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

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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.

March 2017: UK Motorists driving with mobile phones risk losing licence (and job)

From 1 March, new laws came into force targeting feral motorists risking other people’s lives. Motorists will  now be given an instant six points as opposed to three points which it used to be, and £200 fine instead of £100.Overseas motorists will have to pay their fine immediately.

New motorists, and those who already have several motoring offences will be hardest hit. In the UK, the number of penalty points a motorist can have is 12, though there are some exceptions.

Despite a vigorous awareness campaign, many motorists in the UK are continuing to drive with a mobile phone to check their social media and text.  Already the crackdown has caught many , some of whom have  now lost their licence instantly and will need to re-take their tests, which will be time consuming and expensive for them, and a nuisance to their relatives.

Some professional drivers have also been caught which has harmed their career and prospects. The Times said that a news reporter who was going to report on the story about motorists driving with mobile phones, was actually caught by police driving with one. You cannot make this up!

Some of the rules:

  • It Is illegal to use a handheld mobile when driving. This includes using your phone to follow a map, read a text or check social media. This applies even if you’re stopped at traffic lights, queuing in traffic or if the engine is running.
  • Motorists are allowed to use hands-free phones – but must not press any buttons on their phone to make calls.
  • You can only use a handheld phone if you are safely parked or need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop.
  • If you’re caught using a handheld phone while driving, you’ll get 6 penalty points on your licence
  • Drivers will get a fine of £200.
  • Points on your licence will result in higher insurance costs.
  • There is a 6-point limit set in the first two years after passing your test, so the 6 points from a mobile phone offence will mean you will lose your licence.
  • New motorists who lose their licence will need to reapply for a provisional licence and retake both theory and practical driving tests.
  • Using hands free (e.g. for navigation) is not illegal. However, if this distracts you and affects your ability to drive safely, you can still be prosecuted by the police.

Source: Think

Many people think these laws are still too soft, and I would agree as I think all motorists who drive with a mobile should have an instant ban and ideally their  car should be crushed to stop them still driving, but I would say years later, we will be able to gather statistics and can take a look at it again. If there is still no improvement, obviously tougher laws must be taken.

As 1 in 24 of us are sociopaths, the laws will bound tougher in years to come.

BBC Springwatch fans gutted that coverage of Monty, Britain’s nominated ‘National Bird’, was turned down by the programme

‘The BBC had a recent meeting about Terry Taylor’s tame robin ‘Monty’ who has been extremely popular with his antics, and has become a social media celebrity on the BBC Springwatch Facebook fan page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/2357918724/?fref=nf

Terry reacted on Facebook  in upper case letters, “MONTY HAS BEEN TURNED DOWN BY THE BBC. They had a meeting yesterday to discuss Monty, and decided the Monty story was not what they wanted”.

 

Over 400 BBC Springwatch fans have viewed his post with  many writing in telling Terry how unhappy they were with the BBC’s poor executive decision.

The Robin has been nominated as ‘Britain’s National Bird’  after a poll in 2015 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-33090043 and http://www.votenationalbird.com/ . The project was launched on BBC Springwatch

UK: I donated blood and it was used!

I am a proud Blood Donor.

So far I have donated 18 pints and I have a Bronze Card.  It was a  colleague who inspired me to be one.

Over the last few months, it has become a lot more exciting as the NHS send you a text message letting you know where it has been  used. I was told that my blood went to a patient or patients at Tunbridge Wells Hospital.  It all becomes real and you can imagine the drama going on and me helping the patient out, perhaps with a team of other blood donors.

I plan to make a necklace noting how many donations I have made, and plan a Location Map of where my donations have gone. I am also going to buy a plant for each donation so I have a Blood Donation garden.

Here are some of my tips for newbies:

  1. Drink enough water or liquids  beforehand, but avoid caffeine.
  2. For women, make sure you eat plenty of foods with iron or take iron supplements. You can be turned away with low iron (I was once)
  3. Take a friend or someone to come along for the first time, I didn’t, but it can be nice.
  4. You get snacks like crisps and biscuits which is great afterwards
  5. I don’t like needles much, so I just look away.Really, it is just like a pin prick.

Coping with Dry January 2017

I don’t generally drink at all, though like many of us we have temptations when people ask us if we would like one.

I have had only had one person this January asking me whether would I like a brandy with my mince pie but that is about it.  My friend also is doing Dry January and we are supporting each other. He doesn’t really drink much either. Dry January is pretty easy for us.

I have been mostly drinking teas and coffees.  I have also gone to apothecaries and specialist London teashops to get loose tea and I enjoy making my own home made tea. I don’t miss alcohol at all and nor non alcoholic wine, and it saves me money. Trying new teas makes my taste buds better.  My friend says that my skin looks great, even though I am in my 50s, and I have hardly any wrinkles.

I have been saving orange rind to make orange flavoured teas but I learned today that it is could cause cancer. I may have to do more research on that.

Last year, I did Dry January and I got a free meal from Strada and a non alcolholic rose. I hope they do the same this year, the meal was excellent.

I have also got a Drink Water App which encourages me to drink water throughout the day. It seems to go off all the time! We all need to drink more water than we do.  I also don’t mix with drinkers or heavy drinkers and avoid a lot  of social networking. I like mixing with ‘doers’ rather than people who just go round chatting and gossiping.

As Millwall supporter, the culture is to drink, but I have never been one for the culture.

Well done to all of you who do Dry  January, you are awesome.

 

Greens leaving the Green Party, after they talk of ‘standing aside’

I have been a Green member and supporter for decades, voting for what  ‘voting for what I believe in’ . However, myself and others are now leaving.

Amongst other issues I have been mulling over, in the last few months, Greens in various wards have been ‘standing aside’ to back  another party, just to get the boost the numbers of the left. Now this could be acceptable if they formed a proper alliance, but no, they want to back another party, where only a handful of policies are similar.

This really says what a rubbish political system we have, where we pay membership towards a particular party but they only go and back another party. They call it ‘another kind of politics’. No, this is like saying they have given up on their own policies and is incredibly flaky. True, we are facing a rising right wing element, but it is so important that our votes do count (though, under the system, as best they can).

There are already splits within the Green Party as to whether this is the right way to go.  Some Greens are furious.  Some, like myself, have already left the Greens recently and, reluctantly. Some of us are now in limbo, not knowing who to vote for, if any, but they are certain that they won’t be voting Green, at least for the time being and definitely not Labour.

We also have to remember that there are so many ways to make positive change, and it doesn’t mean we even need to belong to a political party. Perhaps a ‘different kind of politics’ is to not belong or support a political party at all.People can bring out change via a charity, good networking or just do your own thing and be completely independent.

Will the Greens exist in 15 years time?  That remains to be seen.

Funeral service of an 18 year old British relative

There was a funeral service today of one of my relatives who was killed due to him taking recreational drugs whilst on a gap year abroad. He was  18 years of age, just out of school, and was about to go to uni.

His British parents had shelled out loads to take him to the best prep and boarding schools in the country. He appeared to mix with public school ‘party thrill seekers’. In his obituary, it said he ‘tragically died whilst on a charity trip’.  His father is a very high profile Tory donor.

This is the first member of my family who die in this way, most tend to die of natural causes and the ones that die young, tend to be in war or illness.

His body had to be sent back to the UK. He leaves behind a younger sibling. It is so frustrating for some young people to be so reckless with their lives and was so entirely preventable if he didn’t take drugs.  There is so much information out there, but some people still continue to ignore it. Just a waste of a life.