World Environment Day 2018

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Rant time!

Today. One day. There are 365 days in the year and we are dedicating 1, one, ONE! to raising awareness of our environment.

I find it completely and utterly mind-blowingly stupefying that we can treat our planet the way we do.

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The captivating South Pacific

If you were given a lovely cottage, on a green plot of land that provided you with EVERYTHING YOU WILL NEED FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, would you scatter your rubbish across it? Would you get rid of all the flowers and grass to be replaced with tarmac or concrete? Would you systematically kill off all the pollinators like bees? Would you – to put it bluntly – shit in your own bed!?

And yet, that is exactly what we are all doing. We are all complicit in the plastic-poisoning-deluge-traffic-jamming-exhaust-choking-animal-suffering-I-couldn’t-care-less attitude that embodies humanity today. Our view of ourselves is so ego-centric, so utterly selfish, that we allow our children to die in the thousands because of chemical pollution, we crave money and ‘stuff’ so much, that the consequences of our actions do not even register in our reptilian brains.

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Sperm whale that recently died from plastic consumption

I know, I know, you and me, the ‘little people’, can’t make huge changes, and I so want a mobile phone to keep in touch with people, even though it’s made of plastic and tiny pieces of metal that will never decay when it is eventually disposed of. And I really, really need my plastic laptop so that I can write this nonsense. And I need paper to write on, for work and home – and I do like soft white loo roll to wipe my backside on. And on. And on it goes.

I know people who have said things like, “Well, what can I do? And besides, everyone else is doing it.” ! What a stupid comment! Didn’t you mum say to you when you were a kid, and you copied something daft a friend had done, “If he stuck his finger in the fire, would you?”! ‘Course you bloody wouldn’t – and if you answered yes, then you need your head feeling!

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Hong Kong in the Summertime

My old mum always wonders why we spend so much on sending ships to explore space, when we don’t even know, for sure, what is in our seas. We get medicines from the rain-forest, and so we’re busy hacking it down, for what? We have things we haven’t even discovered in our own back yards. What’s that saying, ‘The grass is always greener’? Well at this rate, children of the future will be saying, ‘The soil is always redder.’ as we speed off to populate another globe, so we can simply shit all over that.

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Was the five pence charge worth it?

There are things we ‘little people’ can do. We have something that the governments and corporations don’t have – voices in numbers. If we all shout out together, we can deafen the fuckers. I’m not expecting you to go plastic-free-stop-using-your-car-sow-seeds-everywhere-recycle-everything-and-share-your-shower-with-the-neighbours, BUT, you can do your bit.

You can make a change. You can clean up and thus save the ONLY PLACE YOU HAVE TO LIVE. And if we all don’t stick our finger in the fire at the same time, then maybe there’s hope for us yet.

WEDblogReduce Reuse Recycle

Visit the World Environment Day web-page –                          http://worldenvironmentday.global/

Learn how to make your own household cleaners (and much more) –https://www.goingzerowaste.com/

Recycle your old bras (yep, someone can use them) at some places around your community, or visit –                                                                            http://moralfibres.co.uk/bra-recycling/

Next time you go shopping, don’t use plastic bags for you fruit and veg, and, at the till, unwrap these items and ask them to dispose of the wrapping (I have started doing this, the staff are surprisingly compliant). And sign this petition – https://www.change.org/p/uk-parliament-stop-supermarkets-from-selling-raw-fruit-and-veg-in-plastic-packaging

Get your children to walk to school, instead of packing them into your fumy car – https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/12/children-risk-air-pollution-cars-former-uk-chief-scientist-warns

Read Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, about the appalling effects that pesticides have and continue to have on our land and our selves – because of corporate greed.

Be like David Sedaris, American humourist, writer, Radio 4 infiltrator; who regularly picks up litter from his local area, for nothing other than keeping the landscape beautiful.

To steal from actor Michael Sheen’s 2015 speech on the NHS:-

“…what sort of society do we want to be? What is our vision for ourselves? What are the qualities and the principles that we aspire towards, and choose to defend?”

and to misquote from the same speech:-

“There is never an excuse to not speak up for what you think is right. You must stand up for what you believe. But first of all – by God, do something.”

 

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How Do You Not Know That!?

We all read, see or hear stuff that makes our mouths drop. Common sense in society in general, seems to have taken a holiday. My daughter used to regularly come home from school and then college, with little quotes from her friends – and we would have a jolly good laugh at their expense – how did they not know that? Here’s a couple of things that bug me (what, another Alex? I hear you say) Yep!

Clothes need washing regularly. You filthy beggar! That’s what my mum called us when we had grubby kid hands. I was brought up in a time when laundry was done daily (I still do) and it was shameful to be grubby and/or smelly. There was a thread on Twitter a few months ago asking people how often they washed their jeans. Some responses were gag-making. ‘Once a month’! ‘Get them out laundry if nothing else to wear.’! Seriously, you’re going to shower your body and hair clean in the morning, and then put on dirty clothes?! I have seen people wearing coats with greasy streaks down the front; where they have wiped their hands. Coats needs washing too people. Fabric holds odours; cigarettes, food, you! Wash your clothes!

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The laundry was becoming seriously unmanageable!

 

Take Vitamin D in winter This is a potentially serious issue for some people. Winter is a time when we in the UK see less sun than usual. Sunshine = Vitamin D. If you have darker skin and you live in Europe, chances are you’re going to need to take Vitamin D supplements – or you may be putting yourself at risk of rickets. A recent tragic news story in UK news, told us how a baby died of rickets at less than a year old. He was black of black parents – I do not understand why her GP had not recommended she take vitamin D supplements during her winter pregnancy. Black skin does not absorb D from sunshine as readily as white skin, and in a dull place like UK, precautions should be taken.

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Take care of your beautiful self during times of little sunshine.

 

Clouds move – No, seriously. The conversation went something like this:-

Girl(looking out of window)- “Oh my God, the clouds are moving!”

Staff (raises eyebrows)- “Are you kidding?”

Girl- “No, the clouds are moving. I didn’t know clouds move.”

Staff – “You’re telling me, that you’ve lived on planet Earth for 16 years and never noticed the clouds moving?”

Girl -”No.”

Staff – “…”

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‘Cumulus Nimbus’ Big Moving Day – and other stories.’

 

Crisps and Pop for breakfast = BAD. I am sure I’m not the only person who has seen the kids on their way to school in the morning eating crisps. When my daughter was in Primary school, there was a kid who I saw eating a bag of crisps and drinking a small bottle of pop at least once a week. College students have freedom to buy whatever they want with their money, some do fine, but others just buy crap. And who is feeding them? The parents! How does anyone, in this day and age, not know that salt and sugar are bad for us – especially everyday for breakfast. How can any parent not know to give their child a good start to the day in the form of toast or porridge or cereal or fruit? There is plenty of information for parents these days – I’m sorry, but there is no excuse.

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Spitting is not only disgusting – Its a health hazard. I’m getting quite pissed off with asking then telling people not to spit. It seems to be a growing habit in the area I live; especially amongst young males, and the occasional female. Spitting carries disease as well as germs. We had eradicated TB in this country – now it’s on the rise again! People might want to put their bags on the floor, and there’s gob everywhere (especially in smoking shelters). Guide dogs walk in it! Wheelchair users get it on their hands! It moves at speed spreading droplets into the air as it flies to the ground. It is gross! And unhealthy! And offensive to see and hear!

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Footballer, Jamie Carragher, spitting at member of the public. Dirty boy!

 

Smaller birds aren’t babies of bigger birds! This was one of my daughter’s friends things. Walking at the beach one sunny day watching the birds peck about, the friend made a comment about the ‘baby birds’. Turns out she thought that the pigeons were the gull’s babies!!!!!! I seriously wondered what was going on in her head.

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What!? It’s not my baby. It’s dinner!

 

Slugs are NOT snails without shells! Overheard small boy and his friend.

Boy – “Look! There’s a snail without a shell.”

Girl – “That’s a slug, Jake. They don’t have shells.”

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“Morning Gary.” “Morning Simon.” “On you way home from a late night again!?”

 

Seriously, I can’t believe some of the things people just don’t know!

Can the Brits ‘do’ Hygge?

Friends sitting by the fireplace

The Danes have a word we do not have in English – Hygge.

How do you even say it? I hear you cry (if you’re British, or American, that is). Check out this YouTube lesson by Broendsted –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSXiH_0HgwI

Hygge is not just a word meaning comfort, cosiness, togetherness and more, it is a mindset; a way of living. Is it an accident that five of the worlds Nordic countries consistently come in the Top 10 of Happiest Countries?

Britain is a strange place. Over the centuries we have had an influx of invaders that have added to our culture. Our southernmost coast is not far from France; geographically warm in summer, whilst our northernmost tip of mainland is neighbour to Norway; not necessarily warm in summer! English is a Germanic language, however, we have absorbed the Romance languages as well. We are a fantastically glorious mash-up from across the globe. We generally don’t show our emotions too often; we rarely cry in front of others, but we do like a good barny (fight) now and then, and some still believe in keeping a ‘stiff upper lip’. An ‘Englishman’s home is his castle’ and snuggling with his pals in fluffy socks with a cocoa is probably the last thing on his mind!

So with our Viking/Nordic inheritance, why don’t we do Hygge; or something akin to it?

The closest I can come is Christmastime. Sure, some people are not overly excited by it, but for most, there is a sense of hygge. Lights, candles, fluffy throws and wraps, being with family, baking together, friends, long walks in the park through crispy ice-coated leaves. Everyone says ‘Hello’; even to strangers. We are enveloped in a feeling of well-being. But as soon as the season is over, it is tossed aside like an unwanted sock received from a great Aunt one rarely sees.

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Images of hygge environments show carefully selected knick-knacks arranged artfully – church candles, pine cones, wooden boxes, or – clean minimalism with pockets of lovely things like hand-knitted socks, cream coloured sweaters, open fires and old books. It seems like hygge is for those who can afford it.

But you’re missing the point! Read the first paragraph of this article again – Hygge is not just a word meaning comfort, cosiness, togetherness and more, it is a mindset; a way of living. And it doesn’t just happen in wintertime.

We Brits need to learn to ‘live in the moment’. To see comfort in the simple things. We need; in other words, to alter our mindset if we are to get ourselves happy, healthy and in that Top 10 of Happiest Countries.

To that end, I bought myself a copy of ‘The Little Book of Hygge’ in which Meik Wiking (is that surname pronounced as Viking I wonder!?) offers us suggestions on how we can make our lives more satisfying through hygge. He works in the Happiness Research Institute (yes, it actually exists!), Copenhagen, so I imagine he knows what he is talking about. I’ve long been a fan of candles – now they’re everywhere in our house!

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Image from
https://arcadela.co.uk/the-little-book-of-hygge

 

So come on Britain, join me in a huge effort to be more hygge!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Happiness_Report

You’re Never Too Old For Premiere Pro

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Premier Pro Screen

I think I may have mentioned before I am not a young person. I have a grown up daughter, I have some grey hairs coming through, middle-aged spread, oh, and arthritis down the right hand side of my body.

But…

I will not slow down and I will not stop learning.

You think because you’re a ‘grown-up’ you don’t need to learn anything else? Think again. Life is a series of lessons and the best bit about being aforesaid grown-up, is, you can choose what you learn – I am talking here about the none esoteric, none spiritual learning here –

Currently I am learning how to use a digital camera (Nikon D3400 digital SLR) to film; yes, I know that doesn’t sound like much, but to someone who grew up taking a roll of film to Boots in order to get poorly framed photos from ‘my summer holidays’, it’s a big deal! Plus, I am compiling said shots into one whole piece! Yay, go me!

I am attempting to learn how to use Adobe Premiere Pro; video editing software. If you have ever read the About page on this blog, you will realise what a leap I have made. I am sure Premiere Pro is pretty standard stuff for the young ‘uns, but for me editing is a complicated, brain battering,multi-layered, sneaky (the frame is open but you can’t see me!), eye aching, time-consuming process.

frustrated woman.

However! It is a new skill I am acquiring, and if there is one thing guaranteed to help you feel younger than your years, it’s being able to use new technology.

I have all my shots in the timeline. I have inserted frames made in After Effects. I have added music, titles, credits. I am never going to be employed in the movie industry, I’ll never get a job as an editor – BUT – I can now make a short film should I want to. I think!

To mis-quote Irvine Welsh: ‘Do it for a job. Do it for a career. Do it for your health, Do it instead of sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth.’ Do it for the enjoyment of learning something new. Do it for fun. Do it to show you can. Do it to keep your mind active. Whatever you choose to learn…just do it!

To paraphrase Kafka – It’s better to know something and not need it, than to need something and not know it.

RuthFlowers68DJ
Ruth Flowers became a DJ at 68

 

 

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Who’s The Best Mum In The World?

Okay, I’m going to get this off my chest once and for all. I have not spoken about parenting before. But I can’t bear it anymore; so many stories I hear about child rearing infuriate me! Really make my blood boil!

But I’m no expert, I’ll tell you that right off. I know someone is going to say, ‘Who does she think she is? One child?’ Yes, I have 1, singular, an only, child.

It was a choice we deliberated over – did we want to have a child? Could we afford to bring a child into the world? Were we going to be a burden on the state? What skills did we have to look after another human life? Were we mentally and emotionally mature enough to bring up a child?

Who knew it could be so hard, so demanding, so exhausting, and heartwarming?

My ‘child’ is now a 20-year-old; a young woman. She is studying away at university. I feel I have done a good job (with some assistance from the hubby). On her 20th Birthday, I thought, ‘I did it. I got her to adulthood confident that she is a pretty well-rounded human being with a strong sense of who she is and what she wants from life. Job done’. I have worked with college students for almost 13 years. They tell me their problems, I see their physical, mental and emotional development on show daily, so I have a pretty good idea of what the results of parenting can be. So you want to be a parent?….

1. Forget about ‘rights’ – we all have the right to have a baby, I hear someone wail – really? You think? What about the child’s rights to be nurtured and loved and fed correctly and clothed and schooled and nursed and so on and so forth. You do not have to have children. It is NOT ‘what you do’ because everyone else does it! I see so many young mothers with multiple offspring who complain about their kids! You made a choice – get on with it! And use contraception next time!

2. Children come first. YOU hold sole responsibility for your child before he/she starts school. YOU are the primary carer – ALWAYS! Get over yourself if you think that your interests are more important than your child’s well-being.

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Give everyone relief, by teaching your youngster how to blow her nose!

3. Stop handing over responsibility! Teach your child something before he/she goes to school – for Christ’s sake!!!! It is NOT the schools job to teach your child how to – use a knife and fork, tie her shoelaces, blow his nose, wipe her bottom, fasten shirt buttons, tie his school tie, pronounce his name correctly, write her own name, recall own home address, learn some manners. All these, my daughter could do before attending Nursery school aged 3 1/2. No, she isn’t a child genius – she was prepared.

Parents who avoid teaching children how to tie shoelaces are ‘hindering their development’ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/11843223/Parents-who-avoid-teaching-children-how-to-tie-shoelaces-are-hindering-their-development.html

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Don’t let your kid be that one at college who can’t tie his laces – everyone will laugh at him!

4. Do not leave it all up to the schools. It is your job, as the parent, to prepare your offspring for the world at large. It is your job to make an independent human being. It is your job to ensure your child has the confidence and where-with-all to go forwards without you. I think our society, media, needs to stop blaming teachers when something goes awry with a child. We also need to stop blaming Social Workers, when a childs life is in danger – I notice with astonishing regularity that blame is laid heavily on the Workers and little on parents. These people do the jobs they do because they are excited and driven to help young people – your children, not theirs, yours!

‘Teachers can only ever have a small impact on their students’ results – yet they are judged as if they are 100% responsible’ https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-views/teachers-can-only-ever-have-a-small-impact-their-students-results

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Remember what happened to Augustus?!

5. What are you putting in your child’s mouth?! Come on really? You didn’t know that sugar was bad for their teeth? The number of Primary School aged children in the UK having multiple fillings and extractions has risen dramatically. It is frankly shocking that anyone could allow this to happen to their child. Fizzy drinks and chocolates and shitty kids cereals. All the information is there – read the ingredients dumb ass. SUGAR BAD. OKAY? Buy a recipe book. Get online recipes. Sit down as a family for meals. It isn’t that hard, you can’t afford to be lazy if you’re going to be a parent.

‘The number of children aged four and under being hospitalised for tooth extractions has risen by almost a quarter in the last decade, new figures have revealedhttp://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/tooth-decay-teeth-remove-children-hospitalised-numbers-up-10-years-quarter-25-per-cent-a7640031.html

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This is a form of child abuse. Stop it!

6. If you annoy me is it ok for me to hit you?! At college, we can often spot the teen who has been smacked by his parent/s. Stop it. Just, stop. There is absolutely NEVER any need to smack a child. You are the grown-up, find a way to deal. Babies and Toddlers are not naughty, really; they are exploring the world around them – so you’re going to make them angry at the world from an early age – just because you are?! Grow up.

‘Children who are smacked by parents ‘more likely to grow up to be ABUSIVE’ https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/889028/Smacking-child-abuse-parents-more-likely-become-abusive-domestic-violence

7. And finally, young folk – Take no notice of those teachers who tell you that your GCSE choices will be the ‘most important’ you will ever make. I tell my students – “There are only two decisions that you will make in life that are the most important. One– should I spend the rest of my life with this person? And Two – should I bring another human being into the world? That’s it, all the rest is gravy.

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There’s going to be a lot of this; buckle up.

So in the words of that 1970s advert – Think before you drink, before you drive, Think before you bring another human into the world!

Best Mum In The World? Well maybe not, but my daughter thinks so.  smileyface