Lazy Sunday

Housework don’t shirk
No fun get it done
Don’t fuss just dust
Change sheets press pleats
Boost power clean Shower

What’s for lunch no hunch
Bowl of soup give a whoop
Vac floor oil door
Iron shirts mend skirt
Clean sink wouldn’t think

Of going out as gutters spout
Wind and rain what a pain
Take a look rather read a book
What can you say
Let’s leave it to another day

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Lunar New Year’s Eve


Chinese New Year’s Eve is the day before the Lunar New Year. Celebrating Chinese New Year’s Eve has always been a family matter in China,a most important reunion day for every Chinese family. It has evolved over a long period of time. The origin of Chinese New Year’s Eve can be traced back to 3500 years ago and originated in the Shang Dynasty (1600 – 1046 BC), when Chinese held sacrificial ceremonies in honour of gods and ancestors at the end of each year. Then in the Zhou Dynasty (1046 – 256 BC), the phrase “Nian (Year)”appeared certain cultural practices became popular among Chinese such as honoring the door god, and burning bamboo.

In most parts of China, especially in south, people are used to having grand family banquets to celebrate New Year’s Eve which is known as “Happy gathering”. Since it is the last meal of the year, the family members must sit together to enjoy the delicious traditional dishes and everybody in the family is allowed and encouraged to drink. After the grand family banquet, all family members sit together around the fireplace, chatting, singing, laughing or playing cards and stay up late to the dawn of next morning.

Burning bamboo and firecrackers
There’s an ancient myth that a devil lived in the western mountains and people would fall ill if they come across it, but this devil is afraid of the sound of bamboo. So Chinese will burn bamboo to make the sound and it’ll keep the devil out of their house on New Year’s Eve. Nowadays, Chinese people like to burn firecrackers instead of bamboo on Chinese New Year’s Eve not just for keeping the devil out, but also for having fun.

Send in the Kitchen God
The kitchen god is regarded as the ambassador of the Jade Emperor to each Chinese family. It is said that at midnight on Chinese New Year’s Eve, the kitchen god from each family would go to heaven to report the family’s deeds during the year. On lunar new year, the kitchen god returns to earth and each family welcomes him by pasting a new picture of him in the kitchen.

Welcoming the Door God
On Chinese New Year’s Eve, each family would invite the door god by pasting its picture on the front door as a talisman to forbid any devil to enter the family. The most popular door gods are Zhong kui, Qin shubao and Yu chigong in different area of China.

Peach wood
Traditional Chinese would make a bow of peach wood to guard the door and exorcise the devil that caused plagues. A custom which dates back to the Qin Dynasty. The entrance-guarding god was closely related to festivals and peach wood was regarded as having a supernatural force with which ghosts could be driven away.

Traditional foods for Chinese New Year’s Eve
The family reunion dinner is crucial to Chinese culture. The New Year’s Eve feast allows all the family to sit together. Some of the most popular dishes are:

Spring Rolls
Spring rolls are a traditional dish in East China. It is a Cantonese dish made of thin dough rolls filled with vegetables, meat, or something sweet, then fried to give them a golden-yellow.

In north China, dumplings are a traditional food on New Year’s Eve, while in southern China very few people serve dumplings as Lunar New Year’s Eve dinner. Minced meat (pork, shrimp, chicken, beef.etc.) and vegetables are wrapped in the elastic dough skin. Boiling, steaming, frying are the most common ways to cook these dumplings.

Glutinous Rice Cake
Glutinous Rice Cake is called “Nian Gao” in mandarin. The sound of Nian Gao has a good meaning, suggesting ‘getting better year by year’. It is made of sticky rice, sugar, chestnuts, lotus leaves, and is a common dish in southern Lunar New Year Eve reunion dinners.

Good Fortune Fruit
Tangerines, oranges and pomelos are fruits that have traditionally been eaten at this feast. It’s believed that eating these particular fruits then can bring good fortune as they have a round shape, golden colour which symbolise fullness and wealth.

Longevity Noodles
These noodles represent Chinese’s wish for longevity. The length and preparation of longevity noodles are symbolic of the eater’s life, and are longer than normal noodles. They’re usually fried or boiled and served in a bowl.

Money gifts and Money trees
Children are given money gifts on lunar New Year’s Eve. Adults usually put money in a red pocket and hide it under their children’s pillows. In ancient time, Chinese money was the round copper coins with a square hole in the middle. These would be threaded with colourful ribbons to make the shape of a dragon and then put beside their children’s beds while the children were asleep. A custom which is very similar to Christmas gifts in the west.

The Money tree is a legendary tree which will shed coins when shaken. On New Year’s Eve, Chinese will cut some pine branches and put them in vase, then tie on copper coins, shoe-shaped gold or silver and pomegranate flowers to decorate the tree.

Good Luck
It’s considered especially good luck to wear red on Chinese New Year.

After Chinese New Year’s Eve, all cleaning tools such as brooms, brushes, dusters must be put away as they believe that if they do sweep or dust on New Year’s Day, the good fortune will disappear.

Cooking should also be finished by the end of New Year’s Eve and knives put away. It’s believed that using a knife on lunar New Year’s Eve will cut off all the good luck and fortune for the upcoming year.

Hold on to your hat – 2020 is the Chinese Year of the Rat

Chinese New Year’s Eve
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia

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Winter HAIKU


Wind whipped crisp skies

Landscape sculpted cool shadows

Pale sun’s warm offer




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…or Lost Ambitions ?

Far too late for me
Too late for me to be ?
For me to be a Wunderkind
It’s too late now, I see

But is it yet too late to BE ?
For me it’s not, I’ll just be ME
An ageing child Prodigy
If Prodigy can ageing be?

That shall be the aim for me.
A person of talent and unusual powers
I’ll hold them wrapt for hours and hours
Yes that’s the thing for me

I have ambitions, wait and see

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No Change

No Change

Shifting trucks as bundled workers
Trundle loads to delivery bays
Open warehouse doors absorbing,
Devouring product for days and days
Vast deliveries for hungry shelves.
Crowds of shoppers, mass consuming
Thinking only of themselves
Stacks of food, warm clothes and goods,
All manner of exotic foods.

Christmas windows dazzling gems
Bargains of expensive items.
Spending frenzy, bling and glitter
Just ignore the human litter
Rushing past the huddled doorways
Piled with cardboard and old duvets
Hopeless, chilling isolation
Sleeping, bagged in their cocoons,
Winter dark in the afternoons

Nothing to look forward to
Lonely dreary drink filled haze
Cast off heaps in darkened doorways
Eke out endless long, cold days
As wet leaves cling to shoe and path
Wishing for a good hot bath.
‘Any change’ is what they say
But stark, blank faces move,
Embarrassed on their way.

Dear friends, in the aftermath of the wet and dismal weather… spare a thought (and a contribution,) for all the homeless folk who are sleeping on our streets.


Who help homeless young people this Christmas

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Message in a Bottle…

Thank you dear friends for all the fun
The coffee and cakes and the welcome sun
The good times and all the merry laughter
And everything good that followed after

The long discussions and the chatter
Of all those things that really matter
For your support when troubles loomed
And comfort when one just felt doomed

For free advice when it was needed
Especially so when it was heeded
The outings, parties and the lunches
The local gossip and dubious hunches

All of this we hungrily devoured
For months and years for many an hour
But while absorbed in these happy tasks
There’s a simple question I have to ask…

Why does my wine group always insist –
(Or is there something I have missed,
Despite the literary themes and hooks)
…On spending time to talk about books?

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Autumn’s decadence

Season’s shadow dancing days

Apples litter gardens


Hedgehogs curl away

While insects worm in windfalls

In rustling corners


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She battled through enormous seas
Storms nearly brought her to her knees
But she sailed on to our delight
And every time she won the fight

But the weather turned, the skies were black
The lightning flared and thunder wracked
And now she’s out there all alone
In the roiling waves and heaving foam

On dangerous rocks she’s run aground
And the breaking up of the timbers sound
Through heartless winds and ferocious skies
Like a wounded beast’s last battered cries

Helplessly we stand and watch
As she falls apart on the relentless rocks
That ship that brought such joy and pleasure
The cruelest loss of a peerless treasure

We who saw her struggle to survive
Are truly honoured now to be alive
And thankful for the memories we retain
Of precious times we shall not see again…

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Tail wags dog…

A young woman had knelt to talk to a homeless man outside the Job Centre. She’d bought him a bottle of juice, a sandwich and a ring-pull can of dog food for his ‘best friend’ who lay curled up on a rug next to him. They were discussing the problem of trying to get a job when you have ‘no fixed abode,’ and no internet access, let alone money for bus fares or decent clothes for an interview… should you ever get one.

Suddenly the crowd of passing shoppers scattered as a rogue cyclist mounted the pavement to cut past the heavy traffic. As they leapt to safety, buggies, old ladies and shopping trolleys were swept aside as the Lycra-clad rampager sped towards the little group on the ground. The quick-witted young woman pulled the man away from the speeding machine, but the ageing dog was directly in it’s path and with a pitiful yelp, he collapsed under the front wheel.

A small crowd gathered and the atmosphere was getting heated, with cries of ‘Shame on you,’ and ‘You bastard, look what you’ve done!’ Things were getting tense and the crowd began to look ugly – in England you certainly don’t harm a dog, even if he’s a rough sleeper. Tempers were rising and one man grabbed at the bike and started lambasting the cyclist who, white-faced and ashamed backed against the wall. Trembling and tearful, he knelt down to the recumbent pooch and gently felt for a pulse. Everyone fell silent as a muffled whimper came from the limp form and the old dog raised his grey muzzle and opened his eyes.

“Oh Christ, thank God,” gasped his owner – “He’s all I’ve got.”
“Look, if you’ll let me, I’ll check him over. I’m a vet and I can see what’s needed, won’t cost you a penny. What d’you say?” offered the remorseful cyclist. Murmurs of approval greeted this and the homeless man was glad to accept it. So after carefully checking the dog for injuries the cyclist phoned his practice for an animal ambulance, which soon appeared.  The young woman urged them to take the homeless man to the surgery too so he could be near his dog which would be a comfort to both of them.

“Will you let me know how they are please?” she asked, turning to the cyclist as the crowd cheered the ambulance off. Somewhat recovered himself, he smiled as they exchanged phone numbers and he retrieved his slightly bent bike, “Yes, of course, I think the dog, at least will be OK.”

A day or so later she got a call from him to say the dog had a few small cuts and bruises but no broken bones or internal injuries, and that his owner had turned out to be extremely good with animals. They’d even had him helping out in their kennels where he was also doing very well. Who knows, maybe there’s a proper job there for him …

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Right to Roam – Mass trespass of Kinder Scout

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The mass trespass of Kinder Scout, also called the Kinder mass trespass, was an act of wilful trespass by ramblers. It was undertaken at Kinder Scout, in the Peak District of Derbyshire, England, on 24 April 1932, to highlight the fact that walkers in England and Wales were denied access to areas of open country. Political and conservation activist Benny Rothman of the Young Communist League of Manchester was one of the leaders of the mass trespass.

Events in 1932

The 1932 trespass was a coordinated protest involving three groups of walkers who approached Kinder Scout from different directions at the same time. The main group estimated at 400 began at Bowden Bridge quarry near Hayfield. It proceeded via William Clough to the plateau of Kinder Scout, where there were violent scuffles with gamekeepers. The ramblers were able to reach their destination and meet with another group at Ashop Head. On the return, five ramblers were arrested, with another detained earlier. Trespass was not a criminal offence in any part of Britain at the time, but some would receive jail sentences of two to six months for offences relating to violence against the keepers. [See note [1]

Political effects

According to the Hayfield Kinder Trespass Group website, this act of civil disobedience was one of the most successful in British history. It arguably led to the passage of the National Parks legislation in 1949. The Pennine Way and other long-distance footpaths were established. Walkers’ rights to travel through common land and open country were protected by the CROW Act of 2000. Though controversial when it occurred, it has been interpreted as the embodiment of “working class struggle for the right to roam versus the rights of the wealthy to have exclusive use of moorlands for grouseshooting.”

The Kinder Mass Trespass was one of a number of protests at the time seeking greater access to the moorlands of the northern Peak District. What set it apart from the others was it marked a new and more radical approach to the problem which was not universally popular with rambling groups. The harshness of the sentences imposed on the leaders of the protest was headline news in local and national newspapers, resulting in the issue gaining public attention and sympathy. The subsequent access rally staged in Winnats Pass attracted 10,000 people to attend in support of greater access to the adjacent moorland.
An unintended consequence of the mass trespass was greater interest being paid to ramblers’ behaviour and potential ways to regulate it. This resulted in a ‘Code of Courtesy for the Countryside’ being produced, which was a forerunner of the modern Countryside Code.

Each year a combination of wardens and rangers from both The National Trust and the Peak District National Park Authority hold a walking event to mark the anniversary of the trespass.
A commemorative plaque marks the start of the trespass at Bowden Bridge quarry near Hayfield, now a popular area for ramblers. It was unveiled in April 1982 by Benny Rothman (then aged 70) during a rally to mark the 50th anniversary.

[1] “Also they were never charged with the offence of trespass. The charges of unlawful assembly were changed to the more serious charge of riotous assembly. Mr Justice MacKinnon at Chester Assizes in 1933 stated that the Act of Parliament which made it an offence to trespass after being warned not to do so had been repealed, making ‘trespassers will be prosecuted’ signs unenforceable.”

Rothman, Benny. (1982) 1932 Kinder Trespass: Personal View of the Kinder Scout Mass Trespass. Willow Publishing. ISBN 0-9506043-7-

Wikimedia Commons

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