Celebrate A Normal Life

nutso.jpgI find more and more the concept of celebrity culture is getting to me. The main reason is what happened to me because of Jack. In my opinion it is sheer madness. I guess some of these people might enjoy the warped amount of attention they receive. But I think it is indecent. I do not think people should be given attention to the point where it becomes worship or idolisation. There are people who live in my road who are in the media for various reasons. There are two neighbours who are in politics, one famous author, one journalist for a major newspaper here, a few who have been involved in acting or modelling, we have some who have made their money with very successful businesses, one in sports, and the biggest house here belongs to one of the biggest names in the music industry. But to me, they are just neighbours, fellow humans, and that is all they are ever going to be. I am going to treat them the same way as anyone else.

conveyor beltAnother reason I am wary of celebrities is that I hate the abuse of alcohol and drugs. Often along with fame, comes wealth and parties. Alcohol and drugs and easy sex are touted before you like the conveyor belt on the BBC entertainment show “The Generation Game”. I hate that. I avoid anywhere and anybody who I am aware of as “dodgy”. But there have been other situations that I thought would be safe, only because what I saw was unacceptable to me, I made a quick escape. I hate the thought of some of our “celebrity” neighbours being involved in some of the disgusting habits I mentioned above.

I also despise the waste of absurd amounts on money on things like a flashy party, or a private jet. One thing I respect about Jack is he feels exactly the same way. He is very much against drugs. He has befriended and helped a lot of young men in some of the rougher communities in London. He takes his responsibility to them very seriously. And Jack foregoes many opportunities to make more money through entertainment, because he is devoted to volunteering for charities. He has made more than enough money to last a lifetime already. He has lived simply for a number of years, so that he can be on the same level with other volunteers. He has amazing energy and charisma, so he is very popular. And I guess the way he has featured in the entertainment industry adds to his popularity. But he handles it well.

jt quoteThere is a feeling that I find has developed within me in recent years. I have started to feel infuriated by the invasion of the press, and “fans” or just everyday people into the lives of those considered “celebrities”. I do not like the idea that someone might have to be so security conscious that they cannot enjoy a “normal” life. The invasion into not just Jack’s, but my own privacy was shocking. I know that some celebrities seem to like the attention. But I find it hard to swallow.

finchlI see people around in London. I know I have seen them on television at some stage. I used to live surrounded by cast from EastEnders (a British soap opera). But I have never watched a single episode. So to me, they were just my neighbours. There were famous musicians and television personalities. There were footballers and popstars. I would never have known if it wasn’t for friends pointing them out. To me they were just neighbours. I have lived in various “posh” parts of London. I mentioned earlier that round the corner from me is one of the biggest names in the music industry. I saw him the other day, with his family. I liked seeing something assuredly normal. I said “Good morning”, as I passed and they returned the greeting. We often greet each other. We never have had a proper conversation. The house cost a ridiculous amount of money, which was all over the press at the time. More millions than the digits we have on our body.

normal fam.jpgTo me, they are fellow humans, members of my human family. I wish them a happy life. I do not think they deserve anything nearing worship. But I really I don’t like the idea that people would show an unhealthy amount of interest, and threaten their ability to enjoy a happy family life. In fact, I strangely feel defensive over their privacy.

I have a relative on the other side of London. This particular family member is very well off. They are the closest of my family members geographically. But I am closer emotionally to the members of my family who are more down-to-earth, modest and devoted to volunteering, than my family members who are amassing great things for themselves. But as with all my family, I keep in touch, and I trek over to see my relative. Like a lot of uber-wealthy people she has “problems” and “issues”. Several times over the last two years I have seen someone I thought I recognised, but I could not place her. I thought she was a model. It is only fairly recently that I realized who she is.

normal lifeI know next to nothing about her. I have liked a couple of her songs. But I am told she is massive (by which I mean her popularity and “net worth”, I don’t mean her height – she is fairly tall which is why I assumed she was a model). I don’t care. I just want her to have a normal life and to feel safe. My relative confirmed who she is and threw in some castaway tittle-tattle remarks. Those comments meant nothing to me. One of my friends revealed herself as a huge fan of this musician. I decided I wouldn’t say anything about her living (at least some of the time) in the same road as my relative. For some reason, I just feel defensive over her, the same way as I feel defensive about the guy who lives round the corner from me. She should be able to live a normal life without feeling her safety is threatened. And it’s all because of what happened with Jack. I do not like the idea of anyone threatening their safety or their ability to live a normal happy family life.

breakfastaIt is a wonderful gift to have family and friends who love you for you. Not because you are rich or famous or even particularly talented. It is wonderful to be able to walk in the woods with other Londoners and kick autumn leaves around. It is wonderful to go swimming down in the nearby lido on a blistering hot day. It is wonderful to nip into to a local artisan bakery, to sit chatting over a latte and a palmier, and then to leave with a paper bag containing a sourdough loaf, or pick up some beautiful flowers from the florists for your hallway. These are things that everyday “normal” Londoners are able to enjoy. I don’t see any point in spending millions of pounds on a property here, if you have to hideway, or wear disguises, and you can’t go out and enjoy these little highlights of living in the pretty pockets that London still holds.

normal life1.jpgI like my place, because it is so hidden away. People do not even know it is there. The double sets of gates and the hidden staircase hide it away from the word outside. I didn’t feel safe when I lived near Jack. My privacy was being invaded so much. But in my gorgeous little hideaway here, I have started to feel more secure and I have been able to enjoy London again. Now I roam these streets as one of the neighbours. I am that caramel blonde with the sunshine smile who always says hello when she passes. I am the neighbour who checks the neighbours’ wheelie bins when they are on holiday (because they are always away when it is refuse collection day!). I am the woman who, at the weekend,  is always first into the bakery at the end of the road, because they only ever stock one large dark sourdough on a Saturday and one on a Sunday (no large loaves Monday – Friday) and I like to freeze it in portions and use it defrost and eat it during the week. I am living a normal life after I was drastically separated from Jack – and I have to admit, it feels great!

Advertisements

Swimming With The Ducks

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned one of my favourite places in London – Hampstead Lido (Parliament Hill Lido), which is an incredibly lush experience on a hot summer’s day.

can't beat it.jpgSo when I saw the writing prompt fromSarah Elizabeth Moore, I thought I would share with you my favourite place for wild swimming – Hampstead Ponds!

The whole of Hampstead Heath brings a real mix of memories to me. Many good and some devestating. I wrote about the conflicting feelings and memories I have in a post called: Memories…Letting The Happy Ones Dominate.

I featured my memories of an evening I spent with friends a few days before I was attacked in another post last year. This is an excerpt from it which will tell you about Hampstead Ponds:

I used to meet friends every Thursday for an intensive keep-fit boot-camp. Normally we would run down to a local cricket pitch, where the class would start. We would run sprints, and do squats and leapfrogs and all sorts of different exercises. But this night was different. One of the lads was leaving London to move abroad as he was engaged to be married. So we were going to have the boot-camp at a different location – Hampstead Heath.

We drove to Hampstead Heath. We ran from the Highgate side of the Heath over to the Hampstead side. When we reached the Hampstead Ponds for mixed bathers (there are men only and women only ponds too), we stripped our running clothes off and all of us had our swimming costumes on. We jumped into the water and swam a couple of circuits around the pond. There was a bit of splashing each other too. There was hardly anyone else there at that time so we weren’t annoying anyone.

20180628_143347

Afterwards, we put our running clothes on over our swimming costumes, and then ran back over to the Highgate side of the Heath. There we found a grassy spot and the guy who took the class shouted out some instructions which we followed, press-ups, squats, leap frogs and stretches.

VW camper.pngTwo of our friends (a married couple) had a VW Camper Van. So we all got changed in the back of the van. The girls went first, we had to take our damp clothes off and have a quick dry off and put on our warm dry clothes. Then it was the lad’s turn to change. Once we had all changed, we walked up the hill so we could have a goodbye drink with our friend who was moving abroad for his wedding.

I loved that evening. My hair was slimy and smelt like ducks afterwards. But I loved it, and I am so glad that is one of my happy memories, just a few days before I was attacked.

_________________

This was my post in response to the writing prompt from Sarah Elizabeth Moore:

Writing Prompt #34

Making Me Nervous

One day last week, I had to go to a part of London that I don’t often pass through. It is south of the river and between London Vauxhall and London Bridge, but quite a way back from the river. I was around Lambeth, Kennington and Elephant and Castle. I used to go down to Elephant and Castle quite a bit because I had a lot of Spanish speaking friends who lived there. But it has been a long time since I was there, and as I was walking, I found I started to become a bit nervous.

kennington

I was not nervous until a young man did something that I thought was a bit strange. I saw him in the distance walking, and I noticed that when he saw me, he turned around and started walking away quickly. As I was approaching the corner of the pavement and needed to cross the road, I realized he was behind me. I couldn’t see him, but I knew he was there. So I swung around and grinned and I said “Hi, how are you?” in a big friendly voice. I think I surprised him, because he gave me one funny look and then walked off in a different direction.

young man.jpgFurther down the road another young man who was riding a bicycle started to circle me. Round and round he went. I was convinced he was going to try to steal my phone or purse. So I pulled out my phone from my pocket. Why did I do that? Because I have a battered up old Nokia phone that does not work properly. I can’t have telephone conversations unless I put the other person on loud speaker and one of the keys on the key-pad does not work. I think producing my phone was a good idea, because not long after, he rode off.

Then another young man standing on the other side of the road, crossed and started walking towards me. Yet again I pulled out my little Nokia. He stopped and turned around and crossed back over the road.

I was trying not to be paranoid, but it was all a bit weird. I was very relieved when I saw several Asian family groups ahead exiting a building and merging onto the pavement I was already on. They all seemed to be carrying Tupperware, and I wondered whether they had been at some kind of social gathering. I was glad to be within the families, and felt safer not that I was not walking along on my own.

IMG_20180722_085452.jpgWhen I am out and about in London I rarely carry anything valuable. I have my keys of course, my battered Nokia phone and my Oyster card so that I can travel on the London transport network. I also carry a one litre water bottle so I don’t have to buy a drink when I am out. If anyone stole any of those things on me, they wouldn’t be profited…but it would be so annoying and would inconvenience me greatly.

Maybe those boys were not up to anything and I was just being overly nervous. But, every time I look at the BBC News website, it makes me feel this world is just descending into a place where it is more likely I am going to be a victim of crime. I have already been the victim of a serious crime, the last thing I want is to be stuck miles away from my little abode without my Oyster card or my bashed up Nokia because of some unconscionable opportunist.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live in a world that feels safe? A world where there is no crime, no violence, no terrorism and no warfare. I don’t want to be nervous walking down the street in the middle of the afternoon. And bless them, people criticise politicians, blaming crime on police funding cuts.

I read something very interesting last week in a little pamphlet I picked up from a display near St Paul’s cathedral. It was all about the changes we need to enjoy real safety and security. It gave the example of a patient in hospital who was in pain. If the doctors just kept on giving the patient pain killers and did not tackle the cause of the pain, the person could deteriorate (or even die). Police have an important role and I am grateful for their hard work. But more police, more security cameras, more prisons, etc is not going to eliminate the reasons why people do wrong things and turn to crime.

Well for now…I am going to be as shrewd as I can and keep my eyes wide open when I am walking in areas I am not very familiar with….and I do think my battered Nokia is an asset!

Life In The Big Smoke

What is it like living in a big smelly city like London? It occurred to me when I was reading through my answers, that I mentioned life in London a few times. As this is my response to Melanie’s SHARE-YOUR-WORLD post, if you hadn’t noticed before, I live in London – the big chokey smoke. Here is Melanie’s original post, and below is a taster of my life in London:

https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2019/03/25/share-your-world-3-25-19/

QUESTIONS:

What is the best pick me up that you know of?  To shake you out of the blues?

Oh I have a few. If I am feeling a bit low, (and it happens, why shouldn’t it happen?) I will try one of the following (some of these are weather permitting):

  • ring my mum, one of my sisters or a good friend
  • type an e-mail to Goldfinch
  • go for a walk, there are beautiful parks nearby my accommodation
  • lie on the grass in the park and doze under the warm sunshine
  • listen to some music that always makes me feel good (see videos at end of post)
  • walk to a nearby artisan bakery on the high street and buy myself the gooiest cake I can find
  • iron any laundry that is stacked up, it’s something I really enjoy
  • work on the little book I am writing for my niece
  • sometimes I let myself have a little cry – it is a miraculous release of pain
  • watch one of the funny little clips that always makes me laugh my socks off – like this one:

What would be the title of your memoir?

Sing First, Hide Later

sing along

I was struggling with thinking of something to answer this one. But Beckie, the creator of Beckie’s Mental Mess included a quote in a post she published the other day which was “Dance First, Think Later” which does sum up many of my life experiences. But I have done more singing that dancing let me tell you!! Here in London I have been to many parties and social events. I always throw myself into fun. (I wouldn’t do anything too wreckless mind!)


Where do you like to go when you eat out?

I am spoilt in London. I am often invited out to dinner at someone’s home. Which is always my favourite choice. I have friends of many nationalities, so I am able to try all sorts of delicious home cooking. It is more cost effective normally. Love it! Most of my friends seem to prefer entertaining at home. But some of us don’t have a lot of space. I can only have three guests for dinner (I only have four chairs!), but if my landlady was away I might invite more over of they are content to eat pizza and watch a movie. I would be hoping some don’t mind lolloping on the floor with a cushion.

There are so many restaurants to choose from in London, so many. We don’t go to the same place again and again. We are always looking for somewhere new. I usually am happy to go along to where my friends would like to go. Most prefer either Italian or South East Asian. But I love Greek, Persian, African, Mexican and so many other cuisines. In London we are truly spoilt for choice!

Do you believe in luck?

It’s not really a concept I am familiar with. I don’t remember hearing the word at home. Perhaps since my Dad had broken free from gambling, which ruined his finances as a young man, he was not going to promote anything except hard work and persistence.

But when I was at high school I remember people saying it before an exam. I didn’t quite grasp what they were saying to me. I always knew I was likely to do well in my exams, because I was was a thorough student, I had an ace memory and I didn’t feel any pressure in exams. Tests and exams never did bother me. I knew that others were being nice in using the phrase “good luck” but I always found it an odd expression.

law.jpgThe only exam I only achieved a “lower” grade in was a law A-level. I was fuming when I had a letter from the local college saying that if I did not sit the exam, I would have to pay hundreds of pounds to the college for the cost of the A-level course. I went to visit the college and asked them what on earth they were talking about. Apparently, I was enrolled on this course but I had no idea. If they thought I was supposed be turning up for classes – why did they never contact me before the exam at the end of the year? I had never been to a single class and had not read any material for this course. But to avoid having to pay hundreds of pounds (I believed their threat) I turned up and sat an exam for a subject I had not studied and a few weeks later received a letter telling me I had an “E” grade.

Now, if it had been an “A” grade, maybe that would have been what people refer to as “luck”. Things that happen when you have not put any effort in at all?

I am not sure what others actually believe if they say they do believe in luck. Everyone seems to have a different idea. But I am not superstitious. Sometimes things go wrong, but mostly they go right. Of the things that go wrong, I mostly don’t worry, unless it was my fault.

Gratitude Question:

Aside from necessities, what is one thing you couldn’t go a day without?

As a full-time volunteer, I lived without wages for five years, so I am used to living with just necessities. Even though I am earning a little money now, I still live a very simple life.

shower.jpgI have done some travelling and I realize I am spoilt compared to many. After the time I spent out in West Africa, I realized how hard I would find it to be without a washing machine, electric iron, a plumbed in bathroom and electric shower. Maybe I could go one day without these things, but not much longer! But if I had to, I would. I am just so used to those things. I love the ease we have of keeping clean and having clean clothes. London is dirty! I often find some kind of grime from buses, trains or railings has brushed onto my clothes, and my hair feels yucky after being out for a day in the big smoke. I feel like a complete wuss saying that when I think of how many people live on this planet without these things. Yet they are perfectly happy without them.

In my current accommodation, I have for the first time since I lived in London both a shower cubicle and a bath-tub. Although I mostly shower, there are times when a soak in a hot bath is wonderful. I don’t need these extras, but I am grateful for them.

bathroom

Music that always makes me feel good…oh there are so so many! But here are a few:

 

The GateHouse Pub

031719

I love Sarah’s prompt for this week, but I don’t think I can give an authoritative answer to this one. I will tell you about one pub where I have some special memories I cling to though.

Where I am living now there are pubs a-plenty, and lots of restaurants. This area is very popular with tourists and visitors. Most of the pubs are owned by Youngs – a pub restaurant company with quite an empire up and down the country. I don’t know which is the best. I have visited most of them with friends, but I have not adopted any of them as my pub of preference.

The thing about a pub is…it’s not just the food, it’s not just the staff, it’s not just about the comfort and seating, it’s not just about the music they play, it’s not just the other people at the pub…it’s all of the above that create an atmosphere that makes you feel relaxed and forget all your troubles.

In the town I grew up, all of the local pubs were a bit too rough and ready for me to go anywhere near them! But I have travelled a lot within the UK, and I discovered country pubs when local volunteers took us for a drink after a long day on a construction site or a large public event. They took us to some beautiful pubs with a relaxed atmosphere and we felt comfortable there.

Of the pubs I have visited up and down the country with friends and workmates, some I have enjoyed, others not so much. I think on the whole, when I didn’t enjoy a pub, it was because of the behaviour of some eeed-yats who had drunk too much and decided to act up. Whenever that has happened, my friends and I would make a hasty departure. That’s the risk of pubs – you never know who else will be there and how much they will drink and the effect it has on them. So we are always ready to move on when the atmosphere changes.

I have lots of memories of fun nights with friends at pubs. We have played cards, we have put the world to rights, we have shared portions of chips or onion rings, we have argued over whose round it was, we have laughed, even danced, and occasionally cried together. In London especially, many of my friends and I have lived in tiny flats, where we had to be considerate of our neighbours. So meeting up for a drink at a local pub where there was more space and we could make a little bit more noise was handy.

I know quite a few of the pubs in Highgate, Hampstead, Muswell Hill, Finchley, Mill Hill, Whetstone, Crouch End, Holloway, Kentish Town….and beyond. I am going to tell you about one pub, it’s not necessarily the best pub, but it is one pub where I have some memories with friends that I like to keep close.

 

My memory is of an evening that ended at The Gatehouse Pub in Highgate Village. But the whole evening is one I remember fondly. It took place on a Thursday evening, at the end of a warm summer’s day.

I met with the group I met every Thursday for a bootcamp. Normally we would run down to a local cricket pitch, where the class would start. We would run sprints, and do squats and leapfrogs and all sorts of different exercises. But this night was different. One of the lads was leaving London to move abroad as he was engaged to be married. So we were going to have the bootcamp at a different location – Hampstead Heath.

We drove to Hampstead Heath. We ran from the Highgate side of the Heath over to the Hampstead side. When we reached the Hampstead Ponds for mixed bathers (there are men only and women only ponds too), we stripped our running clothes off and all of us had our swimming costumes on. We jumped into the water and swam a couple of circuits around the pond. There was a bit of splashing each other too. There was hardly anyone else there at that time so we weren’t annoying anyone.

20180628_143347

Afterwards, we put our running clothes on over our swimming costumes, and then ran back over to the Highgate side of the Heath. There we found a grassy spot and the guy who took the class shouted out some instructions which we followed, press-ups, squats, leap frogs and stretches.

VW camper.pngTwo of our friends (a married couple) had a VW Camper Van. So we all got changed in the back of the van. The girls went first, we had to take our damp clothes off and have a quick dry off and put on our warm dry clothes. Then it was the lad’s turn to change. Once we had all changed, we walked up the hill so we could have a goodbye drink with our friend who was moving abroad for his wedding.

After all that exercise we were hungry. So a few of us ordered some food. I can’t remember the drink I ordered…but I do remember I ordered a veggie burger. I remember that night, sitting with friends whose company I really enjoyed. For almost two years they had been a weekly escape from the challenges in my life. I felt happy with them, relaxed. Some of them knew Jack, my ex-flatmate, but they didn’t mention him. Nobody teased me about him, nobody taunted me. None of them referred to something that had been said about him and I. All of that group just liked me for me. We had the same interests, we loved keeping fit and exercising in a really fun way – outside in the fresh air.

at pub with friends.jpgI loved Thursday evenings because they were a complete escape from Jack, who had been pretty much making my life miserable for around two years by this point. That night we sat in The Gatehouse Pub and I felt happy, I felt really settled and secure. It was a lovely summer’s evening and I had spent it doing what I loved with people I felt very comfortable with. We laughed and we made a fuss of our friend who was moving. It was his last bootcamp with us and we all said our goodbyes. Although it was sad someone was leaving, I remember feeling so very happy that night.

But the very next day, Jack was back to his tricks taunting me, yet another rumour about he and I was doing the rounds on Facebook and Instagram and in Whatsapp groups. I strenuously denied it, as always. I passed Jack several times and he always looked at me with a hateful expression. That was a busy weekend. I was involved in several work projects and had training sessions to conduct. Also I helped a good friend with a huge party she had organized for the Saturday night. I only arrived back home after 3am on the Sunday morning after all the clearing up. Then Sunday was very busy. On Monday I had a television interview. I must have looked awful because I was so tired. Jack was on the same bus as me that day. He kept up his disdainful attitude.

AmbulanceOn the Tuesday I saw him several times and he was horrid. That evening, after I had been out with some friends in Highgate Village, at a pizzeria, I turned down an offer of a lift home by a friend, who lived near me. Instead, I walked to Hampstead Heath and sat on a bench and cried. At least an hour must have passed before a man sat next to me. The next morning, Wednesday morning, I was in an ambulance on my way to hospital.

at the pubIt turned out that was the last time I was ever at the Thursday bootcamp I loved so much. The last time I was with a group of friends who made me feel I could be me. The last time I was in a pub in Highgate with friends. The last evening I remember feeling happy and relaxed despite the challenges Jack was causing in my life. I cannot tell you how much I would love to be back there in the Gatehouse Pub in Highgate Village with people who made me feel comfortable and relaxed and happy.

____________

Is there a pub near you that you would describe as the best local pub? This is the writing prompt from Sarah Elizabeth MooreSarah Elizabeth Moore. Please link to her original post below:

Writing Prompt #11

 

One Of My Favourite Places In London

Have you been nominated for a blogging award and wondered which questions to ask your nominees? I have asked some of my questions more than once – sometimes my brain struggles for ideas I have to admit! One of the questions I may have asked three or four times is: “If you were a tourist in London for a day – where would you like to visit?”

I am always eager to see where others would like to visit. For me…both for years before I ever moved to London and definitely since I moved to London one of my favourite places to visit is The British Museum.

I highly recommend it to you if you are passing through London at any stage. It does tend to get crowded, so go early if you can. It becomes a fascinating melting pot – people from every corner of the world come to visit and you will hear many languages spoken by your fellow visitors. I know there might be some listless types who don’t find a museum interesting, but to the rest of us The British Museum is one of the most incredible treasure troves in London.

My suggestion is to allow yourself plenty of time – because there is so much to see. Have a think about what you want to see…Ancient Eqypt? Rome? Greece? Assyria? Africa? China?…there is so much to choose from. I have the luxury of being able to go whenever I want so I tend just to look at one part of the museum each time.

I have been watching a video this morning – a history documentary – and one of my very good friends is the presenter. It’s funny watching him, but he is brilliant at it. I hopes he does more of this kind of thing in the future. There he was at the British Museum and I realized I needed to get my post finished off for Esther Chilton’s writing challenge this week on favorite places to visit!

If you chose ancient Egypt – great! I can give you directions. On entering the museum by the main entrance and encountering the very grand Great Court…you need to wander over to your left in order to find the Egyptian rooms.

One of the first exhibits you will come across is the world famous Rosetta Stone. It is fitting that it greets you because in many ways it is one of the keys to understanding ancient Egypt. I would be extremely impressed if you could read what it says! It has a passage written in three languages – Eqyptian hieroglyphics, ancient Greek and a script known as Demotic. If you have a look online you can find out all about what is written on the Rosetta Stone – which as far as I understand is about treating the Pharoah like one of the gods and celebrating his coronation day and birthday accordingly. But perhaps more significant is that the Rosetta Stone became the key that helped scholars to unlock ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Carry on through the Egyptian rooms, and you will see a plethora of gods and goddesses, trinities of gods, mother and son gods, animal gods – including the old dung beetle. I have done lots of tours at the museum with official tour guides, and one tour guide showed how many similarities there are with modern forms of religion to the traditions found in ancient Egypt. You will also come across all manner of exhibits that tell us all about the daily life of the Egyptians…and then there are the sarcophagi (I think that is the plural of sarcophagus?) and mummies. Look out for Old Ginger! Or not, if you find it a bit creepy.

I could easily spend an entire day just in the Egyptian rooms alone. But there are other parts of the museum which equally fascinate me.

At the moment my big interest lies in the Assyrian rooms. I have been looking closely at the reliefs showing the siege of Lachish. It is not normally as busy as the Egyptian rooms or the Roman rooms, so I have been able to linger when I have visited. Last time I was there I was absolutely gripped eavesdropping on a tour-guide who was enthralling his group by taking them through a verse by verse analysis of the account of King Sennacherib of Assyria and King Hezekiah of Judea. Those tour-guides are really incredible. It was one of the most exciting history lessons I have ever heard.

Is ancient history relevant to our day? Whatever you choose to go and see, remember you are often looking at the boasts of rulers of world empires. They may have done great things, they may have been revered, but they eventually crumbled. There are times when the world we live in seems scary. There may seem to be no end of political turbulence. But things will change. Rulers come and go, governments come and go, empires come and go. They may remain in the pages of history books, but soon they will be gone.

That might not sound very comforting. But in a way history is a vitally important resource for all of us to learn key lessons. The record of humans dominating each other,  oppression and slavery, acts of violence and abuse, warfare. The rise of a world power to wealth and luxury, the break down of morals and of family life, the crumbling of society…and then another military force rises up and becomes dominant. The pattern has repeated itself many times. Every form of government has been tried. There is a tremendous record preserved in stone, clay, bronze and other mediums that provide an invaluable source of lessons for all to learn from.

That testimony may serve in a judicial sense – for if a world ruler does not learn from the lessons of the history books – they are bound to face humiliation. Whether they last may be dependent on whether they have learnt lessons from history. They really ought to have known better! The question for a world leader – is how will the history books read on their stint?

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://esthernewtonblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/08/i-challenge-you-to-39/

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/11/13/listless/

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/11/13/your-daily-word-prompt-dependant-november-13-2018/

FOWC with Fandango — Video

The Little Nest

My current accommodation is very sweet.  For London, it is a pretty generous size and it is fully furnished and equipped with everything I need and more.

But there is something that I really appreciate about this sweet little abode.  It is relatively hidden.  Those walking down this road would not know my little abode even exists. Hiding my front door are two large locked gates that screen off my little hideaway.

In a way it makes me feel safe – not just physically safe, but also emotionally.  I feel as if the world outside can no longer find me.  That is often a welcome feeling.  “Nobody can get me”.  Rest, calm.

I have windows, but they look out at areas also locked away from strangers passing by.  I cannot see the outside world from any of my windows.  I don’t see people making their way to work, school children laughing and shouting, nordic walkers striding towards the park, dog walkers, traffic wardens hovering around street corners, delivery drivers and tradesmen arguing with traffic wardens.

I know that they are all out there, just metres away from me.  But I cannot see them, neither can I hear them.  None of them can get at me.

In my new job, I am looking out of a window onto a busy high street.  People who look stressed are rushing past.  Noisy teenagers, who are oblivious as to how intimidating they are, crowd the pavement after school making it almost impossible for others to pass.  Joggers and nordic walkers full of determination and ambition.

London street

I see and hear arguments between traffic wardens and vehicle owners who thought they could take a risk.  Then there are arguments between bus drivers and passengers usually over a passenger not paying.  I can’t always tell exactly what is going on, but most of the passengers who are arguing do not look as if they are struggling financially, the bus driver is trying to be firm, other passengers become involved because they want to get home or to work, or perhaps another destination.

I see it all through the windows at work.  Very few seem to notice me.  But I notice them. It unnerves me at times, all the hustle and bustle of a London high street, all the noise and rushing and pushing past others.

When I have left work, I too become one of the crowd on a busy London high street until I arrive at the large locked gates and unlock each one, before disappearing through and locking the gates up once I am on the other side.  Moments later I am shut away, locked up in my sweet little abode where none of them can get at me.

I do have friends and family over to visit of course, I am not a hermit, but I do like that I have a hide-away that is tucked away from the general view. It is almost like having a secret little cave all to myself, far away from the outside world…which is a rare find in London.