Wednesday, 31 May 2006
Living in south London I think it was the number 74 bus I could get that would take me all the way into town for a mere 4 pence. One of those old red double decker buses with a conductor who would still break off a ticket from the block strung around their waist. Even then, 4 pence was very little and was exceptional value. I'd delight in planning my days which almost always centred around visiting the museums. Little tiny me and I had the delicious freedom of London.
Day after day I'd visit the museums and spend hours peering into glass cases, walking in wonderment around exhibits drenched in gold and jewels, or in awe of the tremendous age of some of the exhibits. In the V & A I'd stare at the intricate religious icons with their macabre bloody scenes and adore the jewelled goblets. In the Science Museum I'd explore the rockets; play on the magnificent 1970s computer that churned away to produce simple binary; and use the telephone exchange and watch all the gears clicking into action. (Years later that telephone exchange is still there with its old fashioned dial telephones which my own kids did not recognise as phones!)
The Geological museum was fabulous for the earthquake simulator which, in those days, was a simple metal platform which I'd often stand on. I am really not sure but I think it used to be a separate museum but is now part of the Natural History museum which never really appealed to me back then. Goodness knows why not because I'd have loved those dinosaurs!
And then there was the British Museum. There was only ever one reason for a kid to visit and that was for all the Egyptian mummies. Room after room of mummies. You could even see the wrinkled bodies and broken bones through the wraps. Mummified cats and other creatures all held fascination. I'd try and work out the patterns of the bandaging and admired the perfection of the handiwork. I was also taken with the library and its illuminated manuscripts.
Each of these museums are in wonderful Victorian buildings with great stone edifices and steps that I'd imagined many an excited researcher had climbed over the decades. Each time I'd approach and enter these buildings I'd be filled with a rush of excitement and anticipation. A feeling that is still with me now when I visit.
I ended up knowing my way round each of the museums. I'd know the back stairs and how to dart from here to there and where each of the rooms were. That was back in the days when they didn't make museums child friendly. They were special, elusive and desirable.
And then there were the canteens. In those days they were not Restaurants or Cafeterias but rather more basic canteens where you could get a cup of tea and nice fresh ham or cheese roll for an extremely modest amount. For me they were as much an attraction as the exhibits and I knew which were the best value items in each as I was always on a budget.
Those were a glorious few months when I had my freedom and the London museums were free to enter. They are free again now but I fear they may have lost a generation or two in the interim decades when high entry charges were made.
Jo at Inner Girl inspired me with her post about a recent visit to the British Museum. She raised some important feelings about how these artefacts came to be in our museums in the UK.
Saturday, 27 May 2006
Our virtues and our failings are inseparable, like force and matter. When they separate, man is no more.
I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything.
War cannot be avoided until the physical cause for its recurrence is removed and this, in the last analysis, is the vast extent of the planet on which we live. Only through annihilation of distance in every respect, as the conveyance of intelligence, transport of passengers and supplies and transmission of energy will conditions be brought about some day, insuring permanency of friendly relations. What we now want is closer contact and better understanding between individuals and communities all over the earth, and the elimination of egoism and pride which is always prone to plunge the world into primeval barbarism and strife... Peace can only come as a natural consequence of universal enlightenment...
The spread of civilisation may be likened to a fire; First, a feeble spark, next a flickering flame, then a mighty blaze, ever increasing in speed and power.
Let the future tell the truth, and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I have really worked, is mine.
The scientific man does not aim at an immediate result. He does not expect that his advanced ideas will be readily taken up. His work is like that of a planter -- for the future. His duty is to lay foundation of those who are to come and point the way.
Science is but a perversion of itself unless it has as its ultimate goal the betterment of humanity.
Wednesday, 24 May 2006
I have to come up with ten facts about me/my life based on ten items beginning with the letter I have been given.
Cheryl has assigned me the letter T
- Tunnel - my kids and I try to hold our breath for as long as possible as we go through tunnels. Doesn't work on the Channel Tunnel or when I'm driving.
- Tea - I like mine decent strength Indian black tea with just a touch of semi-skimmed milk and no sugar.
- Todger - I have experienced a reasonable number in various shapes and sizes and can categorically state it is not the size but what a man does that matters. Bigger todgers match bigger egos and a tendency to lay back and think they are God's gift. Zzzzzz.
- Thoughts - Sometimes I have too many.
- Tumour - I have a tumour on the back of my neck that is called a lipoma. A lipoma is a benign tumour of the fat cells.
- Tickle - I can't bear being tickled but I don't mind gently tickling others.
- Tease - I am a tease. I can be a tease. I like to tease. But only gently and only with a twinkle in my eye.
- Tummy-button - Up until I was a young adult I had a sticky-out tummy button. With the confidence I have now I could have had a lot of fun with it instead of feeling self-conscious.
- Tipple - My favourites include a juicy red wine; a straight single malt whiskey; Baileys on ice; and Mackesons Stout.
- Travel - My parents moved house at least every two years when I was a kid. I hated the palaver every time but I always looked forward to the potential for a new start and that maybe things might be better this time. Surprisingly, I still love travelling because the good part of that legacy has survived as I relish the new and different experiences that happen through travel.
Would you like to play? If you would, say so in the comments and I'll tag you by emailing you a letter. And I'll list you here so we can come have a nose :-)
Tuesday, 23 May 2006
Some people haven't yet turned up this afternoon for a very important meeting. No precise time was finalised which was fine but I had been stressed out by the whole event. Just one of those things and nothing more to be said on the content of the meeting.
The question is, will I seek an apology for messing up my day or will I look at it as karma for some misdeed? In particular I am thinking of a blatant lie I gave on the phone yesterday to cover my tracks for a payment I had not made but should have. It is not good when one has a guilty conscience.
I have a hundred or so lines to write:
Pragmatism rools OK.
I will not have a guilty conscience. x100 I do not give out excuses. x100 I do not procrastinate. x100 I do my best. x100 I do good work for good money. x100 I am kind to me. x100
Thursday, 18 May 2006
Surfing as you do, one link led to another and I am reading about a couple of young girls in the US forging their way ahead in the world of music touting their brand of "White Pride". They get a lot of bad press with many neo-nazi slurs and then they try to walk the line of justifying what they believe in whilst being horrified at the slurs.
I haven't listened to their music or read their lyrics and have no desire to purchase any in order to do so. They are said to deny the Jewish holocaust or at the least question it. I think it is right to question everything but when people react against the major horrors of this world by trying to somehow minimise or deny them then it is extremely worrying.
These girls are said to say that if there is Black Pride then why not have White Pride. But they seemed to have forgotton where that Black Pride is coming from and what it is working against: all these centuries of brutality, slavery, repression and downright bigotry. These young 13 year old twins have been heavily misguided and have effectively wiped out great swathes of history. They may deny some of the slurs written about them but if they go off amd make a cute snowman with Hitler features or wear t-shirts with smiley faces also with Hitler features then what are we to think? That Hitler was entirely mispresented and was really a good guy? I wonder if they realise how much they are being used. (We are all used to some extent but this is pretty dramatic.)
So where does that leave pride, nationalism and the like? I no longer have any of my books by Krishnamurti (I lent them out!) but he wrote some convincing arguments as to why nationalism and pride (in anything even down to football teams) bred discontent. That ultimately nationalism was not a uniting force but creates larger divisions because of course my pride/nationalism is better than yours.
Time has come not for "pride" but for something else. Something humane, helpful and positive.
To love anything beautiful in a country is normal and natural, but when that love is used by exploiters in their own interest it is called nationalism. Nationalism is fanned into imperialism, and then the stronger people divide and exploit the weaker, with the Bible in one hand and a bayonet in the other. The world is dominated by the spirit of cunning, ruthless exploitation, from which war must ensue. This spirit of nationalism is the greatest stupidity.
Every individual should be free to live fully, completely. As long as one tries to liberate one's own particular country and not man, there must be racial hatreds, the divisions of people and classes. The problems of man must be solved as a whole, not as confined to countries or peoples.
Monday, 15 May 2006
I use Eudora and have a vast number of folders and filters set up. I am unable to deal with all emails as soon as they arrive and so I leave the email folder open in my "tray" so I know I have email in that folder to reply to. Each time I use my email all these open folders wink at me like sorry sentinals reminding me what I haven't done and of all the work I have to do. (Can I admit that some of these folders have lain open for months? Longer even.)
Just now I have replied to a few emails and rightly closed those folders. Then I did something quite startling. I just started closing the other email folders. Without even looking inside them. It felt like taking piles of unsorted boxes of papers and throwing them in the dump. Brushing the dust off my hands and walking away.
Wahey! I'm free. I'm going to re-boot, have a cuppa and get on with some more work.
It's a great day today :-)
Saturday, 13 May 2006
Before too long, we could have the disposable razor with two blades and a moveable head. It provided the hardest of men with the smoothest of shaves and the manufacturing God was well pleased.
When we came to the stage of having three blades on the one razor I laughed at what on earth could be next. But there was more to come and we now have four blades being advertised as "Quattro". In beginning to write this piece I went off to find a few photos and did some research only to have my mouth completely smacked (gob-smacked is the term but I'm talking about jaw dropping surprise here).
There is a new breed of razor out there with six blades. Five on the front and one on the back. With this little invention we have jumped from the four blade directly to six with the novelty of a single blade on the back? Can this be an early April Fool's day? I just can't wait to see what the advertising message is to be but I am sure the manufacturing God will be well pleased.
Naturally men's razors are all macho and black or blue packaging and have names like: Turbo; Mach; Extreme; M3; Comfort and Blue. Women's, which are mainly the same product, have pink or lilac packaging with names like: Venus; Venus Divine; Agilite; Intuition and Comfort. And we even have disposable razors that vibrate. Now what is that about .... does it give an added dimesion to the Brazilian?
PS. This mental abherration of a post was brought on by reading a very old post: Try the new pachyderm size by a very old blogger! ;-)
Thursday, 11 May 2006
Some days like today, I feel a sense of peace, achievement and contentment. I've worked hard, done allsorts and taken care of a wide range of things. And yet, just the last few days I've felt a deep depression. One day a great dark hole swallowing me up and then sweetness and light. When the depression strikes it is hard to fight against. Just brings silent tears and either an inertia or a feeling of going round in circles. When the sun shines it picks everything up and suddenly lots of things click into place. But it isn't just the weather - it is the kids co-operating, being polite or considerate; it is me getting on with work and getting great feedback; again it is me getting on and doing stuff around the house that makes a difference. I smile and it makes a difference.
Monday, 8 May 2006
Just now I was looking through some old photos and came across this one when I met with the dear old Pope and his mate a few years back. It was a lovely day and I think I made an old man very happy ;-)
Addendum: Rahsbre says, "Great setting and another amazing co-incidence! I just had to comment further!"
Saturday, 6 May 2006
Of course we shouldn't be so prudish and the fact that these people have juicy private lives bears no relevance, it is just that I don't really want to know. At the moment, I don't suppose I would even remember these details when I deal with these people on a day to day basis but it does make me wince when I come across them.
On the other hand I have been completely struck by finding out the tragedy in someone's life. Finding out their little child had tragically and suddenly died. Just a year ago - enough info leading to a further websearch giving a BBC article. Watching the little website and memorials set up by a distraught parent. How can life ever move forward after such a devastation? My heart cries for them.