Saturday, December 15, 2012

The end of the world

So apparently the Mayan calender predicts that the end of the world is nigh on 21/12/12. That we are possibly expecting a cataclysmic event or annihilation; that aliens will be present to take a chosen few to a safe haven (as long as you can get to the top of a, now closed off, mountain in a little village in France).

 People have died in the name of this event, killed themselves with fear.

 One American shop owner has made huge profits in sales of 'end of the world' supply boxes, the sales of underground shelters in China has tripled!!!

BUT, maybe we are missing the point!

A conversation I had a few days ago with a teenager about the 'end of the world' on 21/12/12 led me to try to explain to her that surely 'the end of the world' is a relative theory. That somewhere as we were speaking, the world had ended for someone who had just been diagnosed with terminal cancer, who had just seen a loved one die suddenly, who couldn't put food in the mouths of their adored children who were dying of malnutrition, whose baby was born sleeping...the list is endless

Then only yesterday, too close to home for me personally as I know Newtown, 28 innocent lives were lost to a mentally unstable young man with a vendetta. Newtown was the first town that Mr Beehive and I visited when we did our 'look-see' visit back in 2005. We stopped in this beautiful, quintessential New England town partly drawn in by the view over the trees and valley and partly to get an amazing sandwich from the deli on the main street. There was a Montessori school close by that we were also visiting and it could so easily have been the place we chose to live. It IS an idyllic place, until yesterday at least. Instead we chose to live just some 12 miles away,  In one short hour, those poor babies and their carers went to school or work as normal, not to see lunchtime. The whole of Connecticut went into lockdown in the schools, parents' hearts hit the floor as the news unfolded. The world ended.

In China, a mad man entered a nursery and maimed 27 innocent babies. Their parents' dropped their children off, maybe on the way to work, to receive a very similar phone call as those parents in CT, some 6000 miles away.

A mall in Oregon saw more people killed this week.
In Syria lives are lost on a daily basis, a conflict killing thousands, mainly innocents.
Belfast appears to be returning to the days of old with car bombs and shootings.
I could go on and on and on.

President Obama has promised 'Meaningful Action' in the wake of the Newtown massacre.

Let's just hope THIS is the point.

Let's just hope that the 21/12/12 sees a coming of a NEW AGE, a new world within which free access to guns in the US is heavily restricted, where sticking plasters of enabling schools to have concealed firearms is NOT the answer.

I hope that 21/12/12 brings a dawning where people begin to understand that we are humans first and foremost, it doesn't matter what religion people are, that we can live in harmony rather than using religion as an umbrella under which to fight each other. Religion should enhance, not destroy.

21/12/12 needs to bring an era in which children are safe to cross the road, go to school, walk to the shops, be at home with their loved ones without the fear that they might be kidnapped, killed, raped, attacked.

For so many, the end of the world has already come, it has claimed all that they have known and loved within it. For the majority, that wasn't Mother Nature, or their god's doing, it was the doing of another human being - a drunk after a night out, the son of a teacher in an elementary school, their neighbour in Northern Ireland or Syria.

The end of the world theory on 21/12/12 is a wake up call. Nothing is coming to destroy us.


To everyone who has lost a child/partner/sister/brother/loved one today in the awful shooting in CT I extend the hand of love and friendship to you all and know my heart bleeds with yours.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Two weeks on and Advent day 9

Well, I have learned a lesson from our misfortune and that is how, despite feeling everything is going downhill, you can and must always try to find the positive in the negative.
Oddly this is something I always try to tell the children, particularly when they find it difficult with someone at school who is maybe not being kind or friendly towards them, but it was good for me to take an enormous spoonful of my own medicine for once!

So, we don't have a downstairs as such to live in, however, on the upside this has meant that we are eating meals together at the table all the time and this has meant that our family table has, once more, become the focus of our family and the candles and mindfulness that this is bringing back into my approach is warming me greatly.
It means that the children are crafting more and we have gone out this weekend as a family as we can't really sit in the house for long periods.

It has also given us a blank canvas to start again on the home that we are creating, this time we will be able to do the things we had wanted to do initially but time and money to an extent, were in the way. We will put down a proper wooden floor rather than laminate, the ghastly attempt at Tuscanesque/1950's pub plasterwork, will now become clean white, flat plaster, that just shows the leans and bends in the quirkiness of the house, rather than looking like a rather grim attempt to plaster when inebriated. The rug that I loved so much from the USA, will now be replaced by a very traditional braided Blue Mountain rug that really screams USA to me and we 'may' take the fact we're in a mess to get the black beams stripped back as
NOT our house, but wouldn't that be nice....just the rug I want
well...but I may have to work on Mr Beehive for that!

We may not have a tree or decorations in the house this year, but we went on the train early this morning to try to lift our spirits and get in the festive mood. We decided to visit the Birmingham-Frankfurt Christmas market.
007, eat ya heart out!
It was Mr Beehive's birthday yesterday and, given that we'd spent the day taxi-ing the boys and the Little Miss here there and everywhere (including Master Beehive the elder's first ball  - yeah, tux and a small tear, my boy, growing up so fast!), we decided that today was daddy's day and we'd spoil him with Gluhwein and Bratwursts!

Little Miss bought him a gorgeous snowflake candle spinning decoration. Many years ago my grandmother had one with cherubs on it that she would (or rather I would) put out on the mantelpiece each Christmas and it was the highlight of my days after school, to run home and fight with my sister to be the one to light it. As the heat rose from the candles it spun around making a cute ting, ting as it hit the little bell. When she died I think it went to my sister (I was sad!) but somehow we managed to find an identical one, so I now have that one and there is this little one for Mr Beehive too. He also bought a wonderful wooden carousel that does the same, only it is wood and has little figures. We won't be using it this Christmas, but it'll look lovely in our 'renovated' home next year!
So here are some photos of our day

So much candy, so little time!


I hope you're getting in the spirit of Advent, Christmas, Yule!

Monday, December 03, 2012


Just a quick update on life in the Beehive.
We are feeling a little like the Borrowers at the moment - only we are the family living upstairs!

It appears - due to Mr Beehive's diligence and perseverance rather than any help from the Water board, that the issue was caused by a Storm drain that was blocked. This then caused a backup of water that of course found our well as the only escape route - that in turn was then bulging to capacity and presumably spilling out into any possible areas, and that may be over the top of our damp proofing and in under the floorboards in the den and flooding out onto the lower level hall and lounge.

So where does that leave us:

after many nights of worry and potential costs building and thoughts of neighbourhood wars, as one thought we had had was that our neighbours had recently pneumatic drilled up their cement front garden and could they have cracked a pipe. They aren't planning on staying, they buy, renovate and move on, would they want this issue, would they care...oh it's amazing what you can think at 2am.

Fortunately (there are great reasons to being married to a man with a law degree!) Mr Beehive had all our drains checked out and they were clear and now we knew one pipe ran under next door before heading to the storm drain. So, he checked out liability etc and apparently since 1st October 2011, if a drain that feeds to a sewer (storm drain - not private drain off your roof to a soakaway), runs under more than one property then it is the responsibility of the water board, even if that storm drain is on private land! So, hooray!

As it happens, the water board this time, once Mr Beehive told them that the storm drain had caused a flood in our living area, were out like a shot - 20 minutes after being called on the phone - I mean...bloody hell, you can't even get fast food that fast!

They confirmed what we thought - however, they were not going to completely hold up their hands, no, apparently as the storm drain in question is on the road - it 'may' be the Highways agency's responsiblity - so watch this space as I fear this could be a niggle between them both for a few more weeks yet.

The rest of it is much as it was - black, smelly, just a shell.

Things are moving slowly.
A skip is coming on Wednesday to take away the destroyed wood and furniture and carpets.
Loss adjusters have agreed to all of it, but not settled - so we have to see what happens there.

Still, after falling down the last four steps on Sunday afternoon and having a damn good cry, I feel more up beat this week and am even taking the kids and Mr Beehive to the German Christmas market in Brum at the weekend - The Gluwein might still kick some Christmas spirit in me yet!