“Leave Bags at the Front” … ???

I have managed 55 years in this world
without stealing a single thing in my life.

which means that it is impossible for me
– as an honest and honourable man –
to even imagine the type of self-centred presumption
and contempt for decent human beings
as so evidently exists in shop-owners and store managers
who display, at the entrance to their establishments,
signs demanding that potential customers

“leave all bags at the front”.

I understand that the generality of the human race
has deteriorated in morals and basic manners
to such a degree over the past thirty years, that multitudes

cannot communicate without filthy profanity and vulgar obscenities;

cannot move without a TV, radio; headphones or speakers
blasting noise into their brains;

or think independently of “looking it up” on the Internet.

I realise – see it with my own eyes, that men now dress like slobs
– for pity’s sake, some do not even have the decency
to remove their hats when seated at a table in a restaurant.

The basic good manners that were displayed in public
by every and any mature adult fifty years ago –
have been utterly eradicated from society;
and human beings may have collectively descended
to below the level of animals –

but that, surely, does not give you license
to abandon discernment and the application of discretion,
and presume that EVERY customer who enters your shop
is a thief deserving of having their moral character
degraded by you.

Of course, you do not remove the (often large) ‘handbags’
… of women;
or bar them from entering your premises.

You wouldn’t dare.

A woman with a bag … is a Customer.
A man with a bag … is a Thief.

In a ‘New World’ of mindless compliance
where every value of decency and morality
is sacrificed on the altar of ease,
and the pursuit of constant entertainment,

I realise that multitudes will see nothing wrong at all
in being presumed a thief, and therefore
are happy to leave their personal possessions
at the front of your shop –

but there are a few of us – “old folks” – still walking this earth,
who have lived lives of courtesy
and consideration towards other people;

who were raised with moral integrity and “old fashioned”
dare-I-say ‘biblical’ values of conduct and self control.

I will not willingly surrender my bag to a thug with a gun:
I certainly will not surrender it to you,
who complacently presumes that I am a thief.

I have observed – since the mid-1980’s in particular,
the eradication of manners and moral decency in this world;
and have watched selfishness, vanity,
and crude speech and behaviour
rise to levels that are nothing less than obscene.

Which only makes me more determined to never sacrifice
the moral standards and values with which I was raised,

in order to buy some iToy or vanity possession
that does nothing more than gratify greed,
or waste my brain on mindless entertainment.

Especially when I would have to hand over my personal belongings
and, by so doing, agree with the shop-keeper’s
defamation of my character.

It may well be that I am the only person walking this earth
who will not sell his character
for the sake of buying and acquiring some … thing.

There is nothing in your shop important enough
for me to submit
to you degrading my moral character.

The Atrocity, I suppose, is not so much
having the callous contempt of a bully:

but in being so bereft of a conscience
as to feel no shame because of it.

This is an age when corporate supermarkets hire less staff
and demand customers scan and load their own groceries;
– in bags that They have to provide themselves.
( All to ‘Save the Earth’ … of course. )

But such brazen contempt for customers
need not be a hallmark of your shop, surely ?

It is, of course, merely a suggestion but –

How would it be then, shop-keeper,
if you exercised enough of a moral centre
to display appreciation for those
who seek to spend their money in your shop …

rather than immediately presume
that anyone who walks through your door

is a thief ?

P Livingstone

The Way of Tea …

A Taste for Tea – Indispensible Instruments of Infusion

For those who might be new to the concept of Real Tea,
a brief over-view of the items that are needed
to infuse quality tea …

1. Kettle:

Boiling the water – for the ‘British’ method of brewing,
water should come off a rolling boil,
and will be around the 95 degree mark
when it hits the tea leaves;

2. A Quality Tea Pot

Whilst this one has an included infuser,
it is better still to allow the tea
full movement in the pot …
and use a strainer when pouring.

Pouring water from a high point – hand and kettle held high,
allows the tea to move rapidly at the onset,
and continue to move freely and infuse properly.

The reliable British Standard

3. Tea Cups
Here are examples from my own two sets …

Ceramic or,

Cast Iron

4. Tea Caddy

For storing quality teas,
reserve one tea caddy for one type of tea …

A Gaiwan .. Chinese Tea Cup

A Summary HISTORY of Tea in Britain

The privately owned (read, “corporation”) East India Company
exported vast quantities of tea to Britain
at the start of the 19th century after which,
the British government imposed a tea tax on the people.

In 1773, the East India Company began the production of Opium
via poppy cultivation; fifty years later, business was booming.

Ever chasing greed, the British East India Company
began taking Opium to China,
to the outrage of China’s government
who ordered them to stop.

Lord Napier endeavoured to coerce Chinese officials
to accept Opium and give their Chinese tea to the British.
China expelled them.

The British refused to leave, and called in military.
This is how a ‘great’ nation becomes “great” –
invasion, subjugation, imperial tyranny.
And ‘war’ for any nation
who does not want to ‘go along’ with the despotic invaders.

Chinese government officer Lin Zexu wrote to Queen Victoria
to inform her of what British drug runners were doing;
and demanded that Britain stopopium trade into China.

Her Majesty was not amused.

China asked Portugal to expel British from Macao, which they did,
whereupon the British fled to Hong Kong;
called in the military fleet which promptly bombarded Guangzhou
and continued on in a swath of destruction and carnage towards Shanghai.

Emperor had no choice but to ‘retract’ his opposition to Opium.

Britain then demanded ‘redress’ – in which China paid a
(somewhere around) 10 million pound equivalent in wealth;
and were forced to give British Hong Kong,
as well as five mainland ports
in which they could freely “trade” (drugs, amongst other items).

A sobering reminder of how “great” men (and their nations)
actually become “great”.

A Taste for Tea – Defining Tea

Raspberry Tea

Tea – – – It is not so much the actual drink
brewed from the leaves of Camilla senensis
or even South African Rooibos …

but more,
the period of time when the tea is being enjoyed,
that is meaningful to me.

It may be that you feel similarly.

I hope that – perhaps, in presenting the qualities
of real tea, I can encourage one or two people
to slow down and … MAKE time:

to prepare tea;
to take twenty minutes’ for thoughtful reflection;
to consider such questions as:

“Lying on my death bed, will whatever
I want to buy next … really matter?”

Tea (for me) is the act of meditating upon
what – honestly – is important in life.

I hope that these articles
may interest one or two folk enough
that they will Take The Time to isolate themself
from the mental and moral sewage of the TV
– or the mindless noise of the radio,

… and set aside part of a day to pause
long enough to … think.

Now, of course, it will not be a bad thing at all,
to define precisely what is meant, in these articles,
by the term … “tea”.

“Waste Disposal” or,

The BIN BAGS of Tea Production …

Let commercial, mass-production tea companies
say what they will:
there is — there most definitely is — a marked
and noticeable difference
between loose leaf tea … and tea bags.

Specifically for the purpose of preparing this article,
we purchased our regular breakfast tea,

along with that concession to impatience:
the (supposedly) ‘same’ tea …
in tea bag form.

I wanted to confirm (before composing this article),
what I and other tea aficionados
have long known to be true – loose leaf and tea bags:

they are not ‘the same tea’.

There IS a difference between whole tea
and tea bags.

Yes – fair enough – tea bags may not be, literally,
the ‘sweepings off the floor’ …
but the fact of the matter is – really, little better.

When Black tea is picked, it is dried;
allowed to oxidize; and then inspected
in preparation for sale to tea-buyers.

Now – here is the fact:

In tea production,
the larger, best leaves and buds are selected
for quality tea buyers to purchase;

the ‘bits’,
the leaf particles,
the dust,
any bits of twig, chaff, or other refuse

that are picked or sieved out
and removed from the ‘choice’ tea crop

are ground together and crated
for use in … tea bags.

Commercial, western tea companies
may (?) be telling the truth when they vehemently insist that
their tea-bags are not made from “floor sweepings”
that are sold as cheaper tea by eastern tea warehouses …

… but what they ARE filled with,
is NOT the same quality as loose leaf tea.

Surely, common sense alone would be sufficient
to realise that tea-bags are cheap … for a reason:
And that reason is … Quality.

If you genuinely appreciate tea,
or want to appreciate tea,
do not imagine that tea bags represent … tea.

There IS a time and a place for tea bags:

of course there is !

Some of my most satisfying ‘meals’ have been
bread and cheese with a mug of tea
made from Yorkshire or Scottish Blend (teabags),
and enjoyed while sitting on a bale of straw,
in the shelter of the barn
during a thunderstorm.

But to appreciate tea … to share tea
with guests in your home:

The truth of the matter is …

there IS a difference.

Liquorice Rooibos


Tea is an anti-oxidant whose statins impede cholesterol
from being absorbed by the body.

It stimulates blood flow, which, in turn,
helps to prevent high blood pressure.

Tea helps to speed digestion

and helps raise the metabolism,
which facilitates the burning of fat.

Theanine, the Amino Acid found in Green Tea,
almost certainly produces an alert mind
whilst equally providing the very real sensation
of being relaxed.

( It will not be necessary to mention that Tea
– as with any aspect of daily life – is to be used
in moderation if its beneficial effects
are to promote all-round health.

Those who abuse herbs, food, or drink
will manifest side effects.
It will be self evident that, in such a case,
the fault lies with People – Not tea. )


Humidity and Light will spoil tea
Optimum Temperature for storage should be
‘room temperature’ – about 22 degrees Centigrade.

A specialised Tea Caddy provides the optimum storage
for high quality tea.

Tea is a drink for those of a self disciplined
and contemplative mind; it is for those who refuse to
follow the masses in their frenetic rush to pursue greed,
ambition, and vanity.

Whether you appreciate tea,
or would like to cultivate the practice,
I hope that the thoughts offered here
will have been of some interest.


P Livingstone

Discerning “Teachers” … on the Internet

The Internet:

It is, most assuredly, the single most effective method
ever invented by man … to spread
Ignorance, Immaturity, and Viciousness
throughout the human race.

Observation alone will reveal that the 21st century
is the Age of the Instant “Expert” –

In the age of technology … ignorant men, women,
and appallingly arrogant youths
are swift to render their opinion:

No sooner do they acquire
the merest smattering of “knowledge”,
than they deem themselves qualified
to instruct others.

Those with a mind, maturity, and a conscience,
will exercise Discernment and Discretion
when considering the vast multitude of modern humanity
that set themselves up as … “teachers”.

“Men that have the clearest heads,
and have been at the greatest pains
in their inquiries to find out truths,
have brought back the clear conviction
of their own ignorance.” – John Owen

How can someone know whether a person offering advice
on the Internet … may actually be trusted?

Conscience bids me offer a few thoughts that someone
may deem worth considering …


The Internet SHOULD be a place where (real) knowledge, kindness,
and compassion can be openly shared;

where youths and machine-raised adults can be edified, learn, and be taught by,
those who know, possess skill,
or have gleaned wisdom from life experience.

DISTURBINGLY though, the Internet is often little more than a ‘soap-box’
upon which

the vain broadcast their vanity;
the vulgar, their depravity; and
the audacious, their ignorance;

and where the lazy and the immature regurgitate whatever particular rumour or error
‘fits’ with their vanity, viciousness, or personal agenda.

I have been Very, VERY aware – this past year, of the oft-repeated sentiment
that ‘this world is no place for the old’.

The 21st century is an Age in which the arrogance and insolence of youths
who can neither spell, speak properly or write coherently …
have nothing but contempt and ridicule for those who are … “old”.

On the Internet, there are, observably, two types of “teachers”
that predominate:

1. those who promulgate fancied opinion ( without care to examine
whether what they are saying is true ), and deliver their “instruction”
in a glib, ‘everyone-knows-that’ manner.

The more cock-sure such creatures are, the more they amass lazy,
easily-led followers unto themselves.


2. those who are observably domineering: who self-importantly deliver
a list of their certificates, titles, and accolades –
while regurgitating information or instruction that has been given to them;
or acquired through some purely academic course of study or “research”.

In the situation of specialised learning ( that is to say:
learning past the stage of elementary or secondary school )
– a Genuine Teacher will have NO need to Predominantly broadcast
his accolades or achievements.

Those who are … Fit to Instruct … Will Be suitably furnished for the task:
they will not appear ‘the same’
as the ignorant masses that populate the Internet.

A teacher will be Qualified by meticulous attention to detail,
insistence upon maintaining a high standard, in addition to –
the ability to communicate … Properly.

They will know how to spell;
They will be suitably qualified with Maturity;
They will voice the Humility to distinguish Fact from Personal Opinion;
and will communicate in their delivery, Wisdom –
which only comes from Life Experience.

A genuine Teacher is NOT concerned with ‘likes” “followers” or “subscribers”
he or she is there to impart TRUTH to people:
and – far from worrying about Pleasing the Masses –
will stand alone
rather than compromise the truth, his conscience, or moral decency.

The teacher who possesses the abilities to teach Will be evident
from the written or spoken word.

As in any aspect of life: give that person five minutes,
and their character will be revealed in the words and demeanour.

A genuine teacher will not shout at … swagger before … or intimidate his students.

No matter what the subject, the COMPETENT teacher will have absolute confidence IN
the veracity of his knowledge and experience … whilst still exuding humility
and a patient willingness to clarify or explain to those
who do not quite understand.

A genuine teacher ( who is one from the heart ) will have no desire whatsoever
to dominate – physically or verbally – those who come to him or her for instruction.

Vulgarity and Filthy Language will not be heard from the mouth
of any competent adult – much less, from any competent teacher.

Their joy – their real satisfaction – comes from the look on a thankful students’ face
as he understands and appreciates what he is being taught.

[ Yes, the labourer is worthy of his hire, and any reasonable fees
that a teacher receives are only right and proper.
But they are Not the motivation for the honest teacher
( who will often spend additional time with no reward ).

As far as anything taught on the Internet, No respectable teacher
should demand that a prospective student spend exorbitant sums of money
on books or equipment.

A reasonable contribution towards the production of a video presentation
is only fair (no principled person should begrudge a fair wage
to a the person who imparts skill or experience);

and while the student may (quite properly) be strongly urged
to buy this or that textbook,
the pencil and paper to take notes, will cost next to nothing. ]

A domineering instructor – HOWEVER skilled he may be –
is NO qualified teacher.

[ PLEASE NOTE … It is testament to the materialistic mentality
of the 21st century to note that – “QUALIFIED” – is NOW taken
to mean the holder of certain academic certificates.

I use the term “Qualified” here, to mean men and women who possess
the qualities of HUMILITY, PATIENCE, Forbearance,
as well as the ABILITY to SPEAK and write in such a way
as to make genuinely seeking students UNDERSTAND a certain concept.

The old Irish grandpa who has been farming with shire horses for 50 years,
is Invariably a far more … Qualified … teacher
than the deluge of degree-wielding upstarts being let loose
from many an agricultural college.

That a person may ‘cram’ and regurgitate answers on a test paper
– and so, earn an academic certificate, has NOTHING WHATSOEVER
to do with being … Qualified.

Being QUALIFIED is a COMBINATION of Ability to Teach,
Knowledge, AND Life Experience –

a concept that is utterly lost on the machine-like automations
(“I’m just doing my job”) and assembly-line mentality of the 21st century.

In the Religion of Academia, professors, instructors, and ‘professionals’ abound
… who are anything BUT teachers – as many a serious student will readily attest. ]

A Qualified TEACHER has characteristics of Humility:
Self-discipline, Patience, and the Ability to Explain.

The CONDUCT of a Teacher

Where any class is held to distribute SPECIALISED knowledge or skill,
the teacher should automatically have the respect and attention
of every student in the class.

No discipline should be required at all.

If a student disrupts the class, arrives continually late;
or displays any other indication that he ‘does not want to be there’
– he should be ejected.

Those who WANT to learn WILL be … ‘on time’, quiet, attentive,
and diligent in the pursuit of learning. Discipline will not be necessary,
amongst those who … WANT … to learn.

On the Internet, crude, vulgar, obscene, or belligerent comments
should find those who make them, ‘blocked’
and allowed to take up neither the teacher’s time or attention;
or the attention of those who are there to learn.

No competent, sincere teacher will entertain ignorant time-wasters.
Beware the “teacher” who tolerates such things.

Where blowhard bellowing and Hollywood-esque, ‘U.S. Marine Corps’ swaggering
or nose-in-the-air haughtiness is evident, in anyone presenting him/herself
as a “teacher”, one might be forgiven for imagining that

the desire to dominate,
the elation of being ‘in control’ … or
simply being regarded as ‘superior’

is the motivation behind that ‘teacher’.

May I suggest that, in such a situation, it would be prudent
for the prospective student to look for another teacher
who is possessed of patience and humility ?

The ‘teacher’ who does not possess the professionalism, self-control,
and basic good manners to refrain from filthy profanity,
is no fit guide or role model for ANY serious-minded human being
in any endeavour or field of study.

Vulgarity, crude “humour”, and obscenities betray a lack of Integrity,
Intellect, Self discipline, and Maturity.

Such an individual is no safe guide in ANY topic of significance.

A second suggestion to those seeking Internet instruction,
is to immediately be very wary of any ‘teacher’ or ‘expert’
who ‘name-drops’ so-called ‘celebrities’.

“I recommend this [ insert any item or activity here ]
because it is just like the one that [ insert celebrity’s name here ]
uses [ owns, or practices ].”

By all means, such trivia may be highly interesting, months later,
over an informal cup of tea and a lemon cranberry scone;
BUT where such a declaration is part of the ‘sales pitch’
relating to experience, skill, or teaching ability –

a discerning person will immediately become sceptical.

A good teacher will have no need to appeal to the ‘example’ of
“celebrities”, TV ‘stars’, or ‘action heroes’.

Such declarations are the domain of children who have never matured
past imitating storybook (or Hollywood, or ‘sports’, or television) characters.

DISCERN and DETERMINE the Validity of Any “Teacher”

A sound, experienced, genuinely GIFTED teacher will CALMLY impart
what he has to teach;

he will not be constantly reminding students of his achievements,
accolades, or ‘official’ accreditation.

The manner of speaking (or writing) of any man or woman,
will almost always reveal character, temperament,
and INTENT –

It is up to YOU to DISCERN the ‘tree’ by the ‘fruit’ that it bears.

As has been said elsewhere within this site:
let any man or woman speak for ten minutes
– ( simply keep quiet, and let them talk ) –
and they WILL reveal the type of human being that they are.

The loud, abrasive, cock-sure ‘know-it-all’ – ( however much knowledge he has )
– is no teacher for me.

What I have suggested elsewhere on this Internet site
with regard to companions … is equally true of Teachers:

Seek out those who are quiet, humble, and sober-minded;

Avoid those who are loud, aggressive, and frivolous.

I hope that the few thoughts offered in these thoughts
drawn from the experience of my life,
may be of some benefit to yours.

P Livingstone

Silencing the Lone Voice

His was the lone voice crying out in the wilderness.

And no one was listening.

Listening ?

It was not simply that people were NOT listening;
they were becoming increasingly irritated at his rambling pronouncements
and ‘doomsday’ speculation.

But to this one man, his concern was of Incredible significance:
– despite the fact that no one wanted to know.

The year was 1847 and, in the teaching hospital of Aligemeine Krankenhaus, Vienna,
women who delivered babies were dying.

Or rather, women whose babies were delivered by physicians
and their assisting medical students … were dying

of what was termed “Childbed Fever”.

Women, in the other ward – by contrast,
who were delivered by the hospital’s midwives,

went home following successful births.

Hungarian obstetrician Ignaz Semmelweis was not only bothered by the phenomenon,
he was determined to stop it – and took it upon himself
to discover and make known the reason for the appalling rate of mortality.

Semmelweis was agonising over possible causes when his colleague,
professor Jacob Kolletschka, cut his finger on a scalpel blade
whilst conducting the post mortem of a woman who had died in labour.

Kolletschka died.

What was incomprehensible, though, was that his body
revealed the Same Symptoms … as the woman who had died giving birth.

How, Semmelweis wondered, is it possible for … a MAN
to die from a disease restricted to … WOMEN in labour?

Upon considering the matter, Semmelweis was absolutely certain
that he knew the answer:

The transfer of disease from a physician’s hands

– following autopsy,

to the bodies of women in the wards.

Women delivered by midwives, survived.
Women delivered by doctors bore a good chance of dying.

Physicians conducted post mortems.
Midwives did not.

Physicians and their medical students moved freely
from scrutinising a corpse, to examining a labouring woman.

They HAD to be, he reasoned, carrying infection … on their hands.

Semmelweis began to insist that his colleagues wash their hands
with chloride of lime BEFORE tending women in labour.

Whilst the idea of sepsis was, of course, unknown to Semmelweis,
he was certain that it was NOT washing hands, that led the deaths of women.

Using the mandatory washing of hands and instruments in Chloride of Lime,
the mortality rate in the physician’s ward dropped from 18% to 1%.

But to physicians who worked with Semmelweis,
– the very idea that … THEY … could cause death was
outrageous and insulting.

THEY … Were Doctors !

His 2 year appointment to the hospital was not renewed
and Semmelweis was obliged to leave the hospital in Vienna,
and return to Hungary where, in 1851, he took up a new position
heading obstetrics at St Rochus hospital.

The death rates of women plummeted.

But still, his new colleagues were becoming more and more irritated
at Semmelweis’ insistence that THEY were causing death
by not washing their hands.

Never one to display great patience for apathetic, vanity-saturated,
wilful imbeciles … Semmelweis began to write ( much to the heightened irritation
of those for whose self-importance, arrogance, and laziness,
Semmelweis’ assertions were a threat. )

In 1861, Semmelweis completed a text on the Aetiology of Childbed Fever,
which conveyed his insistence ( along with his all-too evident frustration
against care-free doctors ) that the death of women
was being caused by lack of proper washing.

Physicians were unrelenting in their contempt of Semmelweis’ warning of danger,
and continued in their filthy habits – infecting women with whom they came into contact.

On a holiday arranged by his wife, Semmelweis was grabbed by several men
and dragged inside a hospital
that his wife had told him she wanted to see.

The hospital was a lunatic asylum

and Semmelweis realised – far too late – that his wife had betrayed him,
and had conspired with Semmelweis’ own doctor
to have her husband ‘committed’.

Imprisoned in a lunatic asylum – the only sane physician
amongst a medical community full of them –
Semmelweis would die in the same madhouse from
… an infected cut.

A physician who insisted upon hygiene

was declared ‘crazy’ for being clean;

and died at the age of 47, in an asylum,

from a wound infected due to lack of hygiene

– the Very Thing about which
he had been trying to warn the world.

Betrayed by his wife;
despised by self-important medical doctors,

Semmelweis would not live to see his name
utterly exonerated by the work of Joseph Lister.

As a boy reading history, I would always try to find
a moral from which I could learn something of substance,
from the life of someone else.

I persistently maintain, in this Internet site, that
to follow whatever is popular and pleasing
to the majority of modern humanity – is to guarantee
certain degradation of mind and morals,

I cannot but wonder if – in this presentation of Semmelweis –
I may be the only one capable of seeing the Moral
in the appalling tragedy of Semmelweis … the Moral that,

‘The Majority’ … are Wrong.

And that, there are times when individuals who are declared
by the masses … to be ‘crazy’, ‘narrow-minded’, or ‘alarmist’,

are the only sensible and intelligent voices amidst multitudes
who are either anaesthetised with vanity,

or just too lazy to care.

P Livingstone

“Speaking Ill of the Dead” … ?

There has been, during the past 30 years, a very observable pattern
of mass social engineering which has been designed to make adults
look stupid, be stupid, and act stupidly.

Children in Hollywood films and television ( excerpts of which,
I have taken – quite literal – pains to view )
since the early-1990’s, have been routinely presented
as being more intelligent than their parents.

That this IS increasingly true is the fault of parents
who refuse to –

act like mature adults,
dress like mature adults,
talk like mature adults,
discipline their children (like mature adults once did),

or even attempt to set an example of what a mature adult
used to be. Stupid, ignorant, slovenly, loud and vulgar
is now commonplace – “normal” – in the western world.

The proof is everywhere to anyone who will simply
open their eyes and ears – and pay attention.

About a decade into this visible deterioration of humanity,
there was a plethora of ‘media’ stories from America concerning … “forgiveness”.

Some vicious sadist kidnaps, rapes, tortures, and kills a teenage girl
… and the parents are on the television expressing their … “forgiveness”
… of an unrepentant sadist who is just serving time
before he will be released to do the same again
to some other family’s child.

Fitting nicely into this travesty of moral outrage, mockery of justice,
and removal of evil from society, is the tired old ‘sentiment’
– “I was taught not to speak ill of the dead.”

You see, NOTHING MATTERS any more:
NOTHING must interfere with the hedonistic, iToy-playing,
truth-is-whatever-I-think-it-is, Party Mentality
of 21st century humanity.

“Speaking ill of the dead” …

This nauseating, fuzzy-wuzzy, infantile outlook
that has been pushed particularly during the past 30 years
as a way of eradicating objective morality from the human race

… is a sentiment that deserves consideration.

“Speaking ill of the dead” ?

If a human being willingly CHOOSES to live their life
in order to gratify their own vanity … manipulate people
… and show Not the Slightest Bit of Compassion for those
whom their selfish conduct leaves in misery –

WHAT expectation can such an individual possibly have
( other than arrogance ), to expect that death excuses them
from all moral accountability?


The family members of evil, vicious, conscienceless creatures
may spew forth the usual retinue of excuses –

“Oh, he was on medication”;
“She was raised in a poor neighbourhood”;
“His mummy did not hug him enough”,

and every other disgusting, insulting, degrading vindication
that conscienceless creatures can conjure in order to justify
the desolation inflicted upon timid, weak, or unsuspecting victims
by THEIR relative or friend –

but those who possess a functioning moral conscience
will have an eye to the legacy of pain, and misery, and grief
– that lives on … in those who suffered.

Life is an opportunity to stand boldly against evil and error;
to exercise mercy to those who are truly repentant; and
to show compassion to those who truly deserve it –

to live as though You are NOT the centre of the world.

The life you live now … is the Biography that YOU
write about yourself
for anyone who knows – or will ever hear of – your name.

If you choose to be selfish … merciless …
and leave a legacy of pain and grief in this life –

do not then, have the obscene arrogance
to expect people of integrity

to forget about you later.

The pain and grief that you have willingly inflicted upon others
– in your life … does not vanish simply because you die.

Your death does not obliterate the effects of your Cruelty.

People continue to suffer the effects of your cruelty.

Often, all it would have taken was an heartfelt apology;
SOME attempt at restitution: an effort to ‘make it right’.
Some display of regret or remorse.

But you would not do that.

You reap what you sow.

This world does not exist for you to abuse
animals, children, or peaceful adults:

You may ‘get away with it’ in this life,

but do not expect to escape in the next.

P Livingstone

The Great Day of His Wrath
John Martin, 1853
Tate Gallery

Teaching: Precisely What is the Use ?

I had been walking along the concrete path that ran next to the wall of the supermarket,
when I could not help but notice the approach of a little girl
being dragged along at a brisk pace by (what presumably was) her mother.

As she was hauled nearer, the little girl looked me full in the eyes,
smiled and said, “Hi!” – her little hand waving up at me.

I did not even have time to smile down at her, let alone respond similarly
… and looked over my shoulder to see her craning her head to look back towards me.

I managed a wave before the little tyke was hauled behind a motor car,
which then obscured her from my sight.

I found that I had to stop as the experience had filled me
with a tremendous amount of sadness.

A little child with an evidently affectionate nature,
being dragged along by ‘mummy’ who was ‘far too busy’
prattling into a mobile telephone,
to let her child walk at a child’s speed and ability –

much less pause and let her little girl say hello to a kindly,
grey-haired man who was walking past.

I have often thought – with deep sorrow, of the various sights
that have crossed my eyes, of what now passes for modern ‘parenting’ …

of the children I have seen who appear to take ‘second place’
to gadgets; or who are strapped into automobile child seats to,
subsequently, have an (apparently) built-in video screen switched on –

as though the brains of the average child are not anaesthetised enough
between TV screens and computer screens, adults now stuff them in front
of another screen when out for a drive.

I have encountered school-teachers who, like myself, had quit
… because they have a moral conscience – because they:

refused to teach promiscuous sex;

were ordered not to fail any student
in case they damage some rebellious brat’s self-image;

were told to ‘pass’ students who could neither spell
nor speak grammatically; or,

were obliged to read little children books whose sole purpose
is to ingrain the concept that little Sarah has two daddies.

If a conscientious child can read, write, and calculate mathematics,
he or she will be able to … think – and discern objectively.

Unless of course, the exact opposite is desired: in which case,
an entire race of ‘humanity’ can be manufactured that will be incapable
of moral objectivity or original thought.

It was Wells, I believe, who wrote something along the lines of
a future world inhabited by two species of human life:

1. Fragile Hedonists and,
2. Slavering, disposable Savages who labour.

Exercise the mind when young, and it WILL function whenever the child
– once an adult, needs to make life-changing decisions.

But children have not had their minds exercised now,
for the better part of – ( what ? ) – thirty years ?

Machines now tell children what to think, what to believe,
and how they should respond to any given situation.

Reading … ? Not in the age of video and comic books,
when popular text centres upon witches, werewolves, and vampires.

Mathematics … ? I have long ceased to even attempt
to hand a cashier coins at the supermarket: they are (it seems)
utterly incapable of ‘making change’;

Writing … ? Writing.

Ahhh yes, Writing.

Cursive writing – the one distinguishing characteristic
that remained to separate human beings from machines –

is now being eliminated from public schools.

Along with that last vestige of human, creative touch, goes the exercise
and development of fine motor skills, creative development,
and distinguishing personal uniqueness.

In short, the brain will no longer be exercised:

will no longer slow down long enough to create a sentence;
disgorging instead, a sort of type-set grunting, punctuated by filthy expletives.

With its last remaining opportunity for mental exercise and development
now eradicated, the human mind now becomes a mere intermediary
– an input device – for communication into a machine.

I will never forget Mr Chiswell telling us boys in 1974:

“If you ever want to be a ‘real man’ … don’t you EVER
leave a woman waiting for your telephone call.
Make sure that you honour your commitments; and keep your promises.”

Mr Chiswell set aside an hour on Wednesday afternoons to teach us morality.

Let a teacher attempt that today
and he or she will be out of a job.

I know.
I have met them.
I am one of them.

Woe betide any adult in the 21st century who acts like
– or reveals themselves to be –
a compassionate, conscientious, moral adult.

I recall, in 2001, working for three hours in the afternoon,
at an ‘after school club’ in Midlothian. We had taken the children,
aged 4 to 10, for a trip to ‘The Bouncy Castle’ in Edinburgh.

On leaving, in a large, open area consisting of benches
where all shoes were to be left, one little girl
had overbalanced whilst putting on her shoe –

she fell backwards, and her head hit the cement floor
with a truly sickening thump.

She was trying to scream and cry: but was doing so with such force,
that no sound came out.

I scooped the little girl up in my arms, held her to my chest
and cradled the back of her head – feeling, with apprehension,
for any sticky wetness of blood.

I quick-marched the distance of the big warehouse complex,
through the hordes of mothers and children, towards the doors where Eleanor
– the woman in charge, was waving for the school bus.

On turning, to look, she noticed me,

and began screaming hysterically.

NOT for the obviously injured little girl – but screaming, over and over again:

“Put her Down ! Put her Down !!!”

Running over, she grabbed the little girl from my arms,
and plunked her down on the floor, where she told the crying child
to wait in the queue to board the bus.

Even my angry description of the force and sound of that little girl’s head
hitting the cement floor was not enough to stir
even a pretence of compassion from the woman.

You see, I learned – for the first time – that, in the 21st century,

to pick up and comfort an injured child

is now termed … Sexual Molestation.

Which must make me … it follows … a sexual predator.

It was with great difficulty that I did not – upon our return
to the after-school building – tell Eleanor what she could do with her job.

A few weeks later, I had a group of children in the gymnasium,
standing as their ‘safety’ while they bounced on the springboard,
and into a pile of foam mats.

Three boys came in with a football, and began kicking it around the gym.
I yelled at them to take it outside.

One of them drew back and gave the ball a wallop …

… sending it straight into the face of the little girl
who was waiting to use the springboard.

The impact actually threw her back with such force
that her feet whipped up before she hit the ground.

I grabbed the offending creature under his armpit and marched him
out the fire door before staunching the blood from the little girl’s nose
and carrying – ( yes, that’s right, I picked her up as well ) –
her to the sink in the first aid room.

Again, I was taken to task for this Crime Against Society.

No – not the ‘tenderness-and-consoling-embrace-equals-paedophilia’ crime …

… but for my lack of tenderness towards the arrogant upstart
who refused to do as he was told,
and injured a little girl who was standing quietly.

All was quickly made clear as Eleanor hissed in barely-controlled Terror:

“His father is a major contributor to this school.”

I was ordered to apologise to the vicious miscreant.

Needless to say, under no threat of any description, was I
going to apologise to a disobedient, unrepentant, 11-year old brat.

Which, of course, made that my last day of work.

Never mind rebellion, wilful violence, arrogance, disobedience,
bullying, foul language, disruption to class … or Reading,
Writing, or Arithmetic –

a teacher’s ULTIMATE concern now, is to ensure
that he does not damage little Johnny’s Self Esteem.

You See … in the 21st century,
Dick and Jane MUST be filled with self confidence

so that they can go out into the real world,

and tell their elders to “F**k Off”.