Posted by: scribbles | November 5, 2008

I have a dream

So, the American people have cast their votes and made history, voting in an African American president.  It has been an incredible campaign that seems to have gone on for an age.  I couldn’t wait to hear the results this morning and it seems that this particular election has got the people of the world completely inspired.  The very fact that an African American was in the running has had a unique effect on everyone as the people of the world saw the possibility that a black man could become the most powerful man in the world.

I can’t imagine that Martin Luther King ever imagined that his dream would come to fruition so soon.  “I have a dream that my children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.”  I’m not sure that this is exactly the case in this instance and in these enlightened days, it was possibly the fact that Barack is black, that made the difference.  But, “with this hope, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope”, is perhaps the case for many minority groups in the country and the world over.  Barack Obama is well aware of this, “those who’ve been told…to be cynical and fearful.. put their hand on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day”.  Not bad.  I wonder who wrote that part of his acceptance speech.  It was lovely, really poetic. 

“An end to slavery and racial prejudice” reported an ITV newscaster though I thought racial prejudice had been banned a long time ago.

The thorn in the side for me, is the enormous war chest Barack had at his disposal.  Some $600 million dollars bought him this election against a paltry amount that McCain had to fight his own campaign.  I think that’s wrong.  The media have been totally biased in Obama’ss favour for so long, especially here in England.  It almost seemed it was a done deal a very long time ago and that must have had an effect on Americans.

No one can fault John McCain’s behaviour as he conceded the election.  He was gracious in defeat which must have been a bitter moment for him.  Socialism is on the way for Americans but then we too have a socialist style government here.  It’s the poplular thing these days.  Take from the haves and give to the have nots and so on, and bail out the banks.

America has indeed shifted on its axis but no one can deny the ‘vitality of American democracy’, as President Bush said, if you forget about the difference in the money to fight the respective campaigns, it’s refreshing to see when compared with our own country.

Good luck America.  Good luck Barack – you’re going to need it.

Posted by: scribbles | October 12, 2008

Strange but True.

It is such a glorious day that Skinny and I are drawn outside by a welcoming, beckoning, warm October sun.  We take our usual route down the lane between the fields but this time feeling drawn away from any potential encounters along the way, we walk far out into the stubble field.  The sun is so warm, the air so clear, I have a strange feeling that I am walking through summer and not Autumn.  There’s a slight breeze and I breathe in deeply and suddenly I am hit by a strange feeling.  I have a strong sense of others who have walked these fields in days gone by.  Carried on the air, I sense men in old fashioned farm clothes with flat caps and cloth trousers, neckerchiefs around their necks and straw between their teeth.  I smell the sweat of the giant horses, straining to pull a plough, leather harnesses, greasey reigns rubbing across sweet smelling hair.  And then it’s gone.  There’s just Skinny and I and the sound of my footsteps as I stride through the dry stubble.

This strange feeling of the past comes to me unbidden and unexpectedly from time to time.  It comes from the air itself as I breathe it.  I see it as some kind of long forgotten, little used sense that we all must have to some degree or another.   Often it is a faint, wisp of something I can’t quite make out, as illusive as a word on the tip of your tongue, so frail that if you dare to think of it, it will be lost to you.  Sometimes what I sense is strong and consists of many thin threads that weave into a picture. I see a knight on a horse, men in a battle, monks in a monastry all of which could stem from imagination and prior knowledge or at least be inspired by surroundings.  But whilst I am imaginative, these things usually come upon me when I am thinking of nothing whatsoever.  When I am just soaking up the environment, the warmth of the sun, the sound of the birds, thinking nothing at all.  Over time I’ve learnt to distinguish the differences and fine lines between a spooky feeling, a chill up my spine or a sense that I am not alone, and this particular sense that comes along unattached to any pre thought or suggestion.

It is odd, I know.  It doesn’t happen too often either but always takes me completely by surprise.  It is more of a feeling rather than a thought.  I have always thought of it akin to a dog’s ability to sense things on the air and I think our ancient ancesters would have had a much more developed sense at their disposal.  It is similar to instinct and gut feeling but not quite those.  sometimes it is so strong and others a mere ghost passing through my mind, leaving tiny footprints that I cannot follow.  A pale wash of something and nothing.

I’ve always been very sensitive to my environment.  I always said I could never live anywhere ugly.  Of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder but for me, ugliness lies in modern, bland, functional buildings; 1960’s tower blocks and social housing, municipal buildings, green/gray paint of hospitals and courts and police stations.  I lived in a tower block once in north London.  It was up on a hill overlooking the city in a bleak landscape of smaller blocks.  These were places of despair to me.  Poverty was everywhere from crying babies to cars up on chocks with wheels missing.  The corridors were painted the inevitable gray/green, ill lit with ugly strobe lighting and the lift was covered in grafitti and stank of urine.  I sensed the underlying violence and hopelessness in the ugly words and dreadful smell.  It was winter then and the wind whistled through the building clearing the smell of a million lives in tiny shoeboxes.  Smells of cooking, spices, fat fryers, sounds of TV’s echoing, children shouting and adults arguing.  I had to get out of there.  I was so afraid.  Afraid to go home at night on my own, afraid of the anonymous people that wrecked their own lifts and corridors and cars and families.  So strong was the sense of awfulness that had I stayed there, my own soul would be lost along with theirs. I did leave.

I’ve written previously on my blog about ghostly experiences I’ve had and I do believe that I am slightly ‘sensitive’ to ghostly goings on.  Mediums and psychics say that everyone has some psychic ability and it is a question of developing it.  I think this is true and I think this mystery sense that I have from time to time is similarly something we can all feel and is left over from when the human being was more in tune with instinct and senses and nature, more like animals still are.  We are all animals and we share the same sense of fear, loneliness, joy.  Some of our ‘animal’ senses have diminished as our lives have changed and we have lost those that are less obvious and well hidden deep within ourselves.

People think of ghosts as imprints left within the atmosphere where an incident has occured, especially a violent episode which gives the feeling strength and the emotions left to be felt by others.  I wonder if, in fact, there are invisible holes where these past existences are being played out in another dimension and occasionally, when the wind is right, the magnetic fields in place, I sense them around me but not with me.  Maybe that is an explanation.

I can see that people might be wondering if I’ve lost my marbles at this point.  Maybe I have but in that case I never had them to begin with.  We are, according to another commenter on a different blog, in ‘Mercury retrograde’, though I don’t really know what that means.  It can, apparently, account for strange happenings and we are also coming up to Halloween so if nothing else, it’s a good time to be discussing the unusual. If anyone else can relate to what I am talking about, let me know.  I’d love to hear about anyone else with stories of the unusual.  Tales of the unexpected perhaps.

Posted by: scribbles | October 6, 2008

Getting the Teen.

Well honestly, really, I am absolutely pathetic!  The Other woke me up with a cup of tea yesterday (nice of him I know) so that I would be on time to leave for Heathrow airport to collect the Elder Teen whose plane was due in at 2.30pm.

I’d spent some considerable time the day before preparing for this journey, checking the route on multimap and setting up the sat nav just to be on the safe side.  I’ve only used the sat nav once before as I so rarely go anywhere I don’t know and am not too familiar with the set up process.  I typed in the airport address but since the last time I tested the machine, it tried to take me home via heavens know where, I wasn’t too confident about using it.  The trouble was I wasn’t too confident about a couple of complicated looking junctions either so thought it would help me there.

It was pouring down with rain and The Other made a comment about having a rotten journey and I only just held back a resentful remark about the fact that it was a Dad’s job to drive to the airport but obviously he has long since given up on any parental duty and responsibility.  I was feeling bitter inside but kept my trap shut. He hovered anxiously over me as I filled a flask with coffee, gave him a demo of the sat nav so he knew I could operate it (sort of) and waited while he checked the oil and water in the car (yes, he does still manage that), before setting off.  I was feeling sick.  I hate going places I’m not familiar with but told myself not to be such a weed and that it was really only three roads between home and the airport, though quite a lot of miles.  How could I possibly go wrong, it was almost all motorway and ‘A’ roads.

I knew I was panicky when I stopped at the garage, sure that my tyres needed air.  I got out in the rain, fiddled with the air thingey and couldn’t read the meter properly as it was so wet, it looked like there was plenty of air so I don’t really know why I was fussing.  Back in the car, I was now soaking and the windows were steamy.  I got myself organised again, sorted out my ipod, got my fags at the ready and the flask to hand and set off to the sound of Pink Floyd to calm my nerves.

I knew the first third of the journey, a road I travel often but wasn’t sure about the huge junction onto the M25 and so I left the sat nav on and the annoying man’s voice kept interupting Floyd all the way along.  As we, sat man and I, approached the first of the junctions, his wierd voice shouted at me (I had to have him loud so as to hear him over the music) to ‘bear right’.  Bear right?  I thought I was going left!.’  I stupidly decided to take the sat man’s advice since this junction was the first junction where I felt I needed his help.  On I went, feeling strongly that I should be turning onto the M25 at any minute and thinking how clever the sat man was in avoiding all that complicated road system.  And then I found myself heading into London.

I had a strong urge to turn around but the traffic going the other way was appalling so on I went.  After a mile or two I realised that the sat idiot was taking me all the way across London (how utterly stupid of him) and I pulled over and got out the map.  I struggled to read the tiny print and eventually got out my very unflattering reading glasses which I usually strongly deny that I need.  Now map reading is one of those things I find really hard.  I have to turn the map upside down and I can’t tell right from left to save my life which also makes the sat man and I struggle to communicate.  I’d been practicing the day before in fact.

I see that I need to find my way onto the M11 and that it’s quite a long way away and the Sunday traffic is awful.  I curse the wretched machine.  It was supposed to make this journey a piece of cake.  I stare resentfully at it.  I daren’t try and re-route it for fear I will end up in Cornwall or Scotland and I daren’t turn it’s volume down incase I can’t get it back up if I need it later on.  It’s astonishing what you can do when you really have to.  I managed to find the M11 (with the help of a man from a garage when I got lost again) and soon I was on the M25 – phew!  Needless to say the M25 was busy, it was packed, spray from the car in front made it a dangerous nightmare.  What were all these people doing on the road on a Sunday?  It was stop and start the whole way for no apparent reason.  I was begining to fret about being late and coupled with the mad mutterings from sat man who, at every juction told me to ‘take the next exit’ the entire way, was close to having a breakdown.  Fortunately Heathrow was sign posted the entire length of the M25 and when I eventually reached the M4, I knew the sat man was finally talking sense.  He got me right into the terminal though I really didn’t need his help by then and I got into the arrivals hall at 2.30 on the dot.

An hour and a half later as I watched numerous people coming off a dozen planes, all being greeted by family or taxi men with signs, The Teen trundled towards me.  Seeing me, he dropped his bags and flung his arms around me, hugging me so tight he nearly strangled me.  The top of my head was firmly held in the crook of his neck as he is so much taller than me and he gave me the biggest hug of his life.  Finally it all seemed worth the awful journey, the mean and stupid sat man, the rain and the worry. 

I paid the exhorbitant £6 for an hour and half’s short stay parking and we got back to the car. I briefly told The Teen about the sat man but The Teen, coming from laid back Kiwi land and a 27 hour flight was completely chilled and when I told him the Younger Teen and I got lost on our way out of the airport when we dropped him off he said, “hey don’t worry Mum, it’s all good” as I set the sat man on course for home.  In all our chatter, I didn’t hear sat man and again I got lost trying to exit the airport.  “It’s next LEFT Mum, LEFT Mum” shouts the Teen while I turn right.  In all the excitement my ability to find left and right have completely deserted me again.  We giggle away at this typical piece of behaviour and eventually with The Teen’s help, (sat man’s gone crazy) we finally get onto the right road.  The journey back is so much easier than the way in and I turn off sat man.  The Teen keeps me amused with tales of all his exploits, some of which he really shouldn’t tell a Mum, but I don’t care.  I laugh in all the right places, so glad am I that he is safely back and ignore things I should be cross about.  I tell him that his friends have been visiting me in all these months while he’s been away which he had asked them to do before he left.  We were both impressed with how they had continued to do this after such a long time.  “They love you Mum, your a legend, they can talk to you about things they can’t with their own parents, hell, they consider you an extra Mum” he says and I know it to be true though part of me feels I should be more grown up and less of a Teen myself. 

As we near home, I’m anxious to find out if the Teen’s friend has picked up the Younger Teen who has been away for the weekend.  We turn into the drive and ominously there is no sign of his car.  The Elder Teen is disappointed, hoping to see his friend and brother.  We go into the house and they are both there. I realise they were teasing us and have hidden the car.  Lots of hugs and hello’s ensue and then the friend, looking awkward gets my attention.  “The Teen and I had an accident today” he says nervously.  “Yea Yea”, I say laughing at him but I finally see he is telling the truth.

Another journey has unfolded earlier in the day.  An American has made the same trek from the airport in a hire car, hours before us.  Just as my Teen and friend round the sharp bend only a mile from home, the American pulls out of a drive and rounds the bend on the wrong side of the road.  The two cars collide.  I thank God that while I was so wrapped up thinking about the Elder Teen all day, that inspite of a head on collision, both lads were wearing seat belts and though the friend’s car is a right off, neither of them are injured. 

That’s how things happen.  When you least expect it.  In the blink of an eye.  Thank you God for bringing my Teens home safely to me.

BTW, I checked out the sat man, as I was puzzled that he found it so hard to get me to the airport.  Someone, oh alright, me, had told him to get to me to the airport avoiding all motorways!!!

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