Friday 17 June 2016

All six of us, and the cat...

I don't normally post my creative writing on my political / campaigning blog, but due to the nature of the piece this was first posted in the other place (to borrow a political term!)
I'm reproducing it here, where it belongs as part of my canon.

All six of us, and the cat...

We sit sipping a latte whilst watching the news
Of kids with no water stood in long queues
Holding their plastic cans and waiting their turns
For ten litres of water whilst the sun, overhead, burns.

We all tut, "how dreadful" and "it's such a shame"
Yet moan that our government sends cash to them in our name.
"Why are we paying them when we need it here instead?"
Demand well-fed citizens snuggling in a warm comfy bed.

"We're only a poor country" is one of our laments
Whilst planning our Summer holidays for kids and parents.
Meanwhile, across the globe in many hundred places
Families starve and children thirst, despair etched in their faces.

Not for them a comfy bed or latte on demand,
Not for them an education and career to be planned;
A place to live and grow without the fear of bombs
And air strikes turning their homes into simple tombs.

A carefree childhood, a happy life, to many is denied,
Whilst aid agencies and peace protesters are derided.
By creating hunger, pestilence or war
Big business and state exploitation is going way too far.

Yet still we sip our lattes in our homes with central heating,
Whilst far away some dissidents endure yet another beating:
Their crime is asking  just for basic human rights,
For speaking out against abuse they face most days and nights.

Religions, states and corporations all must take some blame
For treating people badly, have they no shame?
But are we any better when we constantly complain
About the cost of foreign aid that helps to ease their pain?

Would it be so very bad if we had a fraction less
So others who have nothing can be helped out from that mess?
Do we need ten pairs of shoes when some women have one?
Do we need the latest iPhone when some folks don't have one?

Do we need a gas barbecue or a big double oven
When some must cook on open fires beneath a searing sun?
Do we need that Netflix sub or Sky Sports on the box?
Or could we help our fellow humans eradicate smallpox?

Are power hungry electricals really such a need?
If we each cut back our consumption then would it help to feed
Those hungry refugees in camps where they have fled
In fear of enslavement, or rape or their deathbed;

To get away from air-strikes, bombs and shells
That turned their previous lives into living hells.
Our government caused their misery and pain
Yet we say, "Not giving cash or refuge to them again."

Despite wrecking their homelands for political reasons
We refuse them safe harbour as if they committed the treasons.
We created most of the problems the world faces
And we benefited from them throughout the ages.

Yet when those who are suffering ask for some aid
We look quite affronted or sorely afraid.
That by helping out those with the biggest needs
It will weaken our hearts and make us into weeds.

That simply by showing humanity and compassion
Our nation will be overrun in storm-trooper fashion
By millions of immigrants "all on the make"
Who will claim all our benefits and eat all our cake.

They'll rape all our women and some of the men
And sell into slavery all of our children.
They'll bring all their weird customs, their rites, and their wrongs
And bury us in cous cous and surround us with bongs.

"They don't have our standards" we say to each other
Whilst sipping our lattes and watching Big Brother.
"They come over here and take all of jobs,
"And claim all our benefits - what rotten knobs."

"Use all our roads, our schools and our NHS,
"And leave nought for us born here, oh what a mess."
If we stopped up our borders so no more can invade
And choose with which places we want to do trade,

Then the overseas aid that our government "wastes"
Will help us to prosper and improve our tastes,
And those of us left here will be able to claim
That we're native English and proud of the name.

All six of us, and the cat...

Saturday 11 June 2016

Book Review: The Lost Library, A.M. Dean

The Lost LibraryThe Lost Library by A.M. Dean
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found this book fascinating and very enjoyable. I was totally immersed in the plot, engaged with the lead characters, and shivered whenever the bad guys appeared. The Lost Library has none of the dryness or stuffiness that often appears in novels by academics. It does give the flavour of the unique nature of academics at Oxford without making them into boring characters. It does have a wealth of background and historic detail but they are presented as an essential part of the narrative. I was able to clearly visualise the locations described and felt myself making the journey with Dr Wess, willing her to succeed. The whole concept of The Lost Library is fascinating: a superb story extremely well-told - I love the blend of history and thriller. I am looking forward to reading A.M. Dean's next book with eager anticipation.

View all my reviews

Book review: Citadel, by Kate Mosse

Citadel (Languedoc, #3)Citadel by Kate Mosse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love this book! It reminded me just how brutal the Nazi occupation of France was, how much suffering was endured by communities throughout France, how brave those who served in the various Resistance groups were, and the ultimate price that so many of them paid. It's a story which needed to be told, and who better than Kate Mosse to do so. It interweaves that more recent history with the ancient stories of the ghost army and the legends of the Languedoc, which add an extra dimension to what could be an overwhelmingly sad account of life during the occupation. It is a fact that the Nazis searched for ancient relics during the Second World War, and it is also a fact that the Midi has a long history of Christian and Cathar legends and links, so combining aspects of these into Citadel enriches the story rather than detracts from it. The people are, after all, the results of their historical experiences. As those who endured such horrors become fewer in number, it is vital that stories such as Citadel keep their history alive and in our collective memories... if we do not learn the lessons of history we are condemned to repeated its mistakes.

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Saturday 4 June 2016

Card2Kendal Exhibition & Sale - 18th June 2016 at K Village, Kendal

Diary Date: My long-time friend and local artist Helen Pateman has been deeply involved in bringing the Card2Kendal exhibition to fruition, so please do go along and see it, and pick up a special piece of artwork for a small sum of money. The artworks are fab - a whole range of designs and themes by both professional and amateur artists, and some from famous name celebrities.

All funds raised will go to the flood appeal to help those who were flooded out in last December's Storm Desmond flooding.

The exhibition preview is 11th June, and the main exhibition and sale will take place on 18th June, at K Village in Kendal.

and you can if you want still send in a postcard for the exhibition and sale, here's how:

Burton-in-Kendal Art & Craft Exhibition this weekend

Burton-in-Kendal Art & Craft Exhibition this weekend 4th & 5th June 10am - 4pm both days at Burton Memorial Hall, Main Street, Burton LA6 1NA

Picture from previous year: