Friday, February 24, 2006

I need my coat I'm going to the pub

No, not me before I slip out, or in fact Sarah, these were the words of Elspeth this afternoon. Whilst I was at work she put on her Christmas pink fluffy dressing up shoes and her coat, grabbed her bag as she was going to the pub to have a drink with Josie.

She did just have an apple juice while Josie had Blackcurrant, I'm beginning to dread her teenage years....

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The inner workings of a nearly three year old...

Who knows what thought strings are being manipulated and interlinked in Elspeth’s head. She’s missing Josie [Adlard], whenever she has a moment she’s either talking to Josie on the phone or picking up Sarah’s car keys and driving to St Albans to see her – doesn’t bode well when she is actually able to drive [must remember in 14 years to keep my car keys in pocket – will we still be using keys?].

I walked into the lounge last night and before I caught her eye was able to eavesdrop on Elspeth in “conversation” with the nursery “Hello is that the nursery, would I be able to come when I’m three on June 7th to be with Josie?” I was stunned… I walked into the kitchen and told Sarah what I’d just heard, not only does she actually want to go to nursery [although I’m not sure whether she just thinks she’ll get to see Josie, or whether she genuinely wants to go], but she also knows precisely when her birthday is.

Sarah is planning to “release” Elspeth to nursery in September, I say release because I fear it will be difficult for Sarah, before then Elspeth may feel a little like a caged lion, and once out she may never look back.

Sarah has a fear that Elspeth will be the ringleader who manages to be yards away from danger when the scheme falls apart, she has that “butter wouldn’t melt in the mouth” face and the sweetest “innocent eyes”. Now which parent she takes after… well I’m not going to say who got in trouble the most at school [although that could be who got caught the most at school…]

She’s going to be a real handful when she starts to really answer back and argue.

Freedom of speech

This place is not one where I generally vent any pent up rage and ranting and raving is not something that I am very practiced at but there are two particular news items which are annoying me at the moment.

Whilst it is hard to ignore the greater racial issues of the “Danish Cartoons”. Where has common decency and regard for people’s opinions gone? The furore over Mel Gibson’s “Passion of Christ” was just as heated, a particular distinguishing factor was that the film was in a somewhat closed environment, you would chose to see the film, paying to see it - a discrete and definite choice, [with many walking out in disgust]. For a Moslem there are no images of the prophet, it is simply not acceptable for the prophet Mohammed to be represented in human form, Christ is represented in human form, Christ taking human form was the point [“his” actions in the film were the cause of the indignation]. To print images in the general press in full knowledge of this is simply disrespectful and wrong. To reprint them crosses the boundary, there is no defence to such actions by waving the “Freedom of Speech” banner.

The other “news” story which has raised my hackles today is that of David Irving. I admit, I have visited his website and I am appalled. It seems incredible to me that the small minded/pig headed and arrogant can, in the face of the incontrovertible evidence in testimony and written form, deny the holocaust. Arrogance is no excuse, because you don’t want to agree something doesn’t mean it didn’t happen… I can recommend the Judgment of Justice Charles Gray, who described Irving as an anti-Semite, a racist and a neo-Nazi sympathiser who “persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence.”

Whilst the notion of “Freedom of Speech” being an absolute “freedom” is utopian, it simply cannot be the case that it could be a reality in society. Obviously if we were in a utopian society as a notion it wouldn’t be objectionable. Society has tensions; racial, ethnic, class, amongst others and to maintain the fabric of its own existence; must set rules and boundaries. In the same way that you say thank you when someone holds a door open for you there are common courtesies which we should extend to all.

We owe each other a “duty of care”, in the same way that it is assumed that car drivers owe a duty not to drive into other drivers’ society has obligations to protect and to limit disclosure which may be harmful/ distasteful. Whilst Mr Irving and his opinions may be as disrespectful to the Jewish Community [and other victims of the Nazis], as the “Danish Cartoons” are to the Moslem faith, I feel there is a distinction; comment and discussion is fair it is open and transparent, but to simply do something that is not acceptable is simply unconscionable.

I am not seeking to make any comment on the subsequent protests, simply the act of printing the images.

Freedom of speech is not a valid argument for portraying offensive images and/or opinions without fetter, censorship can be good,

So long as speech does not directly incite racial hatred, it must remain free. Without censorship, those minority interests best limited by the “family filter” would be open on the internet [like the cinema and choosing to see a particular film we choose to censor these elements through engaging the filter.]

Spleen vented….

Bird feeder refilled, they’ve been going after the peanuts this week.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

More pictures

having problems with the pictures not adding to the site, so here's a selection from The Deep...

Seduced by the dark side/ seen the light

The opinions vary… seems as though it depends which side of the fence you tend to sit on....
I have decided to leave my present employer and have accepted a job with a firm that acts for insurers and multinational client’s defending personal injury claims.

The opportunity was too good to turn down, a decent pension, an increase in the number of holiday days and a decent salary increase. My decision is referred to as either being “seduced by the dark side”, and I did feel a little Anakin Skywalker moment (without cowl and lightsabre) when I handed my notice in, but subsequent chats with acquaintances with similar employers have left me with the overwhelming impression that I have seen the light – not quite a “Saul on the road to Damascus” revelation or event, but……….. Perhaps there is a mental shift that is taken when a decision is made for a role reversal.

The head of HR is not around until next week, I have asked to leave this employment early, I have requested the end of March as a leaving date, it’s convenient as it’s the end of the holiday year…. And it means I can have three weeks under my belt before leaving to take leave when our second child pushes it's way out of a hole the size of an orange.

If I metamorphose and stark wearing a dark cowl and laying waste to worlds with my lightsabre please let me know….

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Deep

At the weekend Simon and Jackie came to stay, they drove from Bristol and inevitably, despite setting off in good time to reach us for Friday tea time the roads intervened, the M1 was snarled following a crash at junction 28 and so Elspeth was in PJ’s when they arrived. It took a while but she eventually opened her eyes when they talked to her, rather than clench them shut and sit in darkness…

On Saturday we went to The Deep in Hull, we queued, despite not needing to as Sarah is a member [we know that now!] So Sarah has been 3 times this year, annual membership is £22 ish each visit would have been £7.95, so [discounting travel expenses] Sarah is up £1.85. Wow- she’s a real bargain getter!

The Deep is a little bewildering for a 2 ½ year old who just really wants to see penguins, phosphorescent jelly fish and step on the small blue lights that illuminate your path. Regrettably I confused The Deep with the Boston Aquarium (I bet that happens a lot), so no penguins here, they’re in the States. Imagine the upset when at the top of the stairs the large moon jellyfish tank was empty. Fortunately there were moon jellies in the Twilight Zone about ½ way round.

Elspeth likes the well lit areas with the tanks and fish swimming past, she’s not too keen on the darker areas and prefers to be carried around them.

Still we got some great pictures, the lift pauses on the way up the side of the 2 ½ million gallon tank, some of the sharks were asleep, swimming lazily round in circles.

After The Deep we went into Hull and to one of the art Galleries to see the 50th Birthday exhibition of Miffy [the sweet little bunny…] difficult to say the M name without the suffix for some reason.

The display was interesting so far as there was a video running showing how the pictures were created by Dick Bruna –but, to be honest that would not have captivated any of the infants there. Whilst Elspeth could write a post card to Miffy [TSLB], put different coloured tops [blue, red, green and yellow] on a Miffy [TSLB] board, and attend her birthday party the only other thing for the children was a dressing up box.

When we walked in a little chap wearing a cape declared he was superman, not sure whether there was an identity crisis, he was later running around as batman rescuing people. Elspeth had a great time with 2 pink capes. Sarah was very disappointed in the exhibition and the shop, the only Miffy [TSLB] items on sale were baby rattled [blue or pink] or a keyring. Elspeth opted for the key ring. Sarah at least thought they might have books or stickers or something else… she declined the opportunity to make a complaint.
pics to follow...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Is it the weekend, I would like Chololate

Elspeth has a treat at the weekend in that this is the time that we normally allow her to eat chocolate. There are occasions when this rule flexes and she has chocolate at other times, occasionally the chocolate is substituted for some other sweet delicacy, presently Elspeth has a passion for Jelly Babies.

Mid afternoon on Sunday Elspeth asked if it was the weekend and when an answer was given in the affirmative she proceeded to ask, oh so politely, for Chocolate… now to my recollection at the deep she had: a large chocolate disc with 100’s and 1000’s on, a sticky lolly drumstick, and Jelly Babies on her return. The protestations were loud but polite. “Pleeease I’d like so chocolate… I neeeed chocolate… please… etc” you get the picture.

The bird feeder is full.