I did something that I rarely do and watched an episode of Question Time last night. It seemed a “must see” piece of television as earlier in the evening the BBC faced a brunt of protests outside Television Centre with the arrival of Nick Griffin of the British National Party to the studios.There were about 1,000 people outside the TV centre protesting against the idea that the BBC would give a voice to Nick Griffin on a political platform. I only took in bits and pieces in last nights programme as I found myself on Twitter watching the cascading flow of tweets on twitterfall whilst people around the country tuned in to watch old goblin face. The BNP had come under criticism the previous day for using images of Spitfire air craft and Winston Churchill at their party conferences. The first question posed to the panel, which included Labour MP and justice secretary Jack Straw, Conservative MP Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Liberal Democrat MP Chris Huhne and Curator of the British Museum Bonnie Greer, was whether it was fair the BNP had “hijacked” Winston Churchill’s image for use in their campaigns. Jack Straw was first respond. He said that the BNP had no right to use Churchill’s image. He said the BNP has no moral compass and says that WWI and WWII was only won with the help of many black and Asian people. He also said a race-based party has no standing in the UK. Nick Griffin’s response to defend his party’s use of Churchill’s image was that the party chose Churchill as an image because no other party would, due to some of his political philosophies. IE: that he thought there was a real threat of over-migration and that he was worried about the impact of fundamental Islam. Griffin went on to say “I’m not a Nazi and I never have been.” Erm…really? Then what’s this? He also ended with a personal attack on JS saying “My father was in the RAF in the second World War whilst Mr. Straw’s father was in prison for refusing to fight Adolf Hitler.” What relevance this had on proceedings was hard to decipher. When host Daivd Dimbleby asked why he made this statement he said “Jack Straw was attacking me and I have been being continually attack for the last week.” Oh, grow up man! And as for Jack Straw attacking you personally, he did nothing of the sort! I dare ask who was the braver in that time, Griffin’s father for being in the RAF (he didn’t say what role he had – my uncle was in the RAAF, but he was a chef!), or Straw’s for being a conscientious objector? Still on the issue, Bonnie Greer pointed out that Churchill’s own mother was American and her family had possible Mohican Indian descendants, therefore questioning the BNP’s choice for Churchill’s image being that of a “British white role model” that the BNP was looking for. Chris Huhne chimed into the discussion with his personal views on what he thought the BNP as a party, represented. He said the BNP is “scape-goating” politics. Peddling hatred and fear. Churchill would be rolling in his grave (at having his image being used by the BNP, or being associated with them). He was never a fascist. Huhne also quoted Nick Griffin as once saying he thought “Yes, Adolf went a bit too far.” He then asked Griffin what part of “too far” did he think Hitler had gone? Slaughtering millions of Jews? Invading Poland and France? Bombing innocent people in Britain? Griffin amongst his replies says “I brought the BNP out of being a racist party.” WHAT THE F**K?? David Dimbleby quotes him as saying (not ver batim) “Let’s start out (the BNP) as being moderate to win votes/support. Then we’ll reveal our true agenda.” When asked about this and his involvement with David Duke he said “David Duke was the head of a non-violent arm of the KKK”. This statement had people in the audience and the other panel members in groans of disbelief. Nick Griffin would shy away from responses to most quotes read to him of things he’d said. Jack Straw confronted him on this. He said (not ver batim) “When we give a quote of something you said you make a defence of saying ‘Oh, I never said that. That’s not quite right.’ But you are there on YouTube, in videos, actually saying these things. Time and again he (refering to Griffin, addressing the audience) wants to wriggle out of it…This guy is the Dr. Strangelove of British politics!” A question came from an audience member asking why he believes the holocaust was a myth, Griffin said, “I cannot explain why I used to say those things, I can’t tell you (groans and shouts from the audience) any more than I can tell you why I’ve changed my mind, I can’t tell you the extent that I’ve changed my mind because the European law prevents me.” This was dismissed as bunkum. He was asked to explain why he’d changed his mind about his denial of the holocaust and he gave some lame excuse about hearing radio intercepts of German recordings or something. Jack Straw said “Why would you need that? Were the images from Auschwitz not enough for you”? Sayeeda Warsi revealed to the audience that he’d shared a platform with Islamic extremist Abu Hamsa after some time of discussing his views on Islam and what he thought of aspects of the Muslim faith. He said he didn’t agree with much of it. It’s treatment of women, etc. Bonnie Greer said that Griffin starts his history at around 1700 to bypass Roman rule because it doesn’t fit in with the BNP’s “white agenda”. In Roman times there was an influx of many ethnicities, not just Romans. Baroness Warsi says we need a cap on immigration. She also said she thought that why many people vote or support the BNP is not because they are racist but it is because they are concerned about immigration. Jack Straw counters this by saying a party like the BNP has been in the British political system on and off since the 1930’s. That the BNP’s recent success in the European elections was NOT due to people with racist leanings voting for them, but it was purely votes gained from protests over the MP’s expenses saga. On immigration Griffin said successive British governments were committing calculated genocide on the “indigenous white population” of Britain. WWWHHHHHAAAAAAATT?? Bonnie Greer quoted Griffin saying the BNP are for the “indigenous Ice Age”. She replied, “But there are no people from ‘the indigenous Ice Age’ in the UK.” The UK was populated around 17,000 years ago from people from the south. They certainly didn’t come from the north. How could they get here? “We all know now that we (the population of the world) are all descended from Africa. You should know this Nick, you have a 2:2 in history. The only people who were here on this continent (Europe) 17,000 years ago, and I use the term ‘people’ lightly, were Neanderthals”. Then, speaking to Griffin personally, “You can come to the British Museum and check. We’ve got a lot of information on it. I wish you’d come.” Then a man from the audience was offered to ask a question to the panel, he said “Yes, I have a question for Dick, er, sorry I mean Nick Griffin”. That made all us twitterers have a little giggle. Pretending he was making a mistake with his name. It was childish, but funny. I’m not sure if the programme itself really got anywhere. It did seem to descend into an hour of Griffin-bashing, but perhaps it was worth it just for that. It was certainly entertaining watching twitterfall for the hour the programme was on. I’ll leve it to the man himself to finish…
It’ll be just over 18 months since we’ve gone ANYWHERE, when we get to take a two night break to Weymouth. Weymouth is in Dorset, on England’s south coast. And as you can see by the image, not all English beaches are shingled, small and dull.You could actually be forgiven in thinking that I just nicked another one of my nephews photos taken on the south coast of New South Wales – LOOK AT THAT BEACH FRONT! THAT, my friends, is in England! And we are going there in around four weeks time! Squeeee! I’ve been wanting to go to Weymouth for YEARS. Every since I saw the beach on a holiday programme about 6-7 years ago. It’s absolutely beautiful looking. There’s a bit of travel involved. We’ve got to get ourselves to London first, and from there take a train to Weymouth. But the train goes directly to the town centre, and the beach front is like 0.5 mile (approx. 1km) from the station. And where we are staying is in walking distance of both the station and the beach front. Oh, I just CANNOT wait to go! I’m hoping the next four weeks just fly by and the weather we experience when there is good and we have a lovely time. It’s been SSSOOO long!!! I shall take the camera and get plenty of snaps.
The UK is on Level 2 heatwave alert. I kid you not! This is really real!
Here is the guidelines for the alert levels from the Department of Health.
I was just settling down to watch the Doctor Who – Planet of the Dead repeat (just to give it one last try to see if I didn’t change my mind about it) when a REAL drama unfolded.Earlier in the day I’d spotted our resident male and female blackbirds (who I refer to as Mr & Mrs B). They were behaving quite erratic and seemed to be getting very flustered over the presence of a magpie. They both kept flying onto the fence on the other side of our strip of lawn, and going from there to the roof of the house opposite, to the fence again, and back and forth from the tree. As I started to watch Planet of the Dead, Chrissy kept looking at the shrub outside. Then, suddenly Em spotted what must have been the cause of Mr & Mrs B’s earlier frenetic behaviour. There was a blackbird chick in the shrub outside our front room window! Chris was obviously in raptures. And I became enthralled too – and frantic – no 3rd chance for Planet of the Dead I’m afraid. Please be mindful there is sound on the video and it does contain some strong language (sorry). http://www.facebook.com/v/104088099744 Here’s poor little bub looking defenceless in the shrub. Mr & Mrs B were fab though. They kept coming back to check on it and feed it. When they could find it! Mr B sort of knew where it was and came over to the shrub and fed it. A little while later Mrs B came over and did the same thing, then bub got the courage to try and fly back over to the other side of the garden. What I think had happened earlier in the afternoon was that bub got lost in the shrubbery on the other side of the garden, by the fence. And I think Mr & Mrs B lost it for a while. It certainly explained their behaviour to me once I’d seen the baby. So, now here is bub as he gets the courage to try to get over to the other side of the garden. http://www.facebook.com/v/104099764744 We were watching with hearts in mouths. As you will see below, the poor bub JUST makes it over, flutters a bit on the fence, then takes shelter in the conifer tree. We kept watch. Mum and dad were still looking out for him. Mrs B even managed to feed bub while it was in the conifer. http://www.facebook.com/v/104108839744 Eventually bub moves on, as you will see below. http://www.facebook.com/v/104121489744 It’s on the compost bin now. Mum comes along with the BIGGEST worm to give to him, but can’t land near him. She keeps the worm for him! Bless!! http://www.facebook.com/v/104127249744 From there he ended up in the hebe bush above, and stayed about 15-20 mintues. Then, finally, finally, after a bit of coaxing from mum and dad, he took a plunge for the oak tree. He made it!! Mum and dad kept on flying back and forth from the large conifer trees in the gardens beyond (where we think the nest might be). They were trying to entice him to fly with them over to the conifers. After a few minutes of wing flexing and branch hopping, he took one final leap. From what I could see he had just about enough energy to make it to the first branch of the conifers. There are three large ones in a row. I think he got to the first one, but I think the nest is in the third one, so he had a little bit of branch hopping to go to actually make it home. Mum and dad were taking really good care of him the whole time though. I didn’t intervene as much as I wanted to. When I watch Springwatch, they say time and again, if you see a baby bird in peril, try not to intervene as you can make a bad situation worse. All I could do was keep watch and make sure he didn’t end up on the ground and look out for cats. The magpie was hanging around a bit, but mum and dad kept him away, and I don’t think he was even aware of the chick anyway. I just hope the little thing made it and is okay. I haven’t seem Mr & Mrs B much today. They’ve only visited the garden once since I’ve been up. Mrs for a drink and a bite to eat, and Mr for his obligatory bath. PS: In the time it’s taken me to upload the videos, I have seen a baby blackbird flapping around the conifers beyond where the nest is. I can’t be certain it’s THE baby, but I hope it is. At least I know it lives to fight another day 🙂
I feel very drained today. We ventured out yesterday. Got this free bus travel around the region and have hardly used it so far. We just went to Stevenage again. There’s a pet store there that I wanted to go to. It’s quite large and they have lots of small animals for sale. Bunnies, guinea pigs, chinchilla’s, gerbils, as well as degu’s. One of the gerbils looked just like our little Banjie, and he came up to the glass to say hello to me! Too cute. And me and Em were both going gaga over all the lovely CAVEY’S!Anyway, we didn’t go there for the fluffy creatures, we went there to try and get some replacement equipment for the fish tank. There’s a split in the under-gravel filter and we need to get a new one. Of course they didn’t have one! But we were able to get a replacement glass scraper/cleaner and we bought two tubs of this stuff they are selling, which is kind of like a chewy version of Bonito tuna flakes/Kitty Kaviar. I was really hoping Chris would like it, ‘cos she goes MENTAL over the Kitty Kaviar, but she’s not keen. The texture is too heavy and chewy. It’s not light, dry and flaky like the Kitty Kaviar. She kept investigating it, went to eat it a couple of times, but then stopped. I just don’t think she likes the texture. BUM! Anyway, while in Stevenage, we checked out Aldi and we got a little tray of mini Ritter Sport’s chocolates. Em got all dark chocs and marzipan, and I got all milk chocs with different centres. And the local Tesco has an in-store Krispy Kreme counter, so I got my big Easter treat of a dozen original glazed doughnuts!!! YUM! We went back to Hitchin for a while. We got some flower and vegetable seeds from the 9TP (where everything is 90p – hence the name. Cute pun!) shop. 15 packs of seeds for 90p! Then we got a couple of fruit tree/shrub/plants from another discount store. We got one blackberry and one blackcurrant for £2 each. Anyway, on to today. As a result of yesterday’s adventures, I feel TRULY knackered. My legs started to hurt before we got home. By the time we were home, they’d died. My feet were aching like mad, and at that point, once I’ve rested, for next 36 hours, I find it incredibly uncomfortable to put any weight on my legs. They just ached and throbbed in bed all last night. I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning. I didn’t want to put weight on my legs and feet. I stayed in bed until 11.30am, then I knew I had to get up. Luckily I did, as my “friends” had just arrived and left a spot on my underwear – GODDAMNIT!! Just to add insult to injury, they arrive! So, it’s a lovely sunny day, Em’s just gone off to some allotment society thing at another allotment nearby to join and get some supplies. And two weird juxtaposing events are happening in England today. The Grand National and Jade’s funeral. At least it’s a lovely sunny day for both. Today is a weird day…
There was an article on the Daily Express web site yesterday about 40 reasons to be British and happy which tickled me. Some of the suggestions of WHY would should be happy seemed either lame or outlandish – most didn’t even pertain to anything quintessentially British. The forty reasons fall under ridiculous categories as well, which you will see in a moment.
Enjoy a picnic on the lawn in evening dress before you disappear back into the modernist interior for a perfect second half.
FASHION AND BEAUTY
Thanksgiving. Sounds like everything I love about Xmas, only without the presents…as far as I know. I’m not up on Thanksgiving history/culture.It does seem odd that in such a God-fearing country as America is, a lot more people seem to put more emphasis on Thanksgiving than on Xmas. As far as I know, it is when the turkey dinner is traditionally eaten, not as it is in Europe and in particular Britain when it’s at Xmas. Families seem to try harder in the U.S. to be together for Thanksgiving. People don’t feel pressured into exchanging presents, as we do with ever increasing financial strain, year after year at Xmas. Lastly, it doesn’t seem to be an overtly religious event (despite it being called Thanksgiving – IE: giving thanks to God – I assume – for a plentiful bounty and all the “good things” in our lives), despite the name of the holiday. I wish we had Thanksgiving in England. But then, maybe not. I do love some of the aspects of Xmas. I think the time of year is better. It’s just that little bit later into winter. Not so ideal for shopping, but lovely for Xmas eve and Xmas day, sitting around the fire, having lovely, big and hot meals that make you feel like you’ve put on 10 pounds in 1 hour! I love Xmas decorations, trees, garlands, wreaths. As a kid I use to LOVE making paper chains! And of course, although I rarely get them these days, I LOVE the presents. I love sending cards. And although some are religious, and although I’ve been a total hypocrite and been to church a few years back to enjoy them, I LOVE Xmas carols and Xmas songs. We have a church not 5 minutes walk away, and we went in 2005 for the carol service. But it was really lovely. It’s a non-domination church, and it was quite liberal (as churches go), not doing lots of preaching and stuff. It was a really nice service, and we all sang carols. It was lovely. As much as I love Xmas though, there are things that are overbearing about it. The compulsion to buy presents. The more expensive, the better. And the relentless ad campaigns that go with it. I mean, it’s in full swing on TV (and all other media) now. The supermarkets started filling their shelves with Xmas themed food weeks ago. I haven’t been in a supermarket for about 6 weeks (last visit, early October), but the last time I went, there was already stock on the shelf. The campaigns on TV will just get more and more manic. Soon the Xmas songs will start (mostly in shops and that, so I have been spared so far, as I really don’t get out much these days), and so by the time Xmas day comes, you’ve heard “White Christmas” at least 50 times (subliminally, and non-subliminally), Slade’s “Merry Xmas Everybody” about 100 times, and the new favourite for “playing to death”… The Pogues “Fairytale of New York” what feels like 500 times, but is in reality probably only 150 times!! Supermarkets start to look like we’re heading for The Blitz at around December 18, and if you’ve missed something off the shopping list and don’t remember it until Xmas eve, you might just want to write out your last will and testament before heading off to the supermarket for that last vital thing, because you may just die there, waiting in the queue! One last thing that I use to hate about Xmas as a kid. The only thing in fact. Australia. I HATED living in Australia at Xmas. Xmas in the northern hemisphere looked SSOO lovely. And all the stories whilst growing up were all northern hemisphere biased. All the little things like Santa arriving by coming down the chimney! HEEEELLLLOOOO…no house in Oz that *I* ever knew of had a chimney. How was Santa ever going to leave our presents? Break in through a window? Then of course there was the sleigh and the reindeer. Rudolph with his shiny red nose. Not because it was minus 10 degrees in Oz, but because it was more like bloody 25 degrees on Xmas eve NIGHT! Silent Night? Silent night…on a tropical evening in Sydney?! Doubt it!! The one nice thing that Oz has for Xmas though is Carols by Candlelight…outdoors! That’s nice. Although, again, traditional carols are a bit northern hemisphere/wintery themed. Very odd to sing “Winter Wonderland” on a summer’s evening in 25 degree heat! I really do love my winter Xmases though. They are the best. So, happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it. Xmas, the steam train, moves ever closer.