Monday, 8 June 2020

The People's Protests

Once again, racism against non-white's has exploaded like a pent-up volcano, with hot lava flowing throw the indignant masses, who are sick of the time it takes for political procedures to address their growing anger on the lack of progess being realised in equality for all.


This clearly shows that leaders and politicians have not done enough to address the concerns of Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) groups - not only in the USA and UK, but across the world.

So what have our politicians done to show their concern and understanding? 
It seems that most have metaphorically reached for their petrol canisters, climbed to the top of their official residences and sprayed fuel onto the protester's fires, before continuing to fan the flames through the media. They have then resorted to waving their law books, but quite frankly, there are times when the law is indeed, an 'ass',* when through changes in a society's understanding over time, have brought people to new awarenesses and understandings about the way people behave towards one another. What use is there in a society becoming more enlightened, only to then be held in check by its [often ancient] laws that have truly lost their relevance?

The argument over whether or not Edward Colston's statue should remain on prominent public view in Bristol, with its offencive plaque proclaiming 'a character of virtuous deeds', has apparently been smouldering for about 20 years! What part of a 'no brainer' do those responsible for keeping such a monument in place, not understand? It could rightly have been placed in a museum, with a proper explanation of its removal, years ago.

Here's another virtuous person who gave a lot of money for helping others: Jimmy Savile. Bestowed with the title, 'Sir James Wilson Vincent Savile OBE KCSG' and laid to rest on a Scarborough cliff, facing out to sea, topped with a grand headstone. Well, that was very swiftly removed within days of the story reaching the press about his sexual predatory, paedophile behaviour.

And yet, in both of the above examples, a certain cultural and historical acceptance of such behaviours being 'of their times' were either largely ignored at the time, by the majority, or even accepted as normal activities. Move forward to where we are now, and such behaviours are considered abhorent by society, so much so, that many of these, 'now deviants', have been retroactively hunted down like Nazi war criminals, or the 'witch hunts of McCarthyism, when hundreds of Americans were accused of being "communists" or "communist sympathisers". We blame the past, but limit our action in the present, to properly addressing these issues.

Rather than addressing our new views and beliefs with understanding, and honestly discovering some of the causes, we have a society encouraged to 'be out for blood'; to blame others for, "allowing" these things to happen. We have not become wiser; we have become pious and self-righteous - where those who have not been involved in such activities, or even previously had them in their minds, take the moral high ground, justifying loudly that they have no stray thoughts or debaucheries to declare!

The result of this - and many other spotlights on issues that now come under the tags of 'right', 'wrong' and 'political correctness' - is that we rarely get to talk with the oppressed, openly; to listen to their views, or fully understand why there are problems with the ways we have been carrying on, and what we can really do about them - not in several more years time - but now!

In my opinion, Britain has, over the past 34 years, become a country that has continued to lose faith in both its "experts" and its "politicians". This has largely come about through the dishonesty of self-protection, endemic among those who can hold on to their status through wealth and influence. This is not some 'lefty' comment against right-wing oppressors, but a statement of bi-partisan impartial observation. It's not only the Black, Asian, and minority ethnic societies who are feeling repressed and unheard - it's everyone. From the proletariate to the traditionally privileged middle classes - people want change. The real trouble however, is that many do not know what change they want! Having said that, most know what they feel is inherently unfair, and whoever you are, humans do seem to have an inner sense of justice and when that sense of justice is threatened and it seems to have no voice that will be heard, they feel deep pain, stress, and anguish.

Mahatma Gandhi** is widely cited as saying: "Be the change you want to see." In other words, start to behave towards others, on a day to day basis, as you wish others to behave towards you. Show kindness and a willingness to co-operate with others and stop fighting against everything - whether it be people, diseases, or rights. Stop using confrontational language. Do not immediately take offense or umbrage. Remember the school bullies who did not have the vocabulary to express themselves? If they didn't like you, they just hit you! We all have emotional reactions to things and I am not saying we should simply suppress such feelings. It's how we manage those feelings by yes, accepting them, but also by turning them into something powerful in positive ways.

In our current world experience, many feel disenfranchised. This has not been helped by those wielding their might over others. There are definitely times when burning a bra or toppling a statue does more to bring something into stark focus, than writing a polite letter or email. If people will not be noticed through polite democracy, it is no surprise that eventually, other means will be resorted to. But when this happens, it is not going to help when those in authority insist on resorting to inappropriate or out-dated laws and heavy handedness, leading to arrests and incarceration. When thousands of people come together to protest, they obviously have some valid points to make. It is then beholden for those who have the means, in this case, politicians, to take positive action to address the concerns expressed and not simply fight against them. I believe, for example, that in the case of recent events, the approach taken by the leaders of Bristol, was the right one. How this is followed up of course, remains to be seen

"As a politician, one of your jobs is to understand your country" 
- Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol

If only all people could be as intelligent and eloquent in their use of language, as Marvin:


Conversely, what a shame that Krishnan Guru-Murthy of Channel 4 News and [in other interviews] Home Secretary, Priti Patel, Secretary of State for the Home Department, have to tow their party lines, with no indication of understanding or empathy, for the actions which unfolded.

And surely, if we can be outraged by those who committed historical sex offences, we have an equal right to feel outraged by the practises of a slave trader - regardless of how much money he gave to his city! Which brings me to the very big Elephant in the room - money. How often have we seen those in elevated positions, using their wealth to influence the  outcomes of justice?

In conclusion, I believe we need to come up with much better ways of addressing complaints and upsets in our societies. We have become too used to hollow promises of change only resulting in bureaucratic committees spending thousands or millions of pounds or dollars, taking years to explore every detail, in order to only aportion blame to someone, producing a lengthy report that comments on a few things that went wrong and recommending changes that need to be implemented in some distant futue. Job done - let's move on! But no; it's not 'job done' - it's merely ticking boxes. Normal people at street level know exactly what needs to be done. Things need to be implemented immediately to properly address the very real concerns of so many. And where money is concerned, we now know that our UK Government, at least, can lay its hands on whatever amount of money is needed, when something has to be done. So that's one excuse they can no longer use. Now let's get rid of all their other excuses for not properly addressing inequalities in our society.

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*Charles Dickens:

“It was all Mrs. Bumble. She would do it," urged Mr. Bumble; first looking round, to ascertain that his partner had left the room.

That is no excuse," returned Mr. Brownlow. "You were present on the occasion of the destruction of these trinkets, and, indeed, are the more guilty of the two, in the eye of the law; for the law supposes that your wife acts under your direction."

If the law supposes that," said Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, "the law is a ass — a idiot. If that's the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is, that his eye may be opened by experience — by experience.”


**Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

An Indian lawyer, anti-colonial nationalist, and political ethicist, who employed nonviolent resistance to lead the successful campaign for India's independence from British Rule, and in turn inspire movements for civil rights and freedom across the world.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Time To Examine Your Beliefs About Reality

Most people live their daily lives as part of the 'official line of consciousness' - normal people with normal beliefs and interests, comfortably going along with the status quo, or accepting that things are just the way they are - without ever really questioning life any deeper than the surface they reside on.

Now, in these very different and challenging times, our mental outlook is more important than ever. A friend of mine used to say: "If you can't change your situation, change your attitude." This wasn't meant to be as condescending as it sounds and the advice is basically sound. In addition to this advice, let's look at the metaphysical approach. Whatever you focus your attention on, becomes more apparent in your mind and through 'law of attraction' draws more of the same to it.

In the week previous to writing this post, it occurred to me that some people spend a lot of time in isolation; some we give little thought to, such as those who might spend several months on the ISS (International Space Station). This inspired me to create the image shown below, which I posted on social media:


Since then, two other posts were made, offering suggestions of how to cope and ideas they were given as Astronauts:

Living Life at a Distance

Former Astronauts Share Ways To Cope With Social Distancing & Isolation

Many people say they weren't expecting this pandemic situation and asking 'why didn't anyone know this was coming?' Well, I have news for you: lots of people knew this was coming - including (love him or hate him) Bill Gates:


I asked my Astrology friend, Christine, if she could see what Astrology shows:

"March suggests a completely new cosmic energy as stern Saturn arrives in the innovative sign of Aquarius on the 22nd. Prepare for a challenge, Saturn has not been in this sign since 1994 and it will remain in Aquarius until March 2023. We will all feel the volatile impact of Uranus ruled Aquarius as we question the boundaries we have created in our life and begin the process of restructuring them. Rather than holding on to old habits, we should become more interested in experimenting and breaking free from whatever the status quo has been." - see the full details at Your Guiding Light.

Back in 2000, I attended 'The Field' Conference, in London, organised by Lynne McTaggart. Lynne has always been interested in the connections between spirituality and science and has researched to discover commonalities in both. During the conference, I participated with others, in a 'remote viewing' session. This is something that first gained public attention with the Russians and involves being given an envelope containing coordinates to a specific location, anywhere in the world. Using 'blind' experiments, it was found that a remote viewer could mentally travel to the location and see what was happening there. In the 'Cold War' years, both the Russians and the Americans trained remote viewers to 'visit' and make drawings of locations - often military - and describe what they could see from a distance. A couple of strange things occurred with early experiments: 1) the envelope containing the coordinates didn't need to be opened or seen by the remote viewer and 2) it was realised that remote viewers had to be given a date for the viewing. On one experimental occasion, a remote viewer drew an aerial image of buildings which included 2 big circles. The person who had provided information on the 'target area' said that there were no circular buildings in the location. It wasn't until the researchers examined past photographs of the site, that they realised that several years in the past, there had been 2 large silos on the site.

Anyway, to return to my point. I lay on the floor with about 200 other people, whilst we were guided through a remote viewing exercise. Remember, this was year 2000. Many people already had in mind, the Mayan Prophecy of 2012, where the world could end, or at least change considerably. 21 December 2012 was the end of the 'Mayan Long Count'. Our remote viewer instructed us to go to the year, 2052. I remember thinking, 'that's a bit pointless, if the world ends in 2012'. But anyway, I went along with the instruction.

Population experts had always predicted an exponential growth in the world's human population. At the time, we had just hit 7 billion people on the Earth and now there are 7.8 billion. It seemed inconceivable to many, that this trend would not continue. However, without exception, myself included, the people in the room reported afterwards that the world's population had diminished considerably. We were informed that this remote viewing exercise had been repeated in locations around the world, with the same resultant feedback. What I had personally noticed, were people living together in small communities and special interest groups. In the UK, most were only a little more than hunter-gatherers, but people seemed relatively content. Government had long gone and in America, a reduced governance was in place, but nothing like the current Federal behemoth. I noticed one group of people who were interested in militaria, but they were not interested in invading anyone - they just enjoyed the lifestyle. It seemed in general, that people were getting on well with one another - perhaps appreciating the past, in relation to their current experience, and not wishing to repeat that.

Moving forward, I became very interested in other research, namely that of Graham ['stuff just keeps getting older'] Hancock - an explorer of ancient civilisations with a journalist background, both as writer and broadcaster, who was very interested in the sudden demise of ancient civilisations around the world.



In 1995, he wrote 'Fingerprints Of The Gods' where he first shared his ideas on planetary catastrophe. In 2015, he revisited his findings in more depth and with fresh eyes, in 'Magician's Of The Gods', uncovering strong evidence of a Comet (or part of a Comet) impact that caused almost total annihilation of an advanced human civilisation and many of the Earth's species, between 12,800 and 11,600 years ago.

I attended one of Graham's many book signing events - not only up and down the UK, but also internationally, and found the book to be extremely well written and researched with plenty of cross-referenced evidence. What I have always liked about Graham, is he is not what I call an 'armchair explorer', like most of us. Graham goes out to all the locations he writes about and examines firsthand, the material he is going to write about... and occasionally, some of those places may be modern-day war zones! What surprised me though, wasn't the content of Graham's discoveries, but the bombardment of, quite nasty at times, disparaging comments by mainstream geologists and archaeologists. However, I am pleased to say, that since the publication of Graham's book and many guest appearances on talk shows, scientists and researchers around the world are now admitting, Graham was correct in his assertions.

One of Graham's most striking pieces of evidence was a 10,000 year old site, unearthed by archaeologists in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey, Gobekli Tepe. What makes this site more incredible than most, is that its intricately carved stone circles, once completed, were then physically filled in and hidden by its makers. This is why it has been possible to date the site so accurately - the infill was deposited at the time and not windswept in over many centuries, like most other ancient
monuments around the world. So what's so special about Gobekli Tepe, you might ask? Well, not only is it unique as already described, but it provides detailed information of the cataclysm that took place between 12,800 and 11,600 years ago and predicts that we have once again reached a point in time when this is going to recur. And this from a site that has still only been partially uncovered!

Now, if you had mentioned Coronavirus (COVID-19) a few years ago, it would hardly have got any further in public acceptance than the many science fiction and horror movies exploring similar subjects. So when we now talk about a catastrophe of cosmic proportions - is anyone really going to take this seriously? What a far-fetched piece of scaremongering nonsense!

Since Graham published his discoveries, he has constantly said that organisations, such as NASA, should really be developing more awareness of, and tools to combat, potential near Earth objects (NEAs), so that we can be ready if a Comet, Asteroid, or sizeable space debris, enters our atmosphere and gets through. And it probably won't take anything particularly big to trigger an extinction level event - but its speed and mass on impact, will be devastating.

We already have recorded examples, in our own recent history, of space originating materials entering Earth's atmosphere. The Tunguska event was a large explosion that occurred near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Yeniseysk Governorate (now Krasnoyarsk Krai), Russia, on the morning of 30 June 1908:


Even to this day, nothing has grown back

More recently, we had Shoemaker-Levy 9, first spotted in March 1993 by three veteran comet discoverers: Eugene and Carolyn Shoemaker, and David Levy.

The collisions ended up occurring for a number of days, from July 16 to 22, 1994. 21 separate fragments of the comet smashed into Jupiter's atmosphere, leaving blotches behind. Commentators at the time said, 'this proves that planets can still be hit.'



Some of you may remember the Chelyabinsk meteor - a superbolide that entered Earth's atmosphere over Russia on 15 February 2013.


Certainly another close encounter and a warning shot across our bows.

Anyway, this post is getting a bit long, so I'll stop now. All I am saying in conclusion is, examine your beliefs about the realities you experience. Know that despite what people may tell you, nothing is impossible. We live in an amazing universe and our physical experience goes beyond what most of us understand... and it can change very quickly.





Sunday, 15 March 2020

Coronavirus - An Opportunity Or Temporary Inconvenience?


Do you remember when UK schools were asked if they wanted to opt out of local authority control? For many, this seemed to offer a tremendous opportunity to become autonomous from the restrictions of the National Curriculum. Unfortunately, most of those managing the schools decided, that wasn't the opportunity they were looking at. In the end it came down to managing their own budgets and largely, carrying on as normal, in all other respects! An opportunity for real and meaningful educational change was lost. Education, previously 30 years behind society's changes, was hurled backwards a further 70 years. Stress levels among staff and pupils is now at stratospheric heights and the knock-on effects will remain with society for decades.

The same could be said for Coronavirus (Covid-19). The world has been given a wake-up call. If you think we're being inconvenienced now, what would happen in a full climate crisis? Now don't get me wrong, I'm not a climate activist. However, I do understand that continued mass production, human population expansion, and the raping of Earth's resources, with little concern for sustainability, is not the way to carry on. Using jobs and the benefits of a strong economy as the excuse to create further damage, is not a solution - it's deranged thinking!

The danger of a pandemic is that it is treated like a temporary and inconvenient blip in our otherwise normal carry-on. But this is an opportunity for people to reflect on what's really important? How much an individual really needs for a basic quality of existence? Interesting too, that one of the symptoms of Covid-19 is difficulty breathing. A planetary climate disaster could potentially leave us unable to breathe at all.

Like so many situations of peril, many people do not realise when they are in genuine danger. I'm not talking here about being mentally fearful of things for no good reason, I'm talking about finding yourself in a genuine risk to life situation, when the right action then needs to be taken. A good example of this, is going for a hike and the weather suddenly changing. You have practised, or 'read up on', survival skills, but you cannot quite believe that you are running into a problem. Instead of creating appropriate shelter and keeping warm and protected, you carry on walking. By the time you realise you are cold and the weather is not changing, it is much harder for you to take the action required - potentially leading to hypothermia and death.


We cannot allow ourselves to reach this situation on a global scale and yet, this is where we are on the planet right now. We are carrying on with global and exponential expansion of human business, not fully realising where this is leading. There are things that can be done to improve the situation, but continuing to blindly walk along in the same way, is not the answer. On an individual level, we can visualise the world we would rather be living in; we can visualise countries and their leaders adopting better choices.

"Immediately stop mass-producing things that are not really essential"

Despite what you may say, this collective desire for improvement can and does affect the world and those who inhabit it. At a physical level, we all need to change the we think, as much as the way we live. This does not mean we should return to being hunter-gatherers (although for those who are left, this may be the outcome). However, we can immediately stop mass-producing things that are not really essential. We can stop insisting that everyone has to work and have a job, to survive. We have technology that can environmentally provide many of the things we all need, leaving more time to enjoy being alive in a physical world. Radical societal change is needed. Political ideologies and out-dated business models, need to be put aside and people need to reflect on how they are carrying on.

The new aim should be to give people joy and value fulfilment - not enslavement in unwanted employment, producing unwanted junk, purely for the sake of turning a fast buck.

When enough people in a society lose hope and feel restricted in their ability to enjoy and express life, they create circumstances which  can potentially remove them from the game. Covid-19 is an example of a physical manifestation of human upset.* Similar things have arisen throughout the history of humans on the Earth. The destruction of Atlantis and the catastrophic Comet extinctions, are all examples when humanity has lost control and sight of its true and higher nature.

*When I say, Covid-19 is an example of a physical manifestation of human upset, I am saying that the circumstances for the creation or appearance of Covid-19, are brought into being, initially by the most appropriate means to match the collective emotions - even if someone was inspired to manufacture such a virus which then 'escaped'.

Here are some quotes from Seth. An entity residing outside of the restrictions imposed by our three dimensions and one of time:

“The kinds of diseases change through historical periods. Some become fashionable, others go out of style. All epidemics, however, are mass statements both biologically and psychically. They point to mass beliefs that have brought about certain physical conditions that are abhorrent at all levels. They often go hand-in-hand with war, and represent biological protests.

"Whenever the conditions of life are such that its quality is threatened, there will be such a mass statement. The quality of life must be at a certain level so that individuals of a species—of any and all species—can develop. In your species, the spiritual, mental and psychic abilities add a dimension that is biologically pertinent.

“There simply must be, for example, a freedom to express ideas, an individual tendency, a worldwide social and political context in which each individual can develop his or her abilities and contribute to the species as a whole. …

“More and more, the quality of your lives is formed through the subjective realities of your feelings and mental constructions. Again, beliefs that foster despair are biologically destructive. They cause the physical system to shut down. …

“Such conditions, however, are the results of beliefs, which are mental, and so the most vital work must always be done in that area.”

Seth - The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events, Session 804
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“The dynamics of health have nothing to do with inoculations. They reside in the consciousness of each being. In your terms they are regulated by emotions, desires, and thoughts."

The "Unknown" Reality, Vol. 1, Session 703
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“The facts are that you choose even the KIND of illness that you have according to the nature of your beliefs. You are immune from ill health as long as you believe that you are.”

The Nature of Personal Reality, Session 624
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“The act can be a very simple one. … In health terms, it involves conducting yourself once a day as though you were not sick in whatever way given you. But the belief in the present, reinforced for five minutes, plus such a physical action, will sometimes bring literally awesome results.”

The Nature of Personal Reality, Session 657
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“The inner self always attempts to maintain the body's equilibrium and health, but many times your own beliefs prevent it from coming to your aid with even half of the energy available to it.

“Often only when you are in dire straits do you open up the doors to this great energy, when it is much too clear that your previous beliefs and behavior have not worked.

“You have at your disposal the means to insure your health.”

The Nature of Personal Reality, Session 623
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“However it is your duty, and the duty of every individual insofar as it is within his power, to maintain his own psychic health and vitality; according to the strength of this vitality he will protect himself and others.

“Negative expectations, far from protecting either the individual or those with whom he comes in contact, will actually, to a greater or lesser degree, turn as destructive as any epidemic.”

The Early Sessions, Book 3, Session 143
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“In the medical field, as in no other, you are faced directly with the full impact of your beliefs, for doctors are not the healthiest, but the least healthy. They fall prey to the beliefs to which they so heartily subscribe. Their concentration is upon disease, not health.”

The Nature of Personal Reality, Session 659
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“The naming and labeling of ‘diseases’ is a harmful practice that to a large extent denies the innate mobility and ever-changing quality of the psyche as expressed in flesh. You are told that you have ‘something.’

“Out of the blue ‘it’ has attacked you, and your most intimate organs, perhaps. You are USUALLY told that your emotions or beliefs or system of values have nothing to do with the unfortunate circumstances that beset you.

“The patient, therefore, often feels relatively powerless and at the mercy of any stray virus that might come along. The facts are that you choose even the kind of illness that you have according to the nature of your beliefs. You are immune from ill health as long as you believe that you are.

“These are quite practical statements. Your body has an over all body consciousness filled with energy and vitality. It automatically rights any imbalances, but your conscious beliefs also affect this body consciousness. Your muscles believe what you tell them about themselves. So does every other portion of your physical body.

“While you believe that only doctors can cure you, you had better go to them, because in the framework of your beliefs they are the only people who can help you.

“But the framework itself is limiting; and again, while you may be cured of one difficulty, you will only replace it with another as long as your beliefs cause you to have physical problems.”

The Nature of Personal Reality, Session 624
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You can denounce this blog as utter rubbish, but if this is your belief, then unlike me, you have not researched deeply and broadly. Since our individual realities are quite different, all I will end with is the famous, Spock from Star Trek, sign off... 'live long and prosper'.




Friday, 11 October 2019

Climate Change - We must now try some radical solutions

'There Goes The Neighbourhood'
by Mike Gentle
Whatever your beliefs about climate change on planet Earth, it is clear that humanity cannot continue on its present path of consumerist expansion and consumption of the Earth's resources. Although the Earth will survive humankind, and doesn't itself need saving, we on the other hand probably do!

Piecemeal actions of recycling waste, not using plastic food packaging, plastic straws, or disposable cups, is simply missing the point entirely. You have to begin at source. Like an illness, patching the symptoms is never going to address the causes. Put a plaster on one area and before long you'll need another plaster somewhere else. Once we have 'burnt our underwear' and come out to fight on the streets, it serves little purpose to carry on doing more of the same. People like Greta Thunberg periodically remind us that we cannot continue to be complacent, and social media can certainly capture the mood of worldwide peoples to jump on popular bandwagons. But then we need real action at higher levels than street protests. We need the protesters not only to shout 'enough is enough' - we need them to expound realistic solutions, too. It is true that, as someone said, 'a strongly worded email' is hardly going to have the same effect as masses demonstrating on the streets - even though the values of our democracy would prefer it if we did write a nice 'middle class' letter of, 'yours very irate, from Boston'.

So let's grab the nettle and ask sincerely, 'where is all this problem coming from?'

The short answer is mass production and over consumption. And I mean everything from the mass destruction of forests and factory farming slaughter of animals, to the manufacture of ever more vehicles and single-use items that quickly become waste.

If you make something, you might begin by supplying a need and find that you then have to expand to meet increasing demand. But very soon, after investing in your production, you are having to create a need, in order to sustain your position and encourage further growth. At this point, you are creating waste, rather than any real benefit - and don't start lecturing me on how it's now about creating wealth through providing more worker's with jobs. It's time to get out of the mentality that everyone needs to work hard and suffer, in order to live in reasonable comfort. We are in a position in the world where we can produce many things with ease and do not need everyone to be involved in the process.

Stop all unnecessary production

One solution would be to immediately stop the mass manufacture of anything that is not really essential to our lives. It may actually be useful for us to wrap some food in plastic, but perhaps pretty pointless manufacturing plastic toys. Politicians worldwide will do little or nothing until perhaps, we reach a point where disaster strikes... and then for many, it will certainly be too late. Historically, in western societies, the only things that motivate people on mass, to come together in unison, are the death of a much loved celebrity, the loss of an historic building, a major famine, or a military war on home ground. Don't leave it up to individual people, living essentially normal mainstream lives, to take the lead. Our consumer-based society is set up in a way that if something is available, someone will always oblige by buying it. If it's not available, we make do with alternatives.

Of course, to suggest banning certain types of manufacture also implies a loss of work, which in turn implies a loss of income for many people involved in those jobs. My suggestion is as complex as also saying we need to reform personal, public, and freight transportation, health care, and state education. To give this any hope of being achievable, we must also encourage cooperation with others, rather than this ridiculous persistence of applauding a 'survival of the fittest' attitude, where value is only bestowed on first place winners, and assessing everyone based on worth is decided by a minority of leaders who think they know best.

At every stage, we encourage our societies to be fearful of lack and envious of monetary wealth and celebrity status. Instead, we could put proper thought and resources into balanced growth and sustainable development. Most people want to experience a sense of fairness and justice, surrounded by beautiful environments that feed their souls, but rather than seeing this better picture of our world in our mind's eye, we look at what we have created and rail against it - not actually making things better, but attracting more of the same, leaving us feeling worse.

When I say fairness and justice, many might retort with the cliché, 'the world is not fair' and justice is personal based on the individual's beliefs and desires. But I am always happy to see someone better off than me, enjoying their life, without feeling it's unfair. It's the same difference as equality and equal opportunity. We aren't all equal, but we can feel that we should be able to access opportunities for our own growth and value fulfilment. In many ways, if everyone did, or wanted, the same things, the world might seem to become a boring place to be. But there is plenty for everyone if you don't try and keep it all for yourself.

When she was only about 8 years old, my daughter regularly thrashed me at the game, Monopoly. Within the hour, she'd be turning her houses into hotels, right across the board. Eventually, I had to point out to her that the game would now have to end, since I had no more resources to play the game with her. So in effect, we both ultimately became losers. The joy of winning is comparatively short-lived and if you keep taking, no one will be able to, or want to, play with you anymore.

The way we treat our planet is like a bunch of youths smashing up a children's playground for fun and without any thought for the feelings of others, or for what it might take to restore what was broken. As I say in my book, 'What Do You Think?' "Do you really want to trash the playground?" Other people want to enjoy their time in physical reality, long after you've left it.

In a society driven by targets and avarice, how many times have we heard reports of companies that failed to make a bigger profit than the year before, and everyone is suddenly upset? Surely, a profit is still a profit! Why have we permitted, through various loopholes of legislation, multinational businesses to trade tax free? Perhaps one reason is that companies and individuals don't want to pay into a black hole of central government, where money is squandered on lengthy debates and expenses. Perhaps, instead of receiving a tax bill for money, they are instructed to 'adopt' a town or community, and pay the equivalent of 'owed taxes' into that. Make it personal. Give them a plaque or a statue, if it helps make them feel acknowledged publicly. This would be a modern-day equivalent of some Victorian factory owners providing houses for their workers. There's nothing wrong with a bit of altruism and quid pro quo.

Manage our own waste

No country should be allowed to send its waste to another country. This to me ranks alongside feeding animals the offal from their own species. If we're going to accept this behaviour, let's can the remains of dead humans and serve them up with chips!

I don't particularly want to live in an arid desert without home comforts and some of the material things that make my life easier or more enjoyable, but I don't see the need for the vast range of choice we are given, with several companies not only competing with each other, but competing with themselves - producing several variations of a similar product. We have to accept that competition to produce more variations en masse, cannot be sustainable in our present physical environment, the Earth, resulting in more waste to get rid of. 

A move to cooperation and 'sharing nicely'

Here's a suggestion: Amalgamate everyone from each industry sector and produce one or two really good [needed] items, instead of 7,000 different items that all essentially do the same and then end up in landfill. So what? if that reduces customer choice. How many different can openers do we need to open a tin without a pull ring?

Change the way we work

Stop insisting that everyone has to work. Pay people to stay in their own communities - cut down on needless travelling each day, to work several miles from their homes. Remove the need to maintain a wardrobe of work clothing. Remove unnecessary congestion from the roads. Whether worked for or not, people will still put their money back into the economy. Get rid of set hours. Just say that certain things need to be completed in reasonably required time frames and trust workers to manage their own timetables for completing their tasks.

Regain a personal connection with nature

We have become so complacent with the success of our protected home environments and reliance on the services of others, that we have lost contact with the very world that supports us. For a year, between March 2002 and April 2003, I moved out of a rented house and bought a caravan, locating it in a farmer's orchard. Although it took a few weeks to get used to the remote location, reduced space, and complete darkness at night, unless the Moon was visible, I quickly realised how little I needed to live comfortably. Having to manage everything, from water and waste, to cooking and heating, really brought home to me what I had normally taken for granted in a house made of brick. Let's face it, many of us have become so molly-cuddled in our well-ordered lives, that if the electricity or water goes off for more than thirty minutes, we think we're back in the Second World War! 

Some might say that going for walks, or having country holidays, can connect us more with nature, and this is true. Others have gardens or allotments and grow their own vegetables. But living away from the amenities of a regular house also makes us face and understand some things differently - not least about our self. Indeed, a few years ago, I went off fairly regularly, in a self-converted campervan, getting together and meeting with other people in fields and woods - sharing conversation and fire-cooked food. Although I currently, once again, live in bricks and mortar, I have an appreciation for what it takes to survive in other situations and I try not to take my circumstances for granted. We can all benefit from understanding how much we depend on our natural world, its abundant giving, and the way it feeds our bodies, minds and souls.

Move into eco-friendly sustainability


We have many options now, on alternative energy production and natural materials for building sustainable and affordable rentable and purchasable housing. Government needs to positively encourage a move towards smaller, wooden, flat-pack style systems and move away from expensive brick and stone. There are more alternative ways of generating power and wave energy, often dismissed, has been proven to be viable but just needs proper investment. Solar power can still help on individual houses.


Change the way we educate our children

Let children play more. Base them at home. Make schools resource centres. Trust that young children, teenagers, and adults, naturally want to find things out; want to learn and discover. Okay, have some mandatory time in designated lessons in those resource schools, to get to grips with the essential basics required to manage living in your society, but then have bookable drop-in sessions, covering every subject on offer. You still have professional and knowledgeable teachers, and resources that cannot be provided at home, but you have developing trust in the community that more openness and freedom will provide the environment where people want to develop their skills and understanding. Stop being afraid that society will become apathetic and spiral into violent anarchy. 

A friend once said to me: "If something isn't working - stop doing it!" And don't try to convince me that our current education system in the UK is working. It's a fucking disaster zone! We quite literally have reached a point where we have nothing to lose and only something new and exciting to gain.

Look. Realistically, I cannot give you all of the necessary detail of the things I have flagged up in a short blog and I know, in places, it jumps around a bit. But I'm not writing this for you to pull me apart on every shortcoming and missed detail. I simply state here, there are other ways to reach solutions for our perceived problems, but they are far more radical than our leaders are willing to entertain. To use another cliché, it's time to 'think outside the box'. It's also time to be much braver about taking risks with 'how things have always been'. You might complain about changes I have touched on if they started to be implemented, but at least you might be alive to try them. If we do not try a different approach, most of the populations of humans on this planet, to be quite frank, will not be here to argue the toss!



Friday, 14 July 2017

19 Days of Chicken Sitting

Back in May 2017, some good friends asked if I would be interested in house sitting for them - and looking after their hens. They live in a very old and delightful house, slightly remote and deep in the countryside of West Yorkshire. I have always enjoyed sitting in their gardens, drinking tea or beer and often thought how nice it would be to 'live in a place like this'. I therefore accepted their request and said I would take on the second two weeks while they were away, abroad. Another friend of their's was allocated the first two weeks and their son stepped in to cover the weekend, in the middle, when the rest of us would also be away. By the time we all started our house sitting duties, there were, in addition to the main hens and cockerel, four new chicks to watch over.

Throughout this blog, comments in {brackets} are my silent thoughts. My general commentary is in green. Names of people have been changed to letters or Owners, to preserve privacy.

Sunday 25 June

The hens were in their hutch and the mother and chicks were in their barrel, fenced in. A simple matter of closing the hutch door.

Monday 26 June

All hens and chicks present and correct. Let out the cockerel and 2 hens.

Tuesday 27 June

Mr Owner: Hopefully the four chickens are still extant along with cockerel and a couple of hens? I forgot to empty the two dustbins of hen house clearings so asked AA to fetch another empty bin up [from the garden].

R: When I took over from AA, there were 2 orange hens and the cock and one white hen with 4 now quite big chicks.


AA excommunicated the cat! He said I shouldn't encourage it, so although it's been back, apart from stroking it, I've not fed it or let it back in the house. If you'd like to overturn that decision, I will look after it again.

Wednesday 28 June

Mr Owner: Please yourself about the cat. Mrs Owner likes it; AA complained that, like the cockerel, it woke him up!


R: I talk to the cat and stroke it. {I don't know its name, and since it's another thing around the garden, I call it 'Cat feature'.} I've also been talking to the hens and the cockerel and they've been behaving quite well. {Apart from being in a seed trough!}


Thursday 29 June

I spent most of the day pruning shrubs, trees and hedges. I also ate and picked raspberries.


I cleaned out the hen house and chicken's barrel and gave the chicks new, soft hay bedding.

Friday 30 June

R: The hens are all okay, as of tonight. I cleaned out the hutch and the little barrel, yesterday and put fresh material in (the wood shavings for the hutch and some hay for the little ones). The cat's okay too. I've started giving it a bit of food outside the kitchen in the morning, but not letting it in because I don't want to lose it in the house if I pop out anywhere. {For goodness sake, Cat feature - leave me alone for 5 minutes!}


Saturday 1 July

Mr Owner: Glad to hear chickens still living. {You're not the only one!}

Sunday 2 July

R: How big do the chicks need to be, before they can go free range? - or is it better to keep them in their pen until you get back? - it's only another week and a bit, I suppose. I was wondering which plants I could poke through for them - without killing them with something poisonous. I know they like chick weed, but I've not seen any of that.

Monday 3 July

I let out the cockerel and hen, this morning - gave them corn. Fed the chickens. Made sure they all had water. The cockerel and hen proceeded to roam free around the gardens.



Mr Owner: The chickens were LEFT free range! Free to roam with the mother hen. she should be taking them into the hen house at night by now; that little wire enclosure must be a right mucky mess by now. Perhaps BB fastened them into it 'to keep them secure'? Are they still sleeping in the barrel? If so, after dark take them out and put them into the hen house, but leave the window and the exit whole open so the cockerel can accept them without annoyance at being put-upon; then the next night they may make their way into the house on their own. If you can catch the chicks and put them in, {yeah, right} the mother hen will follow on her own, but leave the exit open. {Not sure that's a good idea}  Also, window fully open for air. Wow! Have they still been confined to that little pen all this time? {Sorry, didn't realise... feel a bit bad, now} BB being extra careful re foxes? Will hopefully start new system re chicks in future.

R: Ah, right. I don't know who locked them in. When you first gave me the hen and chicken tour, you said that's where they were being kept. Mind you, over the last week, the chicks have started to become what all hens eventually become - great escape artists! A few days ago, one got out and this morning, 2 welcomed me on the wrong side of the wire.

R: I have been keeping the chicks barrel dry and refreshed, but I will let them out now. I was closing the cockerel and 2 hens' door at night and leaving their window half open. As per your new instructions, I will leave the window open fully and also leave the door open, from now on. {Still don't think the door open at night is a good idea.} I had thought they needed to be closed in at night, in case of the fox, but I suppose the fox doesn't have a clock or a watch, and could come at any time of day!

Mr Owner: Sorry, my fault. I thought I had made it clear to AA and BB that the four with the mother hen had been wandering free for some time! Also I had ceased to lock up the big ones from well before we left! That one night I locked them in, because of the crowing annoying AA, was the time I was severely pecked! {I'd thought he had put the cockerel back into the hutch and shut the door.}The fox took the hens and the new little chicks that had taken to living in the front garden, which was a shame!  Leave them all free to roam, but if you see ANY of them out of the bottom garden and on the lane, or going into the field, usher them rapidly back up. {Ooops!}


It used to be people with dogs out of control who were more of a problem than were foxes, in the old days, otherwise enjoy the change. Hopefully the cockerel will not peck the new entrants to the house.

R: The hen and chickens have had a nice day, today. 

It always surprises me that the hens not only find their way back to the hutch, but actually start roosting on the perches while it's still daylight. Bedtime seems to be around 5 pm. I shut the hutch door at 6 pm - just in case they wanted to come out again for a while beforehand.


R: I've left the hutch door open, but not entirely sure about leaving it open overnight re the Fox potential... but I'll give it a go. When I used to keep hens [when I was around 15 years old] , I always closed their hutch at night. The funny thing is that your cockerel and hens have seemed quite content to be closed in until 8:30 each morning - and I haven't been pecked yet.

Tuesday 4 July

R: There seems to be one of the two golden hens missing today. The Cockerel is walking around with just one. The cat's vanished too!


R: I don't think he liked the other one much, as he kept chasing her off. No sign of any struggles or feathers anywhere, so she may have hidden somewhere. I'll let you know if she suddenly turns up. All the others, hen and 4 chicks, are fine.

Mr Owner: Funny for cock to be chasing one of them; have they plenty of access to water as well as food - do chicks now live in hen house? {No they don't - I'm still not sure how to get them in.}

R: They have plenty of food and water. I think I should close the hen house door tonight. Rounding up the chicks isn't the easiest thing... and we've had a bit of cheekiness going off with some of the livestock around here.

R: Do you think it will be okay to shut everyone in the hen house tonight, together? I don't suppose the cockerel will have a go at the chicks - they seem to mingle quite well when roaming free.

Mr Owner: Mrs Owner says hen house door should be shut at night. Leave window fully open. {That's what I thought. When I used to keep hens, I always locked them in at night and let them out in the morning.}

R: Yes, I've done that tonight. I am still trying to get the chicks and hen to be in a position to add them...

Mr Owner: You are the best judge as to what to do, being on the spot. My feeling is that, if the chicks are NOT staying in the hen house at night, then the big cockerel should be free to come and go to protect them at all times. {Oh dear, I've upset him now.}

R: I will do my best. Any time I cannot get them into the hen house, I will lock them into their barrel run. Either way, all of them are let out in the morning to roam free. {Still feel I've been told off, but this chicken lark isn't straight forward.}

Wednesday 5 July

I couldn't see the golden hen and the cockerel seemed to be on his own, every now and again, crowing. After an hour of typing, I heard rustling and scratching in the garden; looked out to see the cockerel, and then, a little way to his right, the previously missing hen.

R: Well, yesterday, not only did I lose a hen, but I lost the cat - didn't see either all day. Started writing the epitaph for the hen... However, on a brighter note, there were 2 eggs in the hen house, after nothing laid all week. (AA had told me they had stopped laying by the time he arrived).

R: Suddenly, the cat returned... and so did the hen, who I am now naming after a great women explorer, aptly named, Isabella Bird.


R: I am calling the other hen, Annie Peck.


R: Isabella Lucy Bird, married name Bishop FRGS, was a nineteenth-century English explorer, writer, photographer, and naturalist. With Fanny Jane Butler she founded the John Bishop Memorial hospital in Srinagar.

R: Annie Smith Peck was an American mountaineer. She lectured extensively for many years throughout the United States, and wrote four books encouraging travel and exploration.

R: The Cockerel welcomed her back, by giving her a good ticking off.

R: Incidentally, I'm going to have to do a re-write of a well-known poem by Edward Lear. Already got the name, after dropping the whole Owl thing:

'The Hen and the Pussy Cat'.

The Hen and the Pussy Cat went to see
a beautiful pea green field
They took some seed, and plenty of bread
Wrapped up with a sword and a shield.
The Hen looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!

I might need help with the other verses.

Mr Owner: Glad to hear hen has returned. Cat is a nuisance.

R: The white hen and her chicks are being a bit annoying and keep going into the field by the double gate where you drive in to park your car. I had to pop out this morning, only to discover them, this side of the field hedge, on the other side of the track - but I couldn't stop to try chasing them. When I returned, they were still there, so I herded them back under gates. I have had words with them all, and for a while they behaved. But later, they returned to the field by the gates - what seems to be their favourite spot, in long grass beneath a shady tree.


Thursday 6 July

Mr Owner: The hens/chicks are not going to last long if they are consistently on the lane! Too many dogs come along. Ah well. {I'm being told off again, but what does he expect, when the hens are free range with no barriers!}

R: I will keep chasing them back.

R: After turning up the other day, the missing hen went missing again. This morning there were feathers all over the lawn. I guess Isabella met her Waterloo this time. {Bit of a disaster, really - but no real surprise. I looked everywhere for her and never found where she had been hiding out.}


Friday 7 July

Mr Owner: Do your best to see that the four chickens stay round the back R, or they will be gone as well - especially at night, obviously, and early in the morning; that is why they should now be living in the hen house with the cockerel and being fastened in. If they survive I will have to wire off the back garden from where the dog kennel is I think. {I'm still trying to work out how to get the chicks and mother into the main hen house. Mr Owner is starting to get impatient with me.}

R: {Feeling a bit on the defensive.} I think this is what you have to accept when everyone is free range. Hens don't understand boundaries, unless you put them in their way. The chicks stayed in the garden yesterday, partly because I gave them a bit of my old brown bread. Every time they were edging to the drive, and saw me, they followed me back for a bit more bread. (I don't give them much bread, as I'm not sure if it's good for them to have too much). It became a bit Hitchcock's, 'The Birds', as they started to perch on the garden seat outside the cottage and heads appeared at the window.


R: Can you tell me how you normally get the new ones into the hen house? I'm really not sure of the method. If I try to catch the mother hen and push her through the door, she will just come out again. I don't want to upset them by chasing them.

Mr Owner: I thought we had covered everything re the hens and chickens! {Oh dear - he's really annoyed with me now!} The young ones are still at an age where they need a proper meal in the mornings. When you buy your bread, buy a loaf for them and some milk. Make them a meal of bread and milk and mix some of the small bird seed in it. Feed them that in the mornings, fresh. Any not eaten, scrape into compost feed outside kitchen window, in front of garage, or if they stay up there, outside observatory. {I remember him telling me about the bread and milk, now. Ooops!}I thought you had put them into hen house a while ago - are they still living in the barrel? {Yes, they are still in the f**king barrel!} When cock and hen(s) have retired to perches, lift up barrel and pick up the chicks and put them into the house through the door, {yeah, right - that sounds easy - not!} with the bolt having first shut the little door. Forget the mother hen; she will make her own way in. {You really think so? And the chicks by that time will have run back out!} You may have to repeat the manoeuvre and it is best well after they have all settled for the night. If chicks are following you for bread, they are OBVIOUSLY hungry. {Another telling off.}BB was feeding them all day on and off. {Bugger. BB's better at this job than I am.} Also, the cock and hens. I would take a cup of corn about with me and the cock would ask for it if not enough food where they were. {Slave to the chickens.} I have obviously been remiss, but I thought you had experience with fowl. {Yes, I kept 14 hens between my ages of 14 and 16. It was a long time ago, and unlike yours, I fenced mine into a big run.} Please see there is water in all places they frequent. {Yes, there is.}They will all tend to stay where they are fed most, but if those four chickens have survived up to now, despite wandering into the lane... If you feel up to it, use the wire netting that comprised their little coup enclosure  to cover the little wooden gate and brown painted antique metal fence that crosses to the garage from the dog kennel. The cockerel will not be pleased and they have all got used to eating opposite the kitchen window, but explain to them, that into all lives, some rain must fall.  Pick up chicks, two at a time, to move all food/water tins up to outside kennel? {I might be able to do some fencing, but I won't be picking anyone up.}

R: {Trying to calm the situation and act nonchalantly and in control.} Okay, that's all fine. I do feed the hens and the chicks throughout the day, {on the defensive, again} mainly near the kitchen area, as you originally mentioned, and I have placed water all around the gardens, and by the garage, and AA (I think) created a big drinking trough for them to the left of the big shed, fed by a hose from the barrel, so I keep checking it is topped up. I also make sure there is corn in the tin tray at the big shed, which they mostly eat in the mornings. {That should have sufficiently validated my competence!}

R: All the hens and chicks have been having a lovely time and finding all sorts of exciting grubs in different parts of the garden and if I'm outside they come and sit under my feet. {Trying in vein to show that they probably don't need too much extra food.} I will give them additional bread and milk. None of them wandered into the track today. I can put some wire on the gates, as you suggested, as you may get more chicks in the future, so it will be good for them, too. {Later had a look at the fencing situation, but haven't needed to do anything, as chicks behaving better.}

Saturday 8 July

I prepared some bread and milk for the chickens and went up to let everyone out. The cockerel immediately went for the chicken's food, instead of doing his usual, and running in the opposite direction to get his grain. Despite an attempt to fend him off, he was determined to get his way, so I cursed and left. I'm really going to have to move the chickens tonight.

Mr Owner: Thank you. {Oh, good. I'm back in favour.} The doves and big hens like the sunflower seeds and you may feed the chicks from the cereal packets if there is any cereal left. When they wander afar, they are searching for food. {Okay - point taken. I've learnt something.}

Everyone seemed settled and quiet by about 8 pm. I walked towards the chickens, only to see that a pigeon had got into their wire encased enclosure. As I approached, it started flapping. Without thinking, I went to rescue it. This woke up the hen and all the chickens started coming out. The cockerel, hearing the commotion, suddenly appeared at his door and walked down the ramp. For f**ks sake! Mission aborted. I returned 30 minutes later, after normality had resumed, and shut the hen house door. The term 'crest fallen' doesn't apply only to hens. 

Sunday 9 July

I have decided, that today is definitely going to be chicken moving day.


I let the cockerel and hen out and then fed the chicks some bread and milk mixture, in their pen - so that the cockerel wouldn't try getting it - like the morning before.



Around 10 am I went to buy more bread and milk. I returned to my house and put the milk in the fridge and a note to remind me, on the table. At about 12:30 pm I put everything I needed in the van and drove back to check on the hens. Having arrived, I suddenly realised, I'd got the bread, but had left the milk in the fridge at home! At least I have a bit of my own milk left I can give them.



I went up to the chicken pen and cleared anything that would stop me covering the barrel's entrance and lifting it from its position. 





I then had to come up with an idea for opening the big hutch door, without the cockerel and hen, who perch right in front of it, flying out, over the top of the barrel whilst I'm holding it in position. I thought about trying to raise the wire mesh upwards from the front of the barrel, but in the end, decided to cover the doorway with chicken wire - allowing it to be clipped on and off, as I don't suppose Mr Owner wants me to leave it there as a permanent fixture.



First, I needed a bit of wire. Mr Owner had some spare wire curled around inside the main chicken enclosure. I worked out that I could reach in with some cutters and then pull out a piece of the right size, without dismantling the run. In the process, I noticed some red appearing on the back of my right hand. I had managed to catch my skin on a bit of the sharp cut wire. I dabbed some kitchen roll on my hand and carried on.


I managed to produce a nicely fitting wire door, within the limits of the big closing door. I cut a hole for the barrel entrance area and folded in any sharp bits of wire, so no chickens would get caught on anything. Everything was now ready for the evening.




I crept towards the hen house and chicken run, carefully lifted the mesh gate and dropped it in front of the barrel. I then returned to the hen house and closed the little door. Everything was now in place. I lifted the barrel and mesh and carried everything to the hen house. I opened the big door and thrust the barrel towards the wire, removing the barrel mesh at the same time. The cockerel and hen looked a bit put out and no one would come out of the drum. I gave it a little shake and one chick walked out, eventually followed by mother and one more chick. The last two chicks were determined to stay put. Another few gentle shakes and they were all in. The cockerel had dismounted from his perch and was now scratching up the extra bedding I'd put in a far corner for the chicks. I withdrew the barrel and shut the big door. After quite a kerfuffle and much wing flapping, the hens began to accept their new group situation. I returned a few minutes later, when all was quiet, and some of the chicks were actually on the perch with the cockerel.

Monday 10 July

Today's big question is: 'Will the chicks go back into the hen house tonight?'

It was raining when I got up. I let out the hens and fed them. Today was going to be lawn cutting day, but it was looking unlikely, with the weather. However, there was a possibility of it drying up later. 

The hens were all over the place again! I've given up trying to be in control - it's impossible.

Fortunately, the rain stopped and the ground dried a bit. I went to check on the hen house. They were all inside, on the perch. What a relief. I shut the door. I could now mow the lawns.

I started mowing at about 7 pm. The petrol driven rotary mower was excellent and quite a recent purchase. I even had an optional power drive assist to the rear wheels - very useful when going up inclines. It was still quite demanding work and certainly got me sweating. By the time I had cut 6 of the 7 lawn areas, most of my clothes were wet with perspiration. However, the results looked good and I was glad I'd managed it. I gave the mower a clean all around and underneath and returned it to the garage.

Tuesday 11 July

I'm so glad I cut the lawns the night before. It's raining again today. In fact, it was still raining beyond 8:45 pm. I let the hens out and after eating, they began their daily foraging. I fed the cat and returned to my bit of the house.


Later, feeling a bit sorry for the cat, I decided to try and improve its sleeping area. Currently, it was just an open shelf area in an old kitchen unit, outside, below the main house kitchen window. I looked around for a cardboard box and eventually found a suitable one in the garage - not being used for storage. I shook out the cat's blanket and discovered it was on top of an old canvas bag for extra padding. The bag fitted perfectly (no pun intended) and once the blanket was on top, I placed the box in the open cabinet. It was an exact fit to the sides, and left about 5 inches of space at the open end. This would keep the cat warmer at night and also protect it from any further rain.


At about 6:30 pm, I went to shut the hen house. The cockerel was perching on his own!

'Where are your hens and the chicks?' I asked. 'I thought you were looking after them.' He looked at me with a nonchalance that was like a person shrugging their shoulders. I went off to look for them and discovered the chicks at the other side of the house, now huddled by a bush near the front door. 

'What are you all doing here?' I asked. 
I went and got some corn in a plastic tub and started to shake it, whilst calling to them to follow me. It was quite a distance to the hen house and normally, they start following me, but after about 20 feet, they lose interest. To my relief, I managed to get them all the way to the front of the hen house, by which time, the cockerel had come out to see what was happening. He initially looked at me accusingly, as if I was doing something to his hens. But I quickly put him right.

'Here you are Mr Cockerel. It's up to you to get them inside, now.' And I walked away.

I returned 30 minutes later, and everyone was inside. I shut the little door and left.

Wednesday 12 July

As per usual, I spent a few times, throughout the day, trying to herd the chicks back into the garden. This time they were in another part of the farmer's field, in long grass, scratching about and sunbathing. I made several attempts to encourage them to follow me and after about half an hour, managed to get a couple of them all the way to the garden side gate, adjoining the field. However, getting them through the gate wasn't going to happen. I gave up and closed the gate. A few hours later, they were all back in the garden again - pestering me for food and pecking at my shoes. I made them bread and milk with some grain.


At about 6:30 pm, I went to see if everyone was in the hen house. What a relief to find them all inside. I tried to count them, but it was hard to see through the air vent mesh. I went to the egg box door and tried counting from there. Not an easy task, as you'll see. I have no idea how they manage to perch in a bunch like that! It's like being given a mansion-sized bedroom and choosing to sleep in a closet.


Thursday 13 July

My last day of hen and chicken sitting. In the morning, I had to go to an exhaust centre for a new rear silencer. The job took them longer than anticipated, but it didn't matter, as I had taken a portable seat and read my book, across the road under some trees, as I had done on a previous occasion.


By the time I returned to the hens, at about 12:20 pm, I was pleased to discover they weren't on the track or in the farmer's field. However, they didn't appear to be anywhere else, either. This was the day of the owners' return and I wanted everyone to behave. After a brief search, I came across the cockerel and his hen, but no sign of the mother and chicks, so I talked to the cat for a while. He was asleep in his new cardboard box bed, but meowed at my arrival. Normally, he follows me around wherever I go, but the box was certainly keeping him in check. (As any cat lover knows, cardboard boxes make excellent cat traps - wish I'd thought of this a few days ago). 


I started doing a bit more garden trimming and pruning. Everything done in the previous week was rapidly growing again, having had sun followed by 2 days of rain and now sun, again. After a while, the chickens turned up and began following me around as I pruned. I gave them a bit more food throughout the rest of the afternoon, and I was hoping they would behave and stay in the house garden areas. Fortunately, they all behaved perfectly and didn't stray onto the track or into any fields. By the time the owners returned, the chickens and hens were happily scratching around the gardens, the cat was lying neatly on the garden bench, and all vestiges of the week's earlier chaos and feeding in all the wrong places, had disappeared. The owners arrived back to a hot and sunny scene of perfect tranquility.