn the loss of their Queen and perhaps contemplate their own mortality at the same time.

When it comes to my own emotions concerning the events unfolding in my country and how I feel and how I am supposed to feel I am still unsure of what to feel or what I should feel. As a human being I respect the person that was Queen Elizabeth and feel sympathy and empathy for those that knew her and especially her family for the loss of the most senior member of their family.

Though it does not make me feel especially British that she has passed, I know the pain of loss and that’s not the feeling that I am feeling. Watching the news at the moment you would think that every citizen of Britain is a loved up royalist morning the loss of the Queen and welcoming in the era of Charles III with great reverence and pride.

King Charles III

Although there are many doing this across the country and there will be huge crowds flocking to pay their respects for the passing of Queen Elizabeth and also the inauguration of King Charles. But there are also huge swathes of people just going about their day to day business catching the train for a day trip, heading to the shops to get bread and milk, just going about their daily lives.

I love living in Britain but I don’t feel patriotic towards its institutions and the mechanics with which we use to devour global resources and ultimately bring about our own potential destruction.

Charles is a passionate environmentalist but he has now taken on a job that is essential that he is non political in his words and actions and seen and described as above politics and so any attempt to advocate one policy over another or to criticise or support a policy he will be potentially be criticised and blamed for now so in some ways the environment has lost one of its great advocates to the crown.

A part of me wants to batten down the hatches and wait until the storm that is the whipping up of British patriotism across the UK media outlets and across these shores but another part of me feels that so long as I am respectful and explain where I am coming from I still have the right to speak and feel how I feel.

Levellers – One Way

I had a dream a dark dream

I hope to come across in my blog as an optimist or even looking on the bright side of the dark kind of guy, but when it comes to your subconscious and dreaming what you dream, it’s very difficult not to escape nightmares sometimes which dwell in the depths of your psyche.

I normally don’t have nightmares and for many years up to my early twenties I could not even remember having nightmares and assumed that I just did not get them. But alas I do sometimes get them and I do find them unsettling and have had one of the worst I have experienced in my life recently which I found quite disturbing and wondered where the hell in my imagination did that just come from and why the hell am I trying to scare myself with such thoughts.

I remember in this dream (nightmare) that there had been an alien invasion and this had resulted in wars and great suffering for people and me and my family along with others were seeking refuge and heading to a camp that we hoped would provide food, water and shelter for us.

Once we arrived at the camp which we believed to be offering shelter and refuge which was controlled by the alien invaders we all accidently got separated and I lost sight of the people I had arrived with. The next thing I knew was we were in some industrial looking place with lots of people coming and going to lots of different places although no signs up to tell us where we should be going.

The area was quite steam punk like industrial units in which I ended heading upstairs to where some food was being moved along a conveyer belt which was either in the process of being cooked or about to be cooked. It looked like raw beef mince meat, moving along on conveyer belts all around these kind of kitchens, the thing that then made it deeply disturbing was that along these conveyer belts of mince meet there were also a lot of jewels and jewellery scattered in amongst the mince. I suddenly had this hugely horrible fear and realisation that the reason for there being peoples jewellery in the mince was because this mince was not made up of beef but of human meat and people were standing along the conveyor belts helping to cook this meat.

It was a horrible realisation in the dream (nightmare) and I suddenly thought I have to get the hell out of here and somehow warn people. So I started to walk down the industrial unit and yes there were lots of people coming and going and I thought I dare not scream out about what I just had found because I did not know who would believe me or want to run out as well too and I did not know what anyone would do to me if I suddenly started to freak out and shout out.

So I managed to make it out of this place with lots of people coming and going I got the impression that some of the people there already knew what was going on and chose to eat the meat and were in some way complicit with this horror where as others were innocently walking in for refuge.

So I then woke up still thinking how do I get help, how do I get help and thought I would email as many people in high up positions of power as I could to raise an alarm but alas it was too late as I was already awake and back in the real world from my nightmare in the dream world.

After finally writing this down for my blog I finally started to do some research on what dream interpretations meant and the one I found most relevant was dream interpretations from of all things cosmopolitan magazine it went on to ask the question :-

WHAT DOES IT MEAN IF YOU DREAM ABOUT THE END OF THE WORLD?

This dream is NOT a message that the world is about to end, okay? So, come up from your bunker and breathe. End-of-the-world dreams have a few key underlying drivers:

  • a major life shift
  • feeling out of control or unprepared for something on the horizon
  • an emotional turmoil
  • a spiritual awakening

Something is shifting in your world. Even if it all seems business as usual on the surface, deep down, you’ve probably been going through something emotional, spiritual, or transformative to your identity and sense of self.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN IF YOU DREAM ABOUT THE WORLD ENDING IN AN ALIEN INVASION?

This dream is a prompt that you’re nearing the end of the phase or ambition, and you need a new goal or project. Or it could be a nudge that spiritually, you’re seeking new inspiration and ideas. Maybe external influences are trying to get you on board with their way of seeing or doing things, but you feel resistant. You don’t feel secure in your own skin about what you know, do, and want. You are considering new schools of thought, maybe even some that are pretty ~out-there~.

BACK TO MY THOUGHTS ON THE SUBJECT!

Though there might be some feeling of what if this happened  or could this really happen in the dream that I was having, one of the most relieving things in hindsight is that I have never predicted the future in a dream that I have had and I was not about to start predicting the future from this one dream or nightmare now.

It does though just kind of feel like  there have been loads of horrible things going on over the last few years and it feels like nothing could surprise me these days for just how bad things could get and how quickly that can go bad. I honestly still think I am in fact an optimist, I just so happen to have a dam vivid imagination that really goes to town so it seems when I sleep!

The dream really make me think a lot to about the film Schindler’s List, which I first saw at the cinema on a school trip and where as rather than having fascists from the Third Reich trying to kill people that it was instead an alien invasion trying to do it instead. Any form of race hate and wiping out of people on the grounds of who they are or the racial superiority prejudices I really find to be abhorrent and so the nightmare really was pulling at all my heart strings to try and get a reaction out of me. Well writing down what happened in my dream and trying to express it is my reaction.

Sound track of film Schindler’s List

The war on climate change – just your typical father and son small talk!

I went out for a meal with my father last week, a sort of pre-birthday pub meal for him and as so often happens we got talking about the world, democracy and climate change, you know just your typical type of small talk you might say!

The way that it came up in the conversation it really is very much like the areas of conversation were all connected. My father is an educated man, more intelligent than me by far, has a better grasp of the English language, loves to read books and also listens a lot to BBC radio 4 which is our UK radio station for informing people and educating people.

So he is well armed to have a discussion about almost any subject matter and express his views on it eloquently and to the point.

Whereas for me on the other hand I am a news junkie mostly about what is going on in the local area as well as globally the good and bad. From watching the news on the TV, reading articles on the web and also keeping an eye on social media and blogs. I am also dyslexic and struggle to read books and struggle to remember what I have read  so I don’t tend to gain information from long articles or books, my memory has evolved in a different way, where I have an emotional memory that  remembers things in relation to my emotional connection to them or from a pictorial or visual stimulus too rather than from remembering words from a page I would rather look at pictures that as they say is worth a thousand words.

There are many things that me and my Dad agree on but also it seems the longer you talk to anyone about any subject the more you find to disagree about rather than agree. We are both fearful for the future of the planet and humanity, we both in our own way try to do our own bit whether that is simply recycling consuming ethically, donating to charities and also advocating change for others when appropriate. But when it comes to our world views he is very much a pessimist and thinks we are all doomed and hopes he is wrong where as I am very much more of an optimist and hope we are not all doomed and hope I am not proven wrong.

With the recent heat waves, fires and lack of rain that have struck Europe over the last few weeks it always makes me think that although we might have it bad here its far worse in the area of the globe that have had famine, food shortages and lack of water for decades such places in Africa that are far hotter it than us for far longer too make me feel like there can never be time for a poor me attitude for how bad I might think I have ever had it in relation to how bad others have and will have it in the future.  

We had a brief respite from the heat today when a storm came over Exeter, it was only a little one but the air and coolness in that storm and rain was sweet.

Storm clouds over Exeter today

Ocean Colour Scene – The Riverboat Song

WordPress.com has listend to its customers

Earlier this year WordPress.com changed its pricing table from five to just two plans (Free and a $15/month Pro plan). At the time I was worried that this would prevent new people from joining WordPress.com as the cost or reduced service would mean that less people like myself would be able to join and experience all the benfits people on a plan liek mine could have.  

WordPress.com has now bravely in my opinion reverted back to the previous pricing model that attracted me to join when I purchased my blog. Hopefully WordPress.com appreciating that what they have now and what they had before worked just fine and as with the invention of the wheel if it’s not broken don’t fix it.

Certainly in my present work place and places I have worked in the past prior to that it is very rare to get the chief executive of any organisation to listen and adapt to circumstance in a way that benefits others let alone me and that is exactly what WordPress.com have just done so respect to them for that.

Amy MacDonald – Slow It Down