What I did at the weekend (school essay on the Monday)

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Not much.

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I’ve hurt my upper back and neck because of sleeping too high up on pillows. The stiffness and pain is easing – thanks John for the massages – but it’s still making mobility even harder (yes, that’s possible). If I don’t sleep elevated then I stop breathing in the night. When I told the inept doctors about this and he discussed a machine I ought to have, he then concluded we’d see to my breathing problems after the MRI scan of my hip (4 weeks, 3 days today – I’m phoning them today to see if they’ve had my results back yet…). Amazingly, I’m still alive!! Apparently, it’s a specialised ‘Respiratory clinic’ at the hospital. Anyone reading this got a C-pap machine?

So, if I ‘disappear’ it ain’t suicide. Cos, for some reason, I still want to be around despite the debilitating pain.

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We’re getting dark – gloomy – days now. Not quite as dark as Scandinavian countries but dark enough to light candles in the day and keep checking the clock to see whether it’s night-time yet. I’m taking photos at the ‘brightest’ time of the day and they’re still too dark.

In the photo below, please don’t look at John’s hair. (He wouldn’t let me shave it in the summertime and now it’s too long for me to get near it. He’s now conceded to get it cut by a proper hairdresser! We go to the college one where it’s excellent value and the students are nice to talk to).

Still, it’s a nice pic, isn’t it. Since my weight gain (because the long-term injury doesn’t allow much activity) I really don’t like photos of me.

The Dog Father –

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Here’s one of John and me about this time last year –

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I’d like him to look like this –

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But without the rage. (This is a picture I made up; ’tis not one of those lifelike ones).

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Saturday and Sunday I hadn’t been anywhere but here at home. It was too dangerous driving as I couldn’t turn my head. But I did manage a couple of evening walks with my lovely Chester. She’s a Jack Russell lady who enjoys walking and responding to the messages left in the immediate vicinity; under neighbours’ hedges, up telegraph poles, trees, even around the hedges or fences and under peoples’ cars where there’s a scowling cat.. Saturday, I was silently – and apprehensively – pleased I hadn’t had a big migraine in weeks. Being a little superstitious, I promptly reprimanded myself for tempting fate and then – lo and behold! – I then got one.

My neighbours are like sheep. One gets a wrought iron chain or gate at the front of their drive, they then all do it. Same thing with those bloody industrial type floodlights.

To put things into context, I live in a rural area. A coastal English village. On my road we don’t even have streetlights and it used to be pitch black at night which is what our little bats like. Yes, we have bats. They’re called Pipistrelle.

The new building opposite started it. The whole house lights up like a Christmas tree – I had to put a blackout curtain on one side of my bedroom window because of the intrusive glare. I like this upstairs window uncurtained, otherwise, because of the natural light and the view of the road. When the lights (including THREE floodlights) were first there I went over with the ensuing migraine. After I’d vomited – which, in retrospect, I should have saved for their front lawn. And no one was there. They’re hardly there, yet the lights are always on. Apparently, I learnt later, a neighbour opposite them had complained. The lights are a little dimmer now but they still flash on at the slightest detection – from someone walking by, or the fart of a mosquito.

Now, recently, the neighbour next door but one to that house, which I’ve christened ‘Migraine House’ – and opposite to me – had the illuminating idea to also get some of those industrial strength floodlights at the front of her home. And, viola! they wake me in the middle of the night with a feeling of deep unease or dread in the pit of my stomach. Sleepily, I asked myself what had awoken me, why was I feeling this way? I looked to the window and saw the glare and the migraine went from a feeling of dread to full-on head pain and nausea. I scrambled out of bed because I didn’t want to vomit there – and I also needed pain meds and a glass of water.

John came downstairs with me, and together, we walked across the road to investigate the glaring light source. The photos below don’t really show the true nature of these disruptive (to health; to sleep; to natural environment) lights. Note: Respectfully, I don’t show this neighbour’s house name.

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Anyway, John had a talk with her about the lights being left on. The carer had left them on which the neighbour was not happy about. (This, the same carer who was parking every time she came, on our front grass and then conveniently reversing into our drive, despite the neighbour having her own drive! The note I left on her car asking her to refrain from parking on our property did stop this rude behaviour).

The next night the lights were not on.

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Here are some links about Light Pollution –

What is Light Pollution and why is it not good for us and the environment?

Bright lights and big cities are bad for your health

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Twiglet says sleep is a precious thing. Especially when enveloped in warm blankets like a taco.

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Copyright Faith McCord 2018

Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.

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My Christmas Cactus in Bloom!

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She wouldn’t bloom for me back in January, and, despite not re-potting her in the summer she has put out her beautiful flowers for me to enjoy!

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Copyright Faith McCord 2018

Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.

 

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The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave (a book review)

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Recently, Mary Prince (1788 – after 1833) was mentioned on one of Google’s commemorative days and so I looked up the account she had written about her life as a slave. The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave, written in 1831, is very difficult reading because of the relentless cruelty she had endured at the hands of her various slave owners. Those people must have been sadists, such was the extent of the cruelty. At the beginning she had a kind mistress, whose young daughter referred to her like a much-loved family pet! But, from the age of eleven, Mary’s situation only worsened. Her kind mistress was married to a nasty powerful man.

“How can slaves be happy when they have the halter round their neck and the whip upon their back? and are disgraced and thought no more of than beasts? – and are separated from their mothers, and husbands, and children, and sisters, just as cattle are sold and separated? Is it happiness for a driver in the field to take down his wife or sister or child, strip them, and whip them in such a disgraceful manner? – women that have had children exposed in the open field to shame! There is no modesty or decency shown by the owner to his slaves; men, women, and children are exposed alike. Since I have been here I have often wondered how English people can go out in the West Indies and act in such a beastly manner.” – Mary Prince

After reading each shocking revelation I asked myself, how on earth could another human treat another human this way?! How could enslaving a race of people be normal?! I don’t believe that all the people living back then were as wicked as some of these slave masters – well, obviously not, since there were anti-slavery campaigners and their supporters – but, the point I’m making is; is that there were people back then who turned a ‘blind eye’ to it. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke. Why weren’t they moved enough to do something about abolishing slavery sooner?

“We don’t mind hard work, if we had proper treatment, and proper wages like English servants, and proper time given in the week to keep us from breaking the Sabbath. But they won’t give it: they will have work-work-work, night and day, sick or well, till we are quite done up; and we must not speak up nor look amiss, however much we be abused. And then when we are quite done up, who cares for us, more than for a lame horse?” – Mary Prince

Since this personal account is factual and not fictional I found it very hard reading. But I don’t regret reading it. It opened my eyes – more – to the nature of man. To another dark chapter of our history – Lest we forget… And while I had tears in my eyes I was proud of Mary fighting for her freedom, proud of the campaigners who eventually brought about real change in abolishing slavery.

“I still live in the hope that God will find a way to give me my liberty, and give me back to my husband. I endeavour to keep down my fretting, and to leave all to Him, for he knows what is good for me better than I know myself. Yet, I must confess, I find it a hard and heavy task to do so.” – Mary Prince

It’s not known what happened to Mary in the end, whether she was granted her freedom to return home to Antigua, to her husband – a former slave who’d bought his freedom and earned a living as a carpenter – friends and family. Her body was broken – from the years of continuous abuse, she suffered with rheumatic pains – though her spirit was hopeful and fighting. For a while she worked in normal conditions as a cleaner and later as a housekeeper for nice people, and made other friends who supported her in many ways – warm clothing for the colder English weather, money, nursing her back to health, job recommendations, inviting her to church services etc. But, absurdly, her last slave masters who brought her with them to England, continued to refuse her her freedom. Even despite her attempts at buying it. People from the Anti-Slavery Society went to Mr Wood to persuade him to let her be freed “…but though they offered him, as I have heard, a large sum for my freedom, he was sulky and obstinate, and would not consent to let me go free” – Mary Prince. So while she was living and working elsewhere, leading a better and more normal, and independent life, she remained their slave! Mr and Mrs Wood, her spiteful slave owners, had both driven her out of their home four times and spoke badly – and falsely – about her character to others. Under English law the Anti-Slavery Society, on her behalf, was unable to legally get her her freedom. And, if she was to return to Antigua, life would return as it had been: still living as a slave for the cruel Woods’ family. In 1829 the Woods returned for the West Indies and having exhausted every avenue for Mary’s freedom, Thomas Pringle the editor of her book employed her, in December of that year, as a domestic servant in his own family. Pringle was an Abolitionist writer and Secretary to the Anti-Slavery Society.

Mary Prince “…is known to have remained in England until at least 1833, when she testified in the two libel cases. That year, the Slavery Abolition Act was passed, to be effective August 1834. In 1808, Parliament had passed the Slave Trade Act of 1807, which outlawed the slave trade but not slavery itself. The 1833 law was intended to achieve a two-staged abolition of West Indian slavery by 1840, allowing the colonies time to transition their economies. Because of popular protests in the West Indies among the freedmen, the colonies legally completed abolition two years early in 1838. In Bermuda, which was not dependent on the institution of slavery, emancipation took place immediately on the law going into effect in 1834. If Prince was still alive and in good health, she may then have returned as a free woman to her homeland.” – Wikipedia.

In summary, I would recommend reading Mary Prince’s narrative because the horrific truths about slavery have to be known and continued to be fought against even in these modern times. She played a vital part in the abolition campaign.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Prince

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Pringle

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Slavery_Society

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abolitionism_in_the_United_Kingdom

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Copyright Faith McCord 2018

Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.

 

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Sea of Rust (a book review)

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I love this book, Sea of Rust by C Robert Cargill. It is an easy read, full of action and adventure, seen from an AI’s – Brittle’s – perspective, during a post apocalyptic world totally devoid of humans and inhabited by warring factions of robots/artificial intelligence. They were built by us and are thus just like us. Only more intelligent.

At this point in time, the AI’s world is still in chaos with robots scavenging for their much needed body parts, always on guard for being obliterated by competing AIs (for afore mentioned body parts) or by the much feared OWI – One World Intelligence – CISSUS, in order to become a slave, known as a Facet, to its cause. OWIs are enormous computer mainframes, having a far superior intelligence and CISSUS aims to rule the world recruiting more to become Facets via its Facets, beings much alike to Star Trek’s Borg, who have no self preservation or individuality and only serve the interests of CISSUS. But CISSUS has an enemy as powerful as it…

I was with Brittle all the way, silently cheering her on as each page progressed further into her adventure. She has very human qualities and is a loner and a fighter. Now and then there are glimpses into her past where more is revealed about her. Towards the end of the book she teams up with others, different types of bots, as individual and interesting as human beings. The story never loses pace and never bores – and there are some surprises!

I read Sea of Rust as an ebook on my Kindle Fire and enjoyed a problem-free reading experience. Extra thanks to the author for producing a glossary including the different types of AI, slang words etc. at the end of the book.

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I first published this review on Amazon UK, under the name Faith.

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Copyright Faith McCord 2018

Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.

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Goodwill To All Dogs (animation)

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Watch the free animation *here*.

“Snip the magic scissors ensures that Snap the paper dog has a very Merry Christmas in this 60s British TV animation

Give me a happy Christmas and make it snip-snappy! Sadly, few remember the adventures of Snip the magic scissors and Snap the cut-out paper dog. Animators Halas & Batchelor (best known for the 1954 animated feature cartoon Animal Farm) worked with the Danish origami whizz Thoki Yenn (or Thok for short) on this delightful and charming series. One of the earliest British animated TV series., it ran for over 25 episodes on ITV. ”

–  British Film Institute

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Bonzo – late night sausages + bad dreams (animation)

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Watch this free 1925 animation *here*.

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Who is Bonzo?

Bonzo the Dog is a fictional cartoon character first created in 1922 by British comic strip artist George Studdy. The pup quickly rose to popularity in the 1920s. He starred in one of the world’s first cartoons, became an inspiration for mass-marketed merchandise, and became a favourite among children and adults.  – Wikepedia

A fan web site.

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Remembrance Sunday 2018 (BBC)

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The historical statue of soldier “Tommy” on Seaham seafront in County Durham is decorated with magnetic poppies (Reuters)

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From “Poppy Road” in Walsall to Lloyd’s of London, Armistice Day is being marked across the country – and beyond.

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Station Road in Aldridge, Walsall, has been transformed into Poppy Road (PA)

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Watchman V, the outgoing mascot for the Staffordshire Regiment Association, near Westminster Abbey (Getty Images)

You can see more photos from this BBC article *Here*.

Thank you to those, all of you, who fought for our freedom today. Peace to all.

Images copyright: Getty images; Reuters; PA 

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