Once upon a time if you said, ‘I hate everything about S. A.’ you’d be talking about South Africa.  But nowadays you’d likely mean Saudi Arabia.  They haven’t moved on there in 2,000 years; and later this week they’re going to be crucifying someone for ‘crimes’ relating to the Arab Spring, when he was still a child:

Yes, you heard that right.  Crucifying.  Oh, but it’s all right – they’re beheading him first, so it’s more humane.

And will our government do anything about it?  Will they ****!  I mean, it’s like when they were going to behead that princess.  What did they say?  ‘If you want to execute your princesses, go ahead – as many as you like!’

OK that was Not the Nine o’clock News.  But it pretty much summed up the government attitude.  Sadly I can’t find a link so if you know where to find one, please comment below.

It’s all very well to blame the government (and god knows, I do) but we have to think about this.  As the NTNON ‘newscaster’ went on to say, Saudi Arabia has ‘an awful lot of oil’ and the likely outcome of criticising SA’s human rights regime would be a cut in oil supply.  So how much oil would you sacrifice to help achieve a better human rights record in SA?  Would you give up driving?  Central heating?  Plastic?

I loathe everything I hear about SA.  I hate the way they treat women; I hate that they’re super-duper-mega-rich but no-one’s asking them to take refugees (most of whom are Muslim) and I especially hate their so-called justice system.  They suck.  And I’m not afraid to say that – but then I’m not risking anything am I?

Even if I were, it’s important to stand up for human rights.  But there’s a problem.  I will happily sign a petition against Saudi Arabia executing someone – for example – because they are gay, but there’s something about the rhetoric that sticks in the craw a little.  It’s a bit self-righteous to be rapping other countries over the knuckles for doing something we only stopped doing about five minutes ago.  We’ve decided it’s OK to be gay, and suddenly we get the right to lecture the rest of the world about it.  Where we once colonised, we now do lecture-tours – and so let’s not forget; it’s within my lifetime that it’s become legal in the UK to be a practising homosexual and until a hundred years earlier – 1861, according to wikipedia, it was a capital offence.

In 1895, Oscar Wilde was sent to prison for daring to love one of his own sex: he escaped hanging by less than 30 years.

Times change; and we must change with them.  That applies just as much to religions as it does to the law; but how much to change and how much to retain, will always be a subject for debate.  Some religious leaders, while being forward-thinking in general, remain unreconstructed in some areas: hence the Dalai Lama’s reported remarks about a female successor needing to be attractive.

Here’s a more balanced view than I got on Facebook:

I’m disappointed, I must admit.  However all such iconoclasms throw us back on ourselves and cause us to think about the connection between culture and belief.  I think the Quakers do a pretty good job: every thirty years they update ‘Quaker Faith and Practice’, aiming to keep the best of the old and add the best of the new. They’re not afraid to be iconoclastic either: though they admire George Fox (the Quaker equivalent of St Paul), they are not afraid to criticise him.  This seems to me a sensible attitude.

As it is written in Bruce Almighty:

God: ‘You can use any of my powers you want.  But you can’t mess with free will.’

Bruce:  ‘Can I ask why?’

God:  ‘Yes!  You can!  That’s the beauty of it!’

I love that film.  Best screen representation of God – except perhaps Liam Neeson in Rev:

So let’s be righteous, folks – but not self-righteous.

Kirk out

Do You Suffer from Horizontigo?

It’s seriously twirly here in blogland this morning. I’ve been awake since 4 am and that’s it: I’m not getting back to sleep now.  I’ve been downstairs and meditated and even taken a walk in the garden, and it’s lovely.

Last night I watched Dances with Wolves again.  I was deeply in love with Kevin Costner at the time, but now I find that what’s stunning about it is the scenery.  We just don’t have skies like that over England: huge skies where the horizon is everywhere, like landing on another planet.  Over here the horizon is short, occluded by trees or mountains or houses or the sea. Just as well really otherwise we’d all suffer from horizontigo.  That’s what you get when you look at something very far away.

So, today I shall be mostly… trying to cope with fatigue and I guess doing some writing.  And trying to persuade Himself to mow the lawn…

Kirk out


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand before you know it, three days have gone by and you haven’t put a blog post up.  The last two days have been spent in a frenzy of gardening; mowing the lawn, re-seeding the bare patches of the lawn, pruning (I nearly wrote ‘pruining’ which, according to the male owner of this house, is what we’ve done to the buddleia) ripping up nettles and chopping up logs.  These are now waiting to be collected by the owner of a wood-burning stove.

BYKI (Before You Know It) reminds me of a series of language books we had when the children were small.  They claimed to teach Latin, French, German and probably just about every tongue known to humankind, before you knew it.  Well, we tried them and before we knew it, they hadn’t really learned very much.  Still, that was the state of play with just about all academic learning we tried at home.  Unless they were in a group, they didn’t want to do it.

At the moment I am waiting.  Waiting to hear about my application to Everybody’s Reading Week, and waiting for a couple of Quakers to come and visit me.  In the meantime we are being visited by some bumblebees who seem to have made a nest in our roof.  The builders next door said it was wasps, which just goes to show how little they know about hymenoptera; anyone could see at a glance that these were much too fat for wasps.  Mark reckons they are bumblebees, though what type we don’t know.  The consensus seems to be to leave them alone and eventually they’ll disappear.  Fortunately we are not allergic to bee-stings.

Neither am I allergic to nettle-stings, which was fortunate as yesterday my arms were covered in them.  Nettle-stings are actually quite beneficial, especially if you are prone to rheumatoid arthritis; the remedy is to whip the joints with nettles.

I hate waiting for people.  You can never concentrate on anything.  Which is probably why this post is so unfocussed.

OK I’m back now.  The Quakers have been and quaked – or perhaps quoken – and I have heard from Everybody’s Reading and they’re not.  Or at least I’m not.  Budgets are tight apparently – who knew? – and my application cost too much.  Last year I asked for more money, and got it.

So that’s today.  I’m off for a walk now.
Kirk out

Banging on Another Man’s Drum

I’ve been neglecting you my darlings, and I’m very sorry but I’ve been really busy what with NaNo-ing and performing at Embrace Arts and doing Sound Cafe and then Drinking and Thinking, not to mention Spanish and drumming, life is buzzing at the moment.  The performance at the Richard Attenborough Centre was great! – a compact and bijou audience but a terrific response and a magical atmosphere, so I came away feeling really good.  The drumming with Andrea worked really well, too.  Andrea, you must understand, is a man from Napoli who is utterly charming and very friendly and a total whiz on the drum.  He has a large African drum and a small one which he learned to play by the banks of the river in Naples.  He has accompanied me on two occasions now and it sounds great.

Nano-wise, I’m up to 67,000 which is more or less on target, but I shall have to do a bit over the weekend to finish.

Catch up soon!

Kirk out

Mode, Grin, and the old chestnut again………

Reblogging this as a response to my post

on my mind

Liz wrote about the people she sees everyday. We all do that, dont we? See people regularly but never speak, or smile sometimes and even not even make eye contact. But today one of the tutors I work for (both of them work together for todays lifedrawing class as there are so many students) saw me come into the classroom and looked first at my skirt, not at me. She hasnt done that before. So a little truth came out of that glimpse, i.e., that she was working at not responding in the past and today she made a judgement on me. Im not sure I like the judgement she made, but she is human and so is allowed fallibility. Of course that might all be in my head. Just like the reason we dont make eye contact is because we dont want to see if they judge us and perhaps…

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Positive People; Negative People: Misunderstood: Not My Problem

Just reblogging this as a response to my post

on my mind

Being positive is much healthier than not being. But to write down three positives about the day you just lived through, thats really dificult. I didnt think it would be, but I just tried it on that facebook thingy, and I struggled to find a third one. The thing is, it seems to me that if being positive becomes a natural way of life then thinking about it seems, well, unatural.

I moved through my life being hardly thought of at all, then I got all Spiritual and positive, then something happened, and reality sneaked in and people called me negative, then I got spiritual in a diferent way and now, at least one person has made some lovely positive statements about me. I wont name her, if she reads this she will know, and hopefully will know that when I thank her, I mean it. I rarely say anything…

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