Wednesday, 29 December 2010

If I Swallow Anything Evil........

When I was in India, I was given quite detailed instructions on how to kill a cobra. Twist its neck, two inches down from its nose. Get it right, you only get one chance at this.

However, it is a different type of snake that causes problems in our urban lives.

Some years ago I had the experience of watching someone try to tell me something difficult. Before they said anything, I could almost sense a serpent winding its way up their oesophagus and twisting out of their mouth - the forked tongue coming out and spitting venom. It was a really, deeply strange experience, quite apart from the distress of hearing the words being delivered.

We have all heard about snakes in the grass, but some people have snakes inside them. They can have smiley faces, but very occasionally you get a sense that there is something wriggling around inside them, desperate to get out. You can almost see them choking on it. It does something to their eyes too. The eyes can't say anything, we all know that, yet we know lying eyes when we see them. I think its the snake, taking a look around.

Don't release your inner snake! Put your fingers down your throat and strangle it. Two inches from its nose does the trick apparently.

Remember, you only get one go at this.

Who's Looking at You?

Life is full of faces.

Faces you look into over many decades.

Faces that see you. Faces that read every nuance of every thought.

Faces that become lined with wisdom.

Faces with tears running down the cheeks.

Faces with big smiles and dimples.

Faces of your friends, you know every line, every blemish, every expression.

Faces coming close for a kiss that raise your heart rate.

Faces shining with love, upturned and open.

Angry faces, eager faces, surprised faces.

Faces that accompany you on your walk through life.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Hitting Hyperspace

When the computer game Asteroids came out, I was scared of the Hyperspace button, that took your little spacecraft into unknown territory.

It's a truism that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Scientists seem confident that they can describe everything by close examination. But if you looked at brain cells under a microscope you would be able to talk about their biological and physiological function but would miss the fact that they are capable of original thought when put together.

If you put a group of people together, and they express their thoughts, again the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts. So much more information and development of ideas happens. It's the hyperspace factor.

The big society is centred around communities, but seems to be aimed at communities providing services that have historically been delivered by local authorities. Community is a word that has now become quite political. It's lost it's meaning. We need a new word for community, and it needs to reflect the hyperspace function.

Ideas on a postcard please.....

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Cookies and Clangers

I can't cook. I really can't cook.

Having read 'Feel the Fear and do it Anyway' I decided to conquer this long held phobia and took the Bellringers Cake Sale today to be my watershed. I woke up at 7am, and armed with a BBC shortbread recipe and bell shaped cookie cutters, took to the kitchen with a stiff upper lip and my son's netbook.

The recipe couldn't have been simpler. But with hindsight it would have helped if my scales were accurate to a greater degree than 3 lbs. I swirled the mix around with my ancient electric whisk (my sister donated this to me thirty years ago, having felt it needed replacing), enjoyed cutting the bell shapes out (there is something charmingly reminiscent of nursery school in this activity) and put them in the oven. While they were doing, I did the washing up, and even though the sink is next to the oven, I STILL MANAGED TO LET THEM BURN. With a heavy heart I chisled them off the baking trays, and tasted a corner (or clanger). It was so bad I even had to spit that out.

It was very depressing, having more washing up to do, no cookies and a glob of sugary dough stuck around the shift key on the netbook to try to disentangle before my son sees it.

Luckily I have two boxes of mince pies in the cupboard.

At least I felt the fear and tried.