surfsensei

Reflections and observations on life in general.

Poppies – in memoriam

I saw a link to this article by Robert Fisk, in the Independent, on Facebook this evening, a well-written piece that made me reflect on the issue of the wearing of the red poppies around the UK Remembrance Day (11 November):

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-do-those-who-flaunt-the-poppy-on-their-lapels-know-that-they-mock-the-war-dead-6257416.html

I replied to the post after considering my own thoughts and feelings about this, including my own short and undistinguished military career, fortunately between conventional wars and at the end of the Cold one:

I’m happy to give a donation, even wear a poppy on the day in memory of the “poor bloody infantry” and others who are mostly being told to do the dirty work for politicians who keep well away from the consequences of their actions, particularly in the last generation or two, but I want to see this Remembrance grow to include ALL the casualties of war, such as the 14-year old boy in Aleppo today orphaned by two separate rocket attacks [[BBC radio 4 World Tonight 2200 3 Nov 2016 – grim report from a hospital] and many others …

At 1100, on the 11th, I pause to reflect on those in and out of uniform, all of whom are harmed deeply in many ways by this continuing stupidity.

 

 

Munro with cancer #80

Goodwill hasn’t gone…

“Whatever happened to goodwill?”, said somebody in exasperation to a friend of mine some time ago.

“It doesn’t pay the bills”, she replied. She was beginning her career as a self-employed photographer. They had asked her to do some publicity photos and she had, quite reasonably, asked for payment.

I remembered this incident recently when I had a similar request at work – my experience and skills for free for something I am not employed by them to provide and which I do as my own business outside my contracted time. I explained that I would charge a fee for this, I doubt they will ask me to do the work. I am not disappointed, I like my weekends free at the moment. If they are not willing to pay a proper rate in exchange, it can’t be that important to them or they will find another way.

There seems to be a widespread expectation that, if you do work that is creative or adventurous and perceived as “enjoyable” or “worthwhile”, then that is surely reward enough and you should be providing it cheaply, if not free, and certainly on a basis of “goodwill”. I pondered this the other morning, while I guided a razor carefully over my too-early-morning face, and a new view of the issue emerged.

My reply to the complaint “where has the goodwill gone?” is this: it hasn’t gone, I provide all my labour and skills and experience on the basis of “goodwill”, there is no charge for that.

However, I am faced with a problem, I also need the “goodwill” of others, to take food from the shelves of their shops, get them to service and put fuel into my car, allow me to sleep and keep my things in their property and so on. They are nearly all generous and helpful people, all happy to do these things but they need to know that I am also part of the “goodwill” exchange system and I can only do this by providing material proof of my having also given my “goodwill” to others; as is the nature of our society, some paperwork is involved.

The administration has grown complicated, over the years, but the basic idea is simple; I do something in “goodwill” for you, you give me an officially and socially recognised receipt that confirms my act of happy generosity and indicates the amount of effort I have donated to your organisation or your quality of life, I can then give this receipt to others and they will reciprocate with an equivalent quantity of their “goodwill”.

To save us all having to make our own, these receipts or vouchers are ready-made and are really quite beautiful, combining aesthetic qualities with good functional design, they even feature a nice portrait of our illustrious Monarch, to confirm their authenticity ( clearly, a lot of “goodwill” has gone into the making of them ).

So, as long as we both agree on the quantity, nature and duration of the “goodwill” that I will give, and the type of vouchers to be exchanged, then I am entirely happy to help you!

Shaving safely completed, I made my way to turn on the kettle and the radio, which announced the news headlines and something about executive pay; they must be very generous people indeed, given the great quantities of “goodwill” vouchers they receive.

My employers need help today, I cannot bear to stand by and watch them struggle, I have no other commitments…

0-point-double-zilch…

It is one of those days when the institutional disincentives to saving return to my awareness…

2016-3sep-adayalife

Brexit: Burning our bridges

This is one of the most clear and articulate articles I’ve read, please read and share…

Just an anglophone

It’s hard to know where to start on today’s result. Like many, I’m still feeling regular waves of shock, horror and nausea when I think about what we’ve declared as a nation, and what impact it could have on our future and others’. I’ve refrained from blogging on the subject previously, because I’m not as politically informed as the many people whose posts I’ve shared, but now it’s become the only thing I can think about, I’m going to have a stab. Because I’m angry.

I’ve seen a lot of people on my social media requesting that we stop verbally abusing leave voters and tarring them with the ‘bigot’ brush, and that’s fair. There’s already been too much anger and personal hatred in this debate; in fact, that’s probably one of the reasons we’ve made such an insane dangerousludicrous unprecedented decision. There are various reasons to vote leave, not all of them xenophobia, and I…

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In the harsh light of day…

This article is worth reading:
http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2016/06/i-want-my-country-back

So now, after a cup of (Indian) tea, I will go to the market. There I will join the people from Britain, Carribean, India, Pakistan, Middle East, Far East, Australia and elsewhere as we find the things we need and like. We will buy vegetables and fruit from local farms, the mainland of Europe, the Carribbean islands and the more peaceful Middle East.
All of us, from my point of view, will be fellow citizens, whatever our paperwork says.

Resilience

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I am returning south empty-handed, narrowly missing selection for a new job, just in 2nd place.
So, after some rest, I will review my plan of action and persevere. I will also continue to work towards employable competence in another European language (NL); I want a key, however small, to another country.
I have been hosted by kind friends and would have stayed longer had I not had another commitment already this weekend.
Outside, as the train passes the Lake District, the clouds are billowing and beautiful, appearing close enough to touch.
England is a beautiful country, tainted by narrow and xenophobic views.
It feels a more foreign land, now.

Earth, water & fire.

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Vases, stoneware, 9 & 14cm.

I made these, recently, among my better wheel-thrown pots. My skill level is basic, I do too little of this to become fluent, there are other, higher priorities in my life right now. However, I like them, they will do what I want, for now; when they no longer do, they will become gifts.
Now I just need flowers.

 

At the end of the rainbow.

I just saw a beautiful photograph of a full, bright, rainbow by a friend going through very difficult times.

I had this thought:

There is no physical rainbow ‘out there’ in the sky…

The rainbow only really ‘exists’ within your own mind, it is created from the sensations of light in the eyes…

Thus the rainbow has its ends within yourself….

So the pot of gold is there too.

 

There will be more swans.

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It has been a beautiful day, here in Wolverhampton, cool but with hints of Spring beginning in the bright, hazy sunshine. It’s a Sunday to bring the families out and, sure enough, as I write this later in the day, the park is crowded with people of all sorts, their dogs, bikes and other toys, enjoying themselves in a relaxed way with a feeling of ease and relief after a chilly Winter.
As I sat on a fallen branch, making quick sketches, the air was full of scents of cut grass, ground coffee (I had just bought some from a stall), cool air. Cries and barks of children and dogs, above the hiss of passing traffic, were interspersed with a periodic distant roar of football fans in the Molineux Stadium.
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Early this morning, I went to the Central Baths to have a swim while the pool would normally be used only by a handful of distance swimmers. There was a Gala on today, so it was closed. So I cycled slowly around the green calm of West Park, watching the birds on the lakes.
The swans were gliding, displaying and courting, a pair was deeply engaged in a graceful dance of dipping their heads in the water and crossing each other’s necks. They mated, quickly and quietly, the male submerging the female briefly, then both surfaced and together made a grunting honking sound I have not heard before; I think they were mutually satisfied!
I returned to the flat for breakfast before deciding it was too good outside to stay indoors. It has been a lovely day, and there will be more swans this year.