What have old people ever done for us?

Over the last few years there has been a rising tide of general resentment against older people (predominately those who are retired), who in the view of many, mostly Millennials (those reaching young adulthood in the early 21stcentury), have little or no understanding whatsoever about today’s contemporary society.

This seem to have come to an initial and widespread peak following the Brexit vote, caused by the perception that most Millennials were in the ‘Remain’ camp whilst most ‘Brexit’ minded people were the older generation who happily have thrown the Millennial’s future down the toilet.

These older people had seen what the UK was like prior to The Common Market as it was initially known, prior to Edward Heath signing us up.  They have seen how it developed, how the hard won freedoms of British Democracy had been eroded by the European Union, but not eroded enough to prevent The Referendum vote which initiated the move out of Europe.

It is all of this which raised the question of the place of older people in today’s modern society.  So, what have older people ever done for us.

Well let’s see……..

Those who are now in their 80’s will have gone through the 2nd World War as children and young people.  Which would be enough trauma for anyone’s life.  After the war the task of rebuilding the country was a priority, and it is today’s older people whom will have got jobs during the 50’s and worked pretty much every working day until they retired, helping to provide the labour which built the country the Millennials now live in.  During those working years they will have paid Taxes and National Insurance for every working day of around 45- 50 years.  Money that will have helped build the national prosperity Millennials enjoy today and money they paid to provided their pensions and provide for their health care in old age, and that thousands of older people are not now receiving the care they need, and have paid towards all their lives is a national disgrace.  And let’s not forget that millions of older people have families and children of their own, younger people into whom they have already poured time and resources.

So that is what older people have done for us.


Ode to the Potato

Something slightly different.  A poem dedicated to the humble Potato, in all its varieties.  How many can you spot?


Come let’s call the Maris-Piper
So King-Edward can have some music.
Also, perchance Annabelle may dance
Along the streets of old Almera.

As Apaches ride through Arizona
They spy on high the Arran-Comet
Which curves across Balmoral skies
Like a flaming vengeance Arrow.

And down in Belle-de-Fontenay forest
Is Blue-Belle by Blue-Danube
Smiling Bonnie at nature’s Bounty
And listening to the Cabaret.

And hark, I hear the Carnaval
Marching out from Camelot
and Charlotte sings as shining Divaa
on a stage in old Chicago.

Whilst in the south lies the Druid
Duke-of-York and Dunbar-Rover
Quiet in the night of darkest Ebony
That tomorrow will be Edzell-Blue.

Electra stalks shy girl Emma
Through the street of Erntestolz
And onwards up to Foremost Gatsby
Standing there with Gervioline.

Now see upon the dawn Horizon
Hovering Kestrel is lured by Joshua
And higher yet is soaring Kondor
Casting eye on Lady-Balfour.

Down in the dell more ladies gather
Ladies-Claire, Jo and Rosetta
To see their Lionheart fresh from battle
Where fought he for lost Libertie.

Many leagues away Majestic Sunrise
Cast its gold o’er tall Manhattan
And those who see, alike do Marvel
As Mayon-Gold does fall from Merlin.

And so as Mistay morning wakens
A Mustang gallops through the haze
Where Nectar fragrance glides as a Panther
An Osprey dives upon the water

As Picasso paints, the Pink-Gypsy swirls
A dance before her Purple-Majesty
Who in Red-Pontiac drives on by
While Red-Robin above her flies.

And in dark alley Romano lurks
Plotting deep with Royal Roscar
To steal the heart of dearest Saphire
Who lives away ‘cross dry Savanna.

Yet hope comes forth in brave Sebastian
Who gallops in upon Smith’s-Comet
In Swift response to maiden’s peril
To defend her Verity.

Thus he rescued sweet White-Lady
This Ulster-Prince born of Valor
And away they on brave horse Wizard
Off to have a chippy tea!








Destinations: A Faith Journey

WWII was three years in the past when I was born.  We live in Willesden, London and it is the first place I go to school. Never liked school.

Mum and I used to regularly visit her Sister’s family in Harringay at weekends.  My Father never came with us.

We arrived one weekend as usual and simply never went home again.  My parents had separated. I was seven.  My best friend, who had lived next door was called David Hughes.  I didn’t get to say goodbye and never saw him again.  Our new home is now with my Aunt and Uncle and my two cousins, who still, to this day, are like Sisters, and I love them dearly.  Living in different places was to be a recurring life pattern.

About a year later we moved again, but only a couple or roads away.  A year after that, whilst I spent a month in the Middlesex Isolation Hospital with, I suspect, blood poisoning, the family moved to Essex.  I never saw any of my school friends again.

It’s now the early 60s, I’m 16, I have lived in 6 different homes.   The Beatles were the new kids on the Mersey block. I had just started an Avionics Apprenticeship when I met my first Christian.  Of course, I didn’t know he was a Christian.  As far as I was concerned he was a religious nut who blathered on and on about God and Jesus and getting ‘saved’.

However, although I didn’t realise it at the time, meeting him set my feet on a different path, a faith path, and a new destination was just over the horizon…..

….. and after two years of relentless nagging I was persuaded to go with him, and a whole coach load of young people, to hear Billy Graham, the American Evangelist, at Earls Court, in London.  It is 1966, and I find myself standing in front of the charismatic American saying the sinner’s prayer.  The Holy Spirit had fished another one from the waves and it hit me like a thunderbolt.  I felt like Jesus was a pillion passenger on my Honda 50 riding along this new path.

Going to the small Brethren hall for the first time was a cultural shock. I managed a few weeks, but I didn’t own a suit, and I felt uncomfortable in this weird and alien environment.  I left and joined the young conservatives (much less weird and alien), learned guitar, formed a folk duo and managed to avoid God for a year.  But the Holy Spirit still had his fish-hook attached to me and began reeling me in.

The folk duo split as Pete, the other half of our folk duo went to RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art),  and mainly because I had failed to find a girlfriend, which I had been led to understand should have been a dead cert, the attraction of the Young Conservatives faded also.  So after a year of constant invites to a young peoples’ Bible study, and having run out of other diversionary excuses, I begrudgingly got back on the faith-track.  It was at that Bible study I began to learn what being a Christian was really about.  It was also the place where I met my future wife, Jan.  At the time of writing (2016) we have been married 44 years!  Nice one God!

The next few years saw us involved variously in a coffee-bar evangelistic team, a couple of local churches, getting engaged, a Christian rock band, getting married, buying a house and then, getting hit, full-pelt, by the Holy Spirit: a real game-changer.  I left my job to take time to find out what God wanted for us.  We knew there was something, we just didn’t know what.  There were still bills and a mortgage to pay, and God clearly said, don’t ‘sign-on’ and to trust him. Tough.  Does wonders for your, sometimes desperate, prayer life.  All the bills were paid for the next few months until it became clear that the one thing we really didn’t want to do, which was go to Bible College, was exactly what God wanted us to do.   A letter plopped through our letterbox inviting us to Birmingham Bible College.  Where was Birmingham?  We had to get a map out.  I took a temporary job while things got sorted, and about a year later…..

….. we’re sleeping on the floor of an old house in Birmingham.  Our sparse furniture is stacked around us. Our house in Essex? Sold.  Our bridges? Burnt.  We’re at Bible College.  Another destination along the path, and this section of the path was both straight and narrow and with a really steep learning curve.

That time was, and remains, 33+ years later, a priceless spiritual experience at the feet of men and women of God who led us to places we would never have visited in a local fellowship (church) situation. It was a path that we were certain was signposted – ‘Missionary Radio’.  It was logical, with my Electronic and Radio engineering background. Seems the Mission Societies had different ideas because none of them wanted us. Never happened.  Not our path. Confusing.

Faith in God is easier when things are going well.  Real faith grows when you have nowhere to turn, except toward God. Many times at College we find ourselves praying that our Father will meet our different needs.  Money to buy food and clothing (we never go hungry or naked!), healings, guidance, spiritual insight, courage, battles.  But through all that we find God is faithful, sticks with us, and teaches us some profound lessons that were, and still are, invaluable.

1984 was a great year.  We have a Son and I work with Mission England in Birmingham which brings Billy Graham back to the UK. Full circle for me! The water of a number of different jobs and different church fellowships, flowed under our bridges over the next few years.

As a family we work together at a Christian outdoor centre and then we move to the North-West, to the Wirral, and I work for a few different Christian charities.  In the local church we belong to, we are involved in home-group leadership, diaconate, worship group, preaching, teaching, Sunday School.  The steep learning curve in Birmingham pays dividends.

Then the local church falls on difficult times.  There are leadership splits and traumas.  We wonder should we stay.  God says stay.  We stay, but often find ourselves caught in the middle as people take sides.  The path gets very rocky and we lose friends for a while.  At the right moment God says it is time to go.  We join with the ex-Pastor building a new fellowship; a fellowship which will do things differently.  The difference lasts a few months.  It isn’t working and the Pastor and his family, move back to their North East home.

Our pathway starts to lead in a strange and very unexpected direction and we wonder if our map is wrong.  For the first time in decades we realise our path is leading away from the institutionalised church we have been used to, have been an integral part of, and could never imagine being outside of.  We’ve walked to the city gates and exited.  The path leads away and we are outside the old familiar walls.

And this is where we find ourselves now, still continuing along the path of faith, still following Jesus, still fellowshipping with other Christians, but not aligned to a building, denomination or man-made religious institution.  We are openly involved with the body of Christ – which is what ‘Church’ really is – but not behind doors and within brick walls, not under some man-made idea of ‘church’, not hedged around by man-made rules and ideas and strictures.

In 2012, out of the blue, we had to move.  It was rather a shock.  But we ended up in New Brighton, a lovely little seaside resort in Wirral.  We had bright ideas to start a home Bible study group amongst the neighbours in our street (You can take the Christian out of the Institution, but you can’t take the Institution out of the Christian?).

But….. ‘If you want to hear God laugh, tell him about your plans’ (Woody Allen).

Within a few weeks of moving I had a ‘mild’ heart attack.  Didn’t expect that, but you don’t do you.  Recovery was lots of walking around our new community.  Without really thinking about it we found ourselves involved with volunteer beach cleaning, a band of Pirates(!), our local GP’s Patient Participation Group, our local Park ‘Friends’ and the local Council’s Problem Solving Group: God’s plans eh!

Good friends of over 30 years visited us recently.  They are leaders in their church fellowship.  We go out for a meal, we talk endlessly.  We share a wonderful evening and they are very encouraging.  We all pray together before they go home and give us a picture from God which we all agree says – be prepared.  For……?  Well, the next turn in the path perhaps.  We’ll know when we get there.

The journey continues.  We keep our feet on God’s path as best we can, despite often stumbling along.  Sometimes tripping, sometimes slipping and sometimes getting  detoured,  But along the way there have always been new and interesting destinations, and we reckon there will be more to come.

But the final destination is still over the final horizon, and in the dark sky of this fallen world, its glow is now brighter as each day passes, and we keep our eyes fixed on that one final destination; The New Jerusalem!

We  are at war….. and we are losing!

Ok, this will make people of a certain age smile.  How many of you remember when you were a child, and you had just eaten a sweet and you had the wrapper in your hand, being told to put it in a bin or put it in your pocket until you got home?  Ring any bells?  Thought so. So what happened to that simple instruction?  After all, it’s not rocket science, yet it seems to have vanished from normal everyday behaviour for a significant proportion of the population.  The result is that our communities are being swamped by litter: plastic bottles, polystyrene containers, paper packaging, baby wipes, broken glass, old furniture, building materials and toxic waste.

As a member of a volunteer beach cleaning group (The New Brighteners) the summer is terrible time for litter on the beaches.  The regeneration of the area has seen a dramatic increase in the number of visitors, and this is of huge benefit.  But, in turn, it has seen a dramatic increase in litter in general, and on the beaches in particular, but during the school holiday period it becomes over-whelming.  A typical evening beach clean, of the two beaches alongside Fort Perch Rock in New Brighton, can see 5 volunteers clearing up to 7 large bags of litter, a single day’s worth; it can take upwards of 2 hours.

However, this is only the litter from the inconsiderate minority of visitors who simply leave their rubbish behind when they leave.  Other visitors use the bins (small bins and large bulk bins), and they need emptying twice a day, which begs the question:  why is there so much rubbish and litter generally?

One part of the answer lies at the heart of our consumerist, throwaway society.  Everything we buy, whether food, toys, drink, TVs, electrical goods, takeaways, is extensively packed.  Order something on-line, and no matter what the size, it will almost always arrive in a huge box with a mountain of paper padding as well as its own normal retail packing.  A perfect recent example of this was when I recently ordered a micro memory card for a camera.  The memory card itself was about the size of a thumbnail.  It was encased in plastic, inside its own sealed cardboard envelope,  which only needed an address label and stamp, and it could have been posted, but no.  It then came packed in a box large enough to contain approx 12 such sealed cardboard envelopes all padded out with about 6  feet of paper-strip padding.  Once opened, all this packaging and padding lasted about 10 minutes before being consigned to our re-cycle bin.  No wonder Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s ‘War on Waste’ (BBC) is targeting the whole packing nightmare.

But there is second socially significant part to the answer, and it is this, and it is not comfortable reading:  A significant proportion of our society in the UK, lives with this simple life philosophy: ‘My life is someone else’s responsibility’.

It is born from the various circumstances of life that leads to this section of society believing that the local Council or National Government must provide everything for them, and like small children, do everything for them. The outcome of this is that they really believe it is the Council’s responsibility to clear up their mess, whether that mess is their litter, or more serious social messes.

So here’s a challenge to everyone reading this: wherever you are and you have some litter in your hand – cigarette pack or butt, sweet wrapper, baby-wipe, etc. – BIN IT or take it home, DON’T JUST DROP IT.  You are responsible for it and nobody else!

(C) David A.W.Peddie 2016


DEMOCRACY – it’s a funny old thing

DEMOCRACY – it’s a funny old thing isn’t it. Every person who is eligible to vote can do so, freely, as a right. Each person can vote for whom, or what they want to. Nobody tells us what, or whom, we must vote for, as in some countries. Nobody stops us voting, with guns in their hands, as in some countries.

Sometimes when the votes go the way we like we are happy, and we celebrate, and sometimes, when it doesn’t go the way we like, we are unhappy and complain.

DEMOCRACY – it’s a funny old thing isn’t it. But I am saddened to see the reactions of a disturbing amount of people for whom recent events did NOT go the way they wanted: Younger people blaming older people for not voting how the younger ones wanted them to vote. One side accusing the other of being racists, etc. BUT this is what happens in a Democracy, you can vote how you like, celebrate, moan, accuse others of being all sorts. BUT what you don’t do is demand another vote, sign petitions, hold protests because it went the way YOU didn’t want it to go. That is NOT Democracy, that is immature childishness.

If you always want to win the vote then you might as well get the guns out, bar the voting booths to all but your supporters, those that think and vote the way you want them to, and ban everyone else from voting differently. Wait, even better, ban all voting completely, because once you start along the road that some are wanting to embark upon, there is only one logical outcome, and that is totalitarian civil strife.

DEMOCRACY – it’s a funny old thing isn’t it, and if history has taught us anything, written in the blood of the war dead down the centuries, it is that it is far, far better than the alternatives.

(C) David A.W.Peddie 2016

Towards Acronymity

Back in bygone days, life seemed somehow simpler.  For instance, some people were simply, ‘Gay’, this evolved into LG (Lesbian and Gay), then LGBT, then LGBTI and is now LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, and Intersex).

Am I alone in thinking this ‘divisional categorisation’, rather than helping everyone be an equally accepted part of society, is, in fact, highlighting the differences and contributing to societal segmentation and increased societal tribalism, which will inevitably lead to increased conflict rather than less? Instead of accepting that we’re all different, and just getting on with life and day to day living, and a sense of, ‘pulling together’, loving our neighbour and encouraging communal spirit, it emphasises the differences, often aggressively, thus forming isolating groups within the homogeneous whole of society and increasing fragmentation.

This fragmentation says, I am not the same as you and you’re not the same as me.  We are different and I want special rules and favouritism for my group because we are the most important group.  At root this is a selfish and self-seeking and ultimately destructive approach.

So, where will it go? LGBTQISMFWBBLRLCRC (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, and Intersex, Straight, Male, Female,White, Black, Brown, Left-wing, Right-wing, Labour, Concervative, Republican, Communist)?  Feel free to play the fragmentation game and add one of your own?

It can only end in Acronymity

(C) David A.W.Peddie 2016

Fings Wot I Lerned!

Being about to reach 68, in July 2016, I think back and wish I had known when I was younger, some of the stuff I know now. This is probably true for most of us. Here are a few scattered thoughts.

I was born while there was still rationing; Can remember what music was like before Rock ‘n’ Roll; how a publicity photo of the newly opened M1 featured only one car; that teenage summers WERE better than now; how amazed I was when I discovered that there is a God; and what it feels like to be in love, with the same person, even after 49 years.

Over the years I’ve discovered……

that most things don’t work out the way you thought they would;

that some people are nice and some are not, and that it has nothing to do with skin colour;
that real friends are rare, that colleagues are more numerous, and acquaintances are many, but that is better than loneliness;

that real poverty has less to do with lack of wealth as lack of spiritual enrichment;

that parents are responsible for bringing up their children, not school, the social services or anyone else;

that there is such a thing as right and wrong;

that generally, if respect is given it will be received in return;
If you treat people like animals not to be surprised if they act like animals;

that humans start at conception, not at the point of arbitrarily decided ‘viability’;

that the Health and Safety culture is neither healthy nor safe;

that political correctness is just another form of the bullying of the majority by the minority;

that ID cards will do nothing to prevent crime or terrorism, but will only harass the law-abiding;

that the Government cannot be trusted with vast amounts of our personal data;

that free speech is precious and needs protecting, and will certainly at some point offend someone who has a different opinion, but that this is not an excuse to suppress it;

that no matter how many sides there are to a political argument, none of them will be wholly true;

that love is delicate and needs to be worked at on a daily basis. The Bible says this about love: it is patient, and kind. It doesn’t envy, or boast and isn’t proud, nor easily angered, and doesn’t keep a record of wrongs. It doesn’t delight in evil but rejoices with the truth, and always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. And finally, Love never fails. Out of these three: faith, hope and love, the greatest of these is love.

(C) David A.W.Peddie 2016

The Menace of Microbeads

Micro….. whats?  Is this some sort of new Marvel Superhero?  After all, we’ve had Antman, so now Microbead?

Ah, if only.  No, Microbeads if anything are an antihero, a microscopic danger of which, until recently, most of us had no idea even existed.

Have you ever used a facial scrub, shower gel, certain types of toothpaste, body creams, abrasive cleaners?  Chances are they will have contained Microbeads.  So what are these Microbeads?

Microbeads are, as the name suggests, very, very small beads of plastic which are used in the types of products mentioned above, to enhance their effectiveness.  The danger arises when they get washed down our drains and into water processing plants. They are too small to get filtered out and ultimately enter our seas and oceans.  This is where the real problems begin.  Scientific research continues to show that more and more plastic is ending up in sea life, and also in birds and ultimately in us.  If you regularly eat seafood, there is a high risk that you will be eating these microbeads without even knowing it, along with the toxins that come with them. Would you like some Microbeads with that? Not nice, not nice at all.

But you might be thinking – what can I do?

Firstly, try to avoiding buying products containing Microbeads.  Asda, Avon, Bodyshop, Boots and L’Oreal have said they will no longer use Microbeads in their products.  Beware, they might still stock other brands still using Microbeads.

You can find out if products include microbeads and try to avoid using them, by checking a list of companies who are pledging not to use microbeads on the ‘beat the microbeads’ website [http://www.beatthemicrobead.org/en/]. You can also get an app (Apple or Android) via the same website, with which you can scan products on the shelves of your local supplier to check whether they are Microbead free. If you want to go all natural, you can also try exfoliating with natural products like kernels, sugar or a wash cloth.

Secondly, you can help by joining with thousands of others whom are raising their voices against the use of Microbeads. Canada and America are already introducing legislation to ban them.  Europe and the UK need to do the same, so you can sign the petition to David Cameron on the Greenpeace website [http://bit.ly/1RSX97m], and if you use social media, you can  share this information with others and help raise a voice against Microbeads.

Here are those websites again:

Ban the Microbead – http://www.beatthemicrobead.org/en/

Greenpeace petition – http://bit.ly/1RSX97m

And here is a scary fact to finish:  Every piece of plastic that has ever been made is still in existence, and will be for 100s of years.  Let’s try to do something about the problem by getting rid of Microbeads.

(C) David A.W.Peddie 2016


You Are Now Entering: The Retirement Zone

If you are old enough to remember the Phyllosan Adverts, ‘Phyllosan fortifies the over 40s’, the slippery slope into the abyss of old age was deemed to begin in your 40s, at least by the manufacturers of Phyllosan.  I also remember large adverts on the side of buildings with a couple in their 50s, already looking old, this then  progressed to them in their 60s and ended in their 70s, at which point they looked like death warmed up.  If not exactly embalmed, well on their way. That was, as I recall, an advert for Sanatogen.  Of course, being only about 11 yrs old, I wasn’t really that interested, as everyone who was ‘grown up’, which meant over 20, had a tendency to look old!  Remember, teenagers hadn’t been invented yet.

I was still some 4 or 5 years away from the beginning of my working life, which was to start when I left school in 1964, not quite 16, to began an apprenticeship in Avionics.  A whole life of work was ahead, and eventually, via numerous employment and geographical changes, I eventually reached retirement age.  In fact I stayed an extra year, until 66, at my last job, as I really enjoyed what I was doing and the folk I worked with.  It was part-time, as a kind of run-down from work and slide-into leaving the world of employment, which I did in July 2014, entering that strange place called, ‘The Retirement Zone’.  Come, meet the ‘Zoners’.

‘Retirement’ – A word which holds a variety of meanings for most people.  Sadly, for many, especially in the last years of the 20th century, it was the kiss of death: no job, no purpose, no identity, no life. It heralded the end of usefulness, the end of meaning.

But for an increasing number of people;  the Baby-Boomers who are now forming a significant proportion of the population, retirement can now be a time of liberation. A working life of some 50 years is over. So now you can be who YOU are because you were NOT your job, you are YOU. No more bosses telling you what to do, no more enforced early mornings enduring the mind-numbing commute, no more worries about losing your job, getting sacked, being made redundant.  That is gone for ever.  To a greater or lesser extent, depending upon financial resources, you can choose what you want to do, when you want to do it, and where you want to do it.

Of course for some, and I was one, this new freedom can be a little difficult to get your head around.  My wife, on her final day at work, stepped through the building’s exit, and as her foot touched the outside pavement, she was instantly in the retirement-zone.  Me?  It took a year.  The unstructuredness of this new phase of life took a lot of getting used to.  But I got there.

So, how are the ‘Boomers’; the generation that embraced the home computer, logged in to cyber-space, caught up with Facebook, stopped writing letters in favour of emails, adopted usernames, and bought into satellite TV, coping with being ‘in the Zone’, being, ‘Zoners’?

The Retirement-Zone doesn’t mean doing nothing, unless you really want to do nothing, but neither does it mean, as some retirement focused publications seem to imply, a life of extreme crochet afternoons,  the garden shed, or weekly knit-and-natter groups.  Of course it can do, because the ‘zone’ is all about what you WANT to do, not what stereo-typing society thinks you should be doing.  Act you age?  Oh yes, you had better believe it: stand clear because here comes Grey Power, the Silver Surfers, the Bald Brigade.

Heard of ‘gap-years’?  Of course you have, but for Uni students.  But gap-years have also entered the Zone.  Children all grown up and have moved out with families of their own.  Big empty house?  How about a downsize, and with the spare cash taking a year out?  An increasing number of Zoners are doing just that.

Volunteering?  It is safe to say that a significant number of Charities and increasingly, Council controlled services, would grind to a halt without Zoners giving some of their free-time to a hugely wide variety of endeavours:  charity run shops, community libraries, respite centres, local parks’ friends groups, Urban street cleaning groups, Beach litter picking groups, community cafés, food banks etc.

Music?  Remember the breakthrough music of the 60s.  Where we live on Wirral, Merseyside there are still a large number of those musicians who are now Zoners, doing gigs and pulling in their faithful fans.  Sure, they don’t trouble the ‘charts’ any more, and they may have laid aside the guitars during the lean years, but they’ve changed their strings, tuned up, and reformed to do what they love the best.  Why?  Why not!

You see, for Zoners,  The Retirement Zone, has no rules about what you should do, what is expected of you, what ‘acting your age’ is supposed to mean. If the past is another country, The Zone is another world: to explore, to experience, to enjoy, a place to be YOU.

For our part we (my Wife and I) are involved, between us, in a Beach Litter Picking Group, our local GP’s PPSG (Patient Participation Steering Group), the Local Council’s area Problem Solving Group, Photography and a Pirate Group (but that’s another story!).

Welcome to – The Retirement Zone

(C) David A.W.Peddie 2016

One person at a time

Every now and again I’ve had a dream that seems to be important, and I remember it when I wake, and it stays with me.

I’ll like to share with you one of those occasions.

I was walking along the road, not a clue where, and I spotted a rubbish bin.  It had four feet and had obviously been moved somehow, until one of its feet was down a small hole on the pavement.  Half tipped over, and  ready to go all the way, meaning all the litter and stuff inside would spill out.

In the dream, I walked over and moved the foot out of the hole, set it upright and walked on.

As I took the first step, I heard a voice, a young voice, say something along the lines of, ‘why’d you do that?  You’re a bit of a pedant aren’t cha’.  What stopped me was not the question so much as the use of the would pedant.  Not a word I would associate with the area where I live.  More likely would have been, ‘you’re I bit of a f*****g w****r, ain’t  cha’.

I turned and found myself looking at a lad, about 12 or 13 years old, neatly dressed, with an intelligent look in his eye.

‘Why do you say that?’ I asked walking closer.

‘Not your job. It’s a Council bin.  They should fix it’, was his reply.

‘True,’ I said, ‘but they aren’t here and I am.  Only took a minute.’

‘But why’d you bother?.

‘stop the rubbish fallin’ out’

‘so what, there’s rubbish everywhere.’

I looked around, and he was right.

‘yeah, there is, but at least it meant that there’s not more’.

I woke up.

I really, strongly believe that part of what is wrong with our society, is that the overwhelming majority of people, for whatever reason, no longer feel any individual responsibility for anything: their own lives, the lives of others, or the world around them.  They deeply believe that their whole  life, their whole existence,  is someone else’s responsibility.

‘Not your job. It’s a Council bin.  They should fix it’.

This has, over the period of my lifetime, led us to where we are now.  Look around you.  Take a good look at the neighbourhood in which you live.  Whatever it’s like, there’s a good chance it became as it is because of people.  OK, certainly the Council are responsible for cleaning up the litter, but the litter didn’t get there by accident.  Somewhere along the line, someone didn’t care.  They didn’t care enough to put it in a bin, or to put it in their pocket until they got home.

Somewhere along the line, someone didn’t care to teach their child that it is not acceptable to drop litter, that the right thing to do is take responsibility for the litter, that is your litter.

Litter is real, and is a public hazard.  But it is also as a metaphor for every ill in our modern society.

Somewhere along the line, someone didn’t care………….

I am a member of a group of people called The New Brighteners, and I am proud and honoured to be part of a group who, individually and together, are taking  responsibility for a bit of their local area, getting off their backsides, and giving time and effort, and in some situations, a hell of a lot of effort, back-breaking effort, wet and cold effort, dirty effort, to help.

‘Not your job. It’s a Council bin.  They should fix it’.

WRONG!  Each one of us has a responsibility.

© Dave Peddie 2013/2016