The BBC … Rising from the Slime ?

BBC History …

Lucy Worsley: Jane Austin Behind Closed Doors

James Fox: The Art of Japan

The opportunity to see two particular BBC historians
presenting, via the Internet,
their respective television programmes,
has left me actually overwhelmed
with a sense of gratitude.

No, not for the thoroughly well-done production
relating to two topics of profound interest to me
(this is the BBC, and one would expect
nothing less than technical excellence) –

but for the efforts made by both presenters

… in their personal appearance.

Seeing each of them was, for me,
to have been transported back to the time
when a certain aspect of society was so routine
– back then ! – that I took it for granted;

a once common feature of mature adults,
whose utter eradication from the world
I have never ceased to lament
throughout the last thirty years especially.

Both presenters hosted their respective programmes
dressed like the respectable men and women
amidst whom I was raised.

Unlike the slovenly ‘blue jeans’ androgyny
of the new breed of ‘Independent’ woman –

( ‘beg pardon: “female” – ‘we’ no longer use
the terms “men”, “women” boys” or “girls”
that once distinguished … Human … gender )

– that featured in a few attempts to find historical viewing
via the BBC, over the past twenty years.

Unlike, too, the ( for me ) insulting, vulgar,
appallingly libidinous, low-cut attire clearly worn
to display the cleavage of one recent
British woman historian.

Here was a man
dressed like ANY mature man
used to dress
on a daily basis …

and a woman
whose appearance is … well,

Feminine.

It was the first time that I can recall
being so overwhelmed with appreciation
and gratitude at Anything that was produced
for the medium of television – an invention

that has spent its entire existence
obliterating the concept of the mother-at-home-family,
children-showing-respect-and courtesy-to-elders, and
personal-self-restraint-and-moderation-in-daily-life;

while at the same time, making vacuity, vulgarity,
violence, profanity and promiscuity … “normal” …
in the minds of all who view it.

Of course, I made the mistake of glancing down
to see the comments placed from the great mass
of the 21st century viewing public …

….. whose ingratitude shone forth
like some great advertisement
for all that is vicious, selfish, and crude.

“Why are you wearing a suit?” quipped one;

( Well, sonny, it is a once-common concept
that used to be known as “Professionalism” )

several whined because the audio ‘dropped’ in places;
and more told the channel owner to take the video down
and re-upload it to suit their specifications.
Not one of these malignant ingrates
had the self-discipline or decency to say … “Thank You.”

Which is precisely WHY these two presenters
have brought a bit of bitter-sweet cheer into my life –

“bitter-sweet” because, of course,
once the programmes have ended …
you are back into the 21st-century reality
of modern human beings.

Here, on these two occasions, the BBC
has set aside its 21st century formula
of profanity and lewdness,
to offer programme hosts who could have
just stepped out of the 1960’s
that I so fondly recall and lament.

What a Pleasure.

What a Relief.

Just to have had a ‘taste’ of the world
that I had the inestimable pleasure of experiencing
in my formative years.

A breath of pure, fresh air … rushing in to
the choking chamber of polluted, poisoned smog
in which one is now required to exist.

What an escape.

I believe, always, in saying ‘Thank You’ –
in giving credit where credit is due.

Sadly, it seems that I cannot thank the person
who ‘posted’ this video, as I would need
a YouTube channel in order to do so.

And, of course, I dare not write
from the other side of the world,
to thank the BBC –
whose Division of Corporate Greed
known as “copyright infringement”

would almost certainly
remove the videos from the Internet
since nothing can be simply ‘shared’ any more
without greed-mongers demanding money.

But, to those two specific presenters in particular:
Thank You; you have allowed me to escape,
( for a little while ) back to a world
that I so desperately miss –

a time when adults were actually capable
of presenting themselves with maturity
and some degree of elegance.

Thank you so very much.

Whilst Miss Worsley’s dress is impeccable
in all her documentaries,
the young man is a new face for me …

and I wonder if I dare hope that this might
set a ‘trend’ for those who actually want to be
perceived as ‘professional’

to begin once again presenting themselves
as being mature enough, and competent enough,
to dress like adults
rather than ill-disciplined, lazy street urchins.

If not, and it transpires that this is but some
temporary aberration,

I am so very grateful to have experienced it.

P Livingstone
philiplivingstone.org

A Folk Tale … and Real Life

detail, Urashima Taro Returning
– Yoshitoshi Tsukioka, 1886

The story is told in Japan,
of a responsible young man named Urashima Taro.

One day, whilst walking by the sea,
Urashima Taro noticed a group of cruel boys
poking and tormenting a baby turtle on the beach.

Possessing care and compassion for the
suffering animal, Taro chased the boys away;
gently lifted the turtle, and carefully
released it back into the sea.

Some time later, while in his little boat at sea,
Taro heard a voice repeating his name.

Looking around and seeing nothing,
he then looked into the sea to find,
floating beside his boat, a turtle.

The turtle spoke to Taro and told him that,
if Taro left the boat and climbed on to its shell,
he would transport Taro to the undersea kingdom
known as Ryugu-jo.

Though at first nervous and apprehensive,
once under water, Taro found that,
in that unknown environment, he could actually breathe.

The deeper he went, the more relaxed he became.

When the turtle arrived at a beautiful undersea palace,
a woman greeted him saying that she was a princess
who – wanting to visit the world of men,
had changed her form:

She was the turtle he had saved on the beach.

In gratitude, her father told Taro
that he could stay in the undersea kingdom
for as long as he wished.

For many days, Taro enjoyed the thrill and care-free life
of the undersea kingdom.

After a great deal of time had passed, however,
Urashima Taro thought of his family,
and desperately wanted to se them again.

The princess told him that she could not force him
to stay and, as he prepared to return to his old life,
handed Taro a box –

but telling him that he must never open it
in the world of men.

Returning home, Taro saw that the people in his village
were all strangers; and that his home
was now an empty field.

On inquiring about his family, Taro was told
that they had died … several hundred years ago.
Taro realised that, in the days he had spent
frolicking in the palace,
many years had passed in the world that he had left.

Realising that there was now nothing left for him
of his old life, Taro remembered the parting gift
given him by the princess.

Ignoring her warning, he opened the box and
– enveloped by a cloud of white smoke –
he was instantly transformed into an old man;
and in the realisation of this … Taro died.

I had never come across a satisfactory moral
for this old tale.

But to me – one was always evident.

I view the world, I suppose, ‘from the outside’ –
as a man whom no one wants to know:
whom multitudes regard as narrow-minded and morose.

But I too, look at the world and – while they see me,
I also see them …

In Taro, I see the fate and future of the majority
of the human race of the 21st century:
impatiently despising all calls
to self control and moderation;
moral discernment and selfless living –
many of whom, I believe, will one day
look back from their death-beds …

and realise that they have wasted
an entire lifetime
in the pursuit of vanity, greed;
entertainment, and ambition.

For me, this life is an opportunity to think
– and consider; and use the time given me
to humble myself;

to live as though I might one day actually
have to give an account of myself before God;

and to exercise empathy, discretion,
and integrity … as well as remorse
for the times when I have failed.

“Good” or “Bad” … “Right” or “Wrong”
it seems, is now determined upon nothing
greater than

My house; My family;
My possessions; My career;
My church; My country; My memories –

“Me” … “My” … and “Mine”.

Urashima Taro realised – too late –
that the whole of his life was gone.

How many, I wonder, in the final hours of their life,
have developed the realisation – too late –
that the same was true of them …

… that the constant pursuit of Entertainment
and Ambition had stolen their entire life ?

It was the observation of John Owen –
chaplain to Oliver Cromwell – that,

“And hence it is come to pass, that
wherever there have been complaints of
faults, miscarriages, errors
… their counsels have only been
how to destroy the Complainers,
not in the least

how they should reform themselves … ”

Those who are False,
Hate those who are True.

The mass of people will have little or nothing to do
with a man or woman who displays sober-minded
consideration in daily life.

Often, such a person will be despised
and ridiculed as “narrow-minded”.

Is that an insult … Or is it a compliment ?

I may not like to be without friends in my life, but
I can certainly appreciate Why it is happening.

And, as I have no desire to be, to imitate –
what I see and hear around me,
I am obliged to accept it.

I greatly value the lesson that I took
from the tale of Urashima Taro …

I choose to lament now
– to feel shame, and be sorry for those occasional times
when I have selfishly, in ignorance or emotion,
upset people through something impulsively said –

rather than to realise, on my deathbed,

that I have lived life as a pathetic,
self-centred narcissist
whose sole incentive for existing
was the pleasure and promotion

… of Me.

P Livingstone
philiplivingstone.org

And What Does MY Life … Say About Me ?

It is possible to murder a man without
stopping his heart.

Considering

A man named Hugh.

A dog named ‘Bobs’.

And the woman who ensured
that their lives ended in misery.

“We must not speak ill of the dead”
is the mantra of those who demand
‘respect’ for malicious people;

and silence from their victims,
whose grief, pain, and misery continues
long after their tormentor is gone.

But there are Bullies …
and Bullies who pretend to be “victims”.

Both strive to domineer,
disgrace, and destroy
the life of someone else.

Is ‘getting your way’, career, or vengeance,
worth it … ?

You may think so.

But in the process of ‘getting what you want’,
you reveal your true character
to the world.

It is inconceivable that there could exist
any child – raised in Britain in the 1960’s,
who did not know the name of Enid Blyton.

For those of us growing up in the mid to late 60’s,
Blyton’s books were pure adventure.
Boys and girls alike could picture themselves
right in the middle of any of her adventure
or mystery stories.

She wrote as if she were one of us –
from the personal perspective of a boy or girl,
looking around us at,
or listening to the conversations of,
the adults in whose world we were living.

Blyton’s children – like those of us in Britain
in the 1960’s,

were taught common sense by our parents;
and exercised our bodies, minds, and morals
out in the fresh air, rather than having
our brains stupefied and morals depraved
in front of a screen.

Manners were DEMANDED of us;
and we spoke to, and regarded adults with,
courtesy and genuine respect.

And while those facts may make
them laughable to legions of belligerent,
back-talking brats of today,

for us, we WERE those children; and instantly
imagined ourselves in those pages,
right alongside them.

Enid Blyton was “one of us”.

One of us … that is,
because we could never, ever have suspected
the way in which she treated people who trusted her.

The way she treated even her own dog.

Had I known the truth about “Bobs”,
I would have thrown every one of her books
in the bin.

Enid Blyton was born on the 11th of August, 1897,
to Thomas Carey Blyton and his wife, Theresa.

Enid’s childhood was marred by the terrible arguments
that she and her brother had to listen to
once the children went to bed.

When she was 13, Thomas Blyton left his family
to continue an extramarital affair
that he was having with a woman.

Her father’s departure was the reason
that Enid began to write stories in which children
had adventures without the presence of adults

In 1920, her father, Thomas died.
Enid did not attend his funeral.

Enid was 27 when, in 1924, she met a Scotsman,
Hugh Pollock, whose father had run a bookshop in Ayr.

In October of 1913, Hugh had married Marion Atkinson
… who would become his reason for leaving
the Scottish town.

Whilst overseas during World War 1, Marion
became embroiled in an adulterous affair, brutally
informing Hugh that she was leaving him
for someone else.

With no desire to return to the place
of his happy memories, Hugh obtained employment
as an editor with the Newnes Publishing Company
in London,

It was here that he would meet a remarkably
child-like woman who came to Newnes Publishing
to inquire about having a typescript printed.

The woman was Enid Blyton.

Despite being abandoned by a wife who preferred
to live in open adultery, Hugh was still legally married.

At Enid’s suggestion, he obtained a divorce
and married Enid in 1924, in a private ceremony
to which her family was not invited.

Having married a man in the profession of
book publishing, Enid Blyton was now well placed
to establish her writing career.

Told by her physician that she could not bear children,
Enid began a six-year series of hormone treatments,
which resulted in the arrival of a daughter, Gillian,
who was born on the 15th of July, 1931.

Due to Enid’s obsession with writing, however,
Gillian was raised almost entirely by a nanny –

– a situation which, strangely, did not seem to bother
the elder daughter who, as a mature woman,
justified the fact by pointing out that her mother’s
career was flourishing – (something which, evidently,
made her mother’s selfish neglect excusable.)

The practice of ‘mothers’ sacrificing
the care and nurturing of children
to the vanity of a career …
was underway well before the late 1960’s.

Gillian’s acceptance that she and her little sister
took second place to money and fame,
was the bizarre frame of mind that resulted in
both sisters being estranged from each other
as mature women.

I remember being horribly upset to learn
the truth about the family dog, Bobs –
the inspiration for, and subject of,
a set of children’s books that Enid had published
entitled, fittingly … “Bobs”.

Upon successful sales of the “Bobs” series,
Enid spoke publicly about the disgrace of owners
who neglected to give suitable attention to their own dogs.

Yet, rather than show gratitude to her muse,
Enid showed … nothing … when it most mattered.

As much later recounted in a 1996 article
in the Irish Times, her lack of empathy had been noted
by one of the family’s household staff
when the family gardener, Dick Hughes,
became disgusted by the lack of
attention being given to Enid’s ailing dog, “Bobs”

Approaching the mistress of the house,
Hughes all but demanded that Enid call a vet
for the dog whom – the gardener insisted,
was extremely ill.

Enid ignored the man’s pleas.

Despite his best care and personal attention,
Bobs the Dog died as the gardener
cradled the suffering animal in his arms.

Upon burying the dog, Hughes found little difficulty
in despising the woman who refused to show
any sympathy for the grievously suffering animal
that had greatly enhanced Enid’s
all-too hypocritical career.

It was in 1935, upon the arrival of another daughter,
Imogen, that Enid told the new nanny, Mrs Richards,
that she did not want to be bothered
with the care of the child at all.

Declarations made in her later biography
are quite incredible: that is to say,
the hypocrisy is beyond belief –

“You wouldn’t expect me to neglect
my own children for others, would you?
… All true mothers will know what I mean
when I say that.”
[Blyton, The Story of My Life, Pitkins, 1952 ]

Enid lost no opportunity in taking advantage
of press photographers who would request
a photographic session with the famous
children’s author …

the ‘photo shoots’ were the isolated times
that Enid actually … did … call the children
to spend time with her.

Everything was done for the camera.

Equally incredible were the statements
made in interviews, noting how her younger daughter
“loved” her latest books,
and never tired of reading them.

As Imogen would recount in later years,
she neither saw those books, nor had her mother
so much as asked her opinion about any of them.

With the advent of lavish social gatherings
which turned the family house over to hordes
of vacuous strangers, Hugh began to withdraw
… attempting to anaesthetise his loneliness
and disappointment with liquor.

In 1941, whilst on holiday in Devon,
Enid was introduced to a physician
named Kenneth Waters.
The pair promptly leased a flat in London,
which they rented under nurse Richards’ name.

Almost constantly ignored, Hugh –
quite understandably – found companionship
with Ida Crow, a woman whom he had first met
in 1927, when she came to Newnes’ Publishing
Company to inquire about having one of her own
manuscripts printed.

After that initial business relationship
and subsequent separation due to war,
the pair began to talk, and then meet socially,

In 1942, Blyton – well into her adulterous affair
with Kenneth Waters – demanded a divorce
from the man who had given her the chance
at being a published writer.

Concerned only that the divorce not tarnish
her public image, in yet another characteristic
display of perverse selfishness, Enid told Hugh
that, if he ever tried to see the children,

she would cut … THEM … out of her will.

Out of concern for his children, Hugh agreed
to Blyton’s demands and accepted full legal blame
for the divorce by citing his relationship with Ida.

( Hugh – 19 years Ida’s senior, would eventually
marry her in October, 1943. )

Hugh Pollock

With Hugh out of the house, Blyton lost no time
in moving her lover, Kenneth Waters, in.

Not content with getting what she wanted,
Blyton then embarked upon a course of ruining
Hugh’s name and character as best she could.

Her vindictive malice levelled an ultimatum
to Newnes – the publishing company of her books,
to inform them that she did not want Hugh
in their employ.

Hugh Pollock was fired.

Having demanded an end to their marriage,
and destroyed the man’s career,
Enid next changed the names of the girls
to that of her new, surgeon husband. Waters.

Hugh – the man that created her career, was now
– in every figurative way possible – effectively
… ‘dead’.

For another 7 years, he struggled to find work
outside the publishing industry from which
Enid had him ostracised,

As Blyton’s riches poured in, Hugh Pollock
was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1950.

(After Hugh’s death in 1971, and in an effort to
‘clear’ his name and reputation that had been
so savagely destroyed by Blyton,
Ida Crow would later reveal to the world,
her account of the vindictive woman
known as “Enid Blyton”.)

A Call to Self Examination

Lapses of sound judgment, occasional outbursts
from fear or frustration are the Uncharacteristic
failures of even the most honourable of men
and women that will never be mentioned
by those who are decent human beings.

BUT there is a vast difference between the
rare human failings of a kind and considerate
man or woman,

and the Continual practice of selfishness,
apathy, or malice in someone who lives for Self.

There are more than a few for whom even
‘charitable work’ is performed to produce a
‘good opinion’ amongst the public.

Such individuals are generally without
a moral conscience that would trouble them
for their own self-serving depravity.

Enid Blyton’s father died in 1920.
She did not attend the funeral.
Enid Blyton’s mother died in 1950.
She did not attend the funeral.

Enid Blyton’s dog made her a household name.
She allowed it to die in distress and suffering,
by refusing medical help despite her gardener’s pleas.

Enid Blyton’s husband, Hugh Pollock
launched her career in 1924.

She Maliciously DESTROYED
his name,
personal reputation,
and career.

And forbade him
to ever see his daughters again.

Ruined, disgraced, bankrupt – but loved by Ida Crow,
Hugh lived out the remainder of his life, with Ida,
in Malta, where he died at the age of 83.

Eldest daughter Gillian would later learn that,
on the day of her wedding, her father quietly stood
on the footpath across the road from the church,
just to see his daughter walking from the church
as a new bride.

No tender-hearted man deserves the kind of cruelty
that was visited upon Hugh Pollock by the mother
of his children.

Hugh Pollock, the maliciously abused husband
of Enid Blyton, died in 1971. He outlived the
loathsome Kenneth Waters – Blyton’s conscienceless
lover … who died in 1967.

Ida Crowe, the woman who would provide Hugh
with the companionship that he neither received from
his first wife, or from Blyton … died at the age of 105,
on the 3rd of December, 2013.

Enid Blyton’s eldest daughter Gilliam (Baverstock)
died on the 24th of June, 2007.

Imogen (Smallwood), born in 1935, lives in South London.
Her autobiography is entitled, A Childhood at Green Hedges,
[Methuen, London, 1989]

The price of one woman’s Vanity
was the ruin and misery of those
who were closest to her.

And she was happy to pay it.

What example have I set to others,
in the time given me on this earth ?”

Has my Personal Life been used
as a constant source of self veneration –
pursuing Vanity, Vengeance, Ease,
and Entertainment ?

Or has my life demonstrated to others
that I have lived

for some higher purpose ?

P Livingstone
philiplivingstone.org

Film Review … Wings of the Dove

Despite my loathing for Hollywood
and the dross it unleashes to a grateful world,
I was asked, recently, if I would write
a film review:

“There must be SOME movie that you have
sat through and enjoyed … ? ”

There was … One.   A British production.

“She’s come here to live, not to die.
She doesn’t want our pity.”

“What does she want?”

“Your love.”

The only English language film that I could suggest
in answer to the assertion that there must be
“SOME movie” that I sat through,

would be the 1997 production … “The Wings of the Dove”

In this film, actors Helena Bonham Carter,
Linus Roache, Alison Elliott, and Elizabeth McGovern
feature in a tale set in 1910 London and Venice.

It was, for me, a Morality Play – and, certainly
for a mature audience that can sit through
actual conversation – rather than profanity,
violence, and explosions.

A third of the way into the film,
a revelation is made about ‘Millie’;

from this point, the story is completely concerned with
scheming, greed, and … conscience.

Interestingly enough (for me, anyway) –
I cannot recall (with every willingness to be wrong)
that there was one bit of obscene profanity in the whole thing.
Amazing how they can do it, if they want to.

Now, this is not fit for any child – literal or mental.
There is, towards the end, a graphic scene with nudity
– sexuality, even — which is … PRECISELY the whole point
of the story.

(If you wish to see the film … Do Not proceed
with this review. For those able to still follow
a story whilst being aware of the premise … )

It is the moral reality – for those of us
left in the world who possess a conscience,
that makes this film a mirror to the soul:
something that is instantly relatable …

Ill-gotten gain;
treachery towards someone;
and conscience bringing such disgust
that one conspirator could not bear to celebrate
… “success”.

As the final scene makes abundantly clear.

Better to live alone
than to commune with “successful” predators.

Not a message which, I suspect, is often conveyed
by Hollywood studios.

Though struggling to detach myself from the nostalgia
of having walked those same Venetian streets
(Piazza San Marco too many times to count)
as a school-teacher in the area,
I cannot see how anyone possessed of feeling
could fail to be stirred by this celluloid story.

Indeed, it would take an heart of stone to
Not be moved at the scene where
a grief-stricken man kneels beside a sofa;

or to find immense satisfaction
in the result of that final ‘bedroom scene’
and aftermath.

“Give me your word of honour
that you are not in love with her memory.”

I never expected Film to arise
as a topic on this site – but then again,
the emotional pain of tender-hearted people
is something to which I can profoundly relate:
And would be the only type of film
that I could possibly watch to its end.

As this British production is the only
English-language film
that has any worth or significance to me,

I hope that this summary, and these thoughts,
will pass well enough for my version of a ‘Film Review’.

P Livingstone
philiplivingstone.org

Nishikigoi … and The Garden Pond

I said nothing.
And hung up the telephone.

Having purchased the house in September of 2009,
my wife and I ventured out during a sub-zero ‘cold snap’
one December morning,
to plan where to begin the work that would be needed
to rejuvenate its somewhat neglected garden.

Arriving at the far end of a raised portion of ground,
I paused and bent down to tug at the protruding end
of an old, partially buried … kitchen sink.

What I saw made me miss a breath.

There, in a corner, in the equivalent of about
two cups of water … were two goldfish
almost encased – solid – in ice.

I was deeply distressed by the sight;
disgusted that two fish had been
overlooked and forgotten;
and tried not to think of them dying like that.

Giving the ice a sharp tap in attempt to, at least,
remove and bury the fish properly,
I was shocked – when the block came loose,
to see ice water flow from beneath,
… and one of the fish move.

Trying not to actually drop the ice in my
what-can-only- be-described-as ‘controlled panic’,
I rushed inside the house and immediately
began filling a bucket with cold (ignoring the
overwhelming desire to want to warm the fish) water.

Adding a generous amount of chlorine neutralizing
drops, I returned to that disgusting, discarded sink
beneath the tree.

Placing ice and fish in the bucket,
I brought them indoors; sat cradling one in each hand,
and could not believe it when both
began to move and swim feebly on their own.

Genuinely upset, I found the house sale papers,
turned to one section in particular,
picked up the telephone
and called the woman whose house we had bought,
to tell her of my ‘find’, and that
her overlooked fish were alright.

“Oh,” she replied … “they’re still there?”
“We just let the fish freeze every winter,
and buy new ones in the spring.”

I was livid.
Said nothing.
Felt the silence.
Ignored her ‘Hello? Hello?”
And hung up the telephone.

getsumei … his name means “moonlight”
– here, photographed in the moonlight.

They feel the cold,
they feel frightened,
they feel pain,
and they play when they are happy.

They are fish.
And, like any animal, they deserve the care
of any human being
who has them in their garden.

Nothing is as loathsome to me as Apathy –

the type of vicious, obscenity-spewing savages
that are lauded as “ real men” today
are brute beasts who openly reveal themselves
as such to anyone of maturity.

But self-centred ingrates who “use”,
and “enjoy”, or in any way ‘benefit from’
a person’s work, efforts, or good will;
or the loyalty or affection of an animal,
and yet refuse to go ‘out of their way’
to lift a finger in gratitude,

are the most repulsive of creatures:
characterless hypocrites who know to do good,
but CHOOSE to do nothing.

Listening to comments over the past forty years or so,
it seems that that the reason why
conscientious people shy away
from having a fish pond in their garden,
is that they feel overwhelmed
by the responsibility of keeping both pond
and its inhabitants … “clean”.

If it might encourage some caring person
to provide a home for fish (who will certainly
return the favour with their calming influence),
I wonder if the following few thoughts
and observations from experience
might possibly benefit to one or two folk ?

No one who has visited this site
and read its contents, will imagine
that I have any admiration for the Internet
viewing it (as I do) as the greatest method
– the television alone excepted –
ever invented by man
to promote ignorance, confusion,
conflict, and cruelty amongst human society.

It is the theatre for every form of narcissism;
the soap-box for every quick-buck con man;
and the podium for propagating
inexperience and ignorance;

It is a labyrinth of nonsense
promulgated by those who are out to
to ‘impress’, amass ‘followers’,
sell either personal agenda or business product,
or entertain the frivolous.

One may indeed find occasional truth –
but it comes after wading through a cesspool of fantasy,
vanity, malignity, and outright malice.

Common Sense, Empathy, a compassionate heart,
along with Basic Understanding
will do far more for that rare person endued with discretion,
than the massed hordes of Internet ‘experts’ combined.

By proposing a few thoughts from experience,
it may be that I will be able to encourage
one person who would like to give and receive
the mutual enjoyment that comes from
caring for a garden pond.

“A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast”
and, having always used this simple observation
as a indicator of any man or woman’s character,

it is a simple matter to mention that any animal
in my care is worth whatever effort it takes from me
to ensure its health and happiness …

Making a Home …

We arrived here in November of 2017 to find,
in the garden, an unreasonably enormous deck,
completely covered by a double-walled,
hard translucent plastic roof –
It was an unnecessarily luxurious affair
which just happened to come with the house.

As we would never use the thing, it was obvious that
it would be the perfect location for a free-standing
pool which would give the fish a much larger home

– and one which would be constantly protected from
cold rain (and the occasional snow fall) in the winter;
and the heat of a blazing sun, in the summer.

The roof covering the whole deck would mean that
there would not be even the possibility of threat
from leaves, flowers, or seeds
that might fall from the trees overhead.

The first stop was to a specialist lumber yard
for the purchase of fifteen, 4x6x10’
heavy ‘landscape’ ties.

After doing our best to be assured that the deck
was solid enough to support the weight,
– (a pocket camera was held underneath,
and photos taken with flash specifically
to see what was holding the deck boards up) –

we began the process of building the shell …

a layer of rigid plastic sheeting
was placed on the deck itself
to ‘pad’ the pond liner …

Special attention – and excessive time –
is always spent ensuring the liner
fits snuggly into the corners …

… and that folds are made with meticulous care
to make them as minimal, and smooth, as possible.

THE PUMP and POND FILTER

Now, a little word about all those remedies
and promises that will (I am sure) be found
on the Internet, on the subject of garden ponds,
algae, and ‘green water’ …

Yes, barley straw and ‘oxygenating’ plants are fine
IF you have a large, natural pond. The ‘field pond’
in our previous home filtered itself quite nicely –

there are, after all, country homes in Britain
and Europe, that use reed beds on boggy ground
as a sewage treatment centres
– and they do wonderfully well.

BUT once you move to smaller ponds,
the number of fish, resultant biological wastes,
sunlight, algae spores, and falling vegetation
all affect the confined environment
of smaller ponds.

Please take up my suggestion to INVEST
in a proper, quality filter
that will clean the water, neutralise the algae,
and remove waste from the pond itself.

Do Not frustrate yourself with the ‘advice’
promises, and do-it-yourself gizmos that
might work for one person in one specific location,

but will end up wasting your time, money,
and best intentions,
in a very short space of time indeed.

The Air Pump is thoroughly cleaned,
and all parts checked for signs of wear.

Merely a Suggestion: When considering airline hose,
the spiral ribbing is touted as being
much more resistant to crushing.

This it may well be, however, one must ask
quite Why anyone should be careless enough
to be crushing the hose in the first place.

(Those ‘valleys’ between the ridges
are a wonderful home for algae
– which cannot be readily removed
by washing alone – here, the ‘clean patches’
are where the sponge has removed algae;

the remainder provides some indication
of the difficulty in
getting in between the ridges.)

I have never, in over 50 years of caring for fish,
found any difficulty or disappointment with using
a quality, smooth hose …

The POND FILTER

The filter here is a very ‘standard’ one
that is made for ponds up to 2,000 gallons;
it will provide a clean, happy environment
for both fish and you.

Clean and check the filter unit –

examine the O-ring in the top channel;

clean and set the biological filter bags in place;

clean and insert the actual filter:

secure the lid in place and connect
the ‘input’ line from the pond pump,
and the ‘outflow’ line, which flows into the pond.

(The third outlet is used when cleaning the filter
– a hose is connected, and green algae-rich
fish-fertiliser-soaked water can be pumped
onto the garden beds.)

FILLING the POND

Once both filter and pump are again cleaned out
and rinsed thoroughly,
Water is added to stretch the liner …

With the pond filling always ENSURE that crucial
de-chlorinating liquid has been ADDED
to the household water supply.

Once the pond has been filled,
test the pump and filter unit.

This is the time to scrutinise the edges
of the ‘natural’ pond: checking for leaks
from water that is flowing backward
and escaping through some area of
liner whose fold lies below the water-line.

With the water flow started, THIS
is where the relaxing frustration begins —
arranging, and rearranging the rocks;

In a “Natural” appearing pond,
this means making what appears to be a natural ‘fall’
or distribution of rocks around the pond itself.

In a formal setting, it means selecting rocks and plants
amidst which, the fish may play and hide
– and generally not appear to be in a quarantine tank.

Two little birds enjoy a drink from the Water Garden pond.

After the essential de-chlorinating solution,
the waterfall reservoir is tested.

I follow the precaution of adding a final
deterrent to particles of muck getting through the filter
and being returned to the pond –

here, a piece of filter material is simply
slotted into place immediately before
the waterfall return:

The results, after three weeks, are self evident
beneath the surface of the water …

Plants having been added to give the fish
a ‘feel of their old home,
they are gently caught and placed in a large bag
to float in the new pool for a few hours
until the temperature in bag and pool are the same.

The whole project today has taken 10 hours,
and we are quite exhausted from our labours.

As cedar boards can be added later
to hide the exposed liner and act as a ‘top rail’
without any disturbance to the fish;

and stones placed gently at leisure
to provide a more ‘natural’ environment
in which the fish can play, and hide,
and generally feel secure …

… not wishing to subject them to
an unnecessary stay in a container overnight,
the fish are gently introduced into their new home …

The pond with completed Cedar Rail …

I hope that presenting this two-day project of ours
may encourage caring folk who visit here, to offer
a secure place for fish in their own garden.

A few more photographs, taken 30 seconds apart,
showing the fish during their first three minutes
in their new home …

Thank you for visiting today,
– PL

おつかれさま … More than Just a Word

Not Just a Word … a Mind-set

If I could … “inject” … one single word
into the collective conscience
of what may loosely be considered “Western Society”,
it would be this one –

お疲れ様 でした

The voiced pronunciation is … “Ot su kare sama”

– おつかれさま – and then, to denote past-tense,

でした – “desh ta”.

Not merely a Word … but a mind-set.

A Conviction. A Philosophy.

One that requires

Thankfulness,
Thoughtful Consideration,
and extends Kindness

for the work or effort that someone else has done.

The … つかれる … “tsukareru” in the word means
… ‘to be exhausted’.

“Ot su kare sama” recognises that
someone else has put in valuable effort.

It challenges the arrogance of Self Esteem;
makes those who are wise, Think;
and appreciates that the efforts of others
may actually excel my own.

It recognises that … “I” … am not
the centre of the world – that the efforts
of conscientious people in this world
are not here for you to take, and use,
and glibly walk away.

It is the very opposite of the Luciferian pride
and obscene deification of “Me” … that now
characterises the “Me First”, “Me Too” viciousness
of the 21st century hordes.

Such decency, though, will hardly be found
amidst collective modern humanity who display
their vulgarity, viciousness, and vanity
brazenly – without shame on the Internet,
for all the world to see.

If I could inject one word
into the consciousness
of those
who have no conscience,
it would be

おつかれさまでした

“otsu kare sama deshita”

not for the word …
but for the pre-requisites that are required
to voice it in its sincerity.

Sadly,

in an Age where every passing month
reveals successive obscene degeneration
and downright Viciousness

of the self-venerating, emotionally infantile,
technologically re-engineered masses
that now passes for ‘the human race’,

it is one language lesson
that I am certain

will never be tolerated.

P Livingstone

Thoughts to a Victim …

The desire of modern humanity
to inflict insult, degradation, and humiliation
upon other thinking people,
is nowhere more evident than on the Internet

– the public platform upon which
thousands of vicious human beings now reveal
just how vicious, and cruel, and depraved
they really are.

A Perverted Mind
sees perversion in everything.

An old man stands looking at children in a playground.

“Paedophile.”

Yes?

Is that not the first thing that comes to the
polluted cesspool that now passes for human thought?

I … see an old man looking at children,
I imagine him to be wistfully reliving his own childhood;
reflecting upon the dreams and hopes
that never came to pass in his life;

I … wonder if maybe that old man
has a baby, or a child, that he and his wife
laid in a grave decades before.

It does not occur to me, at all, that the man
is a depraved monster.

If anything, the depraved monsters
are the collective bulk of 21st century humanity
(the “majority”)

who saturate the earth, harbouring ill-will
and hurling abuse at anyone
who is not as rude, crude, selfish,
swaggering and ignorant as themselves.

The malignant nature of such individuals
can be readily determined
by letting them speak, write (or type)
for 5 minutes.

“Self Esteem” is the conceited veneration
of … Me. And multitudes bow down
to no higher God than themselves,
and their own self-gratifying opinions.

Viciousness, Vulgarity, and Ignorance
will always come out in the communication.

Those who delight to degrade people that are
more sober-minded, thoughtful, or intelligent
than themselves, almost IMMEDIATELY
resort to calling people names.

When anyone calls another person “Idiot”,
“Conspiracy Theorist”, (or any of the
degraded obscenities by which the Vulgar and
the Vicious reveal themselves openly to the world),

anyone of maturity will recognise that
it is the one levelling the insult,
that is the Ignorant Fool.

Those who cannot debate maturely,
or use considered intellectual skill,
invariably resort to the infantile practice
of bad-tempered children –

Name Calling.

Moral men and women stand against
evil and error – with mature conduct,
considered thought, and articulate language.

The Ignorant vomit out threats and obscenities
to bolster their arrogant opinions.

Those who are wilfully corrupt
have no moral argument,
and will demand the censoring of honest
or intellectual opponents.

A Mature Man or Woman is NOT Afraid
to let a philosophical or intellectual opponent
speak freely.

Because a Mature Man or Woman has the
… maturity … to hear conflicting thought,

and agree …
investigate further …
or reject accordingly.

And those who are honourable possess
the humility and moral decency to consider
that “I … may be wrong”.

The practice of Children – Literal or Emotional,
to dismiss people by calling them names,
is something that reflects upon the Emotional Infant
doing the name-calling:

and NOT the person receiving the abuse.

When I was growing up (and Common Sense
still existed in the world), adults (the name
used to mean those whose minds had developed)
were responsible enough to recognise
the use of obscenities as being the domain of
the Crude, the Rude, and the Ignorant.

Sadly, Crude, Rude, and Ignorant are universal
Characteristics of what now passes for “humanity”.

Crude, Rude, and Ignorant are considered to be
“normal” human communication.

The Internet is More Than Sufficient
to demonstrate the open depravity of collective humanity,
who have not the moral conscience
to blush with shame
at what comes out of their mouths

(and worse, keyboards – upon which,
they take the time to actually tap out profane filth.)

Having been abused by the Ignorant or Obscene
pronouncements of the vulgar and vicious masses,
simply –

Consider The Source.

Every person on the Internet who uses obscene
language and profanity
in the course of what they regard as ‘conversation’,

openly reveals the level of their OWN moral character,
their lack of self control,
their low standard of intelligence, and
their utter absence of moral conscience
towards those who hear or read their filthy language.

IF such vitriolic creatures ridicule
and degrade You …

they are declaring that You Are
at the Opposite End of the Human Spectrum
from Themselves.

And that, to me …is the greatest Compliment

that any foul-mouthed,
name-calling,
opposition-censoring Emotional Infant

could bestow.

Mature Men and Women will not resort to
conducting themselves like Bad-Tempered Children.

And if that is all the 21st century
now has to offer then,

hug your dog, stroke your cat,
or speak gently to your goldfish …

… and let the vicious hordes of modern humanity
wallow in their own rage:
You have better things to do
than trouble yourself with the likes of them.

Filthy language – for any reason – reveals
the Unprincipled Savage inside.

Countless multitudes are violently proud
of their Ignorance; and will become enraged
at anyone having the maturity to question,
counter, or correct their ignorance, apathy,
or error.

The degradation of crude human beings
is the greatest compliment that such creatures
can bestow.

Seek the company of those who are quiet,
peaceful, and conduct themselves
with civility and courtesy.

As for the Vicious Hordes …

just walk away.

P Livingstone
philiplivingstone.org