For Goodness sake!

Have the BBC gone bonkers!! Top headline on the news tonight was all about the revelations on the death of Michael Jackson! Good Heavens, get a life!

A pop artist who was highly paid for making his music has had so much anaesthetic for pain killing (caused by his own operations) that he has been poisoned, intentionally or otherwise……is this the most important item to be broadcast from the great British Broadcasting Corporation on its flagship 6 o’clock news?

Did no-one tell them there were other more important things going on in the world?

What to think?

cockpit Lockerbie

The recent release of a convicted murderer, his triumphal return to Libya, the response from the FBI and President Obama, the objections from the relatives of the killed, the non-response from Gordon Brown, the avoidance of a straight opinion from the un-elected Mandelson, the self-assuredness of the opposition politicians, the outraged Press…it all seems to have taken-over our media.

I refer of course to the repercussions over the release of the only convicted person related to the Lockerbie tragedy….I remember the evening well as it is less than an hour from our house by car (about 10 mins air time). The shock at hearing about it was overwhelming, as no-0ne could envisage that anyone would want to do this. Daughter was not long in the police at that time, and probably would have been involved in the searches for bodies if she had been in a few weeks longer.

A prolonged hunt for, and ultimate trial of,  the perpetrators was plagued by suspicions of evidence rigging, and omission of some evidence and police reports. Subsequent investigations into the quality of the trial have not proved fruitful, and probably added to the suspicions which have circulated.

Whatever the rights, limitations and possible wrongs of an imperfect judicial system, the early release of an ill man after 8 years was always going to cause differences of opinions and emotions……… anger at the lack of trans-Atlantic discussions or consultation, sympathy for a terminally-sick man, respect for the relatives of the dead, frustration at the lack of surety about the guilt and ultimate imprisonment, sorrow that no-one may ever know the absolute truth about what happened,  forgiveness (deserved or otherwise), lack of remorse (if it was warranted)…….these have all come to the surface of this very emotive series of events.      

The Scottish Minister of Justice did not seem to have used any of the above emotions in his final statements; he may have thought of them and considered them in his decision. However, it was the ideas of Mercy and Compassion which seem to have been the main element leading to the release.

To my mind, these are personal concepts, and not easily-applicable to a nation-to-person situation. A nation, in the form of a judicial system can release or modify a sentence, but surely the only mercy or compassion which is appropriate is that from the wronged….the relations of those killed.

Had the Justice Minister told us that he had consulted with the known relatives of those poor victims and had had an overwhelming response telling him that the convicted perpetrator should be released on compassionate grounds, then I think must people would have agreed to it.

As it is, he has witnessed the ‘unintended consequences’  principle and, having offended a considerable number of people, the only people who seem happy are the Libyans….with their twisted sense of thanks and gratitude!

….And what  would I have done if I were the Justice Minister. I honestly don’t know. It goes to show once again that there are very few black and white decisions in this world…..I don’t think there is a perfect answer!

If only……………



question mark

I’ve kept a detailed diary for over fifty years, in an attempt to preserve a record in the life of an ‘ordinary person’. It has proved invaluable in settling many arguments about where or when an event occurred in our lives, often giving us a surprise as memory detail fades with time.

Unfortunately, I know of no such diaries kept by my grandparents, on either side. This leaves me with an amazing lack of information about my forebears. I had obviously many, many chances to ask questions, but never did. Such questions would not have been about great philosophical ideas or earth-shattering revelations, simple day-to-day enquiries about their life.

  • Their parents were farmers, and lived in the country, so how did they get to school?
  • What games did they play?
  • What toys did they have?
  • What was their favourite food?
  • What did they do for holidays?
  • Did they have to wear hand-me-downs?
  • How well did they do at school?
  • How did they meet their eventual spouse?
  • What was their wedding like?
  • How could they afford the relatively-large families?
  • Did they read a lot?
  • How did they get to a doctor…and how could they afford it?
  • How did they keep warm without central heating and double glazing?

………….Just a few of the questions which shall be forever un-answered. None is of great importance, but put together and with a bit of imagination we might be able to piece together ‘a day in the life of’ for people just over 100 years ago.

Are there any questions you wish you had asked your parents or grandparents…but never did?

And do your children ask you questions about your youth?

A serial cereal eater!

bowl of cereal

We must come clean……it had to  come out….we have an addict in the family!

Lady of the House likes a very regular breakfast…prunes, or other fruit (that’s why it is called ‘regular’), followed by a small amount of cereal, and a cup of tea.  Nothing unusual about that, you say!

………but the worry lies within that short paragraph!

I think she must have shares in one of the companies, or a predeliction for the taste of a certain grain from which the cereal is made.

I refer (whisper it) to cinnamon…….she always has to have what used to be known as ‘Cinnamon Grahams’, but the name has now been changed to the strange ‘Curiously Cinnamon’.

So the kitchen smells of cinnamon, we recycle lots of cinnamon-smelling cartons, and every time we are at the super-market for shopping there always has to be a cinnamon cereal thrown into the trolley!

So what’s the attraction? Is she alone in the world with this addiction? Is there a Cinnamon Anonymous where help can be sought and given? Is there a Cinnamon Monthly, where forums can discuss the relative merits of different manufacturers? Is there a helpline in anyone’s phone directory? Does anyone know of a closet website? Is there likely to be a world shortage if this really catches on?

And I haven’t even thought about any possible withdrawal symptoms if the need to cease munching comes to the fore. Will the NHS provide alternatives which can be used to help at this time? Would patches be better than eating some paper-based placebo?

PLEASE….is anyone out there with the same problem, or must we face the dire consequences alone?…..replies on a cereal packet please, or just reply in the Comments section. Your secret will be kept confidential, I promise!