Friday, 14 June 2019

Write … Edit … Publish … Bloghop: Caged Bird …


That wasn’t … was it … surely he couldn’t know I was home … my stomach sunk … nope – I wasn’t going to answer the bell … but if he knew I was home – how could I avoid having to face him.


WEP Challenge for June 2019

I’d been to hell and back to get that restraining order … I’d been intimidated long enough, my child suffered as I did  - we lived in constant fear … but I thought those days were over, seemingly it wasn't to be until the authorities helped us to get new lives … what now …


There he stood … smirking – knowing I’d be in a heap inside … my stomach churning … then he demanded to see his (our) child – who I’d made sure was in the back-room and couldn’t hear … but I had no choice – he said he knew his child was here … how?


Restrained

This happened time and again during the restraining order … and each time he seemed to know exactly what we’d been doing, what we watched on the tv, how we entertained ourselves …





Terror was coming over me – I really couldn’t handle this form of abuse any more … I just wanted to end everything – but what would happen to my child …


I was really struggling to stay in control of our day to day existence – I felt overwhelmed … waves of negativity flooded over and through me …


My estranged husband had always been coercive – he had isolated me from my family and my friends … at least now I could contact them – but … this abusive man still knew what was going on …




My heart was pumping … I needed to resolve this … someone suggested I meet with a domestic abuse charity …


Various smart appliances

… then I learnt all the horrors that he’d been perpetuating, and through a charity I was able to see how he’d been able to control us, even after the restraining order …





That was a few years ago – though the damage won’t leave me, I am coming to terms with life where my child and I can live in relative peace …

Domestic Violence kept me caged as a bird …

I read an article on the aspects of knowing your tech – hence ‘this story’ … as spying can occur through so many smart devices now-a-days … apps via phones can be linked to door bells, smart products (thermostats, home security cameras, tvs, domestic appliances, toys, that Echo thingie)  etc etc) … these open us all up to unprecedented levels of control and surveillance … be aware … be very aware, be aware for others too …

Hilary Melton-Butcher 
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Saturday, 8 June 2019

Courage, Commitment and Bravery … D-Day 2019




The moving commemorative events held this week on the 75th anniversary of D-Day … were only the start of the end ... 
50th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day 1995:
Lancaster Bomber dropping poppies in front
of Buckingham Palace





... it was another 11 months before Victory in Europe could be formally acknowledged, when Nazi Germany unconditionally surrendered its armed forces.






Military Cross
One hundred years ago today my father was born, twenty-five years later he was on shores of France … he fought for Britain, the free world, his life and for others to live … he was awarded the Military Cross …


… like many, my parents, did not talk about their Army experiences, but certainly their lives were affected, then they lived on with their families … until their time came.


Painted in the middle of the
Second World War
Navy, Air Force, Army personnel
depicted, but we must remember
all the others behind the scenes

I’m sure my family would endorse all elements of the 2019 D-Day Proclamation that ceremonially commits its 16 signatories:


“To work constructively as friends and allies to find common ground” even where their opinions differ and “to work together to resolve international tensions peacefully.”



The Proclamation was signed by:  


Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Poland, Slovakia, the United Kingdom and the USA.


… and states:



"Over the last 75 years, our nations have stood up for peace in Europe and globally, for democracy, tolerance and the rule of law.

We re-commit today to those shared values because they support the stability and prosperity of our nations and our people.

We will work together as allies and friends to defend these freedoms whenever they are threatened."


Allied Invasion Force on D-Day 1944

I, on my own behalf, and everyone who reads this blog would encourage us all to be humble, remember what they were willing to give – we have to preserve this brave and courageous generation’s legacy of Peace and Freedom.






Let Us Not Forget ... 






I'd like to add a note to this post:  One thing I've learnt is - we need to understand history, the different peoples of this world, their culture and customs etc - before we go expecting others to be like us ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Friday, 31 May 2019

We are the World Blogfest # 25: The Lemon Tree Trust ...




‘Growing Home’ … a way of giving life to a war-torn world … war gardeners brighten up the lives of those who have to live in imprisoned spaces …

 
c/o The Lemon Tree Trust site

… planting seeds to give colour, to let there be food, to have shelter in the dust of northern Iraq, or as the Royal Horticultural Society found in an internment camp a hundred years ago …



… the wheels of time go around, sadly nothing much changes, yet humans will always have hope and work towards improving themselves … wherever they are – even in ‘prison camps’.


"We had so many flowers in Syria.  This garden
makes me happy" ...

The Lemon Tree Trust, a not-for-profit organisation, active since 2014, supporting greening initiatives in forced migration camps … helps marginalised communities …




A haven for the children, who live or were born, in the camp




Urban agriculture, however limited, starts a process to create new and unrealised potential for those with nothing … 




One of the kits available for a household in
a refugee camp

... it gives them joy – a flower for its scent or delightful beauty, extra food – vegetables and fruits, dignity for the gardeners, hope for their families and others, and a sanctuary – a quiet personal space …


Ten gardens …
       Ten plus ‘war gardeners’ …
                Seeds were sown …
                        Greening started and was nourished …
                                Stories flowed, ideas spread …
                                        Insects and birds came …
        

A wondrous patch of land gave these hardworking gardeners some solace, where roots could be put down – even in their time of displacement … for many years ahead.

The video about the Liberation Garden is
on the Lemon Tree site



Domiz is a camp for Syrian refugees in Iraqi Kurdistan … which gives us an insight into the Trust’s work there … it is quite extraordinary and so wonderful to see …




A panorama of Ruhleben camp taken in 1917 by
Nico Jungmann, one of the detainees - who was
an Anglo-Dutch painter

  man can be amazing, so generous, so adaptable, so accepting (in that there’s no choice) … the Trust gives them opportunities to personalise their lives within the patches of land available.



Please look at the videos on the Lemon Tree Trust’s site to see the wonderful little havens of love they have created for their families and community …


Archival photo inside Ruhleben's Horticultural
Society's Nursery


This Lemon Tree Trust link is to the Royal Horticultural Society’s video and information on the Ruhleben Internment Camp … where requests from the camp to the RHS mirror those being made today fromDomiz and other refugee camps …





This is the link to Wikipedia’s page on Refugee Camps – a long informative overview – with detail of the camps around the world.

We are the World  -  In Darkness, Be Light

The Lemon Tree Trust site includes a number of videos on the refugee gardeners, the gardens, about Domiz camp and more ... "Growing Home" video (10 minutes - well worth the watch)...



Please check out some of the videos and the gardens in Domiz - with some of the facts of life there ... it's informative and (sadly) interesting ... but heart-warming ... 


Lemon Tree - used by Tom Massey in
the RHS Chelsea's 2018 garden

Wiki page on Ruhleben Internment Camp - interesting to read the history on this camp in WW1 ... 


Tom Massey, the landscape and garden designer for The Lemon Tree Trust garden at the Royal Horticultural Society Garden, Chelse 2018 ... the details are here ...



Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Friday, 24 May 2019

Stormhoek … Catch the Moment …



Riders on the Storm – by the Doors, Dark and Stormy a brew when relaxing:  the drink rarely would be mine … more likely a glass of vino would be my tipple …

The album cover


But appropriate choices of Ben Keitch, who hails from Eastbourne apparently, and is one of the skippers selected for the 2019/20 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race …




Clippers at rest in Liverpool
c/o The Guide Liverpool 
where a huge wine box was unveiled at the end
of the 2017/18 race

I’ll get to where this post came from and is going to shortly!  The Clipper race reminds me of Cornwall, my mother and her sailing interests when the Tall Ships came into Penzance harbour … 





... but Ben reminds me of my Oxford days … though no degree for me – just school, friends, and the fact my father, uncle and cousin all had degrees from Worcester College …


Eastbourne seafront along the various promenades - the
lovely turquoise tiled bandstand with the 'denuded' pier
in the background (after the fire a few years ago)

Where was I?!  Memories, apart from today’s life here in Eastbourne … Ben has had some incredible experiences … 18 months with the Antarctic Survey, running a festival in the Spanish desert, working in a travelling circus as an aerialist … 



... he has a PhD in Physics from Oxford, with interests in electronics, environmental impact, and acrobatics … I guess most of those you’d need skippering a Clipper round the world. 



Now to why this post is being written … some friends came round for supper and having seen this wine box in Waitrose bought me one … memories of South Africa …


… I love the quote on the box:



Be Passionate
LOVE
DREAM   BIG
Be Spontaneous
CELEBRATE
Change the World or Go Home






We only ever had a few pieces of
plain blue and white Cornishware ..
Viota is a cake mix from the early
20th century


The colours reminded me of my Ma and our Cornish days … the blue and white of Cornwall’s china … the blue skies and crested waves of Kernow: branded Cornishware … which I wrote about in my A-Z 2015.




I know, I know … here’s a right tangle of tentacles creating a post … but inspiration struck … and then in trying to tie things together … here’s another appropriate quote for this paragraph … found under the Stormhoek name … “Catch the Moment” … I get distracted!


c/o Clipper Round the World


It is something I’ve have absolutely no wish to do … race the Atlantic or actually sail anywhere else … love looking at that wet stuff, but am very happy on land.





So to a glass from a box that will bring back many memories from times in Cornwall, Oxford, South Africa and now Eastbourne … with a few other places in between …



 
c/o The Liverpool Guide ...
This huge box supplied by the 2017/18 sponsor, Stormhoek, was on tap at the end of the Clipper Race in Liverpool last year after they had completed a circumnavigation of the planet … what a way to serve 24,000 litres of its wine – that could be 144,000 glasses!



Some facts: 

The race is held every two years … and in March the eleven selected skippers were revealed … they have over a million miles of experience between them …


… and must be outstanding instructors, exceptional motivators, and strong role models … keep calm and patient under pressure, and - understand all types of personalities …


… just like us bloggers?! or authors, or journalists …


The Race is one of the biggest challenges of the natural world and an endurance test like no other, the race is taken by ordinary, everyday people (about 700 of them) – with no previous sailing experience necessary, it’s a 40,000 nautical mile race around the world on board 70-foot ocean racing yachts.


There is nowhere to hide – anyone can take part … where bankers work alongside students, and waiters rub shoulders with chief executives … as the waves or words mix and match …


Some white crested waves
reminding me of the Cornish seas
So the nod to ‘Riders on the storm’ is just right today … life has led me on a roller coaster – thankfully the sun is out, this post is done … memories have abounded … the sun is not over the yard-arm – but I shall enjoy a tipple with friends tonight!  I’ve caught my moment and need to get out into the fresh Spring air …


A photo I took of an art work on display in a local
memorabilia exhibition - it is dated  July 1968

Have peaceful, thoughtful Memorial Day weekends, or for us our Spring Bank Holiday weekend … the weather looks mixed – such is the British weather world … at least it won’t be Stormy … but we can Celebrate and Change the World with hope and love …




… my head is buzzing with storylines …’Catch the Story’ should be my motto for today!



Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Letters

Thursday, 16 May 2019

What’s in a Name …




anything but Sue – is what sprang to mind immediately before the new Royal was named - I was then hooked into the Johnny Cash renditions of the famous song …


Johnny Cash with June Carter
… while researching the last two posts … ‘Socrates’ popped off the page at me … Socrates Mbamulu is the journalist, who wrote the trending article on ‘Kugali: Africa’s largest networking comics platform’ …



Which led me to think of names – and how the colonising powers made sure people had names they could pronounce … many recorded on the spur of the moment at the registration offices. 


I'm just glad that these sorts of letters
weren't mixed up into his name
Hence the preponderance of biblical, saints, classical, historical or place names that people might have been lumbered with … mind you some will stand out – eg Socrates, Nelson …

Prince Harry was the founder of the Invictus Games
for wounded and injured Service personnel; two days
after Archie was born, the Prince popped over to
the Netherlands - to promote the 2020 venue ...
where he was given this baby gro




So young Archie … all of 10 days old … bemused the nation as many of us were caught totally off guard … seems an appropriate name for The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s new born … Archie apparently being of German origin meaning ‘genuine’, ‘bold’ and ‘brave’ …







Harrison - Harry’s son - first recorded back in the 1300s … now denotes a first name of fairly recent origin – both names, I’m certain, will become more popular in the years ahead …





Language is wonderful … as are names – and I encourage us all to learn their sources … we can deduce a fair amount from each name’s history … be it a person, a place or its origin …


Well the young Master Sussex … Harry’s son with an Anglo-Saxon heritage from the Germanic tribes who had migrated from continental Europe to our southern (Sussex) shores …



Saxons and Sussex both in yellow-green.
Continental invaders 400 - 500AD
… mixing with the indigenous British groups … laying the cultural foundations (from about 450 AD to 1066 AD), which are still in use today … our modern English legal and administrative systems, and many aspects of English Society …


… now adding in an American heritage to his roots – while being a citizen of both the UK and the US.


Black-Eyed Susan

May we all live in tolerant communities, understanding and embracing each other’s roots … as the Sussex’s add to the concoction of the peoples in this wonderful world of ours …





I’m just glad he wasn’t called Sue … !!


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Kugali Comic Club, and ComicsVerse ...




My previous post on Afrofuturism introduced via Kugali, the African Comic Book, made me want to bring you a little more of this new African culture and how Kugali, which has only been going 3 years, came about …



Stretch yourself the Kugali way
The name Kugali is an alteration of the Kiswahili (Swahili) word ‘kujali’ … meaning to notice.   There’s more about their project at ‘This is Africa.Me’ site … and very interestingly about two new countries due to blunders from a well-known British airline, and the President of the free world … see featured article on the site.




Some of the main African languages

This link reminds you that Africa is not a country … and some other interesting facts … do you speak African? – well, neither do the over 1 billion people on the continent; 



... also reminding us Africa is home to 54 different nations (excluding the two mentioned on the ThisisAfrica.me site!), with more than 2,000 languages between them … and which have four of the world’s fastest growing economies …


Augmented Reality You Tube
the magic the kids can see
through story telling
Here in the UK it is also introducing kids (using Augmented Reality(AR)) to the magic that is Africa … through their outreach programmes, and elsewhere via the internet …



These YouTube videos open the doors to their world of AR - a real-world environment, which is enhanced by computer generated perceptual information …



… then there’s the Kugali Comic Club – to which you can
subscribe … there’s an offer valid until 23rd June 2019 …


Justin Alba, CEO of ComicsVerse


I seem to remember the founders of Kugali being influenced by Justin Alba of ComicsVerse fame … he interested me as someone who had overcome adversity as a child … being bullied, not fitting in, etc … but who realised his strengths …


… so ComicsVerse uses comics to address social issues including minority representation in popular culture and politics.  Alba notes ‘that comics helped save his life, by teaching him how to cope with severe bullying and develop self-confidence’.



Alba’s bio is worthwhile noting to refer to as a self-help pep talk … we’re all in relatively privileged positions and I’m sure can pass on our positive thoughts to others struggling today …




African colours - a bright nation
of wonderful entrepreneurs

To me this is a worthwhile selection of content to look at, read, inwardly digest, watch and then think about … while remembering Kugali’s name as a front-runner in allowing the creativity in Africa to shine.





They seem to be opening their doors in Britain … perhaps because we are a very diverse and mixed country … with most of our schools catering to many peoples – and kids love to learn.


Kugali showcasing African stories
I’m not sure I’ve tied together all the elements in the post … but hope you get the gist … of introducing Kugali, Justin Alba of ComicsVerse with his skills of leadership, how new content is being created in Africa … and how we will all be the richer for our learning.  Enjoy!


ThisisAfrica.Me - Kugali: Africa's largest comics networking site ... 

Get Ready for the Kugali Comic Club ...


ComicsVerse CEO - Justin Alba Interview ... well worth reading ... 

and an extra ... as Sue Bursztynski mentioned about a Sudanese aide, who was able to help a 'Dinka' speaking child from the Arabian influence occurring in the Sudan ... 
BBC 'The art fuelling Sudan's revolution' ... wonderful story telling by the civilians on the walls around Khartoum ... waiting for democratic rule.   

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories