I experienced a flashback yesterday evening.  Weird, but there it is.  It happened. It set in train a period of thought.  When we were out and about a few years ago, I was very impressed with Youth.  Youth kindly opened doors, stepped aside, apologised when they didn’t need to but thought they may have been an obstacle.  Why?  Because I was in a wheelchair and, as I could more easily then, propelling myself.  During these numerous demonstrations of courtesy and compassion, I witnessed a pair of elderly women (I refuse to say ‘ladies’) push past two Youths, who were making way for me.  These women thrust between the Youths and one’s hefty bag banged heavily into my wheelchair (setting off a burst of pain – no apology was forthcoming!).  As they passed, I heard one say to the other: “These kids have got no respect for their elders!” and her companion agreed, so that they maintained their complaining conversation until they were out of earshot.  The two Youths were blushing furiously but said not one word.  I thanked them very sincerely.

I have grown up with people banging on about the need to “respect your elders”.  In childhood, and into early adulthood, I even accepted the concept without thought.  Now, I have to say that it is wrong.  Utterly wrong!  Age doesn’t earn any right to be respected – deeds and behaviour do!  I honestly believe this.  If you want respect, behave accordingly.  Be a role model.  Be courteous and considerate.  Be compassionate and understanding.  Demonstrate that you haven’t wasted decades of Life, learning nothing about how to behave with other people.  Most importantly of all, don’t ask for respect while you exhibit prejudice!  Too often, people who should know better make assumptions about others.  Youth is careless and troublesome.  Kids are noisy and far too prone to dashing about.  Anybody younger is rude and a nuisance that we have no choice but to suffer.  Really?  Those three concepts are so faulty, they barely need counterarguments!  Youth reacts instantly to the attitudes and behaviour encountered.  If you’re rude or suspicious of Youth – expect it to be returned – in spades!  Kids are just that!  Below a certain age they race about, they forget ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, every mission is urgent.  Yet you’ll find they can be polite, caring and, above all, loving.  But there world is moving so very fast – they have to run at full speed to keep up!  As for the more generalised third statement, that’s patently untrue.  People are people.  You’ll encounter good and bad, friendly and unfriendly – but in no greater diversity than in your own age group!

Am I feeling cruel for targeting the elderly?  No.  Why?  Because I don’t believe that respect is a right for anybody!  Wealth, power, celebrity or any other false ‘special’ status – none of these deserve any more respect than the guy who sleeps in a cardboard box in a public park and talks to himself and his invisible friends.  Many of those who demand or expect respect will walk by a hurt woman, or fail to help somebody being attacked, but the man in the box may well come to the rescue!  There’s no telling who will demonstrate true Worthiness!

You want respect?  Be respectful!  You want courtesy?  Be courteous.  Stop looking at people as items in a group – they are individuals and cannot be catalogued by age, gender, Race, or any other false label.


Beating The Evil Ones!

Hi all!

Those of you who follow me on Facebook (yes, I am involved with the Demon Portal!) may have seen an announcement I made there today, in the guise of a ‘status update’.  For those who didn’t, I shall repeat it, in a little bit more detail.

Those of you who know me fairly well will know that I am passionate about security on the internet.  I detest those characters who have made it their (very sad) life’s mission to make the internet not only unpleasant but potentially lethal to our computers.  Indeed, I consider it entirely feasible that these people could cause even more damage to individuals.  For example, denying a housebound person their one window on the world, forcing them into a downward spiral of depression culminating in an early demise.  In another possible scenario, a person of frail condition, discovering that the computer they don’t understand has been utterly trashed by a virus could, potentially, at the moment of discovery suffer a coronary, leading, again, to an early death.  Extreme?  Perhaps, but not beyond the bounds of possibility!  I don’t, therefore, care how mentally ill these people may be, there can never be any excuse for their behaviour!

I, along with the rest of the internet community, have been guilty of permitting these vile individuals the (dubious) honour of possessing special terms, denoting their own specialised sphere of activity.  The names ‘Spammer’, ‘Troll’, ‘Hacker’, ‘Black Hat’ and the like litter websites from here to the vanishing point.  Worse, these sick people actually glory in their designations, and form communities… on the internet!  This is an affront to us all.  But how have we handled it?  We continue to use the terms, or we fall back on ‘the bad guys’.  To me, ‘the bad guys’ includes those unhappy people who drag you down into their own sorry worlds of depression, bigotry, hate, and other purely unpleasant natures.

This morning, in  a moment of sheer inspiration, arising from a a comment that elicited a (then) joking remark from myself, I made a discovery.  I could use a totally new term.  A collective term for the worst of the worst, but excluding those people who are simply unlikeable.  It sums up the destructive nature of my target groups while denying them any specialisation acknowledgement.  I also happen to think it’s very descriptive of their nature, and worth.

So, what is this new term?  It is, quite simply: the termites of the internet!  If you feel so moved, please, feel free to use this term whenever you wish to mention any, or all, of the destructive element who plague our lives in this virtual world!

Bragging Rights!

Yep, you read that right!  I’m exercising a father’s right to brag – about my kids!  Again LOL!  Well, two of them, anyway.  I’ve had no real news from Damien, so I can’t mention anything for him, unfortunately.

Reuben 20min sketch - rearing horse Take a look at this incredible ‘sketch’ drawn by Reuben, in just 20 minutes!  His partner, Dawn, is so proud of him, too, that she posted this on Facebook.  In fact, she’s taken to posting his sketches quite often, lately, since his return to art.  Sorry it’s not a ‘cleaner’ image bur it’s a photo’ and not a scan.  You can click on the thumbnail to see a larger image.

Apart from these sketches, Reuben’s making excellent progress with my book cover!  He drew two sketches and I have chosen which one he’s to work up into a colour piece.  I’ve pointed out to him that, if he does as good a job as I believe him capable of, then he could well find that other authors may be interested in him creating book covers, or even illustrations, for them too.  From what I’ve seen online, it could be a very useful supplement to his income.  When the next book is ready, I will be conducting my first ever ‘Cover Reveal’ for one of my own works.


Meanwhile, in a small town some 25 miles away, Emma is taking driving lessons, and doing very well too!  Conscious of some of the contortions expected of drivers, many of which they’ll never employ in real driving, I’ve advised her to make sure that she tells driving instructors and, eventually, the examiner, that she suffers from Fibromyalgia and that restricts her flexibility significantly.  Hopefully, that will make driving a more comfortable experience for her.  It would be a huge boon to her whole family if she passed her test.  It would reduce the fatigue she suffers from walking and open up their options for family outings.

No family related post would be complete without mention of Jenny!  She has been busy crafting, making blackwork cross-stitch pieces, as well as lovely little colour pieces, for various people’s birthdays, along with ,making their birthday cards.  She’s also making other things, like cots and highchairs out of card, using templates.  It always sounds so easy, when you say that a template is used.  Believe me!  It’s not!  The templates are good, but getting the job done right and looking good demands considerable skill, including choosing the right materials and embellishments.

And, in the immortal words of Elmer Fudd…. “That’s all folks!”

Shamed and Delighted


Well now, what a time I’ve been having!  First, I suffered shame!  I, who have often warned of the many perils of the internet, got caught out!  I’m on LinkedIn, where I have spent a great deal of effort increasing my network of fellow authors, and others involved in the book business.  When I received a message from a contact asking me to rate them on their ‘online business card’, I naturally obliged.  More, I participated in the scheme.  It was an apparently buggy site, but I thought nothing of that – there are, after all, plenty of those around!  Part of the process is for the site to send a message to all your LinkedIn contacts, which it did.  That was about eleven or twelve days ago.   It was with considerable surprise, therefore, that I was alerted to the fact that the whole thing was a Spam/Phishing site, through a friend.  It seems that she received an invitation to rate me – on 1st May!  That was well after the original day.  Naturally, I immediately changed my password and scanned my computer.  Fortunately, nothing nasty got through my security!  Still, I’m ashamed that I was not more careful, as I normally am.


This morning, around noon, there was a considerable clatter at our letterbox, followed by an enormous thump of something hitting the floor.  Upon investigation, I discovered a brown card mailing package.  Sitting down, I opened the package with some anticipation.  In the process, I discovered that the sealant used is rather unpleasant – adhering to the fingers with tenacity, coated in thin layers of the card.  Well, once I had successfully penetrated this sticky seal and the card unfolded, I revealed one of those things I’ve been waiting for with excitement: a paperback copy of my novelette Shade of Evil.

It may be difficult for some to understand, but this was a very special moment in my life.  Here, after many decades of desiring it, was one of my very own books – in real life!  The glossy cover, the beautifully printed text, the texture of the cream coloured paper.  It was almost overwhelming!  I’ve got the ebook copies, of course, but this was entirely different.  I read a few passages and made a discovery: somehow, the words no longer seemed to belong to me!  It seemed, to me, as if I had cut the final binds between myself and my work.  This book represents the fact that it now belongs to the world!

I didn’t retain possession of it for long.  In fact, I was only able to fondle it for about an hour.  Jenny took it with her, back to work, to show her colleague!