Stranger than fiction and more horrifying than Halloween

The world has gone mad, stark ravingly bonkingly looney tunerlingerly mad and we are so used to knowing this, that it no longer upsets, disturbs or surprises us. Well it’s all kind of very normal now.

We vote for politicians that we hate and distrust or even better don’t vote at all, for policies we don’t believe in and support in order to manage the disintegration, destruction and dismantling of the world.

If your an atheist you can blame those dam religious nuts for trying to force their somewhat medieval views, opinions and prayers onto the rest of us.

If you are religious you can blame those degenerate freedom thinking folk or go straight for the jugular and claim that those that don’t believe what you believe that are evil and going straight to hell.

If you have no view or interest on what is going on concerning the future of the planet or even just the next election for who you can vote for or how or even what the earth will look like in a year or decade from now then fair bleeding play for reading this far into the blog post but also a little shame on you for simply not caring.

Madness in reality is now the new norm, with the leader of the UN saying we are on the highway to hell due to the climate catastrophe unfolding right before our very eyes and we either a) agree and say hey ho what do you know or (b) choose blindly ignore what is happening or (c) to know what is being stated but claim without evidence or factual information at your side that it is fake news and a mainstream conspiracy.

Scientist and news outlets have warned and reported on the destruction and potential destruction of the earth since I was a child and the news and scientific reports are continuing to be accurate and get worse and yet as a people we seem powerless to act and are just spectators on the side-line of a man made apocalypse.

You could not invent or make up a lie that is crueller than the truth.

No story told, book written or film seen is as down beat and nerve wreckingly potentially depressing and madness inducing as our very own potential unfolding right before our eyes future the destructive nature of man and his/her capacity to be born into such a wonderful environment and then with out even realising, caring or being able to stop him or herself witness its very destruction.  

If we can get over worrying about how many pennies or cents that are promised in a pay check, instead of worrying more about what those pennies or cents can be used for that are taken out of a pay check for the benefit of you and others then we might just stand a chance of surviving this sorry mess we built up for ourselves in 2022.

But alas not even the basic sums of human decency and respect seem to add up in the general consciousness these days and perhaps they never did. Dictators invade or plan there next invasion or bomb drop on the free. The democratic nations of the world continue only able to vote for their own pennies or cents in their own wallets and with an eye also to keeping economic migrants foreigners from your shores.

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

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

Political leadership in the UK today and does it have what it take to survive this century?

Tonight in the UK there was a political debate concerning who will be the next leader of the Conservative Party and UK government. They will not be elected by the people for the people but rather chosen by the conservative members of parliament to then be voted for by the members of the conservative party members.

Therefore they are not trying to decide how to govern but who can out conservative vote each other. That is the most important point that they have reached in their political career to date. Sometimes politics does seem just like a numbers game where you have to convince enough people of your point of view and direction that it is just enough to get you over the next winning line.

I can’t argue that the British system is one in which is by any definition the best system of governance in the world. But it is one in which I am content to live within and be governed by and that is more than I can say than other forms of governance in the world.

The world in our life time faces some huge fundamental questions concerning why we are governed the way that we are is there such a thing as society, or a global citizen and if so what is the point of that society and the citizens that live within it and who should it strive to work for and in which way.

The machine that is human global system of production, destruction, pollution and poverty, wealth and power really has been a shambolic eclectic mix and mishmash of peoples working together and  against each other and also those not even being given an opportunity to work at all.  

What makes me liberal minded is that I respect your right to do what you do so long as it does not impact negatively on the lives of others.

What makes me conservative minded is my respect for what has gone in the past try to learn from what was done well and not repeat the mistakes of the past.

What makes me socialist minded is my belief in social justice and the rights and just treatment which we are all born into or must continually strive to work and fight for and defend.   

But mostly I am a believer in the right to life for the earth, humanity and those generations as yet unborn. Pro life and providing all creatures and peoples with an opportunity to exist on a planet that is not infested with humans hell bent & blinded by their own ignorance or greed in causing its potential destruction.

When you understand how we count economic success, productivity and all so called positive outcomes in our political institutions there all invariably deeply floored in many ways.

We don’t have a constitution or economic or political system in place YET that strives to protect all lives on earth and the earth itself. Imagine rather than how many dollars or pounds a country helped make each year that instead we considered success by how many species had been saved from extinsion or how many sustainable forests were being protected replanted and not being cut down or how many people did not have to feel that they had no way out other than to commit suicide. An eco economy or socially just policies for people and planet is where we need to be moving to but I just don’t see that kind of vision in any political leaders of our next government yet and i hope to see such vision in my lifetime though if we are to have a good chance of surviving the next 100 years of human and planetary struggle. We must strive to let people and planet live, thrive and be protected and respected.

These are the dreams and ideals I aspire to hope that can one day come true, these are the hopes and fears that I have that I pray to god about and these are the ideals that I hope an atheist or a believer in a righteous and just god could both hope and believe in living for and working towards too.

Dream psych and spiritual awakening

When I was 19 and studying politics and economics at university in Southampton I had a dream that really inspired me at the time and I thought that the dream was so unusual and important and like a revelation that I still remember it to this day.

The dream started with me in a dark basement where I was then walked up the stairs out of the the dark basement by my brother into a beautiful and flourishing garden in daylight with a huge oak tree with green leaves on it at the centre of the garden. The oak tree had a small cat trying to catch leaves from the ground but the branches were too high up for the cat, so the cat could not attach the leaves like it wanted to.

Then there was also a very interesting sight on the grass of the garden where I saw 3 almost Aztec multi coloured lizards waking around in like a circle. I have always been interested in the meaning of dreams and their ability to be an interpretation of our present or a possible insight into the future.

From what I could decipher from the dream the dream was kind of reflecting on the fact that I was going to come out of a dark place where into a spiritually better place almost like an awakening.

Very soon after I had this dream I unfortunately experienced my first psychosis which was very upsetting and unsettling. I lost my home, many friends, a lot of money and had to move to a new place and move back in with my mum, while I came to terms with what had happened to me and tried to heal myself and prepare myself to be strong enough to make my way in the world again.

When I had my first psychosis I had no experience of mental health difficulties and no idea what was happening to me and it was a very scary moment in my life. But this dream gave me strength and comfort in that although I would be losing out and experiencing suffering in the short term I new I had the potential to hopefully come out of the experience stronger and wiser and be in a better place than where I had come from before.

Just like walking up the stairs out of the basement into the beautiful garden with the oak tree. But even in that garden there were still potential trials and tribulations as well as wonders and opportunities, with the threat of the cat trying in vain to attack the oak tree, and the wonder of the three multicoloured lizards walking around in a circle on the grass. This all took place in a beautiful setting of the oak tree in full bloom on what looked like a summer’s day. It felt that so long as I continued in life to walk up the stairs out of the basement to the garden that I would be ok and have my brother now in spirit around to assist me should I even need him to show me the way to walk.

This life is a lot harder than I ever thought it could be but at the same time I do have a feeling that my soul chose to be born now at this time in this place and face the life choices that I make and try to come to terms with and survive and thrive with regard to whatever comes my way. I do not know what is around the corner, but I do know that I will always try to do my best for god, life and those that I love.

Amy Macdonald – Dream On

An alternative to reality

In this our only planet where we have choice on how we choose to live, why do we make choices that make it so dam hard for the citizens and life to exist upon it? If life on earth were a computer game, then we always seems to be playing it on the exceptionally hard setting with maximum blood and gore.

What if God had sent a female messiah instead of Jesus who instead of being nailed to a cross for our sins had settled down got married and had a family. I am sure the world of men (& women) would have lived through a great deal less religious and politically justified wars.

Having a male perspective on life and God, I think is a dangerous thing at times and where some sensible people would wish, pray and hope for peace. Others sometimes try to fight the good fight verbally and physically looking for a moral prerogative for war and justification for the death of others.

It would not be so easy to rouse a female divine force to war as it appears to arouse a male divine force.  

Yahweh is said to have or have had a wife according to some scholars called Asherah, I wonder if Yahweh ever bothered listening to Asherah or whether she left him for an alterntive extraordinary being such as Buddha?

God in this world has been shaped as a very male deity and look where that has gotten us!

Hymn to Her

A Climate of fear & changing times for us all

Who would have thought just a few weeks ago that after having nearly tamed corona virus and with countries starting to try to implement a road map to mitigate climate catastrophe World War 3 was on the horizon and not just that but that we are only minutes away from a potential nuclear catastrophe like we had not been threatened with for over 50 years.   

Growing up when reading about potential problems for the future one threat that was talked about was the concept of climate change wars. This being a situation where nations and people would be increasingly fighting for ever decreasing resourses and when I look to Putin and how his actions in the Ukraine are unfolding that is exactly what this is a violent and deadly grab for resources on his own boarder in the name of reunification of Ukraine to Russia. People are calling him mad which he might well be. But he is also cold and calculated and has so much to lose if his war goes wrong for him that I fear what is still yet to come for Ukraine and the those next in Putins sights.

He will surely see the West’s sanctions and his now global status diminished to that of leader of a pariah state as an act of war and further evidence in his own mind that the west has always hated Russia and it does not matter what he does he just can’t win . His political judgements are increasingly looking like the actions of a gambler on a heavy losing streak risking it all and yet having still not hit rock bottom. There are very little factors in place to stop him from creating more devastation for Ukraine and the planet and continue to role his dice and inflict his decisions on others again and again and again.  

A leading academic called Harald Welzer , author of Climate Wars: Why People Will Be Killed in the 21st Century, stated back in November 2017 that “My belief is that we will see a renaissance of violent conflict in the 21st century, and that many of these conflicts will spring from climate change.”

A professor at the University of Flensburg in Germany, Welzer studies the cultural and political implications of climate change. His book, first published in 2012.

Twentieth-century wars were fought over land, religion, and economics. But Welzer argues that the wars of the 21st century will be fought over something quite different: climate change, and the shortages of water and food that will come from it.

“Ideology will always be a surface-level justification for conflict, But if you look deeply at the source of future conflicts, I think you’ll see a basic resource conflict at the bottom of it all.”

So with that in mind I don’t see Putin as just mad but I do see him as an incredibly dangerous individual with a large arsenal at his disposal and a lot to lose and nearly nothing left to gain. This is all very dark stuff that has been rattling around in my head for the last week. There are very few positive outcomes from this scenario should it have a hint of truth within it at all.

One of the biggest game changers for this conflict that has yet to state how it will act under the circumstances is that of China. China could embolden Russia to continue along a potentially catastrophic path or could be the peacemaker. Though Russia is on the brink of having lost global power and influence due to its invasion of Ukraine, China on the other hand is a powerful nation with more to gain from a thriving and more stable and peaceful world than it has to gain from one at nuclear war with itself. Putin might get to a point where he feels that he has nothing to lose by escalating a war to a nuclear crisis put China and President Xi Jinping will not be in such a hurry or have the belief and conviction concerning the necessity to set the world on fire.

China though having tried and failed to set out a coherent diplomatic position in the days following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is now attempting to position itself as a potential peacemaker to end the war.

That position has not entailed acknowledging that Russia has invaded Ukraine, let alone condemning it. But as China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, told his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba in a call on 1 March, Beijing stood ready to support negotiations to reach a political settlement. According to the Chinese foreign ministry, Kuleba said he was willing to move forward with talks and “looked forward to China’s mediation efforts for the ceasefire”. 

This horific real life story is in no way over and continues to unfold before our very eyes.

Environmental catastrophe or slow car crash syndrome!

I don’t know if you have ever been in a car accident or crash but for a very brief moment in time all your senses are heightened and it feels like everything that is happening in slow motion even though time ticks along at its same old pace. Your eyes are wide open and if like I was, your in the passenger seat then all you can do is sit and watch the driver hopefully move the vehicle to somewhere safe (if your lucky).

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established in 1988 to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments on the current state of knowledge about climate change. Today they issued a IPCC report is ‘code red for humanity’

Though many will still scoff at the idea of climate change and claim it’s still a matter of what ever they can try and stretch our little brains into believing it is, so long as it is anything other than actual climate change and does not interfere with their capitalist freedoms to make money at the expense of others, such naysayers will always exist on a spectrum of opinions and ideas about ever changing situations on big issues. There are many that still don’t believe that Covid-19 exists but at least they never stopped the development of vaccines and medical advancements for the rest of us.

We could seriously be looking at the car crash of a situation that could very much destroy this planet and all life on it if we are not careful, the idea of the destruction of wildlife, climate change and irreversible decline in climate are ideas that have been around the block since when I was a child and yet still we get headlines like those of today like this warning that this was some how not foreseen, certainly not acted upon as quickly as it could have been and were still in the eye of the storm or the screeching of the breaks of the car crash of a situation.

Just as with Covid-19 I feel that humanity has within it the capacity to do what is right, when it is asked to and by those that need to. But time really will wait for no man, women or environment to see if we learn our own collective climate changing lessons.  

Rory Ellis – Road of no return

Ecological Spring cleaning

So I have just renewed my membership of Moor Trees a fantastic rewilding charity based here in Devon. Their long term vision is for a Wild Heart of Dartmoor, a core zone that is predominantly wooded and largely shaped by natural processes, but combined with low density grazing. The core zone would be surrounded by a mosaic of moorland, blanket bog, mires, pasture and crops with managed native woodlands, including working woodlands.

Dartmoor is the closest area we have near to where I live that can be described as close to a wilderness area as we have. A stand out wild area of beautiful landscapes and legends. Dartmoor National Park is a vast moorland in the county of Devon, in southwest England where Dartmoor ponies roam its craggy landscape, defined by forests, rivers, wetlands and tors (rock formations). Trails wind through valleys with Neolithic tombs, Bronze Age stone circles and abandoned medieval farmhouses.

A Dartmoor Pony grazing next to Plymouth Leat, above Clearbrook in south-west Dartmoor. Photo by Nilfanion

In the UK if you stand still long enough one of the utilities companies that you use will find a way of making more money out of you or just simply taking you for granted. So I decided to shake up some of my utility suppliers last night. Its well worth checking prices online and going to a comparison sight to decide what it is that is important to you and then signing up to who can best deliever what you want

I signed up last night to an Octopus Energy – renewable energy deal where they are also able to carbon offset my home gas usage. My Dad has been signed up with them for a couple of years now and finds them really easy to work with and loves there ecological motivation and credentials. I clicked on a link from my Dad which enables us both to get some cash back by me signing up.

I also eneded my contract with Talk Talk for my Phone and Broadband deal after they deciding early in the year to double the price of my broadband and mobile deal that I had with them as well as destroying the quality of my broadband speed and reducing the customer service number to a we wont answer your calls line. The speed of braodband was so slow that it was affecting my abilty to work at home.

So I also changed broadband supplier in order to get a fastrer supply for a cheaper price and a better customer experiance. So I am going to try POP telecom Broadband and see how that goes.

Amy MacDonald – Dancing in the Dark

A time like no other

It was the worst of times but we have seen the best of many people. A time like we have never known or wish to know again – but how can we ever learn any lessons from times like this and if we do learn what will those lessons be?

I wonder what will be written about how 2020 unfolded when people look back. Although there are lots of ways and reasons to see the bleak black clouds of heartfelt hurt and disappointments I wonder what will be the silver lining of goodness or positivity that might come through this. A little like a blanket of snow drop flowering across a woodland floor bringing in with them the signs of a new season and rejuvination of life after a bitter and harsh winter.

Sometimes how we view and react to a life event shapes how or even if we can move forward from the event. Although at other times it might be the very events themselves  that force us to be re-shaped and review our view of the world or how we see ourselves within it. Coronavirus is very much an event that people have had to react to and or been reshaped by.

Another nice mess

So do we thank or blame god?

Curse or give credit to a politician in power?

Tears for the poltical stage

Or will we be grateful for what we have or curse for what we do not have?

Well in time we will hopefully have an opportunity to find out, reflect and move forward.