A New Site

31 Jul

What with the advent of independence in the next few years as my children hopefully become adults, finish school and are less dependent (here’s hoping), I’m considering what I want to do in the future.The first step was learning. Last year I took an Introduction and then Advanced Introduction to Counselling (Level 1). This September I start on Level 3.

The second step is to separate me from Brentford. I love Brentford, have immersed myself in here since I moved and got involved with so many aspects of this eccentric town. I’ve separated BrentfordCommunity.org.uk so it no longer is personal to me but a collection of useful information about Brentford.

The third step is to develop this site, adding a proper CV and portfolio demonstrating what I have done and what I am doing.

After that it’s about where I am going. Hopefully I’m going to do some writing, some about counselling and some about other stuff.

Quote

I Meant to Do My Work Today

20 Oct

I Meant to Do My Work Today
by
Richard Le Gallienne

I meant to do my work today—
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.

And the wind went sighing over the land,
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand—
So what could I do but laugh and go?

This poet lived in Brentford briefly which is how I came across him

From Bach to Burroughs

17 May

Jonathan Livingston SeagullMy sister introduced me to Jonathan Livingston Seagull some thirty odd years ago. For all its faults and simplicities I found it powerfully moving and went to see it at the cinema more than once. It describes the search of a lonely seagull who believes there’s more to life than food and tries to discover perfect flight as well as others who think alike. I still find it powerful and the film, clunky as it seems now, is fantastic. The soundtrack is also the only Neil Diamond album I’ve ever bought. Bach wrote a lot of books, and the autobiographical are quite ordinary compared to the fantasy. “Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah” includes this helpful quote in the Messiah’s manual:

Everything in this book may be wrong.

I love the willingness to have such faith and uncertainty simultaneously. Isn’t that part of life?

Stephen Baxter’s Flood, which I don’t own, is one of the most depressing dystopias I’ve ever read. You wait for the cavalry to arrive and they don’t.

I finally read the Simone de Beauvoir books that I took from my grandmother’s shelf when she died. I’d always meant to read them and never got round to them. I’ve got rid of a couple of them but they offer an interesting insight into a very particular world and culture.

I read the sequel to Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward, Equality, in the British Library when I was 15. Looking Backward is a futuristic utopia when the hero goes to sleep and for various reasons doesn’t wake up for over a hundred years. The book carefully explains how the perfect future came to pass and its sequel goes into further socio-economic analysis that becomes quite dull. On publication in 1888 Looking Backward sold over a million copies in a few years, one of the highest selling books ever.

I only have three of the Bronte’s which considering my grandmother and mother were totally obsessed with them, is really quite poor. I have read the full set and have visited the parsonage.

Terry Brooks on the other hand writes fantasy that ranges from the childish to the superb. His best series, the Word & the Void, I do not possess as I stopped buying his books when they got repetitive although they remained enjoyable.

I collected quite a selection of John Buchan who wrote so much more than the Thirtynine Steps, his most famous book. He covered Scotland and South Africa with tales of spies and adventures, most contemporary and some historical. There was also an element of the supernatural and seeing into the future as well as the more sensible concern about the dramatic social changes he saw in his lifetime. He was quite modern in his political outlook and as well as his fiction wrote a number of histories and biographies which I haven’t yet investigated.

A Princess of MarsEdgar Rice Burroughs rounds off the ‘B’s with his completely mad fantasy series set in Mars, or Barsoom as he called it. Our hero, John Carter is magically transported to Barsoom where he meets, saves, woos and saves some more the Princess Dejah Thoris and is then transported back to Earth at the end of each book. I read these as they were a focal point of “The Number of the Beast”, by one of my favourite authors, Robert A. Heinlein. John Carter makes Conan the Barbarian look like a wimp.

The Wonderful Women I Work With #WWIWW

21 Mar

I am privileged to work with a number of awesome women and a random conversation prompted a list. Expect superlatives, none of which are redundant. If I’d planned better I would have posted this for International Women’s Day but I didn’t.

Liz Leonard and all at Playgroup (Tej, Noreen, Liz, Joanne, Clair, Asia pictured above). I’ve known this bunch for over twelve years, when my children first started at playgroup, under the previous leader Viv White. How they summon the enthusiasm for looking after snotty, un toilet-trained toddlers each September, some of whom have never left their mother or had any rules I do not know. I think they are all amazingly awesome. The smiles, laughter and camaraderie that bonds them together as they work is heart-warming. Continue reading

An Editor’s Rant

9 Feb

As an editor, I aim to  deliver an immaculate service that runs so smoothly that nobody notices.

I wrote the following before Christmas, highly tempted to post it in our last pre-Christmas newsletter but I thought better of it. So here it is instead:

Thank you for reading this site, for posting your views, using the service directory and signing up for the newsletter. It’s appreciated.

I’m happy to advertise gigs and cake sales and other events. I’d like to say that nothing escapes me but occasionally it does. If you go to an event that isn’t listed, ask the organisers why they haven’t sent me details as well as letting me know. It helps, it really does. Don’t just complain that it’s not on the website. Continue reading

Upgrade

1 Feb

As with all upgrades, it’s taken too long, used up too much time, and doesn’t quite do what it is supposed to (yet).

On the other hand, if I waited until it is perfect it would never happen.

I’ve even got a proper post ready to add once the dust has settled.

P.S. Well that took longer than expected. It appears that hosting WordPress in a subfolder while using your primary domain name is a sod to set up. Like IKEA, the instructions aren’t quite right. However I’m learning things I didn’t know before and sincerely wish I didn’t need to know.

Windows ErrorP.P.S. Scratch the above. I’ve read lots and learnt lots and still don’t understand. So I’m reinstalling WordPress in the main folder rather than a subfolder, will import the contents, jiggle a bit and should all be done whilst listening to the football.

P.P.P.S. If the installation of the theme hadn’t included one or more corrupt files, that would have been done and dusted.

So, there are things I want to tweak and things I want to add. But it’ll do.

Moving Day

29 Jan

I have spent the last few months wanting to redo this website. I have finally done something about it and am in process of making new site live.

I meant to do this back in December but got caught up in real life instead.

So this one reverts to www.mumfieinbrentford.wordpress.com and the new site is www.brentfordcommunity.org.uk.

I might even post something new on it now.

Gold or Platinum?

22 Jul

nasturtium

The Golden Rule is oft stated as

do unto others as you would have them do unto you

or

treat others as you would like to be treated.

It appears, in some shape or form, in virtually every religion large and small that’s ever existed. It’s been debated by the great and good philosophers and ethicists since maybe 500 BCE which is a fair chunk of time by human standards.

I don’t like it.

It’s self-centred. It’s all about me. It says I must decide how I wish to be treated and then I can go forth and treat other people in this manner, without considering their wants and needs. It’s selfish.

It’s more than that though; it places myself at the centre of the universe. I am clearly more important than everyone else as they all have like whatever treatment I dish out. This is not a world I belong to, or wish to.

The Platinum Rule on the other hand states (in equivalent language)

Do unto others as they would like done unto them

or

treat others as they would wish to be treated.

That’s so much nicer! It asks you to put yourself into the other person’s position and try and imagine what they would like. It’s thinking about the present they would like to have rather than the one you would prefer to give. It’s about learning compassion, consideration and to treat other people’s differences with respect and understanding.

It also can be self-referential: do I look after myself, do I consider what I want, how I feel? Treating myself well can be a challenge.

In this world I am insignificant. I cannot change the world on my own even if I thought I had the capability. I can however choose how I live. It matters that I live the best life I can and that includes thinking about other people, as well as myself. I make mistakes on a daily basis but give it a go anyway.

There’s also a corollary to this: The Underpants Rule

everyone is the boss of their own underpants so you get to choose for you and other people get to choose for them and it’s not your job to tell other people what to do

In other words, don’t tell other people how to live their life; try living your own.

I wrote this for Nora, who is the RE consultant for Ealing where I am the Humanist representative for SACRE. Nora is creating a set of Key Beliefs. The humanist section referred to the golden rule and when I asked “what about the platinum rule” she said “what’s that?” So here we are.

Quote

A truly good book

21 Jul

“A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting.”

 

Henry David Thoreau, Walden Pond

A Summer Rage of Colour

13 Jun

I meant to spend some time taking photos of the colours in my garden while it was bright and sunny over the last month or so. There was a technical hitch out of my control which meant I forgot to get my camera out on the few days where the sun was present. Considering this is a north facing garden with plenty of tree shade sunny moments are precious.

So, here we are. I have several pieces of paper somewhere which tell me names of some of my plants. I don’t know where it is. Many that ought to be a riot of colour haven’t got there yet. But I thought I’d take the photos while I remembered to, as otherwise I’m going to forget. So the flowers aren’t quite as bright as they should be. Continue reading