Archive for September, 2012

News or Silly Season?

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

The term ‘silly season’ is normally applied to the summer months when Governments are in recess and fewer political stories make the headlines so other sources of news have to be found. However, I think it can also be used during the Conference season when political parties and other organisations announce their cunning plans for the next year. This week we have the Lib Dems, suffering from their slide down the polls and some latest approval ratings for Nick Clegg showing as little as 25%. I am interested to see how his big speech will be received during Conference but prior to Conference Mr. Clegg was doing the rounds with paper and television interviews.  So, I will talk a little about Mr. Clegg. I will not cover ‘that’ apology, please not the apology. So many have already spoken that I don’t need to add any words to this latest piece of ill-advised tomfoolery.

I want to cover Mr. Clegg’s assertion that part of the economic recovery has to come from movement on property, that is,  getting younger people on the property ladder. Saving for deposits is hard when all our bills seem to increase month on month and banks providing many hoops and hurdles to clear before lending thus the market is still slow. Mr. Clegg’s answer to this? Parents and grandparents can ‘draw’ on their pension pots to help provide the deposits for their children/grandchildren. Hmmm. Aren’t we being consistently told that it is our responsibility to save for our old age?  Fewer and fewer of us will have a final salary pension, stakeholder pensions are the reality for most of us. The State Pension age is increasing; I know that a State Pension at 60 is a dream long since passed for me. Most people my age do make calculations on when they can afford to retire and how little they will have to live on when they do. I do and will continue to save for my pension and am lucky in the approach my employer takes. I will never be rich, I reconciled myself to that many years ago but I hope to manage and think that is the best that the majority can hope for. So, raiding what I have saved even for my lovely children is not an option I will take. They can have all that remains when my clogs are popped but until then I will hold on to what I have.

I have often thought that the mark of a really clever politician is being able to present an unpalatable idea in a plausible manner, to sell an idea that doesn’t always make sense. You don’t have to admire their policy but you can give a nod to their skill. By this definition I do not consider Mr. Clegg to be a clever politician.

I  now move to a story that some may think firmly lies under the Silly Season umbrella but made me smile. It is the story of the Canadian dentist who has travelled back to Ireland to see if he can find the woman he briefly spoke to a year ago. They exchanged a couple of sentences at a small cafe in County Clare and she has been in his head and perhaps his heart ever since. I am a completely romantic sop, I admit that freely. A brief encounter story makes me smile. You may think him daft, I think he is taking a chance, that chance that you don’t want to live to regret. I applaud him and hope that even if he doesn’t meet that girl of his dreams that he will know that at least he tried.  The link to the story is here and I hope you take the time to read it and it makes you smile too – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-19685982

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

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September 24, 2012 at 11:34 am 4 comments

Temptation?

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

Temptation is one of those delicious words. These days it conjures up naughtiness, wicked but in a ‘Carry On’ way. We apply the word to that sneaky bar of chocolate or a slice of cake. We don’t often consider the darker definition of the word….

The definition of temptation?

1. The act of tempting; enticement or allurement.

2. Something that tempts, entices, or allures.

3. The fact or state of being tempted, especially to evil.

4. An instance of this. The temptation of Christ by Satan. Matt. 4.

Fascinating that the words to describe temptation are as ‘tempting’ as the word. Enticement, allurement, they make us think of something that will make us tingle, make us smile.

People talk about temptation as a quick fix. “I couldn’t resist those crisps, that dress, those shoes.”. We regard it as an enhancement, a reward perhaps for a bad week. I do it too; ‘reward’ myself with something nice, mentally kick myself later for the calories, the money splurged.

So, is the temptation worth it? Yes and no. It comes down to what you are trying to fix. When we need cheering up after a crappy day then a bar of choccy is just the thing to perk you up. Then the quick fix will make you smile, lift your spirits. I raise my hands and plead guilty:)

However, when your life is not what or where you want it to be then a quick fix is not the answer. We all know this and yet we fool ourselves that the new whatever will work, at least sometimes. Why do we think that distraction with little things will sort out the larger issues? We all do it when there is a mountain looming in front of us. Procrastination, prevarication, call it what you will. If we aren’t looking at the mountain then it isn’t there? It may distract for a while but when things are quieter your thoughts will always drift back there.

Looking outside yourself also leads to the ‘if onlys’. If only I had that new job, if only I had that new relationship, if only I could take that trip. Life is full of if onlys but they only happen when you make them. I made a major change recently when I changed my working hours. It has allowed me to do what I wanted, provide a little help to some. However, I have found the adjustment more difficult than I thought and it has taken time to get used to my ‘new’ routine. I thought I would have more time to write but that is an ‘if only’ for me. I will keep working on it.

I said about the darker side of temptation didn’t I? The state of being tempted, especially to evil. A chilling definition. I get the naughty side of temptation, the darker side not at all. Is it temptation, arrogance or complete indifference to others that makes a sane person act in an evil way? There are people who take without heed. There are people who suppress using words or fists. There are people who take positions of responsibility and use their power to abuse, crush as they live lavish lives. How do people start on that path? What is the first tempting thought that leads them down their chosen path? More importantly, when they have no distractions left what does the voice in their head say? I don’t know and am not sure I ever want to, I’ll concentrate on only listening to this one when he talks about shoes…..

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

September 15, 2012 at 6:36 pm Leave a comment

Nightmares.

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

This is a post about nightmares. Sleep is when we get to recharge and rest. It should be sweet and restful, letting your body and mind get ready for the needs of tomorrow. However, for many this is not the case….

I asked the lovely people of Twitter if anyone wanted to share their experiences with me for this blog and I will add in my own so you understand why I wanted to cover this topic. I will use only an initial for those whose words I share and am interested to see if they resonate with you.

From ‘B’

I’ve got a fairly overactive imagination, so sleep has never come easy to me – I take a long time to drift off, and I wake up easily throughout the night and when morning arrives. My ‘nightmares’ often aren’t scary in themselves, but as I’m a borderline sleepwalker, the waking up part can be pretty interesting.

Memorable examples include when I was a student, and had a huge Reservoir Dogs poster on my wall – the Mr Blonde one, where he’s drinking a milkshake – and I woke up halfway through a fist fight with him. On another occasion, I woke up stood at my (locked) bedroom door, trying to get out.

More recently, I dreamed my bedroom ceiling was caving in, and woke up desperately trying to hold it up – obviously it wasn’t collapsing, but the weird part is that some of the ‘dream reality’ lingers for a few minutes before real-world logic kicks in and you realise that what you’re doing is ludicrous.

In terms of ‘normal’ nightmares, I’ve had plenty of dreams about being chased – either by murderous secret agents and assassins, or by toothy monsters hoping to take a bite out of me. In general, I’d opt for waking from one of those, in my own bed, rather than waking up on my feet somewhere else…!

Lesley says – I love the fight with the Reservoir Dogs poster, it shows that B is a ‘goody’ even when asleep, wanting to foil the evil deeds of those baddies. I also had a brother with a tendency to waken up in strange places. I am glad to say that these were normally within our parents’ home but know from his experiences how disorienting it can be to waken in a different place from where you went to sleep.

From D

My nightmare usually consists of a feeling of being smothered, an immense weight on my body, pushing the air out of my lungs, someone hugging me to stop me moving and an inability to speak or scream. My words come out as grunts of fear and sometimes not at all. If my bladder is full I cannot find a toilet as the squeezing of me becomes more intense and stifling.

Mrs D says I usually lie still and sweat…she knows I am having nightmare. When I can, I let out a shout usually ‘NO’ or ‘HELP ME’

Lesley says – This is a terrifying dream. I am no dream analyst but this reflects pain. I can only hope that D finds solace somewhere from this pain. I am grateful for his courage in sharing and hope that relief from this dream and its causes will come his way.

From J

As a child I had two distinct and regular nightmares. The first was that I was on the landing about to walk down the stairs. As I step forward I start to fall, though I am standing upright I am plummeting at speed to the bottom of the stairs. As I reach the bottom I wake up in a sweat with heart pounding. The second regular nightmare is that I am walking somewhere, usually with my father. However instinctively I know this isn’t actually my father but a monster who looks like my father. I try to hide this from him, knowing that if he knows I know, then he will kill me. It always ends with him looking at me, then his face starting to change, his mouth opening up like a snake’s fangs in place of teeth and he emits a beastly, guttural roar before reaching down to kill and devour me.

In later years I started to dream that I was in a hurry to get somewhere. I would be walking along when suddenly I would start to levitate, against my will. I tried to get back on the ground but couldn’t. Because my feet had no purchase, I couldn’t control my direction or speed and inevitably would end up not getting where I needed to be on time.

Sometimes I dream I am stranded miles from home, only wearing pyjamas and have to walk, in the dark, along miles of country roads to get back home. People stop and stare and I feel under constant threat.

Another nightmare that recurs is that I have witnessed a major accident or emergency, sometimes it is someone I know having a heart attack, sometimes it is something like seeing a plane crash and burst into flames as it hits the ocean. I try to phone 999. Sometimes I can’t find a phone. Other times, my phone won’t work. Always, when I get through I am put on hold, then the operators aren’t helpful, they tell me I am through to the wrong department, they reel off long numbers for me to call myself. They never help and leave me frantically unable to get help for the person/people who are dying.

In a lot of nightmares I am murdered or at the receiving end of violent crime. I am in a familiar situation but sometimes one of my friends turns violent, sometimes it is a stranger. In one recent nightmare I was murdered and killed over five times in the space of one dream sequence. Shot, blown up, stabbed, always painful, always violent, never an accident. Sometimes, rather than being murdered, someone I care about or trust turns on me, knocks me out and when I come to, they have me imprisoned and they torture me, electrocution, burning, slicing scalpels into me. Always painful, physical torture.

The newest recurring nightmare has been happening over the last three years. A good friend from work has a granddaughter who has a pet which is always a big cat, lion/tiger/panther/leopard are the variations so far. The pet was a cub but is now reaching adult size. Without meaning to the big cat is a danger to this child. her grandmother tells me to take the big cat and have it put to sleep. I am afraid of the animal and am trying to put a collar and lead on it to take it to the vet, but sense that the big cat knows something is up and is full of sinister menace and waiting for me to approach it so it can tear me apart. In the meantime I am trying to feed it to distract it, and can’t find enough meat to satisfy it. It always ends with me waking up just as the big cat is pouncing on me, about to kill me and probably devour me.

Anyhow, those are the main nightmares I have had over the years. I have experienced them since as far back as I can remember, certainly from about the age of 4 onwards. It is a rare night that I wouldn’t have a nightmare, and these are the most common ones that still plague me on a reoccurring basis.

Lesley says  – A lot of vivid dreams from J. It is interesting that so many feature creatures and ‘change’, a monster disguising itself as his father, friends changing into something J does not recognise.  Also, I had believed that people did not die in dreams but J seems to knock that theory on its head. However, what also shines through is that J’s dreams also focus on trying to help others which speaks to the person he is.

From P

I had a series of five nightmares over a three week period about 15 plus years ago. All involved being watched by something I couldn’t see but could sense was there. The last two were the worst and prompted me to go to the doctor for a chat. I did, we chatted and they stopped. Very strange.

The fourth was as follows:

I was working in a tower block and went down the stairs to meet my wife who was on the floor below at a bank counter. She looked up and waved to me through the window and I pointed to a small child, in Victorian dress, all in black, who was standing in front of the counter staring at her. I kept pointing at the child and mouthing “who is she” but my wife didn’t appear to see her. The child continued to stare and I felt panic rising. Them something moved behind her. I couldn’t make out what it was but it was dark and the air had gone cold. I started to bang on the window telling her to get out as the dark figure got closer and closer behind her but my wife now seemed to be able to see the girl and took no notice of me. Just as the figure was about to envelop her I woke up, wet through and hardly able to breathe.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was the last one.

I often dream about a house we lived in when I was a child. It was a Victorian terrace and behind it was an old slaughter house that my Dad used as a garage. I had to be moved out of one bedroom as I kept waking up screaming in it. I was about six or seven. I claimed the walls were moving.

In the dream, the house was the wrong way round and I remember trying to reconcile this as I slept. The bedroom was where the bathroom should be and vice versa. I was in bed and my two sisters were also in beds alongside me. I was cold. It was dark but I could see the flickering of the TV screen downstairs as my parents watched. A breeze started and then got stronger. It got colder and, again, I became aware of something moving. I started to shout to my parents but they either couldn’t hear or my voice was too weak. Panic built up and, through the flickering I could see the same dark shadow as my previous dream. This time I could hear it too. It scraped and rustled as it climbed the stairs. I was freezing cold and screaming at my sisters to run but they slept. I tried to get up but couldn’t, all I could do was stare at the open door waiting for whatever it was to come round the corner.

Just as the figure was about to appear, there was a grating noise and the walls began to move. In one of the walls, three shapes began to appear. I watched in horror as three tomb spaces appeared and above them I read the names of my two sisters and me. The figure appeared into view and I woke up, again wet through and freezing cold. It was terrible.

As a postscript, the year after, J and I took my dad to France to where he was brought up. A school friend of his hired us a gite. It hadn’t been modernised since the war and we were dismayed when we went in. The walls were filled with dead animal heads and even my implacable dad hated it. In our bedroom was a double bed and at each side of it was a little door, about two foot high with a cross above each. My wife opened a wardrobe door and freaked out. In there was a Victorian doll, dressed exactly as I had described to her in my dream. We moved out the next day.

Lesley says – I think P’s words do illustrate one thing I believe, that children can pick up on nuances/vibes/call them what you will, that adults are perhaps not sensitive to. Some people say that dreams like this are merely coincidence; I have never been that certain. In life and dreams there are coincidences but I also believe there are things not so easily explained. Others place many names for this but I have none, I just know that sometimes your inner voice is the right one to follow.

From Me

I talked to my sons about this blogpost and they too have had this dream so it may be common, I only know how scared I was when I first experienced it…

This dream only happens when I am dozing. In the dream I am sleeping where I have fallen asleep, normally the sofa and the same people are in the room with me as were there when I dozed off. I waken in the dream but I have total paralysis. I cannot open my eyes, cannot move or speak. I remember the panic the first time when I tried to make a noise, any noise, to alert my family to what had happened. I could sense my fear and my heart knocking in my chest but couldn’t do anything about it. I have never known such fear. It felt like an age but was probably only a minute or two before I fell back to sleep.  When I awoke properly I talked about it and asked had it been obvious to anyone but apparently I had looked happily asleep. It preyed on my mind for days.

The second time it happened was exactly the same. Again I thought about it for days and was even frightened to sleep in case it happened again. I am glad to say that thinking about the experience has somehow allowed me to process it. I have had the dream a few times since but once I have those initial moments of panic I have been able to comprehend that this is a dream. This allows me to tell myself to go back to sleep thus allowing me to waken properly shortly after. I hate the feelings it gives me but am hoping that I can now deal with them a little better……

Some theorise that dreams allow us to process the experiences of the day, others believe it is a way for our body to process underlying emotions. Scientists study our sleeping patterns and the brain activity during the phases of sleep. However, no-one has definitive answers for dreams and how they impact our waking selves. I think they will always have some mystery, perhaps they are personal and should remain so?

For me? I hope your dreams are happy and you waken up smiling. When you do, please think of those whose waking hours are the nightmare – poverty, violence, hunger. These are the waking experiences for too many and their nightmares may be a relief. That is a terror to me.

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

September 3, 2012 at 9:19 pm Leave a comment


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