Karma, A Matter Of Life And Death

Karma, the Buddhist name for the laws of cause and effect, are graphically demonstrated in this BBC documentary about the results of poor standards of driving in a large proportion of young UK drivers.

The BBC describe the program thus …

Karma, A Matter Of Life And DeathAfter her own accident left her unable to walk, Sophie Morgan wants to know why traffic collisions are the single biggest killer of young people – and how that can be stopped. With exclusive access and insight into a number of high profile cases from the moment of the crash through to resolution in the courts, she meets people who, like her, have seen their lives changed forever in a single instant – whether they were injured or they were driving the car.

As she follows the progress of families like the Singhs, devastated by an accident caused by a footballer from one of the country’s biggest clubs, she hears emotional stories of regret and recovery, finds out what it means to be responsible for a death on the roads and discovers one way that the rate of accidents involving young drivers could be brought down.

Sophie also encounters drivers who race illegally on public roads with no thought for anyone’s safety and, after a reunion with the passengers she could have killed, is forced to think again about her actions – and her driving – back on the night that she crashed.

Watch it here …

Watching is not for the feint hearted, scenes of death and life changing injury follow one after another. But for any young person reading this, or indeed one of their parents or guardians, I urge you to have the courage to stick with it.

Boston Thoughts

Boston Marathon BombingWith the shock and sadness upon hearing the news of the bombings in Boston still sinking in, I have again been forced to think about why people could ever consider the injuring and killing of others as a rational form of protest or demonstration?

Of course, it could be said, that these people are sick, psychologically deranged, but such acts require complicated and detailed planning and execution, so there must be a fair degree of intelligence being used.

While the US authorities search for the perpetrators, we should concentrate our thoughts and prayers on the victims and their families and friends. We should also give our full support for those within this country who are planning the security for this weekend’s London marathon in an effort to stop anything similar happening here.

Whether any good ever comes out of such incidents depends, in the broadest sense, on your viewpoint. Whilst it is very difficult for us to see things from the point of view of the bomber, we must try, if we are to make any progress towards averting any future attempts to repeat the events of yesterday.

The only way we can move forward into a world without terror, is for all parties involved, and that means including the bombers, to use Wisdom, Courage and Compassion to address the conflict, what ever that might be.

That may sound naive, but the only way to resolve any of these issues is to resort to dialogue rather than violence.

Destination Cornwall

Sunday SolitudeEarly Sunday morning, bright sunshine and train ticket in hand, I set off for Bristol Parkway station to catch the train down to Cornwall to retrieve Bumble. The walk to the station was nice. The early morning air had a nice cool stillness to it, and I covered the two and a half miles in good time.

The station was very quiet, hardly another passenger in sight as I sat waiting for the 10:32 train to Penzance. Having booked the ticket online, I was allocated a seat, 50A in coach D, and on alighting, I found that the carriage was almost empty too. Strangely, my seat was next to a lady going to Newton Abbot, but after a short discussion, it was agreed that, given the free space, I would not be hung, drawn or quartered if I moved to another seat.

The plan, fundamentally flawed as it turned out, was to use the Wi-Fi application on my mobile to connect my iPad to the internet, so I could write my submission to Homophilosophicus for June. As it turned out, the data connectivity on the Three network is more than a bit flaky between Bristol and Penzance, so that idea was quickly abandoned.

I did manage to pen a short submission for the blog, though that had to reside in my iPad until I got back to ‘civilisation’. But I resigned myself to passing the time by reading The End of the Affair by Graham Greene. Rather aptly, it relates the story of the end of an affair between two people, set against the backdrop of World War II. Not exactly the funniest book I’ve ever read, but it did give me a few things to think about.

Actually, by the time we reached Plymouth, I had read enough for one sitting, but as we left the station, passing close by the Naval dockyard, full of destroyers and other military craft, the scenery suddenly took on a most picturesque character. We crossed Brunel’s Tamar bridge, a most impressive construction, even by modern day standards and then began to weave our way along the shoreline, a mere stone throw from the sea.

The weather was closing in, and as we approached Redruth, where I was to meet Bumble, it was clear that the temperature had dropped significantly. Not that, in the event, it mattered one jot, because although I had no jacket, or even a sweater with me, my mobile rang and it was B, telling me that she was already at the station.

It was lovely to see her after all being apart for nearly a whole week, but upon inspection of her ankle, it was clear that it was still very bruised and swollen. I assumed my role as chauffeur and we headed off towards Bodmin and on to Bristol. The journey was rather uneventful, but it gave us lots of time to catch up on the week’s events and she had lots of stories about the islands and the people she had met on her travels.

By the time we got to the cottage, we were both pretty pooped. I don’t think Bumble had slept too well with the pain from her ankle, and Cornwall and back in a day is a pretty tiring round trip. So after a quick meal and a shower it was time for bed. It was nice to finally be able to do my rescue bit, and B was grateful for being spared the drive home.

So what did I learn from the episode? Well patience, something I clearly lack at times, is indeed a virtue, and that worrying about imagined issues is not only a huge waste of time and energy, but can be very counterproductive too, so don’t do it. I’ll try very hard not to in future.

Super Soccer Saturday

Cadbury Heath U7sHow glorious is this weather? Beautiful blue skies and mid 20s temperatures, just perfect for watching Jake’s football tournament, though a little warm to be playing I think. A short trip to the Walkers field in Emerson’s Green and I was quickly united with Rob, Jake and Zach.

Jake’s team, Cadbury Heath were a little out of their league and were soundly spanked, 7-0, 5-0 and 4-0, but, as the coach said, it’s the taking part, not the wining that matters. To be honest, I don’t hold with all this ‘everyone’s a winner’ business. How does that possibly prepare children for modern life?

By early afternoon the matches and presentations were done and dusted and I was back at the cottage. The runner beans have been growing like crazy in the greenhouse, and urgently need planting out, so I spent the afternoon and most of the evening getting down and dirty in the veggie patch. I think I must have overdone it, or I’m in worse condition than I’d like to think, because I ended up with a cracking headache and a dodgy tummy, maybe a touch of heat stroke?

After drinking copious amounts of water everything calmed down and, unusually for me, I found myself watching the Eurovision Song Contest. It didn’t take long to remember why I don’t usually watch it. It seems to me, to be a huge waste of time and money, though I did feel a bit sorry for The Hump, albeit that the song was rubbish.

By the end of the program, I was ready for bed. Too much sun and a deal of exercise had taken their toll and combined with the prospect of having to get up ‘early’ tomorrow, for the trip down to Cornwall, to rescue the injured Bumble, I’m going to sleep like a log.

Would you Adam & Eve It?

CrutchesThe traffic this morning was terrible, long queues for no apparent reason, right round the LV roundabout, and chanting wasn’t helping at all. Then we came across the cause, a lady had broken down on one of the few single carriageway sections. She was standing next to her stricken Focus, trying not to catch the eye of the furious motorists as they drove past. My heart went out to her. Being on her own, what was she supposed to do, and after all, nobody died or got eaten by bears. A little more compassion please folks.

With Bumble away, and the mobile signal being a bit flaky over there, we didn’t have our usual morning chat on the way to work. It’s a bit sad I know, but I do miss her when we don’t get to talk. So I was delighted when she called. She was walking down to the ferry and going off to Bryher for the day. Although they weren’t enjoying the glorious sunshine we had in Ringwood, it was warm and the air was soft. As we spoke, she kept stopping to take photos of wild flowers and views across the beach, and I was worried that she might pull off a repeat of the missed ferry on Monday.

Her call at lunchtime alleviated all those fears, she was on the island and enjoying the scenery in perfect isolation. Not another person in sight. So when we spoke just before 6:00 I was expecting more superlatives as she described the adventures of the day. Sadly that was not to be. Just after we spoke, she had put her foot into an unseen rabbit hole and has badly sprained her ankle.

Fortunately, the folks of the Scilly Isles have far more compassion than those in the traffic jam earlier today. It seems that she has been helped in every conceivable way, mainly by complete strangers, and is back with Josie and hobbling around with the aid or a pair of walking sticks. The crutches are coming over on the morning ferry, so that might give her a little more mobility.

Being a bloke, I instantly needed to fix things as soon as I heard about the accident. Of course that isn’t possible, or even needed, but it didn’t stop me feeling helpless. When we spoke on Skype tonight she sensed my mood. It’s no fun for me, being in such a position, but it won’t help Bumble, me being down, so I have chanted and got myself into a better place. The morning will bring a fresh medical report, I just hope that her injury doesn’t spoil her already curtailed holiday too much.

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