Roman Catholic Christenings without the Child’s Consent, my thoughts

I have been invited to a relative’s Roman Catholic Christening as the ‘aunt’ in Kent.

The father is an athiest but the mother is a Roman Catholic. The baby is being forced to be brought up in the Roman Catholic faith. The athiest father is reluctant for the child to be brought up as a Christian, but in order ‘to keep the peace’ with his wife and her traditional Roman Catholic parents, and Church pressure, he feels he has to. How many athiests get to lose this deal?

As a close relative of the child, we ourselves can make a stand against forced religion (and also circumcision and forced genital mutilation), while we are at it).

For example, we can show our presence, as ‘a gap’, by not attending the Christening, though this may or may not risk cultural problems in the family. There will, of course, be photos of the day, and the child may ask questions years later, as to why the aunt is missing, and that is a ‘good thing’. My other relatives will only be there because ‘it is their duty’. They are not Roman Catholic but Church of England, and generally only turn up for events like weddings and funerals (mostly funerals), a bit like Prince William.

Many of us were brought up in forced religion. I was literally forced to go to church and faith schools against my will and sometimes being spiritually abused for my differing beliefs, feel that children should choose their own religion, and that’s if they want one or not. I am a ‘Survivor’ of a family who rammed Christianity down my neck, well, my mother mostly. We even had services in my home. My father was an athiest.

The child is being made to support a religion, just because one or two parents support it, and this is wrong. In some families, people have different religions anyway, so how is it that sometimes the whole household has to ‘support’ one religion at least, for sixteen years?

Furthermore, finding Roman Catholic godparents is also a challenge these days too. And few of them, if found, are nothing more than present and W H Smith voucher givers and often don’t even see the child anyway. Priests don’t seem to be bothered that the child has no consent, this is also wrong. They want money for their church and robes. And the Church the child will be christened, has experienced sexual abuse and one of the Priests is in jail!

I for one will be turning down the invitation, but ‘graciously’ and I will state that I believe that children should decide for themselves, which is perfectly reasonable. I am tempted to even go to the Catholic Church and voice my objection, and have it written in the notes. As an Aunt, I will make it clear that I fought for my nephew’s rights to choose.

De-baptism Links http://romancatholicism.co.uk/debaptism.html
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7941817.stm

Mind Charity Shop Bermondsey to Re-Open 10th August

Mind Charity responded to my recent article that the Mind Charity shop in Bermondsey, being ‘closed’. They told me that the notice about the closure could have been hidden under the shutters and that they will replace it with a new one as soon as possible.

Gareth from Mind said that the shop had to be completely closed as they had to put in new floorboards but the shop will Re-open on 10th August.

Thank you to Mind for getting back.

Grace & Green are looking for journalists who will work for free – What a scramble!

Grace & Green, a lifestyle brand, has been looking for desperate bloggers to work 6-8 a week, completely unpaid,for their launch in the Autumn. Their values are ‘ethics, honesty, transparency and sustainability’. The organisation is run by Frances Lucraft.

They claim their internship is ‘initially unpaid’ but ‘could’ evolve into a paid position to the ‘right candidate’, so, there is no guarantee

    of any future work.

    The position has a raft of serious responsibilities, and the unfortunate blogger who works for free, must have a ‘can-do’ attitude.

    All bloggers will get is ‘a profile and recognition on our website and social media platforms, the opportunity to be part of a passionate team (some unpaid I expect) and invaluable insight into the life of an exciting start up, valuable transferable skills, articles and blog content to use as writing samples for a career in journalism, media or communications’ and a good, strong, reference’. The job ad does not state whether any expenses will be paid.

    I think that everyone who works for a profitable organisations should be paid, and that includes internships.

    The Government states that people should receive the National Minimum Wage in the UK if you are performing the role of a worker. The vast majority of interns are classed as workers. You should also consider the work should be for your benefit, not the employer’s. If you are part of a commercial operation of a business, you’re likely to be entitled to payment, though there are exceptions.

    The link to the job ad: https://www.gumtree.com/p/internships/blogger-journalist-communications-intern-/1258453034 and a copy of the job ad has gone to HMRC to investigate.

UK: Unscripted Employees – Today: Waitrose Wit

I was at Waitrose today and spoke to the cashier about what my Waitrose card can do, and he reeled off the usual corporate spiel, which was long list of things I can do with it depending on how many points I had.

I asked the cashier that if I got 100 points on my card, does that I mean I would be taken out for a posh lunch by ‘the man at the top’ of Waitrose?

The Cashier, thought for a moment, and said ‘Weeeell, he is not very pretty, I wouldn’t’.

The Loneliness of Flat Sharing in London

One of my friends lives in Bermondsey and I visit him occasionally round on his ‘flat-sharing journey’.

I don’t know if it is a ‘London thing’, but people who share houses do not want speak to each other, other than to say a weak ‘Good Morning’, talk about rent, the rota to tidy the house, talk banally about work, discuss getting stuff for the garden or to communicate by passive aggressive notes scribbled on the communal table. There is no other variation. I have had this ‘conversation’ a million times.

You would think that you would learn new things from other flatmates, learn about the area you have moved in, maybe be taken out to somewhere local, have some friendship perhaps. Have some laughs would be nice. I suppose one reason why conversations are so fake, is that there are often no communal living rooms any more, and people just watch TV or do stuff in their rooms.

I had an experience recently, when a flatmate that I say a Good Morning to, didn’t even say anything to me whilst I was in a communal area, as ‘if I was not there’. Automatically I thought I had done something or he hated me!

When I travelled round the world, particularly in Australia, if we were congregating round the kitchen, we generally would speak, make new friendships, learn about the town we were in, and that sort of thing. It was like a ‘family away from family’. And in America, we would talk too. But no, we’re in Britain, and we have to be cold and unfriendly.

Now, I can understand a ‘neighbour-like’ experience when you live in the same tower block, and share communal stairways and live very privately, you have a kind of ‘distance’, but when you are in a rented flat, and you share bathrooms and kitchens, which is more ‘intimate’, one would expect a more friendlier, homelier feel.

In my experience, the lack of conversation is particularly noticeable when you get couples sharing a flat. Couples will appear to pretend the other couple is not there. Maybe it is a case of one person may be inclined to ‘fancy another flatmate’ which could be a problem to someone. Of course, in most cases, the couple in question is very happy as they are.

You could think perhaps that some couples, as often they share similar hobbies perhaps, could go out on a foursome round London and do something together, make lasting friendships. But no, in London, couples appear to refuse to mix with other flatmates. It feels like they want all the house to themselves, and we are a nuisance.

So, in this flat, we have this kind of ‘superficial relationship’, the ‘superficial hellos’ and the lack of real conversation. It is not just lonely, it just feels unnatural and inhuman. For people in a flat on their own, with other couples, it can get very lonely and/or boring. Many of us are far away from our own family and friends too. I tend to get on better with single people in flats, rather than couples, who seem to be locked in some kind of narrow ‘couple zone’.

And of course, when flatmates go, they never even leave any contact details. You are just nothing to them. The place they live in, is not a home, it is just a ‘base’, and that is it.

Maybe this is yet another British thing, that it is ‘not done’ to mix with other flatmates, even if you have loads in common. Right now, I don’t want to go back in the kitchen and have yet another ‘fake’ experience. I wonder what other cultures think about this behaviour.

England: “Because it’s Tradition”, we do weird & stupid things.

LONDON:

I always find that State Opening of Parliament fills me with nausea. We have this cringeworthy spectacle for an unelected woman to make a speech in Parliament, a supposed democratic institution. (hello?) Is it just me to thinks this is weird?. The mass media never talk about this. It is like the elephant in the room.

Then I also get annoyed that the soldiers in their bearskin hats are outside Parliament in a 32C heatwave, and are not being allowed to take them off ‘because of tradition’. It is just ‘not good form’ to do that. So soldiers are expected to faint instead. What kind of culture are we in? The class system is plain stupid. What kind of army leaders do we have? What, a ‘real soldier’ doesn’t take his bearskin off? The Queen didn’t seem bothered at all that they were very uncomfortable. Well, she is of a different generation. After all these years, they still make soldiers keep them on. Why don’t soldiers stand up to this nonsense – they are probably court martialled if they do, or bullied.

Even 91-year-olds like the Queen should not be out in a heatwave, on the ‘hottest day of the year’ and the NHS encourages us all to ‘check on their neighbours’ and to keep out of the sun from 11-3pm. Haven’t we forgotten that we are human? In countries like Spain, they have siestas for times like this, but no, we English go ‘out in the Midday Sun’ as the song says. And a lot of the time, we don’t even wear hats either to protect us from the high UV levels, which again, the Government warns us out. Some Brits have second degree burns because they don’t even use any sun protection, unlike people in other hot countries.

What about the emergency services who are inundated with people ignoring Government public health heatwave advice? Why don’t public health warnings apply supposed old people like the Queen? Why couldn’t the Queen just get Prince Charles do her job, at least she wouldn’t be out in the heat getting roasted? No, the Queen has to be out in a heatwave at 91 years old, ‘because it is tradition’, and even then, she’s stubborn enough to be out there during this time because ‘she wants to’.

I understand that the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, has been taken to hospital yet the Queen would appear to be at the State Opening of Parliament, instead of being with him during the day. And, after that, she even went to Ascot in the heatwave. All because she cannot upset ‘tradition’.

Horses should not be racing on the hottest day of the year either, and she is supposed to be a horsewoman. Horse.com advise “Know your horse and signs of heat stroke. Heat stroke can happen anytime your horse is exposed to excessive heat that his body cannot handle. Heatstroke can happen if exercising in hot conditions, but be aware that it can also happen if standing in a hot stall or trailer.” I am at a stables, we keep our horses cool, and none of them have even been out riding in the heat today. The racing industry can be appalling and greedy. The Queen should not be encouraging racing in this weather too. Why not have race times only in the cooler part of the day, or would that ‘not be tradition’? I would rather ‘blow tradition’ than have a sick horse to attend to. I don’t hear anything from the vets at Ascot, maybe they are gagged or are ‘enablers’ of the greedy racing industry in a heatwave, after all, they get a free day out at Ascot.

There comes a point in life that doing the ‘right thing’ is taking the time off work for family reasons, health reasons and animal welfare, this is more important than ‘being on show’. Some traditions are plain stupid, and even more so, in a heatwave. Being a younger generation than most of the old fogies who carry on making these stupid rules, I make my own stamp, by standing up to it and questioning it.

Some people who do ‘challenge things’, actually comes from kids. Recently a academy school banned kids from wearing shorts during a heatweave, so the boys wore skirts as a form of protest and got lots of media coverage. Why can’t boiling soldiers all together, in a band of brothers’. and make a stand, why can’t horse grooms make a stand for their horses? Even the journalists are made to wear suits in a heatwave, ‘for show’, which is ridiculous too. Sometimes were Brits are a bunch of wimps and won’t say boo to a goose!

We have to question our culture, but adults never seem to learn, and that’s a tradition too!

++ Note I am typing this in a library, keeping cool with fans.

Homemade “Papua Sunset” Ice Lolly with Banana & Pomegranate – REVIEW

delete

I was inspired by Papua New Guinea where they first domesticated bananas, and my trip to the ‘Land of Milk and Honey’ in Lebanon, for this homemade ice lolly. I just used two large ice lolly moulds.

INGREDIENTS (eyeball)

Natural Yogurt

Pomegranate Juice (essential as it gels the yoghurt together)

Almond Milk

Honey

Mashed Banana, make sure it isn’t lumpy

METHOD: Just Mix up!

Optional tip: You can add a drop of red colouring, though, watch out, some people may be allergic. If you don’t add colouring, it’s just a very pale pink.

REVIEW: 10/10 OMG, one of my favourite ice lollies, and it reminds me of my trip going through ‘Sniper country’ in sunny Lebanon. You can really smell the wonderful aroma of the pomegranate. The taste brings the Mediterranean all back, with the fruit markets and arid hills.

Mother’s Day at the Remembrance Gardens, Rotherhithe

I popped into the Remembrance Gardens near Southwark Park this afternoon. It is one of my favourite spots when I need a bit of quiet and reflection and going there on Mother’s Day adds another poignant aspect to it.

It is a very pretty little garden, particularly in spring, with lots of memorials, flowers and pretty seats and even an ornamental pond with some koi fish. By the pond are a few memorials to some  men who loved fishing and there are photos of them with their large catches. I wonder what their story was. They seemed to have died before their time. In fact, there were a lot of premature deaths which seemed to be a bit of a feature here. Perhaps they died earlier due to cancer,  drugs, heart disease, suicide and recent wars? You can imagine a lot of children who have been bereaved early in their life with so any middle-aged deaths.

There were some middle-aged people bringing along their children paying their respects and talking along some  Mother’s Day flowers to their mothers who are no longer around but their family still thinks of them.

I noticed perhaps some elderly mothers visiting their children’s memorials, people who no longer could give them flowers and cards for Mother’s Day. A lot of mothers have lost their children.

Towards the end of my visit,  I spotted a memorial dedicated to Jade Goody, who died young on Mother’s Day after suffering from cervical cancer. It had a large yellow card with ‘Queen for a Day’. It was quite a simple gesture, for someone who was a popular Bermondsey local figure who raised a lot of awareness for women’s cancer.