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.

Breaking news from the Stratford upon Avon Herald.

The Shit Police.

Resources low but battle goes bravely on…

No rest for the shitting dogs of Stratford upon Avon.

A spokesperson for the Stratford upon Avon police (A.C.D. Animal crap division) said today…

‘All our officers undergo an intensive training period at the end of which they are able to identify at least thirty types of animal waste product eminating from the bowel area. They are trained to work in all types of weather and perhaps more importantly at night where their training enables them to identify animal faeces by smell alone’.

 

The Stratfordian
Stratford Police at Shottery Fields.  Stratford-upon-Avon ·
Several near misses of dog 💩 today whilst out on patrol on Shottery fields! 🤮 Gross!!
The Sergeant wasn’t impressed!

Happy Birthday to me.

Zahawi poised to take throne?

The (destructive) power of Prayer.

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

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

 

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.

 

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).

Confession time; Losing his faith (Part I)

CONFESSION TIME.

I have to admit that I get some perverse enjoyment from telling people that I am an ex-priest who has, from day one of holiness, been losing his faith.

One:  I like to see the confused look on their faces when they realise they are confronted with someone who has so easily dismissed something they have been searching for or at least been trying to understand for most of their adult life.

And two: It’s not true.

To cut to the chase.

I have most certainly lost my faith but most certainly not in (for want of a better word), *God.

My faith (if I ever really and truthfully, had any) is totally gone in the C of E.

I have stopped believing in the Church of England.

And if the truth were really to be known, the only reason that they (CofE) became part of my life in the first place is because, they were there.

Like some huge blockade, I had to go through them to get to where I thought I wanted to be. They were/are the self-appointed gatekeepers. Custom Control.

They’re the Ones who led me astray and attempted to clone me. They are the Ones who put their grubby hands upon me, dressed me up in outlandish costume, gave me a script to read and let me go blundering dangerously, like a bad actor into the community.

So I blame them.

I blame them from disallowing true exploration into what was calling me.

I blame them for leading me away from who I truly was/am.

I blame them for supplying me with a false narrative and indoctrinating me day in (especially on Sundays) and day out.

I now realise that organised faith systems are always based on abuse.

And I am ashamed to realise at this at such a late hour.

I am ashamed that I was part of a system that basically told innocent people that they were not good enough and their only chance at something called ‘redemption’ would be to change.

I am ashamed because I could and should been concentrating more on the uniqueness of what each person in their own right had to offer. I should have been building confidence in realities not wishy-washy, pie in the sky when you die remedies.

I should have been pushing ‘WORTH’ not ‘worthlessness’.

I am truly sorry…it won’t happen again.

THEOLOGY FOR ALL

 

*God. This will be in part II (maybe).

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

Facing up to it.

70 years on the throne

Short Poem: Happy Days.

Is there a price to comedy?

 

 

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

Since I’ve returned to painting (a long story for another time), I’ve had a lot of people say to me, ‘I wish I could do that. I wish I could paint’. This has always amazed me for a number of reasons.

First of all, because it sounds just like I used to be.

Painting (and writing) were the things I wanted to do more than anything in the world but for various and ever-increasing ridiculous reasons and reasoning these activities seemed miles away and ‘not for the likes of me’. A standpoint that I want to make clear came entirely from me. No-one else was to blame. Not mum not dad, not some errant careers’ master, nope just me and an outlook on the world that somehow had me lower down the food chain than was healthy.

At the beginning of my webpage I describe my art as ‘Naïve’. As far as I’m concerned all I am doing here is explaining by use of the word ‘Naïve’ is to say that I have not been trained. No fancy art school for me.

The opportunities to receive that kind of training were a mystery to me. And once again, no-one’s fault just me not paying attention. That’s how it was. That, if I’m honest is how my life has been. A life unplanned. Chaotic some might say. But that’s OK. There’s no going back to change things. And perhaps more importantly, no regrets.

How the desire to create whether writing or painting came to me, I have no idea. Like everything else, it just happened. The odd thing was, it came with a proviso.

If I was to do anything related to those things then, there was no way I could or would take any aspect of writing or painting as a ‘hobby’. No way would it become just a pastime. No way would I use it as just ‘filling in time’. It had in my case to be taken seriously or not at all.

Very commendable you might say but unfortunately that kind of attitude has its hardships, its ups and downs. The worst one to try and get over is the fact that no matter how serious you take yourself, it’s a pain in the arse if no-one else does. Which takes me back to those that say, ‘I wish I could do that. I wish I could paint’.

These days we are obsessed with the official stamp of approval.

And I get that. Letters behind our name tell others that we have spent a period of time ‘training’. Exam qualifications tell people that we have passed some kind of test winning the approval of er…someone else. What those qualifications don’t do is tell anyone if we are any good (whatever that means). And therein lies my point…

We can all create. And what we make is unique BECAUSE there is no-one else like us. We paint, we write…LIKE NO-ONE ELSE.

That’s not to say we aren’t influenced by other artists, writers. Of course we are and that’s no bad thing. That’s how we learn of techniques, styles, methods all of which we can try ourselves. But here’s the thing…

Imagine knowing nothing.

Imagine doing it all for yourselves. Imagine exploring all the above with no guidance. How exciting is that.

Imagine coming up with something of your own pure creation. Imagine no-one ‘queering your pitch’ and telling you ‘that’s wrong’ or ‘that’s right’. Fantastic.

So to all those who say to me ‘I wish I could do that. I wish I could paint’ my answer is always the same. ‘YOU CAN’.

There’s no-one that dare stop you because the only weapons they have are ‘rules’.

Rules that have no strength, no power of their own. And who was it who said ‘rules are meant to be broken’.

An act of creation is art.

And your own personal act of creation overrules any challenge. It stands on its own. Released into the world and never to be repeated.

No matter how it was done. On a whim. Over days, weeks even years. No matter. You did it therefore it is unique. A one off.

And YOU, painter or writer are responsible.

MAGIC.

IFH.

Other stuff to read.

Facing up to it.

70 years on the throne

Short Poem: Happy Days.

Is there a price to comedy?

Guns for Good: The scourge of the firearm.

 

Facing up to it.

Well, I’ve tried everything to put it off. But I’ve finally put my big boy trousers on and begun facing up to it.

It’s my heart.

It’s not Covid. Long ot short. It’s not panic attacks and it’s certainly not some exotic and as of yet unnamed and undiscovered disease. I’ve tried everything I can to not face the truth. But I know in my heart of hearts (see what I did there)…

It’s my heart.

It’s the exact same symptoms that I experienced about three/four years ago when on holiday in Cornwall.

Shortness of breath. Tiredness. Uncomfortable feeling in the throat etc.

The same symptoms I had before being miraculously cured by the insertion of three stents into one of the arteries of my heart…but here we go again.

The Stratfordian

I’ve been to see the doctor and he thinks it can be handled by increasing one of the drugs I’ve been taking since the stents thing. So, following his advice I’ve increased the dosage and so far…nothing has changed.

Nope. It’s my heart and I’m off to see the Heart specialist…

Here we go again.

Wish me luck.

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.

Is there a price to comedy?

First of all let me set out my wares . I like Ricky Gervais.

He makes me laugh.

And yet amongst all that side-splitting he also makes me feel uncomfortable.

Above all he intrigues me and makes me want to ask…

Is there a price to comedy?

I find myself wondering how far he will go and how long he will last.

My actual view is he’s tested the water and is in the throes of having a last fling because he knows full well that it won’t be long before he faces the ‘Will Smith Syndrome’. and it could be worse than a slap. In fact it could be…cancellation.

I think that he has made enough money to retire into the background and just come up with ideas rather than expose himself on what I believe is becoming a dangerous, arena.

The right wing are crawling slowly out from beneath their stones ready able and very willing to ban books, bawdyness and anything else that begins with a ‘B’.

For me the question here is …

’Should comedy have boundaries’.

Once again I say, I like Ricky Gervais because he makes me laugh so it follows that  because laughter feeds him and encourages more of the same it also makes me complicit in the misery some say he inflicts upon the innocent (?) So, I have to stop and think and ask myself who are the casualties?

Every joke he makes about gender disparity, every humorous mime he performs depicting a sick child. Every time he pretends to put himself in the shoes of the different, the outsider he, some say, hurts someone.

And still I laugh.

The truth is that I know…

I know every giggle; every guffaw is based on a truth. Whether its people slipping on a banana skin or falling off a ladder, most of us see the funny side and conveniently forget that there are consequences to these seemingly humorous incidents. Which in turn begs the question…

Does everything have a funny side?

In my world and remembering what I have laughed at over the years I would have to plead guilty.

Comedy is an unusual and dangerous beast. An animal that has its uses. There is no doubt that laughing at ourselves and the way we live our lives can save us from living in eternal guilt and misery, releasing as it does self-healing endorphins to take us ‘out of ourselves’.

But there’s the other side. There’s a price we pay.

Actually. When we laugh, the truth is most of the time we are laughing at the misfortune of others. It is actually not ‘ourselves’ that we are laughing at. Although we say that we can recognise ourselves in the humour, that, i believe is just an excuse.

What we are really saying when we look at the targets of our ‘humour’ is ‘Thank God it’s not us’.

Our laughter is actually one huge sigh of relief.

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

70 years on the throne

Short Poem: Happy Days.

Guns for Good: The scourge of the firearm.

 

Guns for Good: The scourge of the firearm.

The StratfordianI think the most obvious thing that America faces is the Truth.

And that is...it is far too late and therefore  impossible to rid itself of the scourge of the firearm.

They have made this bed and now they must lie in it. The best they can do is…tinker. Unfortunately, the wherewithal to do even that, appears not to be there.

No matter how many adults and children are shot criminally dead the powers, those in charge appear to be frozen to the spot.  Even the task of making just it a little bit more difficult for the insane, slightly mad and those in between to acquire is beyond even the brightest in the nation.

And I can see why. The fact is…

…it would make no difference.

It’s pretty obvious that even if gun sales were banned (not gonna happen partner) there are so many firearms around that it wouldn’t take much to set up a thriving underground market to cater for any nutter who wants one.

The abundance of guns easily matches the number of nutters…

And let’s face it, with America’s relationship to the great god Money,  the thought of making a few extra dollars by selling their personal arsenal to the crazies down the road would no doubt appeal to the majority of the great American family. And what a wonderful opportunity to buy upscale and maybe buy a missile system.

The fact is, America is a hotbed of extreme views. A country/continent where even Them and Us is impossible due to every view under the sun having a voice backed up in a lot of cases by extreme violence.

Everyone in America is afraid of their neighbour. And protecting their family from the ‘system’ that they themselves have created, is perhaps understandably, a priority. And then there’s the fact that thanks to the all-encompassing ‘American dream’,even the lunatics can end up running the asylum. See recent history.

America is lost.

THE NEW ATLANTIS.

Primitives with money and power who, given time will destroy themselves.

Trouble is, they may take us down with them.

Being Nadhim Zahawi

Rising as the cock crows

Dark and Light

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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