Plea for help
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I'm sending this out to as many people as possible: can you spare some thoughts for the lad from South Uist who's been missing since Boxing Day (story here from a few days ago). He's the nephew of Vert's best friend, and the whole island is frantic with worry, now tinged with beginning to accept he has probably, somehow, disappeared into one of the many bogs on the island.

Can you spare some thoughts, either for his safe return, and/or for the wellbeing of his family who have already had tragedy in their lives, to enable them to cope with this awful loss.

Thank you.

Chicken Out
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Christian Aid had a great slogan. Maybe they still do.

"We believe in life BEFORE death".

Many of you will have seen the Food Fight Week on Channel 4.

Hugh fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver combining their not insignificant clout to campaign for better conditions for chickens.

Now, I've made no secret of the fact that Vert and I are big fans of Hugh f-W. We think his common-sense approach to meat-eating - that animals are entitled to a decent life before slaughter and our consumption.

So we watched Hugh f-W as previous converts. We needed no persuasion.

But still...

It's simply appalling. It makes you ashamed to be a human being if that's what we do.

We quite rightly abhor the way calves are treated when they're shipped to the continent. We extol the virtues of locally-bred beef, lamb etc, but birds are a different matter, really, aren't they?

We go to the supermarket and pick up the cheapest chicken with perfect equanamity.

But they're animals. They deserve respect. They deserve a life before their death.

I've put the link to Chicken Out on my sig.

I would strongly urge you all, if you don't already, consider the life that your chicken may have had before it reaches your dinner table. Or the suffocation/mincing that the male chicks had because they couldnt' lay eggs - and they're the lucky ones.

Please. Please. Think before you buy. And consider the living-death that your chicken may have had to provide you with a cheap dinner or your boiled egg.

Is that something your conscience can live with?

Pass it on.

Chicken Out TV

Odd questions...
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Up at the Osprey Centre today and it was the day for the weird questions.  We're compiling a list to be published in the Forest Park newsletter, but I'll share them with you here first :-)

"How do you bring the birds in at night?"


The ranger, explaining to an American woman that the chicks will soon be going to west Africa, was met with:

American Woman "Will you go with them?"

Ranger:  *laughs*  "No, I'm afraid not - I'm still trying to persuade my bosses that that would be a good idea"

AW  "Oh.  Who goes with them?"

R  "No-one, we leave them to it"

AW  "Who accompanies them on the plane?  Is there a special airline?"

(cue her absolute astonishment when she's told that actually, the birds fly themselves south...)


Visitor:  "Oh!  There're no birds on the nest!   What time're they expected back?"

Ranger, joking:  "Oh, drat, they've done it again - the male's supposed to leave a note when he flies off"   *big grin, waiting for answering laugh*

Visitor looking slightly annoyed, turning to husband "the man's saying that the bird's gone but didn't leave a note so he doesn't know when he'll be back"

Visitor's husband, also looking slightly annoyed "Oh well, there's no point waiting then, he could be hours yet.  *turning to Ranger* "and you've no idea when he left?"


Zoom zoom!
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Picked up the new car today, very VERY happy with it :-)

Weltschmertz - Part I
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Is, apparently, a term that means "world sickness".

Used to describe when you just feel everything's wrong with the world.

I don't know. It could just be PMT. It probably is. But sometimes I just feel that there's so much WRONG with the world that it's almost overwhelming. And this on what has been a good day! When I know I've got nothing to complain about!!

What triggered this off? Actually, it was that programme Extinct. I was just so sad and angry at the thought that the fate of creatures on this planet has been reduced to people texting/phoning in to save their favourite fluffy animal. Watching turtles being hooked and thrashing into fishing boats, polar bears stumbling through melting ice to find food, oranutangs big-eyed and searching for new homes when their own has been cut or burned down, elephants keening for lost relatives killed by poachers. And money to save them being dependent on votes.

Well, Bengal Tigers, you're fluffy and cute, but you're not nearly as cute as the bears. So, sorry guys, but you're dead.

Well done Polar Bears, we're going to send money to you so that you can live another generation - well, until we melt your ice that is.


What a fucking awful world. I'm ashamed to be human sometimes, I really am.

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Okay. I know that modern paganism isn't authentic in the sense that it's not got a historical, unbroken link to the way our ancestors worshipped, and that our practises today are modern interpretations.

So maybe it's hypocritical of me to be irritated by this. But I am. And so I'm telling you lot.

I'm bugged by someone on a forum who has said they're a Christian. That's not the reason I'm bugged, they can be whatever in Hades they want to be. But when they start talking about how they want to celebrate Yule, and how they have "totem animals" - that bugs me. Even more when they say that they're combining their Christianity with Pagan beliefs.

How? How can they reconcile their Christian beliefs with Paganism. Christianity is so diametrically opposed to Pagan beliefs, their holy book talks about Christianity being The Only Way. No ifs, buts, caveats, or maybes. No get-out clauses.

No "totem" animals (another bug-bear, but that's for another journal). No "Yule". As far as Christianity is concerned, these don't exist. They're godless, demonic beliefs and practises which have no basis in Christian doctrine. Of any kind.

So either be a Christian or be a Pagan. And be proud of whichever one you are.

You can't be both.

Cos McFool
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There's really not a lot more I can add to what has already been said.

This is an incredibly sad day, and a bit darker because one of the people who did what he could to bring laughter and light has gone onto the next part of his journey.

It was an absolute privilege to walk with Cos during part of this journey, and his insight, gentle wit and tolerance were factors sorely needed in the world of religious debate.

I'm absolutely amazed at the number of people who have paid tribute - not because I didn't believe how popular he was, but just at the sheer diversity - I understand that he even contributed on a Jewish interfaith message board and that the members there pass on their condolences. Vert frequents the BBC MessageBoards on the football forums and said that he's pretty certain he came across Cos there - who described himself as probably the Beeb's only pagan footie fan!

He just touched so many lives and I sincerely hope that that is some small comfort to his poor mother.

I'd like to think we'd catch up with each other again, and maybe next lifetime actually get to meet.

Till then, safe journey Cos. And thank you.

My baby
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My poor baby is at the Vets just now getting her teeth cleaned under a general anaesthetic. It's a simple, straightforward op and she's young, fit and healthy, but gods, I worry about her all the same.

Poor thing had to be starved from 6pm last night and she wasn't happy. She's been in all the waste-paper baskets and tipped them out looking for food through the night. I had to go downstairs at one point because of the thumping, and it was her and her sister trying to open their tub of treats.

Poor things.

Roll on 3pm when I can go and pick her up again.

(I know, I'm SUCH a wuss over them)

(Lola hiding in the cupboard to avoid going to the Vets!)

Maths phobic
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I have dyscalculia. It's something I've only recently discovered, inasmuch as there's a name for it. But it's a label for something that I've had pretty much all my life and I just thought I was thick!

Basically I'm numbers dyslexic.

It means that I find even simple arithmetic incredibly difficult. It means that I can be taught one day how to do something and then an hour later I have totally and utterly forgotten how to do that same thing. It means that stuff like - oh, I don't know - working out what my x% pay rise is is just bamboozles me. Stuff like reading a recipe designed for 4 and then trying to work out how to half the quantities is an absolute nightmare (I had to phone my dad at work the other day when I was trying to weigh out something and I couldn't figure out what number I should be aiming for when weighing out a half quantity).

Day to day living things like working adding up a small basket of shopping as I go round the shop, trying to work out if a journey takes me x length of time, what time will I have to leave at to get to my destination at a certain time - all of these are real challenges, guaranteed to make my brain freeze in protest.

And it doesn't mean that I can just whip out the calculator - part of the problem is that I don't know what I'm supposed to do with it!

I cannot remember what my monthly salary is supposed to be and have to get my pay slips checked to make sure everything's all in order. Don't ask me what my annual salary is - I looked this morning for something and now I can't remember.

You see how it's a bit of a nightmare at times!! I work round it as best I can (ie, I ask someone when I can!) but it's extremely frustrating. You don't realise how much you do need numbers when you can do it without thinking.

Anyway. A by-product of the dyscalculia is a finance-phobia. I don't mean that I don't like it to touch or look at, I mean that because I don't "get" what the numbers mean or I get the order of the numbers the wrong way round, financial management is an absolute freaking nightmare. Discussing finances brings on, I kid you not, full blown panic attacks.

And because I can't remember what I'm earning, or what's going out, when I look at my finances, I have no idea if it's good or bad for that point in the month. So I go through a phase of a couple of days at the start of the month where I'll spend with abandon, and then totally and utterly panic for the remaining 26 days that I've no money at all and I don't check because what's the point? I don't understand it anyway! And you've no idea how angry with myself I am at being so STUPID - 36 and own my own home, car etc and can't do simple arithmetic and simple financial management - and too scared to look because if I look then it really will be that bad and the house will be repossessed ...

So today is day 3 of the total and utter panic and it's no lie to say that I've not slept well or relaxed at all over the last few days because I knew I'd have to check my bank etc and see how things were. Anyway, to cut a long story short (which is what I should have done at the start of this) - yes, things are not great, but they're not anywhere near as bad as I had imagined (you know - mortgage defaulting, bills going unpaid etc). I think I've got enough to do me until next pay day.

I think. But I can't remember. So I'll just spend as little as I can just in case and just to be sure. Because I just can't tell.

Gay rights
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"Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?" - Ernest Gaines

We would like to know who really believes in gay rights on LiveJournal. There is no bribe of a miracle or anything like that. If you truly believe in gay rights, then repost this and title the post as "Gay Rights". If you don't believe in gay rights, then just ignore this. Thanks.


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