Archive | July 2021

Well there’s a coincidence.

This is going to sound like a fairy story but it isn’t I promise you.

Yesterday I had two phone calls I didn’t expect. The first was from a lady asking for Beryl Kingston the author who turned out to be a fairly new resident to Felpham and lived just round the corner from the Cottage and she wanted to know if she could find anybody who could tell her why it wasn’t being repaired. Apparently there are squirrels nesting in the thatch now and the gap between the chimney and the house was visibly wide. I told her that the place was owned by a group of three men and that none of them were contactable. They’d all gone to ground. And then she told me that she came from Guildford and I thought what a lovely coincidence that was and explained that Guildford was one of the settings for the book I’m currently writing. So we talked Guildford until the end of the call.

And that wasn’t the end of my day. I had another phone call out of the blue from the Chairman of the Felpham Village Conservation Society (FVCS), who told me that she’d been approached by someone in the U3A group in Horsham who wanted to arrange a walking tour of Felpham so that they could explore the place and she had thought of me because by this time – as I belong to their Facebook group and have answered lots of questions there about early Felpham – she knew a bit about me and discovered that I had led exploratory walks around Felpham, and might be the person to do it. I told her that now that I’m 90 I find it difficult to walk to the end of the road so a full scale tour of Felpham feels like climbing the Matterhorn, but she had already given the Horsham group my phone number so I said I would wait to see what they required.

I was rather pleased to think that I’d made friendly contact with the Chairman of the FVCS because up until now I’ve been persona non grata with that organisation and forbidden to go and give them a talk about what was happening to Blake’s Cottage. So a friendly phone call was definitely a step in the right direction. In our conversation she admitted that nobody knew what was happening to the Cottage and that she had no means of contacting any of the trustees.

But all this had set me thinking and my war horse was pawing the ground, so as my mind was too muddy to go on writing my novel, I put on my deerstalker and started to phone around to see what I could find out. Results!

The first person I contacted was the brother of Tim Heath the self-appointed Chairman of the Blake Cottage Trust (BCT), to see if I could find out where he was and how he could be contacted. No surprises to learn that he is still squatting in his mothers empty house which has gone through probate but has yet to be sold. But then his brother added that he didn’t know whether or not he’d given me Tim’s phone number and kindly added it, so I know where he can be contacted. Well, well, well. Naturally I cannot distribute the number on a blog, because I gather that can be too risky, but if there is anybody out there who wants to know what is happening to the Cottage and therefore wants to contact the Chairman of the BCT, you only have to contact me.

I also discovered that a fourth trustee has suddenly joined the group, so I checked him out as far as I could. His name is Jonathan David Mullard, he was appointed as a trustee on the 7th of June 2021 and the address he has given to the Charities Commission is St James Church, 197 Piccadilly, W1J 9LL, which is the same address as the one given by Tim Heath. Curiouser and curiouser! All of which has made me wonder why he was co-opted because there must’ve been a reason.

Now I must just go and see if I’ve got the energy to climb into the saddle of my war horse!

Watch this space.

This entry was posted on July 30, 2021. 4 Comments

Liar, liar, pants on fire! With a P.S.

I don’t think I can be the only one who spits feathers when she watches a politician wearing a ‘caring’ face and plainly telling lies on television. I can smell the singed trousers, even at that distance, and it makes me so angry. Yet they lie with impunity on and on and on, and they even do it in the House of Commons which is the one place, given that they are elected representatives of their constituency and answerable to their electors, that they really should tell the truth. All of which makes me wonder how and why they are allowed to get away with it. So my granddaughter and I did a bit of Googling and it turns out that it is all to do with what is considered ‘Unparliamentary language’. We even discovered a list of words that MPs are not allowed to use in the House of Commons.

Some of the words on the list are quite comical and have fallen out of use many years ago. We found: blackguard, guttersnipe, hooligan, pipsqueak, wart and stool pigeon, but not ‘cokehead’ or ‘sniffer’. I suppose they’re too modern. But to our horror, we discovered, halfway down the list, the word ‘liar’. And another note we found on Google, explains why it is still in use: “The most prohibited case,” it said “is any suggestion that another member is dishonourable, so, for example, suggesting that another member is lying is forbidden.” But they are dishonourable, manifestly dishonourable, and the lies they tell are extremely harmful. Surely it shouldn’t be beyond the wit of the speaker of the house to find a way to do something about it, maybe even remove the word ‘liar’ from the prohibited list.

As servants of a democracy – and they are all servants, although some of them seem to have forgotten that – MPs should be open, honest and truthful. It seems to me that if what they are saying is known to be a lie, then that lie should be revealed in the House and put under scrutiny until the truth is discovered. If you don’t check a liar, he goes on telling bigger and bigger lies because he knows he can get away with it. They use all sorts of tricks to cloak what they are doing, some turn on the charm, some play the fool, but the lies are potent and harmful, no matter what they do.

How about a change Mr Speaker that would allow our honest politicians the chance to challenge a lie on our behalf?

And here’s the change, which arrived yesterday in the person of Dawn Butler Labour MP, who stood up in the House and called Boris Johnson out for being the undoubted and dangerous liar that he is. A moment of great courage, given the complexion of our current House of Commons. She should have been cheered to the echo – as well over 27 million of us out here have been cheering ever since we heard the news. But no, another cowardy custard deputy Speaker removed her from the House and left the liar in situ. She, the deputy, couldn’t have got it more wrong.

This was a moment of terrible, necessary and revealing truth, it showed up Johnson’s endless lying and the Speaker and his deputy’s inadequacy, I think it has marked a turning point in a long, scandalous episode of Tory wrongdoing.

I certainly hope so. It’s high time we had a little honest democracy in the House of Commons.

Respec’ Dawn. We’re rooting for you.

This entry was posted on July 23, 2021. 3 Comments

I should be so old!

There was an interesting Tweet put up by Michael Rosen a few days ago in which he asked if there were any of us out there who had relations we were close to and fond of, who were born in the 19th Century. It gave me pause for thought because I was pretty certain that both my grandmothers, one of whom I was very close to and my suffragette aunt and a vague but very close relation whom I called Dardy, were all in that category.

So I checked as well as I could and discovered that my grandmother Parodi was born in 1872 and Vera Dawson who was my suffragette aunt was born in 1891. I couldn’t find Dardy but she was another one born around that time in a village called Westward Ho, which is in Devon and was sent into service when she was 12. Such very different times they lived in.

The faces of these two that I remember were smiling and loving but of course both these are posed, one at a wedding and the other in the family garden and don’t tell you the full story of what they were like.

All of which of course has led to this blog and the difference between our lives and theirs. When Grandma Parodi was born, William Gladstone was the Prime Minister and a member of the Liberal party which was quite a force in the land in those days. When Auntie Vera was born, the Prime Minister was Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, a high and important Tory. The Labour party wasn’t even a pipe dream in those days. That wasn’t founded until 1900 and was the dream of a man called Keir Hardie who was Scottish and a trade unionist and a strong and ardent supporter of the suffrage movement, a man who stood up for the poor and the oppressed and those who struggled for the vote, as few did in those times. He was one of my early heroes. And all that had happened before we’d even reached the start of the twentieth century.

Left to right – William Gladstone, Robert Gascoyne-Cecil and Keir Hardie

It all seems a very long time ago and rather rubs my face in the difficult fact that I am now 90. But I can still read a face or at least I kid myself that I can. You may not agree with my readings because we all see things in a different way with different eyes, but these three men pictured above speak to me with quite clear voices. What I pick up from Gladstone’s face is arrogance and power and responsibility, Robert Cecil looks rich and superior and responsible, but both these are posed portraits so we might not be seeing the men behind the pose. But my lovely Keir’s slightly anxious look conveys to me that he is a man who has actually has sympathy for other people.

And what sort of man is leading us now folks? God help us all. Go on, give him a label, I dare you!

This entry was posted on July 22, 2021. 1 Comment

Life is for living.

I found this letter in The Guardian this morning and was so impressed by it that I knew at once that I had to use it the basis of a blog. It was written by a lady called Margaret Spivey who says she ‘is 89 ( a mere year younger than I am ) lives alone, and doesn’t have dementia’ and it was inspired by a previous correspondence, and especially by a letter from a man called David Head.

‘Mr Head’s words about older people “no longer finding much pleasure in the things they used to enjoy” worried me.’ she writes, ‘We need to find new things to enjoy.’ and she goes on to write about her own experience. ”It has depressed me how many people were surprised that I watched Euro 2020. Why? I’ve discovered how to record early-morning gems such as operas from Sydney Harbour, and tomorrow I’m starting lessons on how to use my late husband’s iPad.

When I can no longer get out unaided, this is the kind of help I hope for: friends who’ll pick up bright new things for me to wear from the charity shops, make sure that when the rugby starts I have a bottle of San Mig and a bag of crisps every weekend, tell me about new books they’ve read (and lend them to me), and ask about my adventures (I’ve caught a fish from the African Queen and seen Mount Everest).

Mr Head’s final words sum it up well: don’t treat old people as wallpaper. We’ve learned a lot the hard way, and the most important lesson of all is that life is for living. I thank God for it every day.

My sentiments exactly Margaret. Strength to your 89 year old elbow!

This entry was posted on July 16, 2021. 5 Comments

The cat is now among the pigeons.

And Dixie wishes it to be known that the cat in question is entirely metaphorical and nothing to do with him. He has only caught two pigeons in the course of his life and plucking them put him to so much trouble that he doesn’t want to catch another one.

The cat in this situation is called ‘Hubris’ which is a condition known to the early Greeks who gave it its name, and is the condition that we are suffering under in this country now. It is excessive pride and/or self confidence in the great and there is hardly a man in the cabinet from the Prime Mendacitor downwards, who isn’t showing hideous signs of it. Two headlines on the front page of The Guardian this week show it very clearly.

On Tuesday the headline was:

Johnson sweeps away lockdown restrictions in Covid-19 Gamble.’

Or to put it another way “I am all powerful and I can do whatever I want, whenever I want.”

It was followed by an analysis of all the restrictions that he was going to lift, the first being the rule about ‘wearing masks and keeping within social distancing’. From the 19th of July he told us more or less every legal restriction will be lifted, ‘businesses will be opened and mask wearing and social distancing will be left to people’s personal responsibility’. It all sounds as though he’s offering us a big box of sweeties and I fear that there are many who will accept it in that way.

But please notice, the cunning creature has given himself a neat loophole to avoid taking any of the blame should anything go wrong, it will be our personal responsibility if anything goes wrong and our fault not his.

And the next day The Guardian’s headline made it quite clear that there would be consequences.

‘Fears 10 million may face summer isolation as Covid-19 cases surge.’

All day long I have been collecting quotations from Twitter, my email and Facebook, they come from people, who like The Guardian, do not swallow the Prime Mendacitor’s propaganda, can see through him and know exactly what he’s doing.

Edwin Hayward said “We sacrificed and socially distanced and masked and cancelled and stayed away and didn’t see friends and family and gave up on non-essential shopping and forewent events, films and concerts and trips, and so much more. Boris Johnson will bin all that effort instantly on the 19th of July.” You can’t put it clearer than that.

Alan Rodgers on Twitter was more succinct. He said “This is now a hostile government. We must protect ourselves from them.”

Eileen Wharton detailed what so many have been suffering, with her own harrowing story. “My fiancée is still in ICU with Covid pneumonia. He’s on a CPAP hood struggling to breathe. Please will @BorisJohnson explain to him why he allowed twenty thousand passengers who could have been infected with a virulent strain of Covid, to enter Britain.

Johnny Vegas, the comedian, understanding Johnson’s hidden agenda, wrote “A three hour wait on an ambulance because A&E had to close it’s doors, full to capacity. Why be angry at the incredible folk working under unbelievable stress? I remain grateful. My bitterness belongs to Boris Johnson and the Conservatives at your neglect of our NHS and your blatant drive privatise it.”

Professor S Reicher wrote “Millions of young people will be affected HOPEFULLY FEW WILL DIE, but many will suffer long Covid, which has cognitive effects. Seeking immunity through infection not vaccination is dangerous.”

So what’s with the cat and the pigeons, to go back to the beginning of all this. Hubris has it’s own built in defeat, the Greeks called it ‘nemesis’ and it came from feeling yourself so powerful and wonderful that you defied the Gods. In our day it comes from defying your equally powerful, equally self-confident colleagues.

The first to fall was baby faced Hancock. Somebody put a camera where he didn’t expect it and caught him ‘in flagranti’. The punishment was quick, these Gods don’t muck about, within days he had resigned, within hours Johnson was claiming that he’d fired him because he didn’t want to be upstaged by him. The infighting had begun.

To nobody’s surprise, Cummings put out another bulletin about his one-time leader, which was pointedly accurate. “He re-writes reality in his mind afresh according to the moment’s demands. He lies – so blatantly, so naturally, so regularly – that there is no real distinction possible with him, as there is with normal people, between truth and lies.” I suspect where Cummings is leading, others will follow. There’s a gang of them – you could probably name as many as I could – and they all fit the pattern of Hubris. Excessive pride, endless self confidence, non-stop ambition. And now the anonymous camera shifter has lit the blue touch-paper.

I can’t wait to see the next head fall.

Can’t resist this P.S. Lottie and I went off to have some coffee and this is what we found in the garden. If you look closely at the second picture you will see the corpse and Dixie on guard!

This entry was posted on July 9, 2021. 8 Comments

Ruled by spoilt brats and bullies

To begin at the beginning which is always a useful way to begin. The blog I wrote called ‘Who remembers Violet Elizabeth Bott?‘ has a lone and frequent visitor, a fact which intrigues me. Not a fan I wouldn’t think, but someone who seems hooked on this particular blog. I can hazard a guess at who it might be but it’s only a guess. It had 106 views when it first came out. But since then it’s had 1,312 views over five years and most of them have been single visits.

I’ve had my deerstalker on for ages but I can’t find a to solve the problem of who that single visitor is. And now I’ve given up looking and simply accept the fact that somebody somewhere seems to be hooked on it, returning to it over and over again, like a tongue to a sore tooth.

So why am I on about that particular blog at the moment? Well one reason is that we now seem to be ruled almost to the exclusion of every other type by people who are spoilt brats and bullies. And now interestingly they’ve reached a point where they’re turning on one another. First Dominic Cummings attacking the Prime Mendacitor and now someone in the group arranging for the cameras to be turned in such a way as to film Matt Hancock up to no good, with such powerful affect that he’s fallen on his sword and resigned and we are all beginning to wonder who is going to be next. Well I suppose it makes a change for them from struggling to govern the country, or mis-govern the country, according to how you feel about the Prime Mendacitor.

What has not changed in all this in-fighting and all this coming and going, is the nature of the warped characters who are now in power. Spoilt brats far too often become bullies who can do a great deal of damage, especially when they’re in positions of power. So perhaps we should be considering them very seriously and asking ourselves, what we can do to protect one another now that they are fully in power.

According to Psychology Today “Research finds that bullies have a distinct psychological makeup. They lack prosocial behavior, are untroubled by anxiety, and do not understand others’ feelings. They exhibit a distinctive cognitive feature, a kind of paranoia: They misread the intentions of others, often imputing hostility in neutral situations. Others may not like them, but they typically see themselves quite positively. Those who chronically bully tend to have strained relationships with parents and peers.” But in this article they go on to concern themselves with children who are bullies and how parents can handle them. I’m still searching for any psychological advice that I can find on how to handle a fully fledged, powerful bully who has put himself beyond the reach of the law, which he controls, and into an almost un-impeachable position. The one thing that is recognisable in our bullying MPs is their need for power and their equal need for approval and applause. Our Prime Mendacitor is constantly posing and preening in front of the cameras, in a variety of costumes and in various places. He does it so incessantly, it’s a wonder more people don’t see through him, but oddly they don’t. Perhaps that’s because we don’t fully understand what makes him tick.

Does anyone out there know the answer to that? We need your help! Peter Stefanovic has done his best to nail the PM’s lies in a telling and widespread video but the BBC are still doing as they’re told and ignoring it, so it has not made the news it should.

Perhaps as they give one another the chop, we shall find out more about how they tick. Let’s hope.

Strength to your arms, all you delightful, normal, loving people out there. You might not be valued as you should be with all this showing off and bullying going on so loudly all around us but by God you’re needed.