OPENING PANDORA’S BOX

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Pandora’s Box

I meant to unplug my charged up  e-tablet and ended up instead, opening up Pandora’s Box.  Don’t ask me why, I can’t tell you.  I opened a file drawer.  It’s one I have used for nondescript and personal  ‘stuff ‘.  Mind you, I have been known to create a folder or two there, just because it wasn’t over-stuffed like the actual filing cabinet we both use.

can-of-worms-vector-id180621048For a couple of hours I was absorbed in reviving memories, (a lot of them not good ones) and slimming down the contents of folders. When I had finished with the first folder, my hand crept to the next one.   A can of worms had lain there too. This one was approximately a sixteen years old triple sandwich, with a mildew mild top filling,  fizzing chili in the middle, mercifully, followed by a layer of cooling cucumber.

It is hard curating sorting out your own ‘stuff’, your own interconnected paper trail of life.  I found I was not able to be totally objective.  Even after many years, emotions can and do ripple. I wonder if I had planned to do this job, I might have felt any different.

A shredded bucket of my life later, my pack of plastic pockets has swelled with a great many Woolworth’s ones that I freed up. (That’s a store long gone).  They seem to be a better quality plastic pocket than those they share the packet with.

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WHERE WILL IT ALL LEAD?

With all that’s been going on, and very publicly, here and abroad, I have been at a loss to know what to think.  If I feel disempowered, how on earth must millions of other people feel.

Those that can, have grouped up and made their feelings known in public places around the world, often at personal cost to themselves. The amount of courage and positive human energy there is to care, is truly amazing.

I am not qualified to speak of what the security services at all levels do, or, what they do not do.  Like most people, I only know what morsels are given for public consumption. I am extraordinarily grateful to have been able to live a life that has been mostly safe and away from major conflicts. There are so many who cannot say this.  Every day we hear heart-rending stories, many of which are streamed into our visual consciousness to our homes. It does make us face the reality of the suffering that has been and is being endured.

With the current ruptures, of a type generally unknown to many of us in our lifetimes, our own comfort blankets are disappearing at speed.  The peace in Europe of the last seventy plus years is politically in the balance and it is also affected by major influences from other continents. There is a serious ramping up of aggressive rhetoric.  Where will it all lead?

 

The Difference Time Makes

It is just a fraction over seven years since I last came here. With an Ordnance Survey map it is easy enough to find.  There is a small parking area, space enough for the trickle of people who arrive to explore. This is a ‘pre-history’ site, which,  you reach by an easy sloped climb; you can choose between two or three different approaches, although one approach would certainly depend on whether there’s  a bull in one of the fields and/or cows with young calves.  Dads can jealously guard their ladies and in any case, bovine mums and dads can be very protective of their broods. So,definitely, no waving red rags to a bull.

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Prehistory site Information 2009

The pictures I took back in 2009 were with an early bridge camera that had an unsophisticated limited zoom lens.  Even so, it is so interesting to compare the yesterday, (2009) and today, (2016) photos and see the very marked  modern man-made changes in that period sat on top of, and next to, the signs of time immemorial.

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Prehistory site Information 2016

There are five cairns at this site, none uncovered.  The outlines of three are straightforward enough to see. The roof of the highest cairn (height as in top of the hill) appears to have caved in, creating a rim on which, weather permitting, you can rest.  On a clear day you can also gaze upon the panorama of two counties and their mountains, plus an island twenty-one miles across the water, as you will see.

This a serene view from the top of the hill in 2009 and the picture below it, (allowing for differences of time, position, general weather conditions and the light) is a similar scene ….. and

p1010073-baillie-farm-house-wb p1000444-section-baillie-wind-farm-wb….this is how it has changed…and changed…

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…..A panorama – the same house and woods totally surrounded by windmills.

This photo also shows the sweep down from the ‘high cairn’ to a lower sited cairn, (the rounded mound on which there’s another modern day intrepid explorer).

This was a ‘tentative’ coastline wind farm development, in 2009.  There are more wind turbines now. The two wind farms are not far from one another.

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I did not want to focus on the wind farm, (the one above) in the picture below. I wanted to show the view of Orkney  across the water. It is  some distance away, you may need to peer in, but, it is there to be seen, to the right.

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The yellow flowering bushes in these pictures are Gorse bushes.

 

Morven and Scaraben are the mountains in the county of Caithness. This looks like Morven peaking up and over the horizon in 2009.

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This is The County of Sutherland, also in 2009, pre-turbine days, from the same vantage point.  If I am not much mistaken, you can see a couple of the Bens (mountains), amongst the clouds, Ben Loyal and Ben Hope.

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At the cairn, I was at the same level as the top of these wind turbines, (excluding the upper windmill arms). It was quite a thought.  The miniature buildings, (left) give some sense of scale.

You can see the concave cairn I have been talking about and a typical horn sloping along from what would have been the dome. This is the one from where you get all the great views. You can see a difference in the relatively richer looking grass on and around the cairn, in comparison to the rough moorland tufts on the ascent to it. The new heather blossom is bonny just now.

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Taken from  the cairn, and some distance away,  the land meets the sea. Stubble is being burnt off  the field . There are hay bales in one of the other fields. Across the Firth (sea) is the coastline of the county of  Sutherland and signs of village habitation.

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THERE IS NEWS FOR YOU

Government spokespersons, or is it a lone person, whoever it is/they are, they/it remain/s nameless, nameless, publicly contradicting the tide of feeling that there is in Scotland following areas in England and Wales to vote for Brexit. …….No there’s no appetite in Scotland for another independence referendum vote…….then, sometimes adding, there are no grounds to pursue it, Scots do not want it…… Well now, to paraphrase…have the Scots got news for you!

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The Westminster Government, (now there is one) believe having spokespeople talking up the impossible will arrive at what they want as the possible.  The Scots are not that easily swayed. They’ve been duped once in 2014, by Westminster Government promises that were turned on their head the day after the Independence Referendum result.

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To many who voted to stay in the Union, The Union was a complete package with membership of the EEC. I have not yet met one person on my Scottish travels who wants to be part of Brexit.  Sure, there was a small percentage in Scotland that did vote for Brexit on the 23rd June 2016,  I have not met any of them, or, anyone who admits to it.  There are individuals who the media find to provide alternative pop vox.

For the record, what I do hear is that people who sincerely voted to stay in The Union last time, would now vote for Scottish Independence.

My ongoing unscientific sample supports the Scottish resounding YES  vote to EEC membership. There are a number of sound reasons for this sentiment, the biggest one that is voiced, is that the EEC has been instrumental in maintaining peace between the European nations.

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If, or when Scotland becomes independent from England, there could be a very rocky time, but then, we are only just  beginning to see the reality of where Brexiteers are taking the UK;  uncharted waters to rockier times on a much bigger scale.

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Eucomis – Glorious Blooming Pineapple Head

 

 

 

 

YE OLDE WORLDE SCOTS WETHYRE

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It was Snowbird’s post in which UK floods were mentioned reminded me that back in March this year, (2016) I made a note:

“… There have been  floods where there have never been any, or, none for many years. Apparently, the recorded rainfall for Scotland, and the relative mildness of the winter for other parts of the UK winter 2015-16 has not been seen since records began,

or put differently;

similarities can be traced back to the late 1600’s,  about the time of  the Stuart kings.  (The Stuart kings followed on from the last of the Tudor dynasty, Elizabeth 1st, Henry V111’s daughter by Anne Boleyn).”

-1So, that puts that weather in context…

BUSY WITH THIS AND THAT

Hi Folks,

Just been rather busy since November last year, though there was a lull for a few days over the Christmas break.  Just as well, because with the dire flood warnings, which sounded like they were near, or, at home, we cut into our break  and dashed back to see if everything was okay chez nous.

The busy business will continue for a bit.  It means I won’t have much time for posting, (though I will take any opportunity that presents itself).  However, I intend that all this busy stuff  will not get in the way of keeping in contact and commenting.

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day.  This morning, I heard a very poignant story on the BBC Radio 4 Programme, ‘Midweek,’ about a sock that belonged to a survivor.

January is nearly over; we’re getting an extra hour or so of daylight now.

 

🙂

THE END

BLOG UK

MADE BY YOU

 

Dear user,

We inform you that our blogging platform has been closed on all markets on December 16th 2015. All blogs have been taken offline at this date, and it’s not possible any more to log in.

 

For any questions regarding the closure or your blog please contact our customer support.

 

SELF-DESTRUCTING BLOG

Blog.Co.UK (BCUK), whose registered offices are in Germany, is completely removing its blogging platform during the day of the 15th December, 2015. It is a very final act. I have never before seen a blogging platform self-destruct out of all existence.  BCUK will be history.      smile emoticon kolobok

Blog UK was an intuitive site to use, a vibrant and supportive social site in its heyday, it was easy to make blog friends who actively shared comments. Its demise, though slow, was really inevitable after it was sold on. The new proprietors gave access to avalanches of spammers.   Inappropriate mails stopped being dealt with.  Lots of genuine bloggers voted with their feet. Many, like me, occasionally posted and kept in contact with favourite BCUK bloggers. Groups of friends kept going.  smile emoticon kolobok

Users of BCUK were given lots of warning of the proposed end, as were sister platforms in other parts of the world. At the same time we were given detailed instructions in English on how to export our posts to WordPress (WP) and how to save them.  The instructions would not work for the likes of Blogspot, where I was regularly posting.

The French bloggers also received their instructions in English!   smile emoticon kolobokI spent some time translating the instructions into French with the assistance of Google Translate. My translation was posted on the French site, with lots of grateful thanks.

Exporting blogs to WP was not difficult, though perfect, it was not. I will have to edit through ten years worth of posts. I have given it a rest while I’ve been learning to use WP.  By default WP has become my primary site.  It is a bit complicated and there is a lot of clunky programming.   Bloggers from other countries have found sites elsewhere and find it easier to stay in touch with me on Blogspot. smile emoticon kolobok

A few blog UK friends decided it was time to say goodbye to blogging.  Some have have connected up here on WP. It’s nice because linking up on WP with other people who want to genuinely inter-communicate in words about this and that, and not sell you something, is not easily facilitated with the WP set up. smile emoticon kolobok

 

THOUGHTS ON THE BRITISH RESPONSE TO THE REFUGEE CRISIS.

Apart from a rumble of disgust at the British Government’s response to the refugee crisis, I have not heard much discussion about the U.K’s sorting criteria for ‘acceptable’ refugees.  Britain is not open to refugees on the move, irrespective of the reasons why.  What we hear, is that any refugees that Britain accepts will have to be in the official camps  They will include the most vulnerable, (whatever that means) and likely, orphan children.  Alarmist voices quickly channeled all the resources arguments against giving refuge to unaccompanied children. The same arguments have been raised in respect of the trickle of ‘acceptable’ refugees over five years that Britain may give refuge too, 4000 per year.  In this instance the Westminster Government response was to offer time-limited assistance in areas where any refugees may be settled.

Funding the needs of extra people is a consideration, it has to be.  While that discussion is being resolved both domestically and internationally, it is worth remembering history shows that  previous waves of refugees who arrived in Britain have and still do substantially contribute to the wealth of this country.

Britain has not been mean with aid on the ground, far from it.  A major slice of basic aid in forming the camps, in particular, in Lebanon, has been given through the generosity of the British people.   But, not all refugees are in camps, there are a large number eking out an existence in  sub-standard conditions in countries like Jordan.  That said, their need to  be fed is no different from the refugees in the other camps.   Like many  in camps, (including camps in Turkey) they are now being forced to move on because the United Nations (U.N) which has been supporting these camps with food aid, has run out of money for food aid for  the refugees. The U.N has been reliant on international financial donations to support vast numbers of people with food.  Starkly put, the refugees, whether in camps or shacks, can no longer be fed.  Their choices for survival – the basic human instinct – are limited to moving on, to attempt to survive.  Life becomes a lottery. In trying to survive many die.

Communities around the U.K have spontaneously been taking practical steps; there have been collections of warm clothing for people stuck at Calais and other ports, who have arrived  at these places wearing their sandals and lightweight clothing, none of which is suitable for surviving Northern European Winters. In Vienna,  clothing donated from many sources  is given to the refugees as they arrive in the city. I expect the same scenario will have been enacted throughout other refugee arrival points, where refugees are being treated  with dignity.  Sad to say, treating the refugees with dignity  is not universal.

I was appalled to hear the rhetoric of Fascism by the Hungarian Government and from other Eastern European States. The Balkan Wars and the Hungarian uprising against Russian suppression  are all still within living memory.  They created refugees who were desperate for help.  Some of my faith in humanity was restored when I saw and heard the reports of the Hungarian people individually helping refugees, irrespective of their Government’s distasteful stance.

The UK has no need to swell its population with young and intelligent people from elsewhere to support an ageing population as much as some of our neighbour countries do, (like France and Germany, for example).   So, to minimise our responsibility to what the world has now accepted is a true refugee crisis, (as opposed to economic migrants) from Africa and the Middle East,  this is what the British Government says it is going to do over five years.  Britain will consider taking  a total of 20,000 ‘acceptable’ Refugees, (4000 per year) who are in official refugee camps.  Perhaps, from those selected  there will be orphan children.  You are definitely not going to be offered refuge in the U.K if you are a refugee with the many thousands on the move,  who are  risking life and limb to survive.

 

 

SENSITIVITY AND RESPECT

A friend was in London recently, so, before leaving decided to go to The Tower of London to see the ceramic red poppy moat. It was crowded at all the different levels from Tower Bridge Station where she was, right to the moat. She said it worth the visit. What, I asked, made it so? She thought for a few moments then said,

The ceramic poppies were much like other pottery craft work. It was being there in what is usually a bustling and noisy place and seeing crowds of people of all nationalities, hushed and appearing to be deep in their own thoughts, or quietly sharing with others. Everyone there respecting the sensitivity of the occasion“.