Sunday, 28 February 2016

In amongst all the general rubbish on FB, I saw this. A reminder that people sometimes can be honest and wonderful.

The post read:
After a couple of hours shopping at Milton Keynes shopping centre, I loaded up the car with Jaxons push chair and shopping etc, forgetting to put the nappy bag in the boot. Drove off like a numpty and realised at the petrol station, I had no bag or purse.
Feeling sick with panic, I searched the area near where I had parked, asked in the shopping centre and went to the police station.
After giving up hope, I drove home to cancel my cards etc and found this kind person had left my bag on my front door under my recycling box and posted my purse through the door.
I had approx £200 cash in my purse, plus loads of gift vouchers, which I'd just brought and every single penny was still in my purse.
I'm so happy and relieved to know there are good people in mk.
I don't have any details for this person, they just left this attached note.
Please share and help me to say thanks to this wonderful honest person.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

I didn't find any hidden beauty in that last post, did I?
Must try harder.

Social networking awareness posts. 'May I ask a favour'

We've all seen them, at least, those of use who use social networking services have: those posts.
They begin with a long post about something that devastates lives, such as cancer or depression or child abuse. Then you read the words 'May I ask a favour?' followed by a request to copy paste the post to your own status for an hour or a day. The reason for this request is to 'raise awareness' or 'show that you care' or 'in memory of someone you knew who suffered'. The request is accompanied by statements like '90% of people won't do this' and 'if I don't see your name, I will understand'.

By this time I am usually steaming! Understand? What will you understand, may I ask?
Oh the implications are clear: only the ten percent of special people who have a compassionate soul will share it. If you don't it's because you don't care about anything but yourself.

No, actually, your 'understanding' is wrong.

These posts are the social networking equivalent of dropping 2p and a boiled sweet into a charity collection. It's minimum effort, no expense, and you get to feel that you helped, even if just a little. You don't even have to spend any time writing your own thoughts on the subject, just copy what someone else wrote.

They prove nothing. Ignoring doesn't mean that I don't care, it means that I react badly when someone tries to use peer pressure and psychological shaming to try to force me to 'prove' that I care.  Waving a big red flag with 'I care' on it (or sharing a status) is so much cheaper and easier than actually doing anything useful.

If you think that ignoring those posts makes me a bad person, that's not my problem.

Luke 18 v10 seems to apply here.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

A good samariton

The news always seems to concentrate on dark days and terrible events, but here is something good that makes a dark day seem brighter. A woman took her son to hospital and then, unexpectedly ended up staying the night. She came out to find not one. but two, parking tickets. (I'm puzzled about the second because I thought that you can't be fined twice for the same parking offence.)
There was something else on her windscreen: an envelope containing £25 and a note saying to pay it and forget it.

I want to think about the person who left that money. He or she didn't know about the sick child. They may have guessed that the car had been left during a hospital visit, but they couldn't know that for certain.
That person was willing to take a chance that the driver was detained by illness, willing to part with £25 to help, and also willing to take a chance that the money wouldn't be stolen by a passerby.

Someone was willing to help a stranger, completely anonymously, including parting with money.

That's a fine example of what I mean by a fingertip of light.

The EU. In or out? To Brexit or not to Brexit?

The European Union
The EU, that massive political nuisance foisted on us sneakily over the top of the old EEC.
In June this year we will, at long last, have a referendum on whether or not we should remain in it with all those 'Johnny Foreigners', not to mention the Germans, and worse: the French!
To read some tabloids you would think that the Empire still exists, WW2 was last week, and the Napoleonic Wars ended the week before.

We actually are friends with those countries now, y'know.

Them and Us.
People just love to blame war on religion, stating that if we ditch religion, we end the reason and causes for war.
It's not about religion and it actually never has been. Religious wars are far outnumbered throughout history by wars for land, over women, food, water, honour, insult, and even boredom. There is one thing and one thing only that causes wars, and that is 'Them' and 'Us'.

Human beings form cliques and then fight to protect/expand/avenge/feed them.  They tell themselves that 'we' are better than 'them'. Our football club is better, our skin is prettier, our favourite TV show is more intellectual, our clothes are nicer, our schools are better, our people more intelligent, our skulls show that we are more evolved, our god is real, our specific order of service is right, our understanding of grammar is better, we have indoor plumbing, we don't baptise children.
'They' are not completely human, they follow a useless football team, their skin is a different (and uglier) colour, they watch stupid low-brow TV, they wear silly fashions, their schools teach nothing, their average IQ is low, their skulls contain less forebrain, their god is a silly fantasy god. they don't have an order of service, they don't understand apostrophes, they don't have toilets at all and have to 'go' in the fields, they baptise children.

The lists are endless. Every single thing that I have listed has either been the cause of a war or a reason why the enemy is sub-human and needs to be put in his or her 'place'. (Using the word 'war' here to mean any battle, no matter how small or large. It's all the same thing, no matter how many people pile into the fight, yelling and aiming to hurt as many as possible.)

What has this to do with Brexit?

Just this:
Leaving the EU is part of this 'them' and 'us' attitude.
There's nothing wrong in being proud about what British people achieved in history, but it doesn't make us special. Every country has things of which its people can be proud.

It's that fragmentation into 'we are better than them' that is so dangerous.

The strongest groups are the ones who put aside lesser differences in order to stand together. The bigger the group saying 'we are one', the stronger. We need our groups to get bigger, not smaller.

Look at the US. They have their internal 'them' and 'us' divisions (Republican v Democrat, racism, south and north, indigenes and everyone who's not) but push them and suddenly they're shoulder to shoulder (ok with some jostling) and squaring up for a fight. Now I'm not saying that 'we' should emulate 'their' willingness to escalate a war (see what I did there?) but the fact is that that ability to suddenly spread 'us' to include everyone (or almost everyone) on the continent does make them strong. If they split off into individual States, each one becoming a separate kingdom with its own army and government, and no over-ruling central control, they would not be strong.
When the UK was many small kingdoms, conquest was easy. The Romans did it one kingdom at a time. The Angles and Saxons and Danes also sailed in and took possession every few decades.
Once those kingdoms united, conquest was a lot harder. The Normans managed it, but that was over a thousand years ago. Unity, not division, increases strength.

It's really that simple. We need 'us' to include as many human beings on this planet as possible. We need 'us' to be able to dismiss lesser differences as unimportant if threatened from outside.
We need to remember that we are one race and any differences should be something to celebrate, not fight over.

Leaving the EU weakens us all. If there are inequalities we should address them from within, not pick up our toys and walk off in a huff.

#eureferendum #brexit #eu #uk

Friday, 19 February 2016

Here is an example of the sort of thing I am talking about in the description section of this blog. Although there aren't actually any fingertips of light present, the general effect is the same.
It was shortly after sunset, and the sky was clear. The sky was still a deep and vibrant blue, and the horizon glowed orange.
The building site is not really all that pretty in daylight. It's all concrete beams and girders, but for a short time after sunset the yellowish lights made it stand out and look amazing against the blue and orange of the sky, and the reds and purples of the old magistrates court on the right. Add in the reflections from the river, and suddenly the ugly building site looks quite spectacular.

Copyright notice

Falling Shadows

Guardians of Reyth volume 1

© 2015 P.J. Lightning.
Inspired by an original idea by C. S. Newsome ©2008
(–Used with kind permission.)
And so it begins.
Once upon a  time.
It was a dark and stormy night.

No, I didn't use any of those to start my book, I began with a death - a tragedy to introduce the hero's father, and some other characters who would become important later on.
Why? Because the death made everything that followed possible. I can't go into too much detail about that without spoiling part of the plot, but as Tamsin's legacy was so important I wanted her to have one scene, even if it was only a brief one.
As it's my book, I get to put in what I want. Great isn't it?