Sunday, 19 April 2015

Jeremy Clarkson's Insult to Cancer Patients

Two days before assaulting a BBC producer, Jeremy Clarkson was told by a doctor that he might have cancer and that
being given the warning was one of the most stressful experiences of his life.  He has attempted to explain his state of mind at the time of the attack by saying 

"Two days before the “fracas”, I had been told, sternly, by my doctor that the lump on my tongue was probably cancer and that I must get it checked out immediately. But I couldn’t do that. We were in the middle of a Top Gear series. And Top Gear always came first.’
Clarkson said he had now been given the all-clear, but wrote in his column in The Sunday Times: ‘That was the most stressful day I have ever had in 27 years at the BBC.
It was beyond-belief stressful, everything was gong wrong, and then you know... there you go. But everyone has stressful days, and they manage to cope better than I had."  The Sunday Times

Well, yes. We do all have stressful days and we all have different coping strategies - and sometimes we don't seem to be coping at all. But to physically attack someone and blame it on a ( fortunately for Clarkson, clear )  medical diagnosis ? 

No. That is not a reasonable excuse or reason. To me, that is a sign of a person who believes himself to be beyond reproach because of his "celebrity status" and obviously agressiveness is second nature to him when he doesn't get what he wants, immediately.

Am I more touchy than usual about this due to my daughter's illness ? Probably, though I make no apologies for that. I have not physically assaulted anyone and have no intention of doing so, no matter how difficult it is to watch your children suffer. Many in the media spotlight have had cancer and other illnesses that they have got through graciously and inspirationally.

Grow up Clarkson. The world does not revolve around the likes of you and your ego.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Easter, Eggs and Looking for a Broody Hen

Easter  is the oldest and most important Christian feast, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion, as described in the New Testament.
It is preceded by Lent, a forty-day period of fasting and penance.
Easter is a moveable feast and is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first spring full moon. In Western Christianity (including Catholic and Protestant traditions) which uses Gregorian calendar the date of Easter varies between 22 March and 25 April. Eastern Christianity uses the Julian Calendar and for this reason it celebrates Easter about two weeks later, varying between 4 April and 8 May on the Gregorian calendar.
So,if you can get your head around all that, or even if you can't, today where I am is Easter day.
As with most festivals, there are many traditions surrounding the celebration and many stories and legends around the word Easter, To some it is the celebration of Spring and of Eostre, a pagan Anglo Saxon goddess of sunrise and Spring. The direction of the sunrise is named after her.  In Norse mythology it's spelled Eostare and another Norse/Saxon or goddess is Ostara, believed to be the ancient word for Spring. 
Jews celebrate Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) the anniversary of the day they were delivered out of Egyptian bondage. It's position in the Jewish calendar also corresponds to the beginning of Spring. 
Germans who settled in Rome in the fifth century and founded the Frankish Church used the word alba, meaning white - the colour of the robes worn during the resurrection festival. Alba also meant sunrise and It's thought that when the name of the festival was translated into German, the sunrise meaning Ostern was selected.
Whatever the origins many celebrate the coming of Spring aspects, others the religious views and others just enjoy eating chocolate eggs. 
I won't be giving my grandchildren, or anyone else,  chocolate eggs though this year. I am giving real eggs from my chickens, to anyone who wants some. 

This is of course in the spirit of Easter, new life and new beginnings but it's a pity that none of my hens are feeling the urge  to be "broody", as I'd have had some real new life if they'd sit on the eggs long enough to hatch them.
(I am glossing over my first attempt at trying to hatch 7 eggs in a small incubator. 21 days of careful tending, turning, warming, humidifying and talking to these eggs produced nothing more than 7 soft boiled ones. I am blaming Cyril the cockerel, though he does his duty many, many times a day. Perhaps he has a fertility problem, but I won't embarrass him by mentioning it)
So, looks like omelette's on the menu again today in this house. I prefer it to cooked chicken these days anyway ...  ...
Whatever you are doing or eating, have a happy and peaceful Easter.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Thanks for the poetry ...

I wasn't exactly inundated with poetry after my request on World Poetry Day, but I am grateful for those who found the time.

Here - published as promised and donation to Cancer Research UK made.

Strictly Drip-stand

Dancing with a drip-stand, it ‘aint easy,
its tubes and wires threaten to impede
attempts at forward motion; Bloody-minded
it has five wheels so thinks that it should lead.

It helps a lot if you pick the right tune
for your vaguely ballroom progress to the loo,
something like a graceful waltz or foxtrot
(a Charleston, jive or quickstep just won’t do).

There’s just one more thing that you should remember,
to avoid an unexpected tango dip,
don’t forget to take the damn thing’s plug out
before you set off upon your trip!

Samantha Newbury

Bramingham Woods – May

The tide of Spring has broken in the woods
and now the blackthorn drips with foaming spray.
Wide pools of bluebells lap the beeches’ roots;

Legacy of the wave that’s ebbed away.
The whisper of the new leaves in the breeze
reminds me of the quiet surf at play

and verdant scents, that tantalise and tease,
entreat like tiny ripples on the shore;
The wistful ache within my heart is eased

by diving in to wander and explore,
the limpid blue-green depths that lie within
whose dancing leaves and sunlight can restore,

just as saltwater gently soothes the skin,
my weary soul that’s Winter-worn so thin.

Samantha Newbury

Whilst in my daily boring strife

from unknown darkness you arrive

Obscure, Heinous and Brute

You try to usurp my own  life's fruit.

Fadel Abou El Ola

From My Always Beautiful Daughter

I shall probably be in major bother when Jane finds that I have posted what she has written here.
But her thoughts and words are too powerful for my eyes only, so here it is :

How Can I Be Beautiful ?

How can I be beautiful with this "Thing" inside me ?!
How can I be beautiful with this frumpy, short, boy hair ?
How can I be beautiful with these needle marks, holes and bruises ?
How can I be beautiful with these tired tear stained cheeks ?
How can I be beautiful when crying and feeling so weak?
How can I be beautiful when I'm so vulnerable and needy ?
How can I be beautiful with these poisons and toxins inside me ??!!!!!!

I am beautiful! ................
I am beautiful to my young boy who says I'm gonna be a princess in my new hair
I am beautiful to my husband who every day treats me so tenderly like a precious gem that mustn't break
I am beautiful to my parents who would literally die if they could to stop me being in any pain 
I am beautiful to my siblings who tell me they love me, cry with me, want to help me be strong
I am beautiful to my friends and colleagues who have showered me in flowers and gifts and say it's so quiet without me
Beauty ... they say it's in the eye of the beholder ....well ..... I think I have enough beauty for ME!

Saturday, 21 March 2015

World Poetry Day : Send Me a Poem for Cancer Research UK - Pay With a Poem

Today, 21st March is World Poetry Day 

To mark World Poetry Day, over 1000 coffee shops around the world will use poetry as currency today.

Julius Merinl, a coffee roasting company is marking Unesco's World Poetry Day with a promotion in 1100 cafes, bars and restaurants across 23 countries. Most of these are in Europe but theres 5 around London and 1 near Winchester UK.

Watch video here :     World Poetry Day - Julius Merini    

As there aren't any participating places  near me, I will donate the cost of a cup of coffee for every poem that's sent to me to Cancer Research UK    and I will publish them on this blog. 

Either post as a comment on the blog, or email to

It's also the first day of Spring today, so that may inspire you, but any form and any theme is fine. Get writing and sending now ! 

Look forward to receiving your poetry.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Remembering Makes Us Forget

According to an article in the Telegraph, if you remember this post, the memory of another one will die off. 

Not just this post, of course, but all memories.

A study by researchers at University of Birmingham  and  the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge have shown that remembering  makes us forget as the process of recall actually causes us to lose other memories.

Doesn't seem a bad thing, does it, if we could actually choose which memory we wanted to ditch when the new one was formed, but I don't think it works quite like that. 
It's the 'intentional recall' apparently that leads us to forget other experiences which interfere with retrieval.  The research is published in the Nature Neuroscience. and is the first to isolate this 'adaptive forgetting mechanism' in the human brain. 

We often say "the more I try to remember, the more I forget" and this research more or less sums this up.
Brain imaging in the study shows that the forgetting mechanism itself is implemented by the "suppression of the unique cortical patterns that underlie competing memories."
(I've italicised that explanation in case anyone thought I was pretentious enough to use those words from my own mind)

Patterns of brain activity were monitored by MRI scans while participants were asked to recall individual memories based on those they had been shown earlier. Competing memories were less well reactivated as the trials went on.
The article goes on to suggest that most people are surprised to learn that the recalling of memories makes us suppress others and so forget them. 

A Nerve Cell

I'm not a scientist, but I find this perfectly logical and in my own case 
                               more like the only possibility of remembering anything at all.

Most days I find I have a job on to remember what I've walked into another room for, and I know that applies to many people. I couldn't possibly expect my poor memory to recall things without getting rid of some others. It's a bit like buying new clothes -  you have to have a clear out of the old stuff before adding the new otherwise your wardrobe becomes totally unmanageable and you can't distinguish between what's worth keeping and what's not.

Seems to me that this is exactly what our minds are doing and I'm glad that my mind does this automatically without me having to worry over which memory to discard. 
I shall have to have faith that the discarded memories weren't particularly important or rather that the new ones are. 

It shines a whole new light on who has a good or bad memory and makes me feel less concerned about what I thought was my bad one. It's not bad at all, it's just being efficient.