Archive for the ‘Understanding Others’ Category

DO supplies

Food being distributed at a DP Camp in Germany

There was always the threat of trouble, fighting, and deaths.  While he was there, there were several lynchings.  My father-in-law was part of the British Army of Occupation in Germany for two years.  On Displaced Persons camp control.  There were thousands of people in these camps, mainly Czechs, Slovaks, Poles, Byelo-Russians, Ukrainians.  And a few French.  There was trouble in these camps and the soldiers were to keep order.

There were quite a few ex-SS men, and this led to considerable recrimination, violence and occasional murder.  The ex-SS men were identified where possible, and put in PoW camps for de-Nazification, and later release/or trial.  Some ex-SS were zealots, others had been just opportunists trying to get by during the war years. (more…)

Mens Conference (14).JPG

The men listen carefully, if sometimes noisily

In Haiti they say “Age and marriage tame the beast”.    But by the time I stood to speak to over 470 Haitian men on this, I knew that was only partially the case.  The Beast still lurked.  Perhaps it still lurks in all of us.

Getting Asked
British Aid is supporting the Hospital’s women’s reproductive health programme in the community.  As part of that, the Hospital organised a Men’s Conference – how men can support their wives and partners.  It covered antenatal care, supporting your wife/partner in the early months after birth, birth control, relationships.

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Bank crook.jpg

Yet an earlier HBOS scandal

Last week Judge Martin Beddoe jails HBOS banker who “sold his soul for bling and swag”.  The noise and clamour over Trump, Brexit, etc, cannot quite distract from the low hanging stink over business practices.  BHS, Sports Direct, even Volkswagen.  As an accountant and an HR professional, I am well aware of audit and legal compliance.

“Why does all this still happen so much?” “Why are there so so few convictions?” “Where are the whistle blowers?”

Last Week
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deadly-drivingI had the opportunity before Christmas to go along to a motoring safety course. And was really surprised at the psychological perspective it took.  Nothing on stopping distances, hardly anything on driving distances. Little on the law.

Sure there was quite a bit reminding us of how much of The Highway Code that we thought we knew, has over the years been forgotten, never learned, or is new since we took the test.  The focus was on how we see ourselves.  Yes, three hours of motoring introspection.  Was it dull?  No. Read on

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prison-christmas

As the prisoners come in, they wish me “Happy Christmas”.  Many of them anyway, and with cheery grins.  I was surprised.  They were glad to see us doing music for the Christmas Eve service.  Glad that there was something on for Christmas, glad to be glad-handed.

Trouble over Christmas period in prisons?  Perhaps in HMP Cardiff yesterday.  Not where I’ve been.  I’ve been inside twice this month, including Christmas Eve.  There was more natter than normal, and it had an “edge”.  Yet, no more than that.

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prayers-bannerI
Those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shined, for unto us a child is born, a son is given.”
We are in darkness here, oh God
miserable being here this Christmas.
Want to be home at this time.
We are not home. Yet…. we are not alone.

May we be the light that shined on:
.     mates on the Wings – encouragement
.          wife on the phone – a truly listening ear
.               kids in the Visitors Centre – sweet words.
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
and ransom your captive people (more…)

cohen-draperDon Draper and Leonard Cohen, two contemporaries, born in the 1930’s.  Both lovers of cigarettes, women and sharp suits.  Ah, the women.  And so many of them too.  I am drawn to both Don and Leonard.  Both know there is more to life than the nonsense swirling around us.  Both reached out to women, in Don’s case for the mother he never had.  In Leonard’s case, looking for God The Father, as his own died when he was just 9. (more…)