View from eleven

Eleven floors up, looking north west.

View from the kitchen link, between meeting room and breakout space.

Colleagues wander in and out, to refuel or to linger.

A place to rest my eyes from the intensity of the computer screen, work space, and phone.


At this time of year

My heartfelt greetings to all.

Celebrate with cheer.

In hope of peace, I call,
“Happiness is everyone’s right;

Live in love, in light”.
Warm wishes, Robert

Twelfth Bloggers for Peace post

A tree is a tree, with light the Olive is distinguishable from the Jasmina in the background. Similarly peace needs to be showcased, front of mind, normal and mainstream.

For the final month of the 2013 Bloggers for Peace challenge we are charged with writing about how we would throw a party for peace. I find it notable that there are bloggers like myself who are not especially fond of parties. With this in mind I would like to arrange an inaugural annual week long People for Peace festival.

The whole World is invited, people can choose how they will join in, be it physically or virtually. The guiding principle is that peace is the responsibility of all. Activities and contributions are voluntary by one or many. A website will be available for contributors to promote their events. Participants will have the opportunity of being recorded on a People for Peace roll.

More information about Bloggers for Peace is available at Bloggers4Peace

Check out other December posts for peace below:
December Blog for Peace Party Down People
Peace Party a Bloggers for Peace Post
Dreaming Big for December Peace Challenge Celebrating a World United by Love
Party on Garth December Peace Challenge
December Peace

The magic of music

What is music but a collection of sounds and vibrations? For me it is more than that, it is two letters away from magic. At a personal level it has the power to bring pleasure, connect people together, invoke emotions and memories. Collectively it can represent a sense of belonging and national pride. It is inclusive of all age groups and generations.

My first memory of classical music was filing into assembly at Welsh House Farm Junior and Infant School to the sound Greig’s Peer Gynt and Holst’s Planet Suite with background crackles and pops of mono vinyl recordings, it was the late 1960s after all.

Count Dracula
My appreciation of music grew during my time at secondary school in the ’70s. I remember a formative moment aged 11, as if it were yesterday of being totally captivated by Camille Saint-Saëns’ Danse Macabre. Mr Lancaster, our teacher asked us to draw what we heard. I’m sure he told us the story behind the piece as I drew a churchyard scene at night, including graves opening, skeletons appearing and a cockerel heralding the dawn. This experience resonated with me on so many different levels as I had an unhealthy fascination with horror stories and the legends of Vlad the Impaler.

An unholy din
I drove my family to the brink of despair with my attempt at learning to play the violin. Even today I am convinced that the peripatetic teacher disappeared suddenly as a result of the squeals, squawks and squalls from an instrument that in the right hands can bring joy and sadness to listeners.

Knowing my limits
I accept the fact that my musical talents are limited so I have settled into the role of appreciator. Luckily for me Birmingham City Library had a huge collection of vinyl recordings that I took full advantage in borrowing. It was a special moment after a couple of decades and living a dream that I saw Puccini’s Madame Butterfly and Holst’s Planet’s performed at the Sydney Opera House.

Even now I’m carried along on the waves of the sound of the strings when listening to Barber’s Adagio, the mournful troughs and sweeping crescendos connect with my spirit. The magic of music has been part of my world for as long as I can remember, it brings me peace.

One Little Candle Burning Bright

Peace at home

I had planned to write about this topic by listing the words I believe to describe “success” in achieving hearth side harmony. On reflection this would indicate that once one has reached this place all is right with the world. Unfortunately this box can never be ticked off.

In the photograph the intensity of the shadows changes as clouds pass in front of the sun. At just the right moment the shape of the tree will be clearly revealed on the wall. This illustrates the balance between light and dark; the clouds act as a barrier. When the sun is obscured by clouds the shadow disappears, does this mean that it did not exist?

Similarly, the window connects the inside with the outside. An obscured window reduces the information that is available for the human brain to process which in turn can lead to an untruth.

Perceptions and assumptions behave like clouds and dirty windows, they distort reality. I believe that peace is achieved by members of the household being present, taking a moment to see beyond the clouds and consciously acting rather than reacting.

Dark swan of peace

I have been struggling with this month’s Bloggers for Peace challenge, which is one of the reasons it is nearing the end of April as I complete this post.

All I can offer are my opinions which are not based on my childhood experience of anger, sexism, racism and abuse due to my step father’s narrow minded and twisted view of life. I believed everything I was told, it was not until I moved from home that I discovered there was so much more to life than tv game shows, compulsive gambling and domestic violence. Thank goodness my mother escaped from the years of hell she endured for the sake of us kids.

The dark swan is not evil because of its colour, just as the dark shadow of youth within me is not evil. Both have the ability to be free.

Something of my inner child remains hiding deep inside. It surfaces in moments of playfulness and delight. I believe that children need love and care combined with exposure to as broad as possible points of view, information, people and attitudes. Guardians need to be available to answer their questions and to help them find their own way through the maze of stereotypes and punitive attitudes society will throw in their way.

Enable the children to find freedom and peace where it exists for them.

Good guys and bad guy – teaching my children about peace
B4peace how do we raise children to be peaceful
Out and about at 13
Bloggers for Peace website