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Inspirational People
Somewhere Out There Someone Really Tweets Sense (Or - Why I Think Sometimes The Quickfire "Slogans" Are The Best Ones)
3/20/2018 9:02:37 PM
I am lucky enough to have met nearly everybody who I admire in one way or another in person.  I say "nearly" everybody because there are a few people on my wishlist who I am highly unlikely to meet (either due to geographic location or due to the fact they are so famous I would be near the back of a very long queue of people).  Ironically - one person on that list happens to be someone who I am related to (I last saw this person over 20 years ago) and is the only human who could possibly cure me of my severe allergy to Medical Professionals - they are a Doctor.

Seeing as I am highly unlikely to meet Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, Ford Kiernan, Greg Hemphill, Billy Connolly, Koen and Kris Wouters, or, Bill Bryson, I will have to be happy with those admirable people who I have met.

There is one person who I have "met" on Twitter - and it turned out that I missed meeting them in person by 24 hours last year - who I really wish I could meet in person (there are actually a few like him but I will explain why he is at the top of the list in a minute).

Some time back I blogged about a book called "Blue" by John Sutherland.  The book was about Policing with a large dose of Mental Health (his) thrown in.  I would highly recommend you read it - even if you are not remotely interested in the Police, it is well-written on the subject of his Mental Health.

Mr Sutherland was a Police Commander for the Metropolitan Police before he was forced to take Medical Retirement due to his Mental Health issues.  Well, actually, that is technically correct.  However, even though he retired he seems to be one of those "Blackpool Rock" professionals.  As in - even though the professional retires the job they were doing prior to retirement appears to be so ingrained into their psyche that if you were to metaphorically slice them up into little pieces you would see their profession written on every slice.  (I know a few people like that.)

I actually nicked the first part of the title of this blog post from him (with his permission).  If I had my way it would be the title of his second book as well.

Everybody has some kind of "hook" which gets me interested in them.  (Trust me - that is more true than you think.)  The best "hooks" are (obviously) connected with words.

I found Mr Sutherland on Twitter after someone had retweeted one of his "Somewhere out there a Police Officer..." tweets.  I cannot remember the rest of the tweet but I am sure it was something regarding some aspect of his job.

What caught me about the "Somewhere out there..." tweets was the fact that they were simple, to the point, but not in anyway "preachy" or "I am better than you because of my job".  In fact, from reading both Mr Sutherland's book and his blog posts, I get the idea that he is the most gentle man I could wish to meet.

I know I have tweeted this to him before but - "Somewhere out there a Member of the Public really admires you for the way you have connected with people and shared your experiences".

Introducing The Inimitable Jonathan Morley
7/16/2017 7:54:04 PM
For today's “Inspirational Person” I would like to introduce you to someone who – if I am totally honest with you – I didn't like one little bit when I first met him (don't worry – this hasn't come as a newsflash to him).

So – how come you asked him to do this questionnaire? (I hear you ask).

Well, if anybody can make my opinion of them change in the space of a one hour conversation – to the point where I actually look forward to speaking to them again – there must be something unique about them.

Seriously – the reason I asked Jonathan Morley to take part in this is because he shows that “Men of the Cloth” can also be really funny (as in witty), caring, and human.

Enough of my ramblings – over to you Jonathan.

1) Let's start by you telling the readers of this blog in your own words how you know me.

I have known Ineke since September when I came to be Minister of Sutton Elms Baptist Church, of which Ineke is a member

2) As this is about "Inspirational People" can you please tell me three people in your life who have inspired you and how they have done so (they can be teachers, colleagues, friends, etc)?

There has been many that have inspired me over the years but here are three to elaborate on.

Without meaning to give a Sunday school answer, Jesus would have to be one. Without all that He did and does I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am, and for that I am truly thankful.  I think we need to be inspired by Jesus more if I am honest.  It is so easy, even for Christians, to be impressed with Jesus, but not inspired.  Inspired takes what we are impressed with and enables us to do it.  That’s the short form anyway. ?

My parents would also be one.  Being the main role models in my life, particularly my formative years, they raised me and taught me as best as they could (they seemed to have done an okay job?).  Being in a Christian home, my dad an AOG minister and both leaders within the church), faith in God was central in our lives. Not just a passive “I believe in God and go to church faith” but one that was living and active and dependent on God.  That said, I didn’t always walk in that fullness of faith at times but that’s another story, however their faith in God inspired me.  Faith for provision when there naturally wasn’t any, and it came. Faith for healing when there was sickness, and it came. Faith that trusted God in impossible and unpleasant situations, He carried us through and made a way.

3) What qualities do you look for in a friend?

I have never really sat and compiled a list of qualities I look for in a friend. Is this going to be put into an advert?  FRIEND WANTED: apply within!  In all seriousness, I think we all long for people we can relate to, who are honest, kind, have a sense of humor, people we can trust and open up to.  It’s good to be able to help each other out and have difficult conversations when needed.

4) How would your other friends describe you?

Caring and considerate. Finds it hard to just ‘sit back’ and let the world go by. Has an Infectious laugh and tries to look for the positives in most things. Thoughtful and spontaneous (with random moments).  Some would say an extrovert but I would say an introverted extrovert!

4) Finally, please tell me something about you that I don't already know (please make sure it is something you don't mind sharing with the rest of the world)?

I had my nose broke by a cricket ball.  Yes it hurt! I have also cooked for David and Victoria Beckham, the Neville brothers and a few other celebrities.

Thank you Jonathan.

Good Times, Bad Times (Or - How Alarmingly Easy It Is To Slip From One To The Other Without Anybody Noticing Or Caring)
9/6/2016 11:30:38 PM
As I was thinking about typng this blog post I had three songs playing in my brain.  They were all by Richie Sambora and they covered roughly the same theme in varying ways.  I will insert them at different points in this blog post.

However, then one of my friends from Facebook reminded me of the song which is actually the most appropriate for this blog post.  (I honestly never thought I would type any lyrics to the theme song of a soap in my blog posts - oh well - there is a first time for everything I suppose!)

www.youtube.com/watch The first song on the playlist for this blog post is not actually the first song which came into my head as I was thinking of typing this blog post.  "Fallen From Graceland" was actually the second song which came into my head.  The first lyrics of "There's a line that you cross when you find out that you've lost. When your world is closing in and it crawls under your skin" are almost exactly what came into my brain when I read the heartbreaking account of what has been happening to James Patrick recently.

You may remember James as being the whistleblower about the Police's manipulation of Crime figures in the UK.  He lost his job as a result (I think he resigned before they got the chance to sack him for Gross Misconduct).

Now he is in an awful situation where he is literally destitute.

James is an "Inspirational Person" to me because he has always stood up for what he believes in, he won't take "No" for an answer, and he is a stubborn fighter.  He is also using his Twitter account to educate people about the circumstances he finds himself in - as well as  - more importantly - how people can help others in a similar situation.

I told James that I was not going to nick his blog post - but I was honestly so impressed by his dignity and courage in speaking out that I wanted to do something to help him in my own way.

If you have read Inkyworld you will know that I am passionate about vulnerable and Disabled people - as well as fighting the injustices we face.

The problem seems to be that too many people are too willing to either look the other way or throw out uncalled for abuse at the victims without bothering to learn the full story first.

This can be applied to Poverty, Unemployment, Disability, Homelessness, etc.

Have we really become a world where there are two answers to every problem society faces - either signing an online petition (which takes you approximately 6 seconds to do and 1 second to forget about it) or the adverts where you are informed that "£5 a month will irradicate the current crisis in a part of the globe you had never heard of before it made the news???

Of course - the other option is to ignore the situation completely and continue with your life.

www.youtube.com/watch This song is "Harlem Rain" by Richie Sambora.  This comes into my mind every time I hear or read about people who have fallen on hard times for whatever reason.  "Another shattered soul in the Lost and Found.  One more night on the streets of pain - getting washed away by the Harlem Rain".

There is another way to make the situation easier for those of us who find ourselves as "Outcasts in Society".  Obviously - the best way to make the situation easier for us is to create a society which doesn't actually have "Outcasts" in it.

The best way to help us is to educate yourself about our own situations.  We all have a different story - mine is very different from James' - but our stories all have the same theme running through them.  The theme being "if you don't fit in you will be ignored".

The scond best thing is to actually go out of your way to help people who are on the outskirts of society.  I don't just mean by signing a flipping petition, or putting money in a charity tin (or even giving you bank details to some chugger) - I mean by doing something practical and using your talents and time.  Throwing a tin in a box marked "Food for the Poor" is something you can do if you want to remain at arms length from the situation and walk around in a state of emotional blindness.  Actually giving your time to helping at a place where the vulnerable are found - and spending time talking to them and learning about their lives - is a lot more useful both for you and for them.

As a Society we seem to have become more self-serving as the years have progressed.  I very much doubt you would get an event like "Live Aid" with as big an attendance as there was in 1986.  Charity singles these days have to either be almost vomit-inducing in their saccharine-sweetness or by a very famous group or artist in order to get anywhere.  (The best charity single I have ever come across was neither vomit-inducing nor by a very famous artist - however, the lyrics were the most heartfelt I have ever heard.  The song was the "If" song by Kristyna Myles in support of a Christian charity called "Tearfund".  www.youtube.com/watch.)

The final song of the trio by Richie Sambora actually was the first song which came into my mind as I was thinking about this blog post.  "Hard Times Come Easy" is actually one of my favourite songs by him (in fact I think it has made an appearance in a previous blog post).  To save me quoting the entire song at you just watch the video www.youtube.com/watch.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record - it takes all of us to make a difference in our world.  As in - it takes our time and our resources, as well as our reserves of patience and strength (both mental and physical).

You know the charities I am proud to support - you also know some of the challenges I face on a daily basis.

This may sound crazy but this blog appears to have turned into my way of using my talents to educate people about the issues I care about - as well as telling you a bit about the work I and other people do to help in other ways.

I started this blog post by telling you I had three songs by Richie Sambora in my mind as I was thinking about this blog post - as well as the theme song to a soap.  What I didn't say was the soap is not "Neighbours" or "Home and Away" (the only English-speaking soaps to have lyrics to their theme tunes).  The soap is one I have very rarely seen snippets of when I was flicking through the TV channels in Holland.  "Goede Tijden Slechte Tijden" (Or "Good Times Bad Times" in English) could be considered to be the Dutch version of "EastEnders" or "Neighbours".

The theme song is the most uplifting song I have heard as a theme tune.

Unfortunately I cannot translate all the lyrics properly.  However, I can give you the gist of them.

The time for uncaredforness has passed.
The long road to tomorrow starts today.
Dreams come free like a butterfly.
No longer hidden in security.


Good Times Bad Times
A day that appears as night.
Good Times Bad Times.
Love leads you to the end.
Good Times Bad Times.
No - it doesn't save your life.
Good Times Bad Times.
Sometimes happiness and sometimes disappointment.

The ideal is gradually approaching.
But it explodes when you want to catch it.
Create new opportunities to make you happy again.
Never will there ever be an end to that desire.

Repeat Chorus

Adversity brings shade to happiness.
But you know the best is still to come.
Your courage and your confidence will not fail.
Life can really ressemble your dreams.

Repeat Chorus.

(If you really want to hear the original theme song sung in Dutch try this www.youtube.com/watch.)

The Real Junkfood Roadshow (Or - Educating People One Delicious Meal At A Time)
6/6/2016 10:31:03 PM

Poem by Ken Duddle (One of the "The Real Junkfood Project" Volunteers)

OK - so it wasn't technically a "Roadshow" as such.  The "Super Saturday" event which usually happens at the West End Centre, Andrewes Street, Leicester, just moved itself to the Riverside Festival on Saturday.

Before I continue I suppose I had better declare an interest in this great bunch of people.  I am one of the Volunteers.  However, you won't see me serving or cooking at any of their events (even though I helped out on Thursday afternoon).  I am more of the "Behind the scenes" Volunteer - as in - I do the Admin.

The "Pay As You Feel" concept is a very good idea.  You don't even have to pay in money - you can volunteer your services instead.  This has the effect of allowing everybody to be treated as equals (whether or not they can afford to pay with money).

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you will probably recognise the "Menu" board from whenever I am having my Thursday night dinner at the "Pay As You Feel Cafe".

I must admit that Thursday afternoon was an eyeopening experience for me.  Put it this way - I got a big shock when I saw the food which had been collected from various places.  There was lots of it.

At the Leicester "Pay As You Feel" Cafe they also have a "Food Boutique" where you can pick up some perfectly edible food which has been thrown out by supermarkets, etc, that you can use at home.

The motto of The Real Junkfood Project is "Feed Bellies Not Bins" and - if you could see the amount of food which the Leicester gang collect from various places - you may get some idea of the best way to solve the problems with people going hungry unnecessarily.  Use the food which Supermarkets throw away to feed people who honestly cannot afford the crazy prices you have to pay for thngs like fresh fruit and vegetables.

I am really tempted to suggest that the Police sign up to the Junkfood initiative - and either donate their excess food or serve food which has been prepared by their nearest Junkfood Project in their stations.

Is there any way of the Junkfood Project being incorporated into the Criminal Justice System???  Either as a volunteering opportunity or as a place where people can get a healthy meal without being judged???

What I love most about the Junkfood Project is not the food itself - it is the way of bringing the community together - and helping people to learn about each other.

The Biometric Passports Strike Again (Or - Why Do I Have To Type Another Blog Post About Those Stupid Things???)
5/8/2016 11:18:47 PM
If you want to travel to the US you apparently need one of my least favourite Travel Documents now.  Yes - the US have decided they would like visitors to have Biometric Passports.

Luckily I have absolutely zero intention of ever visiting the US.  However, the idea of Biometric Passports still leaves me feeling upset and angry.

On the one hand I can understand why Security Services and Border Agencies would like to have all your personal details contained in one easy microchipped document.  On the other hand I find Biometric Passports to be extremely frustrating and time-consuming - both to acquire and use.

Yes - I know I have blogged about Biometric Passports and my problems with them before but I am getting more and more worried about the widespread use of them.  This is particularly true when it comes to using them to identify people like me.  I have been told I look totally different depending on whether or not I have got my glasses on.  Apart from which - there is the obvious fact that I am never seen walking around in public without my glasses on (unless I am cleaning them) for obvious reasons.

Surely it is not beyond the wit of man (especially those who decided it would be a good idea to force all dog owners to get their canines microchipped in case the canines were lost) to come up with an alternative way of collecting and storing data which did not necessitate people like me actually feeling like a fraud when I appear at a Passport Desk due to me having my glasses on my nose in "real life" and not having them on in my Passport photo.

Even better - I wish we could just go back to the old Passports and have another card (or a flash stick) which could hold all the data on us if people really decide it is necessary for them to know everything about us.  Personally - I think people should only be told on a strict "need to know" basis.  My personal information should be kept private until I choose to share it.

The really scary thing is that I know of companies who insist on knowing your Passport Nr and National Insurance Nr when you apply for a job.  Yes - you read that correctly - when you apply for a job.  As in before they even decide if they wish to interview you - let alone offer you the job.  I know this because it happened to me.  When I questioned this with the company in question they told me it would save time later.  It may save time later but I just felt scared in case they used my data for any purpose other than the one they claimed to need it for.  Put it this way - it was a Civilian company (ie, not Police or Government).

I realise this country has something of a minor problem with people working here illegally but - the rate we are going - we are likely to have a much bigger problem with people fraudulently using data accessed as part of the Job Application process.  After all - I don't trust Companies to obey the Data Protection Act and destroy my data when they no longer need it.  Some of them just sell it on to other companies who will send spam - either through my email accounts, through my letterbox, or by means of unsolicited phone calls from companies I have never previously heard of - never mind dealt with.

It has got to the stage where I feel I am not a human - I am a commodity which is most useful when mined for Data - and I hate it.
The "Inkyworld" Awards Ceremony (Or - Who Has Made My World Spin A Little Faster This Year?)
12/22/2015 11:48:37 PM
I thought that - seeing as everybody else seems to be handing out awards left, right and centre, I might as well join in the merriment.

My Awards are a little different to everybody else's - apart from the fact that there are no actual Awards to hand out.  (What did you expect though???)

These are just based on what I found funny, interesting, inspirational, educational, or just downright crazy in 2015.

First off - we have the Award for "Removing The Barriers And Letting People See Your Humanity Behind Your Uniform".

This Award goes to the Police Officers who use Social Media as a means to connect with the wider public - as well as metaphorically taking their uniform off and letting us see the men and women underneath.

Special mention goes to a bunch of Twittercops who I have learned a great deal from.  Starting with the three Police Officers I call the "OffBeat Musketeers" - Nathan Constable, Sgt TCS, and Constable Chaos - if there is something that these three humans do not know about how to use Social Media to engage with the public I very much doubt it is worth knowing.  Each of them has their own blog which I find very interesting and Educational.

Next - we have a Police Commander with a great sense of humour. Commander John Sutherland really has the ability to make you feel like you are with him when you read his blog posts about his rise through the ranks (detailing what he has faced on his way)/  Put it this way - I wish I could work for someone as human and humane as him.

Last (but by no means least) in the list of English Twittercops is someone who has in fact inspired one or two of my blog posts - Chief Inspector Phil Vickers.  The jury is out regarding what his role is but he has been very useful (and very open to a little education) on the subject of Police cars - particularly with reference to the various flashing lights on them.

However, I have to admit that the most inspirational Twittercop is a Dutch Police Officer who has made it his mission to break down the barriers between the Police and the public in any way he can.  I have never actually met him but I have spoken to him via Skype.  Wilco Berenschot is also available via Twitter, Periscope (among other Social Media channels).  If you are lucky enough to live in a certain part of Rotterdam he is also available for face to face discussions.

The next Award is for "Supporting New Music".

Stand up and take a bow - Mr Ian Rose of Radio Warwickshire.  Whenever I listen to one of his shows I am introduced to music I might never have heard of otherwise.

The Award for "Having The Patience of A Saint - And Letting Me Argue With Him If I Don't Agree With Him" goes to (and this is almost a permanent Award for him) - Dr Derek Lee.  The grounds for him getting this award this year can be summed up as "Frothy Filosofy" - the most surreal website which I actually like reading.  For a taste of what I am talking about visit frothyfilosofy.wordpress.com/.  A word of warning - prepare for a rather interesting experience which will leave you feeling like your mind has been expanded, twisted, and (possibly) tied into knots!!!

The next Award kind of leads on from that one - it is the Award For "The Most Confusing Sentence I Have Read".

This was found on a collar attached to a dog I stroked last Friday.  The sentence was "I Have Been Microchipped - Please Scan Me" - to which my immediate thought was - would a QR Reader Scanning App work???  Well, if they don't actually tell you what to use to scan the chip with you cannot really blame me for wondering.  (Just to put your mind at rest the battery of my mobile phone was flat so I couldn't try it.)

(I had visions of it turning into a kind of "There's a hole in my bucket, dear Liza" scenario!)

The penultimate award is the "Award For Standing Up For What You Believe In And Trying To Make A Difference To Society".

This award is a three way split between three organisations who I am very proud to be associated with in different ways (one behind the scenes and the other two a little more "publicly").

The Winners are - The Real Junkfood Project (Leicester Division), LCiL, and Choice Unlimited.

If you know me you will know that I will support any venture which makes a real difference to people's lives without just throwing money at the situation and hoping for the best.  In fact, you could say I am almost evangelical about the aims of all three of the above ventures which I am happy to support in any way I am able to.

The final Award for this little session comes in the form of a round of applause, hugs, and pats on the back, for a crowd of people who have really made this blogging lark seem like more fun than I could have imagined.  Some of these people are personal (real life) friends of mine, some of them I have never met but I still appreciate their feedback.  Ladies and Gentlemen - the final Award is for you all.  You have inspired me, educated me, made me laugh, been a friend to me, and - most of all - stuck with me.  THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!

There is only one thing left for me to say to you now (even though there may possibly be a blogging session between now and the New Year) - Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year - or Prettige Kerstdagen en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar.

If Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder We Are Using The Wrong Measuring Device (Or - Why We Would Learn A Lot More If We Measured "Beauty" From The Inside!!!)
8/14/2015 7:45:47 PM
Society judges people really harshly when it comes to ideas of "beauty".

How many times have you found yourself being bombarded by the latest ideas in Physical "beauty" - either by the Media or in discussions with your friends???

Dye your hair!
Wear the latest trendy fashions - whether or not (a) they suit you or (b) you feel comfortable wearing them!!!
Do you lack confidence???  If so, have as much Plastic Surgery as it takes to make you feel fantastic!!!  (Just don't blame us if you get into thousands of pounds worth of debt and you still feel unhappy!!!)

Kristyna Myles got it right with the following lyrics from "Wanna Wear Black";-

"What's on the outside - That's overrated.  What's on the inside - That's understated!"

I am now going to introduce you to one of the most gorgeous men I have ever met.

This photograph is next to my computer in my office watching over me every time I type a blog post.

Before you decide I need to get my eyes tested I suggest you read on.

The man in the photograph may not match Society's idea of gorgeousness when it comes to how he looks physically but - given a choice between the opportunity to spend time with Society's idea of a gorgeous man and the opportunity to still be able to spend time with him - I would choose spending time with him every time.


Well, he was kind, generous with his time, full of fun and laughter, quiet (as someone said at his funeral "he never said two words when one would do"), honest, strong in spirit - oh and he was the bright spark who found a useful way to help me with my handwriting when I was little.

I suppose you could say I am biased for many reasons.  The major one being that this is the first photograph I have put on here which shows any of my relatives.  (I was looking for my favourite photo of him but I think it made its way to my Dad's house.)

Allow me to introduce you to William Poultney, and his wife, Hazel, aka my English Grandparents.

(I would have asked them for their permission to put this photo on my blog but you could say they are both "terminally unavailable" - My Granddad died in 1992 and my Grandma died in 2013.)

The biggest thing my Grandparents (including Oma) and my parents have taught me is that confidence and beauty come from within.

If you have ever seen me you will realise that I am what you might call "no oil painting" to look at.  Most of the time this doesn't bother me.

I know some people who Society would classify as drop dead gorgeous when it comes to physical beauty.  At least two of my friends could become professional models if they chose to.

However, I judge people by what is on the inside (as in how they treat their friends and strangers).

You can be the most beautiful person in the world to look at but - if you have a "scruffy" soul (as in you don't treat people with respect, you look out for "number one" at all costs, etc) - you are not likely to make it on to my list of truly gorgeous people.

I admit - a pair of blue eyes I can swim in (or even a pair of eyes the colour of melted chocolate), yellowy ginger (preferably curly) hair, either a Dutch or Glaswegian accent, and/or being over 6' tall, would work in your favour as far as my idea of a physically gorgeous man is concerned.  However, you would have to be kind, compassionate, generous with your time, honest, patient, and above all have a dry sense of humour.

Society needs to rethink its idea of beauty - instead of it being in the eye of the beholder maybe it should be in the soul of the person being beheld!!!

Sometimes It Is Not The Electronic Ties That Bind Us - Just The Caring Stranger Who Can Be Bothered To Try To Find Us! (Or The Police Officer Who Highlighted The Dangers Of The Disconnected Electronic World)
6/18/2015 2:04:00 PM
Well, I must admit it was a bit different last week for me to be in the right country when it came to finding a newspaper so I could actually read about the subject of this post at my leisure.  (I even ended up being able to take a photo of their very useful sign - even if I didn't actally manage to find them to speak to.  Call me crazy but I don't actually feel comfortable wandering into the homes of total strangers.)  I am seriously considering asking them if they would like to be included in the "Inspirational People" section of this blog - at least I know their English is good!!!

The most useful sign I saw in Rotterdam - If you see this sign you are standing outside Wilco Berenschot's Pop-Up Police Station.  (Actually getting into the venue may be a bit difficult if it is in someone's home.)  Sometimes he is also found on street corners with a folding table and two folding chairs.  If you are not in Rotterdam but you want to find out about his venture he is on Twitter at @WT_Berenschot.

OK - before I get much further with this blog post I suppose I have to admit that - if there was a fanclub for this Police Officer I would become a member (and that was before the events of last week).

I think I was on a train back from Leeuwarden when this story started.  I read an ominous looking tweet from Mr Berenschot saying thar one of the residents of a street in Rotterdam near where his Pop-Up Police Station was located was worried because they hadn't seen someone for a while.  So, he decided to go to their flat and investigate.  The next tweet from him read that he was scared that when he found who he was looking for they would be dead. ("Hart in mijn keel" translates into "Heart in my throat".)

Never before have I felt so involved with a story which was being drip-fed to me in chapters of 140 characters - even if it was in Dutch.

This reader was extremely relieved when the tweet came through that the missing person was alive and well - if rather alarmed by a Police Officer climbing up his balcony and getting into his flat (I think they thought Mr Berenschot was chasing an intruder).

I didn't think anything more of it until the next morning when I saw a tweet from Mr Berenschot including the link to a newspaper article.  Usually, I would have been frustrated by the link because it showed half of the story and then asked you to subscribe to read the rest of it.  Not this time!  I went to the shop on the campsite I was staying at and bought a copy of the newspaper in question (it is on my desk as I type).

Then I started to get really upset by the full story.

Apparently the man who had "gone missing" had actually been in his flat the whole time - as well as for the previous decade - due to Agoraphobia.  If that wasn't bad enough there were stories (in the same article) of people laying dead in their flats for years before they were discovered.

The part of the story which upset me the most was Mr Berenschot saying that the man's bills were paid directly from his Bank Account (Dutch version of Council Tax, etc) so nobody had any excuse to come and visit him to find out if he needed any help.  I don't think the man had any family to make sure he was OK.

Mr Berenschot stayed with the man and helped him look through his post, etc, for a couple of hours.

This got me thinking about the perils of the Internet and Social Media as far as the vulnerable and alone are concerned.

Forget about the Child Abuse, Terrorism, Fraud, etc, which goes on, for a minute.  They are all instantly recognised as "Bad Things" which the Internet can be used for.

Maybe we should start worrying about things like "Isolation", "Fear", "Loss Of Money", even "Loss of Dignity", which can be and (in some cases) is the byproduct of the Internet age - especially when people either do not have mechanical (as in computer, mobile phone, or the funds to run either) access to the internet or the "theoretical" (as in not knowing how to use the Internet) access.

I remember being amazed when I managed to teach my English Grandma how to text.  This was a lady who was born in the era of the "Cat's Whisker" Radio - during her lifetime the TV was invented, computers were invented, homes started getting their own telephones (then the phones shrank and went mobile).  Oh - and the Internet itselt was invented.  Subjecting a lady in her late eighties to the "delights" of the internet just struck me as a cruel and unnatural punishment for the mere "crime" of having been born in 1922 - so I didn't bother with that.

Don't misunderstand me - I am as big a fan of the Internet as anyone.  After all, I can annoy you with my ramblings on here, I can find interesting humans to communicate with on "Social Media", I can read about (and watch videos of) events in different countries, etc.

However, what I cannot understand is how some people, Councils, Goverments, and Businesses, seem to have decided that the Internet replaces the human contact element of Society at large.  Thus leaving people like Mr Berenschot and his colleagues (both in The Netherlands and the UK) to pick up the pieces and help people who have fallen through the net.

The Internet should be used as a supplement to human contact instead of being used to replace it.

So - next time you don't see one of your friends or neighbours for quite some time, go round to their house, or ring them up to see if they are OK.  You never know - you might be the difference between someone being helped and them facing a very lonely death.

We WILL Remember Them - 4 May Dutch Remembrance Day
5/4/2015 10:32:35 AM

I am one of those people who loves reading and finding out how other people see life.  Sometimes I see things which end up as subjects of my blog post after they have had the "Inkyworld" treatment.  Other times I see things which I would love to share with you but I cannot find a suitable way of doing so.

I read the piece of writing I have decided to share with you today in Dutch on
www.reflectieinblauw.nl - and I loved it so much that I asked the author - Arthur van der Vlies - if he could translate it into English so I could share it with you.

Today is Herdenkingsdag (or Dutch Remembrance Day).  Of course, I could have written something myself but I found this so poignant for being so simple.

4th of May

The other day I was at De Basis for a meeting. I’ve been a regular visitor there for a few years now. Sometimes I’m there for a meeting, other times simply for a cup of coffee. It’s grown into a meeting place for many uniformed professionals.

I was in the recreation room, having a chat with a colleague who was about to be deployed to Afghanistan. Afterwards, I sat down with a cup of coffee and was looking around the room. I spotted a group of elderly men. They were sitting at a table talking, reading the paper, enjoying a coffee.

As I was watching, one of the men stood up. He looked about 80, but I could be out by a year or so. He sat down with me and asked, ‘Why do you want to go to Afghanistan?’ I explained that I wasn’t going to Afghanistan but that I was there to wish my colleague good luck on his mission.

We grabbed another coffee and got to talking. I explained that I no longer work for the police, but that I am still very much involved. The old man was interested and asked if I would mind telling him a bit more about why I’d left the police. I explained that police work and the things I had seen had made me ill. The old man fell silent. After a while he said quietly, ‘Then I understand why you’re not going.’

There was a moment of silence as we looked at each other. He told me he was a war veteran. ‘Sometimes I go sailing with my granddaughter and she’ll ask me questions,’ he said. ‘Questions about the past. Difficult questions. Questions that I can’t always answer. Or don’t want to answer.’

I asked the old man where he had served. (Unfortunately I can’t recall which force.) He mentioned he had been stationed in a number of far flung places and that he had seen things that he would never forget. At one time he and his mate were walking through the jungle. They were chatting but alert. Then he heard a soft hissing noise and couldn’t tell where it was coming from. When he looked besides him he saw his mate lying on the ground; he had been hit and was seriously injured. The veteran’s mate died shortly after. ‘And you know what?’ the veteran said to me. ‘Sometimes I still hear him screaming.’

We looked at each other in silence, tears in our eyes. I felt he veteran touch my arm when he said to me, ‘We don’t need to explain. We understand each other. Me over there and you over here.’ We looked each other in the eye and that was enough.

We sat together a little longer. Then we parted with a handshake. The veteran gave me a firm pat on the back.

Every year on the 4th of May I will remember this veteran. And I will remember with respect his mate and all other Dutch war victims.


You Know You Have Found True Inspiration When Every Word From Someone Feels Like A BIG HUG!!!
2/12/2015 6:37:52 PM
I have to admit that it is not that easy to stun me into near speechlessness merely through saying really nice things about me which I honestly feel I don't deserve.  Today's "Inspirational Person" has managed to do that twice in reasonably quick succession.

Although I have never actually met Demetra Olliver (better known to me as @DemeMummy from Twitter) she has inspired me with her kindness, her generousity with her comments and compliments, and her friendship.  Oh - and the fact she seems to know what I am rambling on about even if I haven't got a clue when I start typing.

I honestly feel she deserves the compliment she paid me in her first answer to be reflected back to her with the biggest mirror I can find!

Anyway - enough of my waffling - I will let her speak;

1)        Let's start by you telling the readers of this blog in your own words how you know me.

I met the lovely Inky via twitter. I was immediately drawn to her because she spoke words of truth in plain, simplistic, straight-forward terms.  And she sent me lots of hugs. I feel the energy from virtual hugs in the way that I feel physical hugs. They make me feel protected, loved and cherished and most of all accepted. They are the best form of defence against the cruelties of this world and enable me to face each day with a smile and positive thoughts. I’m also learning more about Ineke through her blogs and they are a revelation! To know that she has faced so many difficulties and yet come through them with her sense of humour intact. I find her articulate and honest. Funny how she’s writing about inspirational people when she herself is one of the inspirational people in my own life.


2)        As this is about "Inspirational People" can you please tell me three people in your life who have inspired you and how they have done so (they can be teachers, colleagues, friends, etc)?

 My three sisters inspire me, for many reasons. They were brought up differently to me, much more sheltered and protected (my sisters would change those words to “given no freedom whatsoever”). When we came to England, I was only 6 years old and picked up the language really easily (I had a lot of things really easy in general compared to them) but they were teenagers. In spite of that, they worked really hard, not only picking up the language but doing incredibly well in school and all three of them went to excellent universities, including Warwick and Oxford. They have been brave and travelled. (I have to gear myself up to use the tube!) One lived in Spain for many years and then Gibraltar. The other studied in Madrid and Moscow, worked in Greece and now lives in Cyprus. Despite many hardships that they have endured throughout their lives (one of them is disabled and the other two have health issues) they always have time to support others. All three qualified as teachers and one is also a holistic practitioner. Whether they heal with their hands or their words, what you feel from all three of them most strongly is their love. It emanates from them and gently wraps round them and the person they are talking to, feeding and healing the person’s heart. They are gentle, caring, supportive and loving. It feels like such an incredible privilege to be their little sister.

3)        What qualities do you look for in a friend?

I look for gentleness and fun. Someone with whom I could speak and listen to for hours and never get bored in their company. Someone who accepts me the way I am and doesn’t criticize me but encourages me to spread my wings and helps me to question how I view the world. Someone who educates me by sharing their life experiences and teaches me how to deal with life. I view it as a true privilege when someone opens up to me about their experiences and their feelings and also encourages me to speak about mine.


4)        How would your other friends describe you?

 My friends would describe me as “Mummy”. They know I’m always there for them if they need me. My family would describe me as a “feeder”. I love to take care of people and to me, sharing food is a way of sharing love. I suspect they would also describe me as a bit of a fruit-loop. My son affectionately calls me a “special child” and if truth be known, I love that.


5)        Finally, please tell me something about you that I don't already know (please make sure it is something you don't mind sharing with the rest of the world)?

It’s taken me 49 years of my life to finally accept and like myself the way I am. I still have moments of doubt but the amazing people that I have come into contact with, whether that be physical contact or virtual contact via twitter, have helped me overcome so many personal demons. I’m still in the process of discovering who I am and learning my place in this world but it’s a journey I am finally enjoying.


The Thought-Provoking Inspiration
12/4/2014 10:10:55 PM
People inspire me in all kinds of different ways. The "Inspirational Person" I would like to introduce you to in this blog post has inspired me in too many ways to mention.  He is also the person I was most scared of asking if he wanted to be included in this revamped "Inspirational People" section.  However, I really wanted him to be the first living human in it.

Dr Derek Lee (to give him his proper title) has had several mentions on my blog (both in its original format and on here).  The major reason for his inclusion in this section???  Well, you are reading it (or at least that is part of the story).  I would honestly say that he knows me better than most people - he has also helped me more than most people when it comes to me putting up with myself.  Not only that but he has encouraged me in my writing and blogging.

I will now let him answer some questions;

1)        Let's start by you telling the readers of this blog in your own words how you know me.


We met through our mutual love for creative writing at “Scribbles”, a group for like-minded folk in the lovely little town of Market Harborough in Leicestershire. This must have been around 2002.


2)        As this is about "Inspirational People" can you please tell me three people in your life who have inspired you and how they have done so (they can be teachers, colleagues, friends, etc)?


This is a difficult one. So many people have come in and out of my life over the long years and everyone has touched me in their own way. I suppose two teachers in particular ome to mind. Mr Poole was my primary school teacher. He helped me to see that I could achieve something if I put my mind to it. His favourite saying was “When it doubt, write it out”. This has stood me in good stead over the years. Mr Richardson was my English teacher in secondary school. He helped to develop my writing ability and love for literature. In particular, he introduced me to the works of D H Lawrence and George Orwell. The third person is a choice between Simon Weston from the Falklands War – he gave an inspirational speech at my children’s school – and Nelson Mandela for his endurance, beliefs and compassion.


3)        What qualities do you look for in a friend?


A shared understanding of the world in terms of social justice. Some shared but not identical likes and interests in the arts. Honesty and loyalty are givens. The ability to give and take. A view of life that allows for quirkiness and humour.



4)        How would your other friends describe you?


All the above! I think people see me as warm, supportive and funny.


5)        Finally, please tell me something about you that I don't already know (please make sure it is something you don't mind sharing with the rest of the world)?


My first job when I left school was as a nursing assistant in a large Victorian hospital for 1500 patients with severe learning disabilities in Caterham, Surrey. It gave me a new view of the world and confirmed my desire to work in the public sector. The rest, as they say, is history.


The Best Place To Start Is At The Beginning (Or Allow Me To Present The Most Inspirational Person I Have Ever Met)
8/7/2014 1:17:18 AM
If you remember this section from the original "Inkyworld" blog don't worry - all the important people who made it into this section will make their way back eventually.  This time I wanted to start properly though and introduce you to the strongest, kindest, friendliest and bravest lady I have ever met.  She also happens to be the person who inspired me the most.

It is strange how when my Mum was alive I used to hate it when people got me mixed up with her but now I consider it a great honour and privilege when one of our mutual friends calls me "Coby" by accident.

She was one of those people who really put the motto "Sterkte Door Strijd" (or "Strength Through Adversity") into practice.  That motto is the motto of her native city of Rotterdam.

Seriously - everything life threw at her was somehow coped with (even when I would have given up) - the best thing about her was that no matter how much pain she was in or if she was struggling herself she would go out of her way to help her friends and family.  She had this thing where even the grumpiest person who she spoke to was not allowed to leave without some form of a smile on their face.

When I was born I had a hole in my heart (we were to eventually find - some 30 years later - that she had a hole in exactly the same place as mine which had never been picked up).  I have been told on numerous occassions that I was very poorly - to the point where I had to be operated on ASAP or I would have been dead by five years old.  I was operated on at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London then shunted between three hospitals - including the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, where I was born.  I think I was eventually released into the wild at approx 8 months old.

If this wasn't bad enough my Dad had a very serious accident which left him in another hospital two months after I was born.  Let's just say I am honestly thankful I was born during the time of the three day week.  This meant that my Mum's nearest relatives (my English Grandparents) could act as a taxi service ferrying my Mum around between hospitals.  She had only been in England for approx a year when I was born and she couldn't drive.  Her Mum was stuck in Rotterdam.

Anyway - My Dad and I both survived our ordeals and we were eventually reunited when I was released into the wild (I have always had a dislike of hospitals - not as bad as my English Grandad though.  The only time I ever saw him anywhere near a hospital ward - the inside of one anyway - was when he was himself dying of cancer.  My favourite family photo is of my parents, me, and my English Grandma actually in the hospital ward when I was a baby with my Grandad standing outside peering into the window at me.  Apparently he had had Polio as a child and it made him hate hospitals with a passion even I can only dream of.  He would give various relatives lifts to hospitals he just refused to set foot in them himself.)

Even when she ended up in hospital with a very bad back and ended up with what we suspect was one of the earliest cases of MRSA she remained cheerful.  The same with her second stint in hospital with a back complaint.

She treated everybody with respect (even on the few occassions when she didn't actually like them).  She was a great organiser with a good heart for the community.  It got to the stage when I almost couldn't move in the village where my Dad still lives for people whose lives had been touched by her in one way or another.

If there is one word I can use to describe my Mum it is "Dutch" with a capital "D".  Her speaking accent may have almost disappeared by the time she died but - as she herself said - "I was born Dutch.  I am Dutch.  I will die Dutch".  (In a way I am glad that either the British Government or the Dutch one refused to let her have Dual Nationality.  Even though she spent more time living in England than she did living in Holland.)

The Dutch have got one very famous trait (which I do share with her) - they are blunt and to the point.  Dutch people are not the best people to be employed by the Diplomatic Squad either - tact and diplomacy are the last two words I would associate with Dutch people.  Put it this way - I have always said that the most dangerous question to ask a Dutch person consists of three very small words, "How are you?".

What the Dutch maybe are not so famous for is the fact that - if you are lucky enough to be our friends - we will go out of our way to help you if you are in trouble.  I told you that my Mum was a great organiser?  Meals on Wheels, Housebound Library, etc.

She was also very protective of her family and friends.  You could tell her your problems and know she would keep them secret.  However, if someone upset any of us her friendly nature would turn decidedly frosty towards them.

I know some people may think this is a cop out me saying that my Mum is the most inspirational person I have ever met but I honestly think that if my friends think as highly of me as her friends did and still do of her (over 7 years after her death) I will be very happy.

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