Lone pedestrians…

I have only been writing this blog for a short time but in the last day or so have not been motivated to say anything.

However, today I have been interested in the aggressive responses on social media regarding the rise of cycling and the rapidly increasing ‘left wing’ of this activity. By that I mean it’s all about rights and much less about responsibility.

For years I have seen the rise of motorcycling aggression in the roads and been fascinated with the fact that very little policing exists (especially on rural roads) in terms of noise, but more importantly excessive speeding. However, in the defence of the motorcyclists, there attitude on social media seems far less aggressive or defensive.

It seems quite clear that more and more people are taking up cycling and quite often, not as a so-called ‘sport’, but more of a fashion statement…based on the ludicrous sums that people spend on equipment and ‘Lycra’ and not just in the machines themselves…or perhaps as a religion. It also seems that more and more of these people are asserting their ‘rights’ on urban roads, on country lanes and even on pavements and in busy shopping precincts. What sensible pedestrian is likely to challenge a cyclist who often has a helmet and is travelling at speed and increasingly in groups. Cyclists travel relatively silently round country lanes and it is very difficult to hear them coming – let alone see them and you challenge them at your peril!

Actually the ‘lone pedestrian’ is threatened, not only by ‘cycling fascism’ but also by the fact that I am told that ‘having a go’ at aggressive cyclists either singly or as a group is a ‘hate crime’ and you could, therefore, be arrested by the police!

Incidentally, the ‘lone pedestrian’ is also under threat from the ‘pushers of push chairs’ (most of the aggressive behaviour, by the way, is from women) who seem to think their rights are more important than yours in lifts, on pavements, in shops, on public transport etc etc. It’s as if they feel they are in the same ‘bracket’ as, say, a disabled person in a wheelchair and, based on personal experience, they also should be challenged at your peril.

So, where does this leave the ‘lone pedestrian’ who in urban environments has been assaulted by car fumes for some time but, until now, was able to use pavements and county lanes in relative peace and safety. There is undoubtedly a new series of ‘religions’ emerging around cycling and pushchairs that may need challenging soon, before they become a ‘sect’ and we start punishing those that are just carrying on what they have done for centuries.

Easter Monday…

I was going to write something yesterday, however I got so annoyed by people hijacking Easter I decided it probably wasn’t a good idea. All those sycophantic messages (mostly political and vote-seeking) from many who have little or no interest in Christianity, or worse still, belong to groups or who align themselves with individuals who often want to see and encourage (or even participate in) its demise and destruction.

The news this morning does not seem much better and Jeremy Corbyn seems to be determined to ride this one out. Appalling arrogance! What an appalling example of so-called leadership he is! Then there is the new ‘comedienne’ appointed to the NEC of the Labour Party…well, that’s a good joke anyway.

I have just been reading about the fact that there are now more murders in London than in the ‘crime capital’ that is New York. Our ‘forefathers’ are probably turning in their graves at this news. One of the observers on this sad news commentating on social media, used that (in)famous line from the much-derided and misunderstood politician Enoch Powell…from his speech in the Burlington Hotel in Birmingham…when he referred to the “rivers of blood”. It seems to be being quoted and reflected on much more these days…interesting, considering they were ‘dirty words’ not that long ago.

I have just been reading reports of the heavy traffic in parts of the U.K. Why do so many people get in their cars on Bank Holidays and spend a large part of their precious time in traffic jams and in this case, in miserable and wet weather. I don’t and never will understand it and ALWAYS stay at home on such occasions. The only down side is that my so-called diet ‘goes to the dogs’!

Easter Saturday

Easter Saturday always seems a bit of a gap or even a let down between Good Friday and Easter Day. It a bit like January and February after the excitement of Christmas and New Year…on a much smaller scale. I guess for practicing Christians is winding down and then winding up the the main event tomorrow.

I was listening to a radio programme today and there seemed to be a view that many of the ‘divisions’ in our society are being caused by Brexit and the decision that has been taken, as against it being a consequence (effect) of the ‘divisions’ that have progressively deteriorated over decades and no one has dealt with them. It only needs a simple glance and the main issues in the referendum to realise that.

There is also the view that we should have another national referendum to look at and decide on the Brexit ‘deal’. Can you imagine what that would look like, with thousands or possibly hundreds of thousands of issues and options being sent to every voter in U.K.? It would be total chaos. Look at the simple issues presented to us in 2016 and how they were ‘misunderstood’ by so many. If there has to be a vote on the deal, the options need to be debated in Parliament and they make the decision. That what they are paid for and should have done in dealing with the EU in the first place over the past 40 years…much like the ‘divisions’ mentioned above!

I have just finished watching a series in the Walter Presents part of Channel 4, called 13 Commandments. It was good and thought-provoking and it’s such a pity that the BBC can’t make programmes like this anymore.

Good Friday

I am what many people would, quite accurately, describe as a non-practising Christian. However I was brought up in a society that reflected mainly/many Christian values and broadly respected the ’10 commandments’ for example. I would assume that many people would align themselves with this ‘philosophy’, even though they don’t ‘go to church regularly’, as they use (or possibly abuse) the ‘church’ for baptisms, marriages and when it comes to dying and, I feel sure, would resort to ‘talking’ to a ‘higher authority’ when faced with trauma or something/events beyond their normal day-to-day lives.

One of the problems with the demise of the ‘established church’ in the U.K., is that politicians (supported by those that voted for them) have also eroded many other parts of our established systems (and even the so-called and much maligned establishment) and ‘infrastructure’ and, as a consequence, left us with very little to ‘lean on’ when we need it most. This also means, of course, that other ‘things’ have stepped into the ‘void’ including shallow alternatives (largely generated by the media) and other established but mis-aligned (with our culture and values as a nation) religions that have not evolved in parallel with the (our) so-called ‘enlightenment’ that we in the U.K. ‘discovered’ in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Some of these religions, of course, still exhibit and ‘push’ the very values that we moved on from (and began to leave behind with massive consequences and quite literally pain for virtually everyone) in the 16th century. In turn these religions more than amply provide the fertile ground for ‘recruits’ and internal national and international conflict, that we are increasingly beginning to see in the early 21st century. For many. if not most, there is increasingly little to fall back on in a world of unlimited choice.

It seems ironic that we now have more choice than at any time in the history of the human being, having destroyed so much that would have helped us to determine what was good or bad, right or wrong, affordable or not, sensible or stupid etc etc. Let’s face it, choosing and then buying a coffee in the high street is a challenge these days, so how can we now possibly cope with the more important decisions.

I woke up at dawn this morning…

Following on from my blog yesterday, a poem for Willie.

 

I woke up at dawn this morning 

Wondering what it was like, there in France 

To ‘go over the top’ in the darkness

And never to return to the dance.

 

woke up at dawn this morning 

And thought of my great uncle at war

He’d survived for so long, against all of the odds

So young and loving…and more.

 

I woke up at dawn this morning

One hundred years to the day

When ‘over the top’ he went, as required

Never to return to the fray.

 

I woke up at dawn this morning 

And thought long and hard of his duty

In hell on earth he struggled so hard

For King and Country, but no beauty.

 

I woke up at dawn this morning

And thought of his sacrifice

How truly remarkable it was for so many

And all such a ‘roll of the dice’.

 

I woke up at dawn this morning

Still in the warmth of my bed

And mused on his thoughts, on his last day on earth

Going round and round in his head.

 

I woke up at dawn this morning 

And prayed for his soul in that mud

And thanked the Almighty for what he had given 

In spilling, for us, his blood.

 

I woke up at dawn this morning 

And got on with my life, as you do

All praise to Willie for what you gave

For me to be here – thanks to you.

In Memoriam

Today would have been my dear mother’s 93rd birthday and it coincides with the 100th anniversary of the death of my great-uncle, who was killed at the age of 21 in Arras in France towards the end of World War I.

It seems that he had been back and forward to France to fight on more than occasion and this was to be his last trip. According to my grandmother (his sister) he was not well when he returned to the front and things were so bad that his mother (my great-grandmother) had to “iron out the lice from his kilt”. He was in the Royal Scots Fusiliers.

100 years seems a long time ago but, despite the fact that I had obviously not met “Willie”, as he was known, it seems more recent than that. I guess with all the ‘remembering’ of World War I in the last 4 years, it is to the forefront of all our memories. Funnily enough I woke up at dawn this morning and could not sleep, wondering what hell it must have been before ‘going over the top’, on what was to prove to be his last day on earth.

I have quite a few items relating to his youth and time in the army, all of which are moving. However the most notable are these. One is part of the postcard he sent to my great-grandmother (his mother) the previous year from France, one a photo of Willie and the other one of the items received ‘from the King’. All are extraordinary and heart-breaking…

Alexa

My wife and I were having an enjoyable and uninterrupted supper last evening and, in the process of having a fairly active discussion about some news or other item that was on BBC iPlayer, I used a word that is not, in current parlance, ‘politically correct’.

To our surprise and I suppose shock, our Amazon ‘Alexa’ suddenly said “this is not a polite word to say”. I should point out that I had not addressed Alexa in the usual fashion, or ordered it to extract some useful information about the weather or local travel news or to listen to BBC Radio 4 or to ask it to say something funny – it just spoke to us, unannounced and uninvited into our home!

It was very funny at the time and I mentioned this later on to one of my children and their first question was…”what was the word”? I explained that it was not ‘politically correct’ and that it was, possibly, not a word they would use, so I did not share it with them. I should point out, that it is not a word I would use outside my home either.

However it got me thinking and especially in the light of recent events concerning our apparent naivety about data harvesting via Facebook and other related issues. There is no way I ‘woke Alexa up’, as one does, so, I am left with the worrying thought that someone is listening to what is being said in my home, despite the supposed requirement to ‘open up’ this particular access to the internet.

Having heard what I said, then digested it, then formed an opinion (presumably based on that of Amazon people) and then responded with a ‘rap on my knuckles’ for saying it, where else has my ‘politically incorrect’ word gone now and what may happen as a consequence? This is all very interesting or perhaps even worrying, that the ‘privacy of my own home’ is not as sacrosanct or as under my control as I thought!