Well, hello again. It’s been so long since I wrote something that anyone who visits my blog probably thought I was dead. Ahem. Well, you’re not far from wrong. I am obviously still alive, but the reason why I’ve been absent from blogging recently is something I’d like to save for another time.
*takes a deep breath*
You know those niggling, annoying things which send you straight up the wall of apoplectic rage as soon as they’re mentioned? Well, smush all of them together in a big angry mess and you’ve got a taste of how I feel about certain “Christians” and their horribly well thought-through attitudes regarding the LGBT plus community. I could name names. I’m sure you could too. Michele Bachmann for one, who is portrayed most wonderfully in this caricature by Cole Dixon of Chronicles of the Nerds fame.
However, I don’t want to talk about my anger or indignation. I’ve done it before and I’m sure anyone who has read this far without closing the window will already know what I would say about the above. I want to write about the things that I’ve done that I’m ashamed of.
The excitement was almost too much. The sun dawned bright and… sunny; today, finally, at last, was the day I was to bless twenty-four neighbours with twenty-four copies of one of my most favourite books as part of World Book Night. From the word go the experience of being an official ‘giver’ had been one of personal fulfillment and righteous pride. For once, I was actually making a difference!
That was, of course, how I felt until the slightly uneasy feeling of last night emerged fully-grown into some kind of twenty-four-copies-of-Good-Omens-shaped nightmare. What was I actually going to do with these books? Who would I give them to? Oh, crap… and then, it sunk in. Not only had I no idea where I would offload my precious charges, but I had entirely forgotten the fact that I would be approaching total strangers to do so.
My regular readers (thank you, all of you) will remember my post from last month about the 17 members of parliament who have been supplied with interns funded by the homophobic charity CARE (Christian Action Research and Education). I’ve since been on a little mission in persuading the most local of the MPs, Sharon Hodgson (MP for Washington and Sunderland West) to sever ties with CARE.
I am more than overjoyed to announce that both Ms. Hodgson and Catherine McKinnell (MP for Newcastle North) have withdrawn from the scheme, making statements denouncing the views of the charity.
I never thought I’d be writing another post referencing Christianity so soon after my last one. I practically emptied myself of my thoughts regarding my mother faith! However, apparently in this twisted world I may never be finished commenting on the worst excesses of it.
In my e-mail this morning I received an invitation to sign a petition, directed at several members of parliament who have received material support from a Christian charity, CARE (Christian Action Research and Education). The petition was started by Phillip Dawson from Enfield, who discovered that CARE co-sponsored a conference in 2009 which included the topics of “therapeutic approaches to same-sex attraction” and “mentoring the sexually broken”. His discovery turned into horror when he realised that the very same charity has since funded interns for 18 members of parliament, including his own (who has since severed ties with the organisation).
As a human being, I feel that I know enough about love to speak about it with authority. My mantra has always been to show and give love, always. When I attended church I lived by it, and since I left, it remains with me. I wholeheartedly believe that there’s no situation in life which needs any other.
I’m not a parent. I’ve never been given the responsibility that comes with bringing new life into the world. Yet, I know what such a responsibility is, above all. To love your child deeply and unconditionally. All else falls into place. You feed them, clothe them and care for them, because to do otherwise would be unthinkable. You celebrate their successes more than you would your own. You cry with them when they fail. You protect them from the evils of the world. You are always there for them, no matter what. You will always love and accept them, whoever they grow up to be.
This is what we call unconditional love.
To be given it is to know the most precious gift in the world. I may not be a parent, but because I have a mother and had a father I know what one is.
You may wonder why I am going to such lengths to prove the above statement. Of course, I’m being as longwinded as always (<.<;;) but I wanted to create the solid foundations which my opinion needs to stand upon regarding an issue which has become so important to me lately.
Hello! It’s me – the epic procrastinating blogger.
(Boy does she mean that)
Yesterday I left work in the best of moods; a light rain and a frosty wind had blown the clouds away, leaving the sun to shine down on me as I headed to the bus stop. The air smelled so clean and fresh. I thought, ‘Marie, you’re finally on the right track’. The last few months have been exciting, life changing and blessed; packed with good memories to replace the bad ones and personal fulfilment. It of course hasn’t been plain sailing (when could anyone say that about life?), but I feel stronger, more confident and more able to deal with the crap that life throws at me.
I’ve decided I no longer need to apologise for long gaps in between posting. It’s part of a whole new mindset for me. I’ve realised that my normal habit of apologising to everyone and about everything – from going through a doorway first to holding my bus pass the wrong way up – needs to stop. My friends would agree it’s possibly the most annoying characteristic I have, and the ironic thing is – it’s NOT part of me. It’s part of the ‘black dog’ which is, even as I type, being beaten into submission with the aid of Citalopram, job satisfaction and the company of the most amazing friends on the planet.
So – what have I been up to?
As June approaches, the minds of the Great British public inevitably turn to a concentrated selection of topics; balmy summer afternoons, strawberries and cream and the sound of racquet striking ball… yes, you’ve guessed it – Wimbledon. For two weeks, the eyes of the nation become fixed on south-west London as once again, the (arguably) most famous and most prestigious tennis tournament gets under way.
Our house is no exception. My mum and brother are huge fans of Wimbledon and sit for hours watching the matches, or discussing the players at mealtimes; bemoaning, along with the rest of the country, as each British player gets knocked out. It doesn’t matter where we happen to be at the time. I have many memories of holiday cottages in the Lake District or Yorkshire, lying slumped in a chair or desperately trying to otherwise distract myself from the boredom which inevitably descends on me at this time of year.
In today’s news, Conservative MP Philip Davies offered a unique and quite frankly, baffling solution to one of the UK’s hardest hitting unemployment problems. Those who have physical or mental disabilities, Mr. Davies said, should ‘be given the option’ to offer themselves for employment at less than the minimum wage (which currently stands at £5.93p/h).
His argument, condensed, is this. Disabled people are heavily discriminated against in the employment market. When given the choice between a disabled applicant and one who is more able-bodied, employers will automatically choose the able-bodied person as they will be ‘more productive’ and ‘less of a risk’. As a result, disabled people are being done ‘a huge disservice’, as they are not given the chance to prove otherwise. He believes that disabled people should be given the choice to work at a lower rate to make employers more likely to employ them in a cash-strapped economy.
There are more than a few issues I have with this idea.
Things have been getting a little exciting lately at Camp Terry-and-Rob. Not only are we waiting for Snuff, the next installment of the Discworld series released later this year, and the eagerly anticipated collaboration between Sir Terry and sci-fi author Stephen Baxter named Long Earth. With last week’s announcement that the rumoured Good Omens television adaptation is finally to go ahead with Terry Jones of Monty Python fame in the driving seat, you would think that we had ‘enough to be going on with’.
That is, of course, before we saw this video.
“Today I have seen queues at petrol stations of up to two miles. Some shops are open, but there are queues. It seems like you have to listen to local radio to hear what is opening and then head down there. But I’ve also seen people queuing outside shops that aren’t open. Whether they’ve heard they are going to open, I don’t know. We are quite lucky because we live in a fairly new apartment in the city. By half way through yesterday we had water and they got our electricity on.
We couldn’t stand up. The quake never seemed to stop – such powerful shaking for just over a minute. I had to jump on top of the nearest three kids and try to keep them calm even though they and also I were so terrified. The classroom was totally turned over, bookshelves down, the photocopier also fallen down. There are an estimated 10,000 dead in Miyagi, but that’s just an estimate. Some people can’t get in contact because they can’t phone, so hopefully that number will be less.”
Michael Tonge, an English teacher who was at work in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, at the time the tsunami hit Japan’s northern coast