Coppafeel

Coppafeel

Manjula and I discovered this charity, that Kris set up, at WOMAD music festival, feeling one’s breast and checking for lumps wasn’t something she’d ever heard about.

To be truthful I was to discover that basic knowledge about healthy lifestyles and prevention was and is quite limited especially amongst the poorer communities.

I’ve just recalled a great example of this from one of Manjula’s tales l’ll include it in our story due out next year.

The sticker, all those years later is still at our front door for visitors to read.

New books

In Manjula’s library.

Just arrived.

Having just read the amazing true story about Jeremy the snail by Maria Popova (her of the wonderful brain pickings) I now feel so terribly guilty for the snails I used to throw over the garden wall.

In my poor defence, in Hebden Bridge in north England where I still have a house, they would munch away at my plants. It’s quite cool and damp so ideal for them and their friends the slugs!

Here’s selections from Neil Gaiman’s book. Some lovely little messages.

He’s becoming one of our favourite authors.

English humour

check out Marina Hyde

Here’s her latest

Featuring a famous actress with a lot to share

I’m one of those that can bore for hours on neoliberalism

Ah, there it is: wellness. “Wellness” is part of a class of words unified by the fact that only the most dreadful bores on Earth know what they mean. See also “neoliberalism”. Celebrity Cruises itself adds that the fitness kits will enhance “self-care and collective wellbeing”, with Gwyneth’s role expected to focus on “wellness programming” and something called the “Women in Wellness initiative”.

Even more at Manjula’s library

I recently discovered that Stardust, one of my favourite films is written by an author I’ve only just discovered: Neil Gaiman. I know, I know, I’m behind the times.

Here’s the author’s original outline for the book.

Well now I’ve read the book and strongly recommend both.

With superb images by Charles Vegg

Outcast

Yesterday at a village Temple close to here one group of people had to sit outside and were not allowed to enter or fully participate in the puja.

Why?

Here’s a clue

The people were from what’s called a scheduled caste and who were the superior one’s allowed inside?

This is 2021.

What a mess

That’s been with us for a thousand years.

I’m from the U.K./Britain/England/the North/Yorkshire… We often joke about the north/south divide, I mention how the British pronounce words oddly, sometimes (?) to hide their French origin, I’ll explain how my accent and the words I use enables others to place me geographically and allocate the class I was born into and then of course there’s Brexit.

The U.K. becomes more the disunited kingdom by the day, has a rich pedigree and mongrel history. There’s the rub, the divisions we recognise are far more ingrained than we realise and have been established over a thousand years.

The divisions we see, the power games and the ascendancy of certain groups, represented by ‘The Tories’ now seems to be breaking it apart.

I recommend this book . It reveals, in surprising ways, how the established patterns of behaviour are difficult to break, we continue to adapt our national house, following the foundations and seem unable to create any real and lasting change.

Manjula’s kind

more on kindness

I hope I’m getting there.

KINDNESS 
by Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

This is another direct lift, aka homage to the great gathering work of Maria Popova and her brain pickings, clearly hers are not slim pickings!

Public accountability.

In the early 90s I was a senior manager in local government in England.

We had a reputation for innovation in trying to respond to community needs. I sometimes sailed ‘close to the wind and on one of these occasions I was disciplined for breaking the rules.

Towards the end of the financial year I realised there was money underspent in one of our budgets that would be lost.

Rather than lose the money as it couldn’t be carried over the year end, I identified computer equipment we could buy for a new project we were setting up to promote access to computers and training for disabled people.

I quickly contacted three companies that could supply the equipment to get verbal quotes . Chose the best price and company got a formal written quote and agreed, we could go ahead.

In my rush, the mistake I made was not to get formal written quotes from all the companies.

I was investigated and at ‘the hearing’ I was put on ‘final warning.’I completely accepted I’d broken the rules and should have been punished. As public servants, responsible for significant budgets, providing quality services and the health and safety of our service users and teams we are and should be fully accountable.

Why do I share this with you now?

I can see political personal and institutional corruption at the highest level in the U.K. and I wonder how the guilty will be held accountable.

Just look at this.

Kindergarten Korner

weeeeeeee, screeeeee, grrrrrrrrrr, waaaaaaaa….

This is the grinding, cutting screeching of the little mesters, the small independent traditional workshops making knives in my home city of Sheffield the cutlery capital of England. 

Except it isn’t.

It feels like they’ve followed me all the way to where I live now in the genteel middle-class Siddarthanagar in Mysore.

It’s the third night of this infernal racket going on past 9 in the evening and comes from the construction site behind — making it almost impossible to have evening (international time difference) important zoom calls — so,  I complain to the workers. They are cutting and grinding marble, tiles, steel and concrete. The noise should stop at the very latest at 7.00, (the actual rule is they should stop earlier) one of the workers seems to understand. That’s good, message received and understood.

But it’s not so straightforward. Is anything in India?

The construction site belongs to the next door downstairs neighbour (Jain), and he discussed this with his upstairs neighbour (who’s Brahmin) who raises it with his neighbour (Lingayat), who I cycle with most mornings, who talks to me (the Firangi aka foreigner). I might be joking but these labels of religion and community are very significant. So a simple matter of neighbourliness, and sound sensitivity becomes a big issue at the corner. They, that’s the Jain with the support of the Brahmin decide to allow the workers to continue making the noise into the evening and ignore me. The Lingayat is just the messenger 🙂

Once I realise the molehill is becoming a foot hill, I go to speak directly to the site owner, my neighbour of some years. He refuses to speak, looks down, can’t catch me in the eye and does some rude brushing away movement with his hands. Blimey.

There’s more to being kind than feeding the cows

Frankly, in my view, it should be obvious that such noise in the evening isn’t on, regardless that it’s against the regulations. Rules, what are they? Various friends agree. But lack of awareness, indifference, who knows what has stopped the bleeding obvious being well, obvious. Now they know but don’t care, they stick the proverbial finger up.

To make sure I understand, I’m cold-shouldered by the Jains and the Brahmins. 

The foothill becomes a mountain. This is quite unbelievable.

The fool of the father (Jain) even instructs his young daughters to have nothing to do with the foreigner. 

On a normal day and time, Lucie and I are constantly greeted, by the local children, as we walk down the street with smiles, hellos and waves but not by his two, not anymore. Hence  I refer to the infantile behaviour of the kindergarten. The poor girls stick out like a sore thumb not greeting the foreigner, because of the childishness of their father.

I now realise its a common unsophisticated way of communication. For example: there’s three parts of a family live a few hundred yards away from each other who have not communicated for decades. I hear of families not talking because of perceived snubs at a wedding and how the invites had been issued. 

I’ve discussed with people that I know from the Jain community who are embarrassed and apologetic and Brahmin friends, who are politically liberal anti-elitist, just shrug their shoulders and ask why I’m surprised. People talk about bad karma for the house and how they shouldn’t treat ‘guests’ like this. Me, I’ve given up.

Jain friends in England point out, that there’s more to being kind than feeding cows by the roadside.

Come on guys, get a grip. Life is too short. So I have to take the high road and provide a different example.

So Let’s be positive.

following the path of Manjula the muse, the moose, my guru

being kind 

I therefore haven’t pursued this, previously I might have, mercilessly. Now I’ve adjusted, live and let live. 

I don’t want the poor innocent girls affected anymore, or their new house to have a bad vibe, our respective rewards will arrive.

I hope Manjula will be contentedly happy with my approach.    

Farrell Factoid 

Here’s more information about the little mesters. 

Little mesters and their

Resurgence