Be Yourself, Be Positive.

Be true to yourself.

With a half full glass.

Never get worried if you ain’t got enough brass.

Write it down and say it loud.

Always remember you’re uniquely individual, be proud.

Never become just one of the crowd.

Challenge yourself every day however small.

So tomorrow you can hold your head up and walk tall.

My thoughts are sat on a comfy Sofa #5

Copyright Pixabay

For my thoughts to be productive, profound and distinctive, I have provided a relaxing comfy sofa in my mind for my thoughts to sit and contemplate.

Well I need to think about what to buy for my evening meal. Thoughts what do you think?

“I’m glad you asked, as I need to keep myself alert and focused so eating junk is a no no”.

Surely it depends on what my taste buds fancy. Maybe a fully loaded meat feast pizza.

“Protein and saturated fat overload. Are you wanting me to doze off?”

It’s what I fancy at the moment, nothing wrong with a nice pizza every now and then.

“I agree, it’s nice to indulge every now and then. But does it have to be fully loaded? Does it have to be a full 10 inch pizza, all to yourself? Do you have to choose one that’s starch from the base, fatty dairy products and full of piles of processed meat”.

Yeah, nom. Your thoughts are making me salivate. Decision made then?

“No!”

Why ever not? Don’t be a spoil sport. I need to let my hair down once in a while.

“All that fat will eventually ooze from the pores and your follicles soaking your hair making it greasy. That is if all that fat and cholesterol can find it’s way from coating the walls of your arteries, reducing the passage of blood. This in turn reduces the oxygen levels that can be distributed around your body and ultimately to your brain. Making your thoughts, that is me, less responsive”.

You’re getting that mixed up with feeling full, satisfied and content.

“No! You’re getting that feeling mixed up with risk of a potential heart attack, and prolonged health issues. Reducing your ability to run and do strenuous activities and even simple things like walking. You’re going to put on weight. You’ll be prone to other illnesses especially to your major organs. But, I suppose if your talking about one single meal, then you’ll potentially be okay, perhaps”.

But I like pizza.

“I know. I’m not saying don’t have pizza. I’m not stopping you having deep pan fully loaded meat feast. Just don’t keep stuffing in every last little bit. Eat less. Have half with a side salad. Or opt for a thinner base and select a combination of meat and vegetables. Less cheese is also a good option. You’ll still enjoy the pizza and so will your body. It’s something to think about and in turn will help me think about, we’ll everything. Like they say healthy body and healthy mind!”

Well, I suppose it’s something to consider. What if, I have the full pizza today and opt for a nice salad or vegetarian meal tomorrow. Then again I only indulge in a full sized pizza once a month anyway. You know me I like to have a well balanced diet.

“Okay, but make sure you do have a balanced diet. Otherwise if your gut gets too big, your balance will go and you’ll fall over”.

Comment noted. Let’s hope you are less responsive one I’ve eaten it. It might stop you nagging at me.

Cheek!”.

Late night BLOGGING

Copyright Pixabay

“Oh, you blog, do you?”

 Eyes glaze over, eye contact lost, and an immediate race to change the subject. At time’s it feel like your into clandestine activities that can only be performed secretly in the dead of night. It make me think it’s at the dirty end of the literary spectrum. 

         Vlogging is seen as super cool, inspirational and aspirational. It can catapult and individual to stardom. Many have millions of followers and become household names and even end up on the BBC’s “Strictly come dancing”. 

        Instagram, Facebook and Twitter can expedite a mass following and help relaunch faded celebrities and enhance and develop others. It can be a platform to express ones opinions and views and a selling tool for books, concerts and merchandise. There’s is an insatiable desire to transport yourself into the virtual stratosphere of social media. A media that we all dabble in, young and old, famous or obscure, rich or poor. It’s one of modern life’s great levellers. Warts and all unfortunately.

        So what about blogging. Even this one for example. Is it an, “we’ve moved on from blogging”, or “that’s twee”. 

         For me, I believe that blogging it’s a more considered medium rather that a “of the moment”, rapid response with limited shelf life. It’s an essay a poem or short story transmitted into the ether perpetuating itself so it can be read wherever and whenever. It can still express an opinion, be a rant and of the moment but with a longer shelf life. An example of this is a blog I wrote in 2018 celebrating the 213th birthday of Hans Christian Andersen. A very short blog with an excerpt from one of his poems. I’ve just check my blog statistics and so far in 2021 it’s recorded 4 times more readers than the year I published it. 

      “But why blog?”

       Now that’s a loaded question, simple but loaded. For me I have a technically demanding job, so writing is escapism a creative outlet. That doesn’t explain blogging though.

       Writing can be a very insular and private experience. It can catapult your mind into a whole new world, your own bubble, as it were. It’s probably why so many people engage in writing to combat mental health. I even contributed to a book in support of mental health charities where many of the contributors wrote for similar reasons. 

       It can be a very spiritual and relaxing pastime. It may not alway generate quality literary pieces but it can still convey the writers thoughts, experiences and creative imagination.     

       So why move from word/text document stored on your device or written on paper to being published on your very own blog? It seems strange when the process of writing can be very personal and private. A whole range of reasons encourages the author down this route. Blogs can be started from a desire to get recognition for what you’ve written or to be able to judge and analyse your work from comments generated. Self adulation and the desire to become a well known blogger can also be a driving force. It can be a route and platform to showcase your work if your trying to get poetry or a novel published. On the other hand blogs are also a way of expressing your views and opinions, rants and reviewing music, books or the arts. 

       For me it’s almost a creative pressure valve. I’m not a prolific writer with a strict daily routine pumping out daily or even weekly posts. It’s much more sporadic than that for me. I can produce a lot of work in a short period of time and then nothing for weeks or even months. But when I do have my creative splurge I need to post at least one piece. It sometimes makes me wonder why I’m writing if no one actually reads it. So posting selective work adds the “reason why”.

       On the other side of the coin reading blogs can be informative and educational, but most of all, well in my case, inspirational and a unique way to get to know what other writers and like minded people are producing. 

      So if you spend time streaming tv and films or watch YouTube or Facebook videos, just take a break and read some blogs and maybe just maybe you’ll find the desire to wake up your own creativity.

Copyright Pixabay

       

My thoughts are sat on a comfy Sofa #4

For my thoughts to be productive, profound and distinctive I have provided a relaxing comfy sofa in my mind for my thoughts to sit and contemplate.

Well thoughts, what are you thinking with regards covid vaccine and the pressure put on people who have not been vaccinated?

“It is what it is”.

Come on, it’s one of the biggest stories affecting millions throughout the world. Do you agree with demanding that everyone should get vaccinated?

Meh”.

Sorry, what’s that supposed to mean?

“Well it’s simple really. It’s all about assessing the risks and taking the necessary precautions to mitigate and reduce the likelihood of getting Covid”.

Okay, now get down off the fence and give me your thoughts and opinions on the subject.

“I’m sat on a comfy sofa. I can’t even see a fence”.

Funny ha ha. In the words of Kenneth Williams, “ stop messing about”.

“Well, from where I’m sat, like I said it’s about risk. For example if you drive a car you could die in a crash. To reduce the risk you wear a seatbelt. You also make sure you have got good eyesight and that your vehicles windows and mirrors are clear and there is no obstruction to seeing what is around you. You then drive with care taking into account the road conditions, signs and speed limits and the behaviour of other drivers. You have then reduced your risk based on your own behaviour and driving skills. Obviously there are still risks outside your control. So to assist in mitigating these risks, although it doesn’t remove them, you take out insurance. Covid is more or less the same, you look at the risks and take the appropriate action that suits you”.

Okay, so is the vaccine a seatbelt or insurance cover?

“If it becomes a legal requirement then I suppose it would be like a seatbelt. But it’s not like insurance. Insurance is like the NHS, you know, doctors, nurses and health professionals trying to get you well again. No, the vaccine is more like the keeping your car in good working order; making sure your eyesight is good and making sure you observe the Highway Code and other road users. And applying of breaks when there is danger ahead”.

What about those who don’t want the vaccine?

“Everyone has to evaluate the risks. I suppose it’s like you not driving your car on a regular basis, so why would you need to service it and pay for expensive insurance. Or I don’t drive a car so why do I need to bother?”

“We may not drive but we still, well for most people, use the highway as pedestrian’s, or use of transport like busses, trains and taxis. Loosely speaking, it still applies, if only indirectly. We can still be involved in a crash, if we take a risk crossing a busy road without looking where we are going. It’s getting more common people looking and interacting with their phone while walking, taking unnecessary risks. Again it’s assessing the level of risk and doing something about mitigating it. Like using a pelican crossing or designated crossing. Putting your phone away unless your in a safe place to be able to do so. Maybe if we never travel and stay indoors all the time we could consider the risk to be too small to take precautions”.

Right so your saying, if we think the risk is low then we shouldn’t have the need for the vaccine?

“Well, maybe. The choice should be a personal choice to suit the individual”.

But, we are constantly being bombarded with demands to get the vaccine. It seams like people are being ridiculed if they haven’t been vaccinated. In some industries if you haven’t been vaccinated you could lose your job. Restrictions for going to events, travelling or entering tennis competitions are being or have been put into place.

“If we stopped to check that every driver had their seatbelt on, eyes tested an MOT and sufficient tyre tread and extremely effective breaks then we would struggle getting anywhere. I think society is not just looking at our own individual risks and taking precautions, it’s thinking that we have to limit risk collectively. It sound like good common sense to get everyone to do exactly the same. It’s that “I’m not safe till everyone is safe” syndrome. One rule for all, and not just the selected few. Try telling that to all those road users with no MOT, illegal tyres, unserviced vehicles and bad eyesight”

“Should we all do the same to protect each other without having a choice. Should we accept an Orwellian attitude and do it because we have been told too? Have we not strived for a society with a culture of freedom of speech and freedom to make our own choices in life? Should we all still be driving a Ford model T in black. Should we not have our own personal choice to what we put in our own bodies? Should our own personal thoughts be ostracised for the greater good no matter what we want or believe?”

“An interesting perspective, yet in the middle, or hopefully near the end, of a pandemic our and civil liberties seem to be taking a beating. If someone says no to the vaccine, should we really be bullying and using coercion to make them comply against their will? But, …..they are putting us at risk…… I hear people say! Or are they, for example:- if someone walks into the road without looking into moving traffic they are putting themselves and motorists at risk. If the motorist has taken precautions by being observant, keeping their car in a road worthy condition, having their seatbelt on and driving to the road conditions and within speed limits, then they reduce their own risk, and that of the stray pedestrian. The pedestrian who has ignored the risks is by default disadvantaged from that of the motorist who has taken precautions to minimise their risks. But should we not drive till be know that no one can walk into the road?”

“We all have, in a free society, choices and freedom to think. Yes, we have to consider others, stick by the rules and laws, and work collectively at work and within our families. But, should everyone on this planet of ours have to take the vaccine, no ifs no buts? There’s no vaccine against being hit by a car, or for protection from global warming, pollution, hunger, poverty, racism, hate or prejudice. It’s all about choices, priorities and free thinking. I think we have all forgotten to put everything into perspective with a balanced approach. Let’s face it would the world isolate everyone who has cancer and keep them away from the rest of us so we eradicate cancer. Yes I know it’s not contagious like Covid, but we have to be more understanding, considerate and balanced in our approach to the pandemic and peoples individual needs and rights”.

Wow, so you think I should have the vaccine, and not force others to have it then?

“Fill your boots and get yourself vaccinated, wear a face covering, minimise you time in crowded areas, wash your hands and always remember to put your seatbelt on. Reduce your own risk, but remember to live your life. Express your views and opinions to others, but remember they have to make their own decision. Like Aristotle said,………be a free thinker and don’t accept everything you hear as truth. Be critical and evaluate what you believe in”.

Well, all I can say is, your thoughts are a shot in the arm…

Happy Birthday Greta.

When we think of Greta we assume Greta Thunberg, the environment campaigner. Yet the actress Greta Garbo doesn’t always come to mind.
Well today Saturday 18th September 2021 would have been her 116th Birthday.

Greta Lovisa Gustafsson
18 September 1905 Stockholm Sweden.

Many will only remember her from the lyrics of the Madonna song;-

Greta Garbo and Monroe
Dietrich and DiMaggio
Marlon Brando, Jimmy Dean
On the cover of a magazine.

Songwriters: Shep Pettibone / Madonna
Vogue lyrics © Universal Music – Z Tunes Llc, Wb Music Corp., Universal Music Corp., Lexor Music, Tennman Tunes, Stix I’m Stoned Publishing, Webo Girl Publishing, Inc.

Her career spanned from the 1920 in silent movies up the 1941 film Two-Faced Woman. She retired at that point because the film didn’t do too well. A shame really as she could easily have made a greater impact on the silver screen.

Google her and search YouTube, you can then make your own mind up as to why she is regarded as one of Hollywood’s legends.

My thoughts are sat on a comfy Sofa #3

Image Pixabay

For my thoughts to be productive, profound and distinctive I have provided a relaxing comfy sofa in my mind for my thoughts to sit and contemplate.

Well thoughts, what’s your views on our recent trip to the theatre?

Like a slap in the face!

Oh, that’s not the comment I was expecting.

Why ask if you know what comments I’m going to make? Maybe your not reading it in the context that I’ve spoken it in?

Sorry excuse me for speaking!

I will expand. After nearly 2 years of being away from seeing a live performance in the theatre, why would it not be like a slap in the face?
From stepping over the threshold, buying merch, and walking along the corridor into the auditorium, every moment was an adrenaline rush. Back in the place where so many emotions and feelings are generated. Imagination, stories and musical extravaganzas that enthralled the theatre’s audience for over 140 years. I know it makes the 15 month break from actors, musicians, singers, dancers, comedians and entertainers treading the boards performing for our delight seem like a little blip.
In a way, being back was like a childhood Christmas. As a child a year was a long time so the anticipation of the big mans arrival built over several weeks. You knew you were in for a real treat. It was not just want you would find under the wrapping paper but the whole showmanship of an event that for us lasted the whole day. That’s how it affected me walking into the theatre. Taking my seat with the rest of the eager audience. Yes it was socially distanced with every other seat empty reducing the capacity to 50%, but what an audience. What they lacked in numbers they made up with exuberance. Faces hidden behind masks or just the backs of heads in view yet the sense of a happy smiling joyful crowd was all to evident. The auditorium buzzed. Then again we are talking Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House and it’s notorious audiences that give praise and adulation to quality theatre but don’t hold back when they don’t like what they’ve paid good money for.
Oh and what a performance to choose to go back too. Well when I say choose, that was done around two years ago with the pandemic adding numerous postponements.
“SIX the musical”, retelling the the demise of Henry VIII’s 6 wives through song. A powerful account of the six queens and their relationship with the king.
You wouldn’t expect it to be thought provoking and emotional, yet the opening salvo was explosive. Each queen with a heavy beat and active lighting introduced themselves with the word of that define them. A gap between and each queen being lit separately added drama.

“Divorce”, “Beheaded”, “Died”, “Divorce”, “Beheaded”, “Survived”.

It was like a Tudor mini royal pandemic. I could almost hear,

“Ventilator”, “Shielded”, “Died”, Ventilator”, “Shielded”, “Survived”.

To me it was a chant of hope from adversity on different levels. The six queens giving a courageous account in an uplifting defiant musical rendition that got the audience involved. The adrenaline from being back in a theatre to see, listen and feel a show with an enthusiastic crowd and that hope that life was and is firmly on the road to recovery.
That message from the six queens that adversity, despair and isolation in their marriage can be overcome by being together as “SIX”.
What a way to rejoice in the return of live theatre with an audience that buzzed and got involved with the performance and actors who drunk in that adrenaline to make everyone in that theatre feel alive, reciprocating in in their performance.

And to top it all off an extra announcement at the end of the show, that we thought was just to thank the audience or some serious announcement was in fact a proposal to the actor playing Anne Boleyn from her boyfriend making the announcement. (Which we wish them a happy future together). Wow what an uplifting amazing return to live theatre. From front of house, back stage, on stage and audience to say the whole theatre rocked would be an understatement.
Let’s hope this is the start of revival of the live arts. I’m ready for more.

So I can say the performance rocked me to the core and back.

Let’s just say, my sofa became the London Palladium, the Hollywood Bowl, Woodstock and Glastonbury all rolled into one. Life is back.

See I knew that sofa would be a hit.

My thoughts are sat on a comfy Sofa #2

For my thoughts to be productive, profound and distinctive I have provided a relaxing comfy sofa in my mind for my thoughts to sit and contemplate.

Go on then thoughts how significant am I. Having just watched Brian Cox’s Adventures in space and time, being informed about or recent past exploration into space, must make you think? Man landing on the Moon and our plans for man to go to Mars while my thoughts are sat on the sofa I have provided. So thoughts, how significant or insignificant am I?

That’s a good question. But, I need more context than just a TV program. Your comparing something that’s so vast with limited information about it with my consciousness. I think therefore I am, or the original “je pense, donc je suis”, in French, by the philosopher René Descartes or the Latin “Cogito, ergo sum”.

So I’m thinking so I exist and you know I exist. So that’s significant, even though I can’t be seen by anyone even you. You know I exist because you’ve asked a question and I’m pondering the reply. No one can see me not even you. Yet, I exist just as the moon in the night sky, Mars and the vast array of specks of light in the universe. Those specks we call stars have their own planets and each plant may or may not have signs of life. Even if that life is on a subatomic level or single cell level, life may probably exist. That’s something we can’t see but we know from science and human understanding they may exist. Well yes, Mars is a little less obvious than the moon when looking with the naked eye, but if you know what you’re looking for and where and when to look you’ll see it.

Remember the film “Miracle on 34th street”, and the judges summing up about the American Dollar and “in god we trust”. Again, we are trusting in the existence of something we cannot see, so you should trust in me.

I exist and I express myself in the form of your written or spoken words, with you being the conduit and medium in which I deliver my expressions of being. Without me you wouldn’t be able to compute a response based on your inner knowledge and life experiences. My existence in your mind, here on my sofa, is without doubt. I am significant. I know I exist therefore I am.

No doubt you want me to compare you with the vastness of space and the cosmos from one end of the outer reaches of existence to the other side of the far depths of infinity. Or has Buzz Lightyear would say “to infinity and beyond”. But like l’ve just told you we exist. I exist and as far as I know what you and I believe to be the expanse of space may just be a construct of your thoughts and imagination. (What a minute that’s my job, he he). After all, the centre of the universe is here sat on this sofa. Not that it’s a very comfy sofa, next time please consult me so you get the right one!

I only asked a perplexing question that has baffled and confused many from philosophers, astrophysicists to the man in the pub. My thoughts ramble on and give me a non answer, or rather a very convoluted self-deprecating opinion. I wanted deep meaningful discussion. Maybe next time I need to ask a less contentious question.

Go on ask your thoughts the same question. I hope you get a more desirable answer.

My thoughts are sat on a comfy Sofa #1

For my thoughts to be productive, profound and distinctive I have provided a relaxing comfy sofa in my mind for my thoughts to sit and contemplate.

Today it’s pondering why it’s been given a sofa. Normally it roams around crashing into my skull perplexed at life and the world around me. Why it can’t just take a seat and chill instead of giving me reasons, opinions, criticism and it’s normal almost belligerent dialogue, I didn’t know.


Then, once I realised it had been active and self opinionated for decades, it became apparent that I had quite a task ahead of me in controlling it. Then again I had to ask myself why I wanted to control it? How could I ask such a question when the question would be aimed at it, about it? Would it be responsive to such a question? Could it remain impartial and objective about itself, giving an independent opinion for something it’s not independent from in the first place? Such a conundrum.


The sofa I hoped would take the hard edge off my thoughts. I had hoped that removal from its virtual soap box would bring a sense of serenity. A time for reflection, with a considered experienced view replacing the usual quick ill thought out responses should be reachable. A less critical and a more understanding approach to assimilating wise views was my perceived intention.
What I didn’t want was for my thoughts to be so laid back and relaxed that it would kill, independent views and well considered thought out answers making me look inconsistent and uncaring. Come to think of it, maybe an exercise bike would have been a better idea.
Well let’s just see what happens.

To be continued…….

Freedom

Freedom
To be free
Free spirit
Freedom of speech
Free to be me
Freedom to love
Freedom to dream
Dream to be free
Freedom to believe
Faith in freedom
Free from lockdown
Free from the pandemic
Freedom for the world to live in peace

pixabay.com

“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” Abraham Lincoln.

“Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will.” – Nelson Mandela

“Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.” – Pope John Paul II

“Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” – Hans Christian Andersen

“Freedom is the open window through which pours the sunlight of the human spirit and human dignity.” – Herbert Hoover

“They may take away our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!” – Braveheart-William Wallace

vryheid
आजादी
자유
Frihed
Liberté
Freiheit
Vapaus
સ્વતંત્રતા
Azadî

חוֹפֶשׁ

פרייהייט

FREEDOM

As it been that long?

It’s here it’s arrived
I’ve been waiting so long

It’s refreshingly warm
I’ve never needed it more

It’s embracingly good
I’ve craved it’s tightness

It’s something I’ve missed
I’ve never forgotten it’s feel

It’s emotionally uplifting
I’ve missed it so much

It’s a great big loving hug
I’ve now got access to the family I love.

Drawing a coal fire

That’s not how you do it. She’s doing it wrong. We had a poker/rake that you stood in the middle on the front of the grate. It was a long steel poker with a rounded hook on the top and a flat bar at the base to use for raking out the ashes from under the fire hearth. The Rake top would be resting just above the fire opening so that the centre of the Yorkshire Post newspaper (broadsheet) was protected from being sucked in when the fire caught hold. The paper would assist air being drawn in at the bottom of the fire grate to getting the fire going. You had to keep a close eye of the paper, if it started to go brown you had to be quick to remove it before it caught fire. I can still remember the smell of the paper as it started scotching. Much more fun that turning up the thermostat.