Tag Archives: statues

The War on Statues

I’ve used the Statue of Liberty as the header picture as I don’t have many statue pictures and if you’re going to borrow one you may as well borrow one of the best known and most symbolic statues in the world. This, however, is a post about statues in the UK and their history.

Having struggled to make sense of recent events, and tried in vain to to write about it in a suitable way, I am just going to write whatever comes to mind. These are my thoughts – warts and all. That’s a quote from Oliver Cromwell, by the way. He’s on the list of statues suggested for removal.

If people think that removing statues will improve their lives I will let them get on with it. Attempts to modify history are seldom successful, and I suspect the war on statues, particularly the vandalism element, will merely result in more conflict and less progress.

I see that a statue of Baden-Powell is to be taken down out of fear that it may be attacked. As the Bristol Police are refusing to take action over the Colston statue, we could be seeing an open season on statues.

Back in Bristol, a statue of Alfred Fagon, a notable local playwright, has been attacked with bleach in what is seen as a racist attack.

Captain Cook statue – on the list for removal

As Isaac Newton told us, in his Third Law of Motion, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Life isn’t quite as tidy as science, and the reaction might be unequal. Look at the growing number of counter-demonstrations as an example.

Having mentioned Isaac Newton, I now have to point out that he was an investor in the South Sea Company and thus profited from slavery in the same way that Thomas Guy did. They want to remove Guy’s statue and rename the hospital, but they seem content to keep using the hospitals he helped to build. I suppose that means we have to pull down Newton’s statue and rename his Laws of Motion. However, I hope we will keep gravity.

If you think that I’m treating a serious subject with undue levity, I will stress that I’m not making light of death or racism, just the nonsense that surrounds and obscures the subject. I’ll leave you with a quote from a proper, serious politician.

“Why was that statue removed in the way that it was removed? Because for 20 years, protesters and campaigners had used every democratic lever at their disposal, petitions, meetings, protests, trying to get elected politicians to act, and they couldn’t reach a consensus and they couldn’t get anything done.”

 

 

And there was me thinking that the point of democracy was that you didn’t just smash things you disagree with. Democracy is rule by majority, and if the majority couldn’t care less then you need to educate us, not resort to violence.

Democracy, as Churchill said, is the worst form of government, apart from all the others, though the protestors don’t seem keen on Churchill either.

Statue of Thomas Paine at Thetford – was it really four years ago that we visited?

 

From Here to Modernity

A quick view of my day with lockdown observations.

I spent the early hours of the morning struggling with a blog post which I want to write, but which I can’t get right. I had already abandoned one yesterday and though I did manage to post, it was not about the things that were on my mind.

After no more than five hours I rose when the alarm went, made sandwiches, had breakfast and went to the Treatment Centre at Queen’s Medical Centre. Yes, time for a blood test. Parking was tight, as I didn’t get down until 9 am so I parked in a bay reserved for disabled parking. I don’t actually have a blue badge but I do have a walking stick and my knee was playing up. I was wrong, but I’m gradually becoming more selfish in my behaviour as I realise that being considerate just means that you are use as a stepping stone by the greedy self-centred people who actually run the country.

They now want all NHS staff to wear masks when dealing with the public and all members of the public to wear masks in hospitals. I took one with me just in case. I wasn’t asked to put a mask on when I arrived and I noticed that the receptionists and other staff weren’t wearing them. I checked later and this will all happen on June 15th, so they aren’t actually compulsory yet.

The phlebotomist had several attempts on my arms – one in the right, two in the left. She didn’t use the method I suggested, and decided to call a colleague in. There was nothing wrong with her technique but she just couldn’t get it right. I’m not a qualified phlebotomist, but as you may have noted, after the number of blood tests I’ve had I have picked up quite a lot of knowledge whilst being stabbed in the arm.

I was sent out to wait and drink water (which is supposed to make it easier to draw a sample) and they called a second patient in. When I was called through again the second phlebotomist took the blood quickly and efficiently while we all had a laugh about her friend’s failure. I do enjoy my blood-letting sessions – they are the only social life I have these days.

After that it was off to work for five hours in an empty shop. There wasn’t much to do so I cleaned the sink, the computers, the toilet and the door handles. When I went back to the computer I noted that two more orders had come in and then, on finishing those, found that another had come in. Sometimes the days seem to last forever.

I sent a text to the owner telling him we were running low on stationery and then sent another to Julia telling her I was running late, in part due to my co-worker failing to refill the drawers after using all the envelopes from two of them. I added three of those faces with steam coming out of the nostrils to indicate annoyance and sent it. Big, stiff fingers and touch screens are a bad combination and I sent it to the boss. Then I rang him to explain I had meant it for Julia.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear…

The Post Office was empty, so Social Distancing was a doddle.

Then it was home to try again with the difficult blog post (it still proved difficult) and news that people want to take down the statues of Sir Francis Drake in Devon. He might have done a bit of slave trading, but they all did in those days, so if this continues, we will have to take down all our statues, replace them with images of liberal nonentities and rewrite our history. It was an evil trade, and I make no excuses for it, who does it help to label all historical figures, with hindsight, as evil racists?

It’s all getting a bit like 1984, though of course, that’s a tricky subject too, as George Orwell’s great-grandfather was a slave owner and, if things carry on the way they are going, we’ll soon be burning his books rather than reading them.

That is more or less the subject of one of the blog posts I am finding difficult. I don’t like modern life.

And that was my day.

I am now going to submit my grocery order for tomorrow. An hours struggling with TESCO’s rubbish website on a creaky old computer. This is the stuff dreams are made of.

 

Even More Guest Photos…

It’s late again, and we’ve just been to a barbecue to celebrate Julia’s sister’s 50th birthday. It’s amazing how things change over the years. I won’t labour the point but when I first met the family there were none of the grey-haired, balding, wrinkly brothers-in-law that were in evidence today (and I include myself in that number). Nor were the alluring siren-like and sophisticated sisters-in-law anywhere – they were mere  giggly girls in those days.

So, as a quick fix – more Malta guest photos in the style of those from yesterday

 

 

Friday Feeling

It’s Friday and that’s time for quiet reflection on the computer again – Level 3 catering this time as part of the soap opera that attends the running of the Saturday Cafe on the farm.

I’ve seen the lambs, I’ve had a word with B (though she may be Bea – I’ve never been sure) at Shipshape Arts, I’ve watched an empty bird table and I’ve fired off a couple of emails. I’ve also eaten lunch and doughnuts, done some proof-reading and wrestled with a spreadsheet that won’t save the work I do on it. Either I’m an idiot who can’t use Excel or the sender is an idiot who can’t use Excel. As I don’t usually have trouble entering a few details I’m coming to an inescapable conclusion about the sender, but don’t let me influence you…

I’m rapidly running out of excuses so I’ll load some pictures and try to put off the evil hour. Note the kestrel picture – we have someone making a nest box which we’re going to place in the statue, so fingers crossed we get some interest.

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Kestrel!

We’ve always done a bit of bird watching on the farm, partly because we have birds to watch and partly because it allows me to sit and relax. It also teaches a number of important skills such as concentration, being quiet and sitting still. When you have learning difficulties you can be given to twitchiness and talking continually so it’s useful to have an activity which rewards efforts to control the condition.

One of the things we’have been watching recently has been a kestrel hovering over the field where the new woodland has been planted. I say “new woodland” but at the moment it’s sticks and tussocky grass, which is good hunting ground for kestrels. Sometimes the bird hovers in the area around the recently erected Neighbours statue and once or twice people have told me they saw it perching on the head.

I have been trying to get a shot of it but I’ve never had my camera with me at the right time and I’ve never actually seen it perching on the head. It all changed today when I managed to spot it perching while I had my camera in my hand.

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Tim found some pellets in the hood of the male figure when he was putting the Christmas lights on the statues so it looks like we’ve inadvertently erected a kestrel habitat.