Friday, 23 August 2013

That final straw

What picture pops into your mind when you hear the term 'animal rights activist'? Some young, pierced & tattooed wastrel with dreadlocks? Someone who needs to get a bath and a proper job and stop messing around with protests and placards and stuff? 

How about a frumpy, dumpy, middle-aged woman who makes jewellery in her spare time? Not quite the stereotype, is it? But I have now joined the Hunt Saboteurs Association, and in the eyes of some of the redtop tabloid media, that makes me a lefty animal rights campaigner.

I never set out with the intention of joining the sabs. I've always had an interest in animals and wildlife and have always hated hunting and animal cruelty. As you will know if you have read my earlier posts in this blog, some friends & I went on the Stop The Badger Cull march in London on 1 June, and ever since then I have become more and more concerned and worried about the way this country is treating its wildlife. I've written to my MP about it [not that it did any good and he is still gung-ho for the cull] and I've emailed the Prime Minister's office, with the same result - nothing. I've tried talking to the NFU, but they just banned me from their Facebook page.  I read the news about the cull and try to publicise it as widely as possible. 

All pretty tame stuff, huh? So what was this 'final straw' that turned me into a raving lefty activist?  It was seeing pictures of unspeakable cruelty towards crows on a farm in England that also has a business running shoots. I can't begin to tell you how horrific this act was, and how deeply upset it made me.  I find it unbearable that anyone could inflict pain and torture on a defenceless bird in this way, and all to protect a bunch of other birds so they could be slaughtered by men with big guns. And so I gave the sabs my money and I joined them. 

I may not be able to get out into the field but I can support those who can. And I can continue to write to my MP and his colleagues to try to get across the disgust and revulsion felt by me and by hundreds of thousands of others to the wanton destruction of British wildlife. I don't expect the PM to listen - after all, he's upset that his bad back stops him going out slaughtering deer on his Scottish holiday - but that doesn't mean I shouldn't tell him anyway. 

Being against the cull does not mean that I don't care about the bovine TB, the cows that are slaughtered and the distress of farmers losing their animals.  But slaughtering the badgers in reprisal will not stop bTB. they're not even going to test the badgers they kill, to see whether they were carriers. There are no badgers on the Isle of Man, but they do have bTB - so how can that be? And there are badgers in Scotland, but the cattle there are bTB free. In Wales they vaccinate and don't slaughter badgers. There are alternatives but in England the Government and some of the farmers will not even consider them. bTB rates have been falling this year and have fallen again this month, without the cull - why not try to see what caused the drop, and work with that?

The petition against the cull is now the largest e-petition ever. Have you signed yet? If not, here's the link

And if even frumpy middle-aged women are joining the sabs, things are much, much worse than the government realise. 

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Hot town, summer in the city .......

I'm sorry I haven't posted anything for a couple of weeks. I'm really not good in the hot weather, I tend to just shut down until it gets a bit cooler. I'm from a small seaside town in Ireland so I'm more suited to mists and fine rain, and warm scarves and chunky boots, not baking sunshine and flimsy summer frocks. I find the heat makes it very uncomfortable to bead, too. I can't concentrate if it's all stuffy and humid, and anything I do make usually turns out to be a bit of a dog's dinner.  

Far and away the worst part of the hot weather is having to go to work. The trains are unbearable, especially South West Trains in the evening rush hour. What do you do, SWT, have individual heaters on the seats? I try to get Southern trains instead because the journey may be a bit longer but some of the trains have air conditioning, which is gorgeous, and even the older trains have better ventilation. I think the managing directors of train companies should be forced to travel to and from work on their own trains, just to see how bad it is for the passengers. 

Oh, the passengers .... the trouble with public transport is that they let the public on it.  I get a very early train in the morning, before the main rush, and we have several regulars who work on their laptops, tapping away like little woodpeckers. And on the evening trains at the moment we have The Family Day Trippers.  When did it become acceptable for small children to sit when adults are standing? it's not unusual to see one family group occupying 8 or more seats, usually two adults and the rest are children, whilst adults have to stand. I do occasionally use a walking stick and just once in a while it would be nice to be offered a seat, instead of having to stand up while small children climb all over the seats, swing off the hand rails and generally cause mayhem. When I was a child, I would always be told to 'stand up and let that lady sit down'; why doesn't that happen now? And why on earth do they think it's acceptable to block the doors with empty buggies?

Enough whingeing. I haven't got a great deal to show you this week, because all I've been doing when I do finally get home from work is lie down in a darkened bath until sundown, but here are some pics of my current stock. 

This amethyst necklace has three larger amethysts as focals, which are the last of a string that my friend brought me back from Japan several years ago. The small rondelles are a lovely pale violet shade, then you get the big hit of purple from the focals. 

 I make a lot of these simple pearl earrings. This pair features more beads from Japan, this time some gorgeous gleaming pearls. I've teamed them with some sleek silver collars to make classically simple earrings for a bride or for day to evening wear. They look equally good with a work suit as they do with jeans or a party dress.

I really like these earrings. Silver coloured celticy hexagons are teamed with blue-green crystals that flash with peacock colours. Not much else to say really!

 I can't remember where I got these pinky-yellow beads, or the big silver beads either for that matter. I know I've had them both for a while but they suddenly just came together in these earrings. 

 These gorgeous oatmeal coloured jasper coins and the little stripey nuggets were part of my winnings in a sweepstake on my favourite beading forum, Bead Buddies. The coins are very tactile, lovely and smooth to play with.

This bracelet is an adaptation of double needle right angle weave and is made with peacock coloured seed beads and crystals. It's most likely a one-off because I can't quite remember how I made it!

Halfway through August; soon be autumn :-) Berries and crunchy leaves and frosty mornings ... can't wait!!