Thursday, 17 May 2018

A Prologue

In the early 1800s lived a man of considerable wealth. He was a man of strong values and upright, Christian morals and a great dislike of society and what it had become. Such was the basis for this man's decision to attempt to begin a new society founded on those noble values in a land separated from the evils of this world and unburdened by it's confusion of people and ideals. On some distant island he would start afresh, gather a new people, righteous and good, and there set an example for the world to follow. This man was my father. His death on the outbound voyage was perhaps a blessing given what became of our mission, but there, we all see clearer with hindsight.

The beginnings of this dream awoke in my father when he was still young himself, and just setting out in the world, discovering its wonders and flaws. However, it was many years later that he seriously began setting out plans, scouring maps of distant lands and researching the discoveries of other explorers who had made pathways across the seas.
     My family had made money through shipping and trade, both good and bad and so acquiring a vessel to take us to a new land was not a problem. The greater challenge for my father was deciding who would join us in our venture. He wanted people who were skilled in various ways, but more importantly upright and of good character. We also wanted to avoid unwanted attention or publicity. We did not want the world and his wife to attempt to come with us, and so it became our secret. For nearly two years we watched and listened, talking to friends and strangers, and slowly a list was drawn up.
     Because of our careful planning almost all of those whom we asked to join agreed and were enthusiastic about the idea. They too sought a fresh start and a new way of life. A few declined but thankfully kept our voyage secret and so by the time we were ready to set off the reason for our journey and who was going was largely unknown. Even those coming did not know everything or everyone.
     My father's name was James and my mother's name was Verity. Then there was me, aged 12 at the beginning of our journey to the far side of the world, and completing our family was Amelia, known to all as Emmie, and, at 7 years old, the youngest member of our entire gathering. You'll get to know us and all the others as I go on, but I will add that come departure day we were a happy, even giddy, collection people, united by our passion and excitement and nothing, we thought, could possibly thwart our mission.

Monday, 23 April 2018

A little less lonely together

Just putting this out there, I love this generation, this period of world existence. I feel like it gets some bad press and more than it's fair share of negative comments (and I've been critical plenty of times), but I think there's a lot going for it. I enjoy the music, the sport, the technology, the desire for unity, the passion to do something that matters, even if only on a small level, and the commitment to not simply accept things the way they are, especially if they are unfair or just plain wrong.

I wonder though, if this generation (and I don't just mean a certain age group, but anyone and everyone currently alive) feels like we've found a method that works? Because it's clear to me we still have our problems.

Previous generations have battled through population destroying diseases and world wars, and maybe pockets of those still exist, but on the whole we live in a time when we have longer life-expectancy, greater freedom of travel, safety, security and more expendable income than ever before, and yet, do we have what really matters? What people cry out for? Are we "Going home together to forget we're alone" (Sigrid - Strangers), or is it "I might hate myself tomorrow but I'm on my way tonight, let's be lonely together, a little less lonely together" (Avicii & Rita Ora).

The lyrics of the lyricists and the testimony of the tech-heads suggest a desire for something else. A true intimacy? A solid identity? A wholesome purpose? These are things people cry out for - most noticeably young people, but maybe that's because you become less vocal with age. And the question is, have we found solutions for these problems - solutions that actually work? Or have our solutions left us further apart and more passionate for personal gain?

I love who we are and what we've done up to this point, but I have hopes for even better. I just don't know if we can get there by ourselves. And that poses more questions.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

When walking with children

An Easter Saturday walk in the Lake District, as described on the way back to the cars by one of the youngest members of the group...

We set off and it was raining and then soon it was snowing and it was sooooo cold! I couldn't feel my feet, which was a problem when we had to climb up some rocks.
     It felt like a long way but it also didn't seem a long time when we reached the hut and there were loads of people but it wasn't any warmer inside. But there were lots of cakes. I couldn't decide which one to have first. I chose the rainbow cake, which had every colour of the rainbow inside and delicious icing on top. Mmmmmm. Then I had some chocolate cake, with two layers of icing in the middle. It was soooo good! Ahhhhh.
     Then what else did I have? Oh, yes, the chocolate crispy cake, that was really chocolaty and crispy. Yuuummmm!

After that we went to explore some old mines. The first one had bats in. The second one had bats in. The third one was reallllllly long, and had a dead sheep in, which was just bones, and I was the first one to find the end of the tunnel.

I wish you could make ice cream on Minecraft. I think I will make some ice cream. I'll get some milk and wheat... oh and sugar, of course. I think I'd make mine melon flavoured and apple. Do you think you can make carrot ice cream, or carrot cake ice cream?

Ohhh, it's really muddy, why did you bring us this way?!!!

Monday, 26 March 2018

A Garden of Possibilities

It's been a while since I did a picture blog, so I thought I would show you the evolution of my garden in the six months since I moved.

Before I moved in (the bench wasn't included)
Pulling back the grass (it wasn't too nice), removing the weeds and building a fire pit in time for Guy Fawkes night!

Constructing a path (using up some of the more than 40,000 stones that I estimate are in the garden, pesky things, but there's a use for everything somewhere).
Heading into the wet winter months...

Patience was required

Snow! (Not much I realise, but it's there). Gardens can be beautiful in Winter too.
A new path...
... and even less grass - sometimes drastic work is required before new life can come!

Sunny days, spring is coming, the pruning and reconstructing of the garden is nearly over, soon the planting can begin (grass, flowers, vegetables and who knows what else!)
To be continued (I'm still working on it...)


Friday, 2 March 2018

The Week the Wind Blew Wrong

The wind blew strangely. Twisting. Unpredictable. Clouds gathered and vanished, the sky was grey. Gusts caught at trees leaning the wrong way. Broke them. Everything was back to front. Dry snow settled then rose back up, blew sideways and froze. Icicles grew under car bumpers. Was this a winter of the past, stirring old memories, or of the future, with its strapline and 24-hour coverage? The young complain that it's too cold, the old clear snow from their driveways and carry on as normal.
     The wind blows strangely. Twisting. Unpredictable. Secrets are revealed. People grow closer and further apart simultaneously. Helping each other by staying indoors. Watching problems unfold online. The TV doing their thinking for them. Someone tweets and a company loses a billion dollars. Minds change, emotions shift. Everyone wants what's right (for them) but no one can quite agree what is right. Lines aren't clear. Who can say when you've crossed one? Who gets to say what happens, is it the one or the many. The wind blows strangely. What's next?

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Connected by a Passion

From the quirky Opening Ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics onwards, South Korea have pushed the message of connectivity and inclusivity. People are united by their passions and in Winter sports those passions are more obvious than in almost any other. The commitment of athletes to break the boundaries of what is humanly possible by throwing themselves down, up and off mountains, and ice rinks, displaying dazzling revolutions in the air, going faster and further, is astounding.

And it almost doesn't matter which country you are from, success is celebrated universally, disappointments are shared by everyone, because the aim is not simply to put yourself forward, but to challenge everyone to do more, be better and excel in whatever way you can. As one commentator noted this week, it doesn't matter if you're not inspired to ski down a steep hill, do several somersaults 20 feet in the air and land on your face, because you'll probably be inspired to do something, and may you do it with everything you have so that you can in turn inspire others to go beyond what they thought possible at the same time make a difference to the world around them.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Musical Harmony

I am impressed by the original ideas people keep coming up with for TV singing competitions. It's a shame that at the core they're all as shallow and staged as each other, and but for spotting someone i know on the judging panel (one of the '100') on the BBC's latest offering - the cheesily named, 'All together now' - i probably would have switched it off. However, putting aside the disappointing production, i do like the concept of this show.
     There is a certain amount of music that is meant to be listened to, and appreciated, but there are equally as many songs that are meant to be sung corporately, or are just fun to join in with. So a show that encourages the singer to try and get the judges joining in seems like a nice idea. Of course the best song choices are going to be upbeat classics, but i would like to see someone brave attempt a real choral song, where the 100 might not know the words but will put their own vocal talents to the test by simply making backing music.
     If this has been deliberately timed to be shown after the release of The Greatest Showman then that's a good move, if not it was just fortunate, but hopefully their combined effect will keep Britain singing together, in unity, something that music has more power than possibly anything else, to do.