Walking…walking…

As I sit here in my quiet house, the Wonder Dog asleep on the top of my recliner and the birds chirping in my garden, thousands (some say, millions) of Shia Muslims are walking, walking, walking on a pilgrimage to Karbala in Iraq. They do it to honour Imam Husayn Ibn Ali who, in the 7th century, was killed while taking a stand against tyranny and oppression. Some of the pilgrims have walked for over a fortnight. They have walked through a couple of nations or more. (I have my groceries delivered because I have trouble walking around a supermarket!) They walk, knowing that they will be attacked by ISIS. In fact, this year, over 60 pilgrims have already been killed and ISIS threaten to keep attacking them, so there will be more. They walk, knowing their lives are at risk. They are frightened, they are ignored by the rest of the world, they are simple, ordinary people, taking a stand for what they believe is right. I’m in awe. ISIS have killed thousands of Shia Muslims. They don’t just kill Christians and Jews. They kill anyone who doesn’t subscribe to their form of Islam. It reminds me of the days when Catholics and Protestants took turns oppressing and killing each other. Thankfully, those times ceased several centuries ago. Islam has yet to catch up to the idea that two ideologies, that have the same foundation but have gone slightly different routes since inception, could actually get along. You know, it is possible to think and believe differently to someone else and still be friends. It’s possible to peacefully co-exist in spite of differing political views. All we have to do is choose to be patient and kind, and focus on the things we have in common. Oh, and one other thing: don’t be so obsessed with having power and being in control. It’s do-able. One person at a time. Meanwhile, I pray for the safety of those pilgrims, bravely walking into ISIS territory, to celebrate a man who died for peace, kindness and...

Read More

I’m back.

I’m baaa-aaack! I was going to say something about the kingdom of Trump but, you know what, I’ve decided not to. America has chosen and now Mr Trump has the opportunity to be the best president they’ve ever had – just as he has promised – or he won’t. Only time will tell. I wish you well, USA. The world is watching with bated breath. There’s a plethora of things going on in the world that I could address, but I won’t. I think that most of us are suffering sensory overload. These days we are constantly bombarded by news, opinions, gossip, misinformation and the venom of cyber trolls. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is what has contributed to the swing towards the far right in a lot of countries. People have got sick of hearing about everyone’s problems and they just want to get inside their bunkers and pull the shades down. So, instead, I’m going to do a little bit of quiet, private (for now) celebrating. It’s my birthday next Tuesday. I’ll be mumbley-mumble years old and, quite frankly, there was a time when I didn’t think I’d get to be that old. Next week it’ll be five years since I was told the cancer was back and it’s incurable. FIVE YEARS!!!  Whoop! Whoop! I realise there may be some who receive that information with mixed feelings but as for me, I’m delighted. I’m grateful. I’m even just a tad happy. Let’s not forget that in the midst of misery, disappointment and even fear, there are still good people, happy events and moments of joy. Happy birthday to me!  ...

Read More

While I’m gone…

The Old Boy, the Wonder Dog and I are heading into the wilds of South-Western Victoria for a week of peace and quiet. While we’re gone I expect you all to behave. America: the rest of us are watching you with a mixture of bemusement, confusion and a touch of horror. You seem to be imploding. Please make a wise decision on November 8. When we get back I do not want the Apocalypse to have started…as so many of you are suggesting will happen if your candidate isn’t elected. For goodness sake, pull yourselves together – if only for the children’s sake. Russia: stop meddling in other people’s business. You’re big enough and old enough to know better. UK: Brexit seems to be hanging around like a bad cold. For goodness sake, make a decision and then stick with it, whether the results are uncomfortable or not. Syria and Iraq: what a mess! Just wait until your father gets home! Australia: get your head out of the sporting magazines and have a look at what’s going on around you. I know how much sport means to you – I’m partial to it, myself – but there are bigger things, more important things, life-impacting things that are going on, and you need to get involved. I’m expecting big things of you all; don’t let me down....

Read More

How’re ya goin’?

Just a short blog today. I visited Dr P yesterday and had my cancer-fighting injection, so today I feel like crap. It’s worth it, of course, because here I am, five years along from diagnosis day, and I’m doing okay. What’s a couple of days of lousiness compared to years of life? Right? I just thought I’d better pop my head out of the bunker to ask: are you all okay? What with people bombing Aleppo into a pile of gravel; the Zika virus creeping its way up through South America; people still starving to death in the Sudan and neighbouring countries; IS (or whatever the hell they call themselves this week) still merrily beheading, burning and crucifying people who haven’t got long enough beards or who don’t go along with their version of religion; Japan still bent on eradicating all whale species for the sake of “research”; the arctic circle melting, the Australian Government treating asylum seekers as if they’re terrorists, and the fate of the free world soon to be decided in the USA with two candidates who both seem to be hated by large groups of people…well, I would’t blame you if you were feeling just a little bit wobbly. After being bombarded on social media, with horrendous pictures of abused animals, abandoned children, victims of domestic violence and disenfranchised (and abused and traumatised) first people’s groups, I find myself feeling slightly depressed. I can distract myself during the day by keeping busy, and in the evening by watching reruns of TV shows from the 90s, but there’s no way of stopping the nightmares. Then yesterday, after I’d seen the doc, the Old  Boy took me to lunch in Port Adelaide, in a tavern by the sea, looking out at the old sailing ships and dolphin cruise boats and little fishing boats. My son, who works nearby, met us there for lunch, which was the cherry on the cake. I breathed in the salt air. I said hello to my parents ashes, somewhere there in the sands on the edge of the sea. I was thankful for the day. If you’re feeling a bit “how’s your father” lately, a bit flat, a bit wibbly-wobbly, then I recommend taking a few minutes to look at something lovely. Take a deep breath of fresh air. Spend some quality time with people you love, and find something to be thankful for. It doesn’t get rid of all the darkness in the world, but it lights a little candle in the corner where you...

Read More

The week that was

Well, that was an interesting week or so: state-wide blackout due to fallen towers; fallen towers due to cyclonic winds; hail and lightning (very, very frightening); king tides; tidal surges; flooding here, there and everywhere; vineyards up to their knees in water; market gardens ready for harvest – gone; great slabs of bitumen lifted off road surfaces due to flooding; sides of hills slipping down onto roadways; people trapped in lifts (what a nightmare!); traffic slowed to a crawl because all the traffic lights were out; confused and terrified pets gone missing, and a house fire or two due to candles being left burning…  You can’t say life in South Australia is dull. Of course, the politicians had a field day trying to use this state-wide, extreme weather event, as an opportunity to do some politicking. They just can’t help themselves, can they! One prominent National Party politician from Queensland has, several times, told the media that we were in such dire straits because our state uses renewable energy systems (wind and solar) as well as coal-based energy. “A little thunderstorm took down the whole state!” he keeps blurting out, thereby showing his ignorance of how a power system operates, as well ignorance of what actually occurred weather-wise, and a lack of compassion for all the people affected by this disaster. Come on, mate! When Queensland has severe flooding due to cyclones we don’t say, “Ooh, a little bit of rain and Queensland gets its feet wet.” No, we send people and resources to help. The amount of time spent in a blackout depended on where one lived. One of my Facebook friends was only in the dark for 90 minutes. We had no power for 12 hours. My in-laws had no power for a couple of days. Some country towns were without power for even longer. There were a lot of complaints on FB. However, a number of my friends said it was a nice change, sitting with the family by candlelight, playing cards and talking with each other, instead of being glued to the television or the mobile phone. A lot of people treated it as a sudden opportunity to “camp out” in their own homes. I figured that as long as the toilet still worked, we were all good. Meanwhile, out in the storm and the darkness, power company workers, S.E.S volunteers, the fire department and the police were working hard to get things fixed, to rescue people who were in difficulty and to keep the rest of us safe. Good work, boys and girls! And, you know, most of us had a bit of discomfort for only a relatively short time. There are many, many people around the world who live in worse conditions all the time. Think, Aleppo Syria; think, the slums on the edge of Rio; think, the Sudan; think, Haiti; think, many areas in Africa and China and South America… We really don’t have too much to complain about, do we? Meanwhile, I’m grateful our state sees the need to switch over to renewable energy. We’re doing our little bit towards helping the environment cope with climate change. That’s a good...

Read More