Sad Music, Dark Literature and Positive Thoughts 2

Art helps me to reconcile my past whilst my goals push me into the future

Monthly Archives: March 2016

Blogger Recognition Award

blogger-recognition-awardI’ve been nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award by a great blogger who goes by the nickname of Chape.  He’s a personal fitness trainer and is a respectful and friendly member of the WordPress community. I am in awe of his incredible mental energy and his genuine interest in everyone that he interacts with on WordPress, Twitter and his YouTube channel. Do yourself a favour and visit his blog.

So, the rules of the Blogger Recognition Award:

  1. Write a post to show your award.
    • Check – this is it.
  2. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
    • Will do. See below.
  3. Give two advice to new bloggers.
    • Yep, I’m about to do that, too!
  4. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
    • Cheers, Chape.
  5. Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to.
    • If I receive an award I nominate all of my WordPress friends. So, it would make me very happy if all of you would please take this as a nomination from me.

So, how did this blog start?  Well, I used to blog at MyOpera until it sadly closed.  MyOpera let us export our blogs to other platforms including WordPress and I preserved my former MyOpera blog here.  I hoped to make contact with interesting people around the globe and that has been happening ever since I started.

A number of my friends are also former MyOpera bloggers a few of whom rarely blog on WordPress 😦

And, my two little nuggets of advice for new bloggers?

Be polite and friendly to everyone else that you meet online.  You will come across a variety of opinions and lifestyles on any blogging platform which may be contrary to yours.  Don’t be intolerant of these other lifestyles unless this lifestyle is interfering with other people.  Trolling is the pastime of the inadequate.

My other piece of advice is to blog as regularly as you are comfortably able to, and also to visit and comment on the blogs of your blogging friends.  I aim to blog on WordPress once per week and I try to comment on every post of the blogs that I follow.

Gone but not forgotten

Last Saturday was the seventh anniversary of my father passing away.  He had suffered for several years with Parkinson’s Disease so I had a few years to watch him deteriorate.

Before you think that this is going to be a long post about how sad I am, I want to assure you that I won’t be dwelling on how he died.  After all, he managed to pack a few things into his life so I’ll mention a few of them.

At the start of the Second World War he was one of the schoolchildren who were evacuated away from the cities that were thought to be at high risk of bombing from the Nazi regime.  By the end of the war he was in Germany having landed in France on D-Day +3.  He remained a lifelong friend of one of the German prisoners of war.

He adopted my mother’s two children – both of my parents had been married and divorced by the time that they met.  The story is that my Dad was preaching one Sunday and my Mum was in the congregation.  I wasn’t there, so I have to take their words for that.

He was also a Reverend and even took part in the service when Gloria and I were married.

Anyway, I won’t go on too much about what things he managed to do.

I was thinking that it’s strange how someone you love may have passed away but you still end up feeling different emotions towards them each and every day.  It’s as if you’re still constantly seeing them and arguing and laughing with other, just like you had in years gone by.

DSC_0002_cropped

More good news about the Write For Rights campaign

Due to being ill, it took me a few days to notice an email that I received.

It was an update on another of the cases that I wrote about during the Amnesty Write For Rights campaign.  I am quite sure that I mentioned that this was the first case for which I wrote a couple of letters in December last year.

The email is an update of good progress but more still needs to be done.

I hope that this can give us all hope that we can all do just a little bit to contribute to making the World just a little better than before.

It’s also nice for me to find out what happens after I sent those letters.

Here is an excerpt from the email:

Dear Harry,

Maria* was 13 years old when her father forced her to marry a 70-year-old man, a common practice in Burkina Faso.

Her father threatened her saying, “If you don’t go to join your husband, I will kill you.”

Amnesty is working to end child marriage once and for all…With your help, we are making strides.

In response to pressure from letters and actions from activists around the world, the Ministry of Justice, Human Rights and Civic Promotion in Burkina Faso has recently committed to raise the legal age of marriage for girls to 18 years and to ensure that forced marriage is clearly defined in Burkina Faso’s criminal code.

While these promises are a step in the right direction, we need your help to ensure these plans turn into real action.

Maria escaped after spending three days with her husband and his five other wives. She walked 105 miles over three days to get to a shelter.

When her father learned that she had fled, he threatened to attack the priest who helped her escape if she didn’t return home.

When she did return, she was beaten by her father and sent back to live with her husband. She again fled the house on foot and sought refuge at the nearest police station.

Amnesty is advocating for girls like Maria, who have suffered the injustice of early and forced marriage. We are telling their stories and we are holding governments accountable for their safety and well-being.

*Maria is not her real name

My little problem in 2016

For many of us, there are dates during the year that remind us of something important that we have lost.  For me, there are two such dates.  One of these is in February and another in March.  My father passed away on Thursday 19th March 2009 following a long period suffering from Parkinsons Disease.

And so, February and March are the most stressful months for me.  This means that since 2009, I seem to catch every germ and bug doing the rounds.

This isn’t going to be a post of woe and of how hard done by I am.  I mean, this blog is called “Sad Music, Dark Literature and Positive Thoughts 2”.  So, we won’t be deviating too far from positive thoughts, right?

I mentioned in my post from only two days ago, that I would explain what had delayed this post from finding its way up here on this site on Sunday.  The explanation is that I’ve been feeling quite rough for a couple of weeks and I am now off work on a course of antibiotics.

DSC_0001My trip to and from the hospital out of hours doctor via a taxi and also grabbing my prescription last night have left my wallet twenty five British pounds lighter.  I guess that this cannot be helped.

I worked from home on Monday but was not up to even doing that since Tuesday.

Look, I don’t want to moan about every ache and pain that I have – I don’t suffer from the proverbial man flu!  However, it became a concern when the cocktail of symptoms that I was suffering from were supplemented by feeling confused and losing my short term memory.

This confusion and memory loss is due to my body diverting resources to fighting the bugs in my body, the doctor reassured me.  It’s clearly not important to remember where you have just placed your drink bottle, keys or half-eaten plum.

I want to sign off by telling you all that I am looking after myself with good food.21060308_breakfastPorridge for breakfast, salad for lunch, fruit for a snack and home cooked food for supper would normally be the ideal guardians of good health.21060308_lunch

Sometimes, there are emotions that will try and knock you down whatever you do to stop them.  You just have to get ready to pick yourself back up afterwards.

Thinking of Mothers’ Day…on #InternationalWomensDay

Hello all.  Later this week, I’ll address why I didn’t upload this post about Mothers’ Day at the weekend and instead waited until today.

Anyway, with it being International Women’s Day, it is probably right that this post is about the main women in my life.20160305_MothersDayMeal_195759

I was working at the weekend, and so I arranged a meal on Saturday evening as Sunday was a non-starter.  At the meal were my Mum, Yasmin and Yasmin’s Mum who is…er…Gloria!20160305_MothersDayMeal_195720

I arranged the times and booked the table earlier in the week as I wanted the evening to be as smooth as possible.  Thankfully, it proved that I can get this organisation thing right!

At three minutes past 6 in the evening, or 18:00 by the twenty four hour clock, I signed off from work and took Gloria to the car.  At 18:20, I picked up my Mum and gave her some flowers and a pot plant which she was overwhelmed by.  At 18:50, I collected Yasmin from her flat.  My Google Maps timeline shows that we arrived at the Harvester at 19:29.  We sat straight away as I had pre-booked the table.

As a thank you for booking the table online, I even got one drink free.  That made my large orange juice taste better!

Yasmin enjoyed her usual drink – Rose wine – while Gloria had a coffee and my mother a hot chocolate.  Yasmin was the only one to have more than one drink!  20160305_MothersDayMeal_220436

Yasmin had also been eating all day.  This might sound bad that she also wolfed down a starter and main meal but she has been off work with illness and had not been eating for several days.  Before the weekend, she had been living on a diet mainly of cups of tea and glasses of cordial.

We finished up by going back to Yasmin’s flat.  Gloria photo-bombed the photos that she took of Yasmin and I as she was reflected in the mirror above our heads.  I’ve cropped her out of the photo on this upload.20160305_MothersDayMeal_220413_cropped

Anyway, that was a great weekend which was rounded off with a couple of great women following me on Twitter.  You may know about Sarah Brown, the wife of the most recent socialist Prime Minister in the UK Gordon Brown.  I’ve highlighted Elena Hagopyan’s profile as you are possibly unfamiliar with her.Followers

Have a great #InternationalWomensDay everyone.

Remember, guys, even just changing the way that you and your friends speak about women behind their backs makes a great difference to equality.  Before you make a crude comment about a woman that you know, ask yourself if that’s how you would like people to speak about your mother/ neice/ daughter/ girlfriend/ wife.

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