Category Archives: Travelling

Happy Anniversary To Me . . . and Postal Votes!

I had a notice from WordPress today and, apparently, it’s been 4 years today, since I started Blogging on here.

It actually amazes me that I’m still doing it 4 years on, especially when I think of all the times when I just wasn’t well enough to come on here and whitter away, as is my habit!

The irony that today is the anniversary hit me when I saw it as, apart from checking my emails, I’ve been avoiding any kind of media today that I can, as I can’t bear the suspense with all the general election furore going on. Not because I don’t care, but because I care too much, and the results mean far too much to me, and many thousands of other disabled people.

Talking of which, I spoke to my daughter on the phone earlier on. She lives in Bristol, and we live in west Wales, and so we spend a lot of time either on the phone, or chatting through Facebook, especially when she works abroad.

Anyway, she was telling me of the hoopla she had to go through today, in order to vote – and that she was very nearly tempted not to do so, but for her strong sense of fair play, and even stronger stubborness of character – which she insists she inherited from me – as if!

My daughter works all over the place as a fire performer, and she also helps to manage and direct other stage performances, with other performers, too, and so she travels a huge amount, all over the UK, and the EU, with the occasional trip to the USA and, as she wasn’t sure where she’d be at the time of voting, she had applied for a postal vote. She was accepted for this, but her voting pack hadn’t turned up by the time she had to go off to another festival, and so she assumed this meant that she wouldn”t be able to vote that way.

As as it happened, she ended up back in Bristol a couple of days ago and so, after catching up on everything, and everyone, she needed to, she decided to stroll down to her local voting station, with plenty of ID to prove who she was, to ask if she could do her vote that way.

She arrived, and spoke to one of the helpers, who checked her ID, then checked for her name on the list, and was told she couldn’t vote, because she had a postal vote. My daughter explained that she hadn’t received it in the time needed before she had left for her work at a festival, and that it still hadn’t been there when she checked her post on returning home. She also had to explain that she hadn’t been informed by anyone that this precluded her from voting in person. The lady asked her to wait while she found out what my daughter needed to do to be able to vote.

A few minutes later, she was told that, in order to do be able to vote today, she would have to travel right across Bristol, opposite to her present location, and go to a particular building, and register to vote with them. As it happens, my daughter had a friend with her, who had a car, and her friend offered to take her to the place – an hour and a half away by foot, 30-40 minutes by public transport, or 20-30 minutes by taxi – always supposing she had the money spare for a taxi, of course.

They managed to find the building, and my daughter went to the office she was supposed to, then explained the situation to the people working there, who were puzzled that she was sent there in the first place, as it was the wrong building, and also puzzled that nobody had rung them up to check with them, before my daughter started out to them. They then told my daughter where she should actually have been sent – and it was, once again, right across the other side of Bristol!

My daughter’s friend offered to take her there, too as, by now, even she was angry at the runaround my daughter was being given, and was determined she’d be able to have her vote, and so they set off again, and eventually got to the proper place where, once again, my daughter had to explain why she was there.

Fortunately for everyone, this was the correct place at last, but my daughter then had to fill in all the same forms she had filled in when she first applied for a postal vote then, once they were signed, she was handed a printed-out postal voter’s form, which they then asked her to fill in, fold, and put into the sealed envelope, and then to place in the ballot box.

All-in-all, what had started out as her idea to take a leisurely walk down to her local polling station to vote, actually took her over 3 hours, a lot of petrol and miles, and a couple of arguements – in fact, the final lady to speak to her, thanked her for persevering in the face of everything being put in her way to trying to vote!

If my daughter wasn’t the determined woman she is, she might have given up in the face of all these obstacles in her way and, as we chatted on the phone, and I congratulated her for her perseverance, she was sat in a cafe, having something desperately needed to eat and drink, as she’d had nothing since her morning toast, and we both wondered how many more people were put off voting today,  by the same kinds of things happening to them?

To be fair, it probably was just a concatination of events, totally out of everyone’s control but, with so many postal votes not turning up where they should be in this election, we did have to wonder whether my daugher’s postal vote was one of these, or not?

Neither of us knows who it is, in charge of the postal voting system, nor how partisan they may be with one party or another but, for people like me, who are disabled and unable to leave the house to vote, or people like my daughter, who work all over the place, and can’t guarantee getting to their local polling stations, that postal vote is a necessary thing for us to be able to express our decision on who we want to represent us in Government, so to have it being abused, or even just not being correctly used, is an attack on our very democracy!

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Filed under Anniversaries, Changes, Choices, Daughters, Democracy, Disability Issues, Family, Ideology, Politics, Postal Voting, Proportional Representation, Self-interest, Travelling

Boomtown Arrivals . . .

RaggaRory was getting really excited now. Gabba Babba had told him that they were almost at the Boomtown Fair, and had dug into his little rucksack to sort out the things he would need to show he was a part of it. RaggaRory really admired Gabba, as he had been part of the Slamboree crew for some years, so was an old hand at festivals. He knew the best places to pitch the tent, the best bargains where getting food and drink were concerned – and he knew lots of the groups who played at the festivals!

RaggaRory only hoped that he wouldn’t make a fool of himself, like he had at the Secret Garden festival, and he was determined to be as good as possible, so Brex would continue taking him with her – after all, he knew she was going to America soon, with the UK Fireworks Collective, to show their Pyrotechnic skills. Brex had told him about last year’s trip, and he was eager than ever to go there.

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Brex dancing in front of the Burning Man, 2012.

But first, he had all the excitement of Boomtown to look forward to!

Gabba handed him a ring of material, with the name Boomtown on it, and told him to put it on, so that the officials there would know he wasn’t a gatecrasher. RaggaRory wasn’t  quite sure how it should be worn, and so put it over his foot, as he figured everyone would see it then. He couldn’t understand why everyone was laughing, and looked at Gabba, who sat there, Slamboree sticker stuck to his head, and with his shoulders shaking with mirth.

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Ragga wasn’t sure whether Gabba was laughing at him.

Brex leaned over, and gently patted Ragga’s foot, “Never mind, Ragga, you wear it whichever way you like.”

Ragga would have blushed if he could, but decided that he wasn’t going to let a little mistake like that upset him. After all, Brex had smiled so nicely at him when she spoke 🙂

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RaggaRory shows off his Boomtown bracelet with pride 🙂

Feeling really happy again, RaggaRory, looked around, and saw that they were nearly at the gates to the Boomtown site, and he started looking madly around, trying to see everything he could. It seemed as though, in no time at all, Brex had set up their tent, snuggled in among those of all her friends, and RaggaRory was getting more and more excited. He wanted to see how many people had already set up around them, and so Brex lifted him up to have a look around.

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RaggaRory was amazed at the sea of tents and vans surrounding them!

RaggaRory couldn’t believe how many tents and vans there were already – and this was days before the actual event would start! Brex told him that this was just the section for those taking part in the Festival, and that there were other sites for the public, when they arrived to enjoy the festival. RaggaRory couldn’t imagine how many people that would be – just the amount of people doing the entertainment alone seemed like a huge crowd to him. But, although he felt a bit nervous about that, he knew he had his friend Gabba Babba to guide him, and he was sure there would be others there to keep him company while Brex organised her part of the entertainments – both with Slamboree, and with the new group she had brought together, The Gutterstars Collective, whose début performance of Gul Deguu (Fire Sisters) would be performed at the weekend. RaggaRory loved the show that Brex had thought up, as he’d gone along to the rehearsals over the last few weeks, and he thought it would be pretty spectacular.

That night, RaggaRory settled down to sleep, full of excitement at what the rest of the week would bring and, as he fell asleep, he dreamed of Brex rising up into the air, just as he’d seen her do so often at rehearsals . . . .

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10 Things of Thankful . . .

 . . . . are sometimes very hard to find, let alone think about.
When life starts handing you the pits, instead of the cherries, all the stuff that can weigh you down can get in front of what’s still good in your life. 

But, if you just take a few minutes, and try to think of the pluses, instead of the minuses, it’s amazing how many things you can come up with.
So here are my cherries:

I’m thankful that God had such a sense of humour that he made me. I know he has a sense of humour, because I do, too, under all the pits 🙂

Start as you mean to go on? 🙂



I’m thankful that I was given the gift of carrying a child for 9 months under my heart. Having been told I’d never have children, this was such a gift for me that I still thank God every day for my beautiful, amazing girl 🙂

Hubby, & Brex at 1 hour old 🙂



I’m thankful for a husband who is so unselfish that he always puts myself and our child before himself. My hubby is an amazing man, and we will be married for 30 years in October – and I love him even more than I did at the beginning and, even better, he loves me like that, too 🙂

True Love 🙂



I’m thankful for a warm, dry house. We lived in so many places that were falling down around our ears – houses that weren’t that old, but so badly built that we had to battle mould or drafts all the time. We now live in a 300 year old house that is as warm, and snug, as we need, and wanted 🙂

Fred, guarding the house 🙂



I’m thankful for the gift of love that our dog, a Jack Russell Terrier called Fred Barker, gives unstintingly to us. He will be 19 next march. He is as deaf as a post, and is so arthritic he has a job stepping over the tiny lip on his bed but, the minute he sees either of us, his tail wags, and he gives us that amazing doggy smile we fell in love with when we first rescued him 18 years ago. 

Fred, aged 10.



I’m thankful for our cat, Kushka, who was rescued as a tiny kitten. We took her into our home, and our hearts, when she was barely 6 weeks old, and had to keep feeding her replacement milk for a month as she had been in such a bad way. She’ll be 5 next birthday, and she is my constant companion, lying as close beside me as she can – she has always seemed to be aware that sitting on me would only bring pain. She purrs like an engine when pain takes me over, as if she is trying her best to soothe me, and she has always been there for me, no matter what.

Kushka, breaking in the new cover I crocheted 🙂


I’m thankful for the gift of crochet. I hadn’t crocheted before I started to learn last July, and had got into a bad place in my head when I’d had to give up knitting and cross-stitch, as my hands couldn’t cope with either any more, so to find that I was able to hold a crochet hook enough to use it, was a fantastic thing to happen to me 🙂

My Spring Fling cushion cover.


I’m thankful for the internet, as it took me out of myself, and brought a world full of the most amazing people into my life, and into my heart. After I got housebound, the world became a very drab place, as I had come from a large family, so was used to company, and noise, and all the other things that come with family life. I had always loved visiting all of our many friends homes, and going places and seeing people whenever I chose to, so to be housebound was a kind of torture for me but, once I had the internet in my home, it opened up a world of possibilities I couldn’t have imagined – and also enabled me to keep in touch with my daughter, wherever in the world she goes 🙂

Brex, in an Amazonian village, in Peru 🙂

I’m thankful for the bounty of things that surround me, for internet shopping, for a free health system that is very much needed for me now, for the chance to be able to do what I can to stay focussed on the future, so that I can stay true to myself, and true to God.

Me, on our 29th wedding anniversary 🙂



I’m thankful for the chance to have lived this life that I have – whether good or bad! To have been born in a time, and a place, where women are able to make whatever life they dream of, and for the chance to be able to have my voice heard all around the world.

 

Ten Things of Thankful

 

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Filed under Crochet, Daughters, Disability Issues, Faith, Family, Travelling, TToT

Ragga Rory Goes To Boomtown

I’m not sure whether it’s good for a small lion to be going hither and thither only a few weeks from birth but, apparently, when Brex told him she was headed to Boomtown to do a stint with Slamboree, and then make her maiden performance with her own group, The Gutterstars Collective, Ragga Rory told her that, if she didn’t take him, he would hitch-hike by himself, until he got there, too!

Brex wasn’t too pleased at having such a young lion threaten to go out into the world on his own, so she told him he could come – provided he didn’t misbehave the way he had at the previous festival!

Ragga Rory had the grace to look slightly ashamed at that, though Brex still wasn’t sure whether he also had a guilty look, either. After all, she hadn’t heard yet whether Australian piggy had been seen since 😦

But, after promising to be as well behaved as he could be, Brex took Ragga Rory along with her. She was going to Boomtown early, as her group had to rehearse on the stage where they were doing their maiden gig, as they’d been rehearsing in all sorts of warehouses, or places where they could use fire. So Brex and Ragga Rory set off to join the rest of her crew, and her Slamboree pals.

Brex had warned Ragga Rory that she was going to be particularly busy over the next few days as, rehearsing with two separate crews, with one of them her total responsibility, wasn’t going to be easy for her. But Ragga Rory promised he would behave himself, and stay in their tent being a good little lion.

On the journey to Boomtown, Ragga Rory had been really pleased to make a new friend – a chimp called Gabba Babba – who kept him entertained throughout the journey with all his tales of the festivals he had already been to.

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Ragga Rory really enjoyed the tales, and hoped that he could behave himself this time, so that Brex would keep taking him with her wherever she went. Gabba Babba was really up on all the latest music, so he spent a lot of his time while they travelled, bringing Ragga Rory up to date, though Gabba Babba found that Ragga Rory was a little tone deaf – but he figured it wouldn’t notice with all the crowds that would be at the festival.

After a while on the journey, Gabba Babba felt tired, and went to sleep, so Ragga Rory asked if he could come forward, so he had a better view of the countryside around them as they travelled.

Much to his horror, everyone insisted that he wear a sun hat, as the sun was quite strong at the front of the van, so Ragga Rory reluctantly put on the strange garment they came up with.

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He wasn’t sure why there were so many muffled giggles, and got a bit upset that nobody would share whatever joke was going around but, very soon, all the road signs indicated that they were nearly there at Boomtown, so Ragga Rory forgot everything else, and looked forward to whatever was going to happen in the week ahead . . .

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August 11, 2013 · 4:24 pm

RaggaRory’s First Festival . . .

Not content with a simple train ride from Wales to Bristol, RaggaRory has now been to his very first Festival 🙂

Brex took him with her when she went to the Secret Garden Party Festival and, while they were travelling there, Ragga made his very first friend – an Australian pink pig!

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It’s so nice to meat – oops – I mean, meet you!

Once they got to the festival, Ragga lost little time in making some more friends – and making himself right at home, too . . . 

 

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RaggaRory getting his first taste of Buckfast!

 

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A good time was had by all 🙂

But, not having drunk alcohol before, Ragga got a bit carried away and, while all of his human friends went off to do their performance, he invited all of his new friends around for a drink and something to eat . . .

He didn’t think they’d miss the 3 bottles of Buckfast, and the chicken pieces the humans were saving for their supper . . .

 

He didn’t get into any trouble, though because, unknown to Brex, Ragga had made his very own groupie, who swore to protect him with her life . . . 

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Becca swore she’d save all of her chums!

So, it’s nice to know that Ragga’s first festival has turned out to be a roaring success – though I’m a bit worried that I’ve not seen pink piggy since that first photo . . . it was chicken they were eating – wasn’t it?

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Lion has got a Name :)

My daughter has found out Lion’s name at last!

Apparently it’s RaggaRory 🙂

Welcome to our world of fun and madness, RaggaRory 🙂

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The Lion’s First Trip . . .

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Lion enjoying his first train ride 🙂

I got an email from my daughter, just after she got back home from her visit here, but I’ve only just got around to doing something with it, as I’ve been really busy with my crocheting yet again 🙂

Brex sent me a couple of photos of Lion, enjoying his very first train ride.

As Brex is still away, I still don’t know what Lion’s new name is but, as soon as she tells me, I’ll let you know 🙂

Until then, here he is, having a great time on the train from Carmarthen to Bristol 🙂

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Lion enjoying his first meal 🙂

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