The Spectre of Sexual Abuse

The spectre of sexual abuse being prevalent in yet more aspects of the daily life of our young people, is one that hits at the foundation and heart of modern culture, but it is time to look hard at what we call ‘human-nature’.

Sexual abuse and exploitation is as old as time itself and no one is able to explain why humans should perpetrate such vile acts upon the young of the species.

Psychiatrists and psychologists have tried and therapists attempt to deal with victims and perpetrators. All admit their success rate falls short of expectations – but it is necessary for them to try.

Nevertheless, while politicians wring their hands and the legal fraternity rake in the money bags, little is being done. The will to succeed and the necessary funding to train psychiatrists from already qualified doctors, as well as psychologists and therapists from suitably qualified candidates, must be regarded as every bit as critical as those of Brexit and immigration. Experts are in short supply as are designated premises; purpose-built premises are almost non-existent.

From past experience, I am afraid the current revelations will prove to be another storm in the proverbial teacup – debated hotly by our politicians for an all too short period; tossed around by the popular media, and then dumped on a back burner.

Meanwhile, the victims will continue to cry in vain for justice. They may end up in exactly the same way as the families of the Aberfan disaster in 1966 who were ignored by Lord Robens, chairman of the National Coal Board, and backed by Lord Tonypandy – then George Thomas MP – at the Welsh Office, told to pay for the clean up themselves from the disaster fund. Robens accepted no responsibility for the disaster – having ignored all warnings, and arrogantly proceeded to travel to America aboard the ‘Queen Mary’ where he later delivered lectures on ‘Health & Safety’. This injustice was not rectified until 2007.

Fifty years is a long time to wait for justice. Too many victims of sexual exploitation have gone to their graves still waiting. I believe many more may do the same unless those with the power to do so determine that events must move more surely – and more swiftly so justice can be delivered.

Contemplating moving house


September at Nonam

I have embarked upon the de-cluttering of eighteen years in one place because I want to sell my present house with its large garden and many rooms. It has just got too much to manage. I recently returned from four weeks in Sri Lanka to a wilderness of a garden.

I had left it early in August in the care of the handyman who has helped me with the autumn pruning for several years, but returned early in September to be told that the perverse British weather had prevented him doing more than cut the grass twice and attempt to prune some leylandii.

The fact that the clippings and cuttings remained on the ground in damp heaps waiting for me to pick up and pop on the compost heap, could have had something to do with the fact that M thought I was returning later than I did, but it did mean that I had to set to work sooner than I had anticipated – and am still hard at it five weeks later, although the end is now in sight for this year.

I console myself that the exercise is good for me when I come to the end of the day feeling a mite tired, and that I am a very fortunate octogenarian to still be able to enjoy working in the garden wielding secateurs and sawing or lopping wayward tree branches.

On the days when rain threatened to stop play, I doggedly worked at emptying the contents of several large lever-arch files; shredding sensitive material before consigning it and non-sensitive printed ‘stuff’ to the recycling bags.

Using the pedometer app on my android phone, I discovered I’d walked 2.5 miles in one day simply walking to and from these work stations in my den. Cutting down time spent in front of the computer – and all but one of those crafty alcoholic snifters that somehow felt so necessary now and again, I have shed fourteen pounds – and feel the fitter for doing so.


Where do we get the strength?

Where do we get the strength to carry on when life delivers one of her body blows? The news has been overloaded with stories of human suffering. Families who have lost loved members, and violence perpetrated by those who believe they have a right to take life.

At the time I lost my husband in 1989, I thought I wanted to die. I could not understand why people kept on about “…that’s life…” when I was trying to come to terms with not having my soul-mate next to me in bed or sitting in the car. Continue reading

Clearing the Clutter

Having completed the last assignment of the penultimate module for the degree I hope to complete with the Open University in 2016, I set myself the task of clearing clutter.  It’s a habit instilled into my psyche by my clear-the-clutter-at all costs mother who refused to allow me to keep any of my childhood toys or books. ‘You’re too old for all that now; time to give it to someone else.’ Continue reading

Mae Rose Cottage in Dublin

I suppose you could say I have had something of a charmed life in many ways, and added to all that magic, I met, and later married, the love of my life at a party on a night in the very last week of our final term at our different colleges, but the same university. For me, at that meeting, all the bells in the world rang and the ground shook under my feet – or my legs were wobbling so much it just felt as though the ground was shaking.

We had known each other only three weeks when he proposed; later claiming during his bridegroom’s speech, ‘There was little else to do sitting in a car in a thunderstorm on top of the Brecon Beacons in west Wales…’ I accepted and we married some three months later in December 1956 and I was able to join him and live in one of the most magical places on earth. Continue reading

Human Rights and Wrongdoings

Like so many people, I have been appalled at what is happening in Gaza. There can be no excuse for the mass slaughter of innocent civilians no matter how much blather is spouted by the Israeli publicity machine.

I am old enough to remember the terrorist tactics of the Stern Gang in what was Palestine. The blowing up of the King David hotel and the blood bath that ensued before the UK, to its everlasting shame, pulled out of the situation and left the Palestinians to their fate. The rest is history: the sponsorship of the Zionist ambitions by the USA, the UN, and all those who subscribed to the arms supremacy currently enjoyed by Israel.

I suppose Arthur Balfour, a British politician, must bear the brunt and blame for having, in 1917 allowed those Jews seeking asylum from persecution in Europe to find sanctuary in Palestine. By giving these refugees a place of safety, he also gave them an excuse to call it a homeland; but Palestine was never the property of the UK to give to anyone, commendable though this gesture was.

Since 1947, the Israelis, some descendants of those original refugees, have systematically stolen land and property from the Palestinians. They have reduced the host nation to becoming second-class subjects in their own land – without rights or hope of a future. Here we may be forgiven for drawing parallels with the Nazis, and what they did throughout Europe. Bit by bit Palestine has been reduced to the strip of land known as Gaza; another ghetto. Now, even that is being violated. True to tradition, according to the history of the Old Testament, the Israelites were ever the aggressors; driven to acquiring the land of their neighbours and arrogantly calling it their own. Some things never change.

Perhaps that was the reason the Romans expelled them from Jerusalem two thousand years ago – warning all Jews never to return on pain of death; a warning that was never revoked.

Meanwhile, the world’s politicians wring their hands and spout their rhetoric while Netanyahu puts up two fingers at the United Nations and tells all of them that Israel will stop only when it chooses.

All this we can ponder on while we remember how the might of America and UK marched and blasted its way into Iraq on the mere pretext of supposed weapons of mass destruction.

The catastrophic meddling of George Bush and Tony Blair has resulted in a maelstrom in the Middle East that will have repercussions for years to come, yet Israel has obtained, against all international agreements, atomic weapons. The disillusioned expert who disclosed this to the world in 1986, Mordechai Vanunu, has spent many years (eleven in solitary confinement), entombed as a political prisoner in Israel after being lured to Italy, and then kidnapped by Mossad. He is still not allowed to leave Israel even though he has served the heinous prison terms imposed upon him, despite pleas from his worldwide supporters that he be freed.

All this and the world looks on.