The little joys of life

I have been moved lately by the little joys of life in my garden. As I lift my head I see five white butterflies flying by in close formation.

0b4fa-galahsTwo metres away from me a pink and grey galah has swooped onto the hanging basket which serves as a seed feed for our avian visitors. The first visitor of the day there is usually the beautiful 8410b-blueindianringneckIndian blue ring-necked parakeet, obviously an exotic escapee, who stridently whistles at us to replenish the dish with sunflower seeds.

We stand guard otherwise he is chased away by the numerous outrageously a7c32-rainbowlorikietcoloured rainbow lorikeets who perch in the nearby cabbage tree like Christmas decorations shrieking and murmuring. They are tough characters: I saw one back down a magpie on our lawn, hop-charging it until it moved on. They have just chased off the galah which is a much bigger bird too!

After the lorikeets have scarfed every remaining seed, they depart shrieking raucously, sometimes skimming close past me to show their lack of regard.fiona-lumsden-king-parrots

Then, if we are lucky, the beautiful King parrot arrives, usually the scarlet headed male, but occasionally his beautiful shamrock green lady.

 

At my feet, I hear an indistinct squeak, squeak – Lulu is dreaming in her bed. She is our new puppy. Although when our beloved Schnauzer Mooshoo died, we said never again, we couldn’t last without a dog, so we found Lulu. Such a grinning delight! She is cute and feisty, demanding and energetic. Quite a challenge for 60+ year olds!

Finally, more joy: we had four of our five children together for Mum’s macaroni cheese dinner last night, along with puppy, grandchild, two cats and three partners.

They live spread out across Australasia, so it was a rare opportunity to check out our big babies and introduce them to Lulu. My heart is full.

lulu-22-oct-2016

*King parrots painted by Fiona Lumsden

P.S. Last night we were honoured by a visit from a slighter longer joy than usual: a carpet python hung about a tree above a fence line hoping for an engagement with a possum or a rat. Isn’t it a beauty!

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Kith and Kin

My mind has been turning to love of those dear to me, prompted by the sad news that my brother in law is stricken with leukemia and the good news of an impending visit by my son and our newest daughter in law.

Thinking about it, families keep growing: brothers, sisters and children marry and bring husbands and wives … and if you’re lucky, nephews and nieces and grandchildren.

Even though husband and wife lose that status with divorce, father and mother do not. Brothers and sisters in law do not cease to be brothers and sisters on divorpooh-friendce or remarriage or death.

The in-laws are kin but their families are kith.

Friends are kith even though some are closer than kin.

 

My son who is a soldier is about to embark on an operational posting and I have been beseeching Blessed Michael the Archangel to watch over him, as he did in Afghanistan.

I mull over what sage words I could say to him, but have realised :pooh-advice

  • ·         One can give sage words only if asked
  • ·         Those words should be good for all
  • ·          Pooh says most things better than I do.

 

 

pooh-and-piglet

 

Piglet: “How do you spell ‘love’?”

Pooh: “You don’t spell it…you feel it.”

 

The one that frequently consoles me is:

“If the person you are talking to does not appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in this ear.”

eeyore-fluff-in-ear

Biltong, Boerewors and Blatjang: how to fix South African Rugby and politics

biltong-hanging-upThese are the iconic foodstuffs loved by all South Africans: biltong  being strips of dried salted meat; boerewors the spicy farmers’ sausage without which a braaivleis is just another meal.

 

boerewors3

Blatjang  is the spicy, tangy chutney  sauce introduced by Malay slaves in the 18th century. The even more universal foodstuff is maize porridge called putu, pap or sadza which was the staple food of most black South Africans.

Latterly, MacDonalds is making headway as a replacement.

Parliamentary news and rugby commentaries will tell you that, despite apartheid’s removal from legislation over 20 years ago, it remains alive and kicking as a political sledgehammer with which to attack and defend.

bokkeOne of the most obvious targets of the political machinations deployed to rectify the apparent iniquities of the past has been rugby.

This was an Englishman’s game introduced in the 1800’s with the first Springboks selected in 1891.

By 1903  only 25% of Springboks selected had Afrikaans names. This reached 51% only in 1951 – a slow transformation.

Since the new South Africa, 18% of Springboks have not been white; but only 15% have had English names.

So have the English speaking South Africans been the sacrificial lambs?

(Someone once said: There are 3 great untruths: Lies, damn lies and statistics)

I believe there is a simple 3 step solution, which will bring about equanimity in rugby, satisfy politicians, generate increased player registration and make many people happy.

It lies in the hands of those that love rugby and their country.

It could spread to the rest of the country and actually deliver the Rainbow Nation so wonderfully projected by Madiba.

First of all: change the National Anthem quickly – the disproportionate  volume when the Afrikaans bit is sung is like a kick in the goolies for the new South Africa.

Secondly: Every rugby fan should take a person of a different colour to rugby matches for a year; families go with families …..

Thirdly: Have a braai together after each game –Biltong, boerewors en blatjang  will save the game and the country !

sa-flagSimple in concept: everyone subordinates their historical differences to seek a common goal.

Max Du Preez can take Hlaudi Motsoenong, Julius Malema can take Kallie Kriel and Mmusi Maimane can take the Guptas perhaps. If those guys can do it, anyone can.

 

 

How red is my neck?

Conservatism and its modernising, anti-traditionalist rivals, liberalism and socialism, are the dominant political philosophies and ideologies of the post-Enlightenment era. Conservatives criticise their rivals for making a utopian exaggeration of the power of theoretical reason, and of human perfectibility. 

Conservative prescriptions are based on what they regard as experience rather than reason; for them, the ideal and the practical are inseparable. Most commentators regard conservatism as a modern political philosophy, even though it exhibits the standpoint of paternalism or authority, rather than freedom.

Andy Hamilton:  Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy                                           http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/conservatism/

I pretty much agree with that and identify myself as of a conservative nature. Back in the day I was regarded as a left wing liberal and warned of deportation in apartheid South Africa.

To gauge my conservatism, I have being trying to articulate what things get my goat or with which I tentatively and delicately disagree.

Let me say first of all that I believe respect and equal opportunity should be offered to everyone, until they stuff it up by poor conduct (and I’ll be the judge of that! Heh, heh!).

The rise of socialism has led to vast numbers of unproductive, dependent voters who have realised how their benefits can be prolonged. The give of the left and the take back of the right result in pendulum governance which can rarely apply sufficient measures to ensure the future economy which is the foundation of a healthy society.

The political party whip and majority rule systems reduce major issues to oversimplified bilateral voting which frequently deny voters’ intents.

trump-clinton-liesA thought that recurs since the Brexit vote and the Trump emergence is how the electorate has seized inappropriate vehicles to express their discontent. It seems democracy has failed to a great extent in the First World . It never succeeded elsewhere really…

 

Arrests and arraignments should be public. The public’s interest is served by knowing the criminals amongst them. Not guilty does not mean innocent. The redress for wrongful arrest is appropriate compensation. I also believe that life imprisonment is nonsensical.

I particularly dislike unbridled media sensationalism which has been given licence to demand immediate response from participant, afflicted, accused and authority all in the name of public interest. Political opportunity is seized and knee jerk responses ensue to ensure something is seen to be done. This has lead to media sponsorship of newsworthy behaviour.

What also gets me is the opportunity and prominence given to yowling of the previously disadvantaged. This is a carriage that has been built without brakes nor uphill in sight. Its wheels turn equal opportunity and traditional courtesy into reverse discrimination and patronisation accusations as quick as a wink.

Please do yowl if you dislike my sentiments: I agree with myself far too often.

HR is a Pink Ghetto  

      There was a predictable outsplurge of unhappy bleats at this comment uplifted from a survey of HR practitioners in New Zealand.

The emphasis of these squeals has been on the pink aspect. Pink has variously coloured the causes of women, LGBTI (MNOP…?), communists (pinkos) and breast cancer victims. In the above context the suggestion is of over-representation of women in the HR function with all the connotations of glass ceilings, misogyny, chauvinism, discrimination and all those vices of males in business. We must not forget that women known as “welfare secretaries” started HR in the late 19th Century… but I digress.

Ghetto is my focus. It has a hint of slum – a place where the inconvenient people are quartered, presumably for control purposes. Quite often these people have competencies perceived as threatening by those in power.

If they do their job, HR are inconvenient: they say to bosses and employees “you can’t do that; you must do this…” They are wise like witch doctors. They have studied human beings and laws so know what must be done to be compliant. They are usually right.

Bosses don’t like HR because they fetter their authority, give strong advice but never carry the can and usually know where the bodies are buried. Employees don’t like them because they decide who is employed, who can stay, who must go, who gets paid more or less and worst of all: at the end of the day they will side with the Man.

Well, now the unions’ work is done by government, who regulate welfare and naughty employers, and most other functions can be outsourced. IT collect all the stats and accountants rule the roost, so decision-making is logical and economical and labour is just a commodity, right?

Why are HR still there? Because they are the termination experts!

That’s why HR’re in the ghetto – so they get the message and leave.

What they need to do is get outta administrivia cocoons and come back in the front door with skills that ensure utility; facilitating the maximisation, collaboration and sharing of talent intelligence which will dictate future modes of delivery in the post post capital age.

Sometimes I’m glad I am retired; otherwise I would have to know what the last bit means…

This is the dawn of the new Revolution

I am becoming increasingly convinced that we are moving into a new age.

My daughter who is a devoted teacher immured and overburdened by the system. She is a creative butterfly who inspires sparks and joy from her pupils. But if she cannot see a way to be free of the systemshackles, she will flee …

This looks like a light for education ahead, but will the dawn come quick enough?

RSA ANIMATE: Changing Education Paradigms

But here is another article from The Huffington Post that will give us more information about our future world:

Something Extraordinary is happening..

We have to change and long held conventions must be the targets.

I said it years ago when I set my sights on the necktie…!

 

Aluta Continua!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you teach your children about life?

Do you have a Hero? What is it that you admire about your Hero? I have been trying to find a role model for my children. It is not easy …! What are the virtues of a role model? Do they have any vices?
Yes … they must have some vice in them ,,, I mean even Jesus lost his temper and threw the moneylenders out of the Temple; Lord Buddha  lived the life of Reilly before he disobeyed his father, witnessed real life, embraced temperance and renounced desires.

Aquinas’ Cardinal Virtues ring a bell with me, they describe real models of behaviour for good people:

  • Prudence
  • Temperance
  • Courage
  • Justice

A quick flick through Google on Aquinas and Temperance described models for behaviour that seemed real and achievable. Of course, there will be shortfalls and lapses … the idea is that we recognise this and get up and re-direct ourselves, with  these virtuous beacons.
Why don’t they teach them in schools? They are surely universally recognised as conduct which would maintain harmonious, productive societies?

This is something real which politicians and role models should give to all of us! Spread the word! Shake the trees!
Help our children choose the best way of Life!