Saturday, 28 February 2009

Muddy Waters

What the hell happened to Friday? Meh, it came, it was cold but sunny, I had lunch with my friend, then it went.

On this, the last day of February, as I get ready to preach in church about Saint David tomorrow, matters ecclesiastical are pre-occupying my thoughts.

This week, I realised something, How far the so-called Creationism has muddied the waters of Christian thought.

There is a bizarre sect of Christians who believe that everything came into being six or ten thousand years ago, and that evolution is just an illusion.

This is quite different from what many Christians believe, ie that God created the world. Or you could call that moment of creation, the Big Bang, or whatever the current theory is. No difference really. And then evolution follows.

But it seems that many people think that believing that God is the creator means we don't believe in evolution. It seems odd to me that some group of nutters are thought to represent what all Christians, who have largely been responsible for scientific advances, believe.

Another muddy area, which I believe I mentioned before, is that of Godparent. Perhaps I didn't. On a recent episode of 'Being Erica', the eponymous, Jewish hero, thought she was being asked to be Godmother to a friend's child. I wondered how a Jewish woman could promise to bring up the child in the Church. I asked friends from church if this could be, 'no,' they said.
Yet others maintained that anyone, even an atheist could be a Godparent.

Today, as it happened, I came upon my certificate and list of duties as a Godparent to Ellie.
Having renounced Satan, I have also promised to,
Pray regularly for her,
Set her an example of Christian living,
Help her to grow in the Faith of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in which she was baptised,
Give every encouragement to her to follow Christ and to fight against evil,
Help her to look forward to her confirmation.

See, I'm thinking that atheists would have a problem with most of that.

Muddy waters indeed.

Thursday, 26 February 2009


This week, a couple of injustices have been righted in Welt Schneewittchen, and that's a good feeling.

The first was personal, it concerned my 'illegal shed' or compost bin as we English speakers call it. This had to be discussed by the Strata Council - who didn't do much discussing of it by the sounds of things, they simply said, 'It stays, everyone should be encouraged to compost'. Yes, yes, I know it sounds bleedingly obvious, but with Strata Councils, you can just never tell.

The second, and really more important one concerned someone I worked with at Mayhem. Having had the sword of Damocles hanging over his head for quite a few months now, he has been vindicated. Bloody good thing too. I won't give details, but it was pleasing news.

Further to pinkness, I loved this interchange between Ugly Betty and Amanda,
'Shut up Amanda, this is SERIOUS,'
'Oh my god, what is it?' (looks at Claire Meade), 'is pink back? Is that it, is pink back, no, don't tell me, I can't...just don't....'

Wednesday, 25 February 2009


By the time I left work, mid-afternoon, the rain had turned to sleet. I had another shift to do, an event in the Mall, 'Science Jam'. We set up. Strangers approach me when I'm a moving target in Superstore, in the Mall I'm a sitting duck. And I'm wearing a pink top because it's 'wear pink for anti-bullying' day. I'm a pink sitting duck.
I perform my social service and try to do it with good grace because it's Ash Wednesday.
I've pre-warned the organiser we're packing up at 18.30 because it's Ash Wednesday.

We get outside to the car park and the sleet has turned to frozen snow. We're being pelted with little balls of frozen snow. I think about Kevin cycling home in it.
I haven't eaten since lunchtime.

I get to church and wait a few moments in the car. Then I brave the snow in my thin, pink jumper and still damp jacket, and go inside.

We have ashes put on our foreheads.

I'm hungry and it's been a long day, and it's snowing outside, and as I approach the altar, I can smell the blood of Christ. It smells so inviting, comforting, I have a moment of want, and then just that one, single sip of the shared wine, sends warmth through my veins to every part of my body.

It was a sublime moment, even if just a touche sensuous.
I love that.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Pancake-less Day

I always worry, when parking on the street, that something will happen to my car, and indeed, last night I do seem to have acquired rather a nasty and inexplicable scratch. Unless it happened in the church car park on Sunday. It has pissed me off no end, either way.

And I'm blaming this Comet Lulin that Sleepy told me about. Apparently it's still coming at us and will be visible in the southern skies tonight. Not here though, since it's overcast and raining. Higher levels are expecting sleet later.

I'm also blaming the comet for me feeling too tired and grouchy to make any pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. Hopefully it's not a compulsory part of the deal, although I do feel deprived. One of the pancake houses were having some kind of deal on pancakes today, but they only sell those thick ones, which just don't do it for me.

I was gobsmacked and yet cheered, since this is something that occupies my mind a lot lately - for reasons I may discuss at some point, but which has nothing to do with my own personal life (just in case Kevin is reading this and worries I may have gone off him) - that in China, attitudes towards the LGBT community are finally changing. I was equally gobsmacked to read that homosexuality was illegal until 1997 and regarded as a mental illness until 2001.
That must have been odd.
Imagine you have an actual mental illness, say, having a psychosis and then suddenly, you wake up one morning and see on the news that your psychosis is no longer classified as a mental illness. Where does that leave you? Probably more psychotic than ever.
I don't imagine that any gay or lesbian people in China actually believed they were mentally ill, so the joke's on the other people....what's the technical term I'm looking for...oh yes, bigots.

But in China, I can see there being a bit of an imbalance. For example, it would be rather convenient really, if some huge percentage of the male population suddenly realised they were gay, or that area just outside of gay where you could go either way, or that bit just along the line from that, where you're not really gay, but then you happen to fall in love with someone of the same sex.
Happiness all round! Instead of there being abso-freaking-lutely no chance of your finding anyone to spend your life or have sex with, you are snuggling up with the man of your dreams.

On t'other hand, not so good for women who desire a same sex relationship, because that takes even more ladies out of an already sparse potential breeding pool.
Oh well, maybe not such a bad thing after all, I believe the Chinese government are still rather concerned about the size of the population.

And moving along.

I, like Sleepy, still snigger at some of the amusing uses of the word 'beaver' heard here.
But I was chuckling like an adolescent this afternoon, because a bloke at work came in and complained about how his company had issued the men new helmets and his was uncomfortable. He needed some felt to make his helmet feel better. Someone said we had some fun fur in the storage room, but he thought that would make his helmet too warm.
I dunno.
Maybe the humour doesn't translate, or maybe I'm just much too old to still find this funny.
But I bloody did.

Sunday, 22 February 2009


There really must be something going on with the planets today.
I witnessed a bit of subversion elsewhere today, but that's not for here.

In a 'suburb of Vancouver' there was a rally, a protest against gang violence. Yes, it's been bad of late, but a protest? The gang members will, I'm sure now stop doing what they're doing. Or...maybe the police will now try to stop it, like they never thought of that before.

We watched the film 'Paschendaele' this wet, Sunday afternoon. It was interesting, a good, Canadian film marking a Canadian campaign and victory, but there was a very cheesy scene where Paul Gross goes out through the mud of the trenches (Calgary) to recover his friend who has been blown out of a trench in such a way that he appears to have been crucified.
The Germans recognise the symbolism and stop firing while Gross carries the cross on his back, weighed down by injury and by the cross itself. He stops and looks at the camera in the way that the stations of the cross are always depicted. Cheesy and yet so powerful.
I cried.

I am, not unexpectedly, disappointed that yet again, a female politician has been passed over in favour of a male one. In the Israeli elections, Tzipi Livni won one more seat than Ben Netanyahu and yet it is he who has been called upon to form a government because.....he has the support of the right wing and religious parties. So yeah, let's not have change, let's not have a woman who has already shown herself to be a firebrand on the international stage. They're still talking. And I'm still watching.

Anyone notice that Obambi's a left-hander?
Just saying is all.

Saturday, 21 February 2009


Planting has begun. Technically, we have no garden, but we have balconies. On one I have flowers, on another I have - not much really, and the one at the back has the barbecue on it and thus will also have veggies. This is much how I was able to garden at the old house, except that I had a vanity window at the front of the house, with a big ledge, that was not much use for anything but growing on seedlings. Thus there was a rather inelegant time of year, but productive.

Last year the pots at the Schloss weren't very fruitful, partly because we moved just when the seedlings were just that, and partly because we had a very late snowfall.

This evening we finally managed to see 'Slumdog Millionaire' - hotly tipped for an Oscar. My opinion was that - meh - it was moderately engaging. I'm sure it will win something though. I think the excitement about it is because the west is currently obsessed with India and Africa, we all want to be poverty-tourists, see the destitution of others and feel real feelings and shed real tears to atone for our plenty. Gandhi-ji is a saint and the British Empire was morally corrupt. But also the British Empire leaving India was morally corrupt.

The truth is both that Britain had to leave India in 1947 because she had been bankrupted by fighting Europe's war. The Canadians and Australians may have joined in unreservedly to safeguard democracy and freedom, but the US exacted a high financial cost which was only finally paid off a few years ago.
And she was also supporting the colonies that, unlike Canada and Australia, were not self-supporting.
And the other part of that truth is that it was an old love-affair between Britain and India. They cherished and valued each other. It was a harsh parting, but one that was being demanded by Gandhi and his supporters, and there was nothing left in the coffers to carry on.

Personally, I enjoyed hearing the English language spoken properly. Oh, and a small boy covered in poo.

It is my custom when watching a film, to be courteous enough to watch the credits to the end. Increasingly my good manners are rewarded, and at the end of this film - no exception. The beginning of the credits were the best part - the entire cast doing a Bollywood-style set at a railway station. In fact, apart from the scumbuckets next to me, who had made foul smells and munched popcorn all through the film, the entire audience were riveted to their seats.
That's the ticket.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Doc Com

I was asked to write a reference yesterday, so today, after programming, I applied myself to finishing the task and submitting it electronically. Only to do so, you had to sign it electronically.
Now at Mayhem, at some point, the secretaries got us all to sign a piece of paper and then scanned them. On this website however, you had to sign a special box, using the mouse.
Ever tried writing in Paint? Yeah, well it was like that. It's difficult enough when Old Navy or Home Depot have those little electronic slate things you have to sign with a stylus, but this was a hundred times more awkward. Fortunately, it allowed you to try it as often as you wanted, so when I reached the point where my signature looked merely imbecilic as opposed to being produced by an illiterate rodent, I decided to save.
The result looked far from worthy however. I went back to the top of the page where I'd typed my name and added my letters. Then I went back and added the things in brackets that go with the letters. Then I clicked my heels, turned around three times and pressed send. If my friend doesn't become a doctor it'll be because of my poor mouse skills, and I'll have to live with that.

Doctors. William Beveridge's vision and Nye Bevan's determination to give post-war Britain a National Health Service, almost came to naught because of them. Ironic what?
The right-wing BMA, the professional body of the hospital doctors that Bevan so needed to actually work for the NHS, held out until Bevan, the ultra socialist Bevan, had to give up his ideal of a fully nationalised Health Service, with no private fees allowed, in order to give the majority of the country, particularly women, children and the elderly, free health care. He had to allow consultants to keep their outside consultancies, he had to allow GPs to be paid based on the number of patients in their practices rather than a flat salary, in short, Bevan said he had had to 'stuff their mouths with gold'. But the NHS was worth the sacrifice.

Obambi has been and gone. He even got to talk to the sensible one of our politicians, Michael Ignatieff, but I doubt there was time to pass on Canadian wisdom about Healthcare.
But he was given a pastry. If he didn't learn anything about Health Reform, at least he may have realised that a pastry is just that, and that a cake is NOT a pastry.
Baby steps.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Dal and the Art of Shopping

One thing that always bothered me about the starship Enterprise was how they managed without TV. But now, I kind of get it. Suddenly, there is too much. Overload. And there is SO much that it's difficult to plough through it and find what is worth watching and what is sucking up your time like a vampire sucks the lifeblood from you - only without the sexual aspect.
I'm sorry the L-Word's ending though. They have explored some really interesting angles. The current storyline with Max is very thought-provoking. I'll miss les girls, just not Jenny.

The turf war continues unabated. This morning, the talk on the radio is about 'Propmasters' who are licensed to bring guns into Canada. Apparently, film prop guns have to be real ones, which the propmasters then modify so that they shoot blanks, and somehow the crims get hold of them and modify them back again.
Hey ho.

What IS it? Why, just because I have two large bags of lentils in my shopping trolley, but I've got them from the Indian food section, so they say 'Dal' and a large packet of turmeric, do people think it's reasonable to address me, a complete, but rather blonde and fair-skinned stranger, in some Indian sub-continent language? How does that work ? Eventually my shrugging elicited some complaint in English or English-ish, about the price of 2% milk. This I get. I am quite used to people in Superstore coming up and asking me things, ridiculous things, reasonable things, outlandish things and just...things.

Canada awaits the arrival of Obambi. He'll be in Ottawa tomorrow. Apparently we're excited about this. Apparently we love him more than we love Stephen Harper. Meh. Neither of them's Hillary.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009


I do love me some hummus, and I love the one I make at home even more than any I can buy. This may seem obvious to most, but my cookery skills fall somewhere below my skills at speaking Russian, and the ONLY thing I can say in Russian is, 'I do not speak Russian.' Which...COULD come in handy some day, especially if I'm about to be involved in some freak taser incident involving the Russian police.

But, much as I enjoyed the film 'Don't Mess with the Zohan', and I really did enjoy it until my sides ached, Adam Sandler has slightly tainted my enjoyment of hummus. When I eat it now, I can't help thinking about Zohan brushing his teeth with it and putting under his pits.

So today, my new Dragons programme had its first outing. And I have to say, it was enthusiastically received. The teacher loved the interactive poem based activity, then the dragon hunt on the trails, the kids loved the large coroplast dragons we put out, and a good time, it seemed, was had by all. Except that we overran slightly, and then the other group got lost.
Not lost exactly, just missed the turning and went off on another trail. I call that lost, but whatevs.

Yesterday, after the 'Love the Planet' programme, a kid asked me if I were really Mother Nature.
'No, just Janis,' I said.

So, Obambi's protectionism is already beginning to bite. It seems that tightening of cross border security has meant a scarcity for the Heroin trade and this has driven the price up. There is some huge gang war going on. Every morning on the news there is a new shooting. Yesterday a young woman was shot dead whilst driving her car with her four-year-old kid in the back. A targeted shooting apparently. That's the code.
The mean streets of East Van and Surrey are not safe to drive if you are a drug runner.
The mean streets of Richmond aren't safe to drive because of the drivers, but that's another story, and one which I've whinged about a lot.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Ganja Queen

Ah, sweet mystery of life. Although far too early for Spring, today was quite springlike. Sunny, but cold, birdsong and shoots from bulbs coming through the soil.

Our viewing last night included the documentary film, 'Ganga Queen'. This is about the trial, conviction and sentencing of Schapelle Corby, a young woman who was the victim of a terrible injustice in Bali, and who now rots in a Balinese gaol for a crime there is not the slightest possibility she committed.

Schapelle was accused of smuggling a HUGE amount of top of the range Marijuana into Bali, this was found in the unlocked case of her Boogie Board. The sentence for smuggling dope into Bali is normally death, and before she had even been tried, there were scumbag locals protesting with placards that she should be executed.

The day she was arrested, a ring of baggage handlers were apprehended for involvement in a drug smuggling operation between Sydney and Brisbane, the exact route Schapelle had taken on her way to Bali.
The then Prime Minister took the unprecedented measure of writing an official letter to the Balinese Government, giving details of this.

A convicted criminal, with no motivation to do so, risked his own life, because he was still in prison, to report a conversation he had heard between two other inmates, detailing how the dope that Corby was found with, had been put in her bag by accident, it was supposed to be put in a different bag that was stopping at Brisbane. He testified at her trial.

I remember being horrified at the time, and now, having seen the film, there is a lot of actual footage of the arrest, the time before the trial and the trial itself, I am quite haunted by this. The film tried to show everything possible on both sides, they squirrelled out anyone they could who knew Corby and had ever been known to be involved with the weed, but they couldn't make any connection at all. Corby herself had never smoked it and her own blood tests were negative for it.

A university researcher who was an expert in profiling in this exact field, showed that she registered nowhere on the profile scale. She had none of the factors whatsoever.

We were able to see her real time reactions to everything and, as someone in the film said, 'She's either the most skilled actress ever, or she's innocent.' She was innocent, but she was found guilty, in the face of no evidence whatsoever and plenty to the contrary.
Even the evidence of the weed itself seemed to work more for her than against. Her bag was zipped, but not locked. She opened it unquestioningly when asked, but then saw the ten pound bag of marijuana and zipped it up again. Who would do that if they knew they were smuggling drugs?
The dope itself, was not DNA tested to show where it had come from, the bags were never fingerprinted and the weed was continually handled by various different people until it was destroyed, so it was also not available for either of her appeals.

It's haunting, because it's so random. You set out one morning to go on holiday with your family. You have never done anything illegal in your life, and you are going on holiday in any case, because your dad with cancer is living with you, and his treatment is about to be stepped up a notch.
You don't lock your luggage because - well why would you, and we're now told not to in any case.
Then as you arrive at your destination you become embroiled in some horrific nightmare that never ends. Kafka couldn't have written this real story better.
The more that surfaces that shows you couldn't have committed this crime, the more hopeful you become, and yet none of it has the slightest effect on those who are judging you.

Apart from anything else, it seems wildly ridiculous to lock someone up for 20 years, or execute them for smuggling marijuana.
But today, when I was doing anything normal, banal, that woman kept coming into my head, and I thought, 'you can't do these normal things, and it's just wrong.'

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Same Old

The main thing is - the countdown to the Olympics. A year to go. It's a bit like waiting for Christmas, only the wait has been six years and when it's over there will be one helluva communal hangover.

This could get so much more tedious before it gets better.

I was reading a post on my friend Raymond's blog about an incident where a bloke got on a bus and complained about 'Chinkos taking over'.
Meanwhile, Gail noticed that Tonka toys' pamphlet shows only boys in its illustration and assures us that there's a toy for every boy. I remember their TV advertising, it used to say, 'Real life toys for real live boys,' or some such old tosh. This bugs me too.

I don't concern myself so much with racism as with misogyny, I guess you could argue that I'm not really affected too much by the former, but I like to think that it's more because racism is pretty well covered. I would certainly challenge it, and do, if it ever comes within my radar.
But misogyny doesn't get challenged in the same way and by everyone.

And yet, everyone has women in their lives, and I mean a great many people have both men and women in their households, we live side-by-side, men and then the second sex.

This is reflected in the law of this country.
On the radio last week, I heard a man talking about how people can be prosecuted for inciting racial hatred or homophobia, as hate crimes, and well they should, but, and this was his point, misogyny did not qualify under the law as a hate crime.
So games, TV programmes and general anti-female behaviour cannot be challenged per se unless there is actual discrimination.

Today, my friend Anne sent me an article from one of the poorly written Canadian rags, about the gender pay gap. The article was suggesting that one reason this happens is that women choose to marry rich men.
Michelle Obama, it seems, was earning $274K as a hospital doctor - do I detect a raised eyebrow? And a further 50K by sitting on various corporate boards.
So you can see how this works. No? No, me neither. I would imagine that had she not been married to the future President of the United States, she may well have continued to earn a high salary.
In any case, she was already earning less than him, and pardon me for pointing out that this is because there are fewer women in politics and even fewer who make it to President.
None, in fact.
Women have no choice, no choice at all, precisely because of the gender pay gap.

Furthermore, as I mentioned not too long ago, men who support equality between the genders, are also financially disadvantaged over misogynistic men.
And so the beat goes on.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Riders on the Storm

A storm front split the sky this afternoon, behind it, grey and threatening, before it, blue and beckoning.
And then, three eagles, circling, riding the stormclouds.

In the pond, motionless, two frogs, at first it seemed like the first of the season, but then we realised they were motionless in a sort of a....dead kind of way. And in fact they were dead. One had no eyes. The ice had melted on that part of the pond and the bodies must have floated to the surface.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009


Flurries, we've had flurries. Tantalising speckles of snow blowing around sporadically. We woke up to a sprinkle like the icing sugar on a Victoria Sponge.

Yes, more snow news. May the beat go on.

Frank Spencer - remember him ? I can't say I ever enjoyed that show, but I think my mother must have done, because it was on in the house. 'Some Mothers do 'ave 'em.'
It's just that...I can't help thinking about him whenever I see Obama on TV. Of course, he'd have to get an old mac and a beret...but that's a look that could work for him.

Politics in Israel are usually interesting for reasons other than who's in charge, but not so this week. Has there ever been such a closely run election? And they could end up with, in fact the likely winner seems to be, Tzipi Livni, who has already stirred up much interest as foreign leader. In fact, dare I say it, Tzipi's position at the moment, is not dissimilar to that of Kanzlerin Merkel after the German elections.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Pink Planet

17.35 and still light out. Not light enough to type by, but I can still make out the mountains. The lights on the piste are twinkling. Why do they do that I wonder? Lights twinkling at you are very enticing, and I could have been up there today at a conference - free lunch and snow-shoeing, but I only found out about it Thursday and I had so been looking forward to my Saturday morning lie-in.

Yesterday evening's 'carnaval' was surprisingly enjoyable. The atmosphere was lively, the temperature was cold, the smell of hamburgers was tantalising, and unlike last year, I had quite a few people stop by, a number of whom spoke French to me. all made for a long day.
What a wimp I've become to whinge about one long day when no-one in particular either threw anything or shouted any abuse at me.

Does your list ever get done? I seem to always have something lingering at the end of mine. It's not always the most tedious job either, it might be something I have to remember to find a staqmp for, or bring up a hammer for, or some small detail that just stops me from completing, but there has to be a mental block involved somehow. If Kevin ever has something to do he just gets on with it, gets everything out that he needs to complete it and doesn't leave anything to just 'brew'.

Last night, my activity at the event involved some colouring in of the planet Earth. I had carefully..oh alright, semi-carefully, coloured my example blue and green. But all the boys seemed to want it to be blocked in dark blue or black or scribbled in brown, whilst the girls almost all favoured a pink planet. And that reminded me of how our thinking had changed, and it had to go through that stage in order to change.
Before, we would have tried to encourage the girls to use colours other than pink, now we stop ourselves and acknowledge that there's nothing wrong with pink or indeed anything 'girly'.

A Pink Planet. Imagine.
I do believe there's already a TV show called that, in fact I've seen it.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Slug Night

Not a great picture, but it was so far up in the trees. It spoke, well, it made its chattering, squeaky eagle noise, and I looked up and there it was.

I see that the moron Clarkson (whose name I couldn't remember until now, presumably because I had repressed it) has shot his stupid mouth off again, this time about the Prime Minister. Why don't they put that fuckwit down? (Clarkson of course, not the PM.)

I'm enjoying an evening of slug-like behaviour. Not, as you might think, chomping up forest debris and pooping it out as compost, but rather...well, doing nothing. Last night a meeting, tomorrow night, an event thing, tonight - slug-night.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009


No sign of Boris this morning, so throughout the day, I careful emptied my boots when changing from shoes, felt inside the puppets, checked everywhere warm. We decided he must have got outside and thus, perished. Alas poor Boris, we knew him .... meh, how well can you know a snake?

The whole Boris fiasco did however provoke a philosophical discussion at work, whether 'tis better to die or to be incarcerated. My view was that Boris was probably better off gently succumbing to hypothermia than spending another 15 or so years in a glass tank, but I was alone in that thought.

This morning, I noticed an old news article from last year in a local paper. It was about the LGBT community in Richmond - not very obvious as communities go, I must say, but in this article I noticed they had tagged on another bunch of people. I mean personally, I would have thought that Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Transgender, pretty much covered everything, but apparently not the 'Two-Spirited'. Hmmm....well, it turned out that the Two-Spirited are the Gay and Lesbian Aboriginal community. I do have tremendous respect for them coming out. We have so many ethnic communities here who still refuse to believe they have any non-hets. And one of the perfectly acceptable het activities for some of these is wife-beating.
One of these gay-free communities in Richmond is the Chinese one, of whom thousands apparently protested same-sex marriage, including both the Conservative and Liberal candidates.
The Liberal, and former MP, Raymond Chan, also protested Human Rights Violations in China. Isn't there something wrong with that? Liberal, protests human rights violations in another country but is OK with them here. Just saying.

Meanwhile, I noticed on the BBC website, that Papal Infallibility is not what it once was. Adolphe Benedict the 13th has had to accept that it was a bit of a bungle to un-excommunicate one of its Bishops who denies the Holocaust - which in my view should be perfectly sufficient grounds for being certified insane.
Angela Merkel was gobsmacked,

"This is not just a matter, in my opinion, for the Christian, Catholic and Jewish communities in Germany but the Pope and the Vatican should clarify unambiguously that there can be no denial," she said.

Just before home time, Boris fetched up outside the toilet. He seemed dazed and confused, but none the worse for his Big Adventure.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Snakes - but not on a Plane.

Bloody Aquarius. Can't trust it, fecking air sign. Not that I like to wish life away, but roll on Pisces.

We lost a snake today. It escaped and we couldn't catch it. As I left we hadn't recovered it, so could be interesting in the morning, but most likely, that snake will die. The native ones are hibernating right now.

Britain is snowed in it seems. Mayhem was closed yesterday, yep, actually closed. I never had that experience the whole time I was there. Austen sent me an audio file of the kids telling me about their snow, I must check that feature out on my laptop.

Our neighbour, the one who blocked up the firelane and parked in front of our garage with two cars and then babbled at me in Chinese, has complained about our compost bin. He says that it's 'an illegal shed'. He didn't do it in any acceptable way, just pinned a notice by the mailboxes.

Why has Steve Martin been allowed to make another Pink Panther film? I mean, Steve Martin - lot of people like him, Pink Panther movies - fabbo when Peter Sellers did them, but put the two together and somehow - it just does not work.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Simple Heroism

Crikey me, what ever is occurring? I haven't blogged since Thursday.
Oh well.
Britain is getting the snow she so richly deserves, would have been nice to be there for that, even Pompey has had a few flakes I gather. The grandkids have been able to taste snowflakes and have been unduly influenced by me in other ways. Not radical acts of feminism as you were probably thinking, but Teddy is now picking up things with his toes and they describe food as 'yummers'.

My current reading material is filling a few gaps in my education - the real education from school days. In history, we learnt about everything up until the Cold War, except that I'm now finding we didn't learn too much detail. Well, I s'pose that's fair enough, there's an incredible amount of British History and a startling number of sea battles.

Andrew Marr's book 'A History of Modern Britain', explains a few things to me, things which perhaps should have been glaringly obvious, and yet weren't. The Second World War pretty much bankrupted Britain. I think we just take for granted the extraordinary war effort from our parents' and grandparents' generations. We know how resources were scarce and everything was thrown in to stopping Nazi German from taking over Europe.

At the same time, Britain was still responsible for and administering various parts of the Empire, and this too was a tremendous drain. But the shortages didn't stop as soon as the war was over, in fact it got worse.
In 1947 even bread was rationed - something that apparently had not happened even during the war - and you could only turn your heaters on at certain times of the day. Severe weather came in from Siberia (as it is doing right now), bringing exceptionally low temperatures and deep snow. The country almost came to a standstill. The mines could not be worked, nor coal moved, workers could not get to London, Scotland was totally cut off from the rest of Britain and even television, admittedly in its infancy and not available to all anyway, was suspended.

Having lived through not only the war, but this sort of deprivation, it was no wonder that our parents would not tolerate pickiness over food and that habits of thrift, recycling and conservation never really died within the country.

We were brought up on stories of heroism, but what it would take many more years to understand was that heroism did not mean just the achievements of Florence Nightingale and Biggles, but of every woman, man and child who lived honourably through those years.

Makes me proud. Proud to have come from such an extraordinary nation.
And it makes me ashamed. Ashamed that I never realised quite how extraordinary those people, the ordinary people, my parents and relatives and my friends' parents and relatives were.