Friday, 24 June 2011

Hitting the Bottle

A new medical report was published yesterday.  If ever there was a report that will be ignored it is surely this one.  What did it say?  People over 65 should cut down on the amount of alcohol they drink.  Tell that to the regulars in my local and you will get short shrift, believe me.
Now the thought of lonely, depressed, pensioners drinking themselves into a stupor every night is not a pleasant one and something should undoubtedly be done about anyone who drowns their sorrows in such a way.  It is sad to think they have no other recourse from their woes and as a society more should be done to make sure people do not slip into this loneliness.
However, like everything, not all pensioners are the same, just as not all teenagers or those in-between are the same.
Different people have different tolerances for alcohol depending on what they are used to.   We are social drinkers in my household.  You would struggle to find any alcohol in the house but at the weekend we go to the pub to meet other people and talk about sport and what is going on in the world.  Four pints of beer is normal for my husband and although he would never drive after drinking that amount, he is by no means drunk.  Yet I have been out with someone who doesn't drink regularly and after two pints is definitely tipsy.
I wouldn't encourage anyone to drink till they drop, but what passes for a social drink is way above the limit stated in this report.
If you suddenly tell people to stop drinking it might well do as much harm as the doctors say drinking does.  If people go out to drink it will cut down on their social interaction.  It's hardly worth putting your coat on for one small glass of wine.  If someone has a couple of glasses of wine with their meal or a tot of something before they go to bed, let them.  Apart from anything else, we are constantly told that pensioners are so poor they can't afford heating, so how can they afford to drink - or can't they afford heating because they are spending all their money on drink?  I doubt it.
By the time people have reached the age of 65 please give them the credit to decide how they should live their lives.  They have spent long enough working, let them enjoy a drink or whatever makes them happy.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Wicked Weather (that's wicked as in evil not good!)

Back at the end of April I was jokingly asking all my friends  'Did you enjoy the summer?'
April was glorious.  Warm days, no April showers, hint of good things to come.
Then May arrived.  It may well have been the driest spring since records began, but May was definitely a lot cooler than April.  I consoled myself with the saying 'Ne'er cast a clout till May is out'.  I always take this to mean the end of the month of May, not when may blossom arrives.
So we reached the beginning of June, everything parched through lack of rain, farmers complaining that the ground is too hard, too dry and the crops are not growing well enough.  Admittedly I'm down to two layers of clothing, sometimes only one, and I haven't had to put my thick coat on when I walk the dog, but the summer still seems a long way away.
Last Sunday was the day of a local carnival - and it rained ALL day.  It didn't rain on Saturday, it didn't rain on Monday, but it hammered it down on Sunday.
We are now into the camping season for Guides and Scouts, two organisations I have had close links with over the years.  I remember saying once - I'd like to run a Guide company but I'm not going camping - 20 camps later I handed over to someone else.  This weekend my old Guiding Division and my village cub pack are both holding their annual camps.  The weather forecast - persistent rain tomorrow (when they will be setting up the camps) showers all day Saturday.  The same thing happens every year.
I fervently hope the forecasts are proved wrong.  I know we need rain but why can't it rain at night when most people are asleep?
On a slightly different subject - there is a campaign going on to introduce double summer time, so that people can enjoy the summer evenings.  As I type this, it is the 16th June and 21:53 (according to my computer) and it is still light outside and it has been raining all evening.  It is decidedly chilly and there is no way I would even think about sitting in my garden let alone outside a pub or a cafe.
And my husband wonders why I don't like the British climate!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Wasting Waste or Money

Over the last few years more and more local authorities, or councils, whatever you want to call them, have moved to fortnightly rubbish collections.  This move initially prompts outrage from residents who demand weekly collections because that is what has always been.
     What they don't seem to notice is that fortnightly collections usually come with wheelie bins which are at least twice the size of the old fashioned dustbin and much cleaner and tidier than a pile of rubbish bags left out for the binmen to collect.
     The other advantage is that as well as fortnightly rubbish collections there are usually alternating fortnightly collections of recyclable rubbish and garden waste.
     Some die-hards  think it is a great imposition to have to sort one's own waste before disposing of it.  Some plead for weekly collections to be reinstated, it is everyone's right to have bins emptied every week!  We shouldn't have to pander to waste reducing targets!  We should be allowed to throw away as much as we want!
     Unfortunately there is limited space in which to put all our rubbish.  There are only so many landfill sites available and those that do exist are getting full.  And no-one wants an incinerator on their doorstep.
And why be so willing to throw so much away?  Maybe those who complain about their bins overflowing should look in them and see what they could do to cut down on waste.
     Food packaging has always been a problem but now much of it can be recycled.  Boxes of all sorts can be flattened and put in the recycling bin/bag, whatever you are provided with.  Most of the plastic containers that food comes in can now be recycled along with cans and bottles.  But it's even better if you try to buy produce that does not come in a box to start with.  Certain containers can even be washed and re-used.
     Speaking of bottles, how many households, especially those with children, have too many bottles?  Fizzy pop instead of squash, two litres of squash will go much further than two litres of coke - and be much cheaper.  British tap water is perfectly safe to drink, we don't need shelves of bottled water.  It can always be filtered if you are not sure about it's quality.  And tap water doesn't produce bottles that need to be thrown away.
     I've just put my wheelie bin out ready for tomorrow's collection and it is barely half full.  It wouldn't bother me if it was only emptied once a month.  Smelly kitchen waste, veg and fruit peelings and stuff, go in the compost bin.  Food waste is kept to a minimum as I don't buy or cook too much.  Okay, there are only two of us in this household, and the dog who produces 7 tins a week because she won't eat dried food, but having a larger family does not necessarily mean more waste.
     So to all those who want to go back to the old days of weekly collections I say fine, but can we be charged for each bin collected then I will only put mine out once a month for rubbish and once a month for recycling.  That's 24 bins a year instead of 52 (or 104 if recycling is also done every week).  Bet if we were charged per collection people would soon cut down on their waste.    

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Time

Thanks Sudama.  You are my personal tech guy from now on.  You solve ALL my IT problems.  I used to ask my daughter, she knows the answers but never gets back to me!

Friday, 3 June 2011

What time is it?

What time zone is in control of this website?  My last post was recorded at 06:22.  Believe me it is more like 14:23.  I am never anywhere at 06:22 apart from under the covers hiding from the light!

Website update

Ok. the post I've put up called Men at War is also on my website www.kristen-stone-the-writer.com which I have also revamped 'cos I wanted to add a bit of colour to it.  Wish I could have mixed and matched the old heading to the coloured pages, but hey, it's a freebie site so I can't really complain, can I.
Can't believe I have yet another follower!

Men and War

So what has been in the news lately that will spark my rant button?  Not a great deal apart from the continuing wars and conflicts around the world.
Have you ever noticed that wars are nearly always started by men.  I say nearly as there are a few exceptions – there were the Amazon women of Greek mythology, Boudica in Britain and Margaret Thatcher attacking  (sorry I should say defending) the Faulklands.
I have often wondered if this need to fight stems from some primal instinct to protect territory or extend it.   School-age boys often tussle together if not resort to a fall blown fight.  Often these encounters are the start of lifelong friendships.  As boys grow older they develop loyalties, to school, to football teams, to the town in which they live.  We have all seen how these loyalties can be hyped up until things overflow into violence against an opposing side.
Where did this all begin?  I’m no historian, psychologist or anthropologist, but I often wonder if this is not something built in to the psyche of the male personality.  Centuries ago, in the bronze age or maybe even earlier, when people began to live together in communities, there were many dangers.  The men were the hunters and protectors.  They defended against raiders from other settlements – and also carried out their own raids.  Cattle and women being the main targets.
This could be why, even today, people are wary of strangers, of those who live in the next town, the next county or the next country.  Many governments have tried to make discrimination illegal but mistrust of the unknown is another inherent trait.  How many people reading this know of the people from the next town down the road being called names?  I could quote some sayings now but in the interests of peace and harmony, won’t.
But war is more than defending one’s own village, isn’t it?  Depends on which side you are on.  The aggressors are usually led be control freaks, dictators or those who want to extend their territory or power.   They psyche up their followers, making the opposition into evil devil worshipers or some such thing.  There are examples enough in history for me not to need to name such tyrants.  They start their war of attrition and those being invaded have to fight back.
Take war out of the equation and the need to fight will erupt in other ways, especially in the young.  Gangs are formed.  That’s nothing new, although the level of violence has escalated in recent years.  Teddy Boys, Mods and Rockers – probably others before them, have all had followers who got involved in ‘trouble.’  Football fans chant abuse at each other at matches, usually all in the name of a good laugh, but why are people surprised if this turns to fighting?
And why are people so surprised that alcohol causes trouble?  In the old days, the days of hand to hand combat with swords and spears,  it was almost compulsory to get your army drunk before they went into battle, else the more sensible would have turned around and gone home.
So what turns an overwise loving and caring person into some minor version of the Incredible Hulk?  It must be something inherited over the millennia.  I have seen this happen when out with my own husband.  He was a bit of a lad when he was young.  A night out wasn’t successful unless it had ended in a fight.  Fortunately he had got over that stage by the time I met him, but even today, if we are out together,  at night, and a stranger approaches from the shadows, he is ready to floor him, while I am quite happy to either ignore the stranger or say a pleasant ‘hello’.   I used to live in a poorer part of London, that’s the polite way of putting it, and would walk home from the bus stop in the dark without any qualms.  (All seven stone, five foot one and a half inch of me).  When my husband came to visit, he now tells me, he would be waiting for someone to attack him.  Maybe, today, that would be the case, but I’m talking about a good few years ago (nearly let my age slip there). 
Will we ever solve this problem?  Probably not and in the main I don’t think I would want to.  Yes, it would be good to get rid of all the psychopaths who want to do nasty things to people, those who become dictators or fanatics who think only their beliefs are right.  But on the whole I wouldn’t want to live in a world full of passive men.  Neither do I like the idea of aggressive women.  Vive le difference! 
Sometimes I think the world would be a much nicer place if it were governed by women.  But then I think, to be a good politician you need strong masculine traits which defeats the point of women ruling the world.  We do anyway, the men just don’t realize!

©Kristen Stone 2011

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Oh My God!!! or should that be OMG?

All of a sudden I am being noticed!  Yikes!  Lil'ole me.  Years of writing with no one taking any notice and suddenly... The trouble is.. will I find enough time to keep all my followers interested?  By the time I've checked my email, Facebook, Twitter, read all the forum posts on Night, not forgetting the blogs people put on, updated my website and written a blog, read one of the wonderful books Tim publishes for us ... when will I have time to write?
But thanks to everyone who is taking an interest.
Right, I'm off to finish a little something I started this morning.  Just another rant on the way of life and why other people don't get it!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

The Bringer

Just finished reading The Bringer by Samantha Towle, another Night Publishing author.  I really enjoyed this book.  A love story with a difference.  At first the narrator tells us she isn't human but a being who has the job of taking people to heaven when they die.  She has no feelings, no emotions.  Then one day.... I won't tell you any more but will say it gets very complex.  Well worth popping along to Amazon and getting a Kindle copy.  I love ebooks!