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FIFTY YEARS.

Fifty years  of a life sounds like a long time, in historical terms it is a mere snippet.  It frequently surprises me that the years of my youth, the 50s, 60s and even the 70s are placed  in a long ago time we now call history or in my case more accurately herstory.  Does that make me history, someone belonging to an ancient past?  I still walk and talk and intermittently say something sensible.  Signs of a crumbling body are ever present but with the right equipment I can pass for normal.           Much of life in the twenty-first century is better than it ever has been, I suspect that in my position I am extra-ordinary lucky.  The Millennium generation sadly face fewer jobs, ludicrously expensive houses and an ongoing battle between money coming in (too little) and money going out(too much), the fortunate few have the bank of mum and dad but many have an increasingly limited Benefit System.

    In the  ‘ Never had it so good’  1950s many families lived in overcrowded, dilapidated housing (slums).  My family moved into a newly built council house, own front door, indoor bathroom and toilet inside and out.  The draw back was that services, shops and schools were left out of the planning, primary school children had to get on a bus.  My five year old brother was very unhappy at being so far from home in his first school.

    A safe secure home is absolutely the first essential for every family in a peaceful, prosperous,fair,and democratic society.  It is probable that a rented sector will form part of the mix with the home-owning sector another part.  There is no reason that rented accommodation should be dilapidated, overcrowded with no security of the rent asked.  Regulations can be set up by a Housing Association or a council or by the landlords with safeguards enforced by a group who represents the tenants interest.  Germany has a large rented sector which offers security and high living standards.  A democratic society needs to show that every citizen has a right to : a secure home, free education for children, full employment and a health care system available to all at the point of need.  Societies that limit these opportunities to the few lose both peace and prosperity.  The USA and the UK are sending a clear warning of the demi-gogs who lie in wait.

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HIGHLANDS-SCOTLAND’S WILD HEART.

I’m astonished by the beauty and mystery  of these islands.  Technology has a vivid and precise way of allowing us to see vistas and panoramic views that with my own naked eyes I would only see a tiny fraction of the mountain or the loch.    The modern film camera enables me to see in a wide expansive way the valleys and hills which would otherwise be a smudge in the distance.  The reverse of the microscope which enables us to see tiny, microscopic bacteria which the naked eye would be quite unable to see.  Of course the camera and the camera man is sometimes in an aeroplane flying above the rivers and forests and showing me and you a 3D map of the lie of the land.

   Even on film Loch Ness looked enormous, a great expanse of fresh water full of salmon swimming back to their breeding ground : the magnificent sight of ospreys catching and swallowing a very large salmon, a red squirrel leaping from tree to tree and dolphins leaping out of the water.  These camera men are creative artists just as the Venerable  Bede  was in the eighth century drawing beautiful pictures and copying by hand Bible stories which would be read to men and women most of whom could neither read nor write.

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NEW ZEALAND: EARTH’S MYTHICAL ISLANDS.

This is a series of three programmes focusing on the natural life of North and South islands and the many small islands which are dotted all around the main land mass.  The photography is absolutely breath-taking and the narration tells the story of the formation of the land and the creatures and the human beings who so recently came to live there.  I can hardly find words to describe the beauty and enormous skill of the photographers and producers of these amazing films.  The films are on BBC iPlayer and show us what a beautiful  and amazing planet we live on.  The camera tells the story of our planet in visual images, it is also helpful to have the words to tell the story of how are planet has changed and continues to change.

   So much teaching in schools: in geology, geography, history , social sciences and languages could be stimulated and made understandable to all children.  This kind of filming is comparable to the invention of the printing press and the enormous changes brought about by the availability of books.  The dawn of a new age in schools.

Here’s a link to the programmes: write placeblog.wordpress.com