We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
Oh, wow! What an amazing day! Those who have read my last few posts will know I went to London on Saturday to join the vast Extinction Rebellion Biodiversity March and to protest against our government for continuing to plough enormous amounts of money into new fossil fuel industries along with their total lack of responsibility for climate injustice and destroying our world. They don’t give a damn about killing our planet, nature and people all over the world. The first-world countries are the ones who are causing the majority of the damage, but it’s the third-world countries who suffer the most. I could get very political about this, but I wouldn’t have the space to tell you about my experience. The protest is for four days, sadly, today being the last.
Lots of us from my local XR group set off at 7.30am to catch an early train into London. The journey for me as a wheelchair user was pretty horrendous there and back. However, every struggle along the route was well worth it.
For Earth Day on Saturday and the Biodiversity march, many people dressed up as different aspects of nature; animals of all sorts, plants and flowers, etc. (I have shared some photos, as you can see, just to give you an idea of the feel of the event.) People’s ingenuity and imagination were quite remarkable. We walked (or rode, in my case) for a mile, mainly around The Houses of Parliament and St James’s Park. On that day, there were, believe it or not, 90,000 rebels, including people from other climate-concerned groups! It was the biggest protest in the country, and the passion was tangible.
The drumming, which is what I was doing as we marched along, was fantastic. Although I got someone to take some photos of the band and I, I am unable to share them as I can’t share close-up pictures of the friends I was with. I just loved being part of such an enormous and passionate band.
The people dressed in white are all scientists, some well-known, who are far more knowledgeable about the future of our planet than our government. Where you can see thousands of people lying down on the road, this is what we call a ‘die-in’ – it lasts fifteen minutes, and it represents all the deaths our world will experience if we don’t stop killing everything and polluting our world – plants, animals, fish, trees etc. Believe it or not, 40% of all creatures have now perished, and many species are now endangered. I could talk more about this, but this would be an extremely long post! What really concerns us is that my and all our children will suffer the most as the future doesn’t look like it’s getting better in our generation. I find this thought very distressing.
I should add that XR worked closely with the police to make this a wonderful, totally peaceful protest. In fact, there were very few police officers about, as we weren’t doing anything harmful or causing damage.
After the most wonderful day, things began to wind up around 6pm. My friends and I went to a local London pub for drinks (non-alcoholic in my case) and chips; we were all ravenous by then. We then headed home by train and finally got home at nearly midnight! Yesterday, I could still hear the sound of the drums in my ears and had to recover from the very worthwhile exhaustion that followed.
I should add that no damage was done to anything or anyone in the course of the day. The Marathon was on yesterday, and we didn’t interrupt them as the press had said we would. We were actually cheering them on, which they all appreciated. Unfortunately, the right-wing press pick out any little event to make XR look bad, and in fact, there was hardly any positive coverage in any of the papers or many news programmes.
Finally (and probably a contentious issue), I couldn’t let this post go without mentioning two courageous Just Stop Oil rebels from another climate-concerned organisation, Morgan and Marcus. They desperately tried to raise awareness of the climate emergency by climbing above the Queen Elizabeth Bridge in the UK, blocking the road for 40 hours. They were both found guilty and were sentenced in the Crown Court (usually used for murder. rape, and manslaughter cases) on Friday to three years and two years, seven months in jail, respectively, having already served six months there. The judge stated he was ‘making an example’ of them to deter other people from taking action against the climate emergency. We are appalled about this unfair decision. You can get less time for burglary, and yet the government is responsible for numerous deaths by their inaction, and we don’t see them locked up, do we!? That’s food for thought.
Tomorrow is Earth Day. Many of my friends in Extinction Rebellion (XR) have set off by coach today, heading for London. I am going there tomorrow, my journey beginning at 6am meaning an early night tonight. We are NOT intending to disrupt the people on the street, but we are gathering around the Houses of Parliament to try to get the urgent message to our politicians, regarding the climate emergency, as recognised by eminent scientists and, of course, the famous and very knowledgeable David Attenborough.
This will be a peaceful gathering with over 30,000 protesters, including over 200 other climate-concerned groups. XR have NO plans to disrupt the London Marathon tomorrow or the Mini Marathon today. We can’t speak for climate protesters from other prominent organisations, such as Insulate Britain and Just Stop Oil etc., as when things go wrong, it is always XR who, unfairly, get the blame. We can’t control the actions of other groups, but I hope they will have the same responsible attitude as us.
I am one of the many drummers from XR, and fortunately, I got my drum secondhand. It was just plain brown wood when I got it, so I decorated it using paints, stencils and stickers. It took me four days to complete it (see photo.) The image of the turtle and the bees represent our dying wildlife. The fish in the ocean are there because our oceans worldwide are polluted by sewage, plastics and vast, abandoned fishing nets.
Being a wheelchair user, as I am, is going to make my participation very challenging. I will have to find places to recharge my wheelchair, as there is a family-friendly nature march tomorrow, and I will, in general, be covering a good few miles. I will travel with my large drum on my lap on the train to London. I’ve never attempted this before. Today, I am preparing to pack everything up ready for my early start in the morning. We are all taking mugs, bowls and reusable cutlery, plus bags to take home our rubbish, as we have no intention of leaving our litter behind. Sometimes, the Hare Krishna people are there with hot food to offer. We are grateful to them.
I will stop here, as I have sooo much to get ready, as you can imagine. I am so excited. I appreciate people have differing views about Extinction Rebellion, but we see no other option, other than to target the government because we are desperately frightened for the future of our children, grandchildren and subsequent generations, who will be affected far more than we already are.
Thank you for reading. Wish me luck (if you wish).
Once again, I do apologise for not being able to read your blogs at this time. Please, be assured that I will get back into the swing of WordPress after the event. My love to you all. Ellie Xx 🌎🌹💚
FIRSTLY, AN APOLOGY – I AM HAVING TO TAKE A BREAK FROM WORDPRESS FOR A FEW DAYS AT LEAST. I have so much to prepare for the upcoming event. Also, I have to complete an assignment for my course, which breaks for a couple of weeks on Thursday. After that, I have my son and the children staying. Needless to say, it will be impossible to keep up with reading and commenting on blogs, so I do hope you will understand and forgive me. I will begin again with a fresh start when I come back. Apologies if I haven’t read or commented on your recent posts. Thank you for your understanding.
I wrote this a few days ago, and I decided to share it today before taking a break.
On Saturday, the 22nd of April, I am travelling to the centre of London to attend a vast gathering of people, all opposed to our government’s complete lack of action against climate change and because they are continuing to plough money into fossil fuel industries, thereby gradually wrecking our planet. There are other relevant topics, like how we dispose of our plastics. Most of it isn’t recycled as we are made to believe but is frequently sent abroad, ending up either in the oceans or in landfill where it doesn’t ever break down. The number of trees is declining because of the rate of destruction taking place to enable more roads and interchanges to be built. Without trees in the world, there will be less oxygen for us to breathe. There is so much damage that our government are doing that it would be impossible to mention all of it here.
We must do everything possible to act against the government and make them see sense. The event is called, quite appropriately, THE BIG ONE, thus named because tens of thousands of people from over one hundred organisations, such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Rewild Britain, Global Justice, Ethical Consumer, The Green Party and many other climate-concerned groups. Also, other organisations like NHS Staff Voices and Keep Britain Tidy will be there, and we will all come together for a peaceful gathering.
The two-hour (or more) journey to London will involve two trains, including at least one underground and possibly a bus. We are all gathering at the Houses of Parliament in London. It is a four-day event beginning on Friday next week, but I am only staying for one day, as camping at night with an electric wheelchair would be too difficult. As it is, the journey could be fraught with obstacles like lifts being out of order, trains arriving too late for a connecting train, and a whole host of other possibilities. Nevertheless, I am determined to be there to play my part.
People (adults and children) are coming from all around the country and many from Europe to take part. It will be a peaceful protest unlike any other.
A few of you know that I am a member of Extinction Rebellion (XR). I realise some people don’t like what we do, but we are getting increasingly desperate about the future of our planet and all life on her. As it is, a large percentage of wildlife is dying off, and some creatures are even becoming extinct. In the UK, the bee and butterfly populations are being decimated by the use of toxic pesticides. Without these insects, there would be no pollination and, subsequently, hardly any crops, flowers, fruits or vegetables. People and many other creatures would begin to starve. The climate is changing, and heatwaves, floods, hurricanes etc., are becoming more frequent. In the UK alone, temperatures last year reached an unheard-of 42C (107F). There will, no doubt, be more of this during this coming summer months.
I fear for our children and our grandchildren, who will be the ones to inherit the Earth from us. It is they who will suffer the loss and damage caused by the governments all over the world and us.
On Saturday, there will be a march for biodiversity with adults and children, many dressed in costumes representing nature. I will be taking part in this, as will many of the people there.
I am an XR drummer and will be playing with others in the band on Saturday. (I’m currently painting and decorating my drum, ready for the event). Playing has its challenges for me in that I will need to drive my wheelchair, Alfie, as well as concentrate on playing the drum with one hand. It’s not going to be easy. I will also have to make the journey with my drum on my lap and carry waterproof clothing in case it rains, plus supplies to get me through the day.
We are NOT locking or glueing ourselves onto roads or vehicles, nor spraying paint on buildings (this wasn’t XR but another environmental group.) We will NOT be causing a nuisance to the general public or blocking roads. We are trying to get our point across to the government and will be there outside the Houses of Parliament for four days. Many people are camping to enable them to stay the whole time. And before anyone imagines we are using cars to get to London; we’re not. Everyone, at least from our organisation, is travelling by coach, bus or train.
We have to do all within our power to get the government to take us seriously. Whether or not we are successful remains to be seen, but at least we are doing our utmost to alter the course of manmade destruction being caused to our planet. We will not give up until positive action is taken.
AFTER ALL, THERE IS NO PLANET B.
NOTE: I realise that it isn’t just the British government who are responsible, but also governments worldwide. However, we are here in the UK and determined to do whatever we can to get the British government to sit up and take note.
I will be happy to answer any questions you have if I can. Please, either ask in the comments or contact me on my contact page. I will reply when I can. Thanks.
This is a real-life story that I wrote a few days ago. As I’m terribly busy for the next week, I thought I’d post this piece, but I hope to write a more up-to-date post when I can. This is rather long, so I would be very grateful if you could take the time to read it. Thank you ~ Elliex
I missed her terribly, but not a word had been uttered about her disappearance from home or, more painfully, from my life, leaving me in limbo and feeling very vulnerable.
Instead, there was a strange woman who’d taken the place of my mother. She got me up in the morning, gave me breakfast and ushered me out the front door to begin my short journey to school. I was told to call her Auntie Vera, but at eight years old, I silently objected to calling a perfect stranger my Auntie. She was bossy, with straight grey hair swept back off her face in a bun. She wore my Mum’s blue and white checked pinny around her thick waist. I wanted to say that the pinny belonged to my Mum, and I didn’t want this total stranger wearing it. It wasn’t hers, after all, but I didn’t dare risk a scolding from this sharp-tongued woman. Auntie Vera became the only person I saw every morning. There was, as usual, no sign of my father, who always left early for work at the upholstery factory with not as much as a ‘good morning’ or a ‘goodbye.’
At breakfast, I sat at the small Formica table while Auntie Vera pulled down the flap on the front of the sage green kitchen cabinet to get the porridge oats. She tipped a large spoonful into an aluminium pan, added boiling water and a pinch of salt and left it to cook for a few minutes. Then she dished out two large steaming dollops into my bowl. I didn’t like it; it wasn’t like my Mum used to make. Auntie Vera’s porridge was so thick and gloopy that my spoon could nearly stand up in it, and it made me feel sick it. I so wished my Mum was here, but there was still no explanation about what had happened to her. My mind wandered, and I shivered as I wondered if she had died, but no one had told me. I missed her so much, and the thought of her never returning upset and scared me. I choked back my tears and forced my porridge down.
That day, after school, I trudged home reluctantly, knowing grumpy Auntie Vera would greet me. Earlier in the day, I’d been told off for daydreaming in class. I so wanted my Mum to be the one to open the front door and reach her arms out to hug me and ask me if I’d had a good day. But it was only a dream, and I was met by this ill-tempered woman still wearing my Mum’s pinny. I felt cross, but I didn’t dare say anything.
A couple of hours later, I was very surprised to hear my father opening the front door with his heavy keys. He wasn’t usually home at this time. He told me to go and brush my knotty brown hair and to put on my best dress and smartest school shoes. I did as I was told, as I feared being reprimanded by him. He led me to his black Morris Minor outside our house. I clambered into the back seat while my father sat at the wheel, lighting up his foul-smelling pipe as always. The plumes of smoke wafted into the back of the car. It made me feel sick. I was glad when he pulled up in front of a large building and got out. I had no idea where we were or what this building was.
My father roughly took my hand as I climbed out of the car, and he led me into the building, and then up two flights of stairs. I wondered where we were going and what we were doing there. We turned through a door on the left and were met by a nurse. I was confused; why had we come to a hospital? We were taken through a set of double doors, which the nurse unlocked for us to enter. As we did, I was confronted by two long rows of hospital beds, one on each side of the ward. I could hear loud, muddled voices and the occasional shout or scream. People in nightgowns walked about the ward, many muttering to themselves. A nasty strong smell of urine permeated the air. I was scared and didn’t understand why we were here with all these strange people.
Suddenly, a small bearded man in pyjamas shuffled nearer and reached out to me. My father pulled me away sharply and continued to walk the length of the hospital ward. I glanced around, and as we almost reached the end, I was shocked to see my Mum sitting in a chair next to one of the beds on the righthand side. She didn’t look like she did at home. She was pale, thin, and dressed in a pink hospital nightie and grey woollen socks. As we reached her, she didn’t appear to recognise me, so I leaned over to her and planted a kiss on her cheek. She didn’t smell like my Mum. She smelt of TCP – the same liquid Mum added to a pan of my father’s dirty hankies that often boiled in an old saucepan.
My father walked to the far end of the ward and returned with two folded-up wooden chairs. Sitting on the neatly-made beds wasn’t allowed. This was my Mum, yet I was lost for words to say to her. My father said very little, too, so I sat, upset and uncomfortable. Mum didn’t attempt to make any conversation, but she stared vacantly into space for much of the time. I didn’t understand why she wasn’t looking at me or talking to me. It was only many years later that I discovered that my Mum had had ECT treatment, which delivers an electric shock to the brain and is meant to help get a person back into a less-depressed state. Instead, it seemed to have left her confused and drowsy, unable to speak to us properly. The longer we sat there, the more distraught I felt. I wanted to go home but, at the same time, I wanted to stay with my Mum. I was frightened that I might never see her again if we left.
Finally, a loud bell rang, signalling the end of visiting time. My father got up, returned our chairs and told me we were leaving. I waved at my Mum, but she didn’t respond.
Would I ever see my Mum again? What if she could never talk to me again?
I felt a chill running the length of my spine as I once again wondered whether she would die in the hospital and never come home. Tears were running down my cheeks, and I let out a quiet sob.
“Stop snivelling, you wretched child,” my father ordered. The ward doors were slammed and locked behind us, and I quickly wiped my tears away as we continued down the two flights of stairs.
We climbed into my father’s car and drove the short journey home. On arrival, my father turned the keys in the lock; we were greeted by Auntie Vera in my Mum’s pinny again. She noticed my tear-stained face and spoke to my father, demanding to know whether I’d be causing any trouble. I always seemed to be in trouble with this woman. I didn’t want her there; I desperately wanted my Mum to come home again.
Weeks went by. Dad was rarely home in those days, so I was left to the mercy of Auntie Vera, still wearing my Mum’s pinny. I wanted to snatch it away from her, but I wasn’t brave enough. She would have certainly told my father; then, I’d be in for a good hiding, like many times before.
I ran to my room, burst through the door, and threw myself onto my bed, grasping my bear, Peter, for comfort. It was cold in my room, so I slipped under my pea-green woollen blanket to keep warm. I knew I’d be in trouble if I were caught, so I lay there, hardly daring to breathe and hoped that I’d hear Auntie Vera coming up the stairs in good time to jump up and tidy up my bed so she wouldn’t know I’d been lazy.
It wasn’t long before I began to feel hungry, but it was time for Auntie Vera to go home, so as usual, she took me to the next-door neighbour’s house. It was the same routine every evening. The family cared for me until my father got home from his regular visit to the pub after he’d finished work.
The neighbours were called Auntie Rose and Uncle Mohajit. I enjoyed playing with their two children, who were ten and eight, but I didn’t like the food they had for dinner, which was often chicken or mutton curry and rice. I wasn’t keen on spicy food; Mum never cooked anything like that. I didn’t dare make a fuss and had to force it down, hating every mouthful. Occasionally, I came across a gristly piece of meat. I tried chewing and chewing, but I just couldn’t swallow it for fear it would get stuck in my throat, making me sick. I knew better than to spit it out.
Everyone else had finished their meal and left the table, but Auntie Rose instructed me not to leave until I’d eaten everything. They all went into the living room while I sat there, desperately wishing the lump of gristle would disappear. I looked around the dining room with my mind wandering in different directions. Did I have enough courage to bury this lumpy bit of meat in one of the flowerpots? I could dig a hole in the earth, and perhaps, no one would ever know. Or could I sneak out and give it to their tabby cat when no one was looking?
After a while, although terrified of being caught, I tiptoed silently to the large rubber plant in a heavy clay flowerpot. My heart was thumping hard as I carefully dug a hole in the soil with my finger. I spat the gristle into my hand, quickly pushed it firmly into the hole, and covered it with the remaining earth. I returned to the table briefly, feeling guilty about deceiving the family. I gradually caught my breath again and waited for my heart to stop beating so hard.
Should I join the family in the living room? I wondered whether they would somehow know what I’d done. I knew I’d been in terrible trouble if I were to be found out. I walked hesitantly towards the living room door, knocked softly and waited to be let in. As the door opened, the whole family stared at me. Now, I knew I was in serious trouble and was sure my father would be told, and I would receive a beating. Oh, how I wished my Mum would come home again. It would be several weeks before that happened, and in the meantime, my nightmare continued …
Having had my grandchildren, I’m now so behind I’m still very tired, and my strength I cannot find I’m struggling to find words; my concentration wrecked though it was worth every minute in retrospect
I’m trying hard to read and even more so to write every minute of the day and well into the night I’m rather exhausted with so much in my head but still, I greet my friends with my arms outstretched
My writing is my passion, and I don’t want to stop Another hobby I don’t need, so I don’t wish to swap I fell in love with words and rhyme many years ago but I am just an amateur, so I go with the flow
I’m somewhat absent-minded; I need to pay attention I tread very carefully and write with apprehension I’m so grateful to my readers; you mean so much to me You fill me up with courage and dismiss my apathy
Occasionally, I am lacking, and I can’t seem to share Sometimes I get stuck, and I’m pulling out my hair But with such good friends both far away and near I have so much gratitude, and I’m full of good cheer.
This is just a brief post to let you know that I’m taking a short time out to spend with my grandchildren, Imogen, ten and Charlie, eight, who are coming to stay with me from tomorrow afternoon till Saturday morning. My granddaughter has stayed once when she was seven, but this will be my grandson’s first stay.
I’ve also taken advice from one of my blogging friends, who said I should take a break as I worry so much about keeping up with everyone else’s blogs. To those of you who have known me for a while, you will know this is an ongoing issue for me. If it were possible, I would read every single blog that plops into my bursting-at-the-seams inbox. I genuinely want to reciprocate the kindness of my readers by showing respect and returning that kindness. I guess I sometimes try so hard to be kind to others but to the detriment of myself.
Anyway, here we are at ten o’clock at night, and I have lots to do to prepare for my grandchildren’s visit. After that, I’m going to bed for an early night and will catch up with you all at the weekend. Please, forgive me for not reading your posts in the meantime. I will start with a refreshed and rested mind once the children return home.
I am so, so excited about them coming to stay with me. I never thought, years ago, that I would ever be fit and well enough to have my grandchildren here while I’m on my own. I might have a disability and need the odd bit of help from them, but that’s okay, and my son is fine with that, too.
As the quote (above) says it’s never too late to build a treehouse! I’m going to be building a treehouse big enough for me, Imogen and Charlie to play in. It’ll be fun!
Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.
Mary Anne Radmacher
One of my blogging friends, Melinda, from ‘Looking For The Light’, posted on her blog that March was Disability Awareness Month. I hadn’t heard of this, possibly because we don’t have this day in the UK. However, I’d been thinking about writing about my view of being a disabled person. I said I would do this before the end of March, as it seemed an appropriate time to write my own perspective.
So … just a bit of background information … Many years ago, I was involved in a fairground accident, which injured my cervical and lumber spine, meaning that some of the nerves from these areas were damaged. This affected my ability to walk, move, feed myself, or drink out of an ordinary mug or cup. I had a lot of care to begin with, but was determined to be independent.
I’ve come to terms with my accident and my disability. I wouldn’t have it any other way now. If I were given a wish, it wouldn’t be to rid myself of my disability. I am who I am; I am learning to love and care for myself. I can manage a few steps with a walking trolley indoors; I have an adapted kitchen and a wonderful electric powerchair called Alfie, who is my legs and wheels combined. Alfie allows me to travel independently. I don’t drive. I can’t even get a taxi; believe it or not, my town has no wheelchair-accessible cabs!
Buses are a nightmare and nigh-on impossible to navigate. Trains are relatively easy (except in the rush hour), as I learned from visiting London (40 miles away) to see my late Mum when she was in the stroke rehab. hospital. Travelling in rush hour means being packed like a sardine and at the exact height to be thumped on the head by someone casually throwing their bag onto their shoulder. Worse still, in the crowds, I’m perfectly lined up with all those armpits – close up – some more fragrant than others!
Travelling about is both a frustration and a joy. I can ride at 8mph (13 km/h), which is pretty speedy, and I am lucky to live near a foot/cycle path that takes me into town. I never knew which side to travel on, given that I’m neither a pedestrian nor a bike. I used to get dirty looks from disgruntled people on either side of the path. Well, where on Earth am I meant to go? I now drive down the white line in the middle! Problem solved!
The weather can be a challenge sometimes. I can’t use an umbrella as I’m driving with one hand and holding my bags with the other. If it rains, I get soaked – simple as that. I’ve got used to it, and knowing that my skin is waterproof and clothes will dry off, it really doesn’t bother me anymore. Yes, I could get one of those plastic capes for wheelchair users, but I wouldn’t be seen dead in one of those! So, does it serve me right if I get soaked – yes, I guess it does! Snow is out of the question. Living at the top of a steep hill, as I do, makes it far too dangerous to even step foot (wheel, in my case) out of the door.
Also, I have two major phrases used by many people, most commonly found in (but not isolated to) the US, both of which I detest with a passion. The first is one I hear said a lot on American television programmes, and that’s the use of the word ‘handicap’ when referring to a disabled person or in a car park as the description given to the allocated ‘handicapped’ parking space, as opposed to, in the UK, where we have accessible parking spaces or Blue Badge parking. The term ‘handicap’ is only used in the UK as a type of insult these days.
The other phrase that gets me is the description of a disabled wheelchair user as ‘wheelchair-bound’ or, worse still, ‘bed-bound.’ I’m not bound to my wheelchair or my bed by ropes, as the phrase might suggest. Please, think before using those terms. Thank you.
My pet hate is being stuck indoors against my will, either because of the weather or, like this week, because my battery decided to fail, and I had to wait two days for an engineer to come out to fit a new one. I feel a sense of panic as my independence is taken away, and I’m trapped at those times, and that’s not a desirable feeling for anyone. If you can imagine giving up your legs for a while, that’s what it feels like for me not to have my wheels. If all else fails, thank goodness for online shopping and Amazon.
Finally, I count myself lucky. I realise that not all disabled people feel the same way as I do. This is just my personal view of living with a disability and being a wheelchair user. I am, on the whole, very happy in my own skin.
If you have any questions you would like me to answer, please feel free to ask in the comments section; alternatively, you can reach out to me through my ‘contact me’ page. Thank you.