Happy Birthday to me.

Well here we are then. The 74th Happy birthday to me.

yipee

And as usual, for me there is always the very odd feeling of ‘not being here’.

Is it really me that people (family) are greeting with a ‘happy birthday’ smile, a card (maybe) and sometimes a gift (a sugar bowl???). Why?

I have always found the idea of birthdays if not a little odd, to be honest more than scary. Apart from the strange disconnect described above, the birthday is really a counting down of time. Behind the smiling faces and best wishes is the knowledge that what they are really saying is…’Not long now…’.

Strangely, for me it’s not so much the passing of time, although I do find that difficult enough to handle, but more the feeling that I am, against my will, being slowly poisoned . That something, call it ‘age’, is being at the command of what we know as ‘genes’, being slowly released into my bloodstream.

To be totally honest I feel like an experiment ( lab-rat) that is coming to the end of its time.

That year by year as the poison accumulates another little bit of me breaks off. A piece of me decides that it has done its time and will now let itself be absorbed back into the soup of the decaying body, smug in the knowledge that it has done the work assigned to it and now it can have a well-deserved rest in oblivion until it is returned to its ‘real home’, the earth.

It’s a funny old thing this birthday thing.

Once I suppose ‘a necessary’ insomuch it was a  celebration to acknowledge the fact that you had made it through another year without starving to death. Or being eaten by a wild animal. Or dying painfully at the hands of a disease that usually comprised of pus and very large black spots. Survive all that and I guess I can understand the need for cake, even with candles.

Anyway here I am trying to put a brave face on it.

A recipient of a very nice card (just the one), a sugar bowl (?) some ‘happy birthdays’ (yet to arrive) from Facebook people I don’t really know (and let’s face it they are only doing what they are told by Zuckerberg. They actually and who can blame them, couldn’t care a toss).

And then it will be over. Much of a nothingness, gone. Everybody having performed their duty and interrupted a day when they have much more important things to do.

I think we had the right ideas about birthdays when we were younger. Birthdays were part of that ‘any excuse for a party’ lifestyle. Ignore the fact that you were another year closer to death and get obliterated by alcohol instead.

Happy birthday to me.

WHY don’t Stratfordians protest?

I freely admit that I am one of those people who wander around with a permanent furrowed brow. I’m not in pain nor am I waiting for something awful to happen. I am actually wondering. I am in a permanent state of asking the question…’WHY’.

Because I am only human, the ‘WHY’ question, as you might expect varies from week to week, if not day to day. But lately the ‘WHY’ has stuck with me for some days. Why now (that’s not the ‘WHY’ question by the way) I wonder. Why (nor that) has this particular puzzle began to weigh me down. And then it hit me…

Everybody is protesting.

It’s in the air. People are not happy. In fact, people are angry. They are fit to explode because no-one, (the authorities, the ‘powers that be’ etc) is listening. The environment. The government. The cost of living. You name it. People are fit to burst. And I have a feeling that the next few years are going to ones of protest, and I for one say, HURRAH and about bloody time. But, even this is not my ‘WHY’.

My ‘WHY’ is more localised. My ‘WHY’ is ‘WHY’ is Stratford upon Avon so tame’. So, sheepish. ‘WHY’ for instance, when the town so obviously has a problem with an infestation of traffic has no-one done anything about it?

Every year since I’ve lived here (since 1971) there has been some sort of….what would you call it…a survey? An official look at the state of our streets. And always the same conclusion is reached. Stratford upon Avon has too much traffic flowing through its narrow streets. And then…NOTHING. OK, maybe a few streets are experimentally closed off and then…NOTHING. I remember a time when an electric bus introduced…then…NOTHING. Anyway my point is why have Stratfordians not protested about this literally poisonous situation. Why have whoever is in power at any given time, been allowed to get away with doing…NOTHING?

There will be some who say that protest achieves nothing. But I beg to differ.

Way, way back in the ‘80’s I was part of a group that protested about the presence of the South African Apartheid government being present at the Shakespeare celebration. In fact I got arrested (and yes, I am proud of that fact-I got fined for ‘disturbing the peace’ and the generous actors at the RSC passed the hat and paid it for me. £92 a lot of money in those days). Anyway, it changed things. Suspicious governments were no longer welcome and the Shakespeare celebrations became…………..(fill this in yourself).

My point (at last).

Why don’t Stratfordians protest about the long-term problem of traffic pollution. Especially as the solution has been searched for, for far too long. (The solution – Ban Traffic. There, that was easy wasn’t it).

This is serious stuff. The effects of traffic pollution especially on Children and old folks like me are well known.

Why haven’t they taken to the streets to let their views known? Do Stratfordian’s care? Do they have views? About anything?

(At this point I was going to mention writing to Stratford’s member of Parliament but then I remembered it was Nadhim Zahawi).

Anyway, just to say in anticipation, yes I am willing to take part in a protest and if you agree with me that this is a very important issue…

SOONER RATHER THAN LATER…

On being mixed-race.

How many different types of US there are…

Happy Birthday to me.

Zahawi poised to take throne?

Breaking news from the Stratford upon Avon Herald.

 

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…

BUT PLEASE, CAN WE STOP, HAVE A GOOD LOOK AT OURSELVES & RE-START BY GETTING EVERYTHING INTO PERSPECTIVE?

* 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.

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 synchronised 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

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