This naughty-but-nice political poster caught my eye yesterday, ripped edges flapping flamboyantly in the breeze – ‘Mistress May Make You Rue The Day’.
When it comes to Theresa May’s continued reign as Prime Minister, she may still have the reins of the country in her ‘strong and stable’ hands – just – and she certainly has the bit between her teeth when it comes to Brexit, but she may find she needs to rely on the three line whip a lot more now she’s lost her parliamentary majority, especially as there are a larger-than-ever number of MPs who may be more than happy to rain on her parade! 🙂
Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Rain/ Rein/ Reign
Is it a sign of things to come in the uncertain times we live in that, when I saw a Police van parked directly in front of the entrance to our local tube station, I hesitated before entering. I felt myself hold back, just for a second, and it seriously upset me.
In all the fifteen years I’ve lived in London I’ve never stopped living my life because of fear – I’ve deliberately kept clear of certain busy places at particular times because I don’t like huge crowds, but never because of fear. I’ve been here during terrorist attacks, and along with many other Londoners have always just kept calm and carried on, vigilant yet undefeated.
But today it wasn’t the threat of potential terrorist activity that held me back, it was more an awareness of a growing unease across the population as a whole. People are becoming more and more desperate and angry – angry at out-of-touch politicians consistently making decisions that are divisive, politicians who are then highly critical of increasing divisions in society and blame the people rather than reassess their policies.
People who have the least power but the most need are tired not only of constantly struggling but also of being dismissed as unimportant by successive governments who dangle them like puppets, unwilling players in their vanity project political games. This is how riots begin – anger leading to unrest that quickly becomes more and more heated until it all boils over and spills onto our streets, a conflagration of frustration.
Recently I’ve felt that sense of overheated danger spark ominously in the air again, electrifyingly charged, crisp and crackling close to the surface in some public spaces – and it was my awareness of this air of unease that stopped me in my tracks yesterday. It passed quickly enough, and I carried on with my day as usual. But just for that split-second moment, I hesitated, and that hesitation worries me…
Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Sign
So I attended the 2017 Bloggers Bash here in London earlier today, but I must admit to taking only one photograph while I was there, with my phone, and that was a badly-exposed image of the huge window of the hotel meeting room – epic fail on my part, especially with a blog based as much on photography as writing!
Anyway, I had a really great time today (even if my camera didn’t), and if anyone out there is wondering what the Bash is actually like and is maybe thinking about attending next year, please do seriously consider it as everyone is so friendly and welcoming, even for socially inept introverts like me – first and foremost it really is a fun event.
I caught up with some of the wonderful bloggers I met last year, and also met some new friends along the way. The best thing is when you start chatting with someone you’ve never met before and suddenly realising you already know them from their blog, and they’re exactly the same in real life as they are in their posts!
Overall the Bash is the perfect mix of semi-formal structure and informal mingling – neither a full free-for-all nor a fixed lecture-style format. There was an interesting presentation on monetising your blog (and the importance of using multiple social media platforms) and another on making the most of Pinterest in order to drive traffic to your blog, as well as an open panel discussion with various blog-related questions taken from the floor.
The ongoing presentation of the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards (the ABBAs) was also interspersed intermittently across the day, with lots of extended breaks in between for coffee and chatting – and also for each of us being collared individually by the lovely Hugh to say ‘hello’ on video. (Resulting film clips to follow in due course, no doubt!)
Hats off once again to the most excellent Blogger’s Bash committee for working so hard for the third year in a row to organise such an amazing event, their commitment deserves so much more than a mere ‘thank you’, but it’s the best I can do – big hugs all round guys, sending lots of blog love your way and I hope to see you all again next year… 🙂
Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Admit
Given my current stress levels – we’re in the process of selling our flat here in London in the South of England, with the intention of relocating lock, stock and barrel to Inverness in the North of Scotland – it’s a wonder I’m not imploding with the enormity of it all.
I know some people move up and down and all around the country all the time without giving it a second’s thought, but I’m definitely a home bird and I like to keep my daily habits and routines (not to mention my immediate environment) intact as far as possible, so this feels like a big emotional upheaval for me to be caught up in the middle of.
There’s been a lot going on for us for a while now, long-standing work issues and ongoing health issues and financial considerations and a very frustrating legal process dragging on in the background forever and a day, each on their own more than enough to be dealing with long-term, but cumulatively almost too much to bear. Almost, but not quite: I have to give us some credit for sticking to our guns, because we’re not giving up on sorting out any of it.
In spite of it all of it all – perhaps because of it all – we’re choosing to move to the other end of the country, so right now we’re just focusing on the future and looking forward to settling in to our new life, in our new home, wherever in Inverness that home may turn out to be… 🙂
Stream of Consciousness: Give, Given, Giving
Here in the UK our clocks go forward an hour tonight – oh joy (I hope you spot the hint of sarcasm in my tone). With us the Spring time change is always on the last Sunday in March, and for some reason no matter how old I get it’s always an issue for me to adapt. It’s as if I’m such a creature of habit my in-built body-clock simply rebels against being messed about – oh, and I stuggle with awful jet-lag, too, it really zombifies me for ages.
I think the worst ever March for time-changes for me was probably the particular year we flew to the USA for a family visit with my in-laws. We arrived there on the first weekend in March, and a week later I was just about getting used to the six-hour time difference when the clocks went forward an hour. Then the following weekend, just as I was starting to feel more like a human again we flew back to the UK with yet another zombifying jump in time difference to get used to – and then just for good measure, a week later the clocks changed here, too… 😦
Stream of Consciousness Saturday: March
I decided yesterday that, as I’m coming up to my first anniversary on Image & Word (on 1st April – woo-hoo!), I’d maybe look for a different theme that may help express the remit of my blog a little better. Something that helps highlight my photography and poetry and random rants and ramblings, something bright and clear to look at and easy to navigate… should be easy enough to find, right? Wrong!
Being a cheapskate means I need to find a free theme to choose, which inevitably reduces my options, but I suppose that’s fair enough – after all beggars can’t be choosers. So I tried on pretty much every free theme available, to the extent that I spent pretty much the whole evening in the WordPress dashboard dressing room, exploring available colour schemes and layouts and fonts – and yet here I am today, wearing exactly the same blog theme I was wearing before… sigh!
With some, I liked the layout but couldn’t live with the colour schemes. With others, the colours and fonts were perfect, but something niggly about the layout or navigation bothered me. Somehow everything I tried fell short of what I already have – so here I am, wondering if I should perhaps just try out a new theme every day or so for the next while, to see if any of the ‘falling short of perfect’ themes might actually start to grow on me in the meantime?
So I’m telling myself ‘Go on, push the boat out, live a little – be brave, bite the bullet and try something new’ because I worry about becoming too set in my ways, too fixed in my viewpoint as I get older – and changing my blog theme, whether temporarily or permanantly, is hardly going to change the world, is it? And if I really don’t like the look and feel of anything else however many others I try out for size, I suppose after a while I can always change it back again… 🙂
Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Short
I’m not the kind of person who always has some kind of project going on in the background of life. Or rather, perhaps I’m just not the kind of person who thinks in terms of projects? Sometimes I do lots of different things all at once, like a manic juggler, and other times I’ll do nothing beyond surviving from day to day. Projects in my head sound like stuff I have to do – rational work, not emotional play – and I prefer to do background things for fun in a far more ad hoc manner, as and when the mood takes me.
I suppose my blog might be considered a project of sorts – but that’s not necessarily how I think of it – to me it’s more of an ongoing hobby than a project. As is my interest in photography – creative, curious, decidedly open-ended, with no final destination in mind. A project to me is something a lot more specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound – oh wait, that’s goal-setting, not projects. But that’s how I think of it, anyway… projects to me mean work, not fun!
Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Project
How wonderfully dreamy reflections can look in images… I really like to take a picture of something as a reflection, usually in water, then rotate the image by 180 degrees so it is effectively upside down. These two rotated reflected images of bridges over water were taken this afternoon along the River Lea in East London while I was out for a walk with my camera…
I really love the slightly warped, distorted effect of each reflection being presented as if it were the real element; each draws me down into its depths, somehow?
It seems to mirror my own fragile feelings in life, where so often I feel as if I am little more than a distorted reflection of how someone else sees me, as if all it would take is for that someone to stir things up a bit and instantly I (or at least their warped vision of me) would disappear, just like any other optical illusion, as if there were nothing more to me than there is to a basic shallow surface reflection…
Oh, I would so dearly love to change that fragile feeling inside myself, if only I knew how…
Stream of Consciousness Saturday: How
Hmmm… ham…? What about local place names? London has grown steadily outwards over the centuries, enveloping smaller communities and melding them into one large metropolis. Take West Ham and East Ham both here in East London – ‘ham’ is the Anglo-Saxon word for village, so presumably they were originally the East village and the West village in deepest Essex.
Leytonstone where I live was named after the Leyton Stone, an old Roman distance marker placed on an already-ancient pathway going back to pre-historic times. And nearby Stratford was originally ‘street’ and ‘Ford’ – a Roman road by the river crossing. My great-aunt lives in Clapham in South London, originally Clopp Ham, the village by the short hill…
Back home in Scotland, many town names start with ‘Aber’ or ‘Inver’- in Gaelic, Inbhir Nis (Inverness) means the mouth of the River Ness, and Obar Deathain (Aberdeen) means the confluence of the Dee and the Don… OMG what a lot of useless crap I’ve accumulated in my head over the years, that’s enough boring trivia for today…! 🙂
Stream of Consciusness Saturday: Ham
So… what’s flying foremost in my manic mind today, what wonderfully witty stream of wisdom is waiting to flow freely from my fast-moving fingers? Sod all, that’s what – not even a tentative trickle, not even enough to sow the seeds of an idea for this week’s Stream of Consciousness prompt. Not even enough to stitch together a random patchwork of partial pieces with one long continuous thread of thought. So… sadly no sowing and no sewing for me for now… stuff it, I give up!
So… I’m posting another trusty tulip picture instead, just to cheer myself up… 🙂