1ngi: (Default)
2017-06-12 04:30 pm
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The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow

It's been a bad couple of years. 2 years ago my hands crapped out, and we could no longer manage our 1.5 acre rural dream. It took nearly 18 months to sell the house and move. You may remember me mentioning before that I used to work with Jo Cox during my time at Oxfam. We were not close or anything - just professional colleagues. I know her death and the manner of it shocked everyone but looking back it shook me deeply. The Brexit vote followed and waking up that morning was I think one of the saddest days of my life.

From then until Friday morning, I feel like I have been living under this oppressive black cloud, choking the hope out of me. I couldn't understand why it appeared to that such a huge chunk of the population on this island were so keen on creeping fascism and bigotry. I kept trying to remind myself that negative news is not the reality. All those years of working in the ethical/charity sector, suddenly thinking that being someone who wanted a better world for everyone was in the minority. 

Leading up to the election I started wondering about emigrating somewhere. Sion and I even talked about it. I felt cowardly for thinking about 'running away' but since my hands became unreliable I think I've felt so vulnerable (I suppose that's understandable). I started to worry about how Sion and I were perceived when we were out and about. We've experienced homophobia occasionally but before the referendum I did not give a shit. As this year has worn on, I started to feel cowed about being out as a queer couple. 

I know this election has resulted in a big huge mess of crap to sort out, but for the first time in a year I feel like I can breathe. 52% of people voted progressively. 

I've obviously been experiencing some sort of depression. It's kind of miraculous that it's lifted suddenly. I have renewed admiration of those who can be brave when they are in a minority.

"Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all,"
1ngi: (Default)
2017-04-28 03:40 pm
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Owen Cottage 1919 - 2017

These Eyes Have Seen

Yesterday we laid my Grandfather, Owen Cottage, to rest in Birtin Cemetery, Outibridge following a service at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, Grenoside, Sheffield.  I loved him. He strived to be a good man all his life. I admired him for his many wonderful accomplishments and I was angry with him that he was so neglectful of my mother when she needed him most. He made the LDS church his family to the detriment of his own daughter. He endured the tragedy of nursing (and losing) his first wife, Mary, to cancer during my mum's teenage years. He was then widowed a further two times in precisiely the same way. First Ray - who spilt our family apart, and then Lottie who brought us all back together. He patted me on my head when I was tiny, tried to teach me as a teenager, argued with me as an young adult and in the last few years finally stopped lecturing me and clung to me whenever I was with him. I had a much closer relationship with him than I do my own father. I think a tiny part of me thought he would go on forever. The following is the eulogy I gave at the service:

Granddad's eulogy )
1ngi: (looks a *bit* like me)
2016-07-02 07:34 pm
Entry tags:

‘A prayer following the EU referendum'

Sheffield Cathedral

This last 3 weeks I have been on a trip to Sheffield. In part it was to take a break for myself and I could have taken it anywhere but I chose Sheffield so that I could do local history research for my new project ‘My Darling Janie’; the story of the love letters of my great great grandparents courting in Sheffield in the 1870s.

What it became was not only a chance to discover my family past but one to firm up friendships and reconnect with my living family in the shape of my maternal grandfather (who is still with us at 97) and my paternal cousin, who I had not seen for over 30 years.
I was made in Sheffield... )
1ngi: (looks a *bit* like me)
2014-05-19 01:48 am

I'm staying.

I read this post today on Helen Boyd's blog about 'Advice to a Wife.

While you can't really give out check lists about wether or not to stay or leave a relationship, I thought it was worth writing down my own points that helped me answer the question. I'm putting it here because the site is mainting my comment is spammy (prob coz it's so long) and I emailed it to Helen in case it is of any use at all.

A so-called checklist for a trans partner... )
1ngi: (Default)
2011-08-04 11:29 am
Entry tags:

Kathy's Song

I hear the drizzle of the rain
Like a memory it falls
Soft and warm continuing
Tapping on my roof and walls.

And from the shelter of my mind
Through the window of my eyes
I gaze beyond the rain-drenched streets
To England where my heart lies.

My mind's distracted and diffused
My thoughts are many miles away
They lie with you when you're asleep
And kiss you when you start your day.

And a song I was writing is left undone
I don't know why I spend my time
Writing songs I can't believe
With words that tear and strain to rhyme.

And so you see I have come to doubt
All that I once held as true
I stand alone without beliefs
The only truth I know is you.

And as I watch the drops of rain
Weave their weary paths and die
I know that I am like the rain
There but for the grace of you go I.

Paul Simon
1ngi: (gardening)
2011-05-31 12:26 am

Utterly failed by paternalism and other masters.

Got really really miz today about climate change. I'm sure some kind of transference is going on for me here but still. This came about from reading that we are probably not going to reach our target of a change of only 2 degrees C. due to this last year having the highest carbon emissions yet.

George Monbiot summed it up for me today:
"We cannot keep burning fossil fuels without cooking the biosphere. We don't like nuclear power. We don't like onshore wind. We won't like the costs of the other technologies. We reject all the means by which electricity is generated. Yet no one is volunteering to stop using it."

It feels utterly overwhelming, despair inducing in fact. 

For my part, I'm not going to give up. If you are someone who isn't going to give up either, I'd love to hear from you in the comments. I thought I should tell you I wasn't, just in case you were feeling hopeless too.

I'll still do arm-chair campaigning (when health improves I'll do more) and in the meantime we are going to do something about the 5.5 tonnes of carbon our oil-fired heating system punches into the atmosphere every year, to say nothing of the £1200 hole it will punch into our finances every year. Oil has doubled in price for every three years for the last 15. There is nothing to show that this will change.

We had a report done by an energy consultant who, based on our budget and location, recommends we go for a gasification log boiler. This got comprehensively agreed with by a chap we saw just over a week ago at the information desk at the Centre of Alternative Technology - who just happened to be writing his thesis on log boilers. Nothing quite like a geek on his pet subject when he's sure of an interested audience!

At the mo we are having a think about getting solar thermal plumbed in with it to heat the hot water in summer or to set it up for a photovoltaic thermal in the future. We also need do some planning faff so that the holiday cottage can be heated this way too.

I may also have to learn how to use a chainsaw, well I know how to chuck an axe about now - feel my biceps!

Sod it. This feels like so much bravado in the face of impending doom...
1ngi: (Default)
2009-08-12 12:00 am

A grief observed

Dawkins annoyed me the most the day when he admitted that he hadn't appreciated that a person could suffer grief through the loss of their faith.  A woman enlightened him one day during a question and answer session and he later blogged about his amazement to learn that this had happened to people (I can't find the ref on his site right now). He previous lack of empathy was more than a little shocking but I suppose that he had the good grace to admit that he needed to be more aware of this.

I've been peeling back the layers my beliefs over many years and I have still yet to settle on a definitive description of what I do and don't believe.

I was born into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  )

Fell away and started questioning... )

Born again? ... )

A 'red-letter' Christian.. )

An uncomfortable atheism with shades of nature worship... )

"The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank"

Attributed to Dante Gabriel Rossetti

You see there should be a god. Probably.

1ngi: (far from the sodding crowd)
2008-12-21 07:30 pm

Secular temples and private devotions - Beachy Head

A strange choice for a secular temple? I don't think so.

Cut for obvious triggers... )

I chose the picture above, with a child flying a kite to remind myself that this is a beautiful landscape and should be treasured as such.
1ngi: (creativity)
2008-12-15 03:56 pm

Secular temples and private devotions

15. My paper journal

How much devotion should I admit to?

In my bedside drawer I have a beautiful green leather bound journal with gilt edged paper. It was purchased from Liberty for me about ten years ago and lay empty until I met my best beloved. It gets written in, in fits and starts. I wrote in it nearly every day before I moved in with Sion, it was my way of managing my hopes and fears, and of committing brave new love to the light of day before I dared to speak it out loud. It is a gestalt entity, a receptive ear to both the deep dark places and the sky blue spaces of my heart and mind.

Read more... )
1ngi: (fruit)
2008-12-12 06:29 pm

Secular temples and private devotions

12. The Minack Theatre

The picture above is of Rowena Cade, creator and intrepid builder of the Minack Theatre; which hugs the side of a cliff in Porthcurno in Cornwall. The village's main claim to fame is as the home of the world-wide network of telegraph cables - the  museum's strapline is 'home of the Victorian Internet'.

The other main site to visit in Porthcurno, well, apart from the gorgeous pocket of golden beach and stunning aquamarine appearance of the sea, is the theatre. Miss Cade made it her life's work and passion to establish and make a beautiful open air theatre that could be used by the local community. A large chunk was built with concrete made with the sand below, sack-full after sack-full hauled up the cliff path by the lady herself until she started thrashing motor vehicles to speed things up a bit. She clearly was a savvy thing - for example:
"Tom Angove...recalled how single handed Rowena carried twelve 15ft beams from the shoreline right up to the Theatre. Customs men looking for this "wreck" from a Spanish freighter met her on the beach. Challenged as to whether she had seen the timber, Rowena admitted that she had taken up some wood that morning. She suggested that the men should come and see it. Concluding that such a frail looking woman could not have lifted what they were looking for, they went on their way. "I didn't tell them a lie now did I?" remarked Rowena as she and Tom built the twelve beams into the new dressing rooms."

When I visited the Minack four years ago I was enchanted not so much by the theatre itself, although the romantic arches and the view of the sea beyond is stunning, but by the obvious obsession and vision of one spritely old bird who knew how to make something happen. It was blowing a gale and I had toothache at the time and the wind was making my face hurt. I found some strange little seat out of the wind behind the arches and sat looking across the sea trying not to feel sorry for myself. I was sitting upon and surrounded by Rowena's handiwork and it was hard not to feel humbled by the evidence of tens of thousands of hours of hard labour.

The theatre occupies some grey area between secular temple and private devotion. It is one woman's dream made real and a place that people visit even when there are no performances. I should imagine that most people come for the view or the Shakespeare, and I do intend to go back and experience a performance there. But for now, this is my temple to what can be achieved when you just stick your head down and keep on going.

Oh and if I ever decide to blog a series about my heroes, I think Rowena may feature again. I know she must have been young once but in my mind she's the kind of old bat that I aspire to be when I'm in my dotage.

1ngi: (perfume)
2008-12-07 08:58 pm

Secular temples and private devotions

7. Trafalgar Square

I don't love this place for its beauty. But I'm so very grateful that it has been claimed by the nation as a space that can be filled with meaning. I've helped with protests, and campaign launches, fed pigeons, had a friend caught up in the poll tax riot by accident, cried at Ken's words on telly as he defied the bombings, and caught the night bus home on far too many occasions.

I don't adore the place, but we need it to remain a place for protest and celebration. This space is our space and should always be treasured as such.
Here are some pictures I've found that represent my Trafalgar Square.  )

1ngi: (Default)
2008-11-24 04:48 pm
Entry tags:

Would you walk home on your own?

Walking home lateish last Thursday after saying goodnight to Sphyg, a group of guys walk past me in the street and I froze inside. They were being loud and leary, one was carrying a can of beer, and they were yelling at each other. I was scared. Really scared. One did a bit of roar into my face as he walked passed.

I started telling myself off for daring to walk home by myself in the dark at 9.30pm. I got angry inside too - why have I accepted the 'curfew' for women so entirely? Why the hell shouldn't I have the right to walk home at night without unprovoked attention. There have been a good handful of unpleasant incidents in my life that may explain why I'm nervous, and plenty more of the minor kind above. I'll admit right now, that at that time of night when I'm walking home on my own, I'm scared of men.