I hope you are alright and not worried about anything. I have had a good month and this edition was not too difficult to put together – thanks to others helping me out. The short story and poetry competition is being well supported and if you want to enter here are the conditions:
Short Stories can be up to 5,000 words and must be in English.
The prizes are £100, £50 and £25.
Poems can be about anything and there is one prize of £50 (sponsored by Brenda Condoll)
All entries must be received by midnight on the 31st December 2016 and sent to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
MY NOT VERY SERIOUS STARS
Scorpio 24 Oct – 22 Nov
A night out at bingo may prove costly but very enjoyable. If you are looking for a mate then remember the bait you dangle will determine what you catch. Don’t mix your new medication with the alcohol you constantly crave.
Sagittarius 23 Nov – 21 Dec
You should stop leading people on if you are not interested in them and just using them to boost your ego. The government may tell us we all need to cut back but beware that they make no sacrifices and have everything they want. A good time to start collecting unusual coins.
Capricorn 22 Dec – 20 Jan
A taxi driver may help you out when you really need help. It may be a good time to join a political party and try to make your voice heard. Something you did in the past will come back to haunt you. Take your loved ones to a firework display.
Aquarius 21 Jan – 19 Feb
A trip to an open zoo may prove educational and make you more aware of an endangered species. A visitor may outstay their welcome, but it may because they are lonely, so be patient with them. Start wearing more red as it suits you.
Pisces 20 Feb – 20 Mar
This month your hair may start to fall out but don’t worry as there are plenty of good wigs on the market. A former doctor may deride alternative medicine but do follow your instincts and be prepared to try something new. Consider making some vegetable soup.
Aries 21 Mar – 20 Apr
An autistic thief may annoy you by stealing some of your ideas. A colleague from work will become a firm friend and a shop keeper you know may be kind to you in a way you didn’t expect. Be careful if someone asks you to ignite their rocket.
Taurus 21 Apr – 21 May
You must really stop putting yourself down as you are a very intelligent and compassionate person. A friend may worry you by coming truly manic, but remember they are not really ‘happy’ and need to be encouraged to take their medication. A good time to start a new career as a window cleaner.
Gemini 22 May – 21 Jun
Remember it is better to try and do something rather than just talk about it – you must take steps to ensure you don’t become a ‘could have/would/should have been’ person. A game of darts would do you good and improve your social life. Do something about your toothache.
Cancer 22 Jun – 23 Jul
You will never be happier than this month. A new lover will put some fizz into your life. A religious person may make you feel guilty about your lifestyle but don’t listen to them and do your own thing. It is a great time to have a party and let your hair down with friends.
Leo 24 Jul – 23 Aug
A refuse collector may remind you how much we rely on other people, this month. Try some duck eggs to break the tedium of breakfast time. A prostitute may show you there’s a lot more to her than just the work she does. A close friend needs your help.
Virgo 24 Aug – 23 Sep
Your partner may disappoint you in the home but you did know what you were getting when you signed up for it – so give them a break. A chocolate cake would be a nice present for the people who have just moved into your neighbourhood. A good time to stuff yourself with parkin.
Libra 24 Sep – 23 Oct
A woman wearing headphones, who you meet at the train station, will prove to be very superficial and very shallow so get away from her as quickly as you can. Pay extra attention when driving on a motorway as you will have to think for other drivers. Don’t eat too many boiled eggs if you intend to socialise a lot this month.
PETER COATS TALKS ABOUT HIS INTERESTING LIFE
Peter, how would you describe yourself to someone who had never met you? I’m a wanderer.
Where were you born? Huddersfield.
Have you travelled a lot? Yes, I have travelled a lot but I have a wanderer’s attitude and I wander a lot.
What sorts of places have you been to? All over. I’ve worked in Africa and the West Indies.
What kind of work did you do there? Forestry.
Is it true that you actually knew Bob Marley? Yes, I used to live next door to him on Hope Road, in Kingstown, Jamaica. I rented the house as a favour to a friend and the government was paying for it.
What was it like living next to Bob Marley – was he just a regular neighbour? No, he was Bob Marley. He cared for a lot of people in his house on Hope Road. The reason I got to know him was because when I took over the house, his girlfriend’s friends were living there and continued to do as I quite liked the company. So he came into the house and that’s how I got to know him.
Was he a nice man? Yes, he was fine but he wasn’t very talkative and I’m not a great conversationalist. I didn’t know him that well. There were also other pop singers visiting the house at that time.
What was it like to live on Hope Road? It was great and I was only in my twenties.
Do you follow any spiritual path? Yes, I do. I would say I’m a Christian and a Quaker – they believe God is in everyone. The thing is lots of people define their Christianity with beliefs whereas I don’t do that at all.
Have you time for other faiths? Yes, I’m fine with other faiths. I have done lots of Buddhist practise in the past. But institutions become political as they are composed of human beings.
Have you spent most of your life outside the UK? No. But a fair amount of time. I’ve been on a lot of trips to Asia: India, Thailand and Vietnam. I like that part of the world.
What do you like about it? Mainly, it’s just somewhere to get away in the winter. Also I’m curious about people so I do like to visit different countries – it makes you think about things a lot as you can walk around in your own little world at home asleep – but you can’t do that when you’re in a foreign land.
Have you ever been married Peter? No.
No regrets? I wouldn’t say I’ve no regrets. Marriage is very bindery. If I’d got married maybe I would have had regrets about not doing the things I’ve done.
Any children? No, not that I know of anyway.
Now that you’re retired how do you spend your time? Good question! I read, watch a bit of telly – I like history documentaries. I’m also very interested in religion and ideas. I would also say I’m into philosophy.
Have you got any hobbies? No, I don’t and sometimes I wish I had. My brother is a Second World War re-enactor with a jeep and he dresses up with like-minded people. A bit of me thinks it’s a bit daft but another part of me thinks it would be good to have a big hobby like that.
What are your hopes for the future – are you going to travel again? Yes, I expect so. Yes definitely, why not whilst I have health and can afford it.
Are you frightened of dying? No.
Do you believe in ghosts? They are a possibility but I believe everything we see is in the mind. There’s no reason why there aren’t ghosts but we might not see them anymore. When I was a child I was putting flowers on a grave and there was a man there who said it was his wife’s grave. As I was staying near the cemetery with my grandmother, I took the man back home and when I banged on the door to be let in, he disappeared! It’s a funny memory.
Did you enjoy your childhood? It’s hard to say as I have a lot of it hidden away – so probably not a lot. The family for me was very difficult and I enjoyed being away from them. I think that’s why I became a wanderer as I’ve always preferred my own company.
Do you subscribe to the idea of alternative therapies? I’ve done things when I was younger like transcendental meditation because I was very curious about myself. I don’t bother with it all now as they all come from a position of making yourself better. I actually think it is a false teaching and we are perfectly alright as we are.
OVERGATE HOSPICE NEWS
Memorial Service at Halifax Minster
Sunday 27th November at 2 00pm
Join us for a short service including a performance from the West Yorkshire Police Band where you can light a candle in memory of a loved one.
Tea and coffee will be served after the service.
Sunday 4th December at 4 00pm
Join us as we light our tree and give a short service while our thoughts are with those who can’t be with us at Christmas.
Following the service, refreshments will be available at Elland Cricket Club.
Hebden Bridge Town Hall
Wednesday 7th December at 6 30pm
Join us for a short service outside the Water Front Hall where we will light candles and remember loved ones at this special time year.
Refreshments will be available following the service in the Water Front Hall.
Thursday 15th of December at 6 30pm
Join us once again, as we light our tree and give a short service while our thoughts are with those who can’t be with us.
Following the service, refreshments will be available in Day Hospice at Overgate.
You can, and it’s free simply head over to the Advertising page to see what you can get ?
FUN QUIZ FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH
- Who is the lead singer of Dire Straits?
- To which political party does Nicola Sturgeon belong?
- Who now makes Skoda cars?
- From which country does Guinness originate?
- What is the name of the Tour of Spain?
- In which British county is the town of Hebden Bridge?
7. What is the capital of New Zealand?
8. What is the currency of Japon?
9. Which constituency does Jeremy Corbyn serve?
10. Who played the original Incredible Hulk?
11. How many states make up the U.S.A?
12 Who was the first Britain to win the Eurovision Song Contest?
13 Which British football team plays at Loftus Road?
14 Who played the angel in Highway to Heaven?
15. Who is Jamie Lee Curtis the daughter of?
16. To who is Queen Guitarist Brian May married?
17. What is the capital of California?
18. What is the name of the British Astronaut who recently spent time on the International Space Station?
19. What nationality is tennis player Novak Djokovic?
20. Where is Lake Windermere?
Quiz Answers At the BOTTOM of this page below here (simply scroll down):
Written by Michael BlackburnSurely you don’t want more about Space? How much more can there possibly be? Actually –quite a lot more if you can bear it. If not tell Dean and he will make me stop.In the last episode we were on our way to Alpha Centauri – well not us but the thousands of ‘wafesats’ which the billionaire Yuri Milner had sent into the vacuum of space. The year is now 2026 which has given Yuri the ten years of planning which he anticipated. We move quickly onto the year 2046 and, if all has gone to plan, the ‘wafesats’ should have reached their destination. From here on we have to move from science to science fiction. What will they find? What might they find? It can only be speculation.What Yuri Milner, Stephen Hawking and Brian Cox hope to find is some form of ‘life’. That begs the question ‘what is life’? On Mars the rovers have been digging hoping to find anything which may resemble ‘life’. A tiny bug or a single blade of grass would have been enough to cause immense excitement in the world of astronomy. Having found nothing the plan is to send a man-like robot to Mars which will be able to dig much deeper – always looking for that elusive sign of ‘life’. Not yet having found it in our solar system perhaps it will be found in the solar system of Alpha Centauri.
Things are moving so fast that the 4” ‘wafesats’, weighing a few grams, which I told you about in the last article, have now become the size of a postage stamp and weigh 1 gram. Their name has changed from ‘waferats’ to ‘starchips’. Miniaturisation seems unstoppable and it wouldn’t surprise me if the ‘starchips’, or whatever we want to call them, finish up the size of a grain of rice. Sorry if things keep changing. I can only keep you up to date with whatever takes place.
When the ‘starchips’ start examining the surrounds of Alpha Centauri they will be looking for other planets as well as the one which has already been seen by earthbound telescopes. Then they will carry out experiments to try and locate ‘life’. To do this they will examine the atmosphere around the planets. It is known that the combination of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen can be a source of chemical energy on which life depends. So if the ‘star chips’ detect such an atmosphere excitement on our planet Earth will be intense.
But now comes a paradox. What if we discover an intelligent life which is way ahead of ours? If my memory serves me right then I’m sure, some months ago, I can recall Stephen Hawking suggesting that we should be wary of making our whereabouts known to other intelligences. We have no idea of their strengths or of their intentions towards us – which leads me on to what our intentions would be towards them. Our Earth cannot be called a place of peace and if another intelligence came to visit us then, driven by fear, our whole world might unite to destroy the visitors before they even had chance to say “take me to your leader”!
It has even been suggested that ‘flying saucers’ might have been intelligent beings, way ahead of us in technology, who had managed to overcome space travel and had come to say “hello” but when they saw the mess we are in: arguments, wars, nuclear bombs etc. decided to leave us to sort ourselves out and went back home as quickly as they could! I know it sounds like science fiction but it has been considered. It would be arrogant to suggest that our earth is necessarily the most superior in the Solar System. There may be many worlds way ahead of ours. We just need to find them and perhaps make sure that they don’t find us! What a paradox!
There is another aspect which has been discussed (and I’m not making this up). It is possible that highly intelligent beings may have developed robots which could not only do all the work necessary but could also have been programmed to ‘think’. That scenario is frightening. ‘Thinking Robots’ are a danger. How can we be certain that their ‘thinking’ won’t become evil? Such Robots arriving on earth in space ships would present us with a challenge which I doubt anyone has considered.
In our exploration of the Universe we have only gone as far as Alpha Centauri which is in our own Galaxy. It is estimated that there are billions of other stars in our Galaxy and billions of other Galaxies in the Universe, which, for me, makes it certain that there will be intelligent life somewhere out there. How far ‘out there’ can we go? Well, actually a very long way.
The furthest galaxy which our radio telescopes have discovered is 18 billion light years away. That must have been created in the first few billion years after the Big Bang. The light from that Galaxy started its journey billions of years before our galaxy and our solar system were created which is estimated at 4.5 billion years ago. In seeing that galaxy we are looking back in time to the early start of the Universe.
Now we come to a problem (what, another one?). If the universe is 13.8 Billion years old how is it that we are seeing stars which are 18 Billion years away? The answer is that since the Big Bang when the Universe started it has been expanding hence the distance to the furthest star has become, and continues to become, further and further away.
There is at least one more Space article to come if you can cope with it – if not let Dean know.
LET’S TALK TO CHAPLAIN MARCUS BULL
Marcus, what do you do for a living? I am a teacher and also an ordained Anglican priest. I was a Baptist minister for about 12 years, and then I went back into teaching.
What did you teach? Maths at GSCE level until the school shifted me sideways and I ended up teaching Religious Studies and looking after the school’s Chaplaincy.
How did you feel about that? I thought it was a temporary thing. I wasn’t expecting it to turn into a full-time job so I’m now full-time at Trinity Academy Halifax. Also for the last two years I’ve been teaching Religious Studies and Philosophy and Ethics at ‘A’ level.
Did you initially train to teach Maths? Yes, this was my first qualification.
What made you change from Baptist to Anglican? I left the Baptist Church for various reasons and returned to teaching. Then the school offered me the Chaplaincy job but even now that I am a priest, I’ve no interest in going back to leading a church and happy to work in schools.
If someone asks you for proof that there’s a God, what do you say to them? That’s interesting as one of the core units of ‘A’ level Religious Studies covers this. First of all, my job is not to convert anyone. I don’t think it works to try and persuade people there is a God.
Yes, I believe there is a God. My role as school Chaplain is not to convert but provide for students and staff alike a positive experience of religion in general, and Christianity in particular. If a student leaves school not thinking Christians are weird people with two heads then I have done my job. I’m there as a presence.
How do you perceive God – is he just love? No, I believe in a personal God, a metaphysical God who has supernatural power. I don’t think God is omnipotent and there are things that God can’t know but he can change – Jesus died on the cross and shows God suffers and changes which is not what the classical theists claim.
Do you believe Jesus was the son of God? Yes, I believe God was incarnate in Jesus.
Do you believe God created everything? Yes I do. God’s the creator of the universe. I don’t believe the narratives in Genesis of God making the universe and Adam and Eve as history or science, but I try to show my students that the stories are true without being historically true – they convey truth about who we are and who God is. I also believe in evolution and the Big Bang Theory and I don’t see a conflict.
Do you believe in the Devil? I think there is evil in the world; I think sometime attributing it to the devil is an excuse to distract our attention away from ourselves. We don’t always take responsibility for our actions. I think the Devil/Satan is a narrative and the Bible uses it to personify evil.
So you don’t think the Devil is a fallen angel? I do think there is an evil power that maybe it’s appropriate to personify. I think a lot of the stories in the scriptures aim to explain how something came to be, but were written by primitive cultures thousands of years ago. The stories in scripture are important and are true and they are the foundation for Christian faith – but they require interpretation.
Do you think non-believers who try to be good all their lives will be alright? Yes I think so, but at the end of the day, I don’t know. I believe in a God who is all-loving and a God who doesn’t see anyone to be lost.
So do you believe in heaven? I’m not sure what it means as my definition of heaven may differ from someone else’s definition of it. I think heaven may not be a place rather just being with God.
How do you view other world religions – do you think they are avenues to the same place? I think they all have their wisdoms of the divine and that there are beautiful things in all religions. I think there is truth in all religions but Christianity is the consummate religion. But if you were born say in India and was brought up a Hindu and have done your best to be good then that will be good enough. When people do good God is pleased and recognises it. When people do evil, even in the name of Christianity, God rejects it.
Are you happy with your life? Yes I am. I am married to Claire and have a son called Thomas who takes his ‘A’ levels this summer. At the moment, I’m very happy in the job I’m doing and we have no desire to leave Hebden Bridge.
There has been a lot of talk in your magazine about cyclists being a nuisance on our roads. However, I think it is great that people are taking an interest in their health and well-being and at the same time relieving pressure on the NHS by being healthy!
Peter Rose, Manchester
Whilst I am not a churchgoer myself, I think the church community serves a really positive role for many people, regardless of whether you agree with its beliefs and views. I have a vulnerable friend who gets so much from being part of a church and having a ‘church family’ which supports him.
Dean Peacock, Aylesbury
I just want to say what a wonderful job the British Police Force does in serving us and keeping us safe every day of the year; I think it is a thankless task, with little reward, much of the time – and when they do something wrong they are crucified in the courts and in the media. I understand that one can argue that their main role is to keep the social status quo exactly as it is, but I still think they do much other valuable work.
Jane Brown, Coventry
I am writing to express the idea that the TV and film world exaggerate their own importance with tedious and regular awards ceremonies. Why don’t we instead have more awards for ordinary people who are much more productive in society?
Clive Houseman, London
There has been talk of older drivers being retested and I think this is a good idea. I have a neighbour in her eighties who is still driving when she is clearly unfit to do so – there is no way in a million years she would pass a test today! MAKE RETESTING LAW FOR EIGHTY YEAR OLDS!
Matt Rogers, Mirfield
Of course controlled immigration is a good thing for the UK, but we just seem to accept anyone and their family and they come and put pressure on our whole infrastructure. We should certainly help people who are in genuine trouble and need – but we can’t help everyone. Also I wonder how many immigrants are living in Theresa May’s village?!
Rebecca Smith, Colchester
Can I just say that I am dismayed by the recent talk of expanding grammar schools. I am against all forms of elitism and the comprehensive school system is much fairer and healthier than grammar schools and private schools – it is good that people from all walks of life are forced to mix and learn from each other.
Fiona Faulks, Oldham
I don’t think Britain should allow itself to be bullied into leaving the EU before it is ready to do so, and I think we should only do so when it is to our advantage. We will make a success of Brexit but only if we take our time and cover all the bases!
Mark Rampton, Leeds
I am writing in to complain about people who apparently don’t care about the size of their carbon footprint – I know a family who are forever going on holiday, by air, and don’t seem to give the environment a second thought. Do these people not realise we (at the moment) only have one planet which we must cherish?
Pauline Compton, Brighouse
Some people think it is perfectly acceptable for animals to be murdered to satisfy their appetite for meat. When you go to the supermarket, meat is all nicely packaged and far removed from the act of killing. I believe we should really have evolved from murdering innocent animals when there is so much more food readily available.
Don Eaton, Bangor
LET’S TALK ABOUT CARS
THE ADVANTAGE OF OWNING A CAR:
You can go where you want whenever you want.
“Is that all?” Er “Yes it is”.
THE ADVANTAGE OF NOT OWNING A CAR:
No Fuel to Pay for.
No Licence Required.
No Insurance Required.
No MOT Required.
No Parking Fees to Pay
No Speeding Fines to Pay.
No Drink Driving Problems.
No Service Charges.
No Tyre Problems.
No Flat Battery Problems.
No Light Bulb Problems.
No Exhaust Fumes Poisoning the Atmosphere.
No Faulty Starter Motor Problems.
No Faulty Exhaust Problems.
No stuck in traffic jams.
No Road Rage
“Is that all?” “There could be a lot more. But isn’t that enough?”
SHOULD YOU BE DRIVING?
If you have had to renew your driving licence then you will have had to complete a report on your eyesight and a long and detailed report on your medical condition.
If you are involved in an accident (even if it is not your fault) your Insurance Company could request a report on your eyesight and medical condition. If that report did not agree with the renewal form you completed then the Insurance Company could invalidate your policy and make no payment.
Because of the above it is certain that many, especially elderly people, are driving without insurance.
THREE RECIPES TAKEN FROM THE SMARTMEAL (SMARTMOVE) BOOKLET
3 chicken fillets
2 green or red peppers
1 400g tin of tomatoes
Jar of curry sauce
Method: Cook chicken in a bit of oil. Chop peppers and onions up.
Then put chicken, peppers, onion and tin tomatoes in a pan
and stir them. Add curry sauce and cook for ten-fifteen
minutes on a low heat. Boil water and add rice, cook for
ten minutes then serve rice out and add the curry.
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
225g (8 oz) red beans, cooked or 2 x 400g (14 oz) cans
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
Salt and pepperCheese Sauce 25g (1 oz) butter
25g (1 oz) plain white flour
275-425ml (10-15fl oz) skimmed milk
50g (2 oz) grated cheese
Salt and pepper
Method: Set the oven to 180C (350 F), gas mark 4. Fry the onion in
1 tablespoon of the oil for 10 mins, then add the garlic,
drained beans, tomatoes, tomato puree, mashing the beans a
little. Season with salt and pepper. Fry the aubergine slices
in the remaining oil until soft. Grease a shallow oven proof
dish: put half the aubergine slices into the base of the dish,
cover with half the red bean mixture and half the cheese
sauce. Repeat the layers, ending with the cheese sauce, then
sprinkle the top with grated cheese. Bake for 1 hour.
Melt the butter in a pan and stir in the flour. Cook for
a few seconds until the flour bubbles round the edges.
Turn up the heat and gradually start adding the milk
stirring all the time. Add the rest of the milk and keep
stirring until the sauce becomes thick and smooth. Take
the pan off the heat and stir in the grated cheese and season
with salt and pepper.
Ingredients: 2 ½ pounds of lamb stew meat
1/3 cup of olive oil
¾ pound onions, diced large, softened
4 teaspoons of chopped garlic
2 teaspoons turmeric
¼ teaspoon of ground cardamom
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
32 ounce can chopped tomatoes
1 cup of beef stock
Method: Sear lamb in olive oil in a heavy skillet. Add onions.
Sauté for 2 mins over medium-high heats. Lower heat to
Medium, stir in garlic, turmeric, cardamom, crushed red
red pepper and cinnamon and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring
constantly to avoid sticking. Add tomatoes and stock
and stir. Transfer to the slow cooker and cook for at least
five hours on medium heat. Serve with basmati rice.
- SmartMove is a homeless charity. We support people who are homeless or who are being threatened with homelessness, and we also support people who are already in an accommodation but are struggling to maintain their tenancy which could be for a number of reasons such as: learning disability, mental health or issues around domestic violence. We help people find a place to live through social housing or through the private route.
- Calderdale Smartmove can be contacted on: 01422 361515
THREE POEMS FROM CARTER VANCE
All Things Scarlet
Coming down with something’s case,
fever flush of card suits taken
too literal, whiskey-faced haggling
with diner shop case radio dials,
with dusty countertop linoleum for
a place to rest comforted hands;
I am no longer in darkened
rooms with chalk sketches,
with star charts searching June
skies for dusk.
The road polishes, near-reflecting black
of graceful shadowing leaping grandly
from pulpit page to dreaming ink,
it carves a winding gold river band,
a miner’s lung of bespoke ring fingers
from the sketch chart physician’s
notes we made of each other
(flopping haircut, skin strawberry milk shade).
Whirring, fan clatter cuts speech,
to hung ribbon strings from ceiling,
to adolescent party paper chains,
shedding their old tones for
something stronger played:
electric, with feeling.
From Primrose Hill
As you turn back in sepia,
Astaire-Rodgers light on
Southwark station bends, on
illuminating post-war tenement
brick ways, there isn’t something
more to say,
something more to pause upon.
As you look out on many-wandered
fields, plundered creation
of peace crowns, or sceptre
surrenders, as they link in
70s raincoat logic, and
spill full with unsent post,
you aren’t waiting again.
As you draw curtains from
clanging Friday’s air, humid
hanging with pressed lips
of tube driver’s strike talk,
there could still have been
some roiling wave of regret,
for passing taillights of noon hour.
Glory of ember fades,
imperial medals’ twinkling
takes on tea mug tones,
rusty bonnet cap kind
of rushing through cedar
sap places in daydream.
The baking blackness,
electric separation, finding
same holiday greeting card
lines no matter placing truth,
a blistered confession to be made,
of axel wobble sentiments.
Scale of self-help books,
making of wartime lives,
draws rough, approximate, map
of the last time we stood
in subway station tile,
or took to mispronounced names.
Nerves of not-so-young not-quite-lovers
sing still with nicotine twitch,
so signpost obvious in early evening.
Written by Brenda Condoll
Now that the summer is nearly over.
We must say that we had a fairly good summer
which was good for festivals and for garden parties.
Autumn is drawing nearer and begins on 22nd of September.
The weather will change –
it will be harvest time soon
when we will have harvest festival at church to celebrate it.
Bringing in the sheaves – we shall come rejoicing bringing in the sheaves!
Written by Michael Blackburn
I am fascinated by volcanoes. Their destructive power is awesome. In this article I hope to share my fascination. The earth was formed five billion years ago from dust, rocks and debris thrown out from our sun. It was a boiling fire of magna. Over many years it cooled down enough for a crust to form but the boiling magna continued as it does today. In the U.K. the magna is an estimated 40 miles beneath our feet but there are places where the crust is so thin that volcanoes break through. These are places where the tectonic plates are moving the continents apart.The fact that the U.K. used to be affected by tectonic plates is shown by the fact that Ben Nevis in Scotland and Snowden in Wales were once active volcanoes. The earth needs a safety valve to allow the magna to be released and that is provided by volcanoes but their unpredictability and their destructive force makes them frightening for anyone living near them.Perhaps the best known volcanic eruption was in 79AD when Vesuvius erupted in spectacular fashion which claimed 16,000 lives burying the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum under a thick blanket of ash. It can be said ‘that we don’t learn from our mistakes’ as now some 600,000 people live near the base of what it known as the Red Zone where people would have little chance if Vesuvius explodes again. But there have been many other destructive volcanoes.In April, 1815, the Mount Tamboro volcano in Indonesia burst into life so loudly that it was heard hundreds of miles away in Java. It contaminated the water and killed an estimated 10,000 people with another 82,000 dying indirectly from starvation and disease.
In 1783, in Iceland, the Laki volcano erupted and for eight months it spewed out lava and noxious gases. Approximately 10,000 people (a fifth of the population of the country) died but the damage didn’t stop there. The sulphurous haze reached Europe damaging crops and blocking out the sun. The ultimate death toll from Laki was impossible to estimate.
The 1980 eruption of Mount St Helens in the United States was an occasion when there was plenty of warning but nevertheless fifty-seven people died. The eruption was preceded by an earthquake which weakened a whole side of the mountain and created the largest landslide ever recorded. The eruption which followed deposited ash over eleven of the U.S. states and a volcanic mudslide reached the Columbia River nearly fifty miles away. Volcanologists had given plenty of warning so no lives should have been lost. But an old man who lived right under the volcano refused to leave. “I’ve always lived here and I will die here”. He did, along with fifty-six others who were determined to be as near to the volcano as possible when it blew. They paid the ultimate price.
We hear of tsunamis being started by earthquakes but they can also be triggered by volcanoes. An example which is waiting to happen is the Cumbre Vieja volcano on the Canary Island. Experts say it just a matter of time though that could be tomorrow, next year or in hundreds of years. ‘Time’ in volcanic terms is not precise! When this volcano does erupt scientist predict that it will throw out a massive rock twice the size of the Isle of Man.
This will cause a tsunami many thousand feet high which will cross the Atlantic towards the American Continent, by which time it will have reduced in size to but still high enough to cause catastrophic damage. It is estimated that the tsunami would take nine hours to reach America giving time for evacuations to take place. Low-lying land in Florida would be vulnerable with the sea wave inundating the mainland for several miles. The English Channel would also be affected with the wave causing appalling costal damage.
Volcanoes can be a danger to aircraft. In 1918 all four engines on a KLM flight failed and for five long minutes the 231 passengers were terrified as the plane glided down towards the sea. Eventually, after the plane had lost height, the crew managed to restart the engines. Ten hours earlier, 150 miles away, the Redoubt volcano had erupted. The KLM flight had flown into its volcanic ash which had caused the engines to fail.
In 1991 more than 20 aircraft were damaged by Mount Pinatubo volcano in the Philippines. Some of the planes were 600 miles away from the volcano. Air currents had carried the ash that long distance. More recently, in 2010, the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland caused massive disruption to airlines when most flights in Europe were cancelled for six days due to the ash cloud.
The earth’s crust on the sea bed is very thin and if it coincides with a tectonic plate then volcanoes are predictable. They start on the sea bed but as they grow they break through the water line and eventually become islands.
The largest potentially massive volcano in the world is in the Yellowstone National Park which is in Wyoming and parts of Montana and Idaho. It spans an area of 3,468.4 square miles, comprising lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges. It contains a huge caldera (a cauldron, volcanic depression). This caldera is in constant motion which is witnessed by geysers. One of them ‘The Old Faithful’ displays its hot water every 91 minutes.
Yellowstone contains two thirds of the world’s geysers. Historically there have been eruptions 2.1 million, 1.3 million and 640,000 years ago. Volcanologists keep it under constant review. Regular earthquakes are monitored to ascertain whether they may lead to volcanic activity. But the scientists suggest that, whilst there is magna beneath the surface, there are no signs of imminent eruptions. Estimates are that, if there were an eruption, the fall of ash would be devastating destroying agriculture and blocking rivers and streams thereby affecting water supplies. Ash blotting out the sun would be felt world-wide.
I hope this article will explain why I find volcanoes fascinating.
“Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.”
Moses (Exodus 33:20), John 1:18, and Paul (I Timothy 6:16) all say that no one can see God here on earth! But Jesus says the pure of heart shall see God! To be pure of heart means to be free of all selfish intentions and self-seeking desires. What a beautiful goal! How many times have any of us performed an act perfectly free of any personal gain? Such an act is pure love. An act of pure and selfless giving brings happiness to all.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.”Jesus gives us peace – “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you” (John 14:27). Peace is also a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Peacemakers not only live peaceful lives but also try to bring peace and friendship to others, and to preserve peace between God and man. But one cannot give another what one does not possess oneself. Praying for peace will help change your heart. The Lord wants you first to be filled with the blessings of peace and then to pass it on to those who have need of it. By imitating God’s love of man, the peacemakers become children of God.
“Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”The biblical passage continues to elaborate: “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12). Jesus said many times that those who follow Him will be persecuted. “If they persecute me, they will persecute you” (John 15:20-21). Before his Conversion, Saul persecuted the early Church in Jerusalem, which scattered the Christians throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria (Acts 8:1). St. Peter advised“Whoever is made to suffer as a Christian should not be ashamed but glorify God because of the name” (I Peter 4:16). The Woman who brought forth the male child destined to rule all nations with an iron rod was persecuted in Revelation 12.Stephen, Peter and Paul, nearly all of the Apostles, and many Christians in the Roman era suffered martyrdom. Oppressive governments and endless conflicts in the last one hundred years, such as World Wars I and II, and the Middle East wars in Iraq, Egypt, and Syria have seen their share of martyrs, such as Maximilian Kolbe, Dietrich Bonheoffer, Latin American martyrs, and Middle East Christians. St. Maximilian Kolbe offered his life in place of a stranger at the Auschwitz death camps on August 14, 1941. Dietrich Bonheoffer was a Lutheran pastor who was hanged on April 9, 1945 for condemning the leadership of Hitler in Nazi Germany. The Central American Martyrs include the 38 recognized martyrs of La Cristiada, the Cristero War from 1926 to 1929, when the Mexican government persecuted priests of the Catholic Church, such as St. Christopher Magallanes, St. Toribio Romo Gonzalez, and the 14 year old martyr Blessed Jose Luis Sanchez del Rio. Another Central American martyr was Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, who was assassinated while saying Mass at Divine Providence Hospital on March 24, 1980 for speaking out against government human rights violations.
As in the time of Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 2:23) and the early Christian Church (Acts 24:5), a Christian in the Middle East today is still called a Nazarene or in Arabic Nasrani or plural Nasara. Middle Eastern Christians have suffered severe persecution since the crises in Iraq and Syria. At least 58 Christians were slaughtered during Sunday Mass at Our Lady of Salvation Syriac Eastern Catholic Church in Baghdad on October 31, 2010. In July 2014 the terrorist Islamic State marked remaining Christian homes in Mosul with the Arabic letter Noon – for Nazarene, Nasrani, or Nasara – and advised residents that they have 24 hours to leave, convert to Islam, or die. Sixty thousand Christians in Mosul have been displaced from their homes, and over one million Christians have fled Iraq since the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003. It is estimated that the present turmoil in Syria has resulted in over 700,000 Christian refugees escaping to Jordan, Lebanon, and other Middle Eastern countries. But the Lord promised those that suffer for his sake will be rewarded with the Kingdom of Heaven!
LET’S TALK TO ANOTHER INTERESTING MAN CALLED SUDHIRO BOOTH
So Sudhiro, can you tell me a little bit about yourself? I’m English and I was born in Manchester. When I was about nine years old, I realised I couldn’t read or write and I didn’t know why. Later on I realised I was dyslexic. I went to a remedial school because I couldn’t read or write. We were all treated as backwards in school and in a way it affects you for the rest of your life – you start feeling inadequate.
But I got through my feelings of inadequacy through self-determination. I left school and did a succession of dead end jobs: butchery, in a fish factory, in a textile mill for two and a half years, as a gardener and also a plasterer which was a more skilled job.
I worked in Germany, have lived in America, spent time in Australia and Europe and also spent a long time in India.
Is it true that you lived in communes when you were younger? Yes, for the best part of my life.
What motivated you to live in communes? Well I fell in love with a teacher called Osho when I was in Puna in India, and I was with him for ten years before he died. Osho set up his communes all over the world and I felt these communes were the future. I wanted to be part of this movement of people – these amazing people who were very intelligent but very heart-centred.
Was Osho a guru? Yes he was a big guru. He used to read seven books a day and was a frenetic writer.
Did he follow his own religious path or did he follow and established one? No, he created his own religious path.
What was that called? Sanyas, which is an old Hindu term. A traditional Sanyasin is someone who has had a household but his wife dies and he becomes a spinster. The kids have left home so he starts to get ready for death. In India, someone who is preparing for death sells his house, gives away all his money and goes out on the road begging for alms in order to learn what death means – although they believe in reincarnation, he’s not preparing for the next life but to lose attachment to this life as unhappiness stems from attachment. It’s about letting go of this life gracefully – not fighting and screaming like many people do when they die.
When you lived in a commune in India, what did you do for money? Well I earned and saved a lot of money in England doing various jobs including working on an oil rig, and I lived cheaply so that I could finance some time in India. When money started to run out, I would return to England and repeat the cycle. There were Sanyasins in England and we were like a big family and we stayed with each other.
What was a typical day in a commune in India like? We got up and if you were a worker (worked in the commune) you’d probably do Dynamic Meditation in the morning which started about six am. This meditation entailed cathartic breathing, jumping up and down in the air, and shouting and screaming at the top of your voice. The aim of this was to rid yourself of frustrations you felt about people, especially in your childhood – this was all under an Osho umbrella and involved about 100 people doing it together! This lasts for about an hour and that was okay as when you are young you have the energy to do it. After this you showered and had breakfast in one of the big canteens. All the food was provided by the commune.
Where did the commune get food from? The commune had its own farm and also earned money from businesses it had around India and from tourists who paid to enter the commune. Many therapists from the West were attracted to the commune because of its innovative courses and this also brought in money.
What kind of other people did the commune attract? Seekers, people on the path and fruitcakes! People who are different fit into the commune way of living.
Did you eat meat in the commune? No, it was a vegetarian commune.
Would you live in another commune in the future? Yes, but it’s really geared for young people who have lots of energy – this is what the commune system asks of you. When I lived in the commune, I used to work 14 or 15 hours a day because I was young with a big heart.
I always felt incredibly lucky to have met Osho.
What are your interests in life now? I still like gardening, I love my dog Harry and I love people. I want to continue to grow spiritually and I’m heavily into meditation – I meditate as much as I can and attend a meditation class in Hebden Bridge on a Wednesday. I also ran a meditation class in my home for twelve years.
What are your hopes for the future – are you preparing yourself for death? Not really. What I didn’t mention was that I am a Neosanyasin and not a traditional one – Osho was preparing us for life and not death. I want to continue to learn to live ethically without harming anyone. I am bi-sexual and have had partners of both sexes.
What are you going to do after your beloved dog Harry has died? I have organised with the local Baptist Church for Harry to be buried in the church grounds. When Harry has gone, I intend to go and live for 2 months in a little village in the foothills of the Himalayas – away from the hustle and bustle of modern life. This will be part of my spiritual path.
Have you anything to add? Yes, I had a very loving mam and dad. I’m working class with two loving brothers and a loving sister.
Do they accept your sexuality? I’ve never shared it and I certainly didn’t tell my parents as the last thing I wanted to do was upset them.
(1) Mark Knopfler (2) Scottish National Party (3) Volkswagen Group (4) Ireland (5) Vuelta a Espana (6) Yorkshire (7) Wellington (8) Japanese yen (9) Islington North (10) Lou Ferrigno (11) 50 (12) Sandy Shaw (13) QPR (14) Michael Landon (15) Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh (16) Anita Dobson (17) Sacramento (18) Tim Peake (19) Serbian (20) Cumbria’s Lake District National Park
And Happy Halloween 🙂