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

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

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

Don’t Look Up

When I was a child I went to a school assembly that taught a valuable lesson in a slightly violent and destructive way. That assembly stayed with me as a metaphor of what we have and how easy it is too loose what he have to this very day. It was a non
religious speech given by our very religious Religious Education teacher.

Basically she brought into the hall a few props one of which was a beautiful vase and a bag with something else in. she then talked about how to make vases all the effort that goes into making them what they are made of, how much they are appreciated and then she put the vase in a the bag and unusually brought a hammer out of the bag too and then placed the bag with the vase in on a table and smashed up the vase into many broken pieces that it was simply irreparable and showed us the broken pieces too.

The way that I still see this lesson that she taught us that day still today is that life is like that vase which is fragile and precious and we can and should appreciate it, show it respect and take care of it. But in a blink of an eye with the lifting of just one hammer and bang on the vase then that fragile thing shatttered into a hundred peices and just like life can be gone forever without any undoing or rewinding being able to bring it back.

This leads me also on to the film Don’t Look Up which I finally got to watch on the weekend a really great film, excellently written and with a fantastic cast. I had not wanted to see this film for a while as I was worried that there would be to many gags and an inappropropriate ending or horrifying ending. Well the film got me hooked and I don’t want to spoil it for you but I do recommend a watch.

It has a lot of paralels with how our leaders are engaging with climate change and how to many politicans, climate change adaptation is still appears to be a numbers game concerning what do opinion polls say I should say about climate change or what do opinion polls say I should do about climate change rather than seeing any politicans being elected yet with any actual conviction on how and why we need to adapt to a changing climate and the real fear that we could be headign for extinction if we do not change our ways and learn to live as a guardian of wild places and living orangisms and the planet rather than economic growth machines.

The Fire by Rosie Eade

To sing, to see and support

Went out to a local bar to sing karaoke last Thursday and met and sang a few songs with some friends There was also a lovely girl sitting on our table called Leanne and she was out with a friend of hers who was visiting from the states, he got up and sang some songs extremely well, you could say he had a certain X factor about him.

I feel that this should come with a disclaimer along the lines of if your offended by being termed weird then your not weird your just beautifully differernt

On the night Leanne did say to us that he was a great musician that was the lead singer in a band and had sung with many other musicians too. His name is Luke Spiller and he is in a band called The Struts’ I looked them up on spotify the next day and could not believe it that they have nearly 2 million downloads of his bands songs every month on the site and one of his last singles was with Robbie Williams too. It turns out he was over here to sing at a concert at the O2 Arena in Birmingham which is a massive venue in the UK. This was so cool too that him and Leanne just happened to rock up in our little bar and he sat on our table had a chat got drunk and sang songs just like the rest of us, but the difference being he could actually.

The following night I had an emotional reunion with a women called Kristie who is the daughter to the woman that was my brothers fiancé prior to when my brother took his own life, so had Andy not committed suicide she would have been a daughter in law. She was one of the people with my brother desperately trying to stop him from taking his life right in the horrible night that he took his own life, and it was such a horrendous experience for a lovely young woman to go through. I have not seen her in nearly seven years and so we had a good catch up hugged and exchanged memories and emotions about Andy and offered each other support and I got this photo of us to when we caught up.  

kristy and me catchup

I also do something which I dont normally do and made an implusive purchase on website from https://www.vkease.com/

I purchased 4 wooden carved animals with lights on them I hope to display them on my window sill one is a wolf and one is an eagle as pictured below I hope they look as good when they arrive.

New Radicals – You get what you give

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.