Sunday, March 20, 2011

Interesting times

These are remarkable times we are living in, with revolutions sweeping the Middle East. Living in England, our neighbors and friends frequently travel to destinations we would have thought exotic back in America. Morocco, Sharm-el-Sheik, Thailand, Singapore. My association with the Cumbria Multicultural Women's Network has developed into friendships with women from all over the world.

This week I was able to catch up with an Egyptian friend. She marveled at the younger generation back home which is excited about voting on constitutional changes (yesterday, March 19, 2011). Research has shown that children who go to voting places with their parents are more likely to vote as adults. But the young adults of Egypt never accompanied their parents to vote, because it was considered a futile exercise with corruption rampant in Egypt. Now the younger adults are not only voting, but also participating fully in civic operations.

An Egyptian teenager living here in Barrow went to Cairo for school term break in February. From the airport she went directly to Tahrir Square, where she could see for herself how a "free Egypt" looked. Each morning she joined groups of young people in cleaning streets and parks. How did she know where to go? Facebook. Times and places were posted on Facebook, along with supplies needed.

Egyptian parents, like American parents, used to nag their children to "Get off the computer; go outside." During the revolution, often the children knew what was really happening in the Square, through their Facebook and Twitter connections. So, parents would ask their children for news updates. "Go on Facebook." It is a strange world we live in. I'm interested in the university courses that will develop on social networking communications and revolution.

[photo of jubilant Libyan woman firing rifle, from The Guardian; tassel made in Egypt]

Monday, January 03, 2011

New Year 2011

click on any photo for larger image
With resolve to give my days more structure, Jack The Dog and I went for a vigorous walk this morning. Climbing the steep steps of Ladies Walk, we headed for The Hoad, a big hill overlooking Ulverston. It's a grand walk for both of us as long as the sheep on this common land are not nearby. First we said hello to two shaggy ponies and promised to bring presents next time. Then on to the walled path.

The holly tree along here was adorned with ornaments and plastic-coated messages.

On the first: holiday wishes to all dog walkers. The 2nd and 3rd gave us the tale of a lost little dog being found by a border collie.

What a treat to find this tree on a seemingly barren landscape. I'm still smiling as I think about it.

After lunch, Hal did the same walk with us, so that I could document my blog subjects.

This time we found a memorial bench ("to Mum and Gran") decorated with flowers.

This is our approach to the Hoad and monument to Sir John Barrow, native son, and 2nd secretary of the Admiralty for 40 years in the 1st half of the 19th century. Following are views of the panoramic vista from atop the hill.

Photos below, going clockwise, are views: to the north with Coniston Old Man as the highest peak; to the east, the head of Morecambe Bay; (two views) looking south with the gentle slope of Birkrigg Common rising to the right of Morecambe Bay; and to the West leaving town for the hills and farms of Furness Peninsula.




We passed no one on our morning ramble. Today is a bank holiday, which means an official holiday, as opposed to a regular holiday, meaning vacation in American terms. Things are pretty quiet today, and have been all weekend. On New Year's Eve, there were a few maverick fireworks, including a floating lantern drifting away on the wind. Slate roofs and damp climate reduce the fear of fires. At quarter of 12, church bells rang. Hal, Jack and I headed downtown for a look-see. A crowd of 200+ were gathered at Market Cross, many in high fashion. This may have been the entire youth population of Ulverston. Constabulary was highly visible, but restrained. The three of us went into the King's Head for a pint, and Jack's first pub. Thia, the proprietress, graciously served Hal and me, while Meghan, the barmaid and dog lover, brought out a bowl of water for Jack. She's saving up for a trip round the Arctic Circle with her own dog. It's not a trip that I'm dying to make, but I enjoy her enthusiasm.

And with our own enthusiasm for a new year, we wish you good health and pursuit of happiness throughout this year.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Messing with the Elements

Bear with me as I try out a new template for blogging. Previous postings will be misaligned until I can square them up. Thank you for your patience. - The Management