Watching the Untrusted Implode

Unknown flower, DuFu Cottage Garden, Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China June 2013

Unknown flower, DuFu Cottage Garden, Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China June 2013

Welcome to The Real Untrusted

for a brief introduction to this site – read here

“The citadel of established practice seldom falls to the polite knock of a good idea. It may however yield to a long siege, a pre-emptive strike, a wooden horse or a cunning alliance.” 


Ally Fogg writes in an amazing turn about:

Yes, women can also be violent, especially towards intimate partners and family members. However in recent years the men’s sector as a whole (and I include myself in that) has often become so fixated on demonstrating and documenting the extent of male victimisation at the hands of women that we may have lost sight of the bigger picture.

Better one sinner that repents.

He continues:

I would suggest that it is no coincidence that the least violent generation of young men in living memory is the first to have been raised in the era of the rights of the child, in schools and homes that have increasingly eschewed violent punishments, with anti-bullying policies and where the social acceptability of violence of all sorts has been challenged and rejected as never before.

And I would suggest it also coincides with the rise of feminism and the refusal of so many women to be treated as the slaves of their male partners.


Backtothepoint posts about the EU’s  £1.7bn demand:

Still if the UK wants to leave, it should take care not to let the door hit it in the jacksie as it flounces. As opposed to the Eurocrats who like to have the UK in the Union as a force for neoliberalism, most of the people I know here in France either couldn’t care less if it went or think it would be a good thing to get rid of a chronic troublemaker.

Clearly the English hating, trouble making lover BTTP is still smarting about every French failure from Agincourt on, but if he thinks the rest of Europe is going to be sympathetic to its crowing cockerel, he needs to explain the contempt in which its social democratic President is held across the union and in his adopted homeland.


Is Calamityjane123 / BeautifulBurnout seeking to justify the killing of the Canadian security personnel?


MontanaWildhack posts:

For some reason, many people who consider themselves left-leaning politically seem to think that anti-American bigotry is somehow acceptable. It boggles my mind that people can’t see the contradiction in that.

The same MontanaWildhack who posted on CiF

Good Americans don’t question the essential superiority of America. Many Americans boast that they have no desire to even travel to another country. They believe that it is a sign of patriotism to wallow in ignorance of the rest of the world. Not all Good Americans are quite that patriotic. Some are open to the possibility that there might be other places in the world that are nice to visit. Really open-minded Good Americans think that, if one is quite adventurous, one might even live in another country for a year or two.

Anti-American bigotry anyone?


A new set of photographs here, all of which have been posted before but they’re now together in one place.


 Today’s Music

As from today – (sometime in early 2013) “A Change is gonna Come” and hence the track which is from almost 500, vaguely described as pop and rock, on my MP4 player that I use mainly when I’m running at the gym or outdoors, or when I’m doing things I rather not like ironing clothes, cleaning and so on. This one by coincidence comes top of the list when arranged in alphabetical order. Of course I’ll intersperse them with some great jazz and classical music.

Nils Landgren.&.Esbjorn Svensson – Hopsi – from Layers of Light

Yesterday’s music

Fernando – ABBA


In the beginning……….. How the CiF rebels turned hypocrisy into an art form-  is now elsewhere  – making comments posted here easier to access – I hope.

To Comment click here & page to the bottom  

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  1. brusselsexpats

     /  November 28, 2014

    Hi Jim,

    Do keep posting on the protests. It gives us a perspective we would not otherwise have as the protests have fallen off the media radar here. Interesting that the police are so docile when you remember what happened in Tianmen Square.

    Reading NuitsdeYoung’s post again, she gives the impression that the children deserve to be abused because she was upset by some girls in her schooldays.

    • JimPress

       /  November 28, 2014

      Regarding the police in HK, they’re really just echoing the non-confrontational vibe of the city, but it’s a big shift from the hardness of colonial-era policing. An interesting contrast would be the 67 riots during which many people died from police beatings and shootings.

      I read NuitsdeYoung’s post multiple times before replying because I couldn’t quite believe the apparent sentiment, but I believe your interpretation is correct. It’s one of the most foul and hateful posts I’ve ever seen.

  2. brusselsexpats

     /  November 28, 2014

    Desde – saw the article you mentioned. Excellent and very moving. Glad the responses were pre-moderated though.

  3. JimPress

     /  November 28, 2014

    I thought I’d seen it all over at YTU, but this bleak disdain for children who have been systematically sexually abused and exploited is astounding:

    • brusselsexpats

       /  November 28, 2014

      Morning all,

      NuitsdeYoung is forever going on about what an awful time she had at school and about her background generally.

      I don’t understand how a woman with good academic credentials never had the confidence to up sticks and move somewhere more congenial.

      It doesn’t matter how sexually charged up an adolescent is, when they are abused by adults, the crime is with the adult, not the child. I agree there are some really nasty pieces of work on the YTU when it comes to child abuse or apologies for antisemitism.

      The thread may have outlived its usefulness.

    • Good morning all.

      God, that’s really horrible Jim. Now abused teenagers know what they are – ‘amoral’ apparently. Class.

      Are you still in Hong Kong? More student leaders were arrested recently.

    • As an antidote to the destructiveness of those comments on YTU, and to restore a bit of balance to the universe, there’s an inspirational piece by a woman called Fi Read on Cif about how she was in the process of taking her abusive father to court when he killed himself.

    • JimPress

       /  November 28, 2014

      Hi Bru and Desde, the mood at YTU has really changed as the fulltimers make the thread their own. I’m baffled by the fact that the posters who are least sympathetic to the victims of sexual and domestic abuse appear to be women, although the post that I linked to is in a bleak class of its own.

      I’m back in HK Desde, after some time away, and brooding on the fact that whatever happens to the protests here the political situation is changed forever. What isn’t apparent from news reports is that a huge swathe – including the main highway – of the Central/Admiralty district is still occupied by the students. Nobody, including the organisers, expected this to be so long-term and all parties are starting to get jittery. Despite recent reports of the police getting heavy, I’ve never seen such fluffy non-combative policing anywhere else in the world – more than two months on and still not one person has sustained serious injuries.

  4. Sara

     /  November 27, 2014

    Morning all

    Have you been to Tianzi Mountains on your travels bth? what a place ..

  5. brusselsexpats

     /  November 27, 2014

    Morning all,

    Excellent comments Desde. I’ve posted this before but it’s worth repeating. A friend of mine had issues with her husband. He constantly humiliated her but there was no physical abuse just the drip, drip of poisoned comments. She once said to me she would like to leave him then added “But where would I go?”

    She was in a good job that paid well – it’s often a question of confidence. Women who have always been single don’t have that problem – especially if they are of a certain age i.e. when you’re not prepared to put up with some moronic male telling you what’s wrong with you.

  6. Oh, isn’t it annoying when people put words into your mouth? Another commenter on the Guardian site says I said that men couldn’t control themselves etc in a debate about the TV programme that showed a man claiming to be attracted to children. As if I would. I’m one of the few commenters who always writes ‘people’ or ‘men and women’ when debating sex crimes being acutely aware of female offenders. I note that many often just say ‘men’ when describing perpetrators so it’s funny to get accused of doing same.

    • Sara

       /  November 26, 2014

      Afternoon Desde ”isn’t it annoying when people put words into your mouth?”
      It certainly is – seems to happen all the time!

      Good posts on domestic violence by the way

    • Hi Sara

      Sometimes I think it’s wilfull though and deliberate misunderstanding. I’ve seen it happen to other posters when they’ve said no such thing. A deliberate provocation.

      I’ve got an interview next week but it’s as a bank typist in an NHS hospital so what that means is zero hours contract. Better than nothing but if the work isn’t available then – no money. A sign of the times.

  7. Morning everyone.

    How many times does it have to be said – grooming is not a crime. The media have a lot to answer for in picking up on a term and implanting it into the national consciousness. Now people are bandying about the term ‘grooming’ as if means something specific or as if it’s new. If grooming itself were a crime just picture the thousands of innocent people convicted. For example, a person becomes friendly with a neighbouring family and that includes the children: they chat to them, say they look nice and later perhaps babysit them. That could be called ‘grooming’ yet it’s totally innocent. Some abusers do indeed do things like that to get access to a child but it’s entering dangerous territory to make this everyday interaction a crime.

    Many child sex abusers prepare their victims to be abused (i.e. the process of grooming’), even in families and just as many other criminals do: like the conman who flatters and befriends the elderly person with the intention of robbing them. Again, this has only been highlighted recently though it’s always been a part of child abuse.

    In England and Wales it’s a crime to meet with a child with the intention of committing a sex crime after a period of grooming. This crime must involve at least 2 meetings beforehand, either physical or online etc, and the victim must be under-age. It is quite a controversial law for reasons I’ve stated above and because it hinges on intent: it has to be proved that the adult really intended to commit a sexual assault and it wasn’t for a harmless motive.

    The word grooming really became prominent when it was used with regard to the gangs of child rapists. They aren’t ‘groomer’s – they’re child abusers like any other. That they pretend to be friendly at first to lure the child in, is nothing new and other abusers use the same tactics. For Savile, his celebrity was his grooming bait. Why only these gangs are called groomers and not other abusers makes for an interesting debate.

    But grooming itself is not a crime otherwise anyone who paid a child a compliment or took their friend’s kid to the pictures or read a child a bedtime story would be guilty of it.

    • Hi Desde, you say:

      But grooming itself is not a crime otherwise anyone who paid a child a compliment or took their friend’s kid to the pictures or read a child a bedtime story would be guilty of it.

      And you’re right and it does explain why so many adults, especially men, are reluctant to have anything to do with children. I once read a comment of CiF from a poster who said if he saw a child fall down in the street, he’d walk off in the opposite direction.

  8. Good afternoon all.

    I read some of the debate on YTU about domestic violence. One of the dangers in repeatedly stating that it’s a choice to stay in an abusive relationship is that government and councils are looking for any excuse to slash services and this will only encourage them. Many refuges are full up and funding is being reduced.

    What hasn’t been discussed very much is the dependency syndrome: some people are convinced they couldn’t survive on their own and stay in appalling relationships. It’s a very deep-rooted psychological state and nearly always stems from childhood. Incidentally I have quite a few middle aged woman friends who are absolutely terrified of living on their own and they describe those of us who do as ‘brave’. You’d think this was the Wild West and that as soon as a woman lives in a home on their own, hordes of ravaging and pillaging men are breaking in and attacking them. As far as I am aware, none of these friends are in a violent marriage but they have somehow got the idea of single living as something to be feared and pitied. If they were to have an abusive husband, it would take a lot for them to leave and live alone.

    There will be some people who stay in violent relationships when there is somewhere for them to go but few men or women enjoy being punched, stamped on, burnt, kicked, losing their teeth and used as a punchbag. There is the well known psychological state of the victim who has been so beaten down, physically and mentally, that their view of their situation is that they deserve it. It is very easy to sit on the outside of marriages and partnerships and intellectualise about how someone could just walk out. It should be pointed out that some people in violent relationships actually don’t have anywhere to go: refuges prioritise mothers with young children and there aren’t many places for men and some people just don’t have any family or any money.

    Before I entered the psychiatric system, I had reached a point where I saw myself as a victim of my brother’s violence: however by the time I left, I believed that the problem was me and that I didn’t deal with it properly as other women and girls did. I wasn’t stupid, but I had it drummed into me by scores of professionals, including doctors, that lots of people go through what I did and they didn’t end up depressed, self harming and overdosing. They also tried to talk me out of believing that it had happened at all – they didn’t succeed in that as I knew he’d hit me. Nevertheless, I ended up with a completely different view of myself in the space of two and a half years. It was to be many years, and many abusive men, before I realised again that I had indeed been a victim and didn’t deserve it. There are many other women who have been through the same as I did and doctors being held in high esteem means that it’s very easy to end up believing that you are the problem.

    • Sara

       /  November 24, 2014

      ‘but few men or women enjoy being punched, stamped on, burnt, kicked, losing their teeth and used as a punchbag’

      this is lost on pollsyreyne

    • Hello Sara.

      It’s impossible to know everything that goes on in other people’s relationships: body language and facial expression etc are all things that only those present know. Not long ago, I was stunned to learn that a friend’s marriage had been far from the happy one I had thought it was. She was controlled by her husband in every way: he even kept all the money and doled out a bit for housekeeping to her each week – this included her NHS nurse’s pension that she’d worked for for many years. Despite being very well off, he wouldn’t spend any money and this tiny, frail little woman in her 70s had been doing all the washing by hand for years. I had respected the husband and it was only after his death that it became clear to me what had been going on. None of her friends are saying anything to her about it for that would mean having to face up to wasting nearly 40 years of her life.

    • Hi Desde,

      That’s two very good posts you’ve left here and it’s a shame there aren’t more visitors to read them. And on the second one I agree that it’s amazing how little we really know about the real relationships of some people we’ve known for years, when there are very few if any signals that they are anything but normal. Mind you I’d have thought the absence of a washing machine would have been a bit of a give away. :). I can remember school friends coming to my parents’ house and asking – “where’s the television?”.

    • If I thought about it at all, I would’ve assumed that there was a utility room somewhere with a washing machine but I never went looking. I suppose the question is, in relation to the YTU debate, why did this intelligent woman stay with a man who treated her like that? She was intelligent and had been a nursing sister with a lot of responsibility, she’d travelled a lot and didn’t marry till she was 31 so had been independent. I can only assume that her husband was charming at first and that he gradually exerted his power over her. After all, most of her friends were conned by him too – I had sympathy for him because it seemed that his first wife had taken his child away from him. Now, knowing more, it is likely that the mother felt she must get her son away from such a controlling man. Like most intelligent abusive types, he was careful to give his wife a bit of freedom, for instance, she was allowed to have some friendships, so as to make it look like everything was normal.

  9. Brusselsexpats

     /  November 24, 2014

    Afternoon all,

    Thanks for that article Sara – I’ve been disenchanted with football for various reasons (I can remember the extreme violence that attended matches, the smashing up of city centres and property and of course the deaths at the Heysel) and have never believed in the myth of the “Beautiful Game”.

    This trotting out of the old stereotype of Jews controlling the money goes back to medieval times and reached its crescendo with the Nazis. Whelan works in a sector that worships money to the extent that a rapist can even be considered for a resigning with his former club. Where sex scandals such as “roasting” of young girls by drunken morons who call themselves sportsmen is not unheard of. So Whelan should use his two brain cells and keep his dinosaur’s gob shut before spouting antisemitic remarks. I don’t care how many Jewish friends he – supposedly – has.

    Hope all is well with you.

    • Sara

       /  November 24, 2014

      Hi Bru – I like football, but as the article says – there’s a lot of work to be done to eradicate that way of thinking.

  10. Sara

     /  November 24, 2014

    Hi Bru – Re Whelan – this is from the CST
    Give Antisemitism the Boot

    November 21st, 2014 by Mark Gardner

    ”Reported remarks about Jews and money by Wigan football club’s respected owner, Dave Whelan, reflect the persistence of dinosaur attitudes in football on issues of racism and sexism. They show how far the people’s game still has to go in order to catch up with its global audience. Whelan’s remarks are perhaps best explained by his age and background, but the Football Association must now deal with this case, just as they would any other. This is why CST has stated:

    Dave Whelan’s comments invoked antisemitic stereotypes about Jews and money and his apology suggests that he still doesn’t understand why his comments were offensive. It is an indication of how widespread such outdated attitudes still are within football, and how much work needs to be done to eradicate this way of thinking.

    Whelan claims not to understand why his reported comment that “Jewish people chase money more than anybody else” has caused offence. Being a multimillionaire himself, he may even consider it to be a compliment. His quick apology (view it here) appears sincere, but reinforces his claim not to understand the offence: because even here, his reference to Jews as “a great race of people” will still leave many people feeling that he simply doesn’t get how to talk about these issues in the modern day:

    If there are Jewish people offended by what I have said then I would apologise immediately and say I am sorry and did not mean offence to them. All my Jewish friends realise that I would never insult a Jewish person, I have no reason to – they are a great race of people. I do a lot of business with them, they are very honest people, hard-working people and I would never insult a Jewish person.

    The controversy around Whelan’s remarks is understandable. Football is big business and a core subject of modern day 24 hour news, and this is another sad example of the game’s continuing struggle to think and talk in the modern manner that is rightly demanded of it. It is easy to take a kick at Dave Whelan and football for what are commonly referred to as “unreconstructed” attitudes, but this is really not the most serious example of antisemitism in recent public discourse. The association of Jews with money is a very old antisemitic trope, which is exactly why Whelan’s blunt old-fashioned remarks caused the controversy: but the same thing, delivered in a much more sophisticated manner, underpins far more insidious and dangerous discourse that alleges Jewish and / or pro-Israeli lobbies control politicians, the media, global capitalism and much else, besides. It is those deeper comments, made in Parliament and elsewhere, that also need called out at every turn, and booted into touch.”

  11. brusselsexpats

     /  November 21, 2014

    Bitey – Waterlilies are one of my favourite flowers. You don’t see them that often nowadays, possibly due to pollution but they give such a lovely, old-fashioned feel to a water feature. The hotel I stayed at in Poperinge had a large bird-bath full of them.

  12. brusselsexpats

     /  November 21, 2014

    Just when you think antisemitism couldn’t get any more blatant, some football moron – in this case Dave Whelan – comes out with the gem that “Jewish people think more about money than anyone else”.

    You couldn’t make it up – this coming from a sport that pays grotesque amounts of money to grown men to kick a ball around a field. A sport that spawns the worst kind of sexism in its men and the worst kind of vulgarity in the WAG lifestyle of its women. A sport that thinks rape is OK so long as the neanderthal is still capable of bringing in the goals – and the dosh.

    A sport that in its worst days of violence still continued to apologise for its “fans”.

    Someone should stuff an orange in Whelan’s mouth and shove him the butcher’s window.

    • Hi Bruss

      Millions get pleasure out of football and follow it almost religiously: the television companies cater for them very well so they are always able to indulge their passion. (Likewise cookery and soaps). I’ve always hated football and my father said that it was impossible to say that without knowing what it’s like. So I went to several games with him – even to see Luton with both dad and my brother. Heck, it was even worse than I’d imagined.

    • Sara

       /  November 24, 2014

      Hi Desde ”I’ve always hated football and my father said that it was impossible to say that without knowing what it’s like. So I went to several games with him – even to see Luton with both dad and my brother. Heck, it was even worse than I’d imagined.”

      Ha ha .. no wonder you don’t like football – Luton must have scarred you for life

  13. brusselsexpats

     /  November 21, 2014

    Seems a bit of a political earthquake in the UK at the moment. What are the chances of Ukip becoming the “kingmaker” after the next general election?

    Or, as usually happens, will the the general election see the main parties recover their strength and the protest party get the chop?

    One thing is for sure – Our Ed really needs replacing.

  14. brusselsexpats

     /  November 21, 2014

    Morning all,

    101 – Yes I know what you mean. Five years ago I slipped and crashed down face-first into the road. Lip like I’d done ten rounds with Mike Tyson. Try telling anyone it was an accident……

  15. 101

     /  November 20, 2014

    Hi Bru,

    Definitely getting more clumsily with the passing of the years. We seem to have a short period of true gracefulness between the ages of 25 – 35. Maybe this is why most of the great artists (and thinkers) complete their greatest works while young.

    Desde – sorry, only just seen your reply. No, not back on YTU yet – may leave it to the new year.

    It can be embarrassing going outside with a facial injury, after my last eye operation I was forced to wear sunglasses (to combat light sensitivity) even when shopping at supermarkets – I got some strange looks. Luckily for both of us that our problem is only temporary.

    We seem to be missing a few regulars – no reports from Jim, (and whatever happened to AndyL?)

    • Hello 101

      I hope your eyes are now completely back to normal. What was it like having the operations; were you scared? It sounds quite frightening to have anything done near to or on the eyes.

      Pity some people are such ghouls and have to stare when they see someone looking different – it must be awful for those with disabilities or some facial difference. I used to get ridiculed by total strangers over my big bent nose.

      I think AndyL. and others were just passing by when posting here.

  16. brusselsexpats

     /  November 20, 2014

    Afternoon all,

    Beautiful flower up there Bitey.

    Desde, I hope your bruising in diminishing. I burned myself on the iron the beginning of August and the mark is still visible.

    I’m naturally a bit clumsy.

    • Hello all.

      Yes thank you Bruss it is fading but still looks bad. I had my first proper venture out into daylight today and caught people looking at my face. Frustratingly I had to turn down a couple of temp jobs because of the injury: one was a receptionist job and I couldn’t welcome people looking like this. My forehead still hurts.

      I’m out of coffee so I’l have to go and get some now before I start having serious withdrawal problems.

    • Hi Bru,

      Thanks and it’s unknown to me but probably a water lily of some kind at the DuFu Cottage Garden, Chengdu, in June 2013.

  17. Good morning all.

    My forehead bruise went south and left me with a huge purple eye bruise so it’s been difficult going out looking like this but I had to to do my paper round, which I did mainly in the dark. Still got a lump on my head but the GP said it’s only a minor head injury as I didn’t pass out, vomit or get double vision.

    Don’t know if any of you have been following the reports of the Libyan soldiers at Bassingbourn barracks in Cambridgeshire. Stories have been circulating for a while in the eastern region about the behaviour of the Libyans, now there have been charges of rape. Who is responsible for this and didn’t someone think it might be problematic to have military personnel from a completely different culture who may already be traumatised by war, living in a Cambs village? The people who rule us really are idiots.

  18. Sara

     /  November 13, 2014

    Hello, hope everyone is ok, really sorry to hear about your accident desde, and hope ginger is ok, so difficult to know what to do sometimes – but you’re doing the right thing.
    haven’t been commenting of late as started a job with 12 hour shifts

  19. Paul

     /  November 13, 2014

    Afternoon all

    Hope you’re alright desde

    Reuters has published another article on the growing problem of anti-semitism in Europe which you can read in the following link.It does seem that anti-semitism is treated in some quarters as being less serious than other forms of bigotry.

    The Jews have largely been driven out of the Middle East and North Africa and with the exception of France Jewish communities throughout Europe have never recovered from the Holocaust.Yet once again they’re being targetted in part because of what’s going on in the Middle East.

    • Sara

       /  November 14, 2014

      Hi Paul – hope you’re keeping well, missed your earlier reply.

      Re France, thousands of Jews have left France in recent years, partly due to concerns over rising antisemitism

  20. brusselsexpats

     /  November 13, 2014

    Morning all,

    Desde – that’s a very interesting comment about the village lads. I never knew that.

    In the afternoon there was a fly-past of one WWII plane and two WWI planes. You could tell they were coming a mile off they made such a noise but it was a great finale.

  21. brusselsexpats

     /  November 12, 2014

    One thing I read while in Poperinge concerned the aftermath of the riots in Brussels last week. It seems that a man, who needs his car for his work, complained publicly that the rioters had burned his vehicle and he had no means of buying another as he wasn’t well off.

    The head of Crowdfunding organised a whip round with a view to collecting Euros 2000 for a second hand car for the guy and the collection brought up Euros 16,000 so they will use the money for other ordinary working class people who suffered in the riots.

    Because, like the riots in London three years ago, it’s the little people who get shafted, who lose their possesions and businesses (sometimes even their lives) not the politicians locked securely in their residences, or the bankers who started the mess.

    The anarchists don’t seem to get that fact through their thick skulls.

  22. My face is now battered and bruised on the right side. Forgetting that I now have a bath and a glass shower door attached to it, I stood up after checking the new floor tiling and smashed my head into the door. The pain! Then the huge lump and a bruised forehead, now, 36 hours later, the bruise has dropped onto my upper eyelid. Thankfully it’s woolley hat weather so I can disguise some of it.

    Ginger is a real survivor: after getting very thin and being syringe fed I took her again to the vets for her check up last Monday, 3 Nov. He said that I can’t go on syringe feeding her and that it should be stopped to see if she can maintain her weight on her own, otherwise we’d be looking at putting her to sleep. He was very thoughtful and sensitive in how he said it. On return, Ginger still didn’t eat and then got diarrhoea which she, and Whitey, got covered in. I thought her time had come and she only weighed 600g this Monday; but she was clean yesterday morning and she weighs 700g today! I just can’t believe how hard this little animal is fighting to live. Whilst she continues to do so, I can’t have her put to sleep.

    • 101

       /  November 12, 2014

      Poor Desde! Hope it heals soon. Its amazing the number of people who hurt themselves in the bathroom. A girl I know was cleaning the tiles in her bathroom, somehow slipped, and hit her face into the radiator knocking out three of her front teeth.

      Good news about Ginger – I know how fond you are of your animals.

    • Hi 101

      Are you in good health now and fully recovered? You were going to return to YTU if you felt up to it.

      Some post-menopausal women become clumsy but some places are more hazardous than others. Kitchens and bathrooms are rooms where injuries happen – and gardens of course with chain saws etc. When the tree surgeons were cutting down the rogue tree, I was horrified at how precarious it looked being high up and only supported with ropes once the crown had been removed.

      I’m not very good at nursing and nurturing stuff, some people just seem to have it. I don’t feel confident about syringe feeding as I’m scared of causing pneumonia by the food going in the lungs but somehow I’ve muddled through. With my animals, my rule is that if they want to eat, they’ll have food. As animals don’t have the same intellectual or emotional life that humans have, it makes me wonder why they cling on when they’ve lost so much physical movement – but maybe they do relate to each other more than is recognised and have more inner life than we know.

    • Brusselsexpats

       /  November 12, 2014

      Ouch – that sounds awful Desde. It used to be a problem in darkly lit nightclubs – walking into the mirrored wall. Happened to a friend who turned up one Monday with two black eyes and nearly happened to me.

      Take care.

    • Hi Desde,

      So sorry to hear about your accident – it’s something that happens to all of us some time, but you’re alive and posting. Speedy recovery to you. You might be surprised to know that most accidents at home happen in the dark, so in a way you’re quite unlucky. :(

  23. Paul

     /  November 12, 2014

    Morning all

    Over on CIF i see ”working class hero” ”Hank Scorpio” has been denigrating people who chose to wear a poppy to commemorate Remembrance Sunday..Once again clearly showing just how out of touch with so many people he really is.For many socialists actually choose to wear a poppy including those who’ve actually fought for this country.Methinks he needs to pick his ”battles” more carefully.The guy’s a serial tosser.

    • Hello Paul

      It’s a personal choice. Many people don’t agree with military action like some of that in Northern Ireland for example, but they still buy a poppy to support ex-troops and their families and observe the silence to think of the waste of life in war. I always observe the silence as so many died in the 2 world wars and wish it hadn’t happened and if only there could be no more war.

      It was shocking to realise from the news today that the fighting in Syria has gone on for 4 years now – I hadn’t thought it had been so long. The people there have suffered so much and now it looks like government troops will regain Aleppo from the rebels and the civilians must be fearing reprisals.

    • brusselsexpats

       /  November 12, 2014

      Hi all,
      Paul, the ceremony at the Menin Gate yesterday in Ypres was fantastic. Both Poperinge and Ypres were packed with British visitors and I’m delighted to say that the weather was perfect for this very intense and moving ceremony.

      Ypres is a stunningly beautiful city – I had never realised that because it was my first visit. It can easily hold its own against Bruges. The authorities must pay huge amounts to keep the Menin Gate so pristine white.

      Poperinge is more villagey and in fact was the site of the British field hospital in the area. Casualty clearing stations were located near railway lines to facilitate transfers to hospital or repatriation to the UK – either of the wounded or dead. It’s incredible to think that it’s only 16 kms from Ypres that suffered so much damage. The Germans must have been held back from advancing with a vengeance. One bakery, Sassen, proclaims “We were here in 1914 and even in 1815 when Wellington defeated Napoleon.” Cue next commemoration in 2015.

      To get back to Ypres, I found the whole ceremony deeply moving but the part that nearly floored me was when they started laying the wreaths and a male choir sang “When I am laid in earth” from Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. Always one of my favourite arias and normally sung by a soprano in the role of Dido, it worked wonderfully well.

      Most people wore poppies, including the Belgians. Watching the end-of-ceremony parade was great with the various bands playing “It’s a Long way to Tipperary” or the Scots with “Scotland the Brave”.

      I wouldn’t fancy the chances of any drunken CiF cretin against the men of those Highland regiments.

    • Sounds like it was a very moving and appropriate ceremony Bruss. The bravery of the men who fought in the second world war gets to me – would we even be here if not for them? Those men who took part in the D Day landings – incredible and how young so many of them were.

      ‘I wouldn’t fancy the chances of any drunken CiF cretin against the men of those Highland regiments.’

      The Highland Light Infantry or HLI were also known as Hell’s Little Infants.

      There were some Highland regiments based in Kempston just outside Bedford during the first world war. Tragically many of these young men died from infections and flu because they did not travel much outside of their villages and had little immunity from lots of germs they were exposed to on moving to the south. There is a service held for them every November in Bedford.

  24. Been away walking in Shropshire for the weekend. Rain and mist on Saturday but fine on Sunday for a trek over The Lawley and Caer Caradoc. Superb.

  25. brusselsexpats

     /  November 9, 2014

    Hello all,

    Bitey – thanks for that link. This time round it wasn’t outside our office building but in the centre of town but I expect we’ll have a visit from the Antwerp dockers (the usual suspects for the violence) at some point this autumn/winter.

    Yes I love it when people – who shall be nameless – rattle on about living in the “bubble that is Brussels”. If anyone is likely to get a slab of concrete through the window, choked by teargas and end up in lockdown for safety it’s us.

    It must be nice to live in the secluded peace and quiet of places like Wales and Yorkshire and rant on about the coming revolution in safety.

    I spent late Wednesday night in a taxi to Antwerp because part of Central station had mysteriously caught fire and negotiating the nightmare of a public transport (except for trains) lay-off the following day. People were advised not to travel to Brussels by car and even taxi companies were refusing to take prior reservations. Couldn’t take the day off as we had important meetings so stayed overnight in a hotel in central Brussels.

    Around 1960 there was a national strike when the government announced austerity measures and the violence was so extreme the authorities had to give in. At the time an uncle of mine, a young conscript in the army, was home on leave and actually punched a man unconscious who was trying to set fire to the family car outside my grandmother’s house.

    On another note the next four days will be taken up with the Remembrance Service in Antwerp and my visit to Poperinge and Ypres. A solemn but very interesting trip and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll be back in harnass end of next week.

  26. Sara

     /  November 7, 2014

    Hello all

    ( this was written as a comment under this Guardian article) / then deleted – via cemb

    ” As Exmuslims, we critique Islam because there are many aspects of Islam that need to be critiqued. In particular, we seek to oppose Islam’s apostasy codes, which are oppressive and lead to persecution.

    We have found it is quite difficult to get some people to listen to our stories because they fear that acknowledging these issues will contribute to a critical view towards Islam.

    The idea is that particularly reactionary teachings and aspects of belief that lead to critical judgements of Islam are in and of themselves prejudiced. The resulting logic of this is that Islam should have special privileges, in as much as basic human conscience and ethical critical judgement of people living in a secular culture should not apply, or be expressed, towards Islam.

    The fact that criticism exists, is the offence.

    Effectively, this is to propose a kind of proxy blasphemy code and apostasy code, wherein the liberal secular space defers to Islamic taboos. Dissenting Muslims and Exmuslims have to conform to these proxy codes too. Everyone else is free to critique their own religion, and other faiths and ideas too. But Islam must be protected.

    However, Muslims are free to critique all religions, belief systems and moralities, because evangelising Islam, and proffering critique and judgement is not only a divine prerogative, but the closing down of ethical, critical judgement towards Islam is also a divine right.

    As we can see, this is an ethical and moral mess.

    This is an aspect of liberal relativism that is morally flawed and unsustainable without damaging basic principles of liberal secularism. It also means that aspects of Islam that need to be criticised, like Islam’s apostasy codes, remain unexamined, and with that authority unquestioned, their capacity to hurt people and cause harm increases.

    Another fear is that being critical of aspects of Islam manifests in prejudice towards Muslims, and this is an understandable response given how parts of the far-right do project generalising narratives of communal responsibility on Muslims. As Exmuslims, we understand this, because being from ethnic minorities ourselves (apart from growing numbers of former white converts) we are also prone to be in the targets of bigots who project their hostility onto anyone who ‘looks’ Muslim, whatever that is supposed to be.

    The key to dealing with this is for the Left to take ownership of the issues that need to be critiqued, and do so through the prism of liberal secular values, so that they cannot be co-opted by the nationalist right, who have agendas that are not tolerant.

    Sadly the instinct of relativism too often prevents this reckoning from occurring. The silencing of Exmuslims voices is the norm, although we are trying to change this.

    There are three main layers of silencing of apostates voices.

    The first layer is the hardcore religious silencing, which includes notions that we deserve to be killed and harmed.

    Under that is a second layer of some Muslims who may not agree we should be persecuted, but don’t want to have these problematic aspects or religion talked about, because of feelings of embarrassment, fear of the consequences, or cognitive dissonance regarding apostasy / blasphemy codes.

    The third layer underneath this is the relativism of white liberals who are often in concordance with silencing instincts over these issues, including silencing of Exmuslims, for the reasons we outlined earlier. Often, relativist liberals simply pretend we don’t exist.

    But silencing never works, and it only increases the problems.

    It is important to understand that anti-Muslim bigotry is real. At the same time, the reality of the need for Islam to be critiqued has to be acknowledged by the Left, and by Muslims who live in liberal secular democracies too.”

    • Hi Sara,

      I’m left with the conclusion that there are people at The Guardian who support the death penalty for Islamic apostasy. Otherwise why delete the comment?

    • Hi Sara

      Agree that Islam shouldn’t be exempt from criticism and no religion should be.

      I hope you are okay.

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