Thursday, 25 July 2013

My thought/prayer for the day

People use the word love or spirituality or Christianity or Islam or Judaism or add your own phrase, and all these words speak of our best human possibilites and then we do unspeakable things to one another which gives these words a bad name. But these words are NOT the problem it's the horrid things we do do to one another - that's the problem. So unless we face our individual and collective shadow sides the horrors will continue. Stoping hiting and killing people would be a good start.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Meeting Q again

- Hi Q.
- Hi Boss, seems a long time since we last spoke.
- Yes Q (the Boss clears his throat rather uncomfortably.
- But good to see you here again…. What’s happening?
- Hm, I have this friend Sarah who has this weird illness and overnight she has become bed ridden and pumped full of steroids. It’s shocking to see here like this – I called in on her last week…
- Oh, that sounds horrible.
- Yes, it seems so wrong. She is a good woman, and has done a lot for other people. It’s not fair.
Q sighs.
- We’ve been here before.
- I know but it does not make it any easier and it does not make it any better. (The Boss was speaking slowly and deliberately.)
- Can you change things for her by act of will?
- No of course not!
- So the hard facts of your friend Sarah’s illness remain.
- Yes unless there is some medical breakthrough.
- So how can you live in a world in which people like Sarah suffers?
- Yes, that’s it…. How!
- Well it is how it is. (Q spoke with a soft voice.)
- And?
- And?
- Yes and… Stop sounding like a damn Buddhist monk and give me some solace!
- So it’s solace you want?
- Yes… er… No… I…er… want Sarah to be well.
- I know… I do understand but somehow you have to make your peace with how things are.
The Boss was weeping angry tears by now,
- I’m not strong enough for this suffering world!
- You’re stronger than you think…. And you don’t have to do it alone.
The Boss nods his head and buried his face in his hands.

There was no obvious way out of his dilemmas but its grip on him was easing. Suffering was not going to end in our world. Sarah was putting on a brave and courageous face and even with her illness she was still a force for good in a world that was too often indifferent.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013


Passing through the West Midlands on the train, feeling a real poignancy hearing familiar Brummie accents and seeing the rather bleak Black Country landscape. It was instant nostalgia. Here is where I belong – or not. I am in voluntary exile from these God forsaken parts. Living in Manchester is fine but my first 18 years in Kidderminster in Worcestershire have marked and shaped me. I know how to do it, how to be among these strange but familiar people. It started on my mother’s knee. She had that Black Country friendliness which isalso in me but a bit buried. It comes out sometimes when I drink or play pool.

I don’t feel that I make choices so much as discoveries. I do make mostly small choices that have all kinds of implications that I never knew of, never signed up to. Like the seemingly small matter of leaving my home town and moving North to Manchester aged 18. Never to return. Inside me I have some pieces of rural Worcestershire engraved on my heart and soul. Snap shots of the Clent Hills, the Clee Hills, Rhyd Covert and the River Severn at Stourport and Bewdley. I have a burning desire to cycle the canal path out of the heart of Birmingham South Westwards toward Worcestershire.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Alexandra Park again

Alexandra Park is not quite local to me. I used to live nearby in my student days and had a profound mystical experience in the Park one fine Spring day in 1971 but that is another story! I cycle through Alexandra Park on my way to and from work and just recently they have begun demolishing both the long empty house by the park gates and the building that housed the Bee Hive playgroup. There is a third building about to be demolished also. This is all part of the plan to return the park to its ‘former glory days’ as a Victorian park. As part of the plan they earlier axed hundreds of trees a few months ago despite protests.

Now hopefully they will build some news buildings in due course but I can’t help thinking that the play group building could have had a change of use if it was no longer needed - perhaps as a park cafĂ©? Will better and more useful buildings be put up. I kind fo doubt it. And unlike the people who demolish buildings at the University there is no promise on their hoardings of re-cycling the materials from demolition.

I wish I could believe that something better was going to result from all of this destruction but I don’t.