Stazjia’s Commentary

Archive for June 2008

Zimbabwe

Posted on: June 29, 2008

I hear that Mugabe is declaring a landslide win in the so-called election in Zimbabwe. This man either lives in his own fantasy world or thinks he really is fooling people in spite of evidence to the contrary in the international press.

At least Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Tutu have come out clearly and spoken against him. I wonder if that will have any effect on Thabo Mbeki, South Africa’s president. I understand that in Africa Mugabe is seen as a liberator from colonial rule but with annual life expectancy for men and women in Zimbabwe now around the mid 30s, government thugs killing, beating and terrorising people, hyper-inflation and starvation, how can African leaders, particularlyly Mbeki, not take a stand against Mugabe? This is especially important for the country’s neighbours who are having to cope with an influx of Zimbabwean refugees.

How has Mugabe come to this point where he isn’t moved by the suffering of his own people when he was once hailed as their saviour?


The Pulteney Bridge Across the Avon in Bath, England

I’m about three quarters the way through a new lens called The Historic City of Bath, England. The trouble about doing a lens on Bath is there is so much to cover. Of course that’s a good thing too because at least I’m not scratching around wondering what to write about and drifting into irrelevancies.

I’ve written about the history of the city from before the Romans to the present day – that took 3 separate modules. I’ve covered the Roman Baths, and The Fathers of Bath, ie John Wood the Elder, Ralph Allen and Beau Nash. I’ve got a list of museums which I’ve got to add to plus put in site links.

The remaining areas I’m going to cover before saying it’s ready and join groups are:

  • Bath Abbey
    Pulteney Bridge
    Parks in Bath
    Jane Austen’s novels set in Bath
    Shopping in Bath
    Useful Information
  • I should finish these by Monday if I keep my nose to the grindstone!

    Pigeon on the roadI know pigeons are vermin and pests, particularly in towns and cities. They carry disease, they disfigure buildings and pavements (sidewalks) with their droppings as well as cause physical damage to buildings.

    If pigeons start nesting in a roof space because you’ve got a loose tile, they can create a hideous mess and it can cost a lot of money to get rid of them and fumigate the loft. My best friend found she had pigeons nesting in her loft. Luckily she discovered this soon after they moved in. Here in the UK we’re advised to get a specialist in to remove them who has the proper equipment and protective clothing and masks because of the risk of disease. Even though it was only one nest and a couple of pigeons, it still cost her £300. He told her that if she hadn’t noticed so quickly, more pigeons would have joined this pair and she’d have soon had a major problem and could have cost £1000 or more to get rid of them and clean up the mess.

    As I said, I know all this and I know they have to be controlled but still…. When I go to London, in particular, I see pigeons hopping around on one leg because they are missing the claws on the other leg, they also have other injuries and they just keep going. Everybody hates them, almost nobody willingly feeds them, people rush into their back gardens flapping their arms when they see pigeons on the bird table, local councils poison them or hire people with birds of prey to hunt them or scare them away, property owners net the tops of their buildings to keep the pigeons off.

    In spite of this, they are indomitable. I somehow have to admire a creature that survives in the face of such consistent persecution even as I run out flapping my arms to scare a pigeon off the bird table so stopping ‘nice’ birds eating from it.

    *Picture from Freefoto.com

    I was delighted to find that my Squidoo lens on The Historic City of York received a Squid angel’s blessing today. It hasn’t appeared on her Diary of a Squid Angel yet but I’m hoping it will go on today. I did a lot of work on it yesterday – new text plus I found a map of the city dating from 1890 that I could use.

    I’ve improved my Dieting: Lose Weight and Keep It Off lens by adding some complete healthy eating recipes and I’ve improved the pictures too. I’d like to add some links to other dieting lenses but so many are just trying to sell supplements and other dieting aids which I don’t believe in using.

    In the long run, losing weight means eating less than your body requires so it will burn fat. So that means controlling how much and what you eat and increasing your level of exercise. I’ve found from personal experience that this works. It’s not like I really enjoy doing exercises but I walk more, lift weights and take the dogs for two to three walks a day which they love. I lost a lot of weight about 4 years ago but hadn’t got down to my target. I went back on a diet in November, virtually giving up meat and really controlling my food while still exercising. I’ve lost around 24 pounds in that time.

    If anybody has a good diet site or lens that doesn’t just try to sell stuff – some selling’s OK, of course but not when that’s the only reason to do the site or lens – let me know and I’d be happy to link to it.

    About 20 years ago I lived in London in an inner city borough. We had a flat above a store and we never knew our neighbours even though we lived there for about 10 years. We never really got to know anybody who lived locally and socialised with friends spread across London rather than people locally.

    Since I’ve lived in a country town the change is so marked. People chat in shops, they say hallo in the street, I know all the neighbours in the apartment block and even go to a coffee morning with them once a week. People here are helpful to each other. The contrast between here and London couldn’t be more pronounced.

    I know about my neighbours’ dogs and cats and even their names. My neighbours know my dogs. I know which ones are sick or not to be trusted off the lead. There is a lot of gossip, of course, but most of it seems harmless, not spiteful, and often leads to offers of help when someone needs it.

    I much prefer living here to London and am so glad we moved. I think I could be quite lonely in London.

    Read More Differences Between Town & Country

    I’ve spent nearly the whole day updating and changing two of my Squidoo lenses – Enjoy Visiting London and The Importance of the New Forest.

    I got my courage up and went on the Squidoo Forum and asked for a critique of the New Forest lens. I’m pleased to say that the only suggestions I got were to add more pictures so that’s what I’ve done today. Here’s one of them:

    new forest england hampshire pony england uk

    I added a new module to the London lens called The Da Vinci Code in London and some more pictures.

    This is officially the first day of summer and here in England it’s raining again. Yesterday I had to give in and put on a sweater because it was chilly. It really isn’t at all summerlike here and from now on it’s downhill with nights getting shorter – oh joy! Of course Wimbledon Tennis starts on Monday and that’s the English equivalent of a rain dance.

    Right now a lot of people here are having a tough time with the credit crunch. Banks aren’t lending money, people can’t get mortgages to buy a house and those people who took out fixed rate mortgages for a period of years and now have to renew them are in big trouble. Many properties have gone down in value so people can’t get the same value mortgage. They probably have no choice but to sell their houses. House repossessions are increasing and more people are going bankrupt. Inflation is increasing and pensions aren’t going as far as they used to especially when it comes to fuel and heating. Then today a government minister tells us to stop moaning because we are all so much better off than we used to be. Talk about being out of touch!