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Guest Post from author, @LisaShambrook #wwwBlogs 7 Reasons Why You Should Be You…

Got a chance to be part of The Big Blue Takeover on Shelley Wilson’s blog…so find out How to Be You!

Shelley Wilson

Guest_Lisa

Today’s guest on the Big Blue Takeover is, Lisa Shambrook author of the beautiful ‘Hope Within’ series and blogger at The Last Krystallos. Over to Lisa…

To be nobody but yourself - the last krystallos- lisa   shambrook7 Reasons Why You Should Be You…

I spent years trying to be someone different, trying to be someone everyone wanted me to be. Way back in 1989 – I’m giving away my age now – when I was 18, I scrawled a poem: ‘I’ll open my heart and show you inside, but don’t let me know what you’ve seen. I want to be everything everyone wants me to be, but I’m not sure I know how. I don’t even know how to be me.’ …and I lived that teenage angst for another decade or so before allowing myself to discover who I was.

Don’t do it. Don’t be anyone but yourself.

Figuring out who you are is the whole point of the human experience. …

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A Visit to the Tate Modern Art Gallery

What constitutes art for you?
Do you prefer the Old Masters or the New Pretenders?

A Visit to the Tate Modern Art Gallery - The Last Krystallos - What is Art to you...

Just last week we visited the Tate Modern Art Gallery in London. I’d very much have liked to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum too, but time was a factor, and when we found ourselves on the South Bank the Tate was right there. I thoroughly enjoyed the visit, though hubby didn’t make it past the first floor of exhibits. He disappeared outside to enjoy the sunshine and the Thames instead, leaving my daughters and me to peruse the gallery.

Magdalena Abakanowicz

Magdalena Abakanowicz. I loved the organic nature of this exhibit. Sacks and material sewn into pebbles. It took up a huge room and I wanted to walk in amid them, be part of them, like walking on a beach…

Now, art is subjective, that’s for sure. I lean toward the classics from Michelangelo and Da Vinci, to the Italian Renaissance and the Impressionists. I very much revel in Degas, Botticelli, Raphael, Rembrandt, Waterhouse (one of my most favourite artists, I adore Ophelia), Monet, Renoir, Turner, Van Gogh (I love his night sky!)and many more, but as we move to Picasso, and the modernists, though I loved his blue period and early work, his Cubism starts to lose me. Mondrian and similar artists don’t do much for me, but I do appreciate their value as art and to the eternally progressing world of art. On another note, though, Salvador Dali is a wonder, and his paintings are totally me!

Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter. A group of paintings, each over six feet across. I loved the colours and ambience of water in my mind.

What do you call art?

A fascinating question. My art teacher at school was obsessed by Henry Moore’s sculptures and being a classicist myself I lost interest as she constantly bombarded us with Moore, as an adult I’ve grown into his work, but as a teen he didn’t interest me.

Al Weiei

Al Weiei. The first exhibit in the centre of the entrance level. A tree made up of many trees, bolted together. Organic yet industrial…

So, in London we wandered the Tate, and Caitlin and I shared much conversation. Cait’s about to start her art A-levels and the gallery offered a great look at what constituted modern art. 

Edward Ruscha - Music from the Balconies

Edward Ruscha – Music from the Balconies. Another inspiring piece in the Tate.

How is a huge, yellow, scalene triangle hung on the wall a piece of art? It doesn’t appear to take a lot of talent or even time to create a large piece in yellow. Vince and Cait asked how it was art. It wasn’t something that appealed to me, not my thing at all, but it is art. I didn’t take a picture of it and I can’t find a link, but you can imagine it. And, there it is – imagination – that’s the answer. Vince stared at it, and that was when he pretty much gave up and went outside to enjoy the sun instead, and I caught the irony. I said it was about imagination, about how the piece made you feel, and what you saw. There was no explanation for this piece. But to me it was sunshine, or lemons – I could taste lemons just looking at the colour, or happiness, or a sail of a yacht – or whatever you saw or felt. 

Behold - Sheela Gowda

Sheela Gowda – Behold. Weirdly fascinating and labout intensive.

There were pieces that didn’t get me, though I appreciated the work that went into them. One room was full of what looked like wool, set up across the ceiling and room like huge spider webs, but it was in actual fact, black human hair, donated by local Indian Temples, and woven together, and if you looked closely you could see the plaits and weaves that artist had spent hundreds of hours on, incredibly labour intensive. Sheela Gowda‘s piece showed vulnerability and control but it was weirdly wonderfully odd!

Some modern art, I’ll never understand. Some of it just exists to poke fun at or rebel against classical art, or against politics, or ethics etc, but some is really beautiful despite having a very different form to classical art. I like to analyse, and if the artist can show me what they were thinking when they made it, then I’ll welcome it as art. The exhibits that frustrated me most were those where the artists said there was no thought process, no meaning, then I struggle to see it as art. Art needs meaning to be art to me!

Another exhibit, I didn’t photograph was African and looked politically charged, but the artist had no explanation or reason behind it, and that’s when you lose me. I like things to have meaning.

David Alfaro Siquerios - Cosmos and Disaster

David Alfaro Siquerios – Cosmos and Disaster. I loved this piece and could have gazed at its despair and pain for a long time.

I totally loved David Alfaro Siquerios – Cosmos and Disaster. It was about the Spanish Civil War, but spoke about the sadness and futility of war, any war, to me. I loved the raw quality and the depiction of barbed wire across the paint. It spoke of desolation.

Hamed Abdalla - Defeat

Hamed Abdalla – Defeat. Fascinating in its mixed media and silver aluminium and burnt tar.

I also loved Hamed Abdalla – Defeat. The mixed media, and the subject pulled me in. silver leaf aluminium and burning with a blow torch, the photo doesn’t do it justice, but it truly made me feel defeat, loss and abandonment.

Matta - Black Virtue Triptych

Matta – Black Virtue Triptych. I only photographed the central canvas of the triptych as it was the one that spoke to me. Read what you want into that!

I tend to go for the dark side in art, and that also showed in the art that fascinated me, they were the pieces that made me stop and consider.

Tsuyashi Maekawa - Two Junctions

Tsuyashi Maekawa – Two Junctions. Another fascinating mixed media piece that kept my attention.

The Tate, however, offered some art that I did not understand, did not like, or just wasn’t my thing, but it also offered a lot of works that inspired me, thrilled me and fascinated me. Some I loved and some I slipped right into. I’ve peppered my favourites amongst this post.

Art is anything to me that is expression, emotion, surreal, classic, beautiful, strange – anything that is emotive or expressive…

What do you think? What constitutes art to you?

And which do you prefer, classic or modern,
or do you love to appreciate all art?

From Two Extremes – Wild Camping to City Break

Wild Camping on Dartmoor and a Weekend in London
– you couldn’t find two more extreme activities
and we did both in one week!

From Two Extremes - Wild Camping to City Break - The Last Krystallos

Firstly, let’s explain the term wild camping: in the UK you are only legally allowed to camp out and pitch a tent on a camp site, unless you have permission from the land owner first. However, there are exceptions. Scotland, for the most part, allows wild camping (except in one or two regions) and Dartmoor. Do your research before you decide where to go. Dartmoor has a great website and forums are excellent for advice and help. Wild camping allows you to pitch your tent (only small tents) wherever you wish and as long as you abide the laws of the countryside and you only stay up to two nights you’re good.
Also on Dartmoor be sure to check out the Military Firing Range times…you don’t want to get caught in the middle of an exercise!

So, we took two 2man tents and (far too much) gear in rucksacks and off we went.

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Dartmoor tors, Dartmoor pony, sheep © Lisa Shambrook

We parked in a free car park in Belstone, just to the north of Dartmoor, and hiked up onto the tors. Now, we were beginners. I don’t even like camping! I abhor organised camps and dislike being tied to one place, or to other people…so this was an experiment. We thought of reaching Yes Tor, but we quickly realised we were carrying too much and weren’t as fit as we could be! Instead of miles of hiking we ended up at either Winter Tor or Irishman’s Wall. Being beginners we had no OS map, just a print out from the web…

Still, it was stunningly beautiful and we were off the beaten track and out in the wild!

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Pitching and taking down tents © Lisa Shambrook

We pitched and explored and set up a small camp. We had lots of fun, played games, talked a lot, learned more about each other, and had food.

So, a couple of things: We took a disposable BBQ – don’t bother. Wind, did no one mention the wind! We ended up using a gas camp stove instead for the most part, and find something as lightweight as you can! Think of food that either doesn’t need cooking, or is easy, soups etc and keep it simple. Baked beans in the morning, at dawn, on a camping stove was lovely! (And remember everything you take up there has to be brought back down – take all your rubbish home again) We carried a 4 litre bottle of water, just in case – we didn’t need it and it was extra unnecessary weight.

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View from tent, sunrise, family selfie, Dartmoor pony © Lisa Shambrook

There’s not a lot of privacy so choose your site well, you’ll need rocks or bushes to do your business behind. (And take a trowel if you need to) It really is back to basics! Don’t be shy…though the sheep up there are!

Sleeping. We took self-inflating mats to place our sleeping bags on, and for me that worked. I was worried my back wouldn’t hold out, but I took preventative pills and was careful. And I would just use a hoody or jacket for a pillow. Remember to take warm clothes, socks in particular! Even in a sleeping bag you can get cold.

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Vince and Lisa © Lisa Shambrook

Hubby didn’t sleep. Hubby has decided he’s never camping again! But he did take a look at the stars and stared in wonder at the clarity and beauty up there in the night sky!

I didn’t sleep much myself, half hour stops and starts, but that may have been due to hubby’s discomfort. Anyway, at 5am we called it quits and got up to see in the dawn. We’d watched the sunset the night before and now as the clock moved to 6am the new sun peeped over the misty horizon and graced us with its presence. It was mighty cold up there, sitting on the rocks wrapped in sleeping bags, watching the sunrise, but spectacular, and a sight not to be missed.

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Main: Sunrise on Dartmoor, moors, and bottom left: sunset, bottom right: sunrise © Lisa Shambrook

After breakfast we packed up and trekked back a much easier way. We were greeted in Belstone village by a herd of gorgeous Dartmoor ponies, and tired but happy, we made it to the car and I drove home, letting hubby catch up on sleep!

Two days later and we were catching the 2am coach to London…to experience the other end of the spectrum!

We stayed in Travelodge in Covent Garden, which was very good in comparison to some Travelodge’s we’ve been to. We slept well, on lovely beds, hubby mentioned the comfort more than once…

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Street Art, Captain Jack Sparrow, bubbles, living statue, Covent Garden © Lisa Shambrook

We ate out at Zizzi in Covent Garden too, absolutely gorgeous Italian fare, pizza and carbonara, and desserts to die for.

We’d spent our first day at the Science Museum, and had our first experience of IMAXWow! The Red Arrows simulator was cool, the others not quite as much, but we had fun.

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Les Miserables Queens Theatre © Lisa Shambrook

We saw our very first West End show, drinking in every moment of Les Miserables at Queens Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue. It was amazing and we’d happily watch it all over again! We know the show well, from the film, the DVD’s of anniversary shows, the soundtrack – everything. I had the original soundtrack when I was a teen and had always longed to go and see it live, and now I have! I can’t praise it enough.

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Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, The London Dungeons, Lion Brewery Lambeth Lion on Westminster Bridge, Tube © Lisa Shambrook

The next day took us to Westminster and all the touristy stuff. The obligatory Big Ben and Houses of Parliament pictures, and then The London Dungeons. I hadn’t expected much from the dungeons, most attractions these days are over-priced and we hadn’t been able to use our Tesco vouchers to pay for entry – plan ahead – The Dungeons can be covered with Tesco vouchers but they need to post your tickets to you. The Dungeons blew us away with a great show and fun history – think Horrible Histories and you’re right there. Another attraction we highly recommend!

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The Tate Modern Art © Lisa Shambrook

We wandered the Southbank, and ended up at the Tate Modern, which I’d always wanted to visit too. Now, I have a lovely husband – he’s not interested in modern art at all – but he patiently walked round the gallery, then waited out on the Thames in the sun, while we finished. That’s love.

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The London Underground and maps © Lisa Shambrook

London is busy. The tube is busy, the buses are busy, the pavements and parks are busy. There are people everywhere. I’m not a people person. But I did love the atmosphere, the street artists, the energy, the excitement, and my daughters drank it all in!

I might also have had a slightly obsessive interest in walking down streets found on the Monopoly board… We ate in Bow street, and we went to Leicester Square…

So, thus, we experienced both extremes in a matter of days…

My conclusion, if I pitch the stark, lonely, beauty of Dartmoor against the busy, social, bright lights of London, the countryside wins for me. I’m always going to be a country-girl, despite having been born and raised in vibrant Brighton! However, I’ve now spent more of my life in the country than the city and it suits me.  

So, what about you?

Are you a lover of the natural countryside or
do you adore the city and its bright lights?

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Lisa Shambrook

I got to visit the lovely otter, Ailsa Abraham…❤

The Bingergread Cottage

I was prompted to invite my friend today by a post on her blog. This is mad because I have known her for ages and should have hauled her over here before.lisa

Here comes the carpet and with her hair blowing in the wind is Lisa Shambrook. (hug squee kiss kiss) Big hugs and squeee back! Thanks for having me over! I’m so excited to see your garden…

You look well. That outfit is so YOU! I’m really good right now, I’m in Dr Martens (you know how I love my boots!) my everyday black jeans and a flowy indigo and black top printed with silhouetted trees… how are you?

bootsI’m OK, boots as well of course! Come and sit in the garden and chat about Life the Universe and Everything. Your garden is beautiful, do you have a favourite plant here? I’m loving the velveteen irises coming up in…

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Where is Your Happy Place?

When life is throwing shards of ice at you, your head is ready to explode,
or you are just in a dark, bottomless pit (figuratively – otherwise you’re not going anywhere…), where do you go? Where’s your happy place?

Where is your Happy Place - Lisa Shambrook - The Last Krystallos
Last week I blogged about water – it’s my happy place. Where’s yours?

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Feet in the water © Lisa Shambrook

I am happiest when I have my feet in water, down at the beach, letting waves ebb and flow as I splash through the ocean. This is where I am in my element. It revitalises me, lifts me, and energises me. It calms me, relaxes me, and soothes my spirit. Sometimes, if I can’t get to the sea, I can sit by or dabble my feet in a river, and the rush of water will still my senses. The sound, the movement, the texture of water all affect me, and without doubt it’s where I am happiest.

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© Lisa Shambrook

Woodlands and forests have a similar effect. The magic of trees, bluebells, wild anemones, winding tracks and pathways offer me another place of happiness and retreat. Listening to the wind whisper, fae glancing through flowers, and even trickling streams take me away from the troubles outside and stresses decrease.

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High on a Mountain Top © Lisa Shambrook

My oldest daughter loves mountain tops, the rugged landscape and the freedom of the wind and the air. I, too, feel alive when I stand upon mountains and hillsides!

Where are my other happy places? How do I cope when I can’t get out and throw myself headlong into nature?

My dog and my cats are another safe zone. They have the added bonus of interacting with you too. I’d never known complete unconditional love, until I owned a dog. Her dependence on me is total and she gives me everything. Deep chocolate brown eyes and loyalty that’s unheard of in most creatures, including humans. If things are bad, she knows and she’ll sit beside me with her head on my knees.  She also gets me out, dog walking, and into nature every day! She is my happy place.

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Misty, Raven and Roxy © Lisa Shambrook

My cats, though more conditional with their love, are also there for me. Run your fingers through soft fur and listen to a cat’s purr, and you can’t fail to feel better. One reason why it’s proven that the older generation live longer and happier when they own a pet, is that they give you love and a reason to go on.

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Writing and Art © Lisa Shambrook

My other releases are writingnothing takes me away from stress and trouble than losing myself in another world, in words and places that don’t exist outside my head – and creativity. Making things, stories, or art, or craft, take me to happy places.

All these things, all these happy places can be solitary, or with my family. My family are always welcome in all my happy places – they make my happy places even better!

Where are you happy places?

Where do you go when it’s all too much?

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Chocolate © Lisa Shambrook

PS. We probably shouldn’t forget chocolate…that’s always a happy place!

Tell me about your Happy Place…

Life Giving Water…

I am hard pressed to choose my favourite things in nature…
Trees, flowers, stars, rivers, oceans, wind, light, darkness…
I am a spirit who loses herself in the natural things of life,
and I may have to blog about each of them…

Life Giving Water - I'm happiest with my feet in the ocean... The Last Krystallos

Water. I am happiest when my feet are splashing in water. Whether I’m traversing a beach, sand beneath my feet and the ocean tide rippling across my toes, or standing on a rock or flat pebbles in the river as it rushes around my legs, or jumping in puddles, or even just wandering through rain, it’s all good!

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Cait at Pembrey and Boots in rain © Lisa Shambrook

I was born and brought up in Brighton with its pebble beaches. I remember stalking, painfully, down the stony beach, wincing as sharp shingle stabbed my bare feet, and searching for small patches of sand for respite. Then smiles and shouts as sand appeared beneath the water and you could finally jump the waves!

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Lisa 7 Brighton Beach, Rottingdean, Lisa 19 Petit Bot Bay Guernsey, Saltdean © Lisa Shambrook

I recall childhood walks on the undercliff pass at Saltdean and Rottingdean and beaches strewn with rocks and rock pools, and trips out to Goring and its huge stretch of sandy beach. Sitting on pebbles, eating fried chicken and then I would wander down, alone, to the sea and walk for what seemed like miles in the shallows.

We would holiday in Wales, Somerset, and Cornwall, and I would gaze at the pale sand and crashing waves. The sea in Brighton was green and the sea in Wales was blue for the most part. I could stand, or sit, for hours watching the ocean, anywhere.

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Pistyll Rhaedr, Sgwd Eira, Blaenau Ffestiniog waterfalls © Lisa Shambrook

Then waterfalls! Rivers cascading over a precipice and its thunder, its roar, its power, and pure energy. Wales has been the home to waterfalls for me, from gazing up at Pistyll Rhaedr which at 240ft (80m) high it is the UK’s tallest single drop waterfall, to Devil’s Bridge, the Sgwd Eira Waterfall and Henrhyd Falls both of which you can walk behind, to many more. I’ve sat with my feet in icy cold waterfall river water up on the Black Mountain, and dabbled my feet in our local river, Afon Gwili, as our dog chases twigs thrown into the water!

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River Dog, Roxy in the Afon Gwili © Lisa Shambrook

I’ve been out in torrential rain and once you surrender to the fact that you will get soaked it’s quite wonderful. Go and get soaked to the skin in a torrential summer shower (winter ones maybe not so warm or fun!).

Swimming is one of my favourite things; it helps lift my depression, is great exercise and is fun. There’s nothing more relaxing to me than launching into a pool and surging underwater, those few mere moments of being alone and at one with the elements. Then the rhythmic movements of swimming, kicking, breathing…living, and feeling the power of life within…

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Swimming in the Blue Lagoon – Aberieddy © Lisa Shambrook

Swimming in the Blue Lagoon in Aberieddy is also an amazing experience. 82 ft (25m) deep and the most stunning green water ever. People regularly dive into it from the old slate quarry buildings, and it’s one of the most beautiful sea-fed pools in the country.

Water revitalises, refreshes, and gives us what we need to live. Water is life. Without it we won’t survive. It nourishes us, keeps us clean, and keeps us alive. No wonder water has so many links to religion, folklore, and fantasy, and makes its way into plenty of analogies and metaphors.

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Penbryn Beach waves and Rain © Lisa Shambrook

I love this quote from Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad:

Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.

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© Lisa Shambrook

A beautiful sentiment! The power of water is insurmountable. It cuts through mountains, gives us electricity, waters our crops and gives us the basis of life.

Go take a look at my Let Me Swim Pinterest board – you will want to dive right in!

So, tell me, how does water affect your life?

Are you mermaid, or a dolphin, do you love your feet in the water?

Human 76, Human 76 An unprecended post-apocalyptic journey, fragments of a fractured world, Lisa Shambrook, Michael Wombat,We are so privileged to have fresh clean water, and we need to appreciate it. When we released ‘Human 76’, our post-apocalyptic collection of stories, we chose to give all our profits to Water Is Life, a global charity that provides clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene education programs to schools and villages in desperate need worldwide. Our book is about those displaced and struggling to survive in a dangerous world and this charity fits perfectly with our stories. So when you buy the book you will be helping those in need.

Politics Is Ugly: Can We Change It?

I don’t often, if ever, get political on my blog, but I am political.
I am a big fighter for human justice, fairness and compassion,
and the way the world is lead is important to me.

Politics is Ugly - Lies and Deceit – We Need Change - The Last Krystallos
I don’t want this post to be about my political leanings.
We all have them and in this world, at least where I live, we are free to air them. I realise not all parts of the world have this freedom, and I am very grateful that I live with political freedom. Our views, our opinions and our politics are our own and we are allowed them.

Politics is getting very ugly.

Some of you, who are much better historians than me, will point out that politics has always been ugly. That it’s always been full of lies, deceit, ambition, and corruption. You’re probably right. But with the advent of social media, we are perpetuating it ourselves. I’ve been accused of sharing social media posts, memes, and articles without checking the facts, and years ago I did, until I began checking facts before reposting. I try not to post anything, except my opinion, unless I’ve checked facts first, though I will post others’ opinions, because I am allowed to do that too.

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© Lisa Shambrook

Brexit was ugly. Brexit (the UK Referendum on whether to leave the European Union) was perpetuated with lies no matter which side of the argument you were on. It was undercut with lies, xenophobia, name-calling, and scare-mongering on both sides. The party leadership contests are the same, and don’t get me started on the American Presidential election.

This post isn’t about my politics, but I do want to discuss the ugliness of politics. PMQs (Prime Minister’s Questions) in the British Parliament is ugly, always has been. They laugh, bully, put each other down, and generally act like they are on a school playground, or in a farmyard, though these analogies are very unfair to both children and farm animals. PMQs is game playing, on both sides. It’s like Good Cop Bad Cop. It’s about half an hour on a Wednesday when the Prime Minister answers MP’s questions in the House of Commons. But it’s hostile.

If you know me well, you will know my political leanings. I don’t hide them, and recently on Twitter I shared the following two tweets when Theresa May our new PM took her first PMQ session:

I got a lot of agreement and some opposition, that’s cool, it’s my opinion after all. On the 13th July, I listened to Theresa May’s speech outside number 10 Downing Street with interest. She had just become our new Prime Minister and her speech was very good. She spoke about poverty, welfare, people, and the struggles we go through every day. She, according to her speech, knew exactly what state the country was in and vowed to change it and help us. Within days her Cabinet was reshuffled and familiar faces we’d hoped to see gone were there, and our faith was diminishing. And, yes, how you feel will be akin to your political leaning. I’m allowed mine.

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Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn Photo Source

So PMQs was the first time to see her in action. And this is where I saw the true ugliness of politics. Every question was blocked by posturing, jibes, name-calling – and yes, politics does not change. The people do, the actions don’t.

But what shocked me most was the media bias.

It was reported, gleefully, that Theresa May had wiped the floor with her opponent. Now regardless of your politics, if I’d seen this the other way round I’d have been just as shocked. It’s not that she’s Tory, but that her body language (leaning forward to intimidate), her tone (aggressive), her words (demeaning, bullying, and cruel personal insults), and her expression (calculated revulsion and sneers) spoke volumes.

Since when is someone considered strong because they can insult someone better than someone else?

Since when has great leadership consisted of putting down the opposition?  

The media reporting was and has been very biased towards one party. Maybe this has a great deal to do with Rupert Murdoch owning the media brands we listen to or read. But the media bias has been so strong lately that it needs looking into and changing. The BBC is supposed to be unbiased, but is it?

These two reports: BBC admit intentionally damaging Corbyn leadership with contrived live resignation, and the Independent’s Our report found that 75% of press coverage misrepresents Jeremy Corbyn – we can’t ignore media bias anymore, show just how much damage is being done in the name of the media. Whether you like Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn or not, you can’t help notice the media portray him as a loser. I watched the interview with Andrew Marr recently, and found a calm, well-spoken politician who put across a strong vision for Britain, but the media don’t show that in general. He is spoken of as unelectable, yet the people have voted in their droves for him.

I’d like to see both leaders taken seriously, and both leaders to take their responsibilities seriously too. I felt that Corbyn had nothing to say during Brexit, maybe he didn’t, but maybe it was just unreported. I also commented during Brexit that the Liberal Democrats had been conspicuously absent. But when I spoke to a Lib Dem supporter, he assured me that Tim Farron had been at many rallies, spoken well and was well-versed in his opposition to Brexit, but I hadn’t seen hide nor hair of him on British media. On the other hand, UKIP was totally over-represented considering they have less members of parliament than the Lib Dems (UKIP: 1, Lib Dems: 8). The Greens and UKIP have one member of parliament each, yet, who did you see more of during Brexit?

Fair reporting is one thing I’d like to see.

The other is less lies, I’d like to see no lies, but that is probably both unlikely and impossible!  The lies during Brexit were breath-taking in their arrogance, but I won’t go into that, done and dusted.

I am seeing the same thing in American politics, and fear the same outcome in their Presidential Election. Outright lies, xenophobia, and scare-mongering.  The fear of having Donald Trump become President of the United States, outweighs my fear over leaving the EU one hundred fold, despite the problems leaving the EU is bringing. Our pound is unstable, and has lost a lot of ground against foreign currency, this means something to me as I send my son money in Canada, and where £50 would have given him $100, it now only gives $85. That’s a big loss when every penny counts. Food prices here are rising and we have yet to see where trade goes. Hopefully as a country we can make the best of it. But Donald Trump? I’m on the Nope Train with that one.

The reporting in the US is diabolical and much of the electioneering is about honesty or dishonesty. This chart shows how damaging the reporting is. From my newsfeeds and the media I’ve seen surrounding Trump and Clinton (and incidentally, Obama, who I’ve had great respect for) both are seen as unethical and dishonest. I’ve even seen Hillary Clinton bandied about as being criminal. This article Lying Liars Who Lie: 2016 Edition, (ignore the religious tones if that’s not your thing the sentiment is still the same) points out that Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, and Jeb Bush, are some of the most honest politicians around. Then you can take a look Donald Trump’s results…

Sometimes I wonder at people.

  • Edited on 26th July 2016 (day before posting): Having just watched Michelle Obama’s DNC (Democratic National Convention) speech, I feel things can change. It doesn’t matter which side you are on, it’s her interest and passion we need to change how politics work. Ignore who she supported if you’re not with Hillary Clinton, but notice how Michelle speaks, how she offers truth and facts with passion and without putting down the opposition with a cruel personal attack. That’s how I want my politics. 

“When someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. No, our motto is: when they go low, we go high.” – Michelle Obama DNC Speech 2016

Michelle Obama DNC speech 2016

Michelle Obama DNC Speech 2016 Photo taken from You Tube video

This post was not written to further my political views, but to show much I wish politics could change.

There is no strength in bullying, intimidating, or invalidating the opposition.
There is no honour in lying to the public.
There is no humanity in deceit.
So why do we fall for it and could it ever change?

Can politics and the media surrounding it ever become honest and not corrupt?

*Note on comments: everyone is allowed a valid opinion, but if any comments are deemed attacking, aggressive, or inciting they will be removed or unapproved. Don’t feed the trolls.  

 

TLT Throwback – Alone

TLT 15 Alone

My fingers thread through strings of cosmic fairy lights,

drawing acres of studded satin across the glitter globe.

And beneath the stillness of infinity, I bring night’s dance…

round-tlt

Joining in Grace Black’s TLT Throwback – Fifteen, as I just couldn’t resist this photograph.

Prompt: Alone. 3 lines, 10 words max per line…

Painting a Rainbow with Nature’s Colours…

Colours are a major part of our lives, perhaps even more so to an artist and writer.
We want to create and weave worlds that will
entice you in and then play out in vivid technicolour!

Painting a Rainbow with Nature's Colours... The Last Krystallos
Colours play a huge part in Beneath the Rainbow and in much of my writing. Apart from a fall of snow, or torrential rain, or thunder and lightning, there’s not much else in nature that draws you to a window or an open door to gaze up at the sky than a rainbow!
Freya finds herself creating rainbows and it’s much harder than she ever imagined (as you can read in these excerpts):

“The science of rainbows left her somewhat defeated. She knew she had to influence the light and she knew she contained enough inherent celestial light to create a small rainbow, but it was the rain that had her beaten. It had to be in the right place and she had to use the existing sunlight to enhance her own fragile light. Dawn and dusk were optimum, just after sunrise for a few hours and another couple of hours before sunset. Midday and the sun was too high, and likewise the wrong time of year and the sun wouldn’t be in the right place either.

She couldn’t make it rain, and she couldn’t tell the sun when to shine, and she believed she’d never match the timings to the conditions.

There was one morning when Daisy, next door, stood alone in her dew-drenched garden, her elderly face upturned to catch the fresh morning rays, and Freya grabbed her opportunity. The sun was low and the air was misty. Freya spun in the sky and flung out her arms and screwed up her face in concentration.

Beneath the Rainbow, Lisa Shambrook, rainbows, colours,The sun filtered through the pale mist and rested warm between Freya’s fingers. The rays played around Freya before they reached Daisy’s wrinkled skin and Daisy opened her eyes. The bright light played a trick on her before she blinked and turned away with blue/black spots dancing before her eyes. She glanced over the fence at her neighbour’s garden and drank in the beautiful fragrance of the summer freesias and lavender, and she remembered watching Freya picking bunches of freesias with her mother just the year before.

Freya’s image remained in her mind for much of that morning, but she missed the feint, very feint colours that had pervaded the morning dew.”

Colours soak through Freya’s life just like they do mine. She sees everything clearly and vibrantly, and as an observer, I’m very much the same. Colours speak to me and, as many of you will know, sometimes they coerce me into taking photographsso here are my rainbows…and Freya’s bolded descriptions are from one of her rainbows (seen in the pictures used for the title photo above):

Scarlet like remembrance poppies… and tulips, and berries, apples, and toadstools, and leaves, poppies, scarves, and books…

© Lisa Shambrook

Scarlet like remembrance poppies… and tulips, and berries, apples, and toadstools, and leaves, poppies, scarves, and books…

Sunset Orange… and autumn leaves, and winter soup, roses, and beach sunsets, and fire, Californian poppies, and comma butterflies, and dragon-filled skies…

© Lisa Shambrook

Sunset Orange… and autumn leaves, and winter soup, roses, and beach sunsets, and fire, Californian poppies, and comma butterflies, and dragon-filled skies…

Sunflower Yellow… and sunflowers, and rudbekia, lemon cake, laburnum, and roses, and daffodils, and crocus…

© Lisa Shambrook

Sunflower Yellow… and sunflowers, and rudbekia, lemon cake, laburnum, and roses, and daffodils, and crocus…

Green, like her willow… and columbine leaves, oaks, acorns and more spring leaves, and valleys, and firs, moss, and jewels…

© Lisa Shambrook

Green, like her willow… and columbine leaves, oaks, acorns, and more spring leaves, and valleys, and firs, moss, and jewels…

Blue the exact shade of Daddy’s t-shirt… and sky, and the Himalayan poppy, ocean, and hydrangea, and forget-me-nots, and many cloudless skies…

© Lisa Shambrook

Blue the exact shade of Daddy’s t-shirt… and sky, and the Himalayan poppy, ocean, and hydrangea, and forget-me-nots, and many cloudless skies…

Indigo the colour of deepening night… and dusk, and twilight, and denim, and woven book spines, and skirts, and the fall of night…

© Lisa Shambrook

Indigo the colour of deepening night… and dusk, and twilight, and denim, and woven book spines, and skirts, and the fall of night…

Violet like Purple Ted… and Vinca, and campanula, lavender, and bluebells, and irises, and roses…

© Lisa Shambrook

Violet like Purple Ted… and Vinca, and campanula, lavender, and bluebells, and irises, and roses…

These are the colours in my life…
of flowers, and night, and water, and sky, the rainbows that colour my world…

What colours yours?

Beneath the Rainbow AD with SynopsisFreya fights to perfect her rainbow… and you can find out if she does in Beneath the Rainbow, available both in paperback and eBook at Amazon. Take a look and find out why she needs to make a rainbow…

Do you love rainbows?

Which is your favourite colour?

And what colours in nature inspire you the most?

 

How an Introvert Discovered the True Value of Friendship

‘They might not need me; but they might. I’ll let my head be just in sight;
a smile as small as mine might be precisely their necessity.’

Emily Dickinson’s words ring true – someone might need you.

How an Introvert Discovered the True Value of Friendship - The Last Krystallos
Life has been hard lately.
I’m not just talking about my own life – which has been shatteringly exhausting and left me on a precipice – but those around me have been struggling too. And when you look further afield, easy to do with social media and television in our laps, the world seems to be besieged and careworn, to say the least.

I have decided to love - Martin Luther King Jr, 1967 - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

The world has been full of discord, death, politics, and division which reap uncertainty and insecurity, and I can see each of these things in my own personal life and amongst those close to me too. Add physical and mental illness to that and you have a cauldron of despair.

As an empath I absorb, I can walk into a room and absorb the emotions of those around me, but as the world about us shatters, soaking up its emotions is downright dangerous. I can’t dwell on what’s happening worldwide, or even in my own life, instead I want to concentrate on how we deal with the fallout. How we can cope.

Ian Hislop editor of Private Eye magazine recently said about those who voted Remain in the Brexit referendum after we’d been told many times to ‘shut up and live with the decision’“Even if you lose the vote you are entitled to go on making the argument,” This also works with all the mess inside our lives, or in the world at large, we can and should talk about it. But who do we talk with?

Kindness is more than... C. Neil Strait

© Lisa Shambrook

As I stand on the edge of this abyss luring me into a major depressive episode, I fight. Some days I don’t think I’ll win the battle, other days – like my last blog post – I know I can triumph. But what helps me fight? Who helps me fight?

The easy answer is my family. Without them I would be lost and I would not be here. But the bigger answer swathes a multitude of people in my life, most of whom I either do not physically know or who live many miles away from me.

DFQ-con-minion-con-nottingham-uk june 2015

My Writing Community – DFQ UK

Social Media has been a life saver. That might sound extreme, but it’s very true. I don’t find socialising easy or even possible at times, due to crippling social anxiety. I can overcome it, but usually only in my author guise, you’d be surprised how many authors have significant social anxiety, but that’s another story, so I find making friends very difficult. A year tutor’s school report that upset me greatly, back in year ten, told me I was ‘aloof’. She totally mistook being shy and anxious as being aloof and superior. If she’d taken time to get to know me she’d have found a generous, warm and giving spirit.

The advent of Facebook and Twitter, though, offered me friendships within my own living room. I had the chance to catch up with old friends, find new ones, and I discovered my community. I found people who not only understand me, but those who openly embrace me and love me.

They might not need me but they might - Emily Dickinson - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Take another look at Emily Dickinson’s poem – someone might need you. It might only be a smile, or a hug, and they might be virtual, but still a necessity. Kindness, friends, love and compassion are essential for the human spirit. Every comment on my blog, or Twitter, or my Facebook wall matters to me. Some have even saved me.

Friends are those who notice when you slip and are there to stop your fall... The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Friends help me fight. Friends help me battle the injustice of life and help me see the good and the beautiful. Friends support me and lift me. Friends have given me reason and love.  

Bekah at Calon Sept 2014

© Lisa Shambrook

Having a multitude of online friends from across the world has taught me much. I am learning now that I can foster friendships locally too. I used to feel insecure and unable to invest in friendships where I would actually have to put in time and effort. The natural introvert in me backed away from occasions where I could make friends and interact. I have some lovely friends in my life, who I have often neglected, not purposefully, but out of anxiety and insecurity. Learning that I can ask for support, or even accept it when it’s offered, is a huge and wonderful step for me. I am finally accepting invitations and discovering how powerful and necessary friends are, both online and in my physical life.

Meeting up for a hot chocolate, FB messages, and even texts (I don’t do phone calls!) from those who live close by are becoming more important to me as a support network, and I am extremely grateful for those care and take the time to be my friend.

We all need friends – I won’t quote song lyrics but there are hundreds of them alluding to the importance of friendships – and despite being a lone wolf introvert I’m finally realising why.

Kindness has a beautiful way of reaching down... unknown

© Lisa Shambrook

This week, be a friend, let your smile be just in sight.

Friends are those who notice when you slip and are there to stop your fall; and even better are those who hold your hand and your heart and prevent you slipping in the first place.

What’s your definition of a friend?

How important are friends in your life?

(This post is dedicated to those who matter  – the friends who have seen me through the tough times, whether you live close by or hundreds, or thousands of miles away –
You Know Who You Are
– because you are those who have commented, messaged and spoken to me and kept me here – Thank you❤ )