Last Visit to Stoke Bruerne

The small not quite shuffling steps

Faintly echoing the breezy strides of just a year ago

Take him over the clipped grass

With almost tidied wrappings

Towards the steps that flank the lock

The unfamiliar effort makes him breathe deeply

The scents of summer rushing through

Bringing recollections with unremembered joy

And it is a relief not to think or dwell

On what is happening and will happen

And to feel happiness that doesn’t come from a bottle or a pill

But from the place and the company, his son, his wife

and the simple natural sounds that have reclaimed old industry

And turned it into a place apart

Absorbed into the natural cycle

as beautiful and as terrible as life has always been.

And all too quickly his strength fades and he rests

staring with brimming eyes over the sun reflecting stillness

of the pound where a moorhen tends to her chicks and

A dragonfly hunts

and rushes tremble

In time with his heart

 

No News Isn’t Good News

I’ve become a little addicted to Twitter, so I occasionally just don’t use it, don’t watch the news, read a newspaper or anything that might feed my feelings of despair. The thing is, whilst I’m away doing outdoory sort of things big things happen that aren’t good. Here is a list of things that happened when I have been having news breaks;

  1. Covid 19 (the early bits or prequel)
  2. Brexit (some bits)
  3. Killing of George Floyd
  4. Another rise in global warming

I could go on but won’t, things don’t stop happening if you don’t look at them BUT I do feel a bit better about myself and my fellow humans so the breaks are good even if the news isn’t

Indifference

                                         Indifference

As the Kestrel hovers, trembling like a new leaf in the breeze

Judging the moment to abandon its efforts to defy gravity

Ready to fall as a dropped hammer

With curved knives to pierce the life

Of a mouse, stilled in its skittering

Pausing, about to chew upon cast away seeds flung from the khaki grass

That may still yet become reborn;

A friendship of lambs with heads down nibbling and chewing

Intent on consuming the sweetest and tenderest tips

Fail to notice the theatre of a life in its final moments.

On The Death of Two Ash Trees

Chalara the Destroyer     
Part of the ring is broken,

Felled by chainsaw ripping through disease

Danger averted but majesty destroyed

 

Mysterious root of the ancient people

Provider of tools

Heater of homes

Cooker of food

Healer

Strong

Wise

Gone

 

No longer do you stretch to the heavens

No longer do you delve the earth depths

No longer do you connect

Oak and Hawthorn abandoned so the three are divided

Fae have flown.

 

A tear in the garment of the earth

A hole in the living order

Heaven un-tethered

 

Will the Meliae* come again?

Will the ring  be made whole?

Will that living link between earth and heaven be remade?

 

The mighty ones have fallen

Air too dirty, soil too salted, water too foul

To resist

 

We must plant again

Make our soil living again

Make our water pure again

Make our air clean again

 

Nurture and serve our mighty Ash

Re-birth the magic

Re-connect heaven and earth

Re-make the ring.

 

 

 

*Meliae – Ash tree nymphs(dryads)

Jerusalem – A National Anthem

Westfield

Jerusalem

And could those ancient feet of inspiration

Walk now on England’s pastures green

Or would the Lamb of God be waiting in Calais

Excluded.

Those feet would not walk on the cracked, fracked rolling hills,

That countenance divine would not be welcome in the

Satanic Mills made over to be shopping malls,

And the army of God has disappeared

With its burning gold bows for sale in retro stores

And chariots of fire traded in for 4 x4s with aircon and 0% finance,

Swords are asleep as hands are full of keyboards and phones

The arrows of desire  pre packaged

And marketed for ‘only your pleasure’,

 

Exhausted from the mental fight and drowning in lakes of wine

The deserting army has ceased the fight

And looking around we know

That while we sang that we would build Jerusalem

We have built Babylon instead.

 

Who Are These Strangers?

Who are these strangers,

Threatening our way of life,

Threatening our decency

Threatening our morality

Dragging our country down

Who only care for themselves

Who are willing to do anything, anything, for money

Who are these strangers who have broken up communities

Who have thrown people out from their homes

Who have abandoned the young and the innocent

Who have turned deceit into a lifestyle?

 

They are not the quiet ones who spend hours and hours each week running food banks and soup kitchens

They are not the thousand upon thousand who run, cycle, swim and dance for charity,

They are not the cheerful volunteers doing their best to help the creaking schools and hospitals, parks and canals, libraries and museums

They are not the millions of parents struggling to give their children the best start in life

They are not the ones who struggle to keep a roof over their heads

They are not the truly religious who selflessly give and give and give again

They are not the huggers and laughers who brighten our days

They are not the decent majority looking out for others always willing to lend a hand

They have not got England’s dirt under their fingernails

They have not sweated for a pittance

They have not grafted for others

 

 

These strangers look like you or me

These strangers are not from abroad,

They live in our villages, towns and cities

They drive on the same streets as we do

They walk on the same pavements we do

But they are not the same as us

 

 

They are the people who would turn away a child in need

They are the people who would seek profit from your sickness

They are the people who would sell your schools

They are the people who would lie to you, cheat, you, misrepresent you

They are the people who would make war on others

They are the people who would belittle you because you care

They are the people who would take away your voice and vote, if they could,

They are the people who make me ashamed because I have to share my country with them

And they act in my name even though I did not vote for them.

 

These strangers, how did we let them in to our beautiful lives,  how have we let them take charge of our beautiful country, how did we let it get so bad?

 

written the day after 297 Tory MPs voted not to take 3000 unaccompanied refugee children, the day after the Hillsborough inquest reached its verdict and on the day when doctors were striking because they  cared for the NHS. 

Emperor Education’s New Clothes 2018

Education in 2018 is like the Emperor with no clothes interpreted by the Orwellian nightmare of 1984.

In 2018 unclothed Education parades around embarrassingly, being flattered by political parties and their legions of willfully ignorant followers into believing that it is clothed in the rich and beautiful cloth of culture enlightenment and civilisation.

The backwards looking wealthy and powerful, myopically and rosetintedly see Education as clothed  in the terrifying 1950s private school style not seeing through their self delusion the brutal nakedness it really was. Bizarrely, they seek to impose this view on everyone.

The Orwellianesque OfSTED  insecurity forces stalk about seizing on the unsuspecting and bullying them. Through the ‘proof’ of carefully worded and weighted tests and measures they forcing them to agree that Education is, in fact, clothed in garments of ever increasing splendor.

The few people left who seek to make real clothes for Education using scientific research, analysis and reasoned argument are scorned and ignored whilst the sly, populist media deceive the unsuspecting general population into believing the blackwhite doublethinking drivel that clogs up their screens and newspapers.

Isn’t it time that someone pointed and laughed?

An Opportunity to Change Flavour?

sidneyIt seems as though the UK General Election is gathering momentum leading up to the vote in May. Where does that leave people loving citizens?

Well it is a bit like being in an ice cream shop, you have to be in the shop, but they only seem to sell ice cream and no other food. You can have many different kinds of ice cream but they are all ice cream. You could move to another shop but almost all shops sell only ice cream. The few shops that sell something different are heavily discriminated against by the ice cream shops, some of the shops sell dangerous food that could make you sick or kill you while others seem to be OK but are beginning to sell more and more ice cream. So the choice is, what flavour of ice cream do you want?

OK a bit of an Eric Cantona ramble but it seems to me that we have no real radical choices at the election, we are locked into a monetary system that puts money as the aim rather than true prosperity. This is concerning because whilst the world and some individuals  are getting richer I see many  living poorer lives with less time for each other, less time to care for what is around them and less time to build strong communities. Fewer and fewer people are in power, – in the UK local democracy has been hamstrung and all power and control is in the hands of a few people in Westminster. I am really uncomfortable with this and wish to vote for change.

Maybe the only real alternative is the Green Party – radical policies and putting people and the environment first. Maybe they are the cabbage in the ice cream shop. Maybe I will vote Green as the other choices are just different flavours of the same old approach.

Spatchcock Christmas Turkey

OK, so there is no recipe here but don’t you just feel that sometimes you are that spatchcocked turkey? Sometimes it feels like you have been opened up, gutted and broken. The turkey is a great metaphor, its life controlled from birth, fed a controlled diet and had its experiences restricted. Of course the turkey, like us, isn’t too aware of these things it is just the world where it exists. Where we can be different is that it is possible to become aware of what is happening and I believe thousands and probably millions of us are becoming aware of just how turkey like our society makes us. We seek alternatives and we find them everywhere, some are diversions but I believe that the natural world and in particular plants show us the way forward.

More on this another time.

Worried About Which Way To Vote in UK?

With thanks to Prince Ponce – copied directly from his comment on Cassetteboys great video see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YBumQHPAeU&ytsession=5PIq_55FZtiYE1w9oA282dZDQx77iiiLIFscuVToKnkdWAgxAA963cG9gnRBJjjD77jNsynbuU26NOJPO0CEQ7qn3VY2gujDuKWp6W2caLGZyP6m1UyZ271Bqru4nta1vvBNr5cRhGdrZpBvY5uv24Mq0jhb9ukYe-z-on9Qoh1UYaqOAQkYkMpLCcjxV536jAgQG98UK1VaEweKRkfdE6HLu9YXegrf1pS12BykRCycGPPWLkWe9SpUxRukd1YY45zqsvXADRN0XVuHycW0QmBwddbVkDI5znuRmBqLfVuxGDXlbNkLLP3fO-LkZKIONNkhckd7PQE

‘As if wanting to take away our human rights wasn’t enough.,,,,.

A HUNDRED THINGS THAT THE TORIES ARE NOT BOASTING ABOUT AND THE DAILY MAIL & THE SUN ARE NOT PRINTING..
Tories have axed 576 Sure Start Centres.
Bankers’ Bonuses have risen by 64% in just 1 year.
Food Bank usage has grown by 700%+ in 3 years.
1 million are now employed on Zero-Hours Contracts.
The Disabled have suffered real term cuts of 1.7% this year in benefits some now live in official poverty as defined by the DWP.
52,701 firms have been declared Insolvent.
379,968 persons have been declared Insolvent.
Unemployment is 20,000+ higher today than May 2010.
Private Rental Homes costs £9,084 to rent (£1,128 up from Apr 2010)
Tories have axed 5,601 Nurses since May 2010.
Council Tax rises imposed on the poor & disabled have led to 450,000 being summoned to courts since April.
1 million people have had to sell their family home to pay for Elderly Care in the last 5 years (in fairness that does include 2 years of a Labour government). HOWEVER Cameron promised that no one would have to sell their family home to pay for elderly care.
More than 250,000 Disabled people have been forced to take place in the Work Programme unpaid.
Water Charges are up 20% since 1 Apr 2010.
20% of Law Firms are facing bankruptcy and 500 have shut in 6 months amid Legal Aid cuts.
Stamp Prices are up 46-56% since May 2010.
Suicide Rates have climbed 8% in just 1 year.
Number of Children in Class Sizes of more than 30 has doubled in a year.
Free Schools are under-subscribed but they get more money per pupil & freeze out poor kids.
Tories axed 5,000 Firefighters and hundreds of Fire Stations.
Waiting Lists for families seeking to rent social housing have soared to record highs.
Housing Benefit Bill has climbed to more than £20 billion as Private Landlords cash in with record rents.
The number of Cancelled Operations in our NHS have doubled and are at their worst for 8 years.
OBR predict Household Debt will grow more than £500bn this parliament.
The Tories sold the Royal Mail for 50% less than it’s now valued.
Gas Prices are up 31% since May 2010.
Homelessness is up 28-34% since May 2010.
Rough Sleeping in London has grown 85% since Boris Johnson became Mayor.
House Building, last year, fell to a 90 year peacetime low.
Electricity prices are up 22-39% in price since May 2010.
The UK suffered a 97% drop in Affordable House starts in 6 months under Grant Shapps .
£12bn+ of NHS has been put up for sale under this government.
33% of NHS Walk In Centres have been axed.
Wage Growth is just 0.7% which is much lower than inflation.
Profit Tax is to be cut by 25% (from 28% to 21%).
3.5 million now live in Child Poverty as Tory welfare cuts & sluggish wage growth bite.
800,000 more households are living in Fuel Poverty & this excludes the impact of recent price rises.
Numbers of Working Poor have doubled in 3 years & include homes with 2.2mill children.
Numbers living in temporary accommodation have grown 11.4% since Q2 2010.
‘The 50p rate’ High Earner Tax was cut by 10% (from 50p to 45p)
VAT Tax was hiked by 14% (from 17.5% to 20%)
EMA was scrapped for 500,000 as drop out rates climb
Bedroom Tax clobbered 660,000 of which 2/3rs are disabled & 1/4 single parents.
The Tories and their Lib Dem pals trebled Tuition Fees.
Record number of PFI contracts signed in the first year of a Tory government.
Bus Fares are up 22% under the Tories.
£5bn spent on back to work schemes that are less than 2% successful.
7,968 Hospital Beds Axed.
Rail Fares are up 27% since 2010.
The Number of GCSE Students getting A/A* Grades has fallen by 6% since 2010.
35,000 Police personnel have lost their jobs under the Tories.
42,000 Armed Forces personnel to lose their jobs even though £2bn went unspent.
Tories abolished Equality Impact Assessments to cover up the immorality of their policies.
Tories lost several court cases against NHS closures & the Risk Register.
The Tories halved a worker’s right to 90 days Redundancy Notice.
£168m in donations are raked in by the Tories including £20m from Private Health.
Chair of UK Statistics Authority tells Gove to stop lying about Education.
Chair of UK Statistics Authority tells Hunt to stop lying about NHS Spending.
Chair of UK Statistics Authority tells Cameron to stop lying about Debt Reduction.
National Debt has risen £447 billion.
NHS Spending did not rise as promised.
NHS ‘Never Events’ have more than trebled (evidence)
NHS Negligence complaints lodged have increased 49% since 2010.
35,000+ NHS Staff have been axed.
5,000 Firefighters have been axed.
Minimum Wage rises have been below inflation every year of Tory rule.
University Applications fell by 6% in Jan 2013.
Treatments are no longer free on the NHS in parts of England.
10 Prisons have been axed & 4 more are to close.
4 Profit Making Prisons have been opened.
The Tax Gap has grown by £3bn to £35bn in the last year alone [evasion/avoidance]
6% of Prison Cells have been cut in 1 year.
£829m cut from the Children’s & Families Budget.
The percentage of A-Level Students getting A/A* has fallen 3% since 2010.
Food Prices are up 19% under the Tories.
11,000 Fat Cat NHS Bosses given a 13% pay hike while nurses pay frozen.
At least a third of Ambulance Stations have been axed since 2010.
NHS GP Funding cut by £400 million.
NHS Funding For Cancer, Stroke & Heart Patients cut by 12-26%.
A&Es waiting times at their worst for 8+ years.
Michael Gove overspent £1bn on Free Schools & Academies at State Schools expense.
NHS Direct was axed and replaced by a botched and fragmented NHS111.
NHS Patient Satisfaction went from record high under Labour to record low under the Tories.
Government wasted £1.4 billion on NHS Staff Redundancy Payouts.
Government axed a plan to rebuild 715 Crumbling Schools.
Just 3% of CEOs in the FTSE 350 are Women & Cameron has fueled a more Sexist tone to our politics.
31% of UK women have suffered Domestic Abuse and it has risen in 25% after the Tories came to power. Legal Aid cuts, police cuts & the Bedroom Tax make it harder for women to escape it.
Tories cut Child Benefit for middle-class families while giving tax cuts to millionaires.
Number of people Working Unpaid is at a 13 year high.
The Government used your taxes to fund Racist Vans that drove around London warning immigrants to “Go Home”. The Advertising Standards Authority has now banned them.
1.8 million workers now earn less than the National Minimum Wage.
More than 600,000 Public Sector workers have been axed.
Job creation: There were more workers born in the UK employed in Britain in Jul-Sept 2010 than 3 years later on 30 June 2013.
On world disability day the Tories shut 36 Remploy Factories and axed 1,000 disabled workers.
Job Creation: 70% of new jobs created in the UK under the Tories have gone to non-UK citizens which makes a lie of the Tory claim they’ve created a million new jobs.
95 Tory Fat Cat Academy Bosses rake in more than MPs with the top 10 giving themselves £2million between them.
The Tories have Privatised Educational Services, Auditing, Consultancy and Prison Services worth £5 billion.
Were it not for Ed Miliband & the pressure of the UK public Cameron would have taken us to war in Syria.
Tories have Privatised 1 major NHS Hospital, have put another major hospital up for sale and have handed 12 community hospitals to profiteers.
Sure Start Funding has been cut by 28% as Cameron breaks his SureStart promise,
In total the Tories have broke 12 key promises to the people that gave them their vote.’