Another Rant

It’s an age since I delivered to you a full blown rant. Well, stand back a long way to miss the dragon fire,. Here it comes.!

There’s no point in ranting about Covid. It is what it is, and it seems that much of he world has accepted the fact of the virus, and are just getting on with life as it is now.

In August 2016, having come very close, I ranted/mused on what death and destruction is still being wrought around our wold. I asked “What has gone so wrong?

There’ll be love and laughter
And peace ever after.
Tomorrow, when the world is free
Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin

And if you are not old enough to remember this song, Sang so often by Vera Lynn during those war years, here’s a You Tube recording

I asked “Have we forgotten all that was learned at such great cost?  Children are still living in areas surrounded by bombs as did we in the early 1940s.”

And none of these questions are answered well.

So six years later, nothing has changed except that things appear to be getting worse.

We have the escalating tension in the Ukraine, with Russia having in excess of 100,000 troops near the border while denying planning an invasion. Make what you think of that! And now President Volodymyr Zelensky, the President of the Ukraine is arguing “hitting back at comments made by Mr Biden comments about a minor attack”.

According to BBC News the UK has accused President Vladimir Putin of plotting to install a pro-Moscow figure to lead Ukraine’s Government

And of course, IS (Islamic State)fighters are causing death and destruction wherever they go. Again, according to BBC News “Intense fighting is taking place in north-eastern Syria after Islamic State (IS) fighters tried to break inmates out of a Kurdish-run prison.”

During World War 11 we thought of anti-semitism as mainly being directed against the Jews. We fought over it: our fathers, grandfathers and brothers went war to fight against it. But it is still rife today.

We heard of the armed man who stormed a Texas synagogue earlier this month, taking a rabbi and three worshippers hostage. He believed that a Jewish conspiracy ruled America and that, if he took Jews hostage, he could compel the US to release Siddiqui, an imprisoned Jihadist.

Now it seems to have moved on to other religions and beliefs. A Muslim MP in Britain has claimed that her faith was raised by a government whip as a reason why she was sacked as a Minister in 2020.

is that enough misery for today?

I forgot about Boris. But Mr Johnson is bringing the misery down on himself, by telling so many lies and part truths.

And just so you know all is not perfect here in Godzone – the land of the long white cloud. Our Prime Minister, Jacinda Arden. yesterday announced the whole country would move into “the red light Covid 19 setting at 11.59 pm on Sunday 23 January” This means workers are encouraged to work from home, there are restrictions on numbers at meetings, weddings and funerals and in all instances a Vaccine Pass is required. And as before, masks are mandatory when you are away from home.

And of course as soon as the announcement was made, panic buying ensued at supermarkets around the country even though the major chains assured the public there was plenty of everything.

Again nothing much changes – “it’s all about me” reigns still.

You can relax now, the rant has ended.

“We do not live by coffee alone; order a Danish.” 
Judith Baxter

And as Dolly says :

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow,
you gotta put up with the rain.”

JB January 24, 2022

I took to looking at the past..

More deep thinking from Chris I really love how she delves into the past

A World Apart

Well, at some of the past. Past posts that is. My Bridgesburning blog goes back eleven years now and it occurred to me there might be some wisdom to behold there. Might being the operative word.

I spent several hours reading through all the January posts and did not finish. I will rethink that approach but there were a few things that resonated with me.


Photo by Engin Akyurt on

1-11 ’More tears than laughter. A little broken for sure, but surviving.’ Sometimes I think that is all we can ask for. CG

1-22 ’ Once you step outside yourself, painful as that is, you find clarity. But you must be very brave to take that first step.’ CG

1-22 ’When you are physically, spiritually, emotionally drained, just stop. Breathe. Be very quiet. Batteries recharge best when plugged in and at rest.’ CG

1-11 ’ Some days you…

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Six word Saturday button

.For several years, along with many other bloggers, I used to write a post each Saturday entitled “Six Word Saturday”. The idea was to describe your life in six words. So each Saturday I would do just that.

I wrote about a Disaster and a Ruined Pot; Sweeping the Patio – Clearing the Leaves; Only Barbecue this Summer with Friends; I asked Is Life Better with a G&T? and also Are We Having Any Fun – No! I even mentioned Trump and his phobia. What is it you ask – Trump’s Phobia is Fear of Sharks, Unfortunately, Six Word Saturday and it’s originator ceased to exist a few years ago.

I obviously enjoyed this challenge as there were so many more Six Word Saturday posts. But one of my favourites was written on June 30, 2012 – Please Do Not Disturb – I’m Reading. I described how it was a miserable winter Saturday and having started a new book in the morning, after lunch I settled down to read more. it was a book by one of my favourite authors, Zoe Sharp.

Have you come across this writer and the protagonist in her first series? Note – in 2012 there was only one series. So, Charlie Fox is the protagonist and on that day I was reading “First Drop” book No 4 in. the series. If you click on the Zoe Sharp link above, you will see how many books she has written since then.

Lee Child has been quoted as saying “If I were a woman, I would be Zoe Sharp . If Jack Reacher were a woman, he would be Charlie Fox.”

As I said, she is a favourite author and I have read and reviewed all of her books.

Harking back to my Six Word Saturday post, if you read the post all through and down to the comments – you will see that Zoe commented a couple of times (blatant self promotion here):

Zoe Sharp | July 5, 2012 at 01:59 

Hi Judith
Thank you so much for a fabulous review of FIRST DROP. I’m delighted that you enjoyed the book. There is a full list of the Charlie Fox books, in order, on my website – – and I’ve tried to include the order of the books as part of the titles on Amazon. Sorry for the confusion – it’s a long story. Thank you to everyone who’s commented, too, and I hope you’ll give Charlie a whirl.
Pass on my apologies to Lotte and I hope she enjoyed her belated walk 🙂

Perhaps I will continue Six Word Saturday posts, if not every Saturday, maybe some. Something to think about.

“She generally gave herself very good advice, (though she very seldom followed it).”
Lewis Carroll,’Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland’.

The aftermath of pleasurable viewing

For a short time I lived in Montréal. This post and the one Chris wrote before it takes me back to that time I really hate snow and have no desire to ever to see it like that again.

A World Apart

A couple of days ago I wrote about the lovely storm, how it looked, and how cozy it was on this side of the window.

My sister – who is younger but still a LOL ( little old lady), like me is about half the size of the gent you see above.

She lives in a house that requires shovelling snow. Like me she prefers to ignore the LOL part and carry on with vital chores of life – like shovelling snow.

She has 2 of these machines, one small, one large, though both appear too large for me. She used both not just to clean her drive, deck and sidewalk but those of multiple neighbours (5 I think)

SNOWMAGEDDON: City declares ‘major snowstorm condition

This headline from The Toronto Sun says it all – and also says it will take a week to clear clogged roads. There was…

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Wondering on Wednesday

Today was another busy, social day and it is my tun to write a post for A World Apart. Chris, she of 43 degrees north and I take turns in writing posts. Once again today, I wondered how I ever found time to work, far less to write a post very day as I did for a couple of years. My life is busy these days; I am becoming a social butterfly.

So when I arrived home from an afternoon playing Upwords with a friend, I had an absolutely blank mind as I sat with my trusty laptop staring at a blank screen. Then I thought of looking back at some of the posts I had written in earlier Januarys and I chanced on a post written in January 2013 when amongst other things I thought back to growing up in the East End of London during the Second World War. So using this as a basis, I had a theme for today.

2013-01-16 17-49-16_0001

I searched for and found a street map given to me by a friend many years ago who had recently returned from a visit to London.  Apparently, he saw this “A Street Map of Jewish East London” and thought of me.

If you have read any of my posts about growing up,e you will recall that I was born and brought up in the East End of London in a predominantly Jewish neighbourhood.  With the exception of those of us living in our gentile apartment complex, everyone else was Jewish (or so it seemed).  They were mainly Hasidic Jews, and from Wikipedia, I learned that “the Hasidics is a sect of Orthodox Judaism that promotes spirituality through the popularisation and internalisation of Jewish mysticism as the fundamental aspects of the Jewish faith.”  These people did not relate/interact at all with us or it seemed, with anyone outside their own strict community.  They were/are easily identified as the men wore their side hair in curls that fell to the jaw and always wore a round fur hat, called a shtreimel.  I was always intrigued by these men (for it was mostly the men we saw walking in our neighbourhood) and wanted to learn more about their particular area of the Jewish religion.

As an aside, my parents’ house was purchased by the local government for street widening and in part payment, they were rehoused into an apartment complex.  The question is what great mind devised the plan to drop a handful of Christian families in the middle of this enclave of Judaism.  One will never know the answer to that riddle.

So back to my map.   I have always been fascinated by street maps.  Not for me the wide and wonderful world shown in an atlas but give me a map of the streets of any town anywhere in the world, and I can happily entertain myself for hours.

Of course, I immediately honed into the area in which I was born showing that less than 5% of the population in 1899 was Jewish.  So I then had to find out what happened between then and when I was born to change this area from being so sparsely populated with Jews at the end of the 19th Century into an enclave of Judaism.

Stamford Hill (where we lived) is now home to Europe’s largest Hasidic Jewish community  The small Hasidic  community was increased dramatically by the influx of pre-war refugees and survivors of the Holocaust. The population has grown with arrivals from Israel and America.  Now within an area of  little more than a square mile, there are no fewer than 74 synagogues, or shuls, 32 orthodox schools, kosher supermarkets, butchers, fishmongers and a multitude of other businesses.  Growing up I remember the bakers, butchers, fishmongers and while there were no supermarkets, I remember the general food store and the fabulous and tantalising smells that came forth from it.

When I was last in London and making a trip to childhood haunts, I was reminded of my childhood by the sight of groups of mothers uniformly dressed in the mandatory dark coats and long skirts.  They, of course, were wearing the wigs that are obligatory for married women, many were pushing prams with a handful of children in tow.  Family is of great importance to the Hasidic Jews and families are mostly large keeping the women busy all day.  There were also groups of men, but seldom would we see men and women together.

Modesty is paramount to the Hasidics, and the mingling of the sexes is strictly regulated.  Unmarried boys and girls will have little contact with the opposite sex outside their families.  At social gatherings such as concerts and wedding parties, men and women will always be separated.  An Hasidic man will avoid making eye-contact with any woman other than his wife, and would never shake hands.

In January 203 I wrote “While I could find nothing to support this, I think because of this segregation of the young, marriages are probably arranged by the family.  How are young men and women ever going to meet?  I wonder if there are still marriage brokers as Yente in The Fiddler on the Roof.”

And now nine years later I have proof that the marriages are arranged by the family.

In reading a piece from BBC News entitled Inside Europe’s Biggest Hasidic Communit I learned

“Most Hasidic people marry young. A normal age for boys and girls in this community – by that point becoming men and women – to get married is around 18 or 19 years old. 

Their parents normally hire a shadchan (matchmaker), as there is little chance of meeting a girl any other way. The two genders are kept apart at public events and, in orthodox Jewish law, men and women not related or married to each other are not even supposed to look one another in the eye.

“In my mother and father’s generation, they wouldn’t even meet for an hour [before agreeing to marriage],” says Avi Bresler, a 41-year-old father of five, who has been living in the community since he moved from Israel as a teenager.

“They met for maybe one or two minutes, say hello to each other and say yes or no. Now some Hasidim are meeting for an hour or maybe two and then getting engaged.”

I am fascinated by this group. My Grandfather’s family were Ashkenazi Jews and I know very little about the sect. So as you can see there is still much research for me to do in this area.  That will wait for another day.

The purpose of all major religious traditions is not to construct big temples on the outside,
but to create temples of goodness and compassion inside, in our hearts.
Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

Say, the weather outside is frightful…

There’s a kind of hush all over the world. It’s funny how what’s happening right now, right around you, feels like it’s all over the world. Because …

Say, the weather outside is frightful…

Musing on Monday

“Good night – may you fall asleep in the arms of a dream,
so beautiful, you’ll cry when you awake.” 
Michael Faudet
, Author of “Dirty Pretty Things.

First Sleep

Do you sometimes fall into a deep sleep and several hours later, wake again? Maybe it’s your bladder calling, or a glass of water or a sound, but sometimes, it’s none of these. That happened to me last night from a deep sleep, I was suddenly awake. And being wide awake, I began to think about Roger Ekrich, a historian who had long been fascinated by this phenomenon.

He had been researching for a book about night- time, when one day in the early 1900s he walked into the Public Record Office in London where he found a deposition by the daughter of a woman brutally murdered in 1699.

As Ekrich read the daughter’s testimony he was struck by a few words – she and her mother had arisen from their first sleep of the evening. There was no further explanation- the interrupted sleep was stated matter of factly, as if it were entirely unremarkable. “She referred to it as though it was utterly normal.” says Ekrich.

As he read this he pondered: a first sleep implies a second sleep. Was this normal at that time?

Over the coming months, Ekirch scoured the archives and found many more references to this mysterious phenomenon of double sleeping, or “biphasic sleep” as he later called it.

Most were fairly banal, but others such as that of Luke Atkinson of the East Riding of Yorkshire. were anything but banal. According to his wife “He managed to squeeze in an early morning murder between his sleeps one night, and often used the time to frequent other people’s houses for sinister deeds

 Ekirch found casual references to the system of twice-sleeping in every conceivable form, with hundreds in letters, diaries, medical textbooks, philosophical writings, newspaper articles and plays.

And he also found this biphasic sleep was not to unique to England. “it was widely practised throughout the preindustrial world. In France, the initial sleep was the “premier somme“; in Italy, it was “primo sonno. In fact, Eckirch found evidence of the habit in locations as distant as Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Australia, South America and the Middle East.

As Ekirch explains in his book, At Day’s Close: A History of Nighttime, people would often just stay in bed and chat. And during those strange twilight hours, bedfellows could share a level of informality and casual conversation that was hard to achieve during the day.

So next time it happens to you, think you are not alone. No doubt it’s happening to others close to you and perhaps at the same time.

Source – BBC Future – The Forgotten Way Medieval People Slept.

For more on this fascinating subject

Sunsets are the prelude to another beautiful day.
And whatever happens the sun will rise tomorrow”.
Judith Baxter
, Blogger, Mother, Grandmother and Friend

And now it’s time to –

So until the next time –

JB January 17, 2022

Penny Walking

I’ve mentioned before that my relationship with G1 & G2 is particularly precious, but I don’t think I have told you about the books I wrote for them.…

Penny Walking



A day of miracles my friends

Not one of THOSE days but… Have you ever opened your eyes and known this was going to be an outstanding day! One of excellence and good fortune? A …


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Fossicking on Friday

Friday Fossicking

I have a wall filled with blue plates.  i have been collecting them for many years snd they have travelled with me to whichever house I am living in.  But earlier this week, one plate fell down and smashed.  So now I had to find a replacement.

Friday was a good day to start looking.  I had only a booster covid shot in the morning so off I trotted.

i thought that an op shop (opportunity shop) would be the most likely place to find one.  There are many op shops in town so i started my journey.  i didn’t find my replacement plate but what I did find were clues to others’ lives.  

Looking around, I thought of my quote:”To live in lives we leave behind, is not to die”. I wondered if the same could be said of things we leave behind. Many, if not most, items have been donated by family members following the death of loved ones.

Wand still looking around, who, I wondered had owned that very large portrait of a young girl? Who, the dining table and eight chairs displayed in the window of one shop?  And the many full crockery and cutlery sets. So many of these in each shop waiting for a new owner.  There were plenty of toys, dolls, and teddy bears, even a very large bear sitting in his own chair.  I wondered for which child this toy had been bought originally, and how many more had owned and loved this bear since.

Leaving the op shops I ventured into an antique shop and wondered how far and how often these suitcases had travelled.

And in another, who had been the owner of this statue and where would you put it if you had it? 

So after a busy pleasant morning of browsing, I came home empty handied but determined to visist more of the fabulous antique shops  our city.

And now, I am off to sit in the sunshine with a cup of tea and a good book.

And According to Dr Seuss The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.

Until next time, take care, keep safe.

JB January 15, 2022