What would they think?

I have been thinking about my Nana and Bampa a lot, lately.

We used to visit them on a Sunday, about once every 2-3 weeks.

Nana would always lay out a proper tea and there would be sandwiches and little cakes and lemonade, and ice cream so cold that it steamed.

And there would be the smell of Bampa’s pipe that I can’t quite recall the scent of, but it would be there in the house.

We would have to wear Sunday Best to visit.

I remember I disliked dressing up, but I was made to do it.

Sometimes we would walk to the shop on the corner.

Sometimes we would be allowed to play in the parc on the swings and slide and roundabouts.

Bargoed, their little town, in that valley, surrounded by its coal heaps and mines and slag heaps and mineral railway and coal-buckets.

Coal buckets that crossed the valley

It’s another world.

Even though the images are clear in my head, the pictures are of a time long gone.

In the last 30 years alone the world has changed almost beyond recognition.

How would our rapidly evolving world look to them? How comfortable would they be in it?

We used to visit my Dad’s sister, Auntie Mair as well.

She lived some way distant. To get to her house we would have to go past the railway viaduct in Ystrad Mynach.

Her little terraced house backed on to the railway at the end of the garden.

She had cable television (!) from Redifusion, and an outside toilet.

Nowadays I wonder about these two things co-existing, but back then I didn’t give it another thought.

I was far from being a perfect child. I like to think I have fewer imperfections these days.

I look at how we live now, at the country we live in and at how we conduct ourselves.

And I look at the world, and the damage and destruction and devastation we have inflicted, and are continuing to inflict on it – and on us.

I look at our leaders and see how they wear their faults and failings as if they were badges of honour.


And I wonder, I truly do wonder how Nana and Bampa and Aunty Mair and all of their generation would regard this world now.

How would they look upon us.

I can’t answer my own question with any great detail.

But I feel I can say, with some certainty, that they would be unimpressed.

As am I.

An open letter to…


Dear humanity, you have such potential for awesomeness which you ruin with a failure of thinking.

Here’s what I mean.

Territorial ownership is bogus.

Set against the context of the age of our planet…

  • Just a few seconds ago all of southern Spain belonged to Africa
  • A couple of weeks ago the whole of North America belonged to the Indians
  • And a bunch of decades ago, the entire planet belonged to dinosaurs

Do you, humanity, do you honestly believe that in a couple of years time it’s going to matter to whoever walks the surface of this planet what flag you hang on a pole outside your house today?


Nuclear weapons are unusable.

The minute you use one, you have lost the battle, and the war, because, with Mutually Assured Destruction, you will be dead in just a minute or two.

And let’s be clear about a point of inescapable logic.

  • Having nuclear weapons didn’t stop Irish terrorists blowing up military targets in the UK and abroad
  • Having nuclear weapons didn’t stop religious nutcases murder people on and below the streets of London
  • Having nuclear weapons didn’t stop Argentina from invading the Falklands
  • And in case you didn’t notice, having the world’s biggest nuclear weapons arsenal has not prevent tens of thousands of Americans being killed in attacks on civilian and military targets at home in the US and abroad

So stop thinking small, humanity.

Stop thinking like children.

Grow up.

It’s time to take the long view and sweat the big stuff.

And stop putting politicians who have never seen military action in charge of anything at all.

Where’s their point of reference?

Where’s their learned experience?

Where’s their added value?

Get the big issues sorted, humanity.

Feed the hungry.

Clothe the poor.

Care for the aged.

Treat the sick.

Educate everyone.

Teach tolerance and respect.

Because, when you shoot people and blow people up because you don’t like the deity they choose to believe in?

Or when you slaughter people because they hang what you perceive to be the wrong flag outside their house.

That’s when you’re not thinking properly.

That’s when you’re being a bunch of morons.

OMG, horror in Asia

I was going to write a ferreting-about examination of active/passive voice; try to work out something that’s been in my head for most of the day.

But the sheer horror of what’s been happening in India, Bangladesh and Nepal makes anything else seem selfish beyond description.

Twenty million people displaced by floods, with (at the current time) over 200 deaths.

20,000,000 people.

It puts our recent water problems in perspective.

If I were religious I suppose I’d pray.

My thoughts are turned towards Asia this afternoon.