"You may say that I am a dreamer/But I am not the only one" John Lennon: "Imagine"

"So come brothers and sisters/For the struggle carries on" Billy Bragg: "The Internationale"

Elizannie has a reading room at 'Clarice's Book Page' http://www.villiersroad.blogspot.com/

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Dunkirk Spirit

Remembering all the little boats and their sailors who crossed over to Dunkirk 70 years ago today, many from this little stretch of the Thames Estuary near to where I am sitting.

Many people cannot understand that although I am a committed pacifist I also want to honour and remember those who have died in the service of their country. Why should the two things be thought opposing? I do not believe that war and bearing arms solves anything, but still acknowledge the bravery of those who felt/feel differently and mourn their deaths. Individuals can become very aggressive toward me when they find out I am a pacifist and that always surprises me. I am not going to argue all my beliefs here as obviously there is another time and platform for that. But it would be nice if others remembered that sometimes to stand up and be counted as having a different view to the majority takes bravery of a different sort. And in this I am remembering and honouring all those who lost their lives or were imprisoned or otherwise suffered for their pacifism or conscientous objections in earlier times.

Shown above one of the little ships that left Leigh-on-Sea for Dunkirk, taken from the website: http://www.leigh-on-sea.net/leigh_dunkirk.html with thanks and I would recommend a visit to this site for more detailed information

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

Have decided to become dictatorial and recommend summer reading on facebook, twitter, various blogs by other people and here on my own: The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell http://amzn.to/dBjzQD Many 'Old Labour' party members claim it changed their lives/caused them to become Socialists. I worry that the Condem government policies may see a return to many of the problems highlighted in this novel, albeit in a more 'modern' form {OK so we may not have workhouses anymore but some form of state interference may cause pensioners to lose all that they have saved before any State help becomes available}

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Major housework and political thought recordings do not mix. I wish I had realised this earlier in life and then I would have had more excuse for undertaking the latter and ignoring the former. However sometimes real life catches up and keeps one away from the keyboard.

The 'race' for the Labour party leadership continues. I hope it does not turn into a slanging match but all the ingredients are there, whomever does not survive the first 'hurdle' there will no doubt be accusations hurled around regarding race, gender, faith, sexual orientation etc. Actually it does seem unfair that MPs can select 'out' as it were candidates for whom the membership of the party might like to vote. But looked at from the other side it probably would be unfair for the membership to 'impose' a leader on MPs under whom they really did not want to serve! Plus the affiliated unions' membership also have a vote but need not necessarily be party members. My head spins....

Discovered half way through the day I am wearing my t-shirt inside out. Perhaps I am reverting to student days when that meant one could get two days wear out of one article of clothing. Or - as my grandmother would have said - it may just mean I am going to be lucky. Not worked so far as I have deleted by accident someone's request on my [rather inactive] twitter account who wanted to follow me [I haven't that many followers that I can feel sanguine about this] and had a migraine. Oh well.I was going to add that at least I haven't seen anyone today but at that moment the UPS delivery arrived and I had to sign for it. Of course I felt impelled to point out that my t-shirt was on inside out and the courier said he hadn't noticed and laughed like mad and so did I before I shut the door feeling a complete fool.

Speaking of twitter - from which I got most of my news today as it doesn't seem to involve the 'spin' in delivery that the news stations seem to use and I trust those individuals who I 'follow' - I found an old 'acquaintance' on there. You will notice the inverted commas. As far as I know I am talking to empty cyber space with this blog which is fine as it is good practice. This 'acquaintance' writes the most boring blog in the world [which I try to remember when I am tempted to digress too much] and I don't read because of the fury engendered when he re-writes truth to enhance himself. I found on twitter he can be as boring and untruthful in 140 words as he can in a full page blog! There is another lesson there.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Sick leave

Was quite literally sick on Thursday night which was annoying as I had deliberately not watched Teresa May on Question Time. So have had a few days of not thinking to make up. Still suffering from tooth trauma I suppose, I am such a wimp.

However have listened on the radio to all the new additions to the leadership race for the Labour Party. I am still lobbying for John McDonnell, he was 'Any Questions' last night [repeated this lunch time] and was just as reasonable and pleasantly spoken as usual. Yet whenever he is referred to in the media the words 'left-winger' are applied to him as an almost insulting adjective.

Decided - despite feeling sick - to be 'productive' this morning and tidied the study, added playlists to my new MP3 player and rang one child for a good long chat whilst sending out other half for paint for the garage door. All turned out less than well when after taking all the books from the shelves in the study, disposing of some and putting the others back in good order I was left with a bigger pile on the floor than had been there before I started. The hour I spent creating playlists didn't work as when I went back to add more after lunch the playlists were there but the music wasn't. Mobile 'phone cut off in middle of 'phone call as I had let the battery get so flat I couldn't even call back with it plugged in on charge. And then had an overwhelming sense of panic at sending other half out for paint when he is colour blind.

However sun was warm, battery recharged on mobile, shut the door on the study, think I have cracked the playlist 'process' on the MP3 player and other half came back with just under coat and suggested I went back with him to choose topcoat. [Mind you he might be colour blind but he isn't daft - he vetoed my choice of 'bubble gum pink' - which was a truly sweet colour - just on those words and we had to compromise on burgundy!]

Back home to some more campaigning via lap top and Doctor Who - not a bad combination really!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Labour Party Leadership

Well John McDonnell has declared himself a 'runner' in the race for the Labour Party Leader so I got out and ironed [yes I do that sometimes] my 'John for Leader' t-shirt from the last time he campaigned against Gordon Brown et al. I also went through my collection of old badges and found my 'John 4 leader' badge + from the 1980s 'Don't blame me I voted Labour'. I am just hoping I won't have to resurrect my 'Stop the War' t-shirt from the15th February 2003 march, that is so comfortable in bed! Did a little bit of lobbying for John last night but as the bookies have him at 100-1 at the moment I might have to do a lot more. He is such a decent chap and I admire his views so much. 

Yesterday's dentist visit was a mixed success, not enough time to panic as I was sitting eating toast at 9.45am thinking my appointment was for 10.30am when I realised that in fact I had to be there at 10.00am. Result was I burst through the surgery door at 9.59am with a piece of toast in one hand and a toothbrush with toothpaste on it in the other. The dentist was actually standing by the empty chair waiting for me, luckily he has a sense of humour. I am a complete wooss when it comes to the dentist so lay on the settee for the rest of the day with my 'blankey' whining and watching TV, having chicken soup on a tray for lunch.

When I eventually staggered to the computer at dinner-time it was to find I had 71 new tweets, mostly speculation about who was going to stand or not for the Labour party leadership. That'll teach me.

Then today my groceries should have been delivered between 10 and 11 am so thought I was safe to have a shower but the doorbell rang at 9.50 am so had to sign for all the items with just a shower-robe on and dripping wet hair and self underneath. Little puddle on the floor when I closed the front door. Memo to self - get up earlier and get organised.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

The Dentist

Going for a very large filling shortly so have comfort DVDs and recorded programmes lined up for 'laying on the settee time' when I get back!

Came home from book club last night to find that Jon Cruddas had ruled himself out from the Labour leadership 'race'. Rather disappointed about this although this morning there are rumours he might try again for deputy leadership. However there are also rumours that John McDonnell might try again for the leadership - I really admire the man and still have my 'John for Leader' t-shirt from his last try for the position!

Listened to 'Today' on Radio 4 to newly elected MPs George Eustice [Tory - Camborne & Redruth] and Tessa Munt [LibDem - Wells] saying how it was absolutely no problem working together in a coalition even though they had just fought an election campaign rather fiercely against each other's parties. [In the case of George Eustice he had only beaten his LibDem opponent by 66 votes] Actually a bit sick making the way they were cosying up to one another or perhaps I am just biased.... Actually I found it interesting to hear Tessa Munt speak because she is the MP for the 'next door' constituency to where we live when in West Somerset. Her election posters just said 'Vote Tessa' which I found rather odd, but it seemed to have worked because her majority was - I believe - around 800 and she beat the sitting Tory MP David Heathcoat-Amery who had served the area for over 27 years. Mind you he was involved in all the expenses furore and had to repay over £29,000 which included £380 for manure.

And now for the dentist....

Monday, 17 May 2010

First Monday of the Dictatorship

Not happy about the plans of the ConDem regime to create so many new peers but will let Michael White of the Guardian have his say: http://bit.ly/drggdQ as he does it better. Ironic that the Guardian switched from supporting the Labour party to the LibDems during the election campaign, isn't it?

Surprised by large amount of ice falling from the sky around noon, larger than ordinary hailstones, don't know whether to blame the new government or the icelandic volcano. Probably neither but the poppy seeds didn't look very happy as they floated past the window out of their seeding boxes.

Book club tonight, tried listening to it on an unabridged CD as I couldn't find my copy of the book ['The Penelopiad' by Margaret Attwood] I have been looking forward to reading this for ages but laying on the bed to listen was not a good idea as I slept through three quarters of it. Now feeling very dopey and still can't find the book to try and catch up on some 'facts'. Once more made a resolution to try and clear out some of my 2,000+ books to make more room. Alternatively could try and sort into a better system so that I don't lose so many so often.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Monaco Grand Prix

"Reach for the moon; even if you'll miss, you'll be among the stars" [Les Brown] Probably not the best place to find an inspirational thought, on a greeting card but I rather liked this one - good for those of us who set ourselves high standards and rather than thinking that we have failed we can think that we are in a better place than we were!

The marathon walking child finished the Moonwalk in a good time, I have so much admiration for all those giving so much time and energy to raise so much money for charity and turning it into a fun event as well. However it was rather cold last night so the idea of only wearing a bra and a plastic see through raincoat as above the waist wear I hope doesn't result in over load for the NHS...

The boys came around for a play on the new scaletrextric track before the Monaco Grand Prix started then went off to watch some important local football match. We have provisionally arranged a scaletrextric party for the day of the British Grand Prix. When the four year old asked what racing drivers eat we suggested sausages and mash would be suitable fare.

So it seems like most of the family have had a very sporting weekend but I have been engrossed in the 1846 book that was the basis for 'Sweeny Todd' and have the DVD starring Helen Bonham-Carter and Johnny Depp to watch once I have finished it! I wasn't allowed to see it at the cinema as children thought I would be frightened and I can fast forward the DVD if it gets gory! Meanwhile I have managed to get hold of a digitally remastered copy of 'The Invisible Man' with Claude Rains which I can watch until I have finished the Sweeny Todd book! Mind you if the 'Invisible Man' in the film is as unpleasant as in the H.G.Wells novel that won't be a walk in the park either!

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Cup Final Day

Very surprised to learn it is cup final day. Eventually also found out that Portsmouth was one of the teams playing and wanted them to win having spent so many happy hours in Pompey and having Portsmouth ancestors. However they didn't!

One child has far more energy than I and is going for the 'Moonwalk' marathon in aid of Breast Cancer in London tonight. Well done to everyone taking part and all the volunteers helping out marshalling etc.

This didn't detract from the extreme disquiet I am still feeling about the Condem government proposals regarding changing the percentage of MPs required to cause a dissolution of Parliament. Nice piece in Wednesday's 'Guardian':http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/afua-hirsch-law-blog/2010/may/13/55-per-cent-constitution-parliament-sovereignty which gave a lot of arguments for and against - only to be expected as the Gruniad supported the LibDems in the election - but I think came down against the proposal. To me the 55% rule smacks of an attempt toward dictatorship.