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I’m talking all about how to give They don’t act with much honesty

Funny how time seems to slip away when we have so much to do. Then when we can have some time to ourselves we tend to use it selfishly. One of the reasons I chose the song for this weeks post is the thoughts running through this week is that I will soon be off to New York and one of the sights I want to see is Strawberry Field, the tribute spot to John Lennon in Central Park. I also want to visit the 911 memorial and museum just to pay my respects to those who died that sad day when we all became Americans and I lost touch with quite a few people who I had been chatting to online and playing games with.

The death toll never tells the full story as some of those I lost touch with I think I would have lost touch with anyway, others may have been caught up in the tragedy and lost family in the devastation. Anyway, going back to my upcoming travels I have never been to NY before, in fact I have only once before been to the USA and that was to Anaheim CA, I also visited Santa Monica and other coastal areas before heading home again. That was two wives and three decades ago. I enjoyed the day trip to San Diego and the visit to Sea World, I know we have a Sea World near here but there aren’t the same attractions although the price is comparable to enter both.

I have not been to the Northern States before so this is not only the first East Coast visit it is also the first North visit. There are still more States and places I would like to visit, such as Seattle in Washington, Minneapolis, Chicago and Detroit. I will just have to wait and see how money and time can manage to come together so that I may make further trips to the US.

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So go away and leave me alone Don’t bother me

Well, here we are again, another Sunday evening and the panic is beginning to set in. If there was more support at work for dealing with the aftermath of some of our calls it wouldn’t be too bad. However, all the manager cares about is us hitting our target of 28 calls per day with an average call time of 15 minutes or less.

This call target is set on the proviso that we transfer 2 calls a day to the GC team so that will take 2 calls to 2 minutes and means the others can be slightly longer than 15 minutes to average out. I’ve started having counselling to deal with the stress of having to take call after call especially with some of the calls I deal with daily.

I hate the fact that we can’t discuss things with colleagues but then when everyone takes call after call there’s no time outside breaks and at break times we share our area with those coming for counselling, food bank clients and staff so there is no peace to discuss things. Management also don’t care what they promise, if your face fits you can get away with murder but if your face doesn’t fit then you get away with nothing. There are team meetings which some people never attend while others can’t even escape when they are ill. If you get a 1-2-1 meeting and ask for training to enable you to apply for other jobs internally and stand a chance of getting it then it will be offered at a “convenient time” which will never arrive – unless you are one of those who never do any wrong, even sitting in write-up for the last 15-20 minutes to force others to take the last call out of the queue so they can leave at 5 and not miss their early metro.

As you can imagine there is a lot of bad feeling within the team towards those few who never take the last call unless it is to get the team meeting started and finished earlier. Not that anyone enjoys the team meeting as we never find anything out at the meetings. We can find more information by talking to colleagues than is normally passed on via the team meetings and so they are a waste of everyone’s time.

He who knows does not speak He who speaks does not know And I go round in circles

Wow, Morgan Rice is a fabulous author. Her characters leap off the written page and become real. The stories are never straightforward there are twists and turns all the time. She merges heroes and villains with every twist and turn adding to the thrill of her writing. I have just finished the final book in the series “Of Crowns and Glory” and it gripped me so much I haven’t done anything else while reading it other than wanting to return to it and see how the main characters lives were intertwined and how things would pan out.

Some of the characters names were familiar (Thanos from the Marvel Guardians Of The Galaxy and Ceres from the (almost) name of a nearby town where I grew up). There was also a queen called Athena (familiar no doubt to any scholars), Claudius and Lucious. However, the story telling was absolutely brilliant and I recommend this series to anyone who enjoys action tales, heroic sagas and anyone who just enjoys a well written series of novels showing the dangers of keeping things going because of tradition.

Everything about Morgan Rice’s novels just flows and this series was not any different. Her characters are believable and the stories unfold in a manner that makes sense. She is self-published but don’t let that put you off as she is as good a story teller as anyone who has a publisher. Maybe not in the same league as Stephen King (the horror is believable but it isn’t the be-all and end-all of her stories). She writes as well as Jo Rowling and her characters are no less fascinating than others.

If I could write as well as Morgan I would be very happy indeed, yes there are one or two errors in the writing which may have been picked up by an editor but this shows how human she is. If you like fantasy novels, good characters and strong story lines with the characters intertwined all the way through the tale then give this lady a read.

Music as always is from youtube and isn’t mine, another George Harrison track written in 1968 but not recorded and issued until Gone Troppo in 1982.

I want a short haired girl Who sometimes wears it twice as long

If you were lucky/unlucky enough to wake to the white stuff falling from the sky again this morning I hope it didn’t lie where you are any more than it did here where I am. This afternoon the sleet turned to rain and the ground was wet and really slippy this afternoon when I went out to put our bins out (mine and the one for downstairs) it was also really cold so I thought the rain was going to turn back into either sleet or snow. Don’t know if it did either as I was so cold when I came back in that I sat snuggled on the sofa with a hot drink and wrapped up warm with the heating on.

I have started getting a lot of tweets in my timeline with pictures of beautiful asian women wearing sari’s and it got me thinking (again) of what it is that turns us on and attracts us to others. The first thing has to be looks as that is the most obvious first thing we notice. But what if you were blind, what would take the place of that initial aspect? Of course we are all different and no two people will be attracted in the exact same way to the same people. Not every two people will automatically be attracted to each other either. What is attraction, if we could work that out and bottle it we could make a fortune.

Is anyone aware of what it is they are looking for in a partner? Are they looking for something long term or just a brief fling? Is the person they are attracted to feeling attracted to them or just being friendly? Why do human beings flirt with each other? Is it just us or do some other animals flirt as well?

I have more questions than answers and that is probably normal when contemplating the intricacies of human relationships. There are people we can see every day at work and never give them a second thought as to whether or not they would make a good partner, long or short term. There are other people we can see once (just in passing on the street, bus, train or taxi queue) and find them occupying our thoughts for the remainder of that day, without fully understanding why this should be.

I find women attractive and love the smell of them, their perfume and their natural odour which could be the thing a blind man would notice when he can’t see the beauty on show. Any way, if anyone can offer any insight into attraction and why one person is attractive and not another when they are similar sizes, shapes and have almost the same hair colour please let me know in the usual manner.

Video this time is the Beatles original Old Brown Shoe which was a George Harrison B-Side. I don’t own the copyright to this song but feel free to listen and I hope you enjoy it.

The farther one travels The less one knows The less one really knows

Well, here we are again. I have just finished binge watching a documentary I missed seeing when it was shown last year on BBC1, the Ganges with Sue Perkins. It is an amazing river and it is dying due to the mistreatment of people for thousands of years. It is also at the heart of Hindu beliefs so this is a double tragedy. It was also an eye opener for other reasons, not least that women in villages have to hold in their bodily functions all day and then go in the fields to relieve themselves at night. Leaving themselves open to being bitten by snakes, stung by scorpions and being raped while relieving themselves. In the 21st century we should be doing more to help the newest developing country to take care of it’s citizens, especially women.

The women are amazing and the river that runs through most of India and Bangladesh is filthy and getting worse all the time. There are 18 women only colleges in India on the banks of the Ganges at Varanasi, a city where life and death co-exist. The Ganges is heavily polluted here and there are people trying to educate the locals and visitors to try and reduce the level of pollution.

It was amazing to watch the way women (and in one case girls) talk to Sue (someone I have admired for a long time). They had no inhibitions about speaking through an interpreter and were open and frank in their conversations with her. She spoke to transsexuals, women waiting to die and girls at colleges and some at school, as well as boys telling her why they worked instead of going to school.

There is a lot of wealth in India, generated by an acceptance of new methods of earning money and gaining an education. The girls at the engineering colleges wanted to make a difference to their lives and inspire other women to dream they could do anything. They trusted their parents to find an ideal match for them to marry as, according to one, marrying for love was fleeting and a lot of the time ended in divorce. None of these “modern” women were superwomen but they were pushing the boundaries for those who would follow them. The journey started in the Himalayas taking in Rishikesh (with a visit to the Ashram, now overgrown, where the Beatles, Donovan and others were taught by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (Sexy Sadie) himself).

For all the miles the river traverses there are people with amazing stories and Sue Perkins did her best to uncover them all. From the Hijra of Kolkata to the naked yogis offering blessings to pilgrims in the Bay of Bengal by beating with feathers she uncovered a lot of interesting people and talking to them teaching us so much of the history of the cities and villages along the Indian side of the Ganga.

Music today is courtesy of YouTube again and it is the copy of the Beatles song by George Harrison as performed in the Concert for George after his death in 2001.

Should five per cent appear too small

Ah how those words were true at the time, the highest earners in the country paying tax on earnings of 95% so that the biggest contributions to the NHS, Defence and Benefits came from those who were most able to afford it. Of course this wasn’t fair as George pointed out, no-one should be taxed so highly that they feel penalised for earning and contributing to the economy.

Was it right for the first woman PM though to decide that the country couldn’t afford the NHS and to deny it the funding from those best placed to contribute? No it wasn’t, did she care though? No she didn’t. She wanted to remove the NHS and force our greatest flagship of the Welfare State into the old days where if you couldn’t afford to see a GP, or afford hospital treatment you couldn’t have any. The premise of the Welfare State was built on contributions according to ability to pay so that everyone could have access according to need.

In the last 12 months I have paid (personally from my tax and NI contributions) £931 towards benefits for those worse off than me, £778 towards the NHS (yes I have probably taken more out than I paid in) £471 towards education, even though I have no children attending full time education, the biggest discrepancies however have been in National Debt Interest £211 and Defence £199. I feel defence should have been more than the National Debt Interest, after all I have worked for almost a decade through austerity. I have seen those who pay tax at 45% (the highest rate) go from strength to strength while those at the bottom of the ladder paying 25% tax are penalised by having to bear the brunt of the austerity measures imposed by the Coalition Government between 2010-2015 upheld by the Tory Government since 2015.

Theresa May seems hell bent on promising one thing (like Cameron before her and every Tory leader since Thatcher) and delivering something different. Are we really all in this together? I have seen people reduced to tears because they were awarded one benefit to allow them help with their daily lives due to illness and disability have this taken away from them because the benefit they were receiving has been changed. I have no objections to paying people enough to live on when they are unable to work or find themselves in the position of not being able to find a job. What I do object to is people thinking that those on benefits are second or third class citizens who want to take money from the mouths of others. Benefits are not enough to live off, you can only survive on benefits and if they are stopped (which is happening more and more) you see an upturn in people living on the streets because they can’t pay rent, begging for handouts because they have no food and no means to keep warm.

What can we do to change this? We need a change of leadership style and someone to tell the truth over the effects of austerity, why we are not all in the same boat. Will the politicians tell us this? Of course not, if they told the masses that their policies are designed to keep the working class in their place and elevate the upper classes to the position they used to hold how long would they remain in power?

In 2010 it was said that 95% of the wealth was in the hands of 5% of the population, since the austerity measures came into force in 2010 that has changed and now 98% of the wealth is controlled by 1% of the population. How do you suppose that happened? Especially if you believe the politicians that we are all in this together, what happened that 4% of the population disappeared?

In times of austerity poor people are doing what they do best, multiplying, while those better off are dying off so the one reduces the top while the other increases the bottom. We need to start telling the truth and damn the consequences, but Theresa May, like Maggie Thatcher, John Major and David Cameron before her, want to maintain power at any cost. We were told Brexit means Brexit but now we are being told that Northern Ireland will not be party to Brexit as the border with the Republic would have to be closed if they were. Anyone who wishes to can opt to remain European (paying a fee for the privilege) after Brexit and this will allow them free movement within Europe and the right to work wherever they chose within the bounds of the European State.

If the fee charged is low enough then I will not revert back to a UK passport following Brexit but will continue to use a European Passport because I believe that we are stronger as part of Europe than we will ever be alone. Our defence spending will be increasing while the size of our Army, Navy and Air Force decrease which will leave us vulnerable to the invisible enemy who is too scared to wear any uniform. Our intelligence services are second to none but surely that requires a strong fist to smash our enemies before they have the chance to cause damage on our shores? We need to be part of a global force against terrorism wherever it originates and whatever it plans to try and disrupt our way of life.

Closing our borders will not keep us safe, it merely adds more disenfranchised to be corrupted by those fighting to bring down our way of life. We can’t afford to have people coming here and taking money without contributing so would it not be better to open the borders? Let people come here who want to contribute and treat all immigrants the same, no right to housing, benefits or free health care until they have worked for ten years, paying tax and National Insurance for the benefit of all then they can enjoy the same freedoms and rights as everyone here.

If we open our border that way, only those willing to adapt will come in, willing to earn their keep and pay their way. This will result in a stronger economy and give us the chance to cope with Brexit and not have to worry about the short term damages to our way of life caused by terror and the unknown. Fear of the unknown makes us wary of change, wary of trusting those who come here and want to take houses away from those who were born here (sometimes those born here have less than they need because the Government do not care for them the way they should).

On a similar note, our Queen has tried to serve her people with dignity and respect for the last 60+ years, she has seen heads of state come and go, has welcomed Presidents from the Commonwealth and other countries to promote British Interests abroad. She has been stronger than some would think, however, that may not count for anything if the politicians continue to undermine the fabric of our society.

If Northern Ireland, who voted to remain European, can remain European through the transition and beyond, why not Scotland who also voted to remain? The ones who swayed the vote away from Remain were the English and Welsh, are these the only ones with a voice just because they have most of the population? London also voted to Remain and if they are allowed to maintain their European status that will ensure London’s financial districts maintain their position within Europe rather than losing out to Paris, Berlin or Brussels because foreign companies will move elsewhere to maintain a foothold in Europe.

Can we survive alone as we did throughout the early 20th Century? I don’t think so, but only time will tell. In the meantime I will leave you with George Harrison coming into his own as a force alongside John Lennon and Paul McCartney who had written most of the Beatles material before 1966. The track from Revolver which heads this post. I could not find a video of this so her is the full album from YouTube. I may have bought this album on vinyl, cassette, cd and download but it is not owned by me.

 

I don’t need to be forgiven

Okay, I don’t know what the weather is like where you are today, but her in the UK we have the return of Winter Part 2. Spring should have sprung by now yet we are once again facing a whiteout. There had better be an end to this soon though as it becoming very boring.

After the beginning of March when buildings and schools were closed, public transport almost stopped completely and there was a lot of people trapped indoors to keep warm, I was hoping that would be the end of Winter weather and we could get back to normal with the weather warming up and Spring finally arriving. Alas no, after a spell where it did warm up slightly we have gone back to the Winter with snow and freezing temperatures (below freezing in some areas).

People think that just because the weather turns they can take their dogs out and not bothering to clean up after them. As a friend said, if you see these inconsiderate twats and confront them you get verbal abuse which could turn into violence because they think they have the right to do as they please.

This is the one thing that my recent blogs have been full of but if people have dogs they should be prepared to pick up after them, if people have cats they should also remember to teach them to bury their waste so that if they do go out they can rest assured that they are not going to spoil the neighbourhood. Animal waste and litter is the biggest problem around here that we have to face on a daily basis. This used to be such a lovely area to live in but with undesirables coming into the area and treating it as a huge garbage bin it is quickly deteriorating.

There are a lot of immigrants living here, as well as the biggest Jewish population outside of Israel there are a lot of Muslims who have moved here and, guess what, NO racially motivated violence. This proves that if people want to live in peace and follow whichever religion they choose, they can live with neighbours who don’t follow the same religion. Unfortunately gender violence seems to be on the rise but I don’t think this can be laid at the hands of the immigrants as it isn’t just immigrants who are guilty of this. There are lots of people who will take what they want regardless of the harm it may cause to those they take from. Unfortunately that includes sex.

If a woman doesn’t say yes then it is rape, if a woman is drunk or drugged and doesn’t know what she is agreeing to then that is rape. I don’t care if they woman has a reputation for sleeping with anyone or is a sex worker unless they have given consent when they are able to consent it is rape. Yes men can be raped as well, just ask anyone who has been to prison, but it isn’t as common as that committed by men against women.

To finish off on a brighter note here is the original of the CSI New York theme tune and hope fully it won’t be long before we see Gary Sinise back on our screens again.

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day.

There is a new breed of hatred doing the rounds since 2016. The biggest perpetrator’s seem to be those in power in the UK and the US. It seems so weird that all the inroads to human rights made over the last half century are gradually being pushed back and if we don’t stop this now things will get worse until no-one who is in a minority will be safe to go out of their doors (if they still have one to hide behind).

It started as it always does with allegations of improper conduct against their rivals in the elections and ended with them winning anyway. They try to hold onto power in any way possible so they feed on those who are weak and unable to defend themselves, in the US blacks, LGBTQ community and other minorities are targeted and anyone killing people in those communities are hailed as conquering heros protecting the white way of life and stopping crime (what crime was committed against by the young unarmed youth who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Is it any coincidence when the POTUS defends the KKK and calls their leaders strong patriots? All the good work done by his predecessor has been washed away and he is making the US the biggest joke in the Western World. Allied with the Russians (who may or may not have interfered in the 2016 election) he thinks he is stronger than any other President since the formation of the US but he is a laughing stock to his own people and those who respect life and human beings who are different.

Here in the UK our government fuelled by the losses sustained in the snap election called to prop up a disastrous Brexit plan which will leave every company in the UK vulnerable have started picking on the mentally ill who are often unable to give voice to their feelings.

This is putting a lot of strain on an already struggling area of charities trying to help those who are most at risk. With the bedroom tax forcing people onto the streets because they can’t pay their rents, people can’t afford to live so their debts are being passed to debt collectors who only want their cut so they add more costs on to build up the debt until a £200 bill has gone all the way up to £1500 and they have the blessing of the government to carry on adding costs for every visit, removing belongings which aren’t worth anything like the amount they are looking to collect. They have agreed guidelines which they should adhere to but they will call round to see people and if the door is opened they will push their way in (against the guidelines). Once they are in there is no way to stop them moving goods and taking a list of belongings which they say they will come back and collect the next day. They don’t care if anything is on HP, rental or belongs to someone else they will take it away because they hope people will be to frightened to complain.

The government have also said that anyone who has mental health issues should be treated the same as other disabled people but they tell the companies carrying out the assessments for them that if mentally ill people exhibit signs of mental illness to lie in the report as it is very rare for anyone to want to wait for 9 months to a year for a tribunal hearing.

There was a team who looked into the reasoning behind this about face behind locked doors and they found that someone with mental health issues is receiving approximately £75 per week in benefits which they won’t claim if they have to sign on every two weeks (every week for the first 3 months) so that is a saving there. It costs the government £20 for a mandatory reconsideration by someone inside the DWP to take time out to read the additional evidence provided and uphold the original decision, that cuts their savings down in the first 6 weeks but it is still worth doing. The tribunal case for an appeal costs the government £140, the tax payer picks up the remaining costs but it will take at least 9 months to be heard by a tribunal so most of the time those being denied benefits they rely on to live will drop out before it gets to the tribunal, leave their homes, if they haven’t already, and live on the streets.

Any case pursued all the way to the tribunal and having support from an overstretched charity like Citizens Advice or Age UK has an 80% chance of success. Even if the tribunal are faced with paper evidence and don’t actually see the person denied any state help for the duration of their desperation. Picking on the weakest in society is a mean thing to do, picking on those minorities who make up the bulk of the prison inmates because people either don’t look hard enough at them or their lawyers don’t care enough to try to ensure they are given a fair shake. I’m pretty sure that even though life is hard for blacks, Asians, LGBTQ’s and others they are no more likely to commit crimes than their white neighbours.

If anyone can tell us how to end suffering and bring peace to everyone where those guilty of hate crimes will be brought to justice even if they are white and hide behind the walls of the White House or 10 Downing Street, mental illness can affect anyone at any time and it is worse in many ways than a physical disability because of the harm it causes to others.

Here we are and here we are and here we go…

Once again I have seen the sun and it is wonderful how warm it is. If only the bloody wind would get lost the day would be lovely a fantastic spring day. I also found a lot of my pet hates just lying in wait to get dragged around on the bottom of unsuspecting people’s shoes. People who have dogs and let them roam free or refuse to pick up after them and risk a fine should not be allowed to have dogs.

If anyone knows how to stop people getting a dog and then not taking care of the dog and the neighbourhood when there are bye-laws tasking them with doing just that please let those in authority know. With all the government cut backs the bye-laws are going unenforced which people know and they are exploiting it.

Any thing that can be done to clean up our streets will always be welcome but it just boils my urine when dog owners expect other people to pick up after their dogs because they can’t be bothered. Anyone who doesn’t have a dog has no reason to carry poop bags and scoops to clean up after a dog makes a mess.

This is the version of one of my favourite songs of all time that doesn’t get heard enough. Video is courtesy of Youtube and Google.

Oh how I wish you were here

Friday 9/02/2018 began as any other day. I woke up yawning and made a coffee before going into the shower then got ready for work. When I arrived at work one of my colleagues asked me if I should have been there as I had the day booked off so I turned around and went home again.

Needless to say I was wide awake following the walk to and from work with hardly any time between. I wish I’d remembered then maybe I wouldn’t have been tired as I could have stayed in bed a little while longer.

Following on from the Delicate Sound Of Thunder which I watched again this morning to relax before I did anything else today. I thought I’d add a tune I’d forgotten about at the end of this post. Of course I’m listening to a Floyd play list as I’m writing this so deepest apologies if I suddenly go off on a tangent.

I saw Pink Floyd in 1974 in London twice on the same tour when they were defining several tracks that would appear on their next album, Shine on You Crazy Diamond and Welcome to the Machine as well as Wish You Were Here. Needless to say I had all of their previous albums and also Barrett by Syd Barrett at home. They performed the entire album of The Dark Side of the Moon and that was amazing but for me the highlights of any Pink Floyd show were the new songs they introduced to see which ones worked live and which ones maybe needed some more work done.

The light show was amazing and had progressed from the lamps they used to display on the screen at the back. They were also starting to use footage created by the band and filmed by them (I presume) on the screen at the back of the stage. Of course the concert I saw today didn’t have Roger Waters and his voice was missing, there was none of that in 1974.