Friday, 26 April 2013


In the time since my Dad died my life has changed out of all recognition. I was a Nomad travelling where and when I pleased and photographing my world, something I have given up for now. 

But as in so many cases as a door closes another opens. 

I now take care of my Mom and will do so for as long as I need to. I am also no longer just "I" but now part of "Us", Marci is the most wonderful woman the one I have looked for all my life. 

Although I did not know it as the time she was what I was looking for on my travels and I am now more contented than I have ever been in my whole life.

Besides these changes, I gave up my job and started selling my photographs and whilst this project is still a work in progress I am still loving it.

I was also surprised to get a letter last year from the Government informing me that the years I spent working for them as an advisor on Ocean Issues entitled me to a pension 7 years earlier than the now current retirement age!!!

Now early retirement was not in my plans, but when I enquired if I could defer the pension I was told NO!!!! 

It would not accrue any more and I would simply lose the income until I decided to retire! 

Clearly a no brainer LOL! So I am now officially semi retired.

You know something? I was surprised to find what they say is true and I am now busier  than I was when I was working. 

I volunteered and took on the task of leading " health walks" at the Local country park and have also started leading the longer country walks which venture further a field and last half a day.

I am cycling most days and have had to put in extra work in the garden after the postponed Spring! 

Basically I have never been so busy in my life.

Last Summer I shed almost 40 pounds and amazingly it has stayed off? Although I had a couple of bouts of illness in the last 6 months I am actually fitter than I have been since my 40s. Which also makes life very good.

On thing that has also changed in a major way is bogging.  I persevered after Multiply closed, but its just not there, the motivation has gone, mainly I suspect because of all the above. 

I am leading a full and fruitful life and have little or no time to post let alone get around and read posts from others. 

I have made a huge effort to keep up with the groups to which I still belong, Picture This , Creative Challenge and Images and Words, I have dropped out of Picture Perfect because I don't believe its right to post when I don't have time to get around to look at other  peoples posts.

But to be honest more basic than that is a I have no inclination to post much anymore save for a few images now and then, I think for me the time I used to spend at the computer is better spent doing the things that fill my day outside "Cyber World".

So for now, I will mainly be on-line to keep in touch with my many friends here and  posting to the three groups I am still involved with and posting a few pictures now and then, but honestly not much more than that.

I value my friends here a great deal but am clearly not going to be around as much as I was in Multiply days, so If any of you feel the need to remove me from your list I promise I will not be offended LOL;)

Have a great weekend and may your God be with you xxxxx

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, LG OM PC FRS (née Roberts, 13 October 1925 – 8 April 2013)


Margaret Thatcher; Love the woman or hate the woman one thing you could not do was Ignore the woman!

The Longest serving British Prime Minister for  one hundred years and the first woman Prime Minister. 

The woman credited with putting the "Great" back in Britain and turning around the economy in the 1980s and also the destruction of Union power in the UK and who closed the mines and destroyed many communities in the North of England and Wales. 

A most divisive figure in British Politics for many years. Sill polarizing opinion today. Her Funeral with Full Military Honours took place today. A fitting send off for one of the most powerful women in Britain for many years and a world respected politician may she rest in peace.

Margaret Thatcher: 13 October 1925 – 8 April 2013

 a British politician who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and the Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. She was the longest-serving British Prime Minister of the 20th century and is the only woman to have held the office. A Soviet journalist called her the "Iron Lady", a nickname that became associated with her uncompromising politics and leadership style. As Prime Minister, she implemented policies that have come to be known as Thatcherism.

Originally a research chemist before becoming a barrister, Thatcher was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Finchley in 1959. Edward Heath appointed her Secretary of State for Education and Science in his 1970 government. In 1975, Thatcher defeated Heath in the Conservative Party leadership election to become Leader of the Opposition and became the first woman to lead a major political party in the United Kingdom. She became Prime Minister after winning the 1979 general election.

Upon moving into 10 Downing Street, Thatcher introduced a series of political and economic initiatives intended to reverse high unemployment and Britain's struggles in the wake of the Winter of Discontent and an ongoing recession.[nb 1] Her political philosophy and economic policies emphasised deregulation (particularly of the financial sector), flexible labour markets, the privatisation of state-owned companies, and reducing the power and influence of trade unions. 

Thatcher's popularity during her first years in office waned amid recession and high unemployment, until the 1982 Falklands War brought a resurgence of support, resulting in her re-election in 1983.

Thatcher was re-elected for a third term in 1987. During this period her support for a Community Charge (popularly referred to as "poll tax") was widely unpopular and her views on the European Community were not shared by others in her Cabinet. She resigned as Prime Minister and party leader in November 1990, after Michael Heseltine launched a challenge to her leadership. 

After retiring from the Commons in 1992, she was given a life peerage as Baroness Thatcher, of Kesteven in the County of Lincolnshire, which entitled her to sit in the House of Lords. She effectively retired from politics due to ill health in 2002 following a stroke, and on 8 April 2013, she died of another stroke in London at the age of 87.

Thatcher was born Margaret Hilda Roberts in Grantham, Lincolnshire, on 13 October 1925. Her father was Alfred Roberts, originally from Northamptonshire, and her mother was Beatrice Ethel (née Stephenson) from Lincolnshire. She spent her childhood in Grantham, where her father owned two grocery shops. She and her older sister Muriel (1921-2004) were raised in the flat above the larger of the two, located near the railway line. Her father was active in local politics and the Methodist church, serving as an alderman and a local preacher,[4] and brought up his daughter as a strict Wesleyan Methodist attending the Finkin Street Methodist Church. He came from a Liberal family but stood—as was then customary in local government—as an Independent. He was Mayor of Grantham in 1945–46 and lost his position as alderman in 1952 after the Labour Party won its first majority on Grantham Council in 1950.

Thatcher was Leader of the Opposition and Prime Minister at a time of increased racial tension in Britain. Commenting on the local elections of May 1977, The Economist noted "The Tory tide swamped the smaller parties. That specifically includes the National Front, which suffered a clear decline from last year". Her standing in the polls rose by 11 percent after a January 1978 interview for World in Action in which she said "the British character has done so much for democracy, for law and done so much throughout the world that if there is any fear that it might be swamped people are going to react and be rather hostile to those coming in."; and "in many ways [minorities] add to the richness and variety of this country. The moment the minority threatens to become a big one, people get frightened." In the 1979 general election, the Conservatives attracted voters from the National Front, whose support almost collapsed. In a meeting in July 1979 with the Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington and Home Secretary William Whitelaw she objected to the number of Asian immigrants, in the context of limiting the number of Vietnamese boat people allowed to settle in the UK to fewer than 10,000.
As Prime Minister, Thatcher met weekly with Queen Elizabeth II to discuss government business, and their relationship came under close scrutiny. In July 1986, The Sunday Times reported claims attributed to the Queen's advisers of a "rift" between Buckingham Palace and Downing Street "over a wide range of domestic and international issues". The Palace issued an official denial, heading off speculation about a possible constitutional crisis.] After Thatcher's retirement a senior Palace source again dismissed as "nonsense" the "stereotyped idea" that she had not got along with the Queen, or that they had fallen out over Thatcherite policies. Thatcher later wrote: "I always found the Queen's attitude towards the work of the Government absolutely correct ... stories of clashes between 'two powerful women' were just too good not to make up."
In August 1989, Thatcher queried her government's response to the Taylor Report, writing a hand-written comment on a Downing Street briefing note: "The broad thrust is devastating criticism of the police. Is that for us to welcome? Surely we welcome the thoroughness of the report and its recommendations?"During her time in office, Thatcher practised great frugality in her official residence, including insisting on paying for her own ironing-board.

Thatcher's economic policy was influenced by monetarist thinking and economists such as Milton Friedman and Alan Walters. Together with Chancellor of the Exchequer Geoffrey Howe, she lowered direct taxes on income and increased indirect taxes. She increased interest rates to slow the growth of the money supply and thereby lower inflation, introduced cash limits on public spending, and reduced expenditure on social services such as education and housing.[78] Her cuts in higher education spending resulted in her being the first Oxford-educated post-war Prime Minister not to be awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Oxford, after a 738 to 319 vote of the governing assembly and a student petition. Her new centrally funded City Technology Colleges did not enjoy much success, and the Funding Agency for Schools was set up to control expenditure by opening and closing schools; the Social Market Foundation, a centre-left think tank, described it as having "an extraordinary range of dictatorial powers"

Thatcher was committed to reducing the power of the trade unions, whose leadership she accused of undermining parliamentary democracy and economic performance through strike action. Several unions launched strikes in response to legislation introduced to curb their power, but resistance eventually collapsed.[99] Only 39% of union members voted for Labour in the 1983 general election.[100] According to the BBC, Thatcher "managed to destroy the power of the trade unions for almost a generation".

The miners' strike was the biggest confrontation between the unions and the Thatcher government. In March 1984 the National Coal Board (NCB) proposed to close 20 of the 174 state-owned mines and cut 20,000 jobs out of 187,000. Two-thirds of the country's miners, led by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) under Arthur Scargill, downed tools in protest. Scargill had refused to hold a ballot on the strike, having previously lost three ballots on a national strike (January 1982, October 1982, March 1983). This led to the strike being declared illegal.

The policy of privatisation has been called "a crucial ingredient of Thatcherism". After the 1983 election the sale of state utilities accelerated; more than £29 billion was raised from the sale of nationalised industries, and another £18 billion from the sale of council houses.

The process of privatisation, especially the preparation of nationalised industries for privatisation, was associated with marked improvements in performance, particularly in terms of labour productivity. Some of the privatised industries, including gas, water, and electricity, were natural monopolies for which privatisation involved little increase in competition. 

The privatised industries that demonstrated improvement often did so while still under state ownership. British Steel, for instance, made great gains in profitability while still a nationalised industry under the government-appointed chairmanship of Ian MacGregor, who faced down trade-union opposition to close plants and reduce the workforce by half. 

Regulation was also significantly expanded to compensate for the loss of direct government control, with the foundation of regulatory bodies like Ofgas, Oftel and the National Rivers Authority. There was no clear pattern to the degree of competition, regulation, and performance among the privatised industries; in most cases privatisation benefited consumers in terms of lower prices and improved efficiency, but the results overall were "mixed".

In 1980 and 1981, Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) and Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) prisoners in Northern Ireland's Maze Prison carried out hunger strikes in an effort to regain the status of political prisoners that had been removed in 1976 by the preceding Labour government. Bobby Sands began the 1981 strike, saying that he would fast until death unless prison inmates won concessions over their living conditions. 

Thatcher refused to countenance a return to political status for the prisoners, declaring "Crime is crime is crime; it is not political", but nevertheless the UK government privately contacted republican leaders in a bid to bring the hunger strikes to an end. 

After the deaths of Sands and nine others, some rights were restored to paramilitary prisoners, but not official recognition of their political status. Violence in Northern Ireland escalated significantly during the hunger strikes; in 1982 Sinn Féin politician Danny Morrison described Thatcher as "the biggest bastard we have ever known".

Thatcher narrowly escaped injury in an IRA assassination attempt at a Brighton hotel early in the morning on 12 October 1984. Five people were killed, including the wife of Cabinet Minister John Wakeham. 

Thatcher was staying at the hotel to attend the Conservative Party Conference, which she insisted should open as scheduled the following day. She delivered her speech as planned, a move that was widely supported across the political spectrum and enhanced her popularity with the public.

Thatcher took office during the Cold War and became closely aligned with the policies of United States President Ronald Reagan, based on their shared distrust of Communism, although she strongly opposed Reagan's October 1983 invasion of Grenada. 

Reagan had assured Thatcher that an invasion was not contemplated, and thereafter Thatcher felt she could never fully trust Reagan again. During her first year as Prime Minister she supported NATO's decision to deploy US nuclear cruise and Pershing missiles in Western Europe[99] and permitted the US to station more than 160 cruise missiles at RAF Greenham Common, starting on 14 November 1983 and triggering mass protests by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. 

She bought the Trident nuclear missile submarine system from the US to replace Polaris, tripling the UK's nuclear forces[139] at an eventual cost of more than £12 billion (at 1996–97 prices).

Thatcher's preference for defence ties with the US was demonstrated in the Westland affair of January 1986, when she acted with colleagues to allow the struggling helicopter manufacturer Westland to refuse a takeover offer from the Italian firm Agusta in favour of the management's preferred option, a link with Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation. The UK Defence Secretary, Michael Heseltine, who had supported the Agusta deal, resigned in protest.

On 2 April 1982 the ruling military junta in Argentina ordered the invasion of the British-controlled Falkland Islands and South Georgia, triggering the Falklands War. 

The subsequent crisis was "a defining moment of her [Thatcher's] premiership". At the suggestion of Harold Macmillan and Robert Armstrong, she set up and chaired a small War Cabinet (formally called ODSA, Overseas and Defence committee, South Atlantic) to take charge of the conduct of the war, which by 5–6 April had authorised and dispatched a naval task force to retake the islands. 

Argentina surrendered on 14 June and the operation was hailed a success, notwithstanding the deaths of 255 British servicemen and 3 Falkland Islanders. Argentinian deaths totalled 649, half of them after the nuclear-powered submarine HMS Conqueror torpedoed and sank the cruiser ARA General Belgrano on 2 May. 

Thatcher was criticised for the neglect of the Falklands' defence that led to the war, and notably by Tam Dalyell in parliament for the decision to sink the General Belgrano, but overall she was considered a highly capable and committed war leader. The "Falklands factor", an economic recovery beginning early in 1982, and a bitterly divided opposition contributed to Thatcher's second election victory in 1983. 

Thatcher often referred after the war to the "Falklands Spirit"; Hastings and Jenkins (1983) suggested that this reflected her preference for the streamlined decision-making of her War Cabinet over the painstaking deal-making of peace-time cabinet government.

In September 1982 she visited China to discuss with Deng Xiaoping the sovereignty of Hong Kong after 1997. China was the first communist state Thatcher had visited and she was the first British prime minister to visit China. Throughout their meeting, she sought the PRC's agreement to a continued British presence in the territory. 

Deng stated clearly the PRC's sovereignty on Hong Kong was non-negotiable, but he was willing to settle the sovereignty issue with Britain through formal negotiations, and both governments promised to maintain Hong Kong's stability and prosperity. 

After the two-year negotiations, Thatcher made concession to the PRC government and signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration in Beijing in December 1984, handing over Hong Kong's sovereignty in 1997.

Although saying that she was in favour of "peaceful negotiations" to end apartheid,[151] Thatcher stood against the sanctions imposed on South Africa by the Commonwealth and the EC. She attempted to preserve trade with South Africa while persuading the regime there to abandon apartheid. 

This included "casting herself as President Botha's candid friend", and inviting him to visit the UK in June 1984, in spite of the "inevitable demonstrations" against his regime. Thatcher, on the other hand, dismissed the African National Congress (ANC) in October 1987 as "a typical terrorist organisation".

The Thatcher government supported the Khmer Rouge keeping their seat in the UN after they were ousted from power in Cambodia by the Cambodian–Vietnamese War. Although denying it at the time they also sent the SAS to train the non-Communist members of the CGDK to fight against the Vietnamese-backed People's Republic of Kampuchea government.

Thatcher's antipathy towards European integration became more pronounced during her premiership, particularly after her third election victory in 1987. During a 1988 speech in Bruges she outlined her opposition to proposals from the European Community (EC), forerunner of the European Union, for a federal structure and increased centralisation of decision making.

Thatcher and her party had supported British membership of the EC in the 1975 national referendum, but she believed that the role of the organisation should be limited to ensuring free trade and effective competition, and feared that the EC's approach was at odds with her views on smaller government and deregulation; in 1988, she remarked, "We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them re-imposed at a European level, with a European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels". 

Thatcher was firmly opposed to the UK's membership of the Exchange Rate Mechanism, a precursor to European monetary union, believing that it would constrain the British economy, despite the urging of her Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson and Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe, but she was persuaded by John Major to join in October 1990, at what proved to be too high a rate.

Thatcher with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and his wife, Raisa, at the Soviet Embassy in London, 1 April 1989
In April 1986, Thatcher permitted US F-111s to use Royal Air Force bases for the bombing of Libya in retaliation for the alleged Libyan bombing of a Berlin discothèque, citing the right of self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter. Polls suggested that fewer than one in three British citizens approved of Thatcher's decision. 

She was in the US on a state visit when Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein invaded neighbouring Kuwait in August 1990. During her talks with US President George H. W. Bush, who had succeeded Reagan in 1989, she recommended intervention, and put pressure on Bush to deploy troops in the Middle East to drive the Iraqi Army out of Kuwait. Bush was somewhat apprehensive about the plan, prompting Thatcher to remark to him during a telephone conversation that "This was no time to go wobbly!" Thatcher's government provided military forces to the international coalition in the build-up to the Gulf War, but she had resigned by the time hostilities began on 17 January 1991.

Thatcher was one of the first Western leaders to respond warmly to reformist Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Following Reagan–Gorbachev summit meetings and reforms enacted by Gorbachev in the USSR, she declared in November 1988 that "We're not in a Cold War now", but rather in a "new relationship much wider than the Cold War ever was". 

She went on a state visit to the Soviet Union in 1984 and met with Gorbachev and Nikolai Ryzhkov, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers. Thatcher was initially opposed to German reunification, telling Gorbachev that it "would lead to a change to postwar borders, and we cannot allow that because such a development would undermine the stability of the whole international situation and could endanger our security". 

She expressed concern that a united Germany would align itself more closely with the Soviet Union and move away from NATO. In contrast she was an advocate of Croatian and Slovenian independence. In a 1991 interview for Croatian Radiotelevision, Thatcher commented on the Yugoslav Wars; she was critical of Western governments for not recognising the breakaway republics of Croatia and Slovenia as independent states and supplying them with arms after the Serbian-led Yugoslav Army attacked.

Thatcher was challenged for the leadership of the Conservative Party by the little-known backbench MP Sir Anthony Meyer in the 1989 leadership election. Of the 374 Conservative MPs eligible to vote, 314 voted for Thatcher and 33 for Meyer. Her supporters in the party viewed the result as a success, and rejected suggestions that there was discontent within the party.

During her premiership Thatcher had the second-lowest average approval rating, at 40 percent, of any post-war Prime Minister. Polls consistently showed that she was less popular than her party. A self-described conviction politician, Thatcher always insisted that she did not care about her poll ratings, pointing instead to her unbeaten election record.

Opinion polls in September 1990 reported that Labour had established a 14% lead over the Conservatives,] and by November the Conservatives had been trailing Labour for 18 months. 

These ratings, together with Thatcher's combative personality and willingness to override colleagues' opinions, contributed to discontent within the Conservative party.
On 1 November 1990 Geoffrey Howe, the last remaining member of Thatcher's original 1979 cabinet, resigned from his position as Deputy Prime Minister over her refusal to agree to a timetable for Britain to join the European Exchange Rate Mechanism. 

In his resignation speech on 13 November, Howe commented on Thatcher's European stance: "It is rather like sending your opening batsmen to the crease only for them to find the moment that the first balls are bowled that their bats have been broken before the game by the team captain." His resignation was fatal to Thatcher's premiership.

The next day, Michael Heseltine mounted a challenge for the leadership of the Conservative Party. Opinion polls had indicated that he would give the Conservatives a national lead over Labour. Although Thatcher won the first ballot, Heseltine attracted sufficient support (152 votes) to force a second ballot. 

Under party rules, Thatcher not only needed to win a majority, but her margin over Heseltine had to be equivalent to 15 percent of the 372 Conservative MPs in order to win the leadership election outright; she came up four votes short. Thatcher initially stated that she intended to "fight on and fight to win" the second ballot, but consultation with her Cabinet persuaded her to withdraw. 

After seeing the Queen, calling other world leaders, and making one final Commons speech,she left Downing Street in tears. She regarded her ousting as a betrayal.

Thatcher was replaced as Prime Minister and party leader by her Chancellor John Major, who oversaw an upturn in Conservative support in the 17 months leading up to the 1992 general election and led the Conservatives to their fourth successive victory on 9 April 1992. Thatcher favoured Major over Heseltine in the leadership contest, but her support for him weakened in later years.

Sir Denis Thatcher died of heart failure on 26 June 2003 and was cremated on 3 July. She had paid tribute to him in The Downing Street Years, writing "Being Prime Minister is a lonely job. In a sense, it ought to be: you cannot lead from the crowd. But with Denis there I was never alone. What a man. What a husband. What a friend."

Following several years of poor health, Thatcher died on the morning of 8 April 2013 at The Ritz Hotel in London after suffering a stroke. 

She had been staying at a suite in The Ritz Hotel since December 2012 after having difficulty with stairs at her Chester Square home. 

Lord Bell confirmed her death in a press release issued at 12:52 BST. Upon hearing of her death her twins; Sir Mark and Carol, both returned to the U.K. from Barbados and Switzerland respectively for the funeral.
Details of Lady Thatcher's funeral were agreed with her in advance. In line with her wishes, she received a ceremonial funeral including military honours, with a church service at St Paul's Cathedral on 17 April 2013

In His speech in the House of Lords Norman Tebbit, The former Tory party chairman bemoaned how Baroness Thatcher was ousted from power not by the voters but by her Conservative colleagues.

Former Tory chairman Lord Tebbit recalled the Brighton bombing in which he and his wife were injured, and expressed regret that Baroness Thatcher was ousted from power by her own Conservative colleagues.

He told the Lords: 'My regrets? I think I do regret that because of the commitments I had made to my own wife that I did not feel able either to continue in Government after 1987 or to return to Government when she later asked me to do and I left her, I fear, at the mercy of her friends. 

That I do regret.'

Monday, 15 April 2013

Images And Words Week 206 - Four Colours


Creative Challenge 247 - Playtime



One Day I will ask thee.

Come sojourn, rest and play with me. 

Playtime  where Mountain and Ocean meet in passionate spree.

Golden Sun, Blue sky, Blue Sea.

Come climb high with me.

Look down on waters wild and free.

Sea mist caressing mountain root like sleepy passions glee.

Come, holding close to me.

Feel the passion of crashing surf on Rock.

Love, such beauty can unlock.

Ozone Fresh, Wild, Free.

Come when I call to thee, Playtime by Ocean, Mountain, Sea.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Hi all Sorry I have not been around I have been sick

I woke up saturday with terrible stomach pain and had to call the paramedic who immediately called an ambulance and  I was rushed into hospital after being given 2 doses of Morphine. 

I spent last night on one of the wards and the symptoms had reduced by this morning my stomach just aches now and they think it was acute viral Gastroenteritis but they are not 100% sure.

 I have some meds to take with meals until the inflammation goes down. I have to say I never had such a pain in my whole life it was excruciating!

A lot of firsts for me, First time in an Ambulance! First Morphine Injection! First time in Hospital, First rehydration drip, so all in all a fun weekend LOL!!!!!!!!