How to be you.

I think there are a couple of things a person has to take on board if they truly want to know who they are.


The first thing do is drop any pretence.


…and to do that you have to be on the outside looking in. You have to develop the ability to look at yourself as though through the eyes of another. You have to be willing to point out the things that you don’t like about yourself.

Are you impatient? Then acknowledge it.

Are you liable to exaggerate – then admit it.

Are you full of fear – don’t be afraid to say so.


The point being that the human being (YOU), is a mass of contradictions.

It’s OK. It’s our experiences in life have made us what we are. It’s not your fault for within that life is the truth  that the ‘damaged’ person (YOU) is constantly adjusting. Constantly working at ways to improve. Always on the go. Working to make oneself, ‘better’.

That, I believe is a given.

Although we may not consciously be working to improve we know in our hearts and head that the way we are at any given moment can be improved. We are in short, ‘A WORK IN PROGRESS’. And that work can take all of our lives. Our ‘self-healing’ and that is the marvellous thing about being human we can ‘repair’, is a long term job. Upon saying that, there are of course, for various reasons some who have, sometimes through no fault of their own or by choice have buried the mechanism that enables us ‘improvement’.


Of course every society needs its rules and laws. Without any kind of framework to guide and lead us, there will come, chaos.

I believe that most of those rules are within us. They are what make us human and allow us to survive (flight or fight) and live a life.

Some rules we are born with. Others become part of us as we grow and become part of the society and culture we live and become used to. We accept, wrongly or rightly our ‘way of life’.

But this does not mean that rules cannot be changed.

Rules can in my view, ‘wear out’. As we become shall we say, more sophisticated and knowledgeable we will know that some rules have outstayed their welcome and either need to be tinkered with or dispensed with entirely. Good examples of this are the rules that govern our sexuality and who we are allowed to be.

As time has gone on, we have become more aware that the human race is a jigsaw of parts that like any jigsaw can be pieced together to make, a complete picture. However, its a jigsaw that is continually being added to.

As the years, decades go by we are constantly being surprised on how many more pieces it takes to form the human race…and its not over yet. More parts/peices of the puzzle are yet to be revealed. More surprises await us and more ‘rules’ will have to be changed or dispensed with to make way for our complex and myriad lives. A society or culture that cannot look at itself and right its wrongs WILL eventually self-destruct.

BRAVERY (and the conquering of fear- see above).

Society only ever changes because of the actions of the few.

Most of us WILL NOT BE THE ONE who steps forward. Those with that kind of courage are few and far between. Most of us are sheep. We follow the flock…but that’s OK…as long…

…as long as we are aware that there will come a time when we will be needed and have to raise our heads above the parapet…but even then it will be too much for most of us.

The trouble is if we do nothing. If we refuse to put our mark on the ballot paper or join the march or the strike we could find ourselves on the losing side and more in the open and at risk than we ever thought we would be.

The point being that it is almost impossible to stay silent.

By this I don’t mean you have to wave a flag or express your view through a loud hailer. The truth is, total silence can be construed as you being, complicit.

I believe, you/we live our lives in conjunction/ in connection with others.

Whether we like it or not, I believe our lives are intertwined. We can watch from the side-lines, and we can believe that what we see has nothing to do with us and will not in the long run affect us. That is a mistaken belief.

The rules and laws that are made to keep a part of the human race down and controlled, touch us all.

We can of course, state openly that ‘WE DON’T CARE’ about what happens to others and go on about our lives in complete ignorance. The refusal to even try to understand what it like to be in another’s shoes, to my mind makes those that think like that, LESS.

Sure they will survive and there will be no retribution or come back of any sort but they will be, empty vessels. A non-contributors. Taking up valuable space. Fleshy, empty, bags of useless bones.

With all the love in the world…wake up and smell the coffee.

The Stratfordian
Thank you from the bottom of my heart but it’s time to call it a day.

There comes a time when even the best in the world should wake up and smell the coffee. Even the one-time-best in the world should do the right thing and realise that they can’t do it anymore and if they do make an attempt, their legacy is at risk.

I’ve had to turn off Paul McCartney’s efforts at Glastonbury and I do it out of respect.

I just couldn’t take all those wonderful songs that were a very important part of my growing up, just being croaked out and by the man himself. So sad and I can’t bear it.

I guess that once you’ve been to the top of the mountain it’s extremely difficult to come down. It must be like an addiction.

You’re so used to being up high, to come down to earth is nigh impossible especially as people continue to tell you and write about how marvellous you are and what a genius etc, etc. And in Paul’s case, one of the greatest song writers in the world. Let’s face it, how are you going to let go of all that? You are gonna want to stick around forever aren’t you.

But that’s not how it works…

It’s the songs that stick around forever not the person who writes and sings them. Paul is only human and it’s beginning to show. The voice at 80 years old is behaving just like it you’d expect. It’s cracking up. The fluidity of the performance is changing and even reasons for watching the great man are different than they used to be…and that’s why I turned it off.

I don’t want Paul McCartney to become a museum piece. A curiousity. A fair ground freak. OK, some might say we’re not there yet but it’s obviously just around the corner and I don’t want to watch it happen. I have too much respect for the man and I owe him so much.

I don’t want to have to watch and find myself making a judgement call about how old he has suddenly become since I last saw him. Of course he has…he’s 80 years old. The McCartney I ‘knew’ and enjoyed was in his 20’s/30’s/40’s. And he no longer exists. And besides that I want to hear his masterpieces at their best. That’s the beauty of recordings they don’t age, they’re recordings of a wonderful moment in time.  Unfortunately, us soft, fleshy things age and then we die.

So Paul (if I may be familiar for a moment)…time to put your feet up mate. And thank you very,  very much for your service.

And if you could tell your mates, Elton, Rod, Roger (I’m not sure about Mick) to do the same that would be great. X




Refugee crisis

The arrival today of the giant refugee puppet Amil in Stratford upon Avon today (I forgot) got me wondering about the world’s present day refugee crisis (who’s having the crisis by the way – the refugees or the ‘receiving country’) and the ferocity of feelings against those who for various reasons want to escape, run away call it what you will, from their present location.

I want to say that I don’t understand the anger against these people but of course that’s not true. There’s only one reason certain refugees are not welcome in this country and that’s based around the colour of their skin. All the other stuff about ‘economic refugees’ or ‘there’s not enough room’ etc, etc is all bollocks and designed to cloak and put some sense of respectability around racism.

There’s not even an argument to be had.

The proof of the pudding….as they say is proven by the fact that if you are Ukrainian and want to get your family away from death and destruction (a sensible choice) AND you are white, you are welcome.

If however, you are from a war situation and want to leave for similar reasons BUT are brown or black er…‘hang on a minute my friend while we check that there are no other reasons that you might want to locate in the UK’. Simple as that.

Personally speaking, I believe that ‘wanting to improve One’s life’ is a valid reason for anyone to go anywhere that looks more inviting and could quite possibly stop you from starving or dying.

*Although, I do admit I am baffled as to why anyone of a different hue would want to come to this predominantly racist country and suffer some more at the hands of the ignorant and stupid who seem to be overpopulating this country at this present time.

Mind you, at the moment we are only locking illegal migrants up or sending them to Rwanda. We aren’t using torture er…yet? (OK…locking up and sending people to Rwanda is a kind of torture isn’t it…but it’s a very British torture isn’t it. Subtle torture-polite torture.

I’ve often wondered who’s feeding our black and brown brethren the guff about the welcome to be found in the UK. Why doesn’t the truth ever get through? Unless of course the situation in their own country is so dire that the abuse they’ll receive over here is minor and at the moment won’t blow you or your kids heads off.

* (Probably something to do with our stringent gun laws).

The condition of the boat.

I don’t know about anybody else but I’m finding myself quite concerned as to the condition of the boat we all appear to be rowing in and the ocean within which we are straining to move forward.

We appear to be getting nowhere and that’s because we are rowing against a very strong current and an even stronger wind.

What I’m trying to say here is the odd fact (odd because we don’t appear to have noticed), that we are falling more and more under the control, the auspices of ‘those who are nothing like us’.

Let me attempt to explain what I mean.

First off, by ‘we’ I mean those of us who have lived relatively ‘normal’ lives. Lives where we have not acrued great wealth either inherited or made with a great idea or exceptional luck. None of which by the way is, wrong.

If you have made money in any way (but criminal) good luck, live long and proper. Power to your elbow.

What or rather who I find problamatic are those because of their great wealth are so far removed from the rest of us, they have forgotten what it is to be human. Those that are so far removed that they no longer have anything in common with the rest of us.

To my point…

I am talking about those that as well as their wealth crave and have an unhealthy desire for Power and Control.

I don’t get it.

I don’t understand the connection or indeed the need to express wealth of the monetary kind alongside that of Power. Isn’t money enough? Why the need for Control as well?

For instance, I am currently represented in Parliament by a multi-millionaire who has absolutely no idea of the life lived by myself, or others like me.

One has only to look at his voting record to see that we have nothing in common and he at a very basic level has no understanding of my life or the predicaments that I find myself in. Yet he insists on telling me how I should be able to live my life.

His views for instance on shall we say, poverty, bear no resemblance to my own thoughts on what it means to be poor.  And in this the year of our lord, 2022, it is proven that his views, his ideas have no bearing on how a major segment of the population lives. And that is because a large proportion of the population of the UK, is hungry and poverty stricken.

But then how could he? He’s a millionaire for Christ’s sake. Him and me and lots of others, we live at opposite ends of the scale.

To put it bluntly, he will not starve but some of the people he represents, will. (And yes I am aware that I live in Stratford upon Avon, one of the wealthier places in the country but even here, people will go hungry).

So, what has happened to us to allow the above situation to exist?

How have we, we who (so they tell us) live in a democracy allowed this to happen? And more importantly, what can we do about it? And more importantly still…is there in fact anything we can do about it?

Have we (as I suspect) before our very eyes and with our permission, allowed the rich to creep up on us and (if you’ll excuse the expression) take us from behind?

Have we been craftily distracted by lots of shiny objects like TV, the national lottery, the promise of owning our own house and postage stamp sized land (garden)?

Or was it the ‘well paid’ jobs (wages controlled by the rich of course) that allowed us (crammed into a flying tube) holidays abroad that made us take our eyes off the ball? (And talking of that why haven’t we noticed that our holidays abroad are quite different than theirs)?


At this point, let’s have a break. Ponder on this…

A rich person buys one pair of high-quality boots that will last him/her for years. Expensive yes, but one pair will suffice for some time.

A poor person buys cheaply made boots because that is all him/her can afford. These cheap boots will not last as they do not have the quality of the rich persons boots…

ERGO…the poor person spends more on boots than the rich person.

NOT ONLY THAT…The rich person owns the factory where the poor person’s cheap boots are made. Mr or Mrs Rich Person also controls the wages and thereby the quality of the boots that the poor person can afford.


Anyway, what’s to be done?


I am of the opinion that the general population is, if not at ease with the present situation, quite willing and lazy enough to sit back and allow the rich ‘to sort things out’.

And as for The Rich, they are quite happy with the way things are.

We are my friends…a suicide case.

A few years ago (the 60’s, the 90’s even. Poll tax riots), there was something in the air. The people had a belief in themselves. A strength that I don’t believe will ever be replicated.

Unfortunately, the rich cottoned on, got together and did a job on us.

To cut a long story short. Madam Thatcher and her cohorts surgically and with great skill cut the balls off the working people of this country, closed us down and returned us to a craftily contrived pre-magna carta time.

Ladies and gentlemen. Fellow peasants.

We are being taken for fools.

The defense rests….

Confession time; Losing his faith (Part I)

I wish I could do that. I wish I could paint

70 years on the throne

Short Poem: Happy Days.

Is there a price to comedy?


70 years on the throne

Here we all are celebrating a rich woman’s 70 years on the throne, and I read this (below).

*Ambulance boss warns of collapse…

‘Mr Docherty told the ambulance service’s board of directors at a meeting on Wednesday (25th May) that patients suffering from heart attacks, strokes and blood clots were ‘dying every day’ due to ambulances being stuck outside hospitals for several hours.

I’m sorry, I don’t want to ruin your enjoyment of people marching up and down, balcony appearances and fly pasts…


* The Stratford upon avon Herald. June 2nd 2022.

I wish I could do that. I wish I could paint

Facing up to it.

Short Poem: Happy Days.

Is there a price to comedy?

Guns for Good: The scourge of the firearm.

Being Nadhim Zahawi

The Stratfordian
Portrait By Richard Townshend

As one of Mr Nadhim Zahawi’s constituents (although I admit not a Tory voter), I have to say how disgusted I am to his nodding dog attitude to everything the PM says or perhaps more importantly, does.

Always in agreement or should I say obedience he has never offered one doubtful word on what seeps out from Number 10. The man does not appear to have a mind of his own.

I live in Stratford upon Avon so it’s a given that we have a Tory MP and I accept that, although it hurts greatly. However, if I am to be represented in Parliament by someone I didn’t vote for I would at the very least hope that the person whose job that is (even a Tory), would show some character, backbone and perhaps more importantly, a personality that proved more than sponge-like.
I understand that Mr Zahawi was ‘parachuted’ into S-on-A’s Tory-safety-zone without opposition but that surely does not give him permission to be on permanent stand-by. He could for the sake of reality pretend to be a fighting MP. One concerned with the well-being of his constituents.
After all his constituents come in all flavours and he should attempt to address that even if it’s an act.
Instead what we get is a nodding dog, Johnson’s pet poodle who finds it in his heart to disagree with nothing. It’s almost as if he’s waiting for the knighthood to drop from the sky.
I actually think that he did a decent job as Vaccination minister (wash my mouth out with soap and water) but as Member of Parliament for Stratford upon Avon he is more than useless.

the stratfordian's art

‘Robbing the poor to feed the rich’. 2021. Acrylic on A3 canvas. IFH.

Rising as the cock crows

Dark and Light

70 years on the throne

Guns for Good: The scourge of the firearm.


Rising as the cock crows

I must admit that I am not an early riser. Or, let me put that another way. I am intentionally NOT an early riser.

To be honest my days of rising as the cock crows are thankfully over. That was probably my all time hate when I was working. The hour at which you had to get up to go to work. I hated it.

However, do not get the wrong impression. The above confession does not mean in the slightest that I sleep until I wake naturally. Oh happy day.

Around here (Trinity Mead – Stratford upon Avon) although the Cock crow died out years ago, we still have an animal to act as nature’s alarm clock.

I write of course of The Dog. the stratfordian's art

In these parts every other resident appears to have a dog and in most cases a bloody noisy dog.

Let it not be said that I am a pet hater because I am not. I think tortoises are wonderful. But dogs of the barking variety are another thing.

For the life of me I don’t understand why every dog owner around here, at more or less the same time (early morning – are they in cahoots?), opens their back door to let the family beast out to bark in and at, the back garden.

It’s like syncronised barking.

This is how it goes…

Back door opens dog (s) runs out…barking.

Then, and this is the bit that really gets me, the barking commotion is followed by the human owner shouting at the animal…to stop barking.

What we then have is a performance that last for approx 15 minutes coming at ya from various near-by locations. Barking and shouting. Shouting and barking.

As the early hours progress I lie awake, listening to the pattern repeated over and over again, some far away, some close.

All over Trinity Mead, dogs and owners large and small  bark and shout. Shout and bark.

Until they don’t.

But of course by then it is too late. I’m awake and ready for bed.

There is  indeed no no peace for the wicked.

Dark and Light

At home with the Stratfordians

70 years on the throne

Being Nadhim Zahawi

Dark and Light

This is a post of both dark and light…

Let’s start off happy. 😆

I wanted to congratulate the new (ish) owners of the Stratford upon Avon Herald and their successful (at least I think so) attempt in giving readers a proper local paper.

At last we find numerous articles, something more interesting than the obituary column (although I must admit that old habits die hard and it’s still the first place I go).

Readable print is also a big bonus along with the fact that it is at last possible to unfurl the paper in a high wind. All in all, a good job, I just hope it continues.

The misery comes in the form of yet another mealy-mouthed article written by The Leader of Stratford District Council as part of his, ‘District Matters’ column.

Basically this week we have a breakdown (in more ways than one) of what is to come in terms of our personal finances. Or, as I like to call it, our choices between ‘Heating & Eating’.

Anyway, on he rambles about how tough it is going to get, and we might as well kill ourselves now (I put that in). And above all we find out what has caused this terrible tumble into the mouth of hell.

Surprisingly, everything.

Except of course,  this present government.

At home with the Stratfordians

70 years on the throne

Guns for Good: The scourge of the firearm.

Being Nadhim Zahawi

Rising as the cock crows

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