MIB, 2 flip-flops and a funeral

I am sitting wearing a dark suit, a white shirt and a black tie. F sits next to me with dark trousers, dark shirt and dark jacket. Next to him is a guy wearing a T-shirt, shorts and flip-flops like he’d just come from the beach. And, yet, it seems, he doesn’t feel uncomfortable dressed in this way.

I had been warned but I wasn’t quite expecting to be so over-dressed.

Someone likened me to the Men In Black which, I realised, with my glasses, dark in the sunshine, was possibly true.

Now, I’m no expert on British funerals. I think I’ve been to five – one of which was with people of Jamaican origin, so doesn’t really count as “British”. But, from my experience (always excluding the Jamaican one), it goes something like this:

You go directly to the church (only the very close family members would be at the home beforehand); the coffin is closed; there is a service; you either go to the crematorium where there is another kind of service where the coffin disappears behind a curtain or to the cemetery, where the coffin is put into a hole in the ground, some people throw a flower or dirt on the coffin and it’s then filled in by a mechanical digger and the wreaths placed on top; you go back to the house (or a pub or somewhere) and you have a bit of a party where you spend the time reminiscing about the person. There are some tears. There are some laughs. The party helps to lift the mood; relieves the tension. It “rounds off” the sadness with some good memories and some a good (if a little subdued) time.

The Jamaican one was different. The coffin is open. There is wailing and crying. The church is so packed that people are standing four-deep at the back! There is a point at which people queue to pass the coffin where they touch the body and do a bit more wailing. Wives, sisters, nieces are supported as it seems as if, at any moment, they will collapse on the floor. The vicar at one point threatens to throw people out because there is too much talking in the congregation!!! It was strange.

Italian funerals, much like Italian weddings are similar to British ones but slightly different. In both cases, the party (where there could be dancing and stuff) is missing. In the case of the wedding, it is a meal that lasts for hours and has a million courses – but no dancing and music and people getting really, really drunk.

F doesn’t want me to come down the night before. Instead, I drive down in the morning. I’m doing what he wants – making myself available for whatever he says I should do but not wanting to be any sort of burden for him.

I arrive at his house to get changed and he is there. He says that I should come to “the house” about 12.30. To be honest, I’m very nervous but really because I don’t know what to expect. He tells me that S (his previous partner) has sent flowers. I feel a bit miffed because I would have sent flowers but he said not to. I say that I should have sent some. He says it’s OK, it’s because S can’t come to the funeral. I don’t argue with him – he doesn’t need anything but support from me.

He leaves to go for lunch there (something quick and easy, he says, don’t come because they will be embarrassed by the food (not to their normal standards)) and I am to go into the town and get something to eat. That’s OK for me. Except, it’s really out of season, so more places are closed or shut for lunch or stuff. I eventually sit at a cafe and have some pasta dish. It’s not “wow” but I don’t care. It may be the only food I have today. I have a beer with it – after all there will be no party with alcohol and food afterwards – this much I know.

I try to get him the cigarettes he has asked for but the tobacconist is closed (for lunch, I guess, or just because …….).

I go back to his house and park and walk round to the house. I am about 20 minutes late. i expect the house to be filled with people but I am “the first” of this afternoon’s visitors. At the moment, it’s just the immediate family (and F). And, now me.

Most people have T-shirts and trousers. I, on the other hand, am the Man In Black. F says, “I told you so.” I say, “I don’t care, it’s how we do it in the UK.” For me, it’s a sign of respect and I can be a funny bugger like that. It’s tradition and it’s my tradition, so I’ll stick to it.

I go to see the body, laid out on the bed. As I approach the bedroom, E (the only daughter and like a sister to F) comes out. We hug. I go into the bedroom, am introduced to E’s mother-in-law and I see the body. But it isn’t her. it looks a bit like her but it’s not her. She’s not there, in this room. I leave. I then spend the next hour or so trying to be inconspicuous in the corner. This is hard because I tower over most people and also because I look like some secret agent and I’m not known by everyone.

Some people greet me; F’s niece, sister, mother, some other relations. His Dad comes later and looks visibly shocked to see me and also deeply upset (not to see me – it was his sister). The Funeral Director’s people come to put the body in the coffin, etc. They have blue, short-sleeved shirts, no jackets and striped blue ties. I look more like one of their people than they do – but, then, this is not the UK. At least they wear a tie.

The brother comes. From Sicily. He’s a priest. I’ve met him once or twice before. For some strange reason, I always feel, when he looks at me, that he is judging me. I always stare him out, refusing to be intimidated by someone from the church. Of course, this may be entirely in my mind. Or not?

Apparently, a few days ago, he was up for a few days to see his sister. They didn’t know how long she would live. He is, of course both the uncle of F and the uncle of E. Apparently, he asked E if “F’s friend” had been there. E replied that he should use the correct term – that I was not F’s friend but F’s boyfriend! I only know this much. I wanted to ask his reaction – but I dare not. I’m impressed by E but my wanting to know his reaction is, really, a desire to give the church a “slap”. So, when F told me all this, a few days ago, I didn’t enquire further.

Anyway, i digress. The coffin is carried out to the car. We all walk to the car. There are a lot of people milling around. I am definitely out of place, not only for towering over everyone. The big, fat priest (not the uncle), who has been mopping his brow every few moments, walks in front of the car and the people, led by the daughter and husband an other close relatives (but not F – where is F? I look around. I don’t know where I’m supposed to be!) and then the rest of the people, follow behind at the slow pace thing they do for a funeral procession. The sun is shining and it’s very hot. I am dying in my dark suit. F suddenly appears beside me. “I’m going to leave my jacket in the car,” he says. “Do you want to leave yours too?” I reply that, no, I don’t. I’m going to be the usual stubborn Englishman that I always am and wear my jacket and suffer, even in this extreme heat.

I also inform him that, as I’ve been sweating a lot, to take my jacket off would expose that. To explain: My shirt, which is cheap but the only white one I had that was clean, is almost see-through when it is wet. If I took my jacket off, it would look like I’ve entered for a wet T-shirt competition! Whereas this might fit in with the flip-flops and shorts, I think it’s just too much.

We get to the church. I tell F that i will stay at the back. F says that he will too. But then he goes to the front. He waves me forward when he gets there. I go to sit in the row behind him, on the far left-hand side. He waves me to come and sit by him. We are on the front row. They don’t seem to do etiquette like we do in the UK. Next to me sits F. Next to him sits a guy who is the cousin-in-law of E – he who is wearing flip-flops and shorts!

They do a mass. The uncle-priest appears, dressed like a priest (until now he had been wearing a suit) and assists the big, fat priest in the mass. I don’t understand anything. I stand up when others stand up. i sit down when others sit down. I don’t do the crossing thing they do. I don’t do the “taking communion” thing (although most people didn’t do it, including the chief mourners). Let’s be honest, I don’t really do the “religion” thing either it, in my mind, being just a way to “control” people. I think: I must tell F that I don’t want a religious ceremony (if it can be avoided) when I die. The big, fat priest often wipes his face with his handkerchief. I think: it would help if he lost some weight and, probably, if he ate a lot less pasta! No, I’m not religious at all.

The whole thing finishes and the coffin is led out by the big, fat priest. Everyone, trundles out. F comments about how the church is full of “old people”. I point out that, as the person who has died is old, (not that old, mind you) the church is filled with a lot of friends who will be of similar age. this is the way it is.

Outside, the sun is blazing down. The people mill around, chatting, greeting each other, etc. I tell F that I’m going for a cigarette – it’s been a couple of hours since i last had one. Also, although I don’t tell him this, I can’t stay in this suit, in this sun. And, anyway, I don’t speak Italian well enough. He tells me to go and wait by the car and gives me the keys. I go and, in the shade by the car, have several cigarettes. Eventually he arrives together with his sister and his cousin-from-Sicily – who is a nun.

We drive to the cemetery. There is a lot of discussion about meeting up with the hearse at some point. But no one can agree about what was supposed to happen. The gates to the cemetery seem to be locked. We hang around. Eventually, someone (the nun or his sister) goes and asks someone. It seems the hearse is already inside! With all the people.

We go in. The cemetery is huge. Cemeteries, here, are HUGE! There are, of course, the usual plots in the ground. But here they also do walls with, what I have always assumed, ashes inside. We walk down to where all the people are. In fact, the whole coffin is inside a hole in one of these walls. It is a tomb. instead of soil being piled in on top of the coffin, the hole is being bricked up! Bricking up the hole takes a whole lot longer than piling soil on top. I think how wonderful it is that the bricklayer is a woman, her long, blond hair tied up in a super-long pony tail. She works fast and hard under the glare of the mourners. In the meantime, I position myself under a tree, for the shade.

At one point, the bricklayer turns around. I see that she is, in fact, a man. He finishes the wall. F explains that, eventually, after some years, the bones of several relatives are collected together and put in one tomb. For now there is some sort of temporary (I suppose) “tomb stone” fixed to the outside. the flowers are placed around outside. This has taken so much longer than a burial in the ground that a majority of the people have excused themselves at some point or another. I don’t, of course, since I need F to take me back to the car which I’ve left at his house. Several people (his dad, his mum, etc.) ask if I’m staying. I explain that I’m going back to Milan. I have work the next day. And the dogs. And, of course, F didn’t want me to stay. That way he has the freedom to do the things he needs to do without being concerned about me.

At one point the wife of the shorts and flip-flops man asks F if he’ll go for a cigarette with her. Instead, he says that I will go. He’s right, of course, I will always sneak off for a fag. (Note to Gail – that’s the British term for a cigarette and not what you think!)

Of course, she speaks no English but somehow we manage to talk about her son (who has grown a lot in the last 12 months) and the dogs and some other stuff.

Then we go back and I go back to my place in the shade. They finish the bricking in and the laying out of the the flowers. By now it’s really only family that are left. We start to walk back. E, linking arms with me and F. We pass some graves of people that I don’t know but I know about and some graves of people that I don’t know and don’t really know about but they are related somehow.

Then out. We say our goodbyes. The mood is lighter but there isn’t the relief that a wake would have given them. In F’s car, besides me, are the uncle-priest, F’s sister and the cousin-nun. It feels quite weird to be so close to them without any escape (yes, I really DO have a problem with religion.)

We drop the uncle-priest off first. I get out of the car to shake his hand. He says, “bye-bye.” I wonder how much of the conversation between F and me he understands.

Next, we drop off the cousin-nun and his sister. Then he drops me at his house. He wants to go and see E and make sure she’s all right so he doesn’t stay.

I drive home and the dogs are pleased to see me. After I’ve taken them out, I go for a pizza and a few beers. Alcohol is essential after a funeral. It’s like saying, “….. and ….. relax!” Though it would have been better with people who had known her. Then they could have told some great stories and we could have laughed and remembered her fondly and the love that people had for her would have taken the edge off the fact that she was no longer with us.

I must remember to tell F that, when I die, I want a big fucking party – with food and alcohol and music and, if people want, dancing. And I hope, very much, for some really great and funny stories :-)

Anyway, this was another “first”, and I don’t get so many of those, these days. Hence the long post.

Guess what? The Internet is NOT a safe place for your private things. Who knew?

So, according to the DailyHateMail, there has been O U T R A G E about some “private” photographs that have been “stolen”. People are comparing it to rape, stalking and the rest.

Well, in my opinion, don’t put anything anywhere on the Internet that you wouldn’t be happy to leave lying around on your coffee table when you’re giving a dinner party with complete strangers. And, by that, I mean any device that can access or be accessed by the WWW. This includes telephones, pads and computers.

Worse still is to entrust the safe-keeping of those personal affects to a storage place that is not, physically, in your house. That’s like leaving something important and personal in a secret hiding place somewhere down the road.

In the “old days” this was easier. After all, we were not “connected” and if you took a photograph on your camera and you developed the photograph yourself, you had complete control. If it was anything other than that, you were not in control. I’m not sure how we got to a place where we thought, even for a moment, that the Internet was safe? After all the stories in the recent years, too!

And, so, do I “feel sorry” for these celebrities that have had some nude pictures stolen and banded wound the Internet for all to see? Well, no, not really.

First: Why are you taking nude photographs of yourself? Or, why are you allowing someone else to take nude photographs of you? If it was for your personal pleasure, then they should be kept (safely) on your computer or camera.

Secondly: Why did you think that it was OK to put them on some central storage place or send them via email or message? Haven’t you heard about the revelations by Snowden about people screening all these places? did you not stop to think that, if the NSA/GCHQ can do it, so can other (?less scrupulous?) people? If not, are you some kind of stupid?

Thirdly; You’re a celebrity. You can expect the rags like the DailyHateMail to try and get these private pics. And, if they can’t get them first, then they can be “outraged” that someone else got them first! Did you not hear about the News of the World hacking scandal? Have you been living on some distant planet?

So, the upshot is that it’s entirely your own fault.

But, I really want to know: Have all these celebrities really been busy taking nude pics of themselves? Am I now so old that I find it really quite strange? Have we developed into a civilisation the likes to create its own porn?

And, tell me why it is that (apparently) so many people are interested in seeing certain parts of celebrity bodies?

Let me go and have a look for some to find out ……….

;-)

The “Mafia” and the Catholic Church – two institutions that “run” Italy

There’s a story about squatters living in one of the churches in Rome that the Pope uses.

They are, in fact, making some sort of demonstration about the housing crisis in Rome.

However, I was struck by the following:

“We are an alarm call, a heads-up that the housing system in Rome is collapsing,” said Luca Bonucci, 38, a former security guard who lost his home when his employer failed to pay him for a year.

The thing that struck me was not that the housing system in Rome is collapsing, nor that this guy was a former security guard that is now unemployed, nor that he “lost” his home.

It is that his employer failed to pay him for a year!

This is something that seems quite common here, in Italy.

In the UK, I only heard about this happening (for an extended period of time) for one person. Here, I’ve heard about it often. It seems a common thing.

Of course, this has all to do with cashflow management – and how good or bad the managers are at managing it.

It’s not helped by the fact that Italian government and council agencies still find it acceptable to pay companies late – more than 90 days – and yet those same agencies demand money immediately or, even, (from what I understand) in the case of VAT (IVA, here), up front! But it’s not only government and council agencies.

I can’t imagine continuing to work somewhere when I wasn’t paid – for a whole year!

It’s not even as if wages here are so huge. In fact, as I’ve mentioned before now, I still can’t quite understand how this country functions with wages set so low.

As usual, the solution to this (and most problems here), is a change in thinking. A change that seems unlikely to come any time soon.

I remember one of my “contracts” here when I was teaching. I did some work that was funded through the EU, providing cut price lessons to companies in Italy. The pay for me was quite high (compared to most English teaching “jobs”) and the funding actually came through charity organisations. Since I did a number of these contracts, I had different contracts with different charity agencies.

All of them were really good – except one. the one that was terrible was the “Catholic” one. For this one, I really had to fight for my money. the others paid me almost as soon as the courses were complete. This one kept me hanging on for a couple of months. eventually, I went to their headquarters. I was told that the person who could sign the cheque was not there right now. I said I would wait. They told me that it was not a good idea to wait as they didn’t know when he would come in but they would make sure that he signed the cheque as soon as he came in and I should come back the next day.

I went back the next day. Apparently, for one reason or another, he hadn’t signed the cheque. And he wasn’t there right now but they would get it done today and I could come back tomorrow. I explained that that wasn’t good enough and that I wasn’t trekking all the way across town again.

I said I would wait.

They didn’t want that but they thought that I would give up and go after an hour or so. They had no idea who they were dealing with. I waited for an hour and a half to two hours.

Suddenly I was called to the desk as somehow, miraculously, they had the cheque! This was strange, as no one had entered the building since I had arrived, apart from people going to the desk and then leaving!!!! I thanked them but told them that I would never do work for them again. I was shocked at the time as I never expected a Catholic charity to be lying bastards.

Catholic charities, it seems, are the worst for paying their debts! So it seems justified (in a justice sense) that the Catholic Church should suffer the homeless people who may have even been made homeless by their failure to pay the company for which poor Luca worked. Even if it wasn’t a Catholic charity directly, you can be certain they were involved somewhere down the line. They are, after all, as prolific here as the “mafia”. And, to be honest, I would put them both in the same category of organisation.

The full link to the article is here

Tomorrow – will the Daily Hate Mail have won?

I do my best but it’s difficult.

After years of crisis and depletion in spending power and savings, someone HAS to be to blame.

The popular newspapers have done their very best to pin the blame on a number of people which include those who are not working (the difference between not wanting to work and being unable to work is rarely made – and, anyway, the point is that “these people are taking your money for doing nothing”), people who are stealing from the system (often rolled into the previous group – at least by implication) and immigrants (illegal or legal).

In particular, they’ve being doing this, more or less, since 2008. That’s six years of propaganda. an six years of constantly pounding people with the same stuff has an effect.

Then, along comes the UKIP. Now, I’m unsure if the media want the UKIP or not. Certainly, they’ve being helping the three main parties to sling as much mud at them as possible. They have been effectively dubbed the “Loony party.”

However, there’s a major problem. In spite of the media and other parties attempts to discredit them, they ARE, in fact, repeating a lot of what those popular newspapers have been saying for all these years. This includes stopping immigration, removing the EU red-tape and making sure everyone pays his/her way. they repeat, for the most part, the headlines of the last six years and, because people have been reading about it for so long, it all makes perfect sense.

After World War I, The Germans went for similar rhetoric. Instead of blaming the huge debts that Germany was having to repay on both the other nations that were enforcing it and the government and its policies, they took the easy option of blaming the Jews. And we all know how that ended up.

And yet, it seems that the “how” of that happening has been lost and forgotten. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not drawing a direct comparison between the UKIP and the Nazis – the UKIP haven’t yet been talking about a “final solution”. But, there are similarities, don’t you think?

Even here, talking with colleagues and friends, there is a feeling that “immigrants” are to blame, especially the illegal immigrants. I point out that, without these immigrants, there would be no badante (private carers) to look after the increasingly aged population since Italians don’t want to this type of work. But you can see I don’t make any real impact.

And, to be honest, it scares me. the problem is that I DO understand to some extent. The illegal immigrants that try to sell you a rose or some trinket or novelty lighter – sometimes one every five minutes – when you’re having a drink with friends outside a bar. It’s more than annoying. I point out that the problem is that “people” buy the roses. F, for instance, will, occasionally buy a novelty lighter. And so they continue to ply their wares. If you don’t want them here, annoying the hell out of you, DON’T buy anything from them and don’t give them money!

As I’ve always said, just like “charity begins at home”, look at your and your friends’ actions – THAT’S often the reason these people are here, still; still trying to sell you stuff you don’t need nor want.

And, since I’m an immigrant here, remember, when you say you agree with sending the immigrants home, that would include me! And I want to stay here, if you don’t mind.

So, we shall see what will happen tomorrow for the UKIP. I hope they don’t get the huge support that is being suggested. I fear, unfortunately, that they will. Their simple messages coinciding with the messages that have been fed to the populace over the last few years.

Bloody frightening.

Something that didn’t happen is reported as fact

Someone posted an article on their Facebook wall.

To it, that someone added – “Can’t they just piss off”. The title of the article was “Girls Fined for Wearing Swimsuits That Offend Muslims”. Underneath was a Muslim in an abaya (I think) on a beach next to a woman sunbathing in a bikini. Oh my God, you may think, it must be true what they say about Muslims trying to take over the world!

Except, when you read the article, it’s not quite as it seems. I clicked upon it because, underneath the headline, it read: “Submit, convert, or pay a fine. When you go to a beach now in Italy, you better …….”

Apart from the terrible grammar, my attention was caught by the “in Italy” and I really found it hard to believe. Here, where sun-worshipping is a national sport and pretty much essential to most of the population, with the beaches packed solid with scantily-clad sunbathers, how could this possibly be true?

So, I started reading. Firstly, this was by a right-wing, so-called “media” website (on which, by the way, one of the buttons was entitled “ArmedandFemale”), a part of Liberty Alliance (which, of course means Liberty for all as long as you agree with us) – but, that aside, who could know? It may be true?

The first paragraph was:
“Civilization jihad is a process that Islam uses to methodically transform nations. It has proven to be an effective way to take over without violence.
Political correctness and ignorance are their best weapons.
Civilization jihad works by infiltration, then complaints about our culture, pushing for acceptance of islamic practices and threats of lawsuits over non conformity.”

OK, I may disagree with the overall argument but it’s not the worst I’ve ever seen.

Paragraph two:

“An example: The report about three women being fined for wearing swimsuits on a beach that were offensive to muslims, has generated a firestorm in responses. Though it has proven difficult to confirm, it is similiar to what is confirmed and already happening around the world in places where Islam is attempting to control the culture.”

Now this I have a bit more or a problem with. “proven difficult to confirm” – meaning it is just hearsay. So not real then? “already happening around the world” – well, yes, but I think you’ll find this is in predominately Muslim countries – which is NOT the UK nor the USA and, certainly, not in very Catholic Italy!

Para three:
“There are already discussions by our own legislators of making negative speech about Islam a crime.”

Hmm. So, they are considering laws to make negative speech about Islam a crime, eh? Would that be similar to the non-discrimination laws they brought in some time ago, to a great deal of opposition, saying that you can’t racially abuse black people? Yes. It should be the duty of most people to ensure that they don’t verbally abuse anyone else, no matter what their race, gender, sexual orientation or religion. And, surely, as Americans for Liberty of all, you would agree with that. Or not? Does it only apply to the things that you, personally agree with?

Para four:
“It IS a perfect example of civilization jihad that the muslim brotherhood uses in their documented plan for the destruction of a nation from within.
Here was the basis of the report: ”

Hmm. “documented”? By whom? Where are the documents? And this hearsay which can’t be confirmed has suddenly become a “report”!

Para five:
“Submit, convert, or pay a fine.
When you go to the beach now in Italy, you better pack a full set of loose clothes and a hajib or get ready to shell out some serious money. This, according to a number of media outlets, reporting on an alleged case in Messina, Italy.”

I’m specifically ignoring the awful grammar. “a number of media outlets” – but not named. And, given this “media outlet”, were they even real media or something like this website? And these outlets were “reporting” on an “alleged case”. Again, not substantiated and so, quite possibly not real at all!

Para six:
“Reportedly, a justice of the peace in Messina, Italy has fined three girls an amount of approximately $3,500 each for wearing what is considered common beach wear in Italy, because the uncovered skin offended some Saudi Arabian tourists who were also at the private resort of Taormina.”

This implies that it was true. Except, remember the use of the words “alleged” and “difficult to confirm” used before. If this was really done by a Justice of the Peace, there would be hard facts and transcripts.

Para seven:
“Whether this is actually factual or not is not the issue… it is certainly the direction civilization jihad takes a nation.”

WHAT????? If you’re going to put the headline you have, it’d better be factual! Being factual IS the issue. Really, the second part doesn’t even make any sense.

To be honest with you, at this point I stopped reading. If it’s not factual then it’s not true and so the headline and everything else is just a load of crap. Worse, it’s being paraded as real and “happening”. However, for completeness (and this post) I continued.

Para eight:
“It has become common place for Muslims to make demands upon others to adhere to their standards, so it should not come as too great of a surprise that they filed their complaint.”

As opposed, of course, to the baying mob who want to impose their standards! Hahahahahahahahahaha

Para nine:
“This is what Islamization of a free society is all about and it is coming to YOUR state, your town, your neighborhood soon if you don’t fight back. This case happened in Italy. It is no accident. It is part of the muslim brotherhood’s plan for the destruction of a country from within. It is a very carefully planned, full proof meticulous process of slow but deliberate transformation….. Islamization.”

Second sentence first; This case DID NOT happen in Italy. It is a scare story and cannot be confirmed or verified. It is, in fact a GREAT BIG LIE! And, who are these “muslim brotherhood” people? Oh yes, they are the semi-political party in Egypt! So, they aren’t in the USA and they are NOT bringing this big plan for the destruction of the USA to you, the USA, anytime. Neither sooner or later. This is just a hate-filled, illogical, lying rant!

Para ten:
“Don’t be fooled. What happens over there is already a process underway here in America.”

Over where? In Italy? Are you out of your fucking mind? But, of course, the majority of the small-minded people in the USA who read this, won’t actually know how to find the facts and, so, will be taken hook, line and sinker by this trash “report”.

Para eleven:
“The encroachment of Sharia Law continues virtually unchecked.. We have over 50 court cases in this country where American judges have allowed Sharia law to trump Constitutional law in cases involving Muslims.”

Rubbish, rubbish, rubbish! And, if the writer doesn’t know this then they are stupid. Being stupid doesn’t stop them writing which, unfortunately, makes them dangerous.

Stupid and dangerous is NOT a good combination. God help America if this is the type of person it turns out.

Para twelve:
“Think situations like this are an outrage? Get ready America…. They are here and the demands to submit to “their way” are already happening all around us.”

This whole “report” is an outrage and I am constantly shocked by the lack of any outrage to articles like this.

So, let me summarise for you.

Something didn’t happen but let’s say it did and express our hatred at a group of people who believe in something that doesn’t fit with our idea of what should be believed. Are we ready? Everybody hate these people!

I’m afraid I won’t link to the “article” as I don’t want them to get any more traffic but I have quoted it word for word (exactly as it was written.)

The real lesson behind this is: read each thing with scepticism and DON’T believe everything you read, especially on the Internet.

What is a camp hotel anyway? The best birthday present.

It wasn’t on purpose; I swear I had no idea but I managed to book us into the campest hotel I’ve ever been to in my life!

I should have had the idea when looking at the rooms over the Internet. They were, shall we say, Gothic, elaborate and immensely over-the-top. That was in the pictures. In real life, more so.

They did “dark”. The walls were black, the lighting subdued and yet, in the bedrooms, the lights by the side of the bed seemed to have come straight from Liberace’s house. Still, comfortable rooms, once you got used to the darkness of everything.

They offered us a drink, on the house, whilst we waited for the receptionist. We sat outside in the “garden” at the rear. The waiter was ever-so-slightly “gay”. The next table had a couple of ever-so-slightly gay people. And, of course, when I say “ever-so-slightly”, I mean really camp. It seemed like the whole place was heaving with gay people or that I had booked into an exclusively gay hotel!

And, as many of you who read my blog know, that’s not really my “cup of tea”.

However, the hotel was nice, the breakfasts (for me), reasonable, the bed comfortable and the position was good.

I say “good” except for one thing. It was under the flight path from the airport and they didn’t have double glazing and so at dark o’clock the next morning, I was woken up by aircraft accelerating out of the country. More or less, where I wanted to be.

But this particular morning was my birthday. And I wasn’t at home.

Of course, F texted me and then texted me later to tell me that we have got the flat! So that was nice. Well, nice and slightly terrifying too, as you know.

So, now, lots of things will have to be done and organised. I don’t mind that but, still, unlike other moves I’ve made, many more things must be sorted and many things thrown away or got rid of. I guess the next couple of months will be really, really busy!

And, then, of course, there will be the “living together”. But, I’m sure it will all be OK, more or less.

Won’t it?

Notes from a far-off country

Monday, 28th April.

It is very dark o’clock. The alarm goes off and I know that I must get up. I have only left myself 20 minutes before the taxi expects me to be downstairs. I’m hoping it will be enough.
The dogs stay with me, hopefully, for about 5 minutes until they lose hope and realise that I won’t be taking them out after all.
I leave the house at about a minute to 4. It is tipping it down. Miserable, bloody weather. Still, I will be out of it for a few days. Not that I want to be, you understand. I’m off the that far-off country. One that everyone agrees is “lovely” and I hate, almost without measure.
I get to the station for the train to the airport. It is still dark and still raining. I realise that this thing we have, with airlines leaving before about 10 or 11 in the morning – not before 9, anyway. The sooner I am out of this effing rat-race, the better.
I have a cigarette – only my second so far – but I know this train – there is no warning it will leave so, even if there is 5 minutes to go, I get on.
Lots of people are on the train but it is silent. Some people seem to be sleeping and I wish I could. A woman gets on at the second or third stop. There’s lots of goodbyes to one or more people at the station and then she spends the rest of the journey on the telephone. I wonder who the hell she can be speaking to before 5 in the morning?
We arrive at the airport and, as expected for the far-off country, the check-in is “special” and requires the longest walks.
I go out for several cigarettes and then in through the security control with its massive queues and, again, I wonder at this need (real need) to fly everywhere so early.
I get through there and up to the gate area and head for the cafe for my shot of caffeine. And then a final cigarette.
On the plane, I stupidly offer the window seat to one of my colleagues, one of whom takes it up and then proceeds to sleep through most of the flight. Still, it’s not so important as I have a book. A new book; one of those supposedly for summer at the beach.

I read over half on the four-hour journey. This is not good. Obviously, I still have the problem of reading too fast. More books will need to be bought!
As we’re on the plane, I realise that I just don’t like people. In fact, I loathe them, especially in a crowded place. I’m talking people in general, making no discrimination between races, young or old, male or female. People are just bloody horrible.
We arrive. We go through passport control which is more special here. Don’t they realise that I really don’t want to be here?
“Why are you here?”
“Because I have to come and subject myself to this bloody horrible country with you bloody horrible people”
“Who are you coming to see?”
“Some of the most vile people I have ever had to deal with”
“Was it at their invitation?”
“Invitation?! If only it were so simple as something I could refuse? Believe me, I would have gratefully declined”
Of course, the questions were real, my responses less so. A lot less so. In fact, nothing like what I have written.
I collect my case, I go straight out to have a cigarette. I go back in to get cash. I am told, by my colleague that the little fucker who is our agent here, has come to pick us up. Surprisingly, as he had indicated he wouldn’t.
Apparently, we weren’t grateful enough for this “sacrifice” but since he is a shit-stirrer, I couldn’t care less. I remember the last trip here. The trip just before Christmas when it was ‘too much trouble’ to take us anywhere!
Whilst driving to the customer, I made the mistake of asking how he was. We get the “holocaust story”. I really wish I hadn’t asked.
I spend the afternoon, sitting, bored to fuck while the engineers talk about dimensions and stuff.
I’ve already had enough!

A concert, the weather and the dreaded Visit.

Well, I managed to book for Kate Bush ….. eventually.

Not the date we wanted, nor, even, at a weekend but at least I got some. I saw her on her first (and only) tour back in 1979 (in Manchester) and I remember it quite well. It was an amazing concert. Obviously, this one won’t be so “energetic” but I imagine she’ll do a good show in any event.

I have been so busy of late. So much so that this weekend will be a relaxing weekend. The temperatures should be in the 20s (°C) and it should be sunny – so that means a walk with the dogs, at least.

Of course, there’s the nagging thing about “The Visit”. That hasn’t gone away. The list is quite long now, which is to be expected. Few people know about it, which is the best thing.

Of course, it’s unlikely to be just this one. I’m expecting some other “visits” will have to follow. It’s almost like I shall be “sucked into” this thing. Like getting stuck in whirlpool – going further and further down, getting completely caught up in rounds of “visits”. I’ve avoided all this, so far.

Other things are being “sorted” but much more needs to be done before everything is ready. Still, one thing at a time, eh?

Update: And, apparently, I was lucky to get any tickets!

Believe the headline and become stupid.

The overall stupidity of people, although expected, shocks me still.

In the UK you can make a will. Normally you make it with a solicitor although you can make it on your own, as long as a witness (or, maybe two) sign it.

The will determines who/what you wish to leave all your assets to when you die.

A married couple will, normally, elect to leave their assets to their spouse. They might also leave something to their children. A lone parent may choose to leave their assets, equally divided, to their children.

Or, of course, they may not.

Some people choose to leave their assets to a charity. Or to someone who isn’t a relative. Or to only one of their children.

In other words, British people can choose who to leave their assets to – there are no rules but the will must be legally binding.

People who think that they SHOULD have been included in the will can, of course, contest it in court. But it has to be proved that the person making the will made a mistake or was unduly coerced by a beneficiary. This is only worth it when there is a lot of money at stake. Most ordinary wills are not contested.

For example, I doubt very much if my mother has included me in her will. And I very much doubt that, even if it were worth millions, I would be able to successfully contest it since we haven’t had any contact for over 25 years. I could hardly claim that I had a right to a share, could I?

Of course, some Christian principle may encourage her to leave me something. Or, from what I read, if she were Muslim, she would be expected to leave a share to me and exclude my sister. It wouldn’t seem fair but, then, wills aren’t meant to be “fair”. They are meant to express the wishes of the deceased.

So, I read today, in the DailyHate Mail, of a very rich guy who will not be leaving anything to his son!

Now, whilst not being a fan of that newspaper, it is seen as being an OK thing to do since he is saying that his son has to work for his money (and that’s OK according to the right-wing press).

And, yet, in the same paper, yesterday, was a story about how solicitors have been issued guidelines to help them when they are writing wills for Muslims.

This is because, according to their religion, there are “rules” that are meant to apply when someone dies. Of course, without a will, British law would apply. These guidelines are to help solicitors help their Muslim clients to draw up a will that is within British law but that follow the rules of their religion.

Unfortunately, these rules seem to be known as Sharia Law. And so, the headline leads people to believe that “Sharia Law” is being built into British law.

Which is just plain wrong and totally misleading.

And makes the people “shouting” about how terrible it is that “Sharia Law is being enshrined into British Law” seem really stupid.

And, to be honest, THAT really annoys me.

Tony Benn – remembering my parents!

When I was a kid, my parents rarely talked politics.

Or, there again, maybe they did but I just didn’t notice or ignored it.

I knew my maternal grandmother was a Liberal 8on of the old-fashioned Liberals) as she was a councilor on the local town council.

I knew, somehow, that my parents were Conservative.

And, the one thing I DO remember, was there utter hatred of a Labour guy – Tony Benn or, as I think he was known then, Anthony Wedgwood Benn. He was, i think, in their terms, bordering on evil.

I couldn’t understand it. I didn’t take any real interest in politics but I failed to understand how you could hate someone because of their beliefs and the words that they used.

Of course, one must remember that I was a very rebellious child. And the effect of them disliking something or someone tended to mean that I would be more open to that thing or that someone. On the contrary, the things that they did were so odious to me that, as an adult, these are things I don’t like to do. And so, things like packed lunches for when you go somewhere; carrying a lot of stuff with you all of the time – to the beach, in particular, are some examples.

In fact, I’ve listened to Tony Benn a number of times and, whilst not always or fully agreeing with his point of view, I can’t knock him for his right to have those views nor for his conviction in them, nor even for the intelligent way he would argue his case. Hate him? Certainly not.

And today he has died and tributes are pouring in (as they do). And i wondered, for a moment, if my mother had any thoughts on this (my father having died already)?

Still, that moment has now passed.