Monthly Archives: January 2022

When an old friend asks for help to talk to The Powers That Be – well, that becomes today’s Post

Come home Ceci. We are waiting for you with open arms, although there will be no hugging when you get here.

A World Apart

Celi (Cecilia Mary Gunther) has been an old blogging friend from the very early days. I must admit the most exciting parts of my existence has been adventures lived through her and The Farmy, known more formally as The Kitchen’s Garden.

She posted this today, and rather than a reblog on AWA I have done the old copy-and-post thing. Please give it a read and if you can repost, reblog, or share that would be quite wonderful!

Dear Jacinda

I hope you don’t mind me calling you Jacinda even though we have not been introduced. I am Cecilia. One of your people who is stranded overseas. Firstly thank you for all your good work as our New Zealand Prime Minister. You have made us proud. So proud. And now I need to talk to you. 

Please excuse me publishing my email to you on my little blog page…

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Synchronicity Again

I wrote this today on the blog I share with my sister of choice, Chris in Ontario. This has given me much to think about on this sunny summer’s day in Wellington. I like the idea of synchronicity and serendipity and coincidence. Watch for more posts like these in future.

A World Apart

Synchronicity is an ever present reality for those
who have eyes to see.”
Carl Jung

The first blogpost I read this morning was from Jo Nell at The Coastal Crone. Jo’s post was edited Happiness, Courage, Strength & A Sense of Humour. In it she tells of Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s book of poetry and essays Gift of the Sea. I had not heard of this book, or indeed anything about this wife of Charles Lindbergh, although of curse, we all know about his daring deeds.

I immediately put this book on my TBR list.

Imagine then my surprise to see on Reader and immediately underneath Jo’s blog another blogger who wrote a review on The Aviator’s Wife. This is a book that goes “behind the scenes and into the heart of the woman who loved and married Charles Lindbergh.

Unfortunately I cannot find the blog…

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Purveyors of Truth and Why I Prefer Fiction Thank You Very Much

Chris always gives us something to think about. This is no exception..

A World Apart

There seems to be a scarcity of truth these days, prevalent in every aspect of life. I guess one must ask, is that a true statement or has a mask been ripped off revealing what has always been there?

Four days ago the former Pope Benedict (who still lives in Vatican City) admitted to ‘giving false statement’ in a sexual abuse case. And what is this business of calling lies, false statements, as though that mitigates the severity of The Lie?

And don’t even get started on politics and THE SPIN. Years ago there was a TV series considered light comedy about an incompetent city official, a Mayor.

Back then people had faith in their elected officials so each week Michael J. Fox and his cast brought mirth and laughter into our homes. How funny there could actually be An Incompetent in an elected office

I believe fiction holds…

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Trains and other things.

Yesterday Chris wrote about trains and public transport, and trains and dreams. And those no longer with us but whom we will never forget. I must say our trains are not as the light rail Chris shows on her post. Ours are much more mundane, even if they had been decorated for Christmas.

I have written about trains on several occasions in the past few years (well it has now been 11 years since I started blogging) – see hereand here; and yes, here. So it is fair to say I like trains. Our local trains moving us from the city to the suburbs and further afield, are pretty basic. Fast, clean, well maintained, and (mostly) reliable. They are built for a purpose and serve that purpose well. But I think that Chris’s light rail trains would be better.

The last two posts I have written have been on the serious side and I looked for some humour to add. Looking back to 2014, can it really be eight years? I came across this post and I reprint it here for your edification and laughter – 

I was told –

A friend went to Beijing recently and was given this brochure by the hotel. It is precious.
She is keeping it and reading it whenever she feels depressed.
Obviously, it has been translated directly, word for word from Mandarin to English. So,
Getting There: Our representative will make you wait at the airport. The bus to the hotel runs along the lake shore. Soon you will feel pleasure in passing water. You will know that you are getting near the hotel because you will go round the bend. The manager will await you in the entrance hall. He always tries to have intercourse with all new guests.
The Hotel: This is a family hotel, so children are very welcome. We of course are always pleased to accept adultery. Highly skilled nurses are available in the evenings to put down your children. Guests are invited to conjugate in the bar and expose themselves to others. But please note that ladies are not allowed to have babies in the bar. We organize social games, so no guest is ever left alone to play with them self.

The Restaurant: Our menus have been carefully chosen to be ordinary and unexciting. At dinner, our quartet will circulate from table to table, and fiddle with you.
Your Room: Every room has excellent facilities for your private parts. In winter, every room is on heat. Each room has a balcony offering views of outstanding obscenity! .. You will not be disturbed by traffic noise, since the road between the hotel and the lake is used only by pederasts.
Bed: Your bed has been made in accordance with local tradition. If you have any other ideas please ring for the chambermaid. Please take advantage of her. She will be very pleased to squash your shirts, blouses and underwear. If asked, she will also squeeze your trousers.
Above All: When you leave us at the end of your holiday, you will have no hope. You will struggle to forget it.

Whether true or not, I love it and am suspending belief in light of the fun I am having sharing it.

“It sounds plausible enough tonight, but wait until tomorrow. 
Wait for the common sense of the morning.”
H.G. Wells, The Time Machine 

When the NEWS is not good you can always take the train

bridgesburning

Hmm does ‘dead people on a train’ mean anything?

K-W LRT Yesterday JB wrote a wonderful thought provoking post about FREEDOM and what it means to each of us. How the very thought of being free can …

When the NEWS is not good you can always take the train

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Freedom

“I am no bird and no net ensnares me;
I am a free human being with an independent will.”
Charlotte Bronte. Jane Eyre

Way back in 2013 I had a real adventure. I decided that the years were passing quickly and I had to do something to make a change in my life before it was too late – a real adventure. Oh I had had several adventures since the untimely death (is any death timely?) of my DYS (Dashing Young Scotsman, although by that time not so Young, but still Dashing). I had spent most of a year in Sussex playing companion to an elderly lady. Much of that already posted in this blog. Trips and flights to various places, but always knowing somebody with whom I travelled. But this time, I wanted a REAL adventure.

I decided to go to Florence. At the time, I owned an early 20th century villa and of course, as is always the case with older properties, there was continuing need for maintenance. I decided that I couldn’t trust a tenant to keep the place as it should be (more on that another time) and so I sold the property; put all my possessions into storage; booked an apartment in a suburb in Florence; booked flights to LA and London to visit my sisters and set off.

Much has been written about my adventure already. Somehow Day 1 in Florence has disappeared, but here is the link to Day 2. and the rest of the adventure follows in subsequent posts.

 But what an adventure that was. I wrote about the feeling of Freedom in a post in October 2016

“To know nobody; to walk through the streets and not see a familiar face; to hear people speaking without understanding a single word they are saying and to not know where you are or where you are going; no familiar sights to guide you.  It’s total freedom.

For once, you can just be you.  There’s nobody who knows you and can comment on your behaviour.  We all like to think that we are independent and not moved by others’ comments on our actions, but here I was, totally alone like a ship that had been untied and left to float.

Oh, how i loved Florence and the feeling of just being me for the time I was there. Never before have I been in such circumstances and I suppose I never will be again.”

But Freedom in the true sense means so much more to others.

Consider Nelson Mandela. He spent 27 years in prison for opposing South Africa’s apartheid system. He faced harsh conditions meant to break his resolve, but Mandela refused to give up his efforts to achieve equality for all people. Despite the terrible personal cost of imprisonment, Mandela continued to act as a leader and mobilized his fellow political prisoners. After he was released, Mandela helped negotiate an end to apartheid and became the first democratically elected president of South Africa.

I have written about Terry Waite who, In 1987 as the special envoy for the archbishop of Canterbury (though not a clergyman himself), went to Beirut  to negotiate the release of several hostages, including John McCarthy, Terry Anderson and Brian Keenan. He had already successfully negotiated the release of hostages in Iran and Libya, but when he arrived in Lebanon to meet with Islamic Jihadists, he too was taken captive.

 Waite spent 1,760 days in solitary confinement, his only contact with the outside world being through wall tapping to his fellow hostages.  Apparently, these hostages had a radio and could listen to the BBC World News. Read more about Waite, his confinement and eventual release here – Taken on Trust.

One of Waite’s fellow hostages was Brian Keenan. He was kidnapped by Jihadists in April 1986 and was held in captivity for four years. Much of that time was in solitary confinement. He was kept blindfolded throughout most of his ordeal, and was chained hand and foot when he was taken out of solitary. Keenan was one of the hostages whose release Terry Waite was sent to negotiate.

Keenan wrote about his ordeal. An Evil Cradling is an autobiographical book by about his four years as a hostage in Beirut. The book revolves around the great friendship he experienced with fellow hostage John McCarthy, and the brutality that was inflicted upon them by their captors. It was the 1991 winner of the Irish Times Literature Prize for Non-fiction and the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize.

The world listened in horror to the news that in April 2014, 276 school girls in north east Nigeria were kidnapped by members of the group Boko Haram. Many of the girls managed to escape but more were held hostage for years by the group. In 2021 The Washington Post published a story about the kidnapping, the efforts to free the girls and a book written by journalists Joe Parkinson and Drew Hinshaw “Bring Back Our Girls: The Untold Story of the Global Search for Nigeria’s Missing Schoolgirls.”

The Washington Post article tells us “But it would be more than three years before many of the schoolgirls — now young women — were freed from captivity in a negotiated settlement with paid ransom. Seven years later, 112 others remain missing.”

So while I talked about Freedom, it was a very different Freedom to that experienced by the many people who have been held hostage for whatever reason.

“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.”
~ Mary Oliver

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.

So:

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

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

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 – http://www.zoesharp.com – 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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