If facts can be made, it implies that there is a degree of human involvement in their creation and interpretation. This realization challenges the assumption of an objective and impartial reality, highlighting the potential subjectivity and fallibility of facts.
But the bagel experience is more than just a bagel. It’s wrapped up in my DNA, however much I might want to overcome it or have attempted to deny it in the past. I am one-half a Londoner and an East Londoner at that. I need to live with it.
With folklore about the docks, the dance halls, old China-town from before the Blitz, tailors, cigar rollers, Jews, prostitutes, the old maid’s chemist, Ginger Marks flyover, Catholic processions, loan clubs, black shirts, gangsters and boxing.
I knew the importance that the effects of mobility would have on my life and understandably I was pretty nervous. Gordon Bachelor, my instructor, coached me week after week and prepared me for this day. The sun was shining, and the morning was hot. I don’t know how, but I passed, and with only one or two exceptions, it stands out as a good thing I have done.
I woke this morning to a brighter light than normal coming through my closed curtains.
I had seen before going to bed, just passed about one this morning, that it would imminently snow.
As I was in the garden fagging, I looked up to see the sky; a bright radiant orange. Sulphuric rays from street lamps bouncing off a bright white sky gave an eerie mandarin luminescence to the whole scene.
I confess that I woke today feeling far more down-hearted than I have of late. It was almost as if the snow had been an emotional trigger transporting me back to when enough had been enough (See The Beginning and Ergo I will go).
I thought I had ‘worked through’ my feelings, but I recall last night, I dreamt of small wild ponies running around an area of woodland recently cleared of rhododendron. I can only guess that the dream was brought on by a memory of a nature reserve near to Ashford (See here) where I have been a few times in the not too distant past. Wild horses run free there and I have taken a number of walks there.
I have never historically been a big fan of pointless walking to nowhere. so why this isolated snippet of a dream should have such a profound affect is a bit of a mystery.
On the subject of walking; when I was a child, our Dad used to take us for a ‘blow out’ on Sunday. We would do all sorts of public footpaths which cuts Kent (the garden of England) into a wonderful rich, colourful patchwork of countryside.
My favourite was nicknamed by us “Seven mile walk”.
Seven mile walk went from the entrance of Hever castle to a place called Chiddingstone. We would get a drink of milk in a small tea rooms opposite the church, before turning back again and finally getting back to the car exhausted.
More recently I always liked the idea of walking from A-B (maybe toward a pub). Walking around for the sake of walking was something I never understood, but I think now I get it again. I feel as if I have rediscovered an old toy, a long lost taste of the past.
It’s good to just get out and walk on your own. It’s nice being in the fresh air. It’s also good talking to other people and walking rather than just staying in to chat. Even a short stroll is better than none at all.
I am sure to most this does not sound too revolutionary but for me it’s almost miraculous. Those who have been closest to me would be able to confirm how little I used to walk. Again I think that my old man should take some credit for my not wanting to walk anywhere. As he got older, he simply stopped walking, or at least very rarely walked – he preferred to drive everywhere. He would park as close as he possibly could to the entrance of super and hyper markets and if ‘good’ parking wasn’t available, he would sometimes drive home to go back later. Maybe in my complex psyche I was trying to emulate my father, even the weird bits.
In the past also I never really used to stay in for very long, I was always popping around to different people’s houses or driving between projects at work, so the concept of feeling the four walls bearing down on me never really happened until earlier this year when the feeling of cabin fever took its toll. My lack of interest in walking may have felt to those close to me like a lack of empathy for their need to get out and walk in the air; and maybe it was.
This may be another area where my work or my life at that moment in time was sucking the goodness out of me. I was tired, I remember that, but now I feel younger and over the last six months much more full of hope and energy.
Lately with the weather here in the UK getting considerably colder and with the darkness descending much earlier in the day, I can seriously see the benefit of taking a stroll for no particular reason other than taking a stroll and getting out.
Having not pointlessly walked for a while, and having reflected on it I know that I miss it greatly. I went walking in Lanzarote occasionally (cycling lots) and have been on a few good walks since getting back to the UK including a place down the road from Reading.
Anyhow, the sight of snow and the dream of horses have left me wanting to walk more than avoid the unforgiving cold. The balance of goodness has again tipped the right way or at least is tipping.
Looking up at the grey of the sky over Kent, England, I have been thinking lots about religious prejudice, cultural ignorance and questions related to Britain in today’s multi-faith society. Most importantly I have been thinking about how Muslims are represented in our society.
Earlier in the year Prime Minister Brown was universally heckled for calling a woman who asked a question about immigration, a bigot. Maybe the word he chose was wrong or maybe she was and he was right (To confess, I didn’t hear what she asked him, so I can’t comment). My thoughts are that he made a school boy political gaff by leaving his microphone on and it neither matters looking back whether she was or was not a bigot or indeed if the word he chose when he thought he was speaking in private (whilst his mic was on) was appropriate. We are where we are, as they say.
In any event, I think that the reaction of the media to his response was the most interesting thing. His words spoken in private were an opinion and I think should have kick started a wider debate on faith, society and even though it sounds a little passé the idea of celebrating difference or recognising common truths.
Over the past ten years or so, we have been bombarded with a duel and sometimes conflicting messages through the media and popular press.
Since 9/11 in New York and 7/7 in London most people have had seared on their minds what an extremist Muslim looks like, a caricature of terrorism, if you like. This picture has been reinforced; I suppose, with the coinciding war in Afghanistan and echoed by programmes like Spooks on the BBC.
At the same time a general repression feels to have been drawn across most of out society when it comes to talking about, thinking about or discussing people of other cultures, races, or faiths; Islam in particular. I say repression because I have been guilty in the past of curtailing conversations which are talking about our society if there is any risk of ignorance or exploration being mistaken for racism or prejudice.
I suppose now I am asking, “How else do we learn?”
Maybe the expression of ignorant opinion if and when we do hear it, is at least opinion and the opening of, or the beginning of, a conversation where ideas and common truths can be explored.
I think that there needs to be a rebalance in messages sent out in the media and by government to better engage the portrayal of, and opportunities for, average Muslims to have conversations with the rest of society; and vice-versa.
To this end also, I think we can all do our bit, simply by talking more, relaxing a little bit more and not immediately assuming that thinking and talking about faith and Muslims in particular in British society is a preeminent position only to be held by racists and bigots.
I urge you all to go out to your community and maybe go further afield specifically with the intention of striking up conversation with Muslims (and people from other faiths) to learn a little about them exploring their day to day experience. Essentially get out their and be friendly, to make new friends.
Muslims are apparently not well represented on the BBC where I heard recently even the actors who play the Muslim family on the square are not Muslim, why not?
I watched a TV programme this morning where a good point was made which I would like to echo, why can’t we see a TV programme demonstrating the work Muslims are doing to curtail extremism?
I had a number of great conversations when I was in Egypt last week during Eid. I ate food with a group of friends and chatted about a number of concerns they had including drugs, health, environmental concerns, development in their country, justice and politics.
All talked about their life experience and the journey their lives were taking them on. Most talked about their hope for married life and a family. All talked about their work, concerns for their friends and financial hopes for the future. They were all average guys who happened to have a love for the Koran and their faith.
It was a pleasure meeting the taxi drivers, hotel staff and shop keepers and they made me think how all the world over, although our cultures and histories are so different, we are all just human beings with the same trials, troubles and dreams in this modern changing world.
I thought you might like this. Very interesting.
Last night I was talked into attending my first ever foam party.
The foam party takes place every Friday at probably the only real night club in the town – Coyote´s disco pub. We all know what that means, right? Old recollections of 'The Venue' in New Cross, 'The Works' in Canterbury etc. and you would be so wrong. These places are better!
My arm was well and trully twisted when my new pal 'TorquayDD', said "So, are we going to the foam party later?"
I found myself saying "Yes, it's going to be a real laugh." And although so wrong, on so many levels, I was right.
In Costa Teguise there are a few places the British like to hang out, and at times I had best confess that, being British, I have in the interests of research investigated them all.
Obviously I have taken these distasteful forays with a purely scientific approach to understanding how other tribes (within my own tribe) live, with their different cultures, different customs etc. One question still unanswered is that I am still not quite sure why people come to a place like the rock only to sit in a bar eating fried food, drinking beer and tea, watching the x factor surrounded only by Brits – I think this is really odd. It is just beyond me, but I am trying.
Back to the point. The foam party can only be described as carnage.
The foam is generally cold and sticky. I have been reliably informed that this is normal for foam parties. Clothes get saturated. In all the hullabaloo my feet were trodden on and my flip flops which have served me so well since the 22 March were broken. Boo! If one put a drink down, it was almost immediatly stolen.
The lights were good and despite my ears perpetually feeling like I have a pair of fingers stuck in them, the music was so loud, there was a physical effect as the heavy resonating beat forced itself through my bones. I think, without wanting to exaggerate, my knee might just have occasionally bent in time with the music thereby creating a strange effect of a wobbly tall person badly imitating what a minority of people could possibly describe as a dance! This went on for about 90 minutes.
So the conclusion, having seen a bunch of people who were either too young or in my opinion in some cases too old (insert my name) to be there smearing themselves with ash-flicked bubbles and alcohol induced vomit-fuelled foam:
I am sure that some who were there enjoyed it. For me it was purely entertainment seeing how hedonistic people become, given the introduction of a drop of fairy and a big hair drier. You must obviously empathise how I am just above all this sort of thing, operating on a higher plain. Of course, it was a real chore seeing a writhing mass of wet dancing bodies all looking to meet new and interesting people.
So the recommendation?
If you don't fancy seeing a group of people get wet and dance to the point of drunken exhaustion and if you don't want random people coming to talk to you in a slurd way, telling you why they want to be your friend. Don't go.
Sorry for the delay in writing.
Since arriving back on the rock I have been up to my eyes in diving, sun and generally going out and about meeting new people. What a tough life…I hear you cry. And you would be right.
One of the little gems which my pal SJ introduced me to is a little cafe in Teguise. I am pretty sure I wrote about it before.
Essentially it is just off of the Lion Square.
This is the outside just after the Sunday market has closed. Stall holders, artists, bohemians and the like meet and socialise inside and outside 'Las Palmera'. I recommend it to you. But only if when you go in, you tell the guys there that I sent you.
This is the door.
This is the bar.
The guy in the hat is a really good bloke. The whole place is filled with music, food, drink and spanish chat. It is a really vibrant place.
It's only small but you can fit a lot in.
These are the Sunday afternoon musicians.
This is the kitchen. It is really basic but produces amazing grilled meat. If there is a reason not to be a vegetarian, this place is it. So I can't become a veggie just yet!
Better view of the grill.
How monkeys make similar decisions when faced with problems in the same irrational way as humans do.
During the first Saturday in July I went with my sisters' family to the Luss Highland Games.
They featured the tug- o-war, field cycling, throwing the hammer, throwing the bushel and wrestling.
In every event there was a token woman entered in the spirit of equal opportunities. Although there did not appear to be a womans class in any of the activities except dancing, This is in no way a critisism, merely an observation. The whole thing was great!!
The day before Luss, in commemoration of my little nephews 7th year, we walked to the top of Ben Nevis (the biggest mountain in the UK). The weather walking up Ben Nevis was appalling except for the top where it appeared that we were above the clouds.
The path is maintained exceptionally well with the lion's share of the work being undertaken by hand.
What is so amazing the day after climbing the hill is that and whilst at the games, as the adults complained that "My calves are as tight as a …" ending
the sentance with as many variations on the same theme including
'drum', 'tight cycling shorts', 'a badgers bottom' etc we watched as
the lad jumped around in an inflatable pirate ship with other kids
before entering himself in the running race. I know that they are made
of rubber, but the fact that he was so full of beans was amazing. My little nephew took part in the childrens race, making a valient effort to come in a very proud last.
My brother-in-law, who doesn't any longer like to be
described as having a squint, glass eye, wooden leg, green curley teeth
or in fact, any reference to his pink mohican failed on this occasion
to wear his traditional scottich garb. Despite this, the day was a real treat.
Thank you Ben Nevis, Thank you Luss!!