Monthly Archives: June 2016

Love thy neighbour

loveThe most disturbing event that has seemingly happened in the wake of last week’s referendum result is not the state of the stock market (which after an initial panic has now recovered and more), nor is it the pound’s exchange rate (which might be low, but it’s been worse), no it seems that the ugly face of racism and intolerance has resurfaced.

It’s not just the obvious type of racism either. There has been vitriol thrown by friends to other friends simply because of where they were born, or who they worship. There has been vile abuse thrown in the direction of people, simply because they voted a different way to their friends.  There has also been a whole torrent of abuse hurled at the older generation of this country for doing nothing more than exercising the same democratic right as everyone else!

And frankly, that makes me ashamed to be human!

As human beings we are all individuals. Everyone is a unique person with their own way of life, goals, dreams and ambitions.

No one, whatever (or however) they feel, has the right to pass judgment on another human being because of the colour of their skin, their nationality or because they have differing opinions to you. Those are precisely the qualities that make us unique individuals.

I was in church on the Sunday before the referendum (just after the murder of Jo Cox and the shootings in Orlando) and the sermon was related to one of the readings that day from Galatians:

But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Jesus Christ.”

The preacher went on to quote Zoughbi Zoughbi, the founder and director of the Palestinian Conflict Resolution Centre, who said simply that:

“God is not racist”

[Note, God can also refer to any other holy, religious ethereal being]

So if God can see past colour, creed, nationality, etc., why can’t we?

In the Bible there are at least 30 quotes about loving thy neighbour. It is also, I believe, a theme that runs through Islam, as well as many other religions.

The world is crazy enough at the moment without adding fuel to the fire, so why can’t everyone love their neighbours. After all, as it says in Leviticus “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

So, as Martin Luther King put it – stick with love.

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Love is … like dancing

danceThere’s passion, there’s feeling and there’s rhythm!

Sometimes you get asked to dance a social foxtrot – it’s friendly and fun, but boy it gets tedious after a while – the rhythm and the steps never change and there’s no passion.

Sometimes you join in to a samba beat – plenty of rhythm, plenty of passion but it’s over before you really get a chance to enjoy it.

Occasionally you get to join the hip-hop/street crew and that’s totally disjointed, difficult to understand and painful!

Ballet is beautiful, lyrical, passionate and totally mesmerising, but it can be wooden, fake and very painful.

Of all the dances my favourite is the rumba – it takes it time to warm up but there’s passion a-plenty, rhythm, feeling, tenderness and sensuality – I just hate it when that dance ends!!

But after each dance we always learn what we do and don’t like in order to become better dancers the next time we get asked 😉

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So long and thanks for all the fish …

… or a final word on (shh!) BREXIT.

Note – this is an unbiased post not wavering one way or t’other just commenting on what I have seen today]

The United Kingdom has come out!

Who’d have thought that would be the outcome (or indeed the headline of the day)?

It was a vote into the unknown, with no cold hard facts or figures, like I said in my previous post. And to be honest, anything could happen – there are 2 possible outcomes now that a decision has been reached.

  1. It’ll all go belly up and we’ll still be in a dire mess – albeit with no one to blame but ourselves;
  2. Everything in the garden will come up roses

It was really too close to call, but we live in a democracy where majority rules, so we must abide by the decision.

It appears that anyone who voted “Leave” was clearly too stupid, totally ignorant and should never have been in charge of a voting card in the first place and that those who voted “Remain” are trying to get a 2nd referendum because they didn’t like the outcome of the 1st one!

So here was the map, courtesy of the BBC, of the results:

brexit map

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It really was, as you can see almost 50/50, but Leave snatched it with 51.9% of the vote to 48.1% – but anything over 50% is a majority (at least it was when I went to school).

And if all those blue regions that voted leave are far too stupid, doesn’t that say something more about the standard of education in country? (just asking)

There have been jokes aplenty about how I used to have a pound in my pocket now I’ve only got 89p, or now I can’t go into Poundland.

But actually is that really true.

Fact 1: We never joined the Euro, therefore you had a pound in your pocket to start with

Fact 2: Your pound is still worth a pound

Fact 3: It’s only if you change currency that the exchange rate is a tad unhappy at the moment. And right now 1Euro is 81p, or £1 will get you 1.23 Euros (it’s been worse).

As for  2nd referendum that’s being demanded by the Remain camp, could I just ask (being devil’s advocate) what would the reaction be if the tables were reversed and Remain won by the same margin and Leave decided to protest and demand a 2nd referendum – would there be an outcry of “you lost, get over it?” (again, just asking).

Now this petition calling for a 2nd referendum says “We the undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the remain or leave vote is less than 60% based on a turnout less than 75% there should be another referendum”

One thing, shouldn’t this petition have been started before the result, not after, as it now seems to smack of sore losership?

If we’re going on turnout according to the BBC website, the turnout was actually lowest in areas with more young people!

But, if we take that request based on less than 75% turnout count for a moment, that kind of negates every single general election result back to 1979 where 76% of the voting electorate turned out and Margaret Thatcher won a landslide victory (figures not plucked out of thin air but from ukpolitical.info website).

So, if we go on that argument then Mrs Thatcher is still effectively Prime Minister and we’ll all wake up tomorrow morning back in 1979. Is everyone OK with that?

No?

Didn’t think so.

Furthermore, based on this 75% turnout, then London should have its Mayor removed forthwith since the turnout for London Mayor elections since 2000 has been constantly less than 45% (OK 2008 was 45.33%)

So with that basis the Remain camp have achieved time travel back 27 years, just in time to reach record unemployment of 3 million, a miners strike and flares. On the plus side at least houses were cheaper in 1979 😉

 

Leaving flippancy, sarcasm and everything aside, the vote is done, the die is cast we cannot change what is done. So we just have to make the best of it.

Like anything in life it is a risk, se we just have to think of it as a new beginning, the first step into the unknown has been taken, we just have to hope the staircase is there.

 

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Friday Poem – Arithmetic

A slightly weird, but geeky poem about Maths by the American poet, writer and editor Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) – and as a maths geek, what can I say I love it

Arithmetic

Arithmetic is where numbers fly like pigeons in and out of your
head.
Arithmetic tells you how many you lose or win if you know how
many you had before you lost or won.
Arithmetic is seven eleven all good children go to heaven — or five
six bundle of sticks.
Arithmetic is numbers you squeeze from your head to your hand
to your pencil to your paper till you get the answer.
Arithmetic is where the answer is right and everything is nice and
you can look out of the window and see the blue sky — or the
answer is wrong and you have to start all over and try again
and see how it comes out this time.
If you take a number and double it and double it again and then
double it a few more times, the number gets bigger and bigger
and goes higher and higher and only arithmetic can tell you
what the number is when you decide to quit doubling.
Arithmetic is where you have to multiply — and you carry the
multiplication table in your head and hope you won’t lose it.
If you have two animal crackers, one good and one bad, and you
eat one and a striped zebra with streaks all over him eats the
other, how many animal crackers will you have if somebody
offers you five six seven and you say No no no and you say
Nay nay nay and you say Nix nix nix?
If you ask your mother for one fried egg for breakfast and she
gives you two fried eggs and you eat both of them, who is
better in arithmetic, you or your mother?

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I’m just a girl …

… sitting at the top of the tree, waiting patiently for a boy who won’t give up climbing.

Of the 2 who I thought had reached the top (aka Mr Wrong #1 & #2) well #1 did, but then decided the view wasn’t for him and #2 didn’t bother, he just threw me a lifeline as if he was doing me a favour and like a fool I climbed down. I learned my lesson the hard way.

So, now I just sit waiting.

And you know what, it’s a beautiful view up here. It’s peaceful, beautiful, warm and I can see forever 😉

And one day the right boy will reach the top, even if I have to wait until my next lifetime.

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Should I Stay or Should I Go?

BrexitSo says the song by The Clash (1982)

And it seems quite prophetic that an English punk band’s song about relationships nearly a quarter of a century ago succinctly sums up the feelings about tomorrow’s referendum in the UK.

Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go there will be trouble
And if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know
Should I stay or should I go?

Tomorrow is a historic day. A once in a lifetime opportunity to have your say on the future of the United Kingdom.

So, what do you do?

The first and most important thing is to use your vote. If you don’t use it due to general apathy, the weather, protest, etc. your voice will not be heard and you really do not have the right to complain if the vote doesn’t go whichever way you would wish it to go!

There has been a lot of scaremongering, a lot of postulating and an awful of hot air and heated debates. But, the one thing that has, and is, been glaringly and obviously missing from this campaign, on both sides, is the absence of cold hard and concrete facts, backed up with evidence. (And as a maths geek I kinda like those things.)

There are, however, 3 facts that I know will be true when I wake up on June 24th, irrespective of which way the vote actually goes:

  1. The sun will rise in the east and set in the west;
  2. The earth will still be spinning on its axis;
  3. I will still be able to get on a plane and fly to Europe!

What the vote is, in effect, is a vote for an unknown and uncertain future.

And when you put it like that, it sounds pretty scary, right?

My dad came up with a great analogy to explain this conundrum.

In simple terms, imagine you are working for a company that is in serious trouble – think about the recent closures of BHS/Austin Reed/Tata (I would like to point out that neither him or I are comparing the state of the EU to an almost bankrupt company).

Anyway, I digress, so you are working for a company that you know is in serious trouble. What do you do?

You have 2 choices – you stay or you go.

But with both of those choices are 2 possible outcomes, and you have no clue as to what will be the outcome.

IF I STAY IN MY JOB

  1. The company will go broke and I will lose my job 😦
  2. The company will turn itself around, start making money again and my job will be safe 🙂

IF I LEAVE MY JOB

  1. I will get a new job but I won’t like the company and/or my colleagues, so I will have to look for another job 😦
  2. I will love my new job and all will be well 🙂

In other words – to put it mathematically:

tree diagram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see whatever choice you make you have a 1 in 2 chance of losing (or keeping) your job, whichever way you vote.

But tomorrow you must make that same choice!

And that’s the thing with this referendum, no one knows for certain what will happen whatever way the vote goes.

IF WE STAY successive governments can argue and negotiate to keep from adopting the Euro, Schengen and other such unified policies and win their case, OR we will be forced by the majority rule (such is the case in a democracy) and be forced into becoming a state in a United States of Europe ruled from Brussels – like it or no.

IF WE GO business may (or may not) leave these shores costing jobs, livelihoods and bringing about economic chaos OR businesses will stay and we take back our seat at the World Trade Organisation and negotiate more trade agreements on our terms (rather than having to have the agreements of 27 other countries before we can) and business and the economy booms.

But no one knows what will happen.

No one can predict the future (believe me I’d be very rich if I could!) Just like no one can predict the actual outcome from rolling a dice, or spinning the roulette wheel, you can just calculate the odds. Such is the Law of Probability.

We are lucky to live in a democracy where we have freedom of thought, freedom of speech and have been given the opportunity to make such a decision.

In the end it doesn’t matter what political party you support or what your friends and family think. You vote in accordance to what you feel is right as an independent, free-thinking human being – after all a vote, as they say, is between your conscience and the ballot box, it’s no one else’s business and certainly not worth fighting over.

All you can do is go with your gut instinct, remembering that according to the Law of Probability you have a 50/50 chance of changing history for better or for worse.

But you gotta roll the dice!

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A-Z of Life – Gratitude

gratitudeGratitude – the quality of being thankful or to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

Sometimes in this world the ability to be grateful seems to pass people by.

Rather than being grateful for what they have, they grumble about what they haven’t got.

And even more simple, they just plain forget manners and never say thank you when they receive something, be it someone holding the door open, giving them a present or something more significant like a job!

It’s not difficult to be grateful. I have found that if I start the day by being grateful for what I have then my day starts on an even more positive note and I am grateful for everything that comes into my life that day – good, bad or indifferent, there’s always a reason to be grateful for it.

Here are 10 things that I am always grateful for every day (my list is a lot longer, but I whittled it down to 10 generic things):

  1. I am grateful for my health
  2. I am grateful for my friends
  3. I am grateful for my family’s love and support
  4. I am grateful for the memories
  5. I am grateful for every opportunity thrown at me
  6. I am grateful for the lessons I have learned
  7. I am grateful for SC – he is a blessing in my life
  8. I am grateful for the happiness I find in life
  9. I am grateful for my gifts and talents
  10. I am grateful for today and the wonders that lie in wait for me.

So, what are you grateful for?

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Tea at The Ritz

ritz“Things to do in my 40s” Bucket List number 4 – BIG FAT DONE!!!

I thought it was high time I started ticking off some more on my bucket list, so I decided I would treat myself for afternoon tea at The Ritz.  And what better day to go than my birthday 😉

I was very purple. I decided on a lovely frock – blue grey with big purple flowers topped off with a purple shrug (which I had worn for SC’s christening), my purple handbag and a pair of flat ballerina pumps (I did take my heels, but in the end felt more comfortable in flats)

I dropped SC off at school and then hot-footed it up into the big smoke – I’d booked afternoon tea for 11.30, which I suppose technically makes it morning tea 😉 so I had plenty of time to get back for school pick-up.

I was there super early, but got to sit in the foyer soaking up the ambience. It was truly lovely.

Eventually 11:30 arrived and I was shown to my table (for 1) – handily wedged in a corner, so I could sit and watch the world go by whilst I supped tea and read my book (which you could say was my date).ritz1

Oh my gosh! The choice of tea is vast, at least 20 varieties. I was tempted by the Orange Pekoe, but seeing as I haven’t partaken in caffeinated tea for a while I didn’t want to run the risk of getting the caffeine shakes in the middle of one of the poshest hotels in London, so I stuck to my herbal and veered away from Chamomile to Lemon Verbena. It was refreshing on the old palate and made a lovely change.

And don’t you just love it when you get a proper china cup and saucer? Makes the tea taste better I find!

The tea turned up in a silver teapot, with an extra silver jug filled with hot water and a tea strainer – although with the Lemon Verbena there were not many tea leaves, so I couldn’t read my leaves at the end!!!

ritz2Then they brought a cake stand with a plate of sandwiches – the daintiest things. I would love to know how they do them. How come their bread doesn’t squish down when they cut it like mine does when I make SC his packed lunch in the mornings?? There was smoked salmon (scrummy), cucumber (of course), hummus (I got the veggie option), tomato and cheese. And the top of the stand had 5 lovely looking cakes.

So armed with tea, sandwiches, cake and a good book I settled down to enjoy the atmosphere. Then the man started playing the grand piano – a medley of old musical tunes – truly lovely, brought a tear to my eye.

I was so engrossed with my book and enjoying my tea that I scarcely noticed that an hour had gone by and the waiter came to replenish my teapot and offer scones.

To be honest, I didn’t eat everything. There was a lot. I was a very good girl and didn’t eat the cakes, but I couldn’t resist the teeny tiny scones – especially as they came hot from the oven with clotted cream and jam.

And I made sure I eked out every single second. As it’s so popular you get an hour and three-quarters and I was not going to leave until 1:15!!! So I made darn sure I made that last cup of tea last 😉

I had a lovely time, I’m glad I can tick it off my list and I would definitely go again. Maybe next time I’ll get to go with a real-live human being instead of a book – but heck, if not I’ll take another book 😉

 

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Friday Poem – A Poison Tree

poison treeThis is quite a poignant poem by the English poet William Blake (1757-1827), and to me seems to reflect the world we live in today.

The poem is like football, a poem of two halves – albeit the first half is only the first 2 lines.

In the first half the writer says that when he is angry with his friend he tells him and the anger is forgotten –  oh, how the power of communication works so well!!!

The rest of the poem deals with what happens when we are angry with someone we actually don’t like so well. We don’t say anything, we suppress the feeling and what happens? The feeling doesn’t go away, instead it grows and grows inside of us, fed by all that negative energy and hatred until it explodes as a mighty and destructive force.

I think the underlying theme behind the poem is that communication is always a good thing. Always keep the lines open!

A Poison Tree

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears,
Night and morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine.
And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

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Top 5 Lessons I’ve Learned in Life

You may be seated, class is about to begin 😉life

As I’ve meandered through this thing called life, this is what I have learned, so far:

5.  Don’t get on the negative horses – such as anger, bitterness, self-pity, self-doubt, etc. If someone or something has happened to you then yes, your first reaction may be something negative. But if you stay with that negative frame of mind then that is your choice, not the person, or thing, that hurt you. And then the only person you are hurting is yourself. This is a phrase I have only recently discovered and yes, at times it is very difficult to stay off those damn horses, especially if SC is faffing about when it comes to getting homework done (I swear pulling hen’s teeth would be easier!). But I am getting better at letting those negative horses stay grazing in the field, whilst I stay with the positive team 😉

4.  Treat everyone with kindness – yes, they may not treat you the same in return, but surely that says more about them than you. And by treating everyone with kindness, even if it is just a smile, or offering your seat to someone, then you could make a difference to that person’s day. So my act of kindness today is to send everyone a big smile. 🙂

3.  Keep Learning – learning doesn’t stop when you finish school. The more we learn, the more we grow as people. And we learn and grow from life experiences, and if we don’t then life will keep throwing the same stuff at you until you do learn it. It’s a bit like continuous assessment rather than actually ever having to sit down and take an exam. I think one of the toughest lessons I’ve learned is when it comes to relationships to just let it flow. When I first went out with Boomerang Boy we saw each other continuously for 3 weeks, then it was a case of adios senorita. When I next went out with someone and he dumped me I was accused of being too clingy. Then I went to the other extreme and got accused of being too cold and distant! (And yes, I did tut and think “MEN! ARGH!”) But now, if I ever got the chance I would take it slowly and let them do most of the chasing – after all isn’t that what men really want, it’s the whole hunter/gatherer thing – and if they say they’re busy I wouldn’t freak out, like I would have done way back when, I would give them their space and wait for them to come back from the man cave. And if they don’t, then clearly their chapter in my life is over, and I would give thanks for the memories and let go – after all “I’m not a stop along the way, I’m a destination!”

2. Grab life by the Balls (‘scuse my language!) – you’ve got to. You only get one life and as they say “it’s not a dress rehearsal darling!”. Why just exist, when you can live? You have to grab each and every opportunity and curve ball life throws at you. Embrace them, live them. They may be good or not so good. If they are good then your life will be enriched and if they are not so good then you learn and grow from them. There are 86,400 seconds in each day, and I have started pretending after reading it somewhere (think it was one of the quote things I found on Pinterest) that if we think of them as £86,400 that we have to spend each and every day, where no money gets rolled over, you have to spend it all, and wisely, why on earth would you waste a single second? After all, we never know when there won’t be a tomorrow!

1.  Be You, wholeheartedly  – as the saying goes “why fit in when you were born to stand out!” I remind SC of this fairly regularly, and explain that it has taken me most of my life to actually work it out. I am, at last, happy and contented in my own skin. I know who I am, what I am and, equally important what I am not. And I most certainly am not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. I have many faults but I take each one and try to improve them. I am quirky, some may even call me strange and weird, but does that bother me? Nope. Not any more. No one can be anything other than themselves really. We can try to fit into some kind of mould that society wants us to, but that doesn’t make us happy. It makes us miserable, as we try desperately to please everyone and make others like us for what we are not. We can only be truly happy by being true to ourselves. And the most important thing I have learned about being me, is that the only person I need ever aim to please is me.

So, there you go, they are my Top 5 lessons I have learned.

What have you learned on your journey through life?

 

 

 

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