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Lockdown Fatigue - New Blog Post

We're coming towards the end of March and to be frankly honest, I am exhausted. Both physically and mentally. For the last year, I have been working on a much forgotten about frontline service. Everybody thinks about the Healthcare workers when it comes to the frontline, however the fact of the matter is there are many other services that provided for people on the frontline during the last year when they needed it that aren't given the same recognition. Now I am not saying that we should disregard the fine work of healthcare workers in both General and Mental Health services in this country. They have been exemplary in the past year in dealing with the problems that Covid-19 has presented. I'm merely asking people to remember the people who are making this country tick, the civil services, the bank workers, the driving instructors/testers, the driving licence office workers, the people answering queries in phone centre up and down the country and the shop owners and employees keeping food on our shelves to the coffee shop/café/restaurant workers providing people with takeaway and delivery of food with the delivery people when they need it.

Coming back to the the issue of fatigue in relation to this, remember the people behind the counter of the service you are accessing or the people answering the call you make in the call centre are people like you too. They are grateful for having a job in the midst of all this chaos yes, but having that job means also that the work has become a bit harder in the last year. They are bound by the law of the land and if they are told to close or reduce their hours it is not their decision to make. These are decisions made by others. What we ask is for patience. Which I grant you is difficult in a world one year on from this chaos beginning.

Coming back to the fatigue I am feeling which I'm sure others like me are also feeling. I should describe it. There is my physical workload, which I do not mind doing. However, in my line of work I am also required to be in office. This causes a stress for me that I only feel if I go food shopping. As I try to remember my mask wearing, cough and sneeze etiquette, wiping down surfaces and washing hands and when that is not possible, using hand sanitiser. I am unfortunately not vaccinated yet, this is because of the aforementioned view and narrow definition of frontline workers. I am feeling very vulnerable truth be told. It is causing me stress which in turn causes a massive fatigue to a point that I would miss a full day of my weekend exhausted in my bed instead of doing something more productive.

Another thing that I am fed up of is the closing of bookshops and record store as well as no access to clothes and shoe shops as well as some restaurants which serve food that just so happen to have a small bar area. If controlled correctly, these businesses should be allowed to reopen. This is not just for the benefit of the domestic economy but also for the benefit of individual's mental health.
One of the big mistake that we have made as a nation is the reopening of Primary and Secondary schools in the midst of a pandemic. We are literally endangering children because of this faux pas.
There are more and more child/teenager cases being linked to schools than any other time before this. And instead of addressing the problem directly, the government have their heads in the sand. This is due to the fact that measures such as the restriction of the mobility of the student population by having teachers be the ones to go from class to class rather than the student, the unsupervised kids and children not adhering to mask etiquette and social distancing (yes, I'm saying that teachers should chaperone them on lunch breaks to enforce the rules on mask wearing in public and social distancing).  We should have learned from our history of disease spreading amongst our most vulnerable group by looking at how flu spreads as an indicator of what would happen if schools opened back up.

Back to my argument about opening back up. It should happen, it could help people not break the rules so much when it came to the issue. of quarantine. The Gardaí has noted an increase in people being fined for Covid breaches, this is because people are fed up with being cooped up. Allow people to travel more within their own county, open up services for people to not make them feel so trapped and that nothing was changing. There is only so much meditation and yoga people can do. It also would act as a bit of a help for people and might help to curb some of the social disobedience that has been happening. Notably though, the same thing had happened with the Spanish Flu when people had become tired of lockdown measure which in the end turned out to be detrimental. So even the smallest amount of a change at this rate would be welcomed for me. Even if in the end, the government just decided to extend the kilometre limit.

Anyways, we shall see what happens. Hopefully it is some sort of reprieve for us after this long winter. And hopefully we do have brighter days ahead.

Other References:

https://www.irishmirror.ie/news/irish-news/classes-sent-home-irish-primary-23792061

https://www.dublinlive.ie/news/dublin-news/dublin-schools-covid-cases-update-19961064

TARDIS221B

Letters from the Irish Lockdown- Letter Five

Hello again world from Ireland.

Well thing are moving forward in relation to the reopening of businesses and society not just here but around the world. With the gradual reopening come the questions about whether we are being too cautious , whether face masks should be worn or not and in what context should they be worn. Later on in the week also more guidelines were issued on the wearing of masks. . Also the question of what happened to the 1,000 people who were stranded abroad when this all started resurfaced . One of the questions though that I would be asking is, what will be the effects of opening up the country will be. Yes, at the moment, infection rates are low but what if that were to change. That is the fear. We shall see as it was in fact announced on Friday that the government were going to fast track the reopening of the country . Instead of the five stages to reopening the country, that has now being reduced to four.  However there had been a warning from a British scientist about a second wave of the virus during the week, so we shall see whether this step was a wise move. In fact, just as I'm finishing this blog, I became aware of a worrying resurgence in local transmission as well as the fact that despite warning, house parties in Cork are still continuing much to the dismay of locals worried about social distancing. It isn't all doom and gloom though, it would seem that in his speech on Friday, the Taoiseach quoted Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers . Much to the amusement of us all, he quoted Terminator also a few weeks back. A move that sparked countless memes to surface.

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CharlesMycroftSleep

Letters from the Irish Lockdown- Letter Four

Hello again world from Ireland.

Well the start of the week saw a rather amazing thing happen for the first ime in two months, there was no deaths reported.
Again though, as mentioned in my previous post, there have been calls to reduce the 2m rule for social distancing. During the week however I spotted a well known beauty spot populated by revellers and people enjoying the weather with no enforcement of the 2m rule. I would honestly say I would not be surprised if you did see a surge in cases in the area and all over Ireland in the next few days/weeks.   There are also calls to open some hair salons as a lot of people miss the ability to visit them for appointments. Even in the last couple of days coming up to the bank holiday , major beauty spots nearby to me ended up being closed to prevent large gatherings there. This is after a week earlier, the local market had to be closed earlier owing to people not adhering to social distancing guidelines and reopened the next week under very strict guidelines. The main bit of concern would continue to be younger people and their inability to listen to the advice given to them. That being said, on the 8th of June we will be moving into Phase 2 of the reopening society. With it happening questions need to be asked, do we just all go back to the way we would commute or would we all be better off if more remote working options are made available by employers in the future . And experts are continuing to warn us that even though we all may be a bit restless at the moment after two months at home, we must still tow the line and adhere to the framework put forward by the government.

It was the first bit in a while that people were in St Peter's Square for the first time since the pandemic started.
It was also announced that online attendance to mass services rose since lockdown happened. The. Pope himself has found himself becoming an icon of the coronavirus pandemic. From images of him walking down an empty St Peter's Square at the height of the crisis to being there for people when they needed solace as being always there.

Going back to something that I mentioned before in regards to climate change, there is a general concensus now that there is an urgent need to look at the way towns and cities are used and do we go back to the polluted cities of the past and ignore the evidence in front of eyes. Local autorities must look at this and implement ways to decrease pollution for all of us.

Of course there were some that fobbed off this article as being just more of a conspiracy of the Church supporting climate change and the whole thing being linked to the church somehow. Whereas the more intelligent people who don't subscribe would be in agreement with church leaders . Because at the end of the day, the climate change issue transcends the issue of whether people are of religion or not and rather it is more of an issue for every human to deal with as citizens of Earth.
We are all in this together.

Anyways
Until again, stay safe everyone.

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TARDIS221B

Letters from the Irish Lockdown- Letter Three:

Hello again world from Ireland.

Well Monday 18th has come and gone and really there was very little change from the previous Friday. In that the traffic had already increased with people having been venturing out and a couple more places are open which weren't open before. What had been announced and was a welcome announcement from me was that face masks/coverings were recommended for people to use venturing out and doing shopping. And who find themselves in enclosed spaces. As of this moment, I can really see no difference to last week. As I have mentioned in my previous post, I am going to continue to do what I was doing and wear my face mask if I intend on going in to pick up essentials..Garden centres and hardware stores are open which is welcome for a lot of people. Also, business that not many people think of as being essential (but really are in this day and age: IT services, electrical and phone repair shops) are all back open as well. Also golf courses and tennis courts (under very strict conditions).   Some of the pubs are complaining that the 2 metre rule (which has been keeping people safe in this blogger's opinion) should be moved to one metre. In fact, the two metre rule has cause consternation with more people in the last week calling for the two metre rule to be scrapped.  I believe that this would be a terrible catastrophic mistake to make as the question would arise, if a second wave of the virus hit (which it might) how ready would we be. Already there are hospitals in France dreading a resurge in the virus. In face in some countries (as discussed in the previous blog) this would seem to be the case. Thankfully a medium term solution seems to have been found without the pubs endangering people's lives by insisting on opening earlier than planned. And thankfully the taoiseach has said that there will be no change to the two metre rule.

As I had mentioned briefly before, it would seem that the government are indeed planning on bringing back horse racing. But the racing will now take place behind closed doors (unlike the fiasco which was Cheltenham. Other activities have returned too in a limited capacity. At least people will be able to venture out to more places now. It's a good sign, however I do hope that things don't regress in regards to progress of eradication in the community. A worrying development occurred over the weekend, the local market was shut down due to social distancing concerns.

In good environmental news, it was recorded that emissions were down by 17% in Ireland with worldwide emmisions dropping also . With some speculating that this could be the biggest drop in emmissions since World War Two.This is good news for Ireland as year on year we had continuously failed to meet our environmental target. However, this is by no means a panacea to the issue of environment and the fact that 2019 was the hottest year ever in Europe. And Ireland is still abysmal record on sustainability. Indeed looking at the evidence the question that Irish people and indeed the world has to ask is, do we continue down the path of destruction that we are obviously going down given this new data. Or do we learn from it and make the changes needed.

CharlesMycroftSleep

Letters from the Irish Lockdown- Letter Two:

Hello again world from Ireland
Well there have been some changes since I last blogged. Some that I have been aware of when I published the last post. Yet I decided to hold back on the news until now.
Ireland is slowly reopening.     


It was announced the Friday of the May bank holiday that the country will be slowly reopening in a phased capacity as of May 18th.
It is going to be really strange I think when this happens. I have gotten used as an essential worker during the lockdown to quiet streets and less people about. Not to mention the novelty of nearly empty car parks. The real strange thing happened when I went down the town after work. What hits you is the silence. Bear in mind, this is a silence in a city which is usually buzzing with life and only experiences this sort of silence in the dead of night after the pubs and the clubs have all closed up. However that being said, the one thing that I will not miss is the anxiety over whether or not I am staying within the 2km rule, the distance being bunked up to 5km. Which has really helped me. Working like this is not easy, on the rare occasions that I venture down the town, I always wear a mask. I know it might be unnecessary to do so but it gives me piece of mind. The worrying thing that I'm beginning to see is people choosing to ignore the social distancing rule in some places. It is worse I grant you in Dublin than where I am, but it is still cause for concern when I see it happening.     


In fact, the importance of masks seem to be the case more than ever. It was confirmed during the week that there were new cases popping up in places where lockdown measures had been eased such as in Germany and China.This is a worry as now there are even questions as to how will hospitals cope is there is indeed a resurgence in cases. The WHO have also expressed this worry.

I expressed my fears about this in the previous post when I mentioned about the different waves of Covid-19. This fear is not borne out of thin air. It was found that Covid-19 might have been with us sooner than we thought. With a sample from France that was frozen testing positive for the virus. which had been taken in December from a patient admitted to hospital. This means that we may well be in the second wave of Covid-19 without even knowing this. Even our own Taoiseach admitted as such.    

Another worrying thing is that an industry that might have helped to spread Covid-19 in Ireland is allowed to reopen again. However that being said, there are still travel restrictions for people coming into Ireland and this is also applicable to our nearest neighbours. Which is no harm whatsoever in my eyes.

What is fantastic though to see is that some of my favourite places to eat have decided to reopen in town. These were businesses that I was genuinely worried about because there had been no social media updates from them for weeks. So on the last two Fridays, I treated myself to something from one of the places and on Monday and Friday of last week and Thursday of this week got baked goods from one of my favourite bakeries in town which had decided to resume business. This is one of the things that I have tried to do more of during this lockdown, support more Irish businesses. It also highlighted more than ever what we have known for all too well living in a rural area: the importance of the local post office. And I would secretly love to see a local garda in my location too. Who knows, maybe with social distancing this might become a reality (fingers crossed). We desperately need that presence more than ever now.

Amidst all of this, there have been some positive outcomes out of this. For example, the RTE Late Late Show has finally cracked what made the Gay Byrne Late Late show great (the Gay Byrne Late Late only put cameras on the audience during a debate and focused solely on the people on the set. THere have been several videos celebrating the creativity and kindness of Irish people during this time. Including the 'Closer Together' video done by Commercial Producers Ireland.






Anyways
Until again, stay safe everyone.

TARDIS221B

Letters from the Irish Lockdown: Letter One

lj-mood: contemplative

Hello world from Ireland.
What a strange place we are all living in now.  Streets where people would congregate in convivial chats whilst at the same time getting business done up and down the country are now empty. People are heeding warnings issued by our government which are played constantly throughout the day in advertisements on radio, internet and television. There is a general consensus in  the country that we will heed the warnings being given to us. We Irish are generally good at that. We heed our medical professionals as do our government. I think the funniest thing which has come out of this lockdown is the funny imaginative things that people are doing during lockdown which are keeping us all entertained and all our spirits up. The worst thing that I think that our government could decide to do is open everywhere again all in one foul swoop. It was after all reported in the  Irish Times that there may be repeated waves of Covid- 19 that we may still have to endure. more waves of this dreaded virus.

However, that being said, I would like if cafes were allowed to reopen to serve just take away drinks like how some businesses are doing takeaway collection. However, if this in any way endangers staff, i don't want it, I'm happy to wait it out and make my own coffee at home. I even bought this particular tea called 'Galway Cream Tea' as a treat for myself coming in to the bank holiday weekend.
A lot of places have stepped up the the challenge that Covid-19 poses for businesses. Some businesses are offering an "at home" service where certain restaurants would supply the ingredients to their well known dishes for people to make themselves at home. Some operate on a takeaway service. It is quite heartening to see some of the places I like to visit start to reopen if I'm honest.
We have enjoyed a very nice pleasantly sunny Eastertime. However the increase in sunny conditions are bringing it's own problems. With a lot of people venturing out to public places, going past the 2m limit. It would seem that cabin fever has gotten to people so much that some people insist on taking the chance. It had been heartening the last couple of Fridays to see the Gardai out with checkpoints as I go on the way to work as an essential worker. However, that being said , there really neads to be an increase in patrols and Gardai presence in the city of Galway itself. Just this Friday, I had noted that there was an increase in the amount of people in places which would be considered hotspots for people congregating. And also in the touristy spots of town. The same problem becomes obvious around the bank holidays.

Anyways
Until again, stay safe everyone
.

(Note: since this post was started, some changes were announced that will be talked about in the next post)

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C'mere and Let Me Silence Ye- New Blog Post

Like carrion crows, we live and feed on meat,
Regardless of the suffering and pain
We cause by doing so, if thus we treat
Defenceless animals for sport or gain,
How can we hope in this world to attain
The PEACE we say we are so anxious for.

-'Living Graves'
By George Bernard Shaw


It's Summer and all the supermarkets are marketing beef heavily for BBQs. Adding to this there is also ads for lamb and pork products littering the Irish ad break. It is also normal that the weather forecast that you watch every day is sponsored by a dairy company.  The ads continued on into July.

It's funny when you stop to think of it where exactly our food comes from. It's also funny how the Irish Meat and Dairy industry are now, relying in the same advertising techniques as that in America.  Extolling the virtues of Irish meat (in all its unprocessed and highly processed forms) and Dairy. In fact, this in itself is cyclical. For example, if it is just after Christmas, people are trying to loose weight, immediately there is no problem in showing ads for Soya Milk or plant based products.  But give it a few months and these ads are quickly reduced in viability and prominence and make way for ads about chocolate and meat (in all its forms). This comes amidst reports that we are getting fatter as a nation and that one in five five year olds in Ireland are overweight or obese .

Rather than take on this as a real problem regarding the future health of the nation and the potential health problems associated with this in the future people took offence and called it "fat shaming". What are we to do? And yes, this author is herself a little overweight, so calling people out on this might be seen by some to be hypocritical and yes I do recognise that people who choose to be overweight is their own choice and that the way someone's body looks is meaningless. But, using my own  experience of losing weight a few years ago, it did feel good. I no longer had to worry about whether I would be hit with the same health problems that beset my family. I kind of want to get back to that if I'm honest. But I think the thing is that you have to be in the space to want to get back to that point, not because you were forced.

However, coming back to the matter in hand. I bet you didn't know that in the cinema week of Friday 7th Jane to Thursday 13th June 2019, a documentary narrated by Hollywood actress Natalie Portman called 'Eating Animals'. The documentary was a bit different than those that have come before as as well as having a non-farm perspective represented, it featured farmers who bucked the trend of their contemporaries and instead insisted on continuing farming in the traditional manner. In a very similar way to which smaller Irish farmers continue to farm. Which in itself is more of an environmentally sound way to farm than what the modern more industrialised farming structure that is currently being pushed on Irish farmers to adopt. This documentary was one that would appeal to everyone, not just people concerned with animal welfare because in a sense, this effects all of us. However advertising for screening of this particular film was extremely scant. As if there was a want by some to keep this film as hush hush as possible.     

In stark contrast to this lack of advertising. In the week that followed, there were ads on at every ad breaks promoting meats and using slogans like "Ireland loves its meat" as a sort of mantra repeated on loop.  In fact all the major supermarkets were guilty of doing this in particular during that week. Meanwhile. without any promotion, a little documentary called 'Eating Animals' continued to show in the cinema before disappearing after the week. Very little cinemas decided to show it. Meanwhile, a documentary about a footballer was put in both cinemas in Galway with no problem with ample promotion available.  The problem was the narrative, which doesn't seem to suit the governmental FG agricultural policy is actually endorsing bringing the country into line with other countries worldwide. This being a more industrialised farming model.  This particular model is one that is pushed in Ireland. It is being adopted the farms around where I live. In fact, even though there are very good laws at the moment in regards to water pollution, the problem still remains. As well as this, because of the increased demand of the bloated numbers of the national Dairy herd on water resources, water availability has gone down in our local rivers and streams on our land.  Also, the question arises about this sort of mode of production: what is the quality of health for farmers working on this system. This documentary is unique in that it shows the point of view of a group of American farmers who are sometimes overlooked, the small traditional farmer and the farmer who has been forced into the factory system. It also introduces us to a farmer who is campaigning for the cleaning up of waterways and highlighting the dangers that  In this particular documentary we are introduced to two farmers one who is farming turkeys in the more traditional manner,  the other who has been in the factory farm set up on their farm.
During the course of the documentary we are given examples of factory style farming throughout the course of the documentary, primarily though the documentary focuses on the plight of factory farmed turkeys versus the turkeys that are farmed in the more traditional manner.  It becomes obvious to the viewer which system is the best for the turkeys in the long run.

More and more, meat farmers are being forced to upscale their operations like the Americans have done in order to get any bit of a return on their investment in beef and dairy. If worldwide statistics are to be believed though, this is a foolish move with more and more people choosing to decrease the amount of  meat in their diets amidst reports that it has been deemed as a carcinogen. Opting for more of a flexitarian approach.  In fact worldwide consumption, although still high has seen a drop with changes happening worldwide. And instead of having a decrease in encouragement of consumption in line with the new report from the UN, reflecting this and striking deals with vegetable producers, they instead struck a deal with beef farmers in South America. Not only inadvertently encouraging the destruction of the rainforests but crippling the already struggling Beef industry of EU countries. In effect, forcing producers to decrease the herd or become super farms to compete. Bringing in the much maligned factory style farming.

Here's a crazy idea, if Vegetarianism/Veganism might seem as too much of a stretch for people to try and undertake.  What about promising to promote increasing daily intake of vegetables and fruit in their diet. Along with this, wouldn't it not be too unreasonable to cut out meat for at least one day a week. This doesn't seem to be too unreasonable. In fact, not too long ago, people in Ireland abstained from meat one day a week. Then one day a year. It's not a completely bonkers concept and this time it isn't out of a Catholic guilt we would be doing it for, rather for our own health and for our planet. If the current news concerning the rainforest is to be believed, we have to do at least this for the planet to remain habitable. 

know franchise owner said only a few months ago proving that times they are a-changing. However, what is even more interesting is the inference by said business/franchise owner that "That’s what our DNA is made up of". Implying that people wouldn't in fact be able to change their ways. However, if you look at the bold claim that "the staple diet and foods of Irish people for the last couple of hundred years have been meat" , Meat was only regularly eaten by regular Irish people once in a while whilst the rich would have had ready access to it every day. In fact in another instance, meat availability during "The Emergency" relied on whether or not an animal would be available to be killed otherwise it  was rationed or it was simple done without.   Indeed over the pond in England, the very popular "Dig for Victory" was initiated by the British government. This involved the British public being asked to sustain the British populace by encouraging people to start growing their own vegetables to be a little bit more self sufficient. A recent experiment involving children of school going age had them eat a ration era diet for about a week. They found at the end of this study that this diet might in fact be the best one for children. As the children ended up healthier than when they were eating their regular diet. Also given that even within his own lifetime, he himself would have been used to giving up meat every Fridays not just on Good Friday (for fish)

In the UK, there are ads for Violife. These are shown quite regularly and play out in a similar vein to the Denny's ads in Ireland. These adverts have yet to make their way over to Ireland, even though the brand itself is available in supermarkets quite plentifully. The difference between the UK and Ireland in this regard is that the adds for Violife are treated just the same as those for any other meat products. They stand side by side rather than in the minority to meat products. Which is a refreshing and progressive move in this writer's opinion by advert regulators in the UK. Like fur farming, greyhound racing and other horror "blood sports" out there, meat is an increasingly dying industry amongst younger generations worldwide. In fact, fast food industries are now being told that they have to evolve their menu to survive .

So why don't we call for equality all year round not just in the New Year months when it comes to advertising for alternatives.
Maybe it is because it helps to uphold the long held belief that Vegan food consists only of salads. However, there is far more to vegan food than just the humble salad. There are plant based
Paellas , Lasagne , Shepherds/Cottage Pie etc. The other prevailing  myth is that vegans are weak and are hippies, however that this further from the truth and is something that will be explored further in the movie ‘The Game Changers’ out in September.  
This writer recognises that some people just will never consider giving up meat and dairy, and that's fine. In that respect, all I would ask was for those individuals to make the effort to cut out meat and dairy at least once a week if at all possible for them to do so.
Until then I'll ask the question particularly pertinent to Irish readers:
How many meat ads have you seen today?

Other Sites used in Research Writing this Blog Post:

Red meat and processed meat- Irish Cancer Society

Q&A on the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat- World Health Organisation

When Do Obesity Public Health Messages Become Fat Shaming?- Medscape

No, it's not ‘fat-shaming’ to state the facts about obesity and cancer – the science speaks its own truth  -The Independent UK

'We're fat and getting fatter - and it's a life and death issue'- TheJournal.ie

An Indian province has slapped a 14.5% tax on junk food- TheJournal.ie

Poll: Should Ireland introduce a fat tax?-TheJournal.ie

Denmark introduces world's first 'fat tax' on unhealthy foods -TheJournal.ie

Obesity- NutritionFacts.org

Reversing Massive Obesity With Diet- Nutritionfacts.org

Study Shows Just How Much Food Ads Affect Healthy Eating – Cooking Light

I’m paranoid it’s meat’: the rise of vegan conspiracy theories –The Guardian

Vegan and meat-free fast-food options are growing. Here's where to find them. –USA Today

Food Rationing- Primary Homework Help

Dig for Victory 1941- The British Library

Which countries eat the most meat?- BBC

Meat consumption must drop by 90% to avert climate crisis, report warns – The Irish Times

TARDIS221B

Christmas Trees and Relaxation - New Blog Post:

"Much they saw, and far they went, and many homes they visited, but always with a happy end. The Spirit stood beside sick beds, and they were cheerful; on foreign lands, and they were close at home; by struggling men, and they were patient in their greater hope; by poverty, and it was rich. In alms-house, hospital, and jail, in misery's every refuge, where vain man in his little brief authority had not made fast the door and barred the Spirit out, he left his blessing, and taught Scrooge his precepts."
-A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens


I have found over the years that there is nothing quite as relaxing as turning off the lights, pulling up a chair and just enjoying looking at the Christmas tree. Even though there would have been some hubbub surrounding actually getting the tree up and decorated and then again making sure that all the lights were working and that no lights had blown, the finished decorated tree causes much joy.


Trying to pinpoint the reason why is easy. I think it is because it is the first signal (alongside the Late Late Toy Show of course) that Christmas is well and truly on the way. Amidst the rush to get presents and being being a peak retail shopping time there is always the tree. Be it at the corner at Grafton Street near the St Stephen's Green shopping centre, the lights in the shape of a Christmas tree with the crib at the base of the tree on O' Connell Street or the Christmas tree located in any town and some villages in Ireland. The tree remains the most unifying calming aspect of the Christmas season. There is a stillness that surrounds the tree. It demands that we stand and take stock of things even if things are hectic around us.


Retail centres put up the trees and decorations once Halloween is over. Even now some of the time a few days beforehand. But for households, it is traditional to put up the tree on the eighth of December. This is also the time that Roman Catholics in particular celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. This feast in particular is a holy day of obligation. In Ireland too, it was traditionally the day that people would come up to the city to do the Christmas shopping. This particular tradition itself originated from a market which would traditionally take place on the 8th of December when farmers would sell their produce and in turn stock up for the Christmas by using the proceeds of the sales. The particular tradition of the Christmas market has unfortunately has died out over the years but in it’s wake it has become a time that the country people still make their way up to Dublin and go Christmas shopping.


One tradition that has endured throughout is the Christmas tree. The Christmas tree itself first appeared in the 1830s but only became really popular in 1841 when Prince Albert set up the Christmas tree in Windsor in the UK. The tradition of the tree itself can be traced back itself to Prince Albert's Germanic background and the Tannenbaum tradition. Much like what Prince Albert himself would have been used to in his own homeland. Along with some edible treats as decorations on the tree as well. In those early Victorian days, the tree itself was decorated with candles to represent stars.


Perhaps that's what makes the tree itself such an enduring calming influence. If you think of it, the fact that the candles on the tree represent the Indeed, over the years, the candles on the tree have been replaced by small lights which do seem at times to mirror the stars in the sky more than their candles what had preceded. Which in itself is calming amidst the hubbub of the season.


Christmas season itself is also a time for reflection, but it's a time also to look forward. Whatever has happened during the year however bad or good, this is the time that reflection is best done. So during the time that we have free over Christmas, what better way to relax in silence than to spend some time in the room that the tree is in and reflecting on what has happened and what is in front of us.


Breath in.
Breath out.
Relax.

Sad definition frm Blink

Working through the End of the Year and into the New One - New Blog Post.

Have had a very busy time of late, hence why I hadn't blogged here for a bit. Have had a lot of places to be and people to see. Went to the Doctor Who Experience back in October. It was great to see it again, it had changed a little bit from when I had seen it last. The Summer fair was in the Roald Dahl Plass and the Doctor Who Experience itself had changed. I had gone before, as I've written before here that I had gone back in the Spring. This time I had the opportunity to go on the the guided tour which conveniently was added in with our ticket which was great. Unfortunately the weather we had there wasn't too great, but we managed. Towards the end of the year, I had managed to get back to the Happy Pear twice. In October and December. Also have continued to loose weight up to Christmas. Of course, there was the Christmas binge, but it was better managed this time. Before Christmas I went and exercised and continued through the Christmas break. So things are grand for me now. Better than what they were for me this time last year. Found that there was a way in which you can control the Christmas bloat, much of it has to do with the replacing of the regular mineral at the dinner with Kombucha. By doing this, I felt less bloated than I would have been in previous years After Christmas dinner. Am looking forward to my birthday on the 4th. There have been a lot of changes since this time last year. I am very proud of my progress.


Also headed to Dublin Comic Con in August. Had a great time. Paul McGann was there.It was fantastic to meet him. Added onto this was the meet up. It was a bit hard this year to try and coordinate it as where we had originally a TARDIS that helped us direct people to directly. At the 2016 one, we had none. So it was a bit hit and miss. Hopefully this will be rectified for 2017. Also at the convention, I got two commissions from Mike Collins. I really love how they both turned out.
I have to say am absolutely gutted that Peter Capaldi felt that he had to go, I do however feel quite proud to have had cosplayed him at Dublin Comic Con. And I accept his decision to leave (it doesn't mean that I have to like it though. But I'll get over it, I always do).


Things have just kept going for me. I went to K-Con (Kingdom Con) and cosplayed the Twelfth Doctor and Osgood again. I had planned on going to the con as Agent Carter and had gotten my red hat and lipstick, but then Peter decided to leave so I've decided instead to do a bit of a farewell tour with my Twelfth Doctor cosplay outfit.





On the topic of the Twelfth Doctor, I also picked up this rather cool if a little cheeky t-shirt back in February before I went to Cardiff. In fact its first outing was at the Doctor Who Experience when I went again in February for my last journey before it closed in the Summer. Who knows, I might make it again. However, if that was indeed the last hurrah for trip it was a fantastic trip. I wouldn't really mind going back to Cardiff even if the Experience is indeed closed fully. I do think however that there will be a bit of a void without the Experience there as a vocal point for fans to go to. And seeing now that there is going to be a bit of a void there now there is going to be a bit of a void. It would be advisable for someone to set up a walking tour which would be updated fairly regularly with new information rather than the one on the official where the information hadn't been updated since series eight. The obvious omission on the part of the creators of the tour due to the fact that no locations for series 9 had been added to the tour. Another expansion to the tour I would suggest making is to have the tour expand to include more of the Cardiff city centre locations.

Found myself back in Cardiff then two montth later though. They had made the TARDIS tour available. Of course I would go to it, I love that version of the TARDIS. Would love to go back and do that tour again. I may not have met Peter Capaldi, but going to his TARDIS was the best. I love his TARDIS interior. Also, this time I got the sweatshirt of the design I had wanted for quite some time that I wore on the tour. I had met the artist myself at Dublic Comic Con last year and got a print of it, but I had spotted the t-shirt before that though and I had finally decided to get it for before I went to Cardiff. I also wanted to get this t-shirt that I had my eye on for a while, I really love it. I am a fan of this artist for a while.




NekkidBenton

Six Months and Feeling Great - New Blog Post

Well it's been six months. I'm still here and on the wagon still. Have lost around two stone and a bit (am very proud of my progress so far.) I'm doing this for myself and no one else. As I had mentioned before, I had high cholesterol and needed to change for myself. So I just did a few basic things. Increased the amount of fruit and vegetables in my diet. Cut out the sweets and the crisps. And just stuck to my three meals a day and snacking on fruits and eating my vegetables. I also had started to drink some more fresh smoothies I made at home. I also started doing a bit of exercise each day and I have to say that I feel great now. It's amazing what a little bit of motivation and a lifestyle reboot can do for you. I have to say that I have been convinced.
What really opened my eyes to what I was eating was a couple of documentaries on Netflix. 'Vegucated' and 'Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead' also 'Food Matters', 'Knives over Forks' and 'Hungry for Change' as well as 'Fed Up'. I would have to say that those really helped me get in the right frame of mind to get loosing the weight. I cannot recommend enough those documentaries.
Speaking of documentaries, I want to talk about 'What Are you Eating?" Which I think myself is one of the best factual tv shows RTE have put on for a while now. Presented by the ever professional Philip Boucher Hayes, it examines where our food actually comes from and the practices involved in trying to get food from shop to plate. Although our food manufacturing practices are far better in my opinion than our US counterparts, there were still a few things that I found quite alarming. One of which being the way in which we prepare our bacon. Another shock was the one that everyone was talking about, the chicken fillet roll. As someone who used to eat them during the lunch at the library.
I finally went to Cardiff. Had started to plan it in February as a birthday present to myself and finally headed over in April. Had a lovely time there. Got ok weather when I went over.Went to the Doctor Who Experience and went to some of the places that were featured in the series. Also found it easy to keep to losing weight when I went over there, went to a local health food store and picked up some supplies. Also the bus service was very convenient and worth it to get a day ticket in the morning rather than trying to get the sightseeing bus which was twice the price. Wish I have a bit longer there, however I did get to Cardiff Castle and saw some of it before they closed up for the day. I was pleased to get there as the part I had gone to was featured in the Doctor Who episode 'Heaven Sent.' I stayed two nights over there before flying home.







I went to MCM Dublin on the 2nd and 3rd of July (this month) and met Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred and Peter Davison as well as Luke Pasquilano and the Hillywood Show. Had a great time. We had a Whovian meetup on the Saturday of the convention and was pleased with the turnout for that. Also had a bit of change of cosplay this year. I cosplayed the TARDIS on the Saturday and Osgood on the Sunday. Was very pleased with how the TARDIS dress turned out even though I had to compromise with the dress and buy another one because the one I wanted to get made never did. But it worked out well in the end. Have Dublin Comic Con in two weeks and Paul McGann is going to be there. Can't wait.
Another thing that has happened is that a lot of the series that I had an interest in were cancelled. Earlier on this year saw 'Agent Carter' fall prey to this, as did 'Limitless' which I really enjoyed as a show. Added to this 'Beauty and the Beast' is finishing up with this series. As well as 'Penny Dreadful' which was as usual absolutely fantastic this series. But the creator wanted to round off with this series so I guess we have to accept it. Speaking of rounding off, 'Teen Wolf' is finishing up at the end of Series 6. I am so proud of this particular show and am quite pleased that they have decided to finish it off with this series rather than leave its fate in the hands of the networks and leave us with a lousy cliffhanger as our ending (Like Forever and Limitless). That's not to say that I am not sad to see it go. I am very sad to see it finish up. I love this show. Critics from the start had panned this series but this series proved everybody wrong and created its own unique identity seperate from the films with bare it's name. It has been one of my favourite series to watch (alongside Doctor Who of course) the last couple of years.
I shall miss it and think of it fondly.
Another thing that has happened to me was that I finally got a job. I was absolutely thrilled. There had been a few moments where I thought that I wouldn't get the job but thankfully I was wrong. Enjoyed it. But unfortunately was let go when the work was finishing up in the place. So, back where I was before.
I'd say one thing for it though, it helped me with my writing. I had a bit of a writer's block and doing the work I had been doing helped to organise my head a bit better and dust off the cobwebs In my head. So am writing again.
Posted the next chapter of my fanfic 'Rise from the Ashes', which I'm very happy with. I am also nearly finished with the epilogue chapter of 'Kiss it to Death' and have finally started to edit my first part of my 'Wolfland' trilogy. Along with this, I also finally posted up my fanvid 'Sing a Sad Song of the Impossible Pair (All Coming Back to Me)' on YouTube.

Owing to the fact that before when I published, I was a little wary of posting it up on YouTube. But thankfully my fears have dissipated. It seems as if YouTube has sorted the copyright question out for me.