Wednesday, 29 April 2009


Promises broken
Truth diminished
Beauty forsaken
Hopeless love finished.


It would be a hardened soul who could stand beneath the canopy of a cherry tree right now and not be moved by the beauty of the blossom. The way the petals fall like gentle rain is enchanting - taking you back to childhood ideas of fairies and magic places. I was always scornful of the trunks of cherry trees - they are ringed, knobbly and often gnarled - but I must have forgotten to look up and be transported... Loveliest of Trees the cherry.
I would like a cherry tree planted at the site of my burial be it ashes or body. So my nutrients may burst into life twice a year for the cascading beauty of the blossom and the glowing autumn leaves. I just feel that even when every one living had forgotten, some of the energy and beauty would remain - live on touching people’s lives. I guess I am incurably sentimental (or just mental). But still I say - Loveliest of Trees the Cherry!

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Artful Gardens

Today was really warm and sunny so the children and I spent lots of time in the garden. The best bit was when I unrolled a a long line of lining paper weighted down by bricks and rocks and we did lots of wonderful drawings all over it -from pirate boats to giant "minibeasts". Until I popped inside and Lucy decided that to draw all over our slide, herself and her brother would be much more fun. Noah tried to help by cleaning up with my white hand towel from the bathroom - or should I say now - not so white. Blink and they are up to mischief. I looked up garden art to find an image to go with this post and came across this gem of a photo among the many google images - it's called "Tomato man and cucumber catepillar" - looks like there is more artful goings on ripe for the rest of the spring and summer. I think I should send it to Rock Cookie Bottom for a song request - but I am not convinced cucumber catepillar won't be made polyamorous or a fetishist!!!!!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Who are the terrorists?

In the US waterboarding is a legal practice because it is deemed to not cause "pain and suffering", as these accordingly, are not two separate entities. Jonathan Mann did a fabulous song just singing the memorandum on Waterboarding released by the government that summises that waterboarding is not torture:
"the detainee is lying on a gurney that’s inclined at an angle: 10 to 15 degrees, a cloth is placed over the detainee’s face cold water is poured on the cloth. The wet cloth creates a barrier through which it is difficult, or in some cases not possible, for the detainee to breathe. If the detainee makes an effort to defeat the technique by twisting his head to the side and breathing out the corner of his mouth, the interrogator may cup his hands around the detainees nose and mouth in which case it would not be posible for him to breathe... The waterboard is simply a controlled acute episode, lacking the connotation of a protracted period of time generally given to suffering.

Torture is always pshycological - so pain becomes the fear of pain, waterboarding the fear of not being able to breath and ultimately death. That it could be done without “pain and therefore suffering” would make it a pointless exercise - surely it is done to extract information - I doubt this would be possible without real fear on the part of the detainee. Why would anyone even try and rationalise this. If it is a necessary evil stand by this, not by trying to make it sound like a harmless occurence. I don’t think any thing can justify torture - behaving in a dehumanising way - it delegitimises claims to moral superiority. The threat from Alquaeda is based in the hatred they have of the west and westerners. So torturing detainees and supporting this through moral and legal arguments - shows the west to not only be corrupt but hypocritical. The very governments that condemn the Taliban -who openly carry out torture and murder - make their involvement in such nations to support the creation of liberal and democratic regimes even more spurious. Is there ever justification for torture? Is waterboarding a more acceptable form of torture? Will what has happened in Cuba make the world a safer place?

Monday, 20 April 2009

Climbing Trees

As a child I loved climbing trees - being scared of heights increased the thrill - there was not a place I played that there was not a tree with a den in it. I often got stuck, sometimes fell down - the worst was a sprain ( although, my brother did break his arm falling out of a tree trying to avoid being stung by a wasp!) but you feel like king of the world in a tree above the heads of adults - sometimes walking underneath unaware of the adventurer lurking in the leaves and branches. The trees all had names ; Bertie was a pollarded oak tree with a hollowed out crown in his upper trunk - reached by a ricketty rope ladder. My childhood was liberated - free to roam and adventure - often miles from home in remote places surrounded by the wind and the wild. This life was probably fraught with potential risks but the real damage didn't lie in burnt out pill boxes, abandoned railway carriages, smashed up war shelters, mud flats, creeks or fallen tree bridges over deep ponds - it lay in the words and actions of my family. To escape to the swaying top of a tree did not pose the risk, because broken bones can be mended in nearly all cases, but spirits are much more fragile and much harder to heal.
On the Dykes To Watch Out For Blog they are discussing airport security reactions to the risk of terrorism. I understand that it is responsible to have greater security to adapt as risks become apparent - just like it is worthwhile having risk assessments when you take children on a school trip - But somehow I am sad - children are discouraged from climbing trees - playing outside without an adult. We are suspiscious of people resembling stereotypes of Muslims - even Brazilians - just in the same way every Irish person was suspected and questioned during IRA attacks on the UK. Probably Basques are treated with the same suspiscion in Spain, Tamils in Sri Lanka etc. etc. So many governements are concerned with seeming to do something to react to risks - but much of this is crazy and pointless as if closing the house door after the horse has bolted out of the stable - like banning beef on the bone after the Mad Cow Crisis in the UK - when the risk was infintessimle (sp?) whilst having allowed animals to be ground up and fed to other herbivore animals had previously been legal.
I don’t know how the world can become less mad - full of concern over what might happen - so that we often stop living life to the full today. Everything seems more likely, somehow closer with Media coverage bringing it right into our homes every day.
I know I find it hard not to want to caution my children to the point that they are nervous of strangers and worried about potential hazards - but where is the balance? What would be a sensible way to deal with the threats of: terrorism, peadophiles and accidents waiting to happen? How can we live life to the full, without worry holding us back, and not be reckless in the face of real risks? How can I enable my children to climb trees and feel like kings of the world - without communicating wordlessly my concern about what might happen?

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

A Brief Study of Belemnites

In the Garden

My Lord Derby apple tree is in flower. It has beautiful blossoms with red tinged backs to the petals - reminiscent of raspberry ripple when open and mixed with the pure white inner petals. The solomons seal is unfurling day by day, strangely reptilian as it emerges from the warmed spring soil. Where there is growth and life there is hope.

Love and Sex

Last night my girlfriend muted the fact that she would like a threesome - being a Christian I was appalled at thought of sex without love - the harm this has already done me in my life. But she thinks that there is nothing wrong with it - that sex is just sex - it is not to do with love and that God wouldn't mind a threesome.
I balked, fell apart - it has taken me so much to have a relationship with her when I have been taught for so long homosexuality is wrong - even when I didn't agree it still took a huge amount of love to be intimate with her.
She has ended things this morning because she doesn't want to deny her sexuality the way she has for so long - all of it both the homosexuality and the fantasies. She feels most Christians will say all of it is wrong, from masturbation to sex aids so the morality of it is irrelevant. I am a victim of sexual abuse as a child and for sex to be anything other than love is like torture for me and she doesn't want to hurt me more.
But to lose her like this is a horror in itself - bringing constantly to the surface the feelings of being dirty - that what we had is diminished - tarnished. I know it is all very dysfunctional but we have grown so much together - come so far - through so much. How do I deal with this? What is and isn't right sexually and in what contexts?

Sunday, 12 April 2009


I saw Milk last night ( Finally!!!)- I had no idea about the history of discrimination against homosexuals in US - how barbaric their treatment was until comparatively very recently… that their lives and livelihoods were constantly at risk in even progressive ares of the country. Can I just say that I am so sorry - I had no idea! I am ashamed to say after watching it that I am a Christian and now want to be a closet Christian!!!!! I felt so proud of the gay rights movement and so ashamed of the church. I really struggle with faith and my sexuality and feel like I have a split identity. So is it possible to have faith and be gay and not compromise on either??? I feel slightly schizophrenic. But I am humbled by the man Harvey Milk was and the courage he and the gay community in San Francisco showed.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

All Shall Be Well

Mother Julian of Norwich is famous for saying: "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well." Today Vermont legalized same-sex marriage and the joy of so many in the US is trully uplifting. It has survived the governors attempt to veto and joins Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa as the four states who allow gay marriage. Although, it is the first state to have a statute passsed by the legislature and not have the decision imposed by the states' high courts. So I would say Vermont is definitely not a redneck kind of place. Other news just in... Same sex relationships are recovering in Norfolk this week, and there is hope of them beginning to thrive.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Take 5

I cannot explain what a spiritual home Take 5 Cafe Bar is to me. I first started going there over ten years ago when it was the bar to Cinema City. Relaxed Saturdays spent nursing cups of coffee, lazily absorbing newspaper text and people's lives, maybe a good book or poetry. Sometimes writing obscure observations or sketching a passing frame. There have been few places in my life where I can be so me - nurtured by the positivity and great atmosphere of the place. There is a background buzz of creativity and culture - as if you were standing beside a hive of bees. Although on a Saturday night it still gets a few drinkers unaware of the cultural milieu that surrounds them, overall the customers are an ecletic mix - touched by the energy and positivity of the place.
But then you get to the staff - they are like family ( an assortment of familiar photos taped to the wall)- engaging, interesting and personal. It takes very little for them to know you and even less for you to like them. And don't get me started on the two lovely Davids...
Its location now just down from Tombland is slightly less architecturally prestigious than its former medieval hall - but the space is great and, bar slightly yucky toilets, feels very much like before with utilitarian tables and chairs, stripped wood floors and walls bedecked in art and photography - unpretensious but aesthetically pleasing.
Now I go more for the night life - somehow drinking or eating there is more fun than anywhere else and their vegetarian options are great ( their less vegetarian options go down well with others too).
So I raise a glass to Take 5 and thank God she was spared from the elegant understated makeover Cinema City had in mind for her. Maybe a lazy Saturday is on the horizon soon.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Alteration Finds

Freedom and fear two elements of the universe with profound power. The one blinds the other gives sight. Fear can not be the end - perfect love drives out fear.
I believe - I believe in love - I believe it drives out fear - I believe in her.

Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep,
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Walk in Closet

Cecilia put these thoughts on psalm 69 on her Closeted Pastor blog today: "Do not let others be put to shame because of me... that hits me pretty much right where I'm living today. Most days I'm able to put aside my severe anxiety ...but very real fear surfaces. People may well feel ashamed. They may well feel dishonored by my presence in their midst. I can only hope that will be a passing thing... But I feel that I will be called to account for hiding my true self from them. It is a betrayal they may have a hard time forgiving."
This spoke to me so much today - My girlfriend has or is very close to breaking up with me because of the fear of the consequences to her children and the fear of telling them about herself. It is hard - on one hand I believe you should be who you are and teach your children by example to accept people, be honest and celebrate who they are - but the school yard is a hard place for the child of any parent who is different let alone - gay. But vicars children get a certain amount of ridicule - does that mean their parent should not enter the ministry???? I just feel that if it wasn't for the lesbians who have stood up and been counted not hidden in a closet, the hope for the rest of us to ever be honest about ourselves would be a lifetime away. We stand on the backs of giants of trully brave women - who faced oppression and the constant risk of actual bodily harm - is it a choice to be honest about who we are and not act ashamed or a responsibility? I'm trully not sure! I am sure though, that walking back into the closet won't help anyone respect us now or in the future. What say you?