At the sight of the burned out remains off Grenfell tower – you automatically think of building collapses and similar occurrences that only take place in the far flung ghettos usually situated on the periphery –  but out of sight of the prosperous cities in banana republics, the inhabitants of which provide the manpower for the service industries that serve them. In a venal fog, nods and winks are given and backhanders are passed in envelopes to get things signed. You cant help think of the Sicilian Mafia activities during the rebuilding of Palermo.

Of course when these avoidable tragedy’s come to fruition the guilty disappear to eye the lower ranks among their corporations deciding who is to be fed to the wolves, their disappearance is filled by experts who only explain their expertise in a retrospective context but never to alert?
The sequence then follows, those from high office arrive at the scene only after the feelers have been put out, and at best glibly patronise  people and at worse seeming to take the credit for the community’s response to galvanise by telling us how great our spirit is. Like it was something they inspired.

This would have been no less a scandal anywhere,  but in the best known capital of one the most advanced countries in the world, you have to pinch yourself. It is no less shocking than the possibility of the great plague making a return to London. That in 2017 some off the deceased killed in this fire may never be identified their passing cant be mourned by a funeral and the thought that somebody maybe five years from now, may wonder why they never heard from a certain person again, how could people be let down so badly in this day and age? And further compounded by the fact that the residents repeatedly raised concerns only to have them ignored. Scandalous!

The only thing that pierces the cycle off numbing shock and rage as we watch this unfold is learning that our reaction to pain loss and grief, irrespective off who we pray too or don’t our colour or creed human anguish is felt equally by all. And that our first response irrespective off differences is one of empathy to the suffering off fellow human beings. This was evident as many people who make up the collective known as ordinary, came forward to help and assist.

Having worked with many bereaved people in the past I had to reluctantly accept there is not cure for bereavement but the only effective treatment seemed to be occupancy and the only thing that remedied injustice was justice. Sadiq Khan unlike Theresa may who keep a safe distance from ‘the great unwashed’, has learned early, anybody from public office who is going to Grenfell towers expecting to find fools had better bring some with them; because there appears to be a lot of very able people there, and as angry as they are now, I don’t think that aspect off grief has half started yet.

Rightfully there is going to be an outcry regarding this – indeed its going to be an integral part of the  bereaved and victims recovery process helping provide  closure which is going to be a long days journey from now, and may only be partial closure for many.

No matter what caused this fire this was foreseeable and actually a prophecy of the residents which unfortunately came to pass. Wednesday 14th of June 2017 should be marked as a day off national disgrace and a turning point, a time for candour and full transparency leading to justice for those affected by this tragedy.


getting through the SHIL

London attacks fight or flight?

London Attacks: Fight or Flight?

If you travelled to the far flung corners of the world you would be hard pushed to find someone who has never heard of London or doesn’t know someone who is living in London. You only have to look at the many different nationalities that make up the victims off the last two attacks on the capital.

This is why London with its world known symbolic targets, is so attractive to anyone wishing to grab a global headline. Indeed attacks in London are nothing new if you where to go back to the Greenwich observatory bomb 1894 and proceeded forward from there you will find attacks have been periodical.

In the past they were carried out with a callous indifference to make a point or demand and victims were no more than a by-product caught up in the wrong place wrong time, a mere happen-stance – and that hasn’t changed but what has changed is the level off personal violence and the seemingly loathing off innocent victims, who are not just viewed as collateral damage, but the sole focus and intended target of the savagery off those involved.

Most worrying of all these attacks seemed to be carried out on a terror franchise basis, where the call from afar is answered where the promise and reward off instant absolution and a fast tracking to paradise this should help explain the spare of the moment attack with a bread knife, through to carefully planned devastating bombings. Also, why the motives are somewhat scattered and diffused, the only cohesion being Allah is mentioned in the last utterances of the attacker.

These attacks are a global phenomenon that don’t appear to be stopping any time soon. London is a prestigious target like it or not – your in the final and its a home fixture, and adjustments to changes this brings are going to have to be made, not just the physical changes that will make the city more secure – the individual will have to increase their capacity for the additional stress the inevitable vigilance will bring. You will be surprised how quickly you learn.

You already know now if you see a suicide vest for more than a split second it has malfunctioned or more likely is a bluff! It is reported that there is currently 3000 people of interest, to watch that number of people around the clock would probably take man power of 30,000 – that last sentence should be enough to make you get educated quick, and I am not talking about the Greek classics in street parlance – your going to have to get a bit wider more Del -boy Trotter about what’s going on around you.

“Run, Hide, Tell…” –  that advice wouldn’t need to be outlined twice to Arthur Daily. The word run would have been like a starting pistol to him and produced a keen pair off brogue heels and a flash off camel hair, but what if you can’t run? and even if you can, there is still going to be casualties…

You don’t have to be brave to fight for your life, actually the more terrified you are, the more strength and energy you should have – and forget everything you ever heard about not taking things personal, there is nothing more personal than someone trying to end your existence with a knife. You are now your own first responder in these circumstances, don’t be having it! If you put up a struggle you have a better chance of survival, and a better chance off someone else joining you in your struggle.

And that is exactly what many people done on Saturday night – they took this stance for themselves and on behalf of others they weren’t having it: using chairs, glasses, bottles, noise and even a skateboard they disrupted the attackers – and their not having it saved lives and if not for their actions the fatalities could have been in double figures by at least the same amount that didn’t make it. This needs fully acknowledged and commended – there is nothing for anyone to be afraid of how we act when faced with a flight-or-fight life threatening situation, we will still pay our taxes after it.

And to the victims off the Manchester bombing which was an attack on a school run (without a school involved) and the London attacks, I trust the injured, traumatised and bereaved get the support they are entitled to on their journey back to health.
I hate to say it but we are again due for a lone lunatic turning up at a bus stop, for they never seem to attack construction workers on building sites to carry out jihad? If you do intend to remain at the scene instead off filming them, on your phone, you could try throwing it at them at the very least you will have won by denying them the oxygen off publicity and spare the rest of us having to listen to a nonentity’s last rant.


getting through the SHIL

New years Irresolutions

Three weeks into the new year and many of the new leaves that were turned over have began to curl up at the sides, revealing more of the old underside enveloping good intentions. Some took off into the wind, blown away altogether in the gale force winds off two weeks ago.

As new years resolutions begin to unravel, the dog returns to the sick and the vicious circle slowly at first, rotates again. After the initial gratification which usually ends in a gorging off the things we hate most about ourselves but missed equally. Self contempt toe-flicks the many empty cans, cigarette boxes and sweet wrappers to the side, arriving like the proverbial “wet blanket kill-joy” at a party and waves guilt in your face like smelling salts  momentarily distracting you from your scramble to stop February’s direct debit to the gym.

There is nothing more insidious than a bad lifestyle choice or habit on its way to taking over you – there in the good times elbowing its way to the front and claiming credit for them or commiserating in the bad times which it never owns up to having any part in. Anybody who has ever attempted to cut down or cut out, make a tweak or a radical life change either voluntarily or under the sternest instruction will tell you how stubborn and obstinate they are to change.

If you have made a stance and put your foot down with yourself  this year only to find it was on a carpet tack, the smarting will probably be secondary to calling your own bluff and going back on the earnest announcements you made in the week running up to new years that now appear to have been no more than procrastination.

But you have done much better than you actually think, you passed the pre-contemplation stage, which is the long spelling for denial, you contemplated questioned things about your life, prepared then took action; any failing probably lays in the preparation stage not in you, at this stage you give yourself a better chance off successfully making a change if you look for and get help.

By going online you can be sign posted to the nearest support group to you for whatever change your trying to implement, you will get support and advice and be in contact with people who are shipmates in the same boat you find yourself and how to structure any new attempt ensuring a better chance off success. Your G.P’s surgery will also have a notice board that can steer you to many community initiatives offering help and support.

Many new years resolutions are made quite tongue and cheek a source off annual amusement these involve minor vulnerabilities that make up our character some of which actually endears us to other people. But its not always a long days journey from some off these quirks to a path off self destruction they are the ones your destined to run out off life before the end off the habit, these are the things that need addressing before the stroke off midnight this 31st off December and need an immediate start made.


getting through the SHIL


Adopt a Londoner
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home

You could do more than those a favour; looking to be re-homed from the lovable rogues gallery at Battersea Dogs and Cats home, from wide boys to aristocrats, worn out hard workers, resilient old bitches and gentle souls trapped, unable to live up to their tough reputation.

Many of them hardbitten and all down on their luck for one reason or excuse off another. Some have had their unrivalled loyalty and devotion reciprocated with neglect, which was the very reason that spurred Mary Tealby of Holloway to open a temporary dog refuge on St. James road 1860, later to be relocated in 1871 and going on to be Battersea dogs home as we knew it then, and officially Battersea dogs and cats home since 2002.

Just how long dogs have fell in alongside us, is debatable, as is the definition of domestication, meaning tame and having a dependency on us. At least 10,000 years they have been by our side and nothing has endeared itself so much to humankind as the dog.
Their more obvious traits that make them charismatic to us, character, personality, and above all loyalty is belayed by a simple hierarchy of needs manifesting itself as gratitude, which when observed is the wisest council and therapy your ever likely to get dispensed with in calm non judgemental manner if sometimes indifferent.

They made Pavlov famous and almost exclusively with some help from a bell, got him a Noble prize – he worked out they liked biscuits! More recently scientific research has shown that dogs just don’t depend on us for the ulterior motive off being fed, they actually hold us in great affectionate esteem and love us and although I never get tired off hearing anything favourable about dogs I must say, this didn’t come as much off a revelation to me or any other dog owner I am sure?

Further anecdotal evidence and scientific research shows dog owners tend to be more healthy, I walk 30 hours every month on average in the company off my dog, which certainly covers the physical aspect of that theory, I find this walking meditative and believe it panders to something hard-wired into our programming from years of evolution in each others company.

It may be this long acquaintance that has honed the dogs already astute instinct making it more specific to us, picking up on the most subtle off changes from silences to tone, mood and facial expressions, and now also believed changes in our physiology notifying diabetic owners when blood sugar level is low, and warning other owners who suffer from seizures of impending fits. Dog owners who suffer a heart attack are less likely to die within a year from those who don’t own a dog. This would have as much to do with the tasks entailed in nurturing of a pet and when combined with the almost perfect exercise off walking, makes recovery pro-active and more purposeful.

Anyone exploring the possibilities off getting a dog needs to bear in mind, they are no push over and are capable off wrapping us around their dew claw, like us they have basic needs but in stark contrast they manage to separate these needs from torturous wants.
Your first port of call could be the Battersea dogs & cats home 4 Battersea Park Road London, (or any dog and cat sanctuary) they will offset any initial impulse off taking on the responsibility, by educating and warning a dog could be very disruptive to sedentary lifestyles, isolation, rumination and could contribute to the neglect of worry, mobile phones, online activity excusing you briefly from global guilt or the endless stream of irrelevant nonsense which causes a peculiar sort off modern day paralysis.  In return you could be subjected to unsolicited outbreaks off perspective and humour usually at the expense off, reverence and the Status Quo.

Even worse you could drop your guard and commit London’s mortal sin by acknowledging a total stranger as you pass by simply on the premise you both happen to be human beings and walking your dogs.


getting through the SHIL

270 nationalities in London
Is one man’s meat is another’s poison?

I suppose we all qualify for an opinion on food and health, especially since the two have married and became a debate,celebrity cooks  called on the government for a sugar levy and got it (starting April 2018) and fair weather farmers are telling us food is to cheap, it seems the ability to fold and present a decent omelette and tell one end of a cow from another has been a great enabler.

Their expertise or celebrity has been brought to farming agriculture and fisheries, at the expense of cooking a meal and letting us decide whether or not we are prepared to chance the few calories, or how to cook a banquet for a family of four within 15 minutes and a Tenner.

A food programme now is more likely to prepare a chronology of the worlds best diets meaning healthy, rather than put something on a plate, we normally feature well south on these lists and collect the most wooden spoons for continuously cocking a snoop at a bowl of couscous (so good they named it twice).

Adding to our culinary inferiority our nearest rival south, the Mediterranean  and its diet has long been the poster boy for healthy eating  the virtues of which, has recently popped up again waving a stick of celery about like a nutritional truncheon, I forget the number of times we have been introduced to the hillside farming couple from this region who,s existence seems to pre-date the industrial revolution, we get the tour of the farm its practices,  foods produced and  the people, both held up as an aspiration.

And to be honest, they don’t look any better meaning healthier, than my neighbours at home of that  generation, who don’t enjoy the long hot summers and warm winters the Mediterranean is favoured with, instead they endure  dark damp cold winters and  keep a hope alive that the rain will get warmer during the months accused of being summer.

This environmental stress not only determines what they eat  but how they cook it and the viability of food production in their country, producing the foods they are used to eating. The affability of the Mediterranean climate produces one of the most extensive ranges of  food in Europe if not the world it fringes a sea that covers one percent of the earth’s surface, further adding to the abundance of land produced foods. these resources have ensured its inhabitants can avail of a  varied and greatly balanced diet indigenous to them, which they have flourished on.

Much of the Mediterranean fayre is capable of bowling me over for days, with allergies this would be largely due to my physical and physiological characteristics which are Nordic,inherited from people who populated the northern coastlines of Europe, which for several months of the year supported no vegetation Nordic people sustained themselves from the sea eating much more fish than meat, also eating seaweeds from the shore and moss from coastal rocks. Many Nordic people to this day supplement their diets by taking kelp tablets which are a composite of the minerals found in the sea bringing them back to eating in sync with their ethnicity.

When I eat, in close accordance with this ethnicity I share with Nordic people, I find I get optimum nutrition less food goes further, is digested more efficiently and my overall health is in balance.

Global mobility has meant we are evolving with an international DNA the speed and transportation of food has never been faster meaning we are acquiring a taste for, before a tolerance off many foods.

Allergies are just one reminder that diet has developed specially to people, places and their lifestyles and the old adage off one man’s meat or wheat is another man’s poison will apply for some years yet.



getting through the SHIL


Sedentary lifestyles the effect of 50 years physical backslide

I would be less skeptical about much of the information we receive today about health if it didn’t appear to be product driven or sourced from the well meaning, and sometimes just as misleading utilitarian and sometimes dogmatic means of keeping us informed.

Both help explain the volume and frequency and claims that could be considered at times wild, not so loudly trumpeted is when the blather collapses under scrutiny.

Butter being wrongly identified by scientist 25 years ago as a bad fat, the health and fitness industry which now encompasses beauty not only prey on, but create insecurity in the vulnerable and fads for faddists.

I take anything I hear about health with a pinch of salt or low sodium salt substitute, better to air on the side of caution if what we hear about one of the white deaths is true – occasionally and its – as rare as fact something is reported that is mere food for thought.

Its been said that, the physical activity of peoples life 50 years ago, when compared to our sedentary lifestyles of today, that they ran the equivalent of a marathon every week. Comparisons go some way to dispel are substantiate the comparative I made certainly was not one associated with health, watching TV are as it was definitively known as 50 years ago the television set. If you did own a television set 1965\6 you probably only had two channels you most certainly would not have had a remote control.

Which meant in order to change channels you had to get up walk across the room press a button then return to your seated position, it seems strange having to explain this but this was a time if a sentence had tweeting in it, birds where also mentioned and if you told someone you had just done a selfie, you probably would not be pressed for any further details.

Getting up from a seats position and returning to it is a power exercise known as a squat beneficial to your musculoskeletal system, muscles and bones, if the average TV viewers circa 65 66, changed channels four times per evening that is 4×365 = 1,460 squat exercises carried out each year and up to a mile and a half walked, just changing channels, a further benefit is every time we stand up we break flexion which is the foetal position we can spend up to 18 hours a day in when sleeping sitting, working and driving in, the human structure was not designed for this much sitting.

This is just one of the less obvious comparisons, in how the physicality of life has changed over the last 50 years, if we were to expand on this and still remain within the household and considered the effort required for other chores – brushing mopping hand washing and drying attending to an open fire? Add lack of car dependency! Wither or not people of 50 years ago ran a marathon every week when compared to people of today, it certainly racks up in favor of their lives being considerably more active than ours, and that is before you left your own home – what was the physical requirement of occupations back then?

Exercise like everything, is better if we willingly engage and don’t have it foisted upon us, however the mechanics of movement still deliver benefits even if carried out involuntarily its now known and always has been by those who engage in it, that light to moderate exercise is as effective if not more so in the treatment of depression than antidepressants.

Its undeniable our lifestyles have went through a huge physical backslide in our most recent history and almost simultaneously psychiatric illnesses many of which never existed 60 years ago have risen from just over 100 to almost 400 today, some would debate the validity of many of these new mental illnesses, believing the lowering of diagnostic thresholds contributes more to these statistics than true sufferers of real conditions.

More worthy of debate, what is the full extent of physical activity and exercise on our mental and overall well-being?



getting through the SHIL

If only GMT meant get more trains and get me there!

London commuters wouldn’t be amongst the most stressed in Europe and more often late for work than their European counterparts – Londoner’s also revealed they add an extra half hour every day from their lives to ensure they arrive at their destination on time, which off course many of them don’t.

This half hour used or not is a daily waste spent in a platform to work limbo. S0me of it may be used to contemplate what type of excuse doe’s southern rail accept from their employees when they turn up late for work or not at all, like the 48% of commuters who admitted to being unable to get to work at one time are another due to train cancellations. Or you could chance burning your tongue on another espresso you didn’t really have time for, but really needed because your energy was already zapped before arriving at work and thought adding caffeine and sugar to a stress trigger was a good idea..

GMT  is not a sundial or guide – it tells us where to be and when to be there, to the dictated second, it is autocratic and indifferent – it does not say please or thank you, it will leave you sometimes a little embarrassed having to make apologies for your mishandling of it,  angry and dismayed when saying sorry on behalf of others who mismanaged it.

The USA uses coordinated universal time (UTC) they started using it in the 19th centuary to ensure train departures and arrivals where on time, they have six time zone’s,GMT was started in the Royal Observatory Greenwich, which is just around the corner for many Londoners who like the rest of the UK have one time zone, you have to see the irony?

A healthy outlook for living in a big city is balancing the conveniences against the disadvantages and avoiding a self pitying  persecution complex. Borrowing from your reserves from time to time is part of it. Some ex-commuters have realised early, how quickly they became overdrawn and arrived at the destination of their own limit, dejected and demoralised they have now given London a wide birth, taking jobs nearer to home for the sake of their sanity.

Others have decided to box on and vented their anger at a recent protest at Victoria station, which was more a cry for someone to come to their mercy as it was about anything else. Stress is unavoidable – life can be a frustrating business some are more prone than others to its caustic effects, which spread to all aspects of  life interpersonal relationships; work, home and social lives all suffer, one of the less laboured and neglected facts about stress is that its infectious and corrosive to mental, physical and collective social health.

Paul Maynard the rail minister after months of nerve fraying cancellations and delays has stepped in with what appears to be an ultimatum: if southern rail can’t reach an internal resolution, a resolution will be foisted upon them and hopefully the priorities of the paying commuters will be given more than a small consideration. This may be primarily an industrial dispute, the rights and wrongs of which, has long since been lost on the long suffering commuters, but in light of what is happening on an almost daily basis throughout Europe where attacks on trains have featured more than once it’s seems an awfully inappropriate time to dispense with the extra pair of eyes, guards provide on trains (crass even).?

Where is the security minister on this, and the department of health, who wouldn’t tolerate an infectious outbreak  anywhere else in London that is a lot less debilitating than stress?


getting through the SHIL


The old moniker still affectionately applied to London, ‘the big smoke’ was born out of the pollution the city was famed for, caused by coal burned on fires, the smoke ascended and smog descended veiling the city in a sepia choking gloom, the most notable of these was 1956 when what was called the “the great smog” fell upon the city and didn’t lift for five days

Until recently it was believed the great smog was responsible for 4,000 deaths; this figure has now been realistically estimated to 10,000 deaths and many tens of thousands possibly, in the hundreds more, suffered the ill effects of 1956.

We are told that the current concentrations of pollutants in the city are not high enough to be harmful to human health. This in spite of London gaining a reputation as being one of the most polluted cities in Europe, with 10,000 premature deaths a year being attributed to pollution and Londoners raising concerns that pollution is one of their biggest health concerns  worrying them.

London is one of a number of UK cities that has been in breach of EU safety limits regarding two key pollutants known as PM2,5S and toxic nitrogen dioxide (formed when fuel is burned at high temperatures). After five years this has culminated in a supreme court ruling in April, demanding the government publish a clean up plan by the end of the year and hopefully ending an nonchalant and a benign ‘pickwickian attitude’ that London junk air goes with the territory.

The coal burning fires of the past have been consigned to history, and ambient country hotels, finding a coal merchant in London now is like looking for a needle in a haystack or, seeing a harmful particle coming your way in the air.

Our pollution legacy now, is land transport what makes up for 63% of our junk air, the rest is spread across home heating and building developments the rest is listed as other, diesel cars, buses lorries all create environmental pollutants, that when inhaled can cause an almost endless list ailments, tiredness, headaches, sore muscles, painful and cracking joints, nail discolouration, pains in fingers and toes, numb hands, nosebleeds, swollen glands, urine changes, pains in hips back and arms, itching eyes and ears, cold sweats, susceptibility to colds, red burning swollen eyes.

The respiratory system and lungs are among the first to be assailed by air Bourne pollutants where serious damage occurs, heart disease, heart attacks and cancers.

Research is being carried out, of the effects pollution has on our mental status, impairing our cognitive functioning, the cognitive development of children and its relationship to depression. This research may take a while before data is fully validated, or the damage is done!

We have been here before, pollution give the city its pet name, its as old as time and immemorial and just one of the historical responses of the 1800’s too, it was the “the fresh air scheme” were sickly children from the city were taken to Folkstone for the day to get a lungful of air that wasn’t second, third or fourth hand and without soot.

The government missed numerous nudges, cue’s and scoldings on pollution for five years actually running up the longest infringement of EU law, history and could be fined more than a clean up plan, as fines of 300 million a year could be imposed, worse of all safety levels of pollution may not be brought under control until 2030.

Sadig Khan’s first major policy announcement was to tackle London’s air pollution levels, stating he is prepared  to implement big, bold and sometimes difficult policies to combat pollution, promising to act before an emergency, and although he seems to be having a wobble on the garden bridge project, he is going in the green direction to purify the air. Our  park’s already provide a ready made battlefield to engage pollution, it wouldn’t cost the earth enhancing what we already have, and encouraging us to take part in it. By turning some of the parkland over, to city allotments public horticultural projects and keeping them well lit and policed  opened around the clock,because we are going to have to source fresh air or fresher air in the capitol as we would  source free wi-fi, good coffee or a meal deal.

getting through the SHIL