For the last two years I've attached myself to 'The Birmingham 1000 Elders group' linked to Prof Janet Lord's Centre for Healthy Ageing at the QE Hospital in Birmingham.
|...acquiescentia in se ipso...|
It's great because it takes me underneath headliners in the media and shows what is known and not known about getting old without becoming over-preoccupied with the likely problems of ageing - loss of immunity to infection, inflammation....
|Perhaps the most intriguing finding ~ inflamm-ageing 'associated with'? 'causing'? my immune system to degrade with age|
I love research. I'm egotistical enough to be intrigued with how it applies to me. There's also a useful sample of old people - 'elders' - equally interested.
|The role of systemic inflammation and the way statins might or might not help was interesting|
It's a good way to stay informed about latest findings about one's health without trying to have the kind of chat with my GP that, these days, would be a recipe for being regarded as a bit of a time waster or even a hypochondriac, meanwhile I'm contributing to medical research. I enjoy the suggestion that collecting street rubbish for Handsworth Helping Hands ...
or digging our allotment is helping to blunt the 'wiry edge of my fretfulness'
*** *** ***
The last Sunday in August is the official end of Summer in Ano Korakiana, the date marked by a service with a meal at Saint Isadora Άη-Σίδερο. This tiny church, inside which you could not swing a cat, sits on a jutting rock on the seventh of the twenty-nine hairpin bend road to Sokraki, the village on Trompetta Ridge above Ano Korakiana. The end point of some of our walks, a lovely way to look down to the village and its surroundings.
Κυριακή σήμερα, παραμονή του νέου έτους σύμφωνα με την Ίνδικτο («εκκλησιαστικό έτος»), και στο γραφικό εκκλησάκι του Αγίου Ισιδώρου πραγματοποιήθηκε η Λειτουργία και ακολούθως η αφιερωμένη σε (τοπικό) θαύμα του Αγίου, Λιτανεία. Ιδιαιτέρως πολύς ο κόσμος που συνέρρευσε, κυρίως από την Άνω Κορακιάνα και το γειτονικό Σωκράκι για να παρακολουθήσει την υπαίθρια ιερή τελετή στην επιβλητική σκιά του πεύκου, με την παρουσία τριών ιερέων.
Μετά τη Λειρουγία η εικόνα του Αγίου θα λιτανευθεί έως τη Δεξαμενή, όπου θα λάβει χώρα σχετική παράκληση και η πομπή θα επιστρέψει στη μικρή εκκλησία. Εκεί, στους στρωμένους πάγκους θα απλωθούν σπιτικά γλυκίσματα, που με τη συνοδεία καφέ θα προσθέσουν μιαν ευχάριστη ανάσα στους επιτελούντες, αλλά και στον κόσμο που θα παραμείνει μέχρι τέλους.
Χθες εξάλλου, τηρήθηκε και το έθιμο της φανουρόπιτας.
Η εορτή σηματοδότησε τυπικά και το τέλος του φετινού καλοκαιριού…
Sunday morning we rose earlier and walked through the village while it was cool, heading upwards through the narrows of little Venice. As we approached the seventh bend on the Sokraki road we heard chanting and so came to St Isidoras and to the door of the little church where a narrow mezzanine hangs over the road and we could lean on the sturdy spinach green railings for an hour as people of all ages came, lit candles, made the sign of the triple cross, bustled about the chapel, kissed the pictures of the saints – Isidoras and Fanarios. After the service the priests led a procession a little further up the hill to the boundary of Ano Korakiana and back. Tables and chairs were placed in the little square beside the church, invisible from the road, and cakes and coffee and sweet-bread were passed around. A large man beckoned us to sit at the table. Places were made for us; plates brought. Another man who’s face I’d often seen at events in the village fetched us delicious custard pastries. “These are in honour of Saint Fanarios whose day was three days ago.” “Your name is kirios...?” I asked “I am Mr Savvanis...gradually we are becoming friends." [Liana's translation from the village website tells me that Savannis is a name associated with Ano Korakiana since 1473, and I think I was speaking with Dr. Spiros Savannis, a paediatrician. Later note: Ano Korakiana's President living on the Platea, sitting centre left to the right of Pappas in the B & W picture]*** *** ***
The news from Rotherham about the prostituting of young women is dire...last week saw the publication of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham (1997-2013) by Alexis Jay...from the first paragraphs of the reports exec summary
No one knows the true scale of child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Rotherham over the years. Our conservative estimate is that approximately 1400 children were sexually exploited over the full Inquiry period, from 1997 to 2013.
In just over a third of cases, children affected by sexual exploitation were previously known to services because of child protection and neglect. It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered. They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten, and intimidated. There were examples of children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness brutally violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone. Girls as young as 11 were raped by large numbers of male perpetrators.
This abuse is not confined to the past but continues to this day.
The 1999 book Child Sexual Abuse in Victorian England by Louise A. Jackson is the first detailed investigation of the way that child abuse was discovered, debated, diagnosed and dealt with in the Victorian and Edwardian periods. This matter of the 'grooming', sexual abuse of minors - young men and women - has a long toxic history. Amid the current news from Rotherham about ‘grooming’ – with its current black on white amplification – it might be easy to forget the recurrence of a series of scandals associated with paid access by older men, some in public positions of responsibility, to children’s homes for sex. Recall 'The Kincora Boys' Home' in Northern Ireland, scene of a notorious child sex abuse scandal; the 'North Wales child abuse scandal' involving over a dozen children’s homes being used similarly. The 'grooming' was done by institutionalising vulnerable children. Instead of 'grooming' direct as in Rotherham and elsewhere, certain staff in these children's homes performed 'grooming' in-house, pimping the ‘service’ to a network of contacts. Recently I've heard of the The Elm Guest House child abuse scandal where we have yet to see the start of an enquiry into allegations that prominent British men, including former government ministers, senior MPs, top police officers and people with connection to the royal household attended parties during the 70s and 80s. There’s also the 1996 U.N. study of The Impact of Armed Conflict on Children by Graça Machel documenting how the arrival of peacekeeping troops has been associated with a rapid rise in child prostitution in areas of conflict, and in 2004 Gita Sahgal reported prostitution and sex abuse wherever humanitarian intervention efforts are set up.
I'm not trying to dilute the horribleness of what I am reading about what has been uncovered - at last - in Rotherham, just trying to point out that if we truly believe in racial equality there are no ethnic groups that are better or worse than any others when it comes to being vile to the young and the vulnerable. The defining of sexual abuse as an evil seems to be about where civil rights was in the 1960s. There are many examples of it being viewed as 'normal' behaviour; something taken for granted. Christ. seldom intemperate, was enraged by two things - hypocrisy ("Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."..."ὑποκριτά, ἔκβαλε πρῶτον τὴν δοκὸν ἐκ τοῦ ὀφθαλμοῦ σοῦ, καὶ τότε διαβλέψεις ἐκβαλεῖν τὸ κάρφος ἐκ τοῦ ὀφθαλμοῦ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ σου") and hurting children - "whoso shall offend one of these little ones it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." "Ὃς δ’ ἂν σκανδαλίσῃ ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων τῶν πιστευόντων εἰς ἐμέ, συμφέρει αὐτῷ ἵνα κρεμασθῇ μύλος ὀνικὸς εἰς τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ καὶ καταποντισθῇ ἐν τῷ πελάγει τῆς θαλάσσης.
If I ask myself about the source of my vehement spitting rage at this behaviour, I would have to recount the experience I had of being sent to a boarding school called Lindfield in a place called Hyde End House near Brimpton in Berkshire when I was 6 years old, along with my sister Bay, who was 5.
|Hyde End House in the 1940s - as I remember the place|