Saturday, 25 June 2016

Telling the bees

A message from a neighbour and friend in Greece:
Hello Simon, I see you are back home. What is going on with the referendum? Was the whole thing an accident? Though I cannot believe that the most instinctive 'school' is pulled in such uncomfortable situations. Do you see Cameron acting as Chamberlain did? In that case 1937-1939 period is being repeated? S
Home? We have two 'homes'! Dear S. Lovely to hear from you. No-one can know if history is repeating itself, but its shadow seems stronger, its echoes louder, than before 23rd June. Yes! You could say that the Referendum was an 'accident'. To resolve differences within his Party, Cameron, included a promise in the Conservative Manifesto for our May 2015 General Election - a pledge to hold a Referendum on the UK staying in or leaving the EU. He did not think the Conservatives would win last year’s election. When he became PM with a clear majority his new government was committed to a promise he had not expected to have to deliver. I guess that beloved Greece is too full of its own woes to care much about what we’ve done to ourselves in Britain as a result of this vote. I agree with the recent words of Yanis Varoufakis who had wanted the UK to remain in the EU. “OUT won because the EU establishment have made it impossible, through their anti-democratic reign (not to mention the asphyxiation of weaker countries like Greece), for the people of Britain to imagine a democratic EU.” My family voted to remain, except my daughter and son-in-law. We would never let politics divide our family, and although I do not think for a second that they voted from fear, there's no question that too many did; fear and anger. Too many jumped at the opportunity to give the ‘ruling elite’ a kick in the pants, and 'get their country back'…
…δεν έχει πλοίο για σε, δεν έχει οδό.
Ετσι που τη ζωή σου ρήμαξες εδώ
στην κώχη τούτη την μικρή, σ' όλην την γή την χάλασες.*
Their vote against ‘foreigners’ carried the day for the OUT vote. Our country is full of angry frightened people. Nor will Brexit shield us against many other angry people across Europe. There lies your comparison with the 1930s. The UK vote threatens the EU project as a whole - beset by right wing nationalist movements. I’m sure you know the famous Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times”. We are back in Ano Korakiana in late August. Meantime I am growing lots of fresh fruit and vegetables on my allotment, despite very wet weather and a plethora of slugs and snails. My bees are buzzing and I have much to occupy my life.
Τοὺς Λαιστρυγόνας καὶ τοὺς Κύκλωπας, τὸν θυμωμένο Ποσειδῶνα μὴ φοβᾶσαι, τέτοια στὸν δρόμο σου ποτέ σου δὲν θὰ βρεῖς, ἂν μέν' ὴ σκέψις σου ὐψηλή, ἄν ἐκλεκτὴ συγκίνησις τὸ πνεῦμα καί το σῶμα σου ἀγγίζει*
Με αγάπη και τις καλύτερες ευχές, Σαίμον και Λίντα XX
*...there is no ship for you, there is no road.
As you have ruined your life here
in this little corner, you have destroyed it in the whole world. (Constantine P. Cavafy 1910)
**...The Laestrygonians and the Cyclopes, the raging Poseidon do not fear: You'll never find the likes of them on your way, if lofty be your thoughts, if rare emotion touches your spirit and your body. Cavafy 1911
From Sevastianos: Thank you. My regards to Linda
Me: I hope you do not now regard us as foreigners (:))
S: Of course you are foreigners. It is a matter of culture after all. We, proud Greeks, are fond of Sakis Rouvas, Alexis, NO and Olympiaco's morality. Kavafis, et al is for, nationwise, diversified orphans...At least lets enjoy it....THE IRISH coast guard has today issued a nationwide warning for the East Coast as hundreds of thousands of British refugees risk their lives to cross the Irish sea in an attempt to flee the impoverished and unstable nation.....

'An estimated 450,000 people have already fled the UK mainland to neighbouring EU countries.'

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I've been taking part, via my membership of the 1000 Elders Group, volunteering to be guinea pigs, for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital's research into healthy ageing - on this occasion a study of 'the acute effects of sitting time on physiological and psychological function in older adults'
What is the purpose of the study? Although there is evidence supporting the longer term health problems of prolonged bouts of sedentary behaviour (sitting) in older people, we do not know very much about the effects of shorter ‘acute’ sitting bouts on our minds (mood, thinking and memory) and bodies (muscle power, mobility, joint pain). Interestingly the current UK physical activity guidelines state that “while there is sufficient evidence to support a recommendation to reduce sedentary behaviour in older adults, it is not currently possible to suggest a specific time limit”. The aims of this study therefore are to characterise sitting time in older people in terms of acute physiological and psychological effects, as well as identify the main effects that older people perceive as being important after periods of sitting....You have been chosen because you are 70 years of age or over and are able to walk either with or without the use of walking aids.
21st June. Dr. Emma Bostock, School of Sport Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences:
Dear Simon. I hope you are well. This is just a reminder for your next visit this coming Friday at 11:30am. I will meet you in the reception of the NIHR Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility at the Old Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Heritage Building). Please remember to wear comfortable clothing and sensible shoes. Also remember to bring something warm and plenty of reading material to fill your sitting time. It will be your 2 hour sit this week so we should be finished by 5pm. Any problems or questions then please just let me know. Kind Regards, Emma 
At the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility, Birmingham University
During the first phase of three sessions - following consent and familiarisation - I did psychological, cognitive and physical tests before and after sitting still for two hours. Next week I'll sit for four hours. I'm allowed to read and use the guest WiFi but not to receive or make phone calls. My main recollection later - I cycled home along the canal as usual - was the observation of the attending nurse, who took samples of my blood and saliva and measured my blood pressure.
"Your blood pressure's a little high"
She showed me her readings; in the hypertension range.
"That's odd. That's never been a problem for me"
"Well I need to point it out. Check with your GP"
"Gosh Emma, do you think I'm stressed by the Referendum result?"
"Could be." she said "We'll see how your blood pressure looks on your next visit next week" 

Friday, 24 June 2016

Purple Majesty

Went to bed early. Lin stayed up. Saw her note on the kitchen table. Spent an hour on the allotment yesterday afternoon and pulled some Purple Majesty - not bad potatoes, these first earlies from my plot; just boiled they look like BBQ charcoal, losing their vivid colour. My neighbour Jasvinder gave me the seed potatoes to try in March. We liked them with monkfish last night. I was especially pleased that they've not been attacked by the wireworm that blighted last year's potato crop from beds 2 and 3.
I better let the cat in. Have a read of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. Cup of tea. Have a shower.

Plot 14
"Good thing I bought those Euro's last night" muttered Lin as she came to bed

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Political-management links

I promised to leave links to earlier pages on Democracy Street dealing with political-management working relationships - in particular film clips and texts resulting from research and teaching over 40 years:

Political-management conversations 1 'Conversations that make government'

Political-management conversations 2 'No overall control'

Political-management texts 'Written stuff'

Queries to:
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OK! So I just voted in the EU Referendum
Oscar outside our polling station in Handsworth "Simon. Can you give it rest now?"

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