Monday, 21 December 2009


As I write I can see the sun starting to rise above the roof-tops of the houses behind my house, and the sky is changing from an indigo blue to a pale, striped gold and delicate rose-pink. The snow still clinging to the roofs and fences and gardens is a shimmering pale blue in the early morning light and I can feel the world holding its breath for this one day of the sun 'standing still' before the tide turns just after sunset today and the gradual march towards summer begins.

Already I know that this year will be another year of challenges for us as a family: my husband's temporary job comes to end in January, and he also starts teaching his first few classes as a newly-qualified lifelong learning teacher. As a family we will have to learn to re-balance our lives as hopefully he gains more classes to teach, and we also need to find other ways of supplementing that income until it provides enough by itself. The Children, Schools & Families Bill has the potential to change our way of life if it goes through before a general election, and no matter what the outcome of the election, this will also have ramifications for all of us here in the UK. There are personal challenges too, as we both continue with our writing, and the children turn 7 and 5 and continue to develop in their own unique ways.

But for today I am content to stand on the brink of all that and let it wait. Today we'll have a time out of time and celebrate the sun. The children have enjoyed their simple stockings this morning and are happily sorting through the decorations, greeting each strand of tinsel as an old friend and deciding which ones to claim for their own rooms this year. Later we have family coming and we'll share a meal and exchange gifts. Good things to savour.

Happy Solstice everyone!

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Never listen to phone-ins on local radio

I tend to listen to LBC radio last thing at night to lull me into a sleepy state, but since the Copenhagen Summit has been going on they have been talking about climate change and several nights in a row I've found myself so angry that instead of dropping off to sleep I've been on the point of getting out of bed at midnight to phone in myself and correct a few people!

I just cannot believe the level of ignorance and wilful refusal to act that I've been hearing. Examples: one guy said "well, if anyone can give me just one example of where climate change is having a bad effect right now anywhere in the world then I'll believe it." Erm, how about the Arctic, and the Antarctic, and the Pacific Islands, and the increased flooding in the UK, and the recent hurricanes which devastated New Orleans and caused a lot of damage in Jamaica. So, apart from those, there's absolutely no evidence... how much evidence does he want?!

Another bloke said that the only reason scientists agree that climate is happening, is man-made and is important is because governments have paid them to say so. And why would governments do such an inconvenient thing for themselves, we might ask? Apparently so that they can levy 'green taxes'. So, we'll just ignore the incredibly rich and powerful oil lobby for a while, with their vested interests in denying both climate change and peak oil and we'll also ignore the fact that if this bloke's view is correct, it must be the first time in the entire history of the world that all the world's governments have put pressure on their scientists at the same time and to say the same thing. And then we'll also ignore the actual science itself - which while complex is by no means incomprehensible to the average lay-person who actually takes the trouble to enquire into it even superficially. So, leaving all those little counter-arguments aside, would governments really deliberately risk annoying the electorate as much as they seem to be annoyed by the idea of reining in their cushy and wasteful lifestyles a little for the sake of, erm, their own futures, for the sake of a very paltry amount in green taxes which will ahve to be used in actually trying to stop climate change anyway? Seems rather unlikely to me, given that most governments are terrified of doing anything even near to half the amount needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change in the coming decades due to fear of harming the economy. It seems to me that if even governments are acknowledging that something has to be done, even if they're not actually doing it, then this proves that there's actually something in this.

A third man (yes, they were all men) said that he was looking forward to having the temperature 2C higher, he thought that would be rather nice, especially now as it was only 1C in his back garden. I almost threw the radio across the room at such a complacent and ignorant assessment of what would be the consequences of the potential rises in temperature.

And that's without even discussing peak oil.

I really really hope that people who generally phone in to local talk radio stations are more ignorant and reactionary than the average. Otherwise we are all really doomed.

And don't get me started on the results of the summit itself. I'm too depressed even to think about it right now.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

A poem!

Although I'm still struggling with my own muse, I'm happy to report that my daughter has no such problems and today wrote a poem (well, a song actually) which was inspired by an Enid Blyton adventure story:

Dire dark deeds
On the hill.
People being held
Against their will.
In the dark, dark house
There's a moveable floor,
And danger!