19 August 2011

Passage to India

You might remember how excited I am about my chickens.  Every day they give me joy and eggs.

Now, I have decided to go on an adventure.  I know what you're thinking.  Chickens and an adventure in the same year?  Bit hasty?  Not a bit of it, I need to have these experiences while I can still breathe.

Changing the subject for a moment, I am detecting a positive change in my writing style that I ascribe to using Twitter.  Because it is limited to 140 characters, I have had to learn to edit out any redundant words,  Words like "just", "after all", "seems", "might", "very well", "have had to", "out", "any".

I am going to India in November.  On my own.

The last time I did anything like this I was fourteen or fifteen and I would regularly hitch hike up to Scotland and stay in Youth Hostels or anywhere else that would have me.  I lived on porridge oats and what I could scrounge from better equipped travellers in the hostel kitchen.  My successful technique was to sit mournfully at their table slowly stirring my thin gruel and sighing in the direction of their delicious supper.  I have a feeling that this will not work in India and I will need a better plan.

Because of my love of tea, I decided to go to Darjeerling.  Fly to Kolkata and take the little steam train known as the Toy Train that goes up the mountains and has documentaries made about it.  Sounds great.

My son has a very good friend whose family live in India and he told him about my intentions.  Immediately, he emailed me to invite me to Kerala and offered me his family home to stay in.  I replied that Darjeerling was my chosen destination, but thanks anyway.

I've been like this as long as I can remember.  I decide to do something, say eating an apple.  It is pointed out to me that the only available apple is bruised and maggot infested but that succulent juicy pears are available in abundance.  I eat the apple.  Why?

So I have caught myself in time, thrown away the apple, grabbed the juicy pear and am off to Kerala, the most beautiful place in the whole world.

10 August 2011

Manchester Riots

The definition of a riot involves the gathering of eleven or more people for the violent pursuit of an unlawful enterprise. The scenes in Manchester, London and elsewhere were certainly riots.

The BBC persistently described these rioters and looters as protestors. BBC television and radio filled their airtime by parading apologists who ascribed the riots to Government cuts, an uncaring society, the neglect of the poor, the MP's expenses scandal and the banker's bonuses.

When the riots were described as criminality, the BBC presenters were scornful and described this view as simplistic.

A BBC producer on Radio4 this afternoon was unapologetic when faced with the suggestion that television coverage had made matters worse. That the presence of the cameras had aggravated the situation and that the BBC had been instrumental in attracting more people to the incidents. She insisted that the BBC's purpose was to report and that it had no other responsibility. It might have been suggested that the worse the riots the better the BBC coverage looked but she was being interviewed on the BBC and the question wasn't asked.

These were not protestors, they were looters. They were not poor, they were bored. They killed people and destroyed livelihoods because they knew that, even if they were caught, nothing much could be done to them. One of them summed it up by saying that all he would get was an ASBO and he could live with that.

So, this is what all the appeasement politics and Human Rights legislation has brought us to. The inability to defend the rights of decent people against a lawless minority.

There were, however, three positive aspects that struck me:

First, the mobilisation of clean up squads. Young and old, sweeping up the debris in a spirit of community.

Secondly, the inspirational behaviour of our Asian communities. They epitomise decent, law abiding, family oriented society. Recognition that they provide a bedrock for Britain and not a threat is long overdue.

Thirdly, the way in which the looters are being condemned by every part of society. I get the impression that anyone offered cheap electronic equipment or designer clothes is now more likely to call the police than grab themselves a bargain. The old myth of victimless crimes, of robbing the rich, has been dramatically exposed.

I am sad about the BBC. It has been telling us its own version of the truth for a long time and now its agenda has been clearly exposed.

We can defend our cities against this threat. We can respect and empower our police force. We can foster a sense of community in our children. We can demonstrate by our own actions that quality of life and happiness are not a function of money and possessions.

Our children will not enjoy the resources and wealth that we have. It doesn't mean they can't lead much happier and rewarding lives.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

3 August 2011

Flying Sheds

It didn't work.

I promised a picture of the flying shed if people posted comments on the previous blog. There was even the interesting (or so I thought) tattoo related competition which only one person bothered to enter. Alison Bruce suggested, via Twitter, a broken lightbulb on the forehead so I declare her the official winner.

In the spirit of forgiveness, though, I have decided to show you all the flying shed anyway.

Oops, this isn't it. This is a photo of some people in front of their holiday cottage. Sorry.

Ah, that's better. The Flying Shed in all its magnificence.

I will explain the significance of it, how it got like that and what functions it serves.

But not today.

You aren't completely forgiven, apart from Alison, of course.

My newest novel, Due Diligence, has received rave reviews from beta readers, even Mick at the office enjoyed it.

I have appointed an editor, she is busily doing a line edit as I write, and I intend to submit the finished article before the end of August. It's a bit sudden and daunting, but if I don't get something out there soon I'll be too old to enjoy all that wealth and fame.

Next time, I'll update you on the exciting battle between the photovoltaics on my roof and my blog.