April 08, 2015

Brilliant video from the Green Party

If you don't know who to vote for yet, watch this.

Caroline Lucas reveals 10 things no one tells you before you first enter Parliament:
Ever needed a reason to change the way Parliament works? It seems to be stuck in the Middle Ages while wearing Armani suits. Read an eye-opening account of what it means to 'take part' in Parliament. Would YOU really want our Government to conduct itself in this way? I don't.

April 06, 2015

I want to know what the person I am voting for said; not what the other person might have said. I'm tired of election campaigns being about what the other party aren't doing rather than what the party I want to vote for IS going to do. It seems the Green Party are the only ones for that. The Green Party are the only ones who allow ALL their members to input into policies. Take a look. Surely that's what Democracy is about. With Tories and Labour (among others) we're really under an elected dictatorship. That's not what I want for our future and our children.

March 22, 2015

Gypsy in my blood

Romany flag
I've been researching my family tree again to try and find out more about my Gypsy heritage. We heard after my mother's death that her real father was a fairground worker and the man my grandmother subsequently married was not my maternal grandfather.

My Brother and sister-in-law had a child who died soon after birth. He had Fraser Syndrome, which is extremely rare and the genes usually occur in Romany Gypsys or when 2 people who are related and have the same gene defect have a child together. As my brother and sister-in-law were not related, this seems to support the story about my maternal grandmother's affair.

There are other complications; I have found a record on Family Search.org that indicates my grandmother married a man in 1929, about two weeks before my mother was born and that she married again in 1931 - to the man who would father my mother's siblings. I cannot find any other record of the original marriage.

Part of the story we heard about my grandmother was that she was jilted at the altar. Was that in 1929 and the marriage didn't actually go ahead, or is it that they married and he left shortly after?

In looking into Gypsy/Romany culture I have been struck by the continuing discrimination against them, even today. There's a wonderful video on Vimeo about 3 Gypsys; one who works as a political leader in Germany trying to change the discrimination against Gypsys by the state (yes, it continues even after everything that happened in the Second World War), one who works as an unpaid teacher in Romania, and a traditional storyteller in Hungary. There is no documentary, just film following these individuals lives and providing insight into their culture, traditions and their daily realities.

May 30, 2014

A Phenomenal Woman

“Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.” 
― Maya Angelou

May 19, 2014

A Constellation of Vital PhenomenaA Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A delicately and masterfully crafted book. Unbelievable that this is Anthony Marra's first novel. His writing hooked me in from the beginning and immersed me in his character's lives effortlessly. The attention to life's details is extraordinary and the reality he creates leaps from the page in a picture more vivid than I have read for some time. He manages to convey much with very few words. Not a sentence is wasted and it shows throughout the entire book.

I felt I had been through an emotional wringer by the time I finished reading and I'm glad I took the journey. The story is at once heartbreaking and uplifting and I defy you not to cry at the closing lines.

Why it didn't win the National Book Award I'll never know. Anthony Marra deserves to win prizes for his writing. He has far to go and I, for one, will be keeping track of him to see what wonders he comes up with next.

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