Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Treasure those Memories … part 1 …

 

Nothing like peregrinating … which I’m still doing after last week’s ‘new year’ … my brother’s card was ‘don’t count them (good thing) … just ‘Treasure those Memories’

 

… fortunately life comes to my rescue … as the G7 Summit 2020 is coming to Cornwall in June 2021 … and, of course!, they’ve chosen Carbis Bay … where I learnt the importance of enjoying life: not many clothes, with possibly a bucket and spade on that beach.

 

 


Penwith - the western end of Cornwall
(St Ives at top)
So be it … don’t get too agitated … that’s it really … but I thought I’d do a couple of (few) easy posts along treasuring memories about Cornwall and the Carbis Bay region.

 

My grandmother with her 2nd husband had a house on the road down to Carbis Bay beach … it’s about 2 miles outside St Ives – the picturesque seaside town that was my grandfather’s hometown … where his family had been a major force, before an accident killed him in the early 1920s.

 

Aged 2 1/2 perhaps?
So I have many memories of days spent in St Ives, of staying in Carbis Bay … and of seeing my father’s grandmother, (who was a Londoner) living opposite the Bed and Breakfast we stayed as kids for holidays.

 


Carbis Bay beach 21st C
 Those childhood holiday memories have been coaxed back to life … our history of where we began.  I’ll enlighten you a little in the coming posts … shortish but with some of my background … starting with today’s nakedness on Carbis Bay beach!

 


Tiny twisty lanes

I am somewhat worried about the decision to hold the Summit down there … do they know how tiny the lanes are?  Gridlock is coming … I suspect … and perhaps other things, especially if they haven’t sorted the fishing industry out by then



Idealised Great Western Railway
poster +/- 1920s


More Treasure those Memories to follow … it’s certainly bringing that era back into childhood focus … while knowing it’s where our maternal roots came from …

 


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Peregrinations …

 

Nothing like entering the 14th year of blogging, and a few decades with a few extra years of birthdays …


 

Christmas Narcissi - Cornish style daffodils
Peregrinations of a snail-like life … but the main thing all is well – just desperately slow to get going … there’s no rush – so why stress myself … a decent post will follow soon!!

 

 

Some great friends sent me some cash to enhance my meal options … nothing like a trip to Marks and Sparks for one of their dine-in meals … good choices they had available for me.

 

Extra prawns for my salad lunch

I have plenty to gobble down for a few meals … and I’m looking forward to lunch, and to this evening!!

 



My choices … I love Mediterranean meals, rather than a salad: that I’ll have for lunch, I selected some green veg … some extra prawns for some time … and then the citron tart – one piece eaten last night! 

 

Paella


Tonight I’ll enjoy the above or some parts of them … and the King Prawns chargrilled, chicken and chorizo Paella … with Arborio, saffron infused rice, red peppers and peas …

 

 


Variety of green veg with a zingy sauce
I have some Prosecco and a decent bottle of wine – so I will slump and just enjoy myself … not too much alcohol … but something depending what I feel like …

 


I managed to 
eat one piece
last night!

So that’s the start to an interesting birthday year … what will this coming year hold for blogging and life … a conundrum to ponder, without getting agitated about the future …

 

 


A word has come through from a local group – but it’s via the great medium of tv quizzes … and is most definitely appropriate for now … and our future … 

 

‘Respair’ = fresh hope and recovery from despair … a word we need to hold close to our hearts …

 


 

Snowy lady - in Canada

Well from a damp south coast … better than many of the snow-bound ones I’ve experienced … I shall wander along my lonely path …

 

 

… I am lucky as I have an optimistic and positive approach to life … and just look forward to whenever some form of normality occurs … in the meantime – stay safe, look after yourselves, and all the very best –

 

 

Virus adapted tulip ...
so pretty!

Today is St Hilary’s Day … and features heavily in our culture, as too my life … I remain true to my name …

 

 


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Monday, 4 January 2021

Abdul Abulbul Amir … and snowy bullfinches …

 

Bullfinch cards were on sale at the Towner Art Gallery … so I bought some … for some reason they always remind me of my father and our romping sing songs we had very early in our lives …


 

Bullfinches card by
Allen W Seaby


… one of those songs was Abdul Abulbul Amir … but I always sang abdul abul la mer (or something similar!) … while the bullfinches always take me back to those times.

 



Cartoon of Ivan and Abdul
I guess I’d never seen how the name of the song was written – hence my never being able to remember it exactly … equally having now looked I don’t think I’ll bother – other than to remember the fun lyrics and the delightful tune.


 

Record cover in the 1920s


So my first post of 2021 is a simple romping ditty … with variations galore … Count Ivan Skavinsky Skavar is another major player in the lyric …

 



I give you the 1927 Youtube recording by Fred Crumit … using a real record player … not so badly scratched after all these years.

 

Stephen Fry in the advert

 While I was down south, South Africa, a beer advertappeared x 3 … if you stay watching …

 

 


As you’ll have gathered … I’ve enjoyed listening to Abdul and Ivan rather more often than is necessary recently … they’ve been enlivening my listless brain as 2021 kicks in …

 

Bullfinch - England
Here’s the link if you want to find out more about, and read the lyrics, this “music-hall song” written in 1877 by Percy French, while at Trinity College, Dublin …

 

 

While Allen W Seaby is the artist with a lot of credentials to his name … for more see here …


All of the best for this year

 

To all of you – a Gentle New Year … as each day goes forward … one hopes towards peace and relief that we can venture out freely again …

 

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Thursday, 31 December 2020

We are the World Blogfest # 44 Happy New Year 2021 …


All the very best everyone … there’s so much to be grateful for … many of us are blessed – equally I know, too many have suffered and continue to do so …


 

Happy New Year 2021
It has been an extraordinary year … and one which we will remember in many different ways … I’m overloaded with Brexit and Covid …

 



see link below
For now I can only think of how Altruistic much of humanity is being … while we all look forward to a better tomorrow …

 




 

Healthy selection of fresh foods
Here’s to an easier 2021 … eat local, eat well, stay healthy, stay strong, help others and keep your spirits up – there is much to be positive about … little steps towards that better tomorrow …


 



A song for 2021 … with words to take into your hearts:

 



Welcome 2021 … ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ …

Morecombe & Wise’s song c/o YouTube …see lyrics …

 

 

Scilly Isles narcissi



We are the World Blogfest

In Darkness, Be Light

 

 Altruism Health Benefits - Mental Health Foundation

 

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Tuesday, 22 December 2020

London visits, Small Axe reminders of life before South Africa, Stories from a South African childhood …

 

Having taken myself back down memory lane through my London visits earlier this year, then watching Steve McQueen’s Small Axe films about the lives of West Indian immigrants in the London I’d spent time in: the 1970s …


 

… then Trevor Noah’s book ‘Born a Crime’, which Donna of Retirement Reflections had read during her recent time out to catch up with some books, and writing a review reminded me to read …

 


This again took me back … I was a na├»ve white 30 year old setting out to travel and see life in other parts of the world … I got no further than South Africa … I’m not a real wanderer – but I am so pleased I’ve had that experience of living abroad and seeing other parts of southern Africa – Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia …

 

I had no idea what exactly apartheid was … I hadn’t been aware of divisions in life – but note at a late age, I was about to learn …

 

Trevor Noah’s book ‘Born A Crime’ really took me back to living in South Africa, Johannesburg, and being able to share his experiences through my remembrances from that other side of life.

 



The book hits me with its frontispiece detail: ‘Immorality Act, 1927’ … with a sub-heading ‘To prohibit illicit carnal intercourse between Europeans and natives and other acts in relation thereto’, before a very brief explanation that this Act is enacted by the King’s Most Excellent, Majesty, the Senate and the House of Assembly of the Union of South Africa, as follows: -

 

Section 1 for the European male …

Section 2 for the native female …


I won’t go into the descriptions – enough said I was shocked and horrified to read.



For me … he really takes me back to my side of life, shown by him as he had to experience it … through his story telling as he grows up … with each tale giving some background detail about different aspects …

 

Map showing dominant languages
by area - see Wiki language section
… for example: he explains ‘apartheid’ … ‘apart hate’ … the overwhelming majority of peoples were encouraged to turn on each other – because they were from different tribes with different languages: Zulu, Xhosa, Tswana, Sotho, Venda, Ndebele, Tsonga, Pedi, and more …

 

(Note black South Africans outnumbered white South Africans nearly five to one).

 

Sign that was in Durban


Noah divides the two groups of whites who oppressed the non-white population … the British and the Afrikaners … the British gave a glimmer of hope … learn to speak correct English and dress properly, then there was hope for acceptance.  Afrikaner racism was much worse …

 




The stories are vignettes preceded by a note of morality … mostly about his mother – her love of church and her insistence they attend each Sunday, her knowledge of right and wrong, her ability to find ways round the system to achieve her aims … but without jeopardising their lives (though you might disagree with that with some of the things she did) – she found the cracks, crept in and lived …

 

Performing on his 'Loud and
Clear'
tour in 2019.
He is a comedian, tv host,
author and more in the USA

… or a preceding information page on the history, background about the peoples of Southern Africa …

 



… reminding me of when I first lived in Hillbrow – an inner city residential area on the ridge on which Johannesburg is sited … at that stage it was Apartheid-designated “whites only” … but soon became a “grey area” … where it was quite cosmopolitan. 

 

Landing by Bartholomew Diaz
in 1488
Once again memories are stirred by the internet of today, and by booklets and information I have tucked away here … that I’ve wanted to write about … perhaps all these posts will lead me to those thoughts …

 


I’d better stop – otherwise Christmas will be here – but Trevor Noah’s book does tie much together … he’s now in the States, having been born in 1984 six years after I arrived in South Africa.  I’ve never lived in the States, but had the privilege of that year (2017) in Canada … so learnt and am still learning about those countries.

 


Constitutional Court

All I can say now – is thank you to Donna for reading ‘Born A Crime’ … which is an easy read – though tells its story, which may not be easy to read, and for which there is much to go back to and read again if one so wishes …

 



Trevor Noah Wiki article ... 


Here's Donna's post in Retirement Reflections:

Reading Break ... 


Joanne of Word Splash - Joanne Faries - her review of Trevor's book ... 


Have a blessed and peaceful Christmas everyone ... take care and stay safe - with thoughts to one and all ... 


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Saturday, 19 December 2020

Steve McQueen – Small Axe anthology film series # 5 “Education” …

 

“Education” is last of these amazing films … which are receiving acclaim from all quarters over here …

 

From a YouTube link on
'How to Draw a Rocket Ship'

We see a very bright boy interested in the stars and planets, while wanting to be an astronaut, who was good at maths, able to communicate, excellent at art with an imagination that was broad – only to be undone as a child by an education system that was populated with racist teachers with exceedingly narrow and unhelpful minds.

 

The child, Kingsley, portrayed by an outstanding young actor ‘Kenyah Sandy’, is followed through this nightmare … his problem is he cannot read … he’s dyslexic and terrified of disclosing this problem – suffering at school, concealing it at home. 


Star Cluster Pismis 24
with nebula

The school shuns him – offering no choices or help – he is to go to a ‘special school’ … where all the kids who cannot help themselves go … those who are definitely backward, those who will struggle, and those whom the ‘system’ is not prepared to recognise.

 




The teachers … if they can be called that … just take the mickey out of the system … for example one of their teachers incessantly plays ‘House of the Rising Sun’ badly on his guitar … to a class that cannot do anything about it – authority disinterestedly suppresses.

 

Debuts 25 July 1964



It is painful to watch … but McQueen brings each scene to life by taking it back to the 1970s … all details exactly as they would have been.

 



It is, as it happens, autobiographical … and we see that early part of McQueen's/Kingsley's life unfold – he’s a kid, he doesn’t know what to do … his elder sister is supportive, their mother is working three jobs, their father a carpenter/tradesman … their own aspirations – suppressed by the British system.

 

Steve McQueen c/o Washington Post - 
see article below
Fortunately the women in the West Indian community realise something needs to be done … one goes undercover to the appalling sub-normal school – and sees the disaster being wreaked …


 

… another colleague goes to see Kingsley’s mother … who cannot understand what’s been happening … and whose husband is typically locked into the way of life … downtrodden, and certainly has no aspirations for his family or himself.

 

The women persuade the family to let Kingsley attend Saturday school, put on by understanding West Indian parents to help children who struggle. 

 

Amazon book on 'The Glory of
African Kings and Queens' - by
Pusch Commey



Kingsley very quickly thrives … his talents are recognised, his curiosity is acknowledged by being encouraged … he learns to read … and is seen round the family dinner table getting to grips with his reading through a children’s history of African kings and queens.

 



Steve McQueen – as we now know did get out of the sub-normal school system and has achieved so much with his life – which I will write about in 2021.

 

Kenyah Sandy as 'Kingsley' in the BBC film

There’s an interesting snippet in the film … when the West Indian Women’s Association … whose aim is to allow children to blossom, and not be kept back by ‘the system’ …

 

… as the parents can, if they’re in the period of appeal, apply to get their children out from the sub-normal schools into regular schooling … by writing to the Secretary of State for Education – who at that time was Margaret Thatcher – our future British Prime Minister!

 

These have all been extraordinary films … with Education being the last of the five … appropriate … as it lets us know about the British school system fifty years ago (1970s) …

 

An appropriate Chinese proverb
… but I would also suggest opens our eyes to other ways of life … back then and now … here in this country, and in other countries in this muddled world we seem to find ourselves in …

 

 

The book written by
Bernard Coard on the
system published 1971


It is well worth seeing … as poor schooling, lack of appreciation of others’ societies, where our historical roots might be … has been the ruin of many a poor person




 


I will struggle to enjoy that song ever again … the visuals will remain …

 

Thank you for reading, commenting and being interested – there will be more … along slightly different lines in 2021, as well as report backs on outings I haven’t written up about …

 

One more post before Christmas and the New Year … which ties many of my recent posts together … it’ll be short …

 

Washington Post article with Steve McQueen on this his 5th film in the Small Axe series ...  

Article on the 'How the West Indian Child is made institutionally sub-normal in the British School System' ... by Bernard Coard

Article from The Guardian - by Bernard Coard on why he wrote the English Sub-Normal Schools book - see in post


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Sunday, 13 December 2020

Steve McQueen – Small Axe anthology film series #4 “Alex Wheatle”…

 The penultimate film in Steve McQueen’s Small Axe series is about how the Jamaican, Alex Wheatle (born 1963), changed his life after being encouraged in prison to understand his history.

 

Sheyi Cole as Alex Wheatle

Wheatle had been writing lyrics about everyday life in Brixton, south London and was working as a DJ … but when the Brixton riot of 1981 was going on he saw the police beating up a friend … he retaliates ending up in prison.


 

Bob Marley statue in 
Kingston, Jamaica by
Alvin Marriott

His cellmate an educated Rastafarian, encourages him to see the future through reading more, expanding and caring about his education, as well as his own future and others’ lives: over which he will have influence (whether he goes back to his old ways, or changes while he has the chance)





Chester Himes in 1946

 … he is able to read authors such as Chester Himes, Richard Wright, CLR James (1901 - 1989) {living for a while in Brixton} and John Steinbeck … but it is Himes (1909 – 1984) who truly influences Wheatle …

 




… there are similarities … British prison life v American penitentiary … Wheatle for a short time, but long enough to learn so much … and Himes for much longer, though his term was paroled …

 

C L R James


… they were both able to write and took time in prison to improve their talent, submit stories to magazines, while earning respect for this ability.

 


Brixton Riots 1981 - showing police
cordon with shields



Wheatle is in London, Himes was in London, Ohio … but Himes’ stories were violent … about police treatment, race relations, Jim Crow laws …

 



Himes’ Harlem Detective novels (Harlem Renaissance time frame) further inspired Wheatle in his approach to crime novels, and encouraged him to stretch his literary abilities …


Three Women in Harlem c 1925

 

Wheatle’s life story features as this fourth film in the Small Axe series … the settings are real-life, but sparse … it is eye-opening … as my curiosity has expanded … I’ve been absorbed exploring …

 


The last film tonight will be ‘Education’ … which I’m sure will open my eyes even further …

 


Steve McQueen’s filmography is exceptional … the scenes are well staged and touching … which will remind us about the challenge some peoples encounter in their lives … and, I hope, wonder if we can help change this narrative by educating ourselves.

 


Wheatle's 'The
Guardian's' Children's
Ficton Prize

Alex Wheatle is now an author, crime novelist, children’s author, playwright, with a recognised voice who is empowering those who will listen to think about life and how it works …

 



This film in the Small Axe series … dramatically shows us how Wheatle fell in love with reading the works by black writers and other authors new to him … and then learnt to adapt his writing style …

 




I’m going to watch this evening’s film … and as I’ve come to appreciate a great deal more from McQueen’s approach to story-telling, as well as things I’ve found out about crime-writing … I’ll be back with more posts …

 

Alex Wheatle's first thriller


A couple of links to explore or refer back to … there are others … but as most of our minds are rather fractured at the moment, despite the season, I’ll leave you with these …

 AlexWheatle, and

 Alex Wheatlethe film

 Article byVincent Dowd, Arts correspondent, BBC News on an interview with Alex Wheatle on why the 'amazing Chester Himes' should be better known ... 


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories