How to prevent bullying?

Carrots!

Here, when I say bullying I am not talking about external, aggressive behavior due to the bullies’ perception of imbalance in physical power. I would like to throw light on the other side of the same coin; that is, mental bullying. Now, I am addressing this as I have faced it. And when I started opening up about it, I realized that I was not the sole victim. Apparently, this is not limited to schools, colleges or universities but even continues in the places of work!

Mental bullying is not different from physical bullying except that the snide remarks, rude comments or actions can break an individual and affect his/her mental state. Moreover, it is not as visible as physical bullying but its scars go deep. Sometimes, the bully do not even realize that his/her words or behavior are having an immense impact on the victim. Most of the…

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Magic of York Museum Gardens

 

If you read my bio on my Twitter account it says “Humour me, I’m old and grumpy.” So you can imagine my response to the suggestion of a trip to York to see some lights. But I have to admit Christmas at York Museum Gardens last night was quite special.

 Set in the ten acres of the Museum Gardens everything was lit up to create a wonderful spectacle and I was very impressed.

Maybe I’m not as old and grumpy as I think. 🙂

There really is a place in York called Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate it’s at the end of the Shambles in York 🙂 This is my final post of 2017 and I have to say what an incredible five year journey this has been with all you wonderful people on WordPress. I wish you all happiness for 2018. See you on the other side 🙂 x

Posted in Christmas, Life, Lifestyle, New Year, York | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

A Day at the Races

Wetherby Races , Yorkshire on Boxing day is quite a spectacle. Although it was A Day at the Races I didn’t spot the Marx Brothers, but, after some of the results I did begin to wonder if Harpo Marx and his brothers were lurking somewhere and swore I heard Harpo’s horn at the end of each race.

I always find the atmosphere and the people at these occasions so very friendly. This was National Hunt racing, so they had fences to jump. The first race was by no means disappointing as I didn’t expect my selection to win. It didn’t. In the second race, again, I wasn’t optimistic, and when my horse immediately went to the front, I was even less so. Three miles is a long way to maintain a lead and as he faded so did my chance of taking a bit of money from the bookies. There is a strong possibility that he is still running. The third race of the day was my big chance, I knew in my bones I had a winner and I was right,  my horse romped home. Sadly he had left his jockey at around the fifth fence. 😦                                                                                                                                                         Riderless WinnerI’m not really a gambler, I see it as a puzzle rather than a way to make money and my bets are modest. In life I try to control what are considered vices. If I became addicted to gambling I would, eventually, have to give it up and I don’t want to, so I purposely deprive myself of it for long periods or watch the racing without betting. But I do love the atmosphere, the thrill and excitement.

When the adventure and the excitement is over you are left with the passion, poetry and veneration of the sport. This is reserved for the victorious and if your a poor loser then it’s probably back to the bar.

On this occasion I suspended my losers tipple and shared the joy of the winners. A word of warning though, gritting your teeth too hard can be painful 🙂

 

Posted in Horse Racing, Humour, Life, Lifestyle, Opinion, Sport | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Live to dance, Dance to live.

Holiday hotels have to provide some form of entertainment, that’s a given. Some do it well, some don’t and some are blessed by talent. Whilst in Paphos, Cyprus I was in such a hotel. One particular night the Damon Apartment Hotel heralded ‘Dances From Around the World.’ Now I love dance but I wasn’t expecting much. To be fair we weren’t staying at Planet Hollywood, and this wasn’t the ‘Vegas The Show!’ But four young ladies were about to surprise me, so from left to right meet Laura, Emily, Kizzy and Lisa.

After the first dance I felt the need for a camera, these were no ordinary girls, this was slick and professional. Initially I was intrigued then dazzled by the routines which were strongly phased to the music, the choreography respected the phrasing (this link is an excellent example of how dance is phased to music) and the girls made full use of it. The costume changes were smooth, adept, unobtrusive and I was impressed when Lisa sang and I recalled how disappointed I had felt with the miming at the Moulin Rouge

When the magic was over I was lucky enough to meet with the girls and overwhelmed by their excitement and shared passion for their dancing. As we chatted I was astounded to find out it was the first time they had performed this routine together, but not surprised when they disclosed that they, “had been in rehearsals all day that day, running numbers and doing dress rehearsals.”

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Lisa informed me that they are employed by Top Dog Entertainment, who choreograph, choose the music for the shows and provide the costumes. Laura, Emily, Kizzy and Lisa have fascinating stories in their own right which I intend to write here in series, culminating in a full blown article. (magazine to be announced). A bit like Charlie’s Angels, but with more glamour and no crime 😀.<<<<<<
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Posted in Cyprus, Dancing, Life, Women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Me, Batman and Other Superheroes

I gave up when crime dropped in the village

Someone suggested re-posting old posts and so I recalled this from five years ago, which may have even more relevance today?

Watching Kill Bill some years ago I was impressed with Bill’s view of Superheroes. I don’t know if you remember the actual scene, he was making a sandwich at the time, very impressively I thought. The essence of his statement was that Superman is the best Superhero. He based this purely upon the fact that everyone else becomes superhuman when in hero mode. Whereas Superman’s powers are natural and pretends to be weak when mixing with us mere mortals. At the time I thought this was quite profound.

These days I wonder, does it demean all the hard work people like Batman and Daredevil etc put in. Don’t forget Daredevil was blind, a great disabled role model, surely? Batman was not only orphaned as a child but his parents were gunned down right before his very eyes. They overcame these setbacks purely to help other people. Superman doesn’t have to try; it just comes naturally, but show him a piece of Kryptonite and he becomes useless. Whereas Batman and co., have human failings and so I think we can identify more with them.

There are some ineffectual ones, I mean Robin was really just a ‘tag along’ and Supergirl never really did it for me and as for Matter Eater Lad, the clue is in the name, who thought that name up? See, there I go again knocking the kids (makes mental note to stop doing that).

So, was Bill entirely correct with his analysis of the FlyGuy? I think in this day of ‘now’ with Twitter seemingly a main source of ‘News’ do we sometimes get carried away with statements that people make without thinking them through? 😀

Posted in Film, History, Humour, Life, Opinion, Television | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

SILH (8) Desparate Finale

‘And when you’re looking for your freedom
Nobody seems to care
And you can’t find the door
Can’t find it anywhere
When there’s nothing to believe in still you’re coming back,
You’re running back, you’re coming back for more.’

Take To The Limit. The Eagles. 1975.

John and Mudguts returned to the mainland, so I lost my buddy and my new leaf had well and truly turned. After all my ‘adventures’ I was put on a gruelling training regime to ensure I didn’t have the energy or time to cause any more trouble. This involved running up and down a mountain every evening, about 6 miles and diving all day. I washed in the sea. One day I  dived seventy five feet and climbed into a hole looking for Grouper as I slid back out of the hole, empty handed, I was stuck.

This isn’t a pleasant feeling with seventy five feet of ocean above you and a snorkel full of seawater. The Master had impressed upon me that panic will kill you. I’m so glad he did. Although I was swallowing desperately as my body searched for oxygen I analysed my situation and concluded that my homemade weighted backpack had snagged on a rock above me. I dragged myself back into the hole and pulling myself down, slid out and up. Air has never tasted as good as it did that day.

That was enough excitement for one morning, Master had a cold and couldn’t dive so I had been alone. I returned to the van in time for lunch. Shortly after my return two Guardia Seville arrived and stated that a vehicle had been broken into across the road and all the luggage stolen. I hadn’t been there, the Master was dozing and obviously not well so they seemed happy enough and left. Thirty minutes later a car skidded into the car park and two plain clothed officers got out. I wasn’t overly impressed with their interview technique. After smashing my head against the side of the van they bundled me into their car instructing The Master to report to the police station at six pm. We drove to the Dutch guys camper (remember him?) he identified me as a cushion thief, we drove to the local shop and the lady identified me as the attempted cigarette thief. We then drove to the police station and played a game ‘good cop, bad cop.’ One of them beat me. repeating the same question, ‘Why did you steal the cushions?’ In between the beatings ‘good cop’  held me up, encouraging me to tell the truth and he would stop his friend. I wasn’t about to confess to something I hadn’t done. I reflected upon the American campsite Mudguts and I had bombarded, stopping the traffic in Javea and generally being a nuisance and wondered if this was what they called ‘Karma.’ I do remember falling to the floor, hoping for some sympathy, I got a kick in the stomach so, deciding this was not a good ploy I got up. Six pm came after five hours. I was removed to the foyer with tissues to stem the flow of blood from mouth and nose.

Bad cop turned into good cop, put some paperwork in front of me stating gently that if I signed it I could go. At that very moment the Master arrived. They shut the door on him, but he shouted through the door. “Don’t sign anything.” Which he repeated three times before a policeman opened the door and quietened him. Meanwhile, ‘bad cop’ had become warm, friendly and sincere. He explained it had all been a terrible mistake and once I signed the papers I was free to go. I didn’t sign the papers so, my new found friend shrugged, smiled and helped me to the door. The Master helped me into the van, but before firing it up he turned with a grin on his face. “British Consul, busy, was he?” I had to smile, painful as it was. The Master threw me into the sea claiming ‘she’ could cure all ills and let me float around for a while. We left Mogan a week later. It was March and our six month tour was up, apart from the the fact we had been encouraged to leave town by the local constabulary.

“Now, it seems to me some fine things
Have been laid upon your table,
But you only want the ones that you can’t get.”

Desperado. The Eagles. 1973.

In all honesty I wouldn’t change a thing 😉

Posted in 1970'S, Blogging, Humour, Life, Opinion, people | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

SILH (7) A Penultimate Tale

“And it’s so hard to change
Can’t seem to settle down
But the dreams I’ve seen lately keep on turning out
And burning out and turning out the same.”

Take It To The Limit.  The Eagles. 1975.

 

So, there we were embedded in a place called Mogan, Gran Canaria. The Spearfishing was going to be excellent and after arduous discussions, the chief of police allowed us to dive and fish on condition we sold our catch to one particular restaurant. We found out later the restaurant was owned by his brother 🙂

Mudguts and I utterly failed to comply to ‘normal’ standards. We drank too much , we once tried to steal some cigarettes and got caught, the first and last time I tried to steal anything. We got into constant fights with our American cousins, usually over girls. They were camping along the coast and in the early hours of a moonlit December morning the feud culminated when we scaled the cliff above their camp, collected ammunition and bombed their campsite with rocks. They say the higher ground gives you an advantage, what they don’t say is that if you are outnumbered you really don’t want to be stuck on the top of a cliff. Luckily we were fitter than they were and managed to escape with a few bruises. They were so disgruntled at having been woken in the middle of the night and bombed with rocks  that they reported the incident to the local police. This entailed a visit and warning from our friendly chief of police. We made a pact to turn over a new leaf. We concentrated on diving and training, which basically meant diving all day, running up and down a mountain every night and then washing in the sea. But I was good for a while 🙂

There was a local girl who I adored and one night we stayed out past her curfew, terrified of going home late, I came up with a plan. I broke into a cabin cruiser and we spent the night there. I don’t know if you have ever met an irate Spanish father? Can I just say that I managed to survive with the intervention of The Master, but I never saw her again, ‘c’est la vie’ was becoming my catch phrase. A Dutch guy in a neighbouring camper accused us of stealing his cushions and syphoning his petrol. At least this time we were innocent but our local police chief spoke to The Master and Mudgut’s brother, John, and once again we were reprimanded. The Master warned us what to expect if we crossed the Guardia Seville. I explained that Franco was gone and if arrested I would demand to see the British Consul. I had no idea that I would come to regret those words and that somewhere in the future our reputation would come back to haunt us. 🙂

 

 

Posted in 1970'S, Humour, Life, Relationships, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

A Mirror, the Sun and a Princess

 

I apologise if you’re expecting a fairy tale because it’s like a story from the Twilight Zone. There is a Princess, but she’s taken, there is a mirror and there is a happy ending. Do you have one of those mirrors that on the ‘a’ side portray you as someone acceptable, whereas on the ‘b side’ it magnifies every wrinkle, wart and blackhead? We have. img_0503 When we relocated to Beverley I created a dressing room for the aforementioned Princess  with a lovely view over the garden, the mirror (cue Twilight Zone music) sits obediently on the dressing table.

So last week darling wife is applying nail polish when she smells burning bakelite, this may be a new nail polish, but should it really smell like that? After a few more minutes a plastic coat hanger sitting harmlessly upon the window ledge started to smoke. When you are happily polishing your nails on a bright winter’s day this isn’t something you expect. That was the moment when she realised that the back of the mirror, as a magnifier, was directing the winter sun onto the coat hanger which in turn was about to burst into flames!

Of course this may be common knowledge, but I had never given it a thought before. It creates a whole new perspective of ‘Mirror, mirror on the wall’ 🙂

Posted in Humour, Life, Lifestyle, Opinion, Women | Tagged , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

My Sister

Now this has the potential to be a sad tale so, as the Beatles once said, ‘Take a sad song and make it better.’  My sister died last Sunday, now that is sad, but I feel like celebrating her life and rightly or wrongly I’m doing it here on WordPress.

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Me on the right and her on the left. Centre is my other sister

You see she drove me to the edge of insanity sometimes, not in a bad way, in a mischievous way, but let’s start at the beginning. I was born when she was eleven and I cried, I mean I cried a lot. When dear older sister offered to take me out in my pram there was relief from everyone. They of course didn’t realise she was going across a ploughed field. Everything was going great bouncing across the field until, with no warning, I  bounced out of my pram onto my head, she thought I was probably dead and decided to say ‘nowt.’ I slept for the rest of the day and most of the night and she was congratulated for achieving what no one else appeared capable of.

As I grew she liked to wrestle with me. I never won. She was eighteen and I was seven. Her grand finale was to kneel on my shoulders and lick me all over my face. Later in life, once when I had been naughty she stripped me naked and locked me outside the house. When she left home to be a nurse and I was relieved of the torment I cried all the way back from the railway station.

Eventually she married a soldier and lived in Malta and Germany before  returning home for a while. Then she went to live in Spain as an expat for seven years and had a jolly time, so did I on the times that I visited. As we grew older we debated, the rest of the family called it arguing. It seemed, just like Winston Churchill, she had an opinion on everything. Sadly there were no real facts to back up her theories, but she still argued them. I realise now that it was just mischief. But, we were alike in many ways. She would argue that David Beckham was a rubbish footballer I would argue that Cliff Richards was a terrible singer. She started writing, I started writing, she loved to travel, I love to travel. She was a wife, a mother and a grandmother. I couldn’t compete with that 🙂

 

 

So, after sixty years of driving me mad, you’re gone, to a better place, I hope Sis and maybe we’ll meet again one day and carry on the debate xx

Posted in Family, Life, Opinion, people, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , | 50 Comments

Cyprus Break

I had never been to Cyprus, it wasn’t on a bucket list and not exactly Machu Picchu but I needed a break and it was warmer than East Yorkshire. The weather was great as was the hotel Damon Apartments in Paphos.

 

If you have read any of my SILH posts, you’ll know that CCB isn’t an erudite, informative travel blog, but just stuff I like to write about. The gurus of blogging state that a post should enhance people’s lives, be informative, interesting and you should post at least twice week. How I managed to survive seven years is beyond me 🙂

 

 

I am a cultural philistine on holiday, because I am a beach bum, I try to speak the language, consume the local food and alcohol but I draw the line at trudging around old ruins in 40 degrees of heat listening to a tour guide. So I thought this time I would pass on some interesting facts I discovered whilst I was away. Alexander the Great was born in Macedonia not Crete as I incorrectly put on my Damon Apartments/hotel quiz sheet in the bar one night and a game of Bingo costs €5. I had the pleasure to meet a delightful troupe of very professional and slick dancers called Top Dog Showgirls who perform once week and I will be writing an article based around them soon, but for now here’s a little taster.

 

I don’t know why there are lovehearts in the corner of the photo’s but it’s not a creepy thing :-). So there you are, some previously unknown facts about Paphos, Cyprus. Someone mentioned some mountains and a historical site. Oh and the oldest ever pet cat was found there that was about 9,000 years old. I think it was sitting under my table in the restaurant 🙂

Posted in Humour, Life, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 14 Comments