You may not realise it but most people like things to be nice and tidy. However, I am not talking about their personal presentation nor their living conditions. Let me explain. Whenever you see someone for the very first time how are they viewed in your thoughts? What are your first impressions? When and if you get a chance to meet them do you find your attitude toward them has changed either positively or negatively? Without knowing you dear reader I would still wager you are like everyone of us without knowing it.
When I was young and still living in the family home with my siblings my parents instilled in each of us the need to be clean, neat and tidy, not only in the presentation of ourselves to others but also in every area of our lives. Our rooms had to be kept tidy, well as tidy as a young person is capable of. If we didn’t live up to the standard we soon got shown our error. We were told that if we couldn’t look after our appearance we couldn’t be trusted to look after other things. Children have the aptitude to rebel and often do as far as they can. Discipline has to be applied if our children are to grow in the right way. Despite all of our parents efforts they could never change our thoughts, the way we think. We might understand and keep their principals but we do things and think things in our own way.
Returning to the first part of this post and how we think of others. I ask this question, ‘Do you find yourself categorising people and putting them into boxes, types’? ‘Oh she’s a busy body’, ‘He’s not to be trusted’, ‘She dresses like a clown’ and so on. We may not at first think we are guilty of such thoughts but if we are truly being honest we will admit that we do. I say this not in judgement but simply as fact. We all do it and most times we don’t realise it. We like to keep things neat and tidy perhaps so we can relate to others and dare I say know our own place?
The thing is we should be treating everyone with equal respect and never should we judge them. What goes on in our minds is another matter but it should forever remain there.
I could have named the title for this post many other things, for example: invisibility, selfishness, ignorance, thoughtlessness to name but a few. To understand that you need to read on. The post is about a dream I had on Friday night a couple of weeks ago. In the dream I appeared to be on a night out with family, friends, colleagues and other acquaintances I have encountered throughout my life. The scene was set in a bar but it resembled a shop I once maintained in my capacity as an electrician and general dog’s body. The term dog’s body is probably an apt description of many areas of my life in regard to relationships and dealings with others, at least that’s how I have felt many times in my life. For some apparent reason I was buying the first round of drinks for those in my immediate circle that night, about eight or so of us. The bar was packed with people I knew both past and present but I wasn’t acknowledged by most of them. Oh they knew I was there and hadn’t forgotten me but they never spoke. I often was left feeling invisible in the presence of some people. The lady serving at the bar was or had been in real life the manageress of the shop in question. When she had served me the drinks they were too many to carry at once so I asked for a tray. I was ignored as she was by then serving someone else. It took ages for her to return and give me the tray. I tried to explain that the tray she had given me was unsuitable as it was too small but again she ignored me and served someone else. Eventually I received a much larger tray but it was soaking wet. I placed all the drinks upon it and a very large bottle of either tonic water or ginger ale, I couldn’t remember which, for myself. I took the drinks over to my party and they were taken without thanks or acknowledgement. I wasn’t even asked why I had taken so long to get them for it must have been twenty or more minutes since I went to the bar. It was as if they had forgotten I was even there. I had reserved a seat for myself a little distance from the rest before going for the drinks but on my return another girl was sitting there chatting with her boyfriend. I was left standing there with nowhere to sit. I returned to my party but all they wanted was some of my drink, which was still in the bottle, to add to their own drinks. I was I suppose only there to serve them and not have a drink to myself. They took it in turn to help themselves from my bottle without thanks or consideration and I was left standing there without a drink or anyone to talk to for they had resumed chatting amongst themselves. What can I say? I am invisible. That seems to be true in my real life too……….
If I was being pedantic I would say six hours and twenty minutes but if I was being extra pedantic I would be honest and say well okay it was more like five. What is she talking about? My early morning activities of course what else? It was Wednesday morning and the promised rain hadn’t fallen through the night. I was up.before two o’clock, which accounts for the twenty minutes and downstairs before two-thirty. I checked to see if we had rain and discovering we hadn’t I went into the garden to give the plants a drink. At this time of year it is important not to let the plants die for lack of water. Next it was breakfast followed by a half-hour of catch-up tv. and checking my emails. I was about ready for another walk which used up two hours. On my return home I would be doing some painting in the cellar again. I was about half-way through my walk when I happened upon a guy in a wheelchair who darted out of a hotel lobby a couple of hundred metres ahead of me and going in the same direction. We had both reached the far end of the Promenade before I caught up with him and I hadn’t been walking slowly. I bid him good morning and we chatted a while as we went along. I mentioned that I was impressed with his speedy exercise and he told me the chair was brand new and he was ‘putting it through its paces’. ‘Much better than the previous one’ he said. He was staying for three weeks at the specialist respite care home at the far end of the Promenade after leaving the spinal treatment unit at the hospital. I assumed he meant at Southport. He told me he had an operation which hadn’t gone well and it had left him unable to walk. He was very philosophical about it but I thought how sad for him. I asked him where he lived and he told me North Wales. North Wales can be seen across Liverpool bay from Southport on a clear day. Soon we were at his destination and we parted ways. As I walked along the seafront I could see the heavy rain clouds dumping their load over Ainsdale about four miles down the coast. As I got nearer home it began to rain there too. It had just about stopped raining as I entered the front door. So what next? I put on my overalls and painted over the area I had been working on a couple of days earlier giving it its second and final coat. I also painted the step leading into the room and a little more elsewhere.
At the time of writing there remains the area around that step and the small area beneath the up-righted treadmill to be worked on and of course the bare section in the picture. The other half of the floor also needs its second coat of paint. None of that will take long to do. The floor repairs and painting will then be finished but at some point I will need to touch-up the white walls where I have accidentally touched them here and there with the red paint.
It sometimes takes a lot of effort to get E out of her chair if I wish to show her something, especially if that is something in the garden. If it is cold and even when it isn’t that cold she grumbles that she needs to put on a coat before stepping out. So it was on Sunday morning just before we had lunch. She tells me that she feels the cold, which she does and I have known that ever since we met but there are times when it isn’t as cold as she thinks it is. Nevertheless being as she is a bit stubborn there is no way she won’t wear a coat if she thinks it is cold. It’s just her way I suppose. I am far less troubled by a low temperature or a little wind though I have to confess I hate the wind when it is strong. Eventually I got her to go into the garden with me so that I could show her some of the flowers that have sprung up recently, crocus, snowdrops, daffodils, tulips and hyacinths to name a few. She is fond of flowers as I am too except that I prefer those that don’t grow from bulbs. I find it strange that for someone who professes to love these early flowers E seldom goes into the garden at this time of year. Anyway we spent some time out there and whilst there she asked about the bluebells I had been digging out on Saturday and where I had found them. As my readers will know digging out bluebells and montbretia took me months to do this time last year. I knew there would be some still to dig out this year and maybe that will be the same next year too but they are far fewer in number than when I first started. Even so there are still quite a few popping up occasionally. She called me over to a spot where she had noticed a couple more which I had obviously missed. I dug them out then she showed me more in another bed so I dug them out too! That is typical of E, she is quick to show me things I have missed or mistakes I have made. I laugh about it and say ‘Yes boss, I’ll do it right away boss’…….Ha, ha, ha.
There have always been those who are disobedient in society but is there anyone who does not sin? No. We all have sinned but there are those among us that determine not to, though we all fail at some point. However, the majority of people strive to live a moral and upright life. For others crime is a way of life and there seems to be more adopting that way too. Below is one very small sample of what we read in the newspapers or see on the television almost every day………..
There has been a report that a male knocked on doors of houses in Merepark Drive Southport and stating he was from the Council and was collecting soft toys. Enquiries were made with the Council and they were not aware of anyone collecting toys in the area. The male is described as white, approximately 50 years old, bald, wearing a black coat and scarf with a lanyard around his neck saying ‘Sefton Council’.
We have received reports of 2 males knocking on house doors claiming to be from BT and stating that they need access to the property immediately to fix a phone line problem.
These males do not represent BT, have no ID cards on them and appear to be targeting vulnerable individuals who are living alone. A card has been pushed through a letterbox promising to return.
Please make your loved ones aware and remind them that they do not need to let strangers in to their house. Always ask for ID, and if in doubt, call the company which they claim to represent (But don’t call any phone numbers they give you themselves).
If you have someone trying to gain entry to your property, you can call the Police on 999, or report any other suspicious sightings on 101.
Man arrested after injury shooting in Southport town centre
04 January 2018
Update – Friday 5th January
The man has been released under investigation while enquiries continue.
Detectives are continuing to appeal to anyone with any information on this incident or any gun crime issues, to please contact the Merseyside Police gun crime hotline on 0800 230 0600 or speak to the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Merseyside Police detectives investigating an injury shooting in Southport in December have arrested a man today, Thursday 4 January.
This morning, two warrants were carried out in the Southport and Walton areas.
At an address in Wyresdale Road, Walton, a 21-year-old man from Walton was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and Section 18 assault. He has been taken to a police station for questioning by detectives.
The arrest is in relation to an incident in Eastbank Street on Thursday, 21 December in which a man was shot in the head and a member of the public received a back injury.
Don’t these offenders realise there is a price to pay? Ask them and they will probably not care, they have lost all sense of moral standards, all they think about is themselves.
1 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us – whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter – asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. 3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
5 Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendour of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
‘They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.’
There is no-one who does good in this world (Psalm 14:3 All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one). Oh there are those who some consider to be good because of what they have done but that compliment is based upon human views. Even the person whom we may consider being good falls short of the mark in the eyes of God. That aside I think we can safely say that there are quite a few bad people in this world. Maybe you have met with some of them in your corner of the world? Probably. Most people might be considered upright, honest and trustworthy and have good moral standing in our eyes but we all know there are some who are not. These will be deceitful, selfish, scheming and dishonest and I’ll wager many of us will know some like that closer to home. The good and the bad are usually easy to discern, eventually anyway but the ugly may not be.
When I say ugly I am not referring to someone who is not as good-looking as others or who has the misfortune not to appear physically attractive; no, I am referring to one who has personality problems. The ugly person is the one who speaks ill of others where there is no justification, the one who speaks in whispers to another about someone else. Perhaps they do it through jealousy or hatred or because the person holds a differing point of view. Perhaps it is racially motivated, perhaps it is homo-phobic or based upon fear. Perhaps they are simply bullies. Whatever the reason the ugly person is the nastiest of them all. Theirs is a life intent on making someone else’s life a misery. I have met a few ‘ugly’ people like this over the years and I’m certain I am not alone. The problem the ugly person thinks their target has is actually a problem they have themselves but they cannot see that. When we were young my siblings and I were always taught that it is rude to whisper (about someone else) but I know I have not always adhered to the teaching in the past. It isn’t nice to be obviously whispering about someone in their presence and it certainly isn’t nice to be on the receiving end of such behaviour is it? Jesus said ‘Love one another’ and to do that we must begin by looking inward to our own hearts. Treat others as you would like them to treat you, with respect. It doesn’t matter who or what they are, you don’t have to ‘like’ them…..just love them. Don’t be an ugly person for the chip on your shoulder will become a heavy burden and you will crumble beneath the weight.
I was out walking a few days ago and as is my want sometimes I took to the back streets and walked into town. I was passing through though and not going there to buy anything. Like ‘Dutch’ in ‘Predator’ who said after being shot and bleeding, ‘I ain’t got time to bleed’, well I ain’t got time for shopping! Actually I do sometimes but not this time. I like to chat with people I meet on my walkabout and it is usually me who breaks the ice. When once I used to be very much the introvert the opposite is now more who I am. There are a few reasons for that change. The first change of attitude was instigated by myself when I took the bull by the horns as it were and forced myself into having a social life in my mid-twenties. Yes I have to admit to being very anti-social before then. All this can be found in my ‘pages’ above. This action led to my having relationships which before had been foreign to me. The second influence to my becoming more extroverted happened in my time at church. I began attending a church long before I became a Christian it has to be said and later after becoming a Christian I became more involved with church life. I began to teach myself to play guitar and that led me to join the band , often leading the congregation in worship. Such confidence had been unheard of in my early years. I am what you might call a gregarious person who makes the attempt to get along with anyone I meet. It is often not reciprocated though for some reason. Perhaps the other person is finding it hard to socialise too. I am usually found with a smile on my face most of the time, a smile is a great tool to have in one’s armoury but it cannot be worn with a frown. So there I was walking the back streets and along the way I heard two elderly women talking rather loudly for me to have heard what they were saying from where I was. I heard one say to the other ‘Well I am 84….’ as they both turned to look at who was passing by. I immediately gave them a big smile and said ‘Well I am 71’ and they started to laugh. ‘You don’t look it’ said the 84 year-old, you’ve got quite a bonnie face. Well I’ve ben called many things but not a bonnie face. I continued to smile as I walked away from them. The 84 year-old shouted, ‘Bye, bonnie face, see you again soon’. It kind of made my day. I wished all people were as friendly but we all know that is just not the case.
It had been quite a pleasant weekend with plenty of sunshine but we could see the weather was about to change as had been forecast. It was now early evening on Sunday, the sun was still shining and what clouds there were numbered few. There had been more clouds during the late afternoon however and soon they would return. I was relaxing in front of the television when our next-door neighbour called asking me if I would check out her twin floodlight at the rear of the house as one of the lamps had been flickering. It was getting late, it was Sunday so I explained that I would have a look on Monday morning. I did ask why she hadn’t called a day or so earlier when the weather was fine because rain was forecast to fall on and off for the next few days. She asked if I would call later in the morning as she didn’t arise until after eight-thirty. No problem but when I looked out of the window the following morning around nine o’clock I assumed that she had gone out in her car! I thought this because her gate was open and her son presumably was fast asleep which meant his vehicle was still parked at the house. Why did I think he was in bed? I had to go into the rear garden and I noticed all my neighbour’s upstairs curtains were still closed. Soon after I had eaten my breakfast at nine-twenty I saw a very large branch had snapped off the huge lime tree that stands in the garden at the rear of ours. It is forever losing small twigs and branches and is becoming rather a nuisance. Fortunately its own branches had broken the fall of the one that had landed in our garden and there was no damage to the plants along where it fell. I had to get rid of it. Unfortunately I had been that intent on removing it I neglected to take a picture but here is one of the offending tree taken soon afterward. Click on image.
As you can see it dwarfs all the other trees except maybe the sycamores growing around it. It took me some time to heave it all over the wall to rest with the numerous other branches we have had to throw there in the past. The owners of the lime tree do very little in regard to maintaining that corner of their garden and accordingly it is overgrown and in an awful state. They are the same family we had to inform about the Japanese Knot-weed they had growing just the other side of the dividing wall between us. They take little interest in their garden. So, as I was returning to them what was rightfully theirs it began to pour down with rain. Well thanks very much but hey it is only water! I returned indoors to dry off and write this post. Well now it appears her son (a police officer) had gone to work at six-thirty and had forgotten to open his curtains. I only know this because I called my neighbour to explain why I hadn’t called to check her floodlights and of course she was at home. We chatted a while and she told me the floodlight was now behaving itself! I will still check it out sometime when it stops raining. She was telling me about the price it would cost her to have the outside walls of her house painted again, around £3000. Her husband when he was alive used to do it every five years. I told her I didn’t think it needed painting (it doesn’t). A little time later she called back and asked if I did painting! What a cheeky neighbour I have. I pointed out that no, I do not paint the outside of houses on such a scale as hers is and that I am seventy-one years of age! Too old to be lugging around ladders and scaffolding, especially by myself. I think she was being cheeky to even consider asking me.
Life can be so hard sometimes but it can be so easy too. Things often seem more difficult or hard to deal with than they actually warrant. We ourselves can make life’s situations more difficult but if we could just stop and think things over we might find no problem really insurmountable. In every area of our lives this is so. However, it is one thing to overcome everyday situations we feel we could not previously handle and another when it involves others. Relationships with fellow humans can be fraught with difficulties especially where there is a clash of personalities, ideas, beliefs and so on but it shouldn’t be that way. It is a matter of how much we really love the other person, do we humble ourselves and put them first even if we know they are wrong? As Christians we are told to love one another, to love our neighbour (which is everyone else living on the planet) and in doing so honouring Christ. It doesn’t always work that way as anyone will tell you. I was watching a television program whilst waiting for another program to begin and it was called ‘Nightmare neighbour next door’. Many in the UK will probably have watched it themselves. The title is somewhat self-explanatory but in essence it reports relationships about people living next to each other who for one of many reasons just don’t get on with each other. Often the friction is one-sided and often it is based upon trivial concerns. As outsiders we can see the whole story and the stubbornness of people who simply cannot see their way to make an effort to resolve their differences. It is about love and putting others before ourselves but at the same time we shouldn’t simply let others take advantage. Being humble doesn’t mean being servile. Whilst watching one incident between two neighbours it seemed obvious that only one of them, a woman, was the source of the problems between them. The guy who lived next door had to put up with her unbelievably bad behaviour and for some time until one day he took complete control just using words. At this point I fell about with laughter at what he had said. Leaning over the wall which separated them he calmly said to her face ‘God you are ugly’ and then walked away. He had no further problems from that day forth. Now I wouldn’t advocate being verbally abusive to anyone but I had to admit he had made his hard life a lot easier with just a few words.
Stopped from gardening that is. I had a couple of electrical jobs to do on Tuesday morning (21st) though the first one turned out to be only an advisory visit for which I levied no charge. The work to correct the customer’s problems would be too much for me to do. I have worked for the customer before but only to do small jobs, basically what I advertise I do. As the house wasn’t far away and as I was there only a few minutes I didn’t ask for payment, though it was offered. I drove on to the second job which turned out to be more awkward in its execution than I had expected but it paid well. The house was occupied by an elderly couple and the man, who was 86 years old, was bed-ridden due to a physical deterioration but who was also suffering with dementia. He just lay there in the rear room watching television whilst his wife, a few years younger, did all the running around. She was however in good health which was just as well. My work involved replacing lighting fittings and to check out a loose wall power outlet (as shown above). The lighting part of the work was the troublesome bit, wall-mounted units, but as usual I managed. The power outlet was supplying the power to the television and to the bed on which the man lay. It powered the vibrating mattress on which he lay. It vibrated to relieve the pain in his inactive muscles. When I see things like this I am not upset but a little saddened. I realise however that it could happen to any of us. I get annoyed when I see people moaning and groaning about their problems when there are others who are unable to do anything about theirs. I think people who think everything should go their way all of the time are missing the point, at least they are in a position to do something about it if it means so much to them. There are always going to be people worse off than ourselves and we should be grateful for what we have got, especially good health. It was around noon when I drove back home in the glorious sunshine. The day was also very windy however with rain by late afternoon to follow and much the same had been forecast for Wednesday. It would be Friday and Saturday before I could consider working in the garden as those days promised to be dry and sunny. I would be dining out on Thursday with E together with my youngest brother and his wife. Thursday would be a less favourable day for working in the garden anyway.