Blog 77 – 14.7.16 Brexit 4: Tick for Brexit?

Hmmm…I might stop writing about Brexit soon..but in the meantime:

Remainer: ‘What exactly is Brexit going to do for us…eh? What exactly?’

Leaver: ‘Set us free! Give us control of our borders!’

Remainer: ‘And?’

Leaver: ‘Give the political elite, the financial elite and the London elite a kick up the backside. They haven’t listened to us for decades…bet they’re listening now…’

The Leavers are right…their ears have pricked up…everyone’s ears have pricked up…Brexit has made lots of previously apathetic citizens interested in politics. At least for the time being. Tick for Brexit.

My 20 minutes on the cross-trainer at the gym today was carried out with occasional strange jerks as I near burst into tears (with what exactly…joy was it? pride maybe?) while I was watching Sky News on the little TV screen attached to the machine (http://news.sky.com/story/zimbabwes-citizens-not-backing-down-anymore-10501747). A non-politician called Pastor Evan Mawarire (of the social-media-assisted ‘ThisFlag’ movement) had walked free from a Zimbabwean court, his country’s flag wrapped around him, after being tried (unsuccessfully) for being rude to Mr. Mugabe…or some such. It was what he and the crowds around him (all wrapped in their national flag) seemed to be saying as he walked along…’we are not backing down…we have had enough of corruption…of being bullied and intimidated by the political elite…enough of not being heard…of being fearful ….the people have spoken…we have a voice.’  It seems they want to peacefully ‘take back their country’..and were no longer afraid to say so. Britain is not Zimbabwe…but some of this was sounding rather familiar…maybe the UK has crystalised a ‘take back our country’ zeitgeist? Could the UK end up inspiring other people to peacefully ‘take back control’? If the zeitgeist is about equality and fairness at all levels of society – then that’s amazing. If its flipside is jingoistic nationalism and xenophobia…well…I think the world has been there before… and it’s not pretty.

So…the Brexiteers…perhaps individually have their own, personal (some may say suspect) reasons for wanting to ‘take back control’ but maybe, collectively, they are a shining example of people power – the unheard echelons with nothing to lose, ignoring the powers that be and fearlessly saying NO!? Could it be that the Remainers…nay…the world, may end up thanking the Brexiteers?….really? Wow! Maybe this is all a little fanciful…but I’m trying to look for the good in Brexit…and, it could be a stretch…but omg… I just might find it.

jx

Zimbabwe flag

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Blog 76 -13.7.16. Brexit 3: now let’s just start that again

Sorry about this….but I have to tell you that until a few days ago I was pretty depressed…and I’ve never knowingly been depressed before….it’s a constantly present fug of hopelessness that pervades everything. Not even my busted achilles left me feeling like this.

I actually managed to speak to my local MP…she had voted IN…she mentioned that all the EU countries have people who want out…and Brexit may result in reform in the EU..but too late for us. Some say that the Brits have always led the way – first to get rid of/dis-empower our kings; first to industrialise, home of democracy….

I went for a walk and found myself at Sainsbury’s where I found 2 old guys standing outside shaking their heads and saying ‘what a mess’ …surprisingly they had voted IN…almost without exception everyone I spoke to over 65 voted OUT. We consoled each other for 5 minutes or so…realising that there was no other way to go but onwards and upwards.

I decided to sleep in our upstairs spare room that night…it is a spacious but comforting and cosy loft room with sloping ceiling and a smallish dormer window. I didn’t actually sleep all that well (as I expected to)…but somehow I felt very much better the next morning…I did some gratitude journalling (see Good Stuff page) and then decided that there was something decidedly wrong with my own bedroom. I looked around at the attic room….lower ceiling, less clutter and no mirrors facing the bed….I wondered what feng shui had to say about this and lo and behold, mirrors facing bed is a no-no. So today, the wall mirrors have gone (now inside wardrobe door) and I’m getting rid of stuff…throwing out the old and superfluous. The background fug of depression has gone. I don’t know what it’s like to get divorced …but I have a funny feeling that if you are the divorce-er and have decided to walk out, the initial feeling of trepidation at what you’ve done may be followed by a feeling of freedom and opportunity – a feeling that you can turn the page and start something new….and something better.

jx

dormer window

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Blog 75 – 2.7.16. Brexit 2: DON’T read the papers

Chaos, turmoil, back and front stabbing…no it’s not an urban riot, it’s the political elite reeling while the rest of us basically Keep Calm and Carry On. A very British revolution.

Here’s my advice to the poor folk who have to sort this out (incidently, it seems more and more likely that a whole bunch of women are going to be clearing up this mess and I’m really looking forward to that. In fact if Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon was interested in the rest of the UK, I’d vote for her!). I’m no expert, but by all accounts, neither is anyone else…so here it is…here’s what to do guys…I mean, gals:

  1. Bring in a proportional representation (PR) voting system….then hopefully more voices can be heard
  2. Set up the newly required Department of Trade in Birmingham (ie outside of London)
  3. Pay lots of cash to the best trade negotiators, wherever we can find them.
  4. Consider moving parliament (permanently or temporarily) to Birmingham or Manchester – the existing Houses of Parliament are in very expensive disrepair and the building is, in many ways, unfit for purpose.
  5. Get used to coalition government when necessary (this may focus their attention on good government instead of whether they are in power or not).
  6. Modify or get rid of the lobby system/stop cosying up to media moguls
  7. Make it a top priority to invest in wind energy/green energy so we’re not beholden to anyone for fuel.
  8. Proceed with airport expansion/HS2 railway scheme.
  9. Re property development – change planning laws so that all new London/city developments must sell/rent at least 75% of their units to British residents before they can market anything abroad.
  10. Heavily promote investment by housing associations in mixed rented housing in the south-east in particular and by housing associations/private developers/institutions in private rented housing country-wide to increase rented housing – including retirement housing.
  11. You will have to do something about immigration; but don’t send back any resident EU citizens (it would only cause retaliation and ill-feeling with the EU) and remember we need people to come and work here for all sorts of reasons. Also…be aware that immigrants want to go to peaceful, stable, economically thriving places where they can be free to be who they are and fulfil their potential….also… they follow the money….if immigration totally dries up… will the UK follow suit?

I’ve sussed why the cat is always happy…he doesn’t read the newspapers, he just sleeps on them.

cat on news.jpg

jx

 

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Blog 74 – 25.6.16. Brexit 1: EU kidding me??

Dear Folks….I’m finding myself needing to write..but not about my leg. My leg will survive. I’m not so sure about the UK, following the historic European Union (EU) referendum. I feel I woke up yesterday in a parallel universe. I’m generally an optimistic person but I really need someone to tell me something really, really fantastically good about leaving the EU. All I feel is that the UK has been broken, its economy being shattered…all for some nebulous ideas of sovereignty and against big business, when we live in a globalised, multi-national and connected world that will remain so, whether we are in the EU or not. I am depressed….usually I try to find hope…but just now, I can find nothing. Maybe London’s underground will be a little bit more comfortable because there are ‘less immigrants clogging it up’. Maybe house prices will fall and rents will be lower. I fear there will be great anger and resentment against the Brexiteers when the s**t hits the fan, (which it is already doing)…. and this may lead to social unrest. I guess this is what happens when people feel they don’t have a voice…I’m pretty sure that the introduction of proportional representation (PR) might have averted this. I guess one way to be heard is to smash something. The Brexiteers don’t seem to realise that this could end with fragmentation/unrest/more wars in Europe – as our exit has wider ramifications than their fear of immigration/dislike of big business. I am passionate about the right to vote …but right now I don’t feel I will ever vote again. The stability and well-being of our country creates the back-drop of all our individual thinking and planning, whether we are aware of it or not….what’s in the background now?

I need another country to move to. Who will have me? Where will I find the tolerant, stable, peace-loving, dynamic, involved, connected, outward looking country that the UK used to be? We have given up a unique and privileged one foot in/one foot out position in the EU that we will never be able to obtain again – the best of both worlds…even if the EU is  unquestionably flawed.

I am resilient..but this is an earth-shattering strike for me and for the UK. We will both take a long time to recover… and people will suffer. I can’t believe I’m writing this. Have to believe it will all come good. I believe the world can do great things when it acts as one. One body…like the man said…none can function without the other. Anyone up for a forming a new, democratic, trading club? How about you, Norway/Sweden/Denmark? And Iceland. Love Iceland.

Oh well, at least it’s a lovely day today.

EU vote_150935

So long, and thanks for all the fish…

jx

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Achilles Blog 73 – 2016 Event Horizon

Folks…I haven’t posted ‘cos my leg is fixed (no it isn’t) and I didn’t think I had anything else to say….on Achilles tendons at least. My leg has yet to recover full muscle size and ankle flexibility…and I’m working on it…and I’m walking on it. Stunning, amazing leg. Stunning amazing body. Trying its best to do what I tell it to do and believing whatever I believe…so I better believe good…

I’ve said it before I think…walking is the key. It might be the key to nearly everything….when you walk you can check things out…the bare branches of the trees, the Christmas decorations, the cloudy sky, the stunning moon, a clean pavement, the latest model of the Audi A3,..who has moved in across the road?.. neighbour Sylvia accosting someone to help her with her shopping, newly painted railings, children on new scooters….our great new street lamps…and you are in the real reality, instead of the one to come, the one that’s been…or the fantasy one on line. It’s the only one that doesn’t stress me out I think….where all I have to do is be in it. And my legs get to do what they were born to do.

Don’t really want to make resolutions for 2016…worried about breaking them. But I think it’s worth focusing on what I want…and then maybe immediately forgetting it (think (husband) Jay calls this an ‘event horizon’…when you move to a doorway/boundary and immediately forget why you’re there/what you came for. But at least you’re heading to what you were looking for). The New Year is a doorway to the next bit. I’m just gonna have a feeling good focus…and heat-seek anything that fits the bill I think. Gosh…just remembered I stumbled across this Oprah Winfrey interview on line where a buddhist monk nails it for feeling good in relationships….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEUxFNkISnU. Could be useful for some post-holiday repairs…

Here’s to making 2016 a healing year…my body wants to be fantastic (I mean listen guys …it has an auto-repair function and just naturally wants to be great)…if we all focus on the smallest bits of great stuff that is always happening…there will be more healing all round.

jx

PS…don’t know when I’ll post again…but if I ever have anything to amuse or edify you with, you’ll get it emailed to you straightaway by hitting the ‘follow’ button.

night time snowglobe

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Achilles Blog 72 – 25.3.15. Now where was I?… ah yes, the Gym…

Well, it’s nearly a year since the accident. I can do pretty much everything I did before…but I’m on notice that my leg and other bits of my body need my continuing attention…..

My leg in plaster got me into all sorts of conversations over the last year…..but I didn’t expect my ‘Churchservice for Schools’ t-shirt to get me kissed by a total stranger. Myself and 4 other volunteers from local churches have been wearing these t-shirts while touring an Easter play around local primary schools and I forgot to take it off before I walked into the gym, thereby immediately catching the attention of 55 year old Dave, who had served a 25 year sentence for murdering a child abuser and had decided that since I had something to do with the Church, I would be open to hearing his story. I could have backed away… but he sat down at my table, showed me his Rolex and new trainers, calmly explained he was a gangster and knew all the ne’er-do-wells in south London and that he really, really loved his mum, who trailed around after him to jails around the country until she told him she couldn’t afford to do it anymore…and he finally realised the impact his actions had had on her life. After his detailed descriptions of life ‘inside’, I realised he was the genuine article. I also realised that a still angry man, who vehemently hates ‘nonces’ (Nonce (slang) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) and whom I would normally avoid/have nothing to do with, deserved my time and my and society’s forgiveness, and was in his own way, actually delightful. Which is probably why he shook my hand and gave me a kiss on the cheek before departing. Do you ever wonder why some things happen?  Do they maybe just happen? Maybe. Was there anything to be gained by busting my achilles tendon? No idea… but I now know I need to slow down and walk more. Was there anything to be gained by meeting Dave? No idea….but our little touring play tells children that Easter is about forgiveness….and maybe I have something to learn there…..
We perform the closing song in the Easter show (‘Sherbert Holmes and the Extraordinary Case of the Empty Tomb’) using sign language which was much appreciated, particularly in the special needs school we performed in… and if you want see how lovely it can be when a stranger unexpectedly talks to you, check this touching video of a hearing impaired young man…..https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyrnfQ9Vhk8

 

 

jx

ChurchService

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Achilles Blog 71 – 4.2.15. Walking back to happiness

Although the temperature is dropping significantly, the sun is beaming at me and nothing can stop the expectation that comes with knowing that the shortest day passed over a month ago and therefore…therefore….we are on the up again!!! Yay! … and so quickly!…the diary is already getting filled with stage management projects, party planning and more refurbishments… the year is fully skating along.

I’m such a multi-tasker! Oh yes. I can be buying tiles for a refurbishment while organising a vet appointment and planning the evening meal. I wake up in the morning with a list of jobs in my head, ready-formed and waiting to be ticked off….forehead covered in yellow post-it notes. Ready for action. I can be thinking about my rigorous exercise regime as I renew an insurance policy and text to confirm that I will be entertaining my god-daughter this weekend. I amaze myself. I can drive my niece to visit her sick mother and sort out a pressing school issue at the same time. And contact an electrician to replace that broken security light and a plumber for the dripping tap, all while typing this blog post. It’s all there. In my head. It’s only when I start snarling at my broadband service provider, or my bank, or when the tile supplier actually cowers as I approach that I realise I really, really can’t. I absolutely cannot multi-task successfully…I’ve been lying to myself. That’s why the car is so much more dangerous than just stopping me from walking….it helps fool me into thinking that my life will be better if I jam-pack a whole string of things on the way. But I am not interested in being in any other mood than….. the best mood.  So either I take the time to be in a good mood when I speak to the bank….or CHOOSE to be in a bad mood because I’ve stressed myself out trying to GET IT ALL DONE…AND PROPERLY TOO!!

So. I’m on a go-slow. I’m with Helen Shapiro. (Check her and the dancing in this fab retro video!! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwGGFo5FDew). And if I don’t quite get back to you in time, be assured that I will be in a really good mood when I do….

crossed out car

jx

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Achilles Blog 70 – 26.1.15. Oi! Show us yur muscles!

Sometimes I think I know better than the experts. I mean, it’s my body after all and I know my body better than they do. So I didn’t really like it when (hospital physio) Helen said –  get some off-the-peg orthotics (arch supports) to help with your over-pronation (foot/heel leaning inwards). No sir…. this is against barefoot-shoe rules as it will decrease my foot’s contact with the ground…but I knew I had to do something because the pull on my heel was stopping me from walking/exercising as much as I wanted to. I was instantly gratified by the amazing internet … which took me to some small silicone gel arch supports that basically only fill the arch area…. www.sturdyfoot.com/Non-Slip-Arch-Support-Silicone-Gel-Pads. Yay!.. pulling reduced… and foot can still feel the ground. But Dan at Vivobarefoot says this is like keeping your arm in a sling once the bone has healed – foot muscles will get weaker. What to do? I think I have to listen to my body and eschew the experts… so I’m going to use the supports, but hopefully strengthen my arch (with toe-gripping exercises) and maybe slowly wean myself off them….

OK. I’m cheating. I’m cheating just a bit….cos I’m doing some cycling instead of walking…and crossing my fingers that this is still helping my proprioception (see Achilles Blog 46)….so I cycled into St. Winifred’s Juniors and as I walked through the Yr 2/3 classroom to the reading room, I noticed they were doing science! I love science…and the children were doing muscles…so I thought I’d test them when they came in to read. Have you enjoyed your lessons today? Yes! said Fraser (7?)….and what muscles have you learnt? These ones (pointing to arm). And what are these ones called I asked (pointing to my arm). Ummm…..he said. Begins with ‘tri’ I said…..more Ummm. I try another tack…. where are your biceps?….Ummm…..Well, I said, helpfully…. your biceps are the ones you show off to your girlfriend….This brings forth a mini and surprisingly knowing guffaw, with a bigger guffaw from Mrs. Jackson. I give up ‘teaching’ muscles and get back to reading…

Oooo…and if you want to see how to get along without any biceps at all….check this incredible armless girl: http://hooplaha.com/2013/06/the-sole-to-persevere-2/

jx

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Achilles Blog 69 – 19.1.15. Hair trade

Gosh…getting into the habit of walking is going to take some serious brain re-training…..some serious slowing down, daily transport planning and generally more…….pacing. Do I have to? I hear myself in whining 8-year old mode. Yes. Because Mummy says so.

I had my very first counselling session last week – and it went remarkably well. I walked up to Blackheath in accordance with my ‘walk more’ programme, went through the doors of the hairdressers and sat down in front of Sarah…who has cut my hair for many of the last 15 years. I’ve just found out that I’m severely dyslexic she said, and I’m worried about reading with my 3 year old son. Ha! I said…. I have many nieces and nephews and I suggest you do the following….you pick up a book he knows well (they like to read them over and over again anyway)…you open the first page and instead of reading, you point, and ask him what’s happening in the picture…and as you turn the pages, you find your son is telling YOU the story! Bedtime done! Great she says…really good idea! Then, since I’m old (tick) and wise (?), she asked me about mortgages…well actually she told me that she’s having trouble getting her husband to apply for additional mortgage funds so they could do an extension on their house…Well, I expounded… most of us marry people who are not like us. We marry people with qualities and skills we feel we don’t have, so…. the partnership has complementary skills (really, really can’t believe I said that with such authority). Chances are, you are asking him to deal with something that’s just not his bag…and is more your bag. A married couple is a team I said – imagine a football team with 11 strikers – just wouldn’t work! …GOSH! she said…you’ve really got something there…. and all this time I’ve been nagging him and nagging him….in fact I should be talking to the mortgage people….he’s really good at other stuff… and I’m good at getting things done.  I can talk to the mortgage people, gather all the information, and he can fill out the form. There! I said. You’ve really made me look at things differently she said. Problems solved. This counselling lark is so easy. Now all I have to do is get paid for my hitherto unrecognised skills.

Or trade them for a haircut.

hairdresser 3 (2)

jx

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Achilles Blog 68 – 15.1.15…growing into… a Bat Mitzvah

Maybe it’s inevitable if you go shopping with a brand new teenager, you’ll end up with not-so-grown-up glittery blue nail polish on your toes….

While walking the ‘streets’ of the giant Westfield shopping centre in Stratford (East London) this weekend with (niece) L, my boot was irritating my very slightly (and possibly permanently) enlarged left ankle. But not enough to stop us walking to the nail salon, checking out the Swarovski crystal jewellery shop, having lunch with (husband) Jay at an ‘American’ diner, and having Cherry Bomb and Peaches & Cream ice creams. And then ending up at the Magnolia Silver jewellery stand where my niece gets her first ‘real’ piece of jewellery – a sterling silver and black onyx necklace. Quite a grown-up choice. She’s very reluctant to let me buy it for her…. until she finds out we can get it half price – her grandmother’s ‘bargain’ genes have come through to the next generation. Why such a treat? Lovely L is 13. If she were fully Jewish, she would be a Bat Mitzvah (yes… you don’t have one, you become one)… she’d become responsible for her actions, a full-fledged and responsible person within her community. I really like the idea of announcing this to the community and allowing the 13 year-old to take up their position and recognise that from now on, everything is changing…from now on you have to take more responsibility, be aware of what is right and what is wrong and think more for yourself. And conversely mum and dad have to slacken the ropes…which I think is altogether the harder bit. A celebration of this change, this coming of age, should definitely be more part of our culture, I think. Kind, thoughtful, L would have no problem with this.

I am possibly holding my leg back by thinking of it as not being fully capable….but, it seems to be getting easier to skip down the stairs, barefoot, without thinking about tripping, without noticing what my foot is doing, without me having to keep an eye on it. My Royal Ballet career is a way off, but I’m still seeing a picture of a beautiful foot, on tip-toe…taking more responsibility (OK, more weight then) and (possibly for the first time?) growing into the foot it was always meant to be…

jx

Glittery blue nail varnish

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