Smorgasbord – Something to think About – The R’s of Life – Survival in the Modern World – Rejuvenation!

This week a word that has now become a addictive drive to overcome the relentless march of time

Rejuvenation: The desire to recapture the vigour, appearance and lifestyle of youth.

Never before in our history has there been such a drive, and even addiction, to reclaiming all the attributes of youth, from spending massive amounts of money on non-invasive procedures to undertaking serious cosmetic surgeries. We are surrounded by images of those who according to the media are the epitome of beauty and it is not just the more mature who are being influenced.  The young who are still in their prime are being told that they are not attractive enough and lured into enhancing their faces and bodies. With long lasting consequences. Barbara Stanwyck 1907 – 1990

The press and the movie industry have a long history of promoting and celebrating the young and the beautiful, and so many of those who were approaching their 30s and 40s were encouraged by their studios or sponsors to maintain that image of youthfulness by going under the knife. Even the stunning Sophia Loren recalls being pressurised to have cosmetic surgery as a young star to adjust her nose to suit the alleged standards of beauty of the day: Sydney Morning Herald

Current publicity photographs of some of the more mature stars, clearly show the after effects of surgery, and that attitudes towards aging is still the same in Hollywood today.

They have it all don’t they? Fame, wealth, good looks, red carpet junkets, jewellery and designers falling over themselves to dress them and be showcased. Large houses with fabulous pools and people to do everything for them as they swan about in their magnificent luxury cars.

But all that comes with a price. That constant drive to stay young, bankable and in the public eye is responsible for broken marriages, displaced children, addiction, suicide and a private life that is a myth. Especially when the vultures within the paparazzi have your life on speed dial.

Imagine living in a fish bowl?

Even those who are wannabe famous, and who litter the headlines in their attempts to establish themselves, have fractured private lives that belie the external and often enhanced beauty they crave. Those who cannot afford to pay for licensed cosmetic surgery head off to even less regulated countries for cheaper procedures that lead to dangerous health complications. All so that they can whip their tops off and show their new and plastic cleavage to what they hope will be an adoring public.

Apart from high profile stories of celebrities who have had surgery to repair botched procedures, thousands of non-celebrities have become cosmetic surgery tourists in search of the star treatment at a cheap rate. Many have paid the full price as far as their health is concerned when they return home and have to undergo further surgeries to correct the damage.

The message that we are sending our young is that aging is toxic, that we all end up unattractive, on the heap and have no life after the first few wrinkles have etched themselves into our faces.

Above all else, having seen the results of plastic surgery that follows on from multiple procedures, I also have to call into question the ethical nature of some of these cosmetic surgeons who keep taking the money, despite the risks to the patients from the physical and mental consequences.

And I am not immune to the clarion call of the cosmetic industry that promises that a newly found ingredient will either smooth, eradicate or blur the signs of age on face and body. To be honest I have a couple of products that don’t do a half bad job unless I put my reading glasses on.

And we cannot blame this culture on the modern world, as women in particular have been looking for the elixir of youth from the moment they first saw their reflection in a still pond of water! In days when your existence relied on being considered attractive and desirable was not just preferable but essential, anything that enhanced your look was considered, whatever the side-effects.

The ancient Egyptians had some pretty nifty concoctions they added to the daily beauty regime. These included copper, lead and kohl for their eyes made from soot, fat and any scrap metal that was hanging around, including antimony and lead. One of the important factors that these early seekers of youth did not taken into account, is that skin is porous, and allows elements in and out. Absorb enough antimony and you are facing serious physical and mental health issues. This stuff is used industrially in a number of processes including fire retardation of cloth used in cars and in safety equipment, and in batteries.

The symptoms of antimony are numerous and include respiratory and gastrointestinal problems, skin complaints, confusion and certain compounds can cause cancer.

Over the centuries other metals that have serious side effects have been introduced to potions to whiten skin, improve texture and add fullness to lips, including lead in lipstick, mercury in mascara and arsenic in face powder.

The ancient Greeks and Romans swore blind that ‘lead’ in creams and powders was the key to youth, and it was also added to rouge and to hair colour. That fascination with this deadly metal continued well into the 18th and 19th centuries and when you look at the list of side-effects it is no wonder that certain civilisations disappeared and that mad-houses were full: The Mayo Clinic

Lead poisoning occurs when lead builds up in the body, often over months or years. Even small amounts of lead can cause serious health problems. Children younger than 6 years are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can severely affect mental and physical development. At very high levels, lead poisoning can be fatal.

Lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust in older buildings are the most common sources of lead poisoning in children. Other sources include contaminated air, water and soil. Adults who work with batteries, do home renovations or work in auto repair shops also might be exposed to lead.

  • High blood pressure
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Difficulties with memory or concentration
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Mood disorders
  • Reduced sperm count and abnormal sperm
  • Miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth in pregnant women

Whilst the cosmetic industry has become more regulated, it is not necessarily completely safe. Red lipstick has had a rocky ride even as recently as 2007 when a percentage of those tested under laboratory conditions were found to contain what was considered to be dangerous levels of lead. And if you think mercury is no longer in the products we buy, it is still used as a preservative.

The FDA has taken pains to reassure those of us who use substantial amounts of eye makeup on a daily basis. Cosmetics Info

There is no basis for concern by the consumer for the presence of mercury in cosmetic and personal care products purchased in the United States that comply with FDA regulations. The FDA limit of 1 part-per-million of mercury allowed in most cosmetics does not present a risk to health. The trace level of mercury that FDA allows for use some eye care preparations is too small to be of concern for health reasons but is sufficient to prevent bacterial contamination of the eye care product and serious eye infections in the users of the eye care product.

This does call for another type of clarion call – don’t just check food labels for ingredients but also cosmetics and toiletries as they both enter the body too..

Apart from the toxicity of metals in cosmetics, more and more in our modern age our drive to regain our youth has resulted in us going under the knife.

There is a temptation to absorb the marketing by cosmetic clinics in women’s magazines, and go for a little enhancement beyond the use of the magic potions we can buy over the counter (the ones without the metal elements). This however does not include the latest trend on the high street, in health and beauty salons, pharmacies and even dental surgeries; Botox and fillers in your lunch hour!

And we women are one of the driving forces behind this booming industry with estimated sales of $445 billion annually. Forbes

It’s never been a better time to be a beauty entrepreneur. Forbes estimates that there are at least 40 prominent beauty startups today founded by women, making the $445 billion (sales) industry one of the most prevalent places for women to self-start their way to big-time success.

Cosmetic Surgery.

Firstly, I do admire the cosmetic surgeons who originally developed their skills to repair the damage done to face and body in war time or accidents. My hero as a teenager and considering a career in nursing was Sir Archie Mcindoe. I read his biography and was hooked. His pioneering work on repairing the damage caused by fire to young pilots was inspirational.

There is no doubt that there are cosmetic surgeons who continue that pioneering work with patients who have suffered life changing damage to their faces and bodies, but there are also those who I feel are breaking one of the fundamental obligations of a doctor. ‘Do no harm’

We have all seen the photographs of those who have taken this obsession with youth too far. Smooth, immovable, characterless faces, puffy lips that now have their own label of ‘trout lips’, and eyes that are so distorted as to result in the label ‘Cat face’.  In this article by Sugar Surgery

Catwoman Plastic Surgery

Catwoman Plastic Surgery is an extreme case of Plastic Surgery gone Wrong. If we talk about an extreme woman, some people will guess we are talking about Jocelyn Wildenstein. She is a very famous woman for her unique and extreme changes. She has changed her appearance into a cat. No wonder she is also known as a the catwoman. Based on a story, the 70-year-old woman decided to change her look because she loved her husband and her husband loved a big cat. She wanted to look like the big cat her husband loves.

Jocelyn Wilderstein had a different obsession, but the result is one that is becoming more and more common and not in the case of women but also men, particularly those in the celluloid industry of Hollywood.

Not surprisingly you would imagine that you would find the most plastic surgeons in Los Angeles, and that was probably the case in the 20th century, but you may be surprised to know that the largest concentration of these particular surgeons is in Miami…Cosmetic Town..Which is where of course you have such a high concentration of…… retirees....

This is where I have a problem with a cosmetic surgery industry that’s sole focus is to prey on the obsession of us all to recapture our youth. USA Today

An American Society of Plastic Surgeons report found Americans spent more than $16 billion on cosmetic plastic surgeries and minimally invasive procedures in 2016, the most the U.S. has ever spent on such operations.

That is just in the United States.. in the UK it is estimated that there are over 1 million procedures each year and growing… However, there are concerns that this is under reported due to the lack of regulation on non-invasive cosmetic procedures, such as botox and fillers by unlicensed operators.

“We’ve got, largely, an unregulated industry that’s exploiting people including children, by promoting often untested and unproven products and procedures. We need better regulation of the quality and safety of these procedures, the people who carry them out, and where they are carried out.” – Jeanette Edwards, Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester, who chaired the enquiry. Royds Withy King

Invasive cosmetic surgery – The Risks.

Every surgery has risks, and they should always be considered when contemplating a procedure which is cosmetic rather than life saving. – Healthline

  1. Hematoma – a pocket of blood that forms after surgery and most common complication after a facelift and may require further operations
  2. Infection that will require anti-biotics and if not treated could be serious and require the removal of implants.
  3. Loss of sensation due to nerve damage, particularly following breast augmentation
  4. Blood Clots
  5. Scarring
  6. Complications due to anaesthesia.
  7. Organ damage during liposuction
  8. Blood Loss

You might well be asking where I am going with all this….

    1. It is no good recapturing your youth on the outside if you neglect the aging process of your body on the inside.
    2. Heart disease is responsible for the most deaths worldwide for both men and women of all races. Healthline
      As of 2016, 28.2 million U.S. adults were diagnosed with heart disease. In 2015, nearly 634,000 people died of heart disease, making it the leading cause of death.According to the American Heart Association, approximately every 40 seconds an American will have a heart attack. The estimated annual incidence of heart attacks in the United States is 720,000 new attacks and 335,000 recurrent attacks.
    3. An estimated 33.9% of U.S. adults aged 18 years or older (84.1 million people) had prediabetes in 2015, based on their fasting glucose or A1C level. Nearly half (48.3%) of adults aged 65 years or older had prediabetes: CDC ( Pre-diabetes can be reversed by diet and lifestyle changes)
    4. About 100 million individuals in the United States are estimated to have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: Liver Foundation Fatty liver disease is a result of obesity, transfats, too many sugars and lifestyle and as with pre-diabetes can be reversed – less alcohol, much less refined sugars, fewer refined carbohydrates, increased vegetables, some fruit, lean protein and good fats
    5. We are more than our bodies and looks. We have a brain which is allegedly the most advanced intelligence in nature (that is debateable). With age and experience, and before our modern lifestyles catch up with us (just kidding), we become wiser and therefore have a great deal still to offer society.
    6. We can still look amazing even with a few wrinkles, silver hair and a little more weight than when we were in our 20s and 30s.
    7. We can regenerate most of our organs and new research has identified that even the brain can do so as well. There is nothing more attractive than a quick mind and a spirited conversation.
    8. Remaining young is about our attitude, energy levels, ability to laugh, make people feel good about themselves and to inspire the younger generation. We need to make them feel valued in this shallow modern world of ours and to see their strengths not their weaknesses.
    9. We need to consider just how far we would go to hang on to our own youthful appearance and what message it sends to our children and grandchildren about what is important in this world. Making them afraid of a few wrinkles that are a badge of honour is doing them a disservice.

Thanks for dropping in today and as always your feedback is very welcome.. Sally.


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Weekly Round Up – Easter Parade Invite, Bloggers Bash Voting, And all the fun of the fair.

Welcome to the round up of posts on Smorgasbord this week of posts that you might have missed.

One thing that you probably have not missed, since Easter Eggs have been in the stores since January is that next weekend is the religious festival and also a time for families to get together and celebrate the extended holiday weekend.

As you know I do like to throw a party occasionally and this Easter I have decided to hold a traditional parade.. well two to be exact as they will be posted on Saturday and Monday.  To be in the parade you need to send me a photo… several already have so I only have a handful of places left on the floats...All the details are in the post and it is easy to enter…..

The time for the Blogger’s Bash in June has come around very quickly and as part of the event is the annual blog awards. There are some amazing bloggers included in the categories as there are every year. Very honoured to have been nominated along with so many from our community. Now it is your opportunity to vote for your favourites.

As always I am very grateful for your support and delighted to hear from you every week. Also my thanks to Paul Andruss and Carol Taylor this week for their input which is appreciated…

And here are the posts from the week….

With Easter next week I thought that you would enjoy this five part short story over the two weekends from Paul Andruss, first published in January 2018… Set in Ireland in the 1930s it follows the life of a young man with a mysterious past who lives in The House by the Sea.

Part One.

Part Two

Carol Taylor and her sous chef, granddaughter Lily give us two recipes for a cake and biscuits for Easter…

Sally’s Personal Stuff

This week’s One Hit Wonder is the Halloween favourite.. ‘Monster Mash’.

This week a look at Revenge…in the R’s of Life…. and it is never really sweet…

Colleen Chesebro is on hiatus as she house hunts but she asked that we continued to share our poetry.. Here is my weekly contribution… and etheree  ‘Age Defying’

This week’s prompt for the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction was ‘Beggars Can’t Be Choosers’


Two parts this weekend in the updated version of Size Matters… measurements, motivations, portion sizes and good fats.


This week L.T. Garvin shares her memories of her best friend in Junior High School and their aspirations to enter the talent contest with the classic Proud Mary by Ike and Tina Turner….keep on rolling and enjoy.

Welcome to the third post from the archives of Donna W. Hill and this week Donna shares the workings of a canal and the period of transition between water levels as an analogy for the times in our life when we are in limbo between events. In this case the treatment for her guide dog’s chronic disease.

The last in the present series from the archives of Norah Colvin which is actually reflections on learning by her daughter Bec, and written when she was 26 in 2013

Susanne Swanson takes us on their camping trip to Mora and Rialto Beach Olympic National Park in Washington State.

Special Feature

Author Stevie Turner asked 18 authors questions about significant life events that would inform and inspire… and over the week or so I will be featuring the contributors. The anthology’s proceeds are being donated to Cancer Research, and at 99p/99c it is very good value.

You can buy the anthology for only 99c:

And on Amazon UK for 99p:


New book on the shelves.

Author update

Something to Think About – New R’s of Life – Survival in a Modern World – Revenge – Never really sweet – Sally Cronin

We are now into new territory as far as The R’s of Life is concerned, as I only got as far as Retail Therapy in 2017. However, there are plenty more R’s of Life to contemplate and explore and one of them is Revenge.

Revenge is the act of getting your own back for an action that has caused damage (word or deed) to you by another or others.

For as long as there has been a Bible (and other religious texts), five words have been used by governments and individuals to justify taking action against other nations and on a personal level, leading to some pretty appalling atrocities and actions.

“An Eye for An Eye”

There are a number of references to this is the Old Testament and here are just two which seem to have been plagiarised by humans to suit their own ends for centuries….

Exodus 21:22-25 “Suppose two men are fighting and hit a pregnant woman, causing the baby to come out. If there is no further injury, the man who caused the accident must pay money—whatever amount the woman’s husband says and the court allows. But if there is further injury, then the punishment that must be paid is life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, and bruise for bruise.

Leviticus 24:19-22 And whoever causes an injury to a neighbor must receive the same kind of injury in return: Broken bone for broken bone, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Anyone who injures another person must be injured in the same way in return. Whoever kills another person’s animal must give that person another animal to take its place. But whoever kills another person must be put to death

“Turn the other Cheek”

However in both the Old and the New Testament… including in Leviticus, there are other admonishments to “Turn the other Cheek”. Which does make ancient teachings very confusing.

Matthew 5.39 –But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also”

In our modern world we have adopted another saying that gives the act of vengeance an added incentive...“Revenge is sweet” and if you do not get immediate satisfaction and you want to keep the fire for retribution burning for a very long time: Revenge is a dish best served cold”

First some of the other words that we use to indicate the act of getting even.

Retribution, Payback, retaliation, revenge and reprisal.

Governments love the word “reprisal” and use it to justify crossing borders, issuing sanctions, bombing a city or expelling diplomats. There are levels and they escalate according to the reprisals from the other side! This is one of the reasons for Two World Wars, when diplomacy failed to counteract acts of revenge by individuals or particular countries. The fact that those conducting the diplomatic route, are individuals who prefer the ‘reprisal’ course of action does not help.

Revenge as individuals.

We as individuals have adopted the other words to justify our own actions, and I am being honest when I admit that there have been occasions when I would have loved to get my own back on an individual or organisation that I have been the target of.  Including my recent treatment by Facebook

I don’t tend to take things lying down and whilst I applaud those who ‘turn the other cheek’ and walk away from events that have damaged them, I have discovered that if you do that, those people and organisations keep on doing to others without sanction. However, you have to choose your battles and some are just not worth the time and effort vs. the outcome.

I certainly do not condone violence to get my own back although I must admit to a sneaky love of John Wick and the Equalizer films…..

As an individual that can be a challenge to take on major corporations or even governments who have little regard for the efforts of one person to bring them to heel. Even with social media to air your grievances, it is merely a flea bite on the hide of an elephant. Some people have brought cases against major corporations which have been successful, but cases often taken years and suck up life savings if they don’t win, and the only people who seem to end up in the money are the lawyers. The only possibly successful legal form of revenge, is a class action suit, where a large number of other people join together and make enough noise. That too can take years and there is no guarantee of a positive outcome.

Revenge and retribution take many forms in our modern world, especially in the press and on social media.

One of the most insidious and life-changing forms of retribution is trial and judgement, not by your peers, but by the general public, aided and abetted by established and credible media outlets whose rush to publish a scoop is terrifying if you are on the wrong end of it.

It is mass revenge on steroids. Revenge on people who have risen high in our societies and have allegations made against them and who despite wealth and power are also incredibly vulnerable.

I am all for justice for those who have been found guilty of a crime in a court of law, but many have been found guilty in the court of public opinion long before they come to trial; when in fact they are innocent.

In recent years, with the outing of so many guilty child molesters for their heinous misuse of their power, some have been caught up in the fever to name and shame, and were in fact found to be completely blameless. But, not before their private lives were dissected and trumpeted across every media outlet possible.

A case in point, is of long time respected politician, Lord Brittan, who was accused of multiple sexual assaults in the days following his death, and also D- Day Veteran and former head of the Army, Lord Brammall. Both were accused by a man named as ‘Nick’ who made claims about a high profile ring of molesters. There was a £2.5 million investigation by the police that dragged the names of both these high profile men through the press and mud. At the end of the investigations no charges were brought against any of the accused.

It was discovered that ‘Nick’ was a fantasist and he ended up in court being charged with perverting the course of justice and fraud. The Daily Telegraph ironically reported at the time of his court appearance, that his true identity could not be revealed because of legal reasons. This restriction was lifted in December 2018 and he was committed for trial in February of this year on 12 counts pertaining to those he publicly accused.

It is alleged that ‘nick’ suffered from childhood abuse and that is a tragedy it itself, however his attempt to take revenge on those who were not implicated, had a wide-reaching and devastating impact.

Lady Brittan and Lord Brammall received a paltry £100,000 in compensation that could never take back the anguish, loss of reputation and embarrassment caused. Their names will be forever tainted and that will have a direct impact on their families too.

A similar case to this is that of singer Sir Cliff Richard, who talked about how ‘tarnished’ he felt after 22 months of being falsely accused of assault, and he ended up successfully suing the BBC for their broadcasting of a police raid on his home to the public. BBC News.

Further awards may be made when the loss from cancelled performances and other revenues are identified.The Guardian.

It is also a disturbing fact, that because all the major media outlets carried the allegations and named those being accused, these men were considered ‘guilty’ by millions of people, who were fed the salacious elements of the case, without any form of defensive narrative. It would be many months and sometimes years before those same media outlets would carry the news of their exoneration. Too late for some who died without having their names cleared.

Revenge: Who do they think they are?

One of the traits of humans that I always find unacceptable, is the desire to tear down those who have reached a pinnacle in life that they have no chance of achieving themselves. There is a perverse delight in seeing successful men and women denigrated in the press and social media. It is a form of mass revenge on the successful.

A recent case of this is the marriage of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle. An actress who I happened to have enjoyed in the show ‘Suits’, and who quite frankly is a beautiful, successful, wealthy woman in her own right. It is clear that Prince Harry adores her and is very happy, with both of them looking forward to their first baby later this month.

On social media.

Those who consider their own lives lacking in some way, have tried to extract their revenge at what they consider an upstart assuming a position she is not entitled to, by trolling the Duchess of Sussex on social media. You would be forgiven for thinking that it was some ignorant oik, with nothing better to do than post nasty comments about someone they thought was acting above themselves.. But no… fact the five most vitriolic of the trolls were unmasked as middle-aged housewives, who thought they had the right to be nasty from the safety of their living rooms. Those who were exposed as the main instigators of this hate campaign were from not just the UK but Canada and America too. And whilst they were aiming their vitriol at the Duchess of Sussex they also attacked the Duchess of Cambridge too.

In the press

From the beginning of the relationship between Prince Harry and his wife, the press have delighted in sharing the most intimate details of the family dynamics involved. They have deliberately posted articles from members of Meghan Markle’s family who certainly were not shy in sharing their disdain for her, and also making the most of their 15 minutes in the limelight. Quite frankly my heart went out to this princess in waiting, who should have been excitedly planning her fairy tale wedding, but instead was having to remain quiet so as not to fan the flames of jealousy and revenge emanating from her step-brothers and sisters. She was clearly advised to make ‘no comment’ and I would have found that incredibly difficult.

It is one thing to achieve your dream and have strangers try to bring you down, but when your family is out for revenge too, it must be devastating.

The Duchess of Sussex is wealthy in her own right, and is married to a rich prince, and if she wants to pay for a lavish baby shower, and be flown as a guest on a private plane, then good for her. And yet, the press has been posting stories on this and other ‘extravagances’ of the royal couple and how people in her inner circle, and in the royal entourage find her pushy! I think that says more about the people in her inner circle and the royal entourage than the Duchess of Sussex. There is no doubt she is different and a breath of fresh air. I would imagine that those who have been accustomed to a more rigid public profile for their employers must be quaking.  What I do see is that this young couple are determined to also be very much advocates for change, diversity and equality and are a much needed addition to our royal family.

The palace has employed someone to monitor social media and they will be clamping down heavily on those who troll members of the royal family, including reporting them to the police.

Thankfully judging by the reaction of the crowds that gather in their thousands whenever the younger generations of the royal family are out in public, there are far more fans and well-wishers than the press would like us to believe.

As I have said on a few occasions to detractors of both the new Duchesses… if Prince William or Harry had knocked on your door and asked for the hand of your daughter, would you refuse them?

Individual revenge…..

If I am being honest,  I do have regrets that I did not manage to achieve some form of closure over two particular events in my life, but at the time I had no recourse but to walk away. I had neither the strength of the resources to get even. I understand how hard it is to leave some events in the past and ‘get on with your life’. But, I also know that if I had pursued a more focused course of revenge, it would have done me more harm than I probably would have been able to inflict on the other people involved.

I have learnt a few things along the way about revenge.

  1. That it is important to remember your own responsibility for the situation and whilst this does not mean you deserved to be treated badly you do need to consider your actions. Did you walk into a relationship, job, deal or experience having done your research? Did you think at the time… this sounds too good to be true? Should I take advice on the matter? Can I talk to someone who might have experience of this before? Did I listen to those who knew better? Did I see the writing on the wall and still stay? Could I have asked for help?
  2. I do know that from my own experience and of others that I have communicated with, that violence should never be tolerated and if there is an opportunity to bring someone to justice without bringing more harm to yourself, then you need to find the right people to help you achieve that. Domestic Violence support
  3. Most of those, whose behaviour leads us down the path of revenge, are narcissists. Whether it is to do with money, relationships, work or family. If they have treated you badly, they have likely done it before and will do it again. Because, no matter what you say or do to them, they see themselves as always in the right and couldn’t care less. What they do not like, is people walking away and treating them as if they are nothing. Sometimes retreat is the most effective form of retribution.
  4. It is a pointless exercise seeking revenge on others, including strangers for your own shortcomings, just because they are beautiful, have lots of money, buy fabulous clothes, travel the world, marry princes or George Clooney. It doesn’t make any difference how much you might try to bring them down in person by bullying, on social media, or within your own circle of family and friends, if you don’t first take a good look at your own life, and how you might make positive changes to improve your circumstances. It is not this  person’s fault for who you are or where you are in life. You need to take responsibility for that.
  5. Sometimes life will do the job of getting even with someone who has made your life miserable in some way. All you can hope is that when they do get their just desserts they have not ruined too many lives in the meantime. There is nothing like going back to the class reunion happy and successful and finding that the bully who made your life miserable is now desperate to be your friend!
  6. You have one life and spending precious time on trying to get revenge is time lost. It can also be incredibly stressful, health threatening and become obsessive. The best revenge is to be happy and surrounded by people who think you are amazing at whatever you have chosen to do and have your back. Don’t give people who have created such negativity that power.
  7. As a writer my experiences have provided great content for my fiction and non-fiction, and whilst I may not have done a John Wick on those who deserved it… some of my characters have!!

I will leave you with this two quotes which make a lot of sense to me.

“An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.”
Mahatma Gandhi

Living well is the best revenge. —George Herbert

This is clearly just my opinion and there are many other areas of revenge and retribution that I have not touched on.  Your feedback is always welcomed.. thanks Sally.

You can find the other chapters in the series in this directory… and your feedback is always welcome:

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up- Glenn Miller, Roses, Mexico, New Books, Reviews and Guests.

Welcome to the round up of posts that you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord.

Some stand out moments from the week that I would like to make a special mention about.

The first was the nomination for the blog for the Versatile Blogger Award by Brigid Gallagher which I was very honoured to receive. I know that many bloggers are now award free. I quite understand, as when you are at full tilt, it is tough to take the time to respond to an award and also to draw up a list of willing nominees.

However… even after six years, I still get a kick out of awards and I have met so many wonderful bloggers through other people’s nominees, that it is well worth the effort. And also it is an opportunity to showcase newer bloggers who are still finding their feet or deserve to have some promotion.

Anyway.. this was my response with 7 more secrets about me…..and some nominees who are terrific bloggers.

The second highlight is the release of Understanding: An Anthology of True and Significant Life Events… Compiled and contributed to by Stevie Turner and 18 other authors including myself and quite a few of our blogging community.

The proceeds from this anthology will be going to Cancer Research and it is a very worthy cause.

Over the next week I will be posing a number of author profiles of those who have contributed and I hope that you will follow those authors and also support their work in this collection.

About the anthology

The following authors and bloggers kindly answered questions posed by Stevie Turner regarding significant life experiences they had undergone. These events include sexual abuse, a near death experience, alcoholism, being diagnosed with cancer, depression, losing weight, getting married, being a mother to many children, being the daughter of a narcissistic mother, and many more!

In this first post I share the authors who have contributed with a profile on Stevie Turner, D.G. Kaye and in the coming two weeks will feature the other authors in separate posts.

All proceeds will be donated to Cancer Research:

You can buy the anthology for only 99c:

And on Amazon UK for 99p:

Now on with the other posts this week.

This week William Price King shares the life and music of the legendary Glenn Miller whose music is still loved over 70 years since his untimely death during the Second World War.

In his final gardening post, Paul Andruss shares the beauty and background to the rose.

In the second part of her posts on Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, D.G. Kaye shares the fundamentals that you need to know about renting, shopping, tipping, exchanging your cash, dining and how to drink safe water.

This week my guest is author Ann Chiappetta who shares where she would love to live in the world, the animal she would most like to talk to and her favourite season.

My review for Small Town Kid by Frank Prem – recommended

This week Carol Taylor and I join forces to share the foods that contain good amounts of Vitamin B3 and the recipes that the whole family will enjoy.

A lovely guest post from Joy Lennick in tribute to her mother…

Sally’s personal stuff

This week in the R’s of Life,  I look at the true cost of retail therapy and the waste associated with our drive to own the latest and the most fashionable.  And also the mountains of food that goes uneaten in most of our countries when millions are starving.

This week I share the abundance of food that you can enjoy as you lose weight… starving the body is not an option, and cutting out food groups is counter productive.

Being the first week of the month… .Colleen Chesebro allowed us to pick our own words as prompts…My Etheree is entitled ‘April’


Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction – the Prompt this week is ‘Fire’

Donna W. Hill is a breast cancer survivor and in this week’s inspiring post she shares her motivation and also encounters with butterflies and knitting.

Blue butterfly on milkweed: photo by Rich Hill

This week Jen Moore, shares the delightful character who is her son, and the warm and embracing way that the family manages his dyslexia.

This week Norah Colvin shares all things berry.. which resulted in a lot of discussion about what is a berry and what is not, and how to get hold of our favourites…


A new contributor this week and the first post from the archives of Susanne Swanson who shares her return to her kindergarten school, celebrating its 100th anniversary.

New Book on the Shelves

Author Updates


Thank you very much for visiting this week and for all your support, it is always appreciated.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Cathaoireacha, Cats, More Cats, Irises and Beans!

Welcome to the weekly round up of posts you might have missed this week. As always my thanks to those who are regular contributors and guest writers. Some wonderful posts on family, music, food and life in general.

Guest writers.

I began this blog magazine to share content with as wide a range of interest as possible. That includes showcasing other writers and if you would like a guest writing spot you can share posts that you have already written and would like to showcase again to a new audience here on Smorgasbord. It can be on any topic but I do have some younger readership so it does need to be family friendly.. Get in touch on with four links to your posts and I will come back to you with any further information that I need to create your post.

If you would like to see previous posts then just type in Guest Writer in the search box to the right of the blog title at the top of the page and it will bring them all up for you.

Posts from Your Archives

There will be details on a new series of Posts from Your Archives with a different theme after Easter. The family posts have been wonderful and thanks to all those who have shared their posts. These posts are different from the guest posts as they have a specific theme.

Both of these series offer you the chance to showcase your writing but also your books with any recent reviews..

Tribute to a writing companion…my office chair and Cathaoireacha…

I have been using the same chair that we bought in Carrefour supermarket in Spain for 15 years. It is leather with stainless steel arms and trim and was the most comfortable chair I have ever used for writing. I would swivel it around to watch television as well in our office and when we first arrived in Ireland three years ago, I was parted from it for six months. I noticed the difference.

Last week as I swivelled to pick up a file at the end of my desk, the chair tossed me unceremoniously onto the floor where I lay in a bemused heap. The handyman (in house) inspected the chair from every angle and we realised that one of the five stainless steel feet on the pedestal was being held up in pain and was an inch above the floor. Further investigations revealed a stress fracture and it was not reparable.

Going online to look for a similar style of chair, in leather was  a bit of a shocker. Looked like it was going to be 400 Euro which is good value if I could get another 15 years out of it but still worth checking around.

When we first moved here David had bought some second hand office furniture from a warehouse in Wicklow and following a phone call we headed up there yesterday to inspect the stock. What a great guy… and it was a treasure trove in his warehouse with furniture stacked to the rafters including leather office swivel chairs. We spend 15 minutes moving things about and of course I spotted just the chair I wanted right at the back under a bunch of other ones.. David dug it out and I sat in it.. more fancy than my old one with more padding and leather arms, deep seat and back and perfect. Easily a 500 euro chair..

We called the owner over and prepared to negotiate..especially when he said it was from a bank office clearance and was the CEO’s chair… can imagine our surprise when he offered it to us for 70 Euro… wow.. no negotiating needed.

And as a bonus. We mentioned the demise of my stalwart writing companion… and lo and behold he had a five leg pedestal that fits all the models and he gave that to us for free.

David has now repaired the old chair and he is going to use from now on to replace the wooden one currently doing the job. I love my new chair as it has a bit more padding which is a bonus for my butt… and very happy that an old friend is not going to end up on the scrap heap. Here they are together… family.

I am married to a man who thankfully believes in buying second hand… I was too…. and whilst it is lovely to have shiny new stuff….at the end of the day a little bit of wear and tear and a fantastic bargain is as satisfying as spending six time more on a new item.

Recycling is so important and as the landfills continue to grow into mountains of household goods that have been usurped by new items, it is well worth donating them to charity shops or passed on to people like this guy who provides a wonderful service. Thanks to Pat Harvey who also sells a multitude of other products for the home.. Wicklow Hygiene Products if you live in the area.. he’s your man!

On the subject of family and cathaoireacha…chairs

When David and I came over to Ireland in early November 1980 to meet his family (we met and married in 6 weeks) I was given a warm welcome. When presented with a glass of wine.. which was often.. I would wish everyone ‘cheers’. Eventually I asked what the Irish was for ‘cheers’ as as one they announced that it was ‘Kaheeraka’ (phonetically). For many years afterwards when in Ireland or in the company of Irish acquaintances, I would raise my glass and say ‘Kaheeraka’..  only discover that I had been hazed.. and what I was really saying was Cathaoireacha..’Chairs’. Gotta love family…. all in good fun….No wonder himself is laughing in this photograph taken that weekend…..

On with the posts from the week…

This week the beautiful Iris..

Recipes for beans to include in your family’s menus.. full of energy and nutrients. Homemade without all the additives.

Annette Rochelle Aben shares the universal energy of April and how it might impact us as individuals.. bring it on..

My guest today, Julia Benally shares what she did grab when she had two minutes to get out of her house, why it would be wise not to cross her freshly mopped floors, a very disconcerting Christmas holiday, her favourite children’s song and a rather bouncy mis-purchase…

One of life’s certainties is that at some point you are going to be rejected personally or professionally. It can happen at any age and because it is a certainty, it does pay to prepare for it, or if unexpected have some strategies to cope with it.

Trash can punch by the pool and a trip to San Diego and Sea World in April 1986

With any project plan you need to have a start point and and end point…measurement is the key to identify progress and also to create significant events that warrant celebration.

How much do you weigh now?

And how much should you weigh to be healthy?

This week for the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills The prompt is the word ‘Eminence’ in all its glory…

This week’s response to Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 129

This week a one hit wonder… Rockin’ Robin by Bobby Day.. that was his only major chart hit, but led to a career as a successful songwriter.


My review of More Glimpses by Hugh W. Roberts – short stories across several genres with something for everyone.

Delighted to welcome Donna W. Hill to the blog with a series of posts from her archives. A wonderful story of a rescue cat.

Goofus, a male, Strawberry-blonde tabby, hangs upside-down in the family room: photo by Rich Hill

Please welcome Jen Moore who has been blogging about life with chickens, cats and children for five years.

This is the second post from the archives of  educator and storyteller Norah Colvin and this week Norah shares her own experiences of telling real stories about family to young children, not just their immediate family but passing on living history about those relatives we have met but the younger generation may not have.

Nor and Bec reading

Miriam Hurdle shares two post in one with a letter that she wrote to her daughter and then she shares a very special post where Mercy shares the words that she associates with her mother, and the strengths she has inherited from her.


Welcome to the third of the guest posts from author L.T. Garvin and this week a short story of the difficult transitional years between child and adulthood, commonly called the ‘Teens’. The story is infused with its author’s personal experiences.

New on the shelves

Author Updates Reviews

Thank you for dropping in today and for your support throughout the week. If you would like to be part of Smorgasbord Blog Magazine as a guest then please get in touch… either with posts from your archives on the subject of family… or as a guest writer on a variety of subjects.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Weekly Round Up – Social Media Shenanigans, Spring Flowers, Mexican Getaways, Italian Food, music, humour and Fabulous Guests

Welcome to the weekly round up of posts that you might have missed.

Firstly, an update on the Facebook debacle which only gets worse I am afraid. I know that several of you have been hit by blocked posts that contain links and are still having issues. I can comment, and share posts internally on Facebook but post links are still being blocked.

Disturbingly today that included the link to Debby Gies Sunday Interview which I sent to her in a Direct Message… supposedly private! It was blocked and in bold red told me that it did not meet community standards. I have appealed of course but it does have a warning for us all. Do not disclose private information in a direct message. For example if as they say Facebook is selling our data to health insurance companies, and we mention in a private message about a health issue we have to a friend, and then apply for insurance! Does that sound paranoid? Probably. What about your email address that you send in a message, or your postal address and the dates you will be away on vacation.

I had no illusions about Facebook but they have now embarked on a wholesale censorship programme that is unacceptable. They want you to have a page where they can bombard you with messages to boost your post to thousands of others at a cost. And they want to encourage you to buy from one of their advertisers and when you do, by all accounts you never hear the last of them.

I have friends and family on Facebook and I can at least for the time being share your posts from there. But over the next few weeks as MeWe grows and develops and the author’s group which now has nearly 50 members – I will be only using Facebook sparingly to stay in touch and to share others work internally. Eventually, I will be closing my account as I won’t be blackmailed or have any more of my private messages intercepted.

On a brighter note.. I have done the sums and the statistics show that the referrals to the blog is approximately 10%…thankfully most of those who share from Facebook are also contacts on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or other sites that I am a member of such as MeWe. My main concern was for the book promotions that I post for other authors but after two weeks there has been no change to the response which is a relief.

Thank you for all your support and I appreciate all the shares to FB from here in the past, but I have now permanently removed the share button, as I don’t want you to be faced with messages from FB telling you that it is not allowed. They are intimidating and offer not recourse so I am done.

And as an aside.. new users are asked for a photograph before they are allowed to sign up for an account. It can take several days to get back to you. But in the meantime with facial recognition they can have mined a great deal of information about who you are and your history online. Whilst this does mean that the fake generals and other trolls will not be accepted, it also means that they can pick and choose who they admit to the site and if you do not fit their profile as a potential buyer of the advertising that they send your way… who knows where it will lead!

It is now affecting millions of users and you might find this post interesting sourced by Carol Taylor:

On with the posts from the week, and as always I am very grateful to the contributors who spend time and a great deal of effort to write columns and guest articles.

Welcome to Debby Gies March edition of her Travel Column where she shares the first part of her trip and two month vacation in Puerto Vallarta in Mexico.. and the flight did not go as planned!

This week Paul Andruss shares the bulbs that will make your late spring garden abundant with colour.

This week my guest is regular contributor non-fiction author D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies who reveals her contents of her purse, fashion sense, strangest dream and her love (hate) of the vacuum!

This week Silvia Todesco shares a fabulous recipe for oven baked, bacon wrapped cod which has to be a family favourite..

This week we look at the health benefits of honey… and Carol Taylor uses this as an ingredient in some stunning dishes.

A new series looking at ‘One Hit Wonders‘ from the 1950s onwards….this week ‘Lollipop’ by Ronald and Ruby…who were they, were are they now?

My response to Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 127 and this week the prompt words are ‘Follow and Lead’…. I have chosen ‘Succeed and Hint’ as my synonyms.

A further look at the rights as laid down by the United Nation that we should all be entitled to, but have an obligation to protect.

It is March 1986 and we drive back from Atlanta in one day.. and attend a BBQ cookout in Conroe Texas, this is my letter home to my parents in the UK.

This week’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills involves a chisel…as a noun or a verb… you will also enjoy Charli’s description of the thaw that is occurring on her finger (or thumb) that reaches out in to Lake Superior- here is my response – The Dancer.

Before you Get Started on your weight loss programme– Managing People, Environment and your expectations

This week Balroop Singh shares her experience of arranged marriages and her own happy relationship.

This week Darlene Foster finds and visits the grave of her great-great-grandmother.


In this post Jennie Fitzkee shares the connections that she was able to make between reading Little House on the Prairie and her own grandfather from a similar era and his experiences of mining.


This week Robbie Cheadle shares a wonderful poem that she wrote on 9th of February 2017 which was her sixteenth Wedding Anniversary…


Sharon Marchisello shares the strategies that her mother employed to make the most of every penny.

Bette Stevens shares a moving poem in tribute to her mother.

New book on the shelves

Author Updates – Reviews

Thank you very much for all your support and I would love to hear from you about any of the posts or if you would like some book promotion. .Have a great week.. thanks Sally.

Something to think About – The R’s of Life – Survival in a Modern World – Our Rights to Personal Freedom

In the last post I took a look at the United Nations Bill of Rights with regard to our legal entitlements under the charter. As with all the rights in the bill there is a great deal of variation between nations, and also internally within cultures who settle in new countries.

This week I am going to cover the personal freedoms and rights that are included in the 30 elements of the bill. Many of these freedoms we take for granted and there are some of us who also exploit them. They all come with some form of obligation from us to ensure that we are worthy of these rights.

 Rights and our Personal Freedoms.

Everyone is entitled to protection from interference in their privacy, family, home or correspondence or from attacks on honour and reputation.

Good luck with this one in the day and age of invasive press reporting and social media. On a governmental level this one is a very grey area. Your emails and telephone calls are not as private as you imagine, and that is without you telling all and sundry your personal business via Facebook and blogging.

As someone who has shared my personal memories from 1962 year by year, I have to be very careful that I remember that there are certain things off limits. Other family members being one of those. They have a right to privacy. You only have to browse through your Facebook timeline to find that some people have forgotten that everything that they share is reaching a much wider audience than their friends. Of course those we interact with frequently with are also friends, but there is still a need for caution.

Some of those friends may not be a middle-aged author from Idaho with three cats and a love of shrimp gumbo. And after months of lovely two way conversations and personal DMs back and forth, and they suddenly ask for help with a vet’s bill for Fluffy, do you wonder if perhaps you are talking to a slightly different character than you supposed?

There are stories every week of people being scammed out of substantial amounts of money having been groomed for months. It would seem that the favourite persona adopted by these shysters is of the top US Army generals who have public profiles!  They prey on the lonely and the vulnerable and are the lowest of the low.

Of course genuine people populate all the social media sites, but if they are real people they will have left a substantial footprint trail that you can follow to find out more about them. Under no circumstances give money to anyone who you have met on any platform without doing your homework.

Trolls and the like.

There are people who are bullies and now see social media as their opportunity to continue that practice from behind the safety of their computer screen.  It is a desire for recognition for their wit, sarcasm and power and they thrive on the responses they receive. Some trolls have literally hounded people to their deaths, particularly amongst young people. There are some sobering statistics in this report and deeply concerning that so many young people are affected by cyberbullying to this extent. 4,400 young lives a year is a very high price to pay and whilst not all related to cyber bullying there is an element of this in every case. Young people can be very callous at times and really do not consider the impact their words can have on others.

This site is very useful for parents who have young children who might be faced with the quite frankly terrifying Momo Challenge and for advice on safety online.

Convictions for crimes under a law used to prosecute internet “trolls” have increased ten-fold in a decade with five a day, official figures reveal.

In the most recent figures that I could find in the UK, 1,209 people were found guilty of offences under Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 – equivalent to three every day – and latest reports say that has risen to five a day.. which takes the figure annually to 1825.

And it is not made easier to separate the real from the fiction when you consider that it is estimated that spam accounts for 45% of all emails sent!!  If you would like to know more about how this has become an epidemic of global proportions…check this out from Propeller CRM

And if you want to know about the billions being spent on Cyber Crime, the statistics and how easy it is for individuals, small businesses, hospitals and industries to be hacked and held to ransom… then check out Cyber Security Statistics 2018

Insurance companies in on the act

There was a headline recently that identified that our online presence is already being scrutinised by insurance companies. For example, you make a claim for a burglary while you are on holiday, and then find it is rejected because you have plastered your Facebook page with photos of you on a sandy beach on an exotic island for two weeks. Saying ‘Hi, look at me in my bikini today on Bora Bora’ is a message that may reach more than your friends.

We have an obligation to ensure that what we want to remain private stays that way. Be very careful about what you share online as your obligation is to ensure you do not leave yourself open to abuse.

Everyone has the right to move and reside within the borders of his country and has the right to leave any country, including his own and to return to his country of origin.

I think this right is one that most of us take for granted. There are still some countries that prohibit movement within their borders and certainly make it difficult to leave. I would say that living in North Korea for example, must be very difficult, when a thin line drawn in a map has separated families for generations. Occasionally the right is given for families to meet for a few hours in a government facility, but it must be devastatingly difficult to live under those kind of restrictions. I have lived all over the UK and abroad and always been able to walk straight back in when I have chosen to. This right if we have it, is something to cherish.

Everyone has the right to seek asylum from persecution in other countries except in the case of prosecutions for acts that go against the rights detailed by the United Nations.

This right is of course one that should be given to those whose lives are in danger from a regime that is likely to imprison or kill you if you do not agree with them. Unfortunately, this is the reason given by virtually all those who are leaving war-torn countries such as Syria and seeking safety and a future for themselves and their families. Part of the problem is that it is very difficult to prove and the process is long and protracted. Especially when trying to verify the facts with the opposing government whose records are not as detailed as our own.

Officially there were 26,457 Applications for Asylum in the UK in 2018 which is a slight decrease of 8% on the previous year.. More than half of the applications in any one year are refused. Whilst awaiting the appeal A refugee is housed for free, has access to education, health and each person is given £37.75 per week for food. It is very basic but in most cases much more preferable than living in fear in their own countries.

However, it would appear that many of those that are refused asylum simply disappear into the population anyway according to this recent report on Sky News

Less than half of failed asylum seekers are removed from the UK and abuse of the system is rife, according to a new study.

Tens of thousands of people remained in the country as illegal immigrants despite their applications having been rejected or withdrawn, according to analysis by a former Home Office chief.

It shows how, of the 80,813 applications that were refused or withdrawn between 2010 and 2016, only 29,659 individuals were removed, leaving 51,154 failed asylum seekers in the country from that seven-year period.

The press and the public are very quick to attack the border control organisations and the Home Office for this lack of oversight. However with the asylum seekers already living within the British community, experiencing the wonders of freedom, and a much higher standard of living, is it any surprise that they are going to make every effort to stay.

In addition, as I mentioned earlier, it is very difficult to verify the truth of the persecution. In some cases, such as those fleeing from Syria, the state of terror is quite clear but there are likely to be very few records to back up an asylum seeker’s story unless they are a high profile case. But of course there will be those who will want to take advantage of the situation, and use it as an entry into the UK and then join the other 50,000 who simply drift away out of official view. Most living within their own national communities and hiding in plain sight but sheltered from scrutiny.

There is no doubt that our own requirements for entry into the country need to be tighter but perhaps the problem will only be resolved when the cause for the massive crisis we face today is dealt with at source. Certainly the terror of daily life in places such as Syria is a leading reason for this influx of immigrants into Europe, and as long as that remains unresolved little is going to change at the receiving end of these mostly genuine refugees.

Everyone has the right to a nationality and should not be deprived of it or be denied to change his nationality.

This would seem a fundamental right. But even in the UK we see an anomaly. The Scottish, Welsh and Irish have a very proud history and used to be separate nations with their own kings and queens and culture. Over the centuries, usually through brute force, those nations have been brought under the one flag. We are now the United Kingdom and everyone is British.

However, many feel that this amounts to the loss of their own national identity. With devolvement to assemblies in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland there has been some re-positioning of this nationality. However, there are moves a foot to move away from calling the United Kingdom the British Isles, to something more nationality sensitive. We shall have to see which alternatives are put forward.  I heard recently during a conversation with someone with their ear to the ground that it might be along the lines of The Atlantic Isles.

It is equally difficult for those who come to live amongst us who also have a proud heritage and culture that they wish to maintain. To a large extent this is possible and there is no doubt in my mind that enriching our own culture with a great many new and diverse customs is a good thing. Of course there are a number of areas where we clash and I looked at some of those in the last post.

Men and women of full age regardless of race, nationality or religion have the right to marry and have a family. They are entitled to equal right in marriage if it is dissolved. Marriage must be entered into with the full consent of both parties.

We tend to get very vocal about countries where arranged marriages and even child marriages are still culturally accepted, but forget that in our own countries this was also the custom for hundreds of years. Including marrying ten and eleven year old princesses to 50 and 60 year old Kings! Certain families increased their wealth and holdings by making advantageous marriages with another elite family, and certainly it is only in recent generations that our own royalty has been able to marry for love rather than political expediency.

Laws have changed and you have to be 16 years old to legally marry in the UK. However, there are cultures that still believe in arranged marriages and having spoken to women who entered into a relationship in this way, many speak very positively about the experience. However, it would seem that second generation and third generation couples are far more likely to find love on their own.

With this right in relation to marriage, comes the usual obligation. If you have the freedom to marry then it should not be entered into lightly, particularly if children are then born and become your responsibility. I touched on this when looking at relationships and our relations in an earlier chapter. The statistics are very clear as revealed in this recent article.

The proportion of children born to unmarried mothers hit a record 47.5 per cent last year, according to the Office for National Statistics. The figure has risen from 25 per cent in 1988 and just 11 per cent in 1979.

If the trend continues at the current rate, the majority of children will be born to parents who are not married by 2016.

And the latest statistics would bear that forecast

  • 2017 saw 19 million families living in the UK, which shows an increase of 8% from 2007:
  • 12.9 million families (68%) featured a couple who were either married or in a civil partnership
  • 3.3 million families (17%) featured a cohabiting couple (the fastest-growing family type)
  • 2.8 million families (15%) featured a lone parent with at least one dependent or non-dependent child

That is 6.1 million families that need to make sure that they have legally established what should happen to their estate and their children and other dependents should they die.

I am not suggesting for a moment that two people cannot choose to have children without being married, but there are some legal ramifications. Without the legal and binding agreement, should the relationship fail; one of the partners can leave and abandon responsibility for maintenance, care and provision for the other partner and the children.

To safeguard the future of any children there should be legal registering of the partnership and binding contracts drawn up, including wills, so that all children are supported and protected until they are 18 years old. A concerning statistic is that in the UK currently, 60% of adults have not made a will. That is an estimated 36 million adults who have not made provisions for the disposal of their estates. Granted many believe that they do not have anything to leave so why bother. But, making a will is not just about money!

  1. Who do you wish to arrange your funeral and deal with your personal effects. A stranger or someone who you know and trust?
  2. Half the homes in the UK own a pet with an estimated 8.5 million dogs and 7.4 million cats.. not to mention budgies, rabbits and pet rats bringing the total of pets to 27 million. Who do you want to take care of your beloved companion? Have you arranged a new home for your pet if something happens to you?
  3. And last but not least. Who will look after your children if something happens to you? This is particularly important if you are a single parent without a partner who is still supporting you. You must make arrangements and make it legal by leaving a will or another document that has been drawn up by a solicitor. Who do you want to bring your children up? Is there a family member who could give them a loving home or perhaps a very good friend? Do you want the authorities to decide what happens to your children?

Dying intestate means dying without leaving a valid will. If this happens the ‘intestate person’ will have their property shared out according to the ‘rules of intestacy’.

So If your estate is worth more than your debts and the cost of your funeral then it will be shared out with your registered legal partner (wife, husband or civil partner) getting the first £250,000, your personal possessions, and half of what remains after that, is split with any children you have once they reach the age of 18.

There are frequent headlines about single mothers who have a number of children with different partners who are being given benefits of £40,000 or more. The truth is that the majority of single parents find themselves in this situation because of a breakdown in a relationship or a bereavement. All families receive some form of benefits such as child allowance, but even with a single parent working it is hard to make ends meet. But it is not just the financial aspect as parenting is a also a physical, mental and emotional commitment. Being a single parent can impact health and also time spent with children and is very challenging.

What is sobering is the facts surrounding poverty with regard to single families.

  • Only 9% of single parents are men, the onus is usually on the mother.
  • 44 per cent of children in single parent families live in relative poverty, around twice the risk of relative poverty faced by children in couple families (24 per cent).
  • Single parents’ risk of poverty has fallen over the past decade, yet those in single parent families are still nearly twice as likely to be in poverty as those in couple parent families.

So we have the right to marry who we wish, we can dissolve that marriage but it is stated that each partner is entitled to equal rights. However it would seem that is not the case in all families that split. Even if there is some financial settlement, there is still likely to be the onus on one parent, usually the mother for the care and well-being of the children. This is particularly the case when there is no legal and binding contract between the partners.

Everyone has the right to own property and cannot arbitrarily deprived of that property.

This  right is  personal favourite of mine. With a nomadic childhood and 18 homes since we married 39 years ago, I have come to realise how important it is to be able to close the door to you apartment, house, cabin in the woods and call it home. Even when we have rented accommodation it has been our home because we were together and surrounded by four walls and safety. This right is extremely precious and you only have to look at the statistics on homelessness to appreciate how lucky we are to have a roof over our heads to call our own.

In the UK there are approx 3,500 homeless sleeping rough each night. In the USA and estimated 500,000 and in India 1.8 million people who do not have the luxury of sleeping under their own roof or shelter of some kind.

Next time Freedom of speech and  religion.

©sallycronin The R’s of Life 2019

Thank you for dropping in and your comments are always gratefully received.  Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round up – Social Media Woes, Jazz, Gardening, Italian Recipes, Nutritional cooking, Flash Fiction and Books Galore

Welcome to the round up of posts that you might have missed this week… especially if you normally pick them up on Facebook!

I won’t go into detail as I covered it in a post early in the week, but suffice to say that I was in Facebook quarantine for two days with my posts removed as not meeting the community standards and I also received notification that someone has reported my posts as offensive.  I also got this message when I tried to share other blogger’s posts.

Those clicking the Facebook share button were also getting a blocked message and rather than cause them upset, I removed the button until Friday after I had sent numerous appeals to the governing body and emails (still no response) and I was able to finally share from other blogs and those sharing from here got through.

I have not posted any links to the blog posts themselves until today.. and hopefully you are reading this because it has gone onto my timeline.

I am not the only person to be affected this week including Debby Gies who you know as a regular contributor here. It is allegedly down to the new policies on fake news and too many external URLS being posted.

Clearly though someone thought that book promotions and health posts were offensive and rather than hit the unfriend button, decided to report me.

That’s life… Going forward I am restricting my own links to other blogger’s posts and once week my round up and hopefully we can maintain the status quo.

In the meantime several of us have also joined MeWe with is a similar interface as Facebook but is more user friendly. They also guarantee that none of our data will be sold. It is early days, but if you are an author you might like to check it out, as Colleen Chesebro, Debby Gies and myself are part of a Literary Diva’s Library on the new site to help you promote your books, reviews and interviews. Just click the image and it will take you there.. my personal profile is

Anyway.. no more drama…… and on with the week’s posts…

This week William Price King introduces us to the unique talents of jazz bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding.

This week Paul Andruss introduces us to the Hellebores… and some of the poisonous beauties much loved in ancient times as instruments of death…including deadly nightshade.

The next in the series to prevent nutritional deficiency by creating dishes containing the nutrient for the whole family… Carol Taylor has produced some wonderful recipes using ingredients rich in Vitamin B1.

In the second of this series, Silvia Todesco shares a traditional ricotta and beef meatballs in tomato sauce….


My personal stuff – Short stories and poetry

My response to Diana Wallace Peach’s monthly speculative fiction photo prompt..a story titled A Moment of Alignment.

Colleen Chesbro’s weekly poetry challenge is an escape from my WIP that I look forward to…. this week my poem was an etheree… March Hares

This week’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction was to create a story about a mouse.. in 99 words, no more, no less….

This week a look at how our childhood can influence both our willpower and how we regard the food that we eat. Understanding your relationship to food is important for health and also for weight loss.

This week a look at more of the official human rights as laid down by the United Nations, and our obligation to protect that right and to abide by the law… and when you look at the mortality rates of car accidents vs. murder rates and the high percentage of fatalities associated with texting and drink driving, you will find it hard to separate the two.

An unexpected gift of a turkey causes untold mayhem in the farmyard which as always creates an entertaining episode from the family archives of Linda Bethea

There are a number of flash fiction challenges on WordPress that are really fun to take part in and certainly do hone our skill at brevity.. Here is a post from Joy Lennick’s archives on the subject and an example of her own flash fiction.

I am delighted to welcome author L.T. Garvin (Lana Broussard) to Smorgasbord with a series of guest posts, and her first is a heartrending poem about the past, her family and the devastating loss of a mother in wartime. Lana will be joining us every two weeks until April 8th.

My guest this week is author Ann Barnes who shares the animal she would like to have a conversation with, her weirdest dream, what is in her handbag, and what she would have done differently.

This series offers you a chance to share posts from your own archives that you would like seen by a new audience. Perhaps a post your wrote a year or so ago. If you are interested you can click on the link in any of the posts below to get the details. It is another opportunity to promote your books or other creative work as well.

Can you remember your first flight in a plane? Poet and author Balroop Singh shares hers which was a magical experience… she would love to hear about yours.

Childrens/YA author Darlene Foster, shares more of her extended family that emigrated to Canada in the 1900s… this time her father’s relatives.

Jennie Fitzkee who has over 30 years experience as a pre-school teacher, and loves sharing stories with her class, shares her childhood in relations to fairy stories and how many have an element of violence. She explores the need for a reality check for children from an early age about life in general, but there need to be guidelines on how they are introduced.

Robbie Cheadle spends a great deal of time tempting us to eat scrumptious baked delights, and this is no exception as she shares the family recipe of Granny Una’s apple pie…bibs on…

Sharon Marchisello learnt some valuable financial lessons from her parents, and this week the advice given to her by her father.

Children’s author Bette A. Stevens shares her poem in tribute to her grandmother.

New Book on the Shelves book on the shelves

Author Updates – Reviews

Thank you very much for visiting today and I hope you have enjoyed the posts. Thank to those who have shared to Facebook, sometimes using alternative methods!  I appreciate the support.

Hopefully all is more or less back to normal!!!!!!


Something to Think About – The R’s of Life – Survival in Modern World – Our Rights – Part Two by Sally Cronin

Last week I began working through the United Nations International Bill of Rights which contains 30 clauses relating to our rights as humans. With each of those rights there is an obligation and a responsibility by the individual to work with the system. That is not always the case, particularly when associated with the law. If we are entirely honest with ourselves; many of us break the law a little’ from time to time. We justify it of course in a number of ways and it also seems to depend on whether we can get away with it.

This week I continue with our rights as laid out officially and look at our obligations as recipients of those rights.

 Rights and the Legal System

Everyone has the right to be recognised as a person and equal before the law and are entitled to the protection of the law without discrimination.

This is another right that we take for granted in our own countries but is not available to millions of others around the world. Unfortunately even under our enlightened system of law and order, there are failures. Our obligation is quite simple. Don’t break the law!

This does not just apply to the accepted definition of crime such as murder, theft, assault for example, where those we deem to be ‘criminals’ break the law.

We are human and we tend to classify crimes according to the statute books… A little like white lies we manage to justify certain misdemeanours as acceptable. However they are not, and for those who feel that texting whilst driving is a minor offence, you might consider these facts – Number of Driving accidents each year

  • Worldwide globally there is a motor vehicle accident every 60 seconds
  • Approximately 5.25 million accidents a year are reported globally.
  • 43,000 or more of the USA population will die each year in a motor accident.
  • 2.9 million will sustain injuries from minor to life-changing.
  • Car accidents kill a child every 3 minutes.
  • It is estimated that by 2020, road accident casualties will exceed HIV/AIDS mortality and disability rate.

In the United States 1.6 million accidents have a cell phone involved in them. That’s 64% of all the road accidents in the United States. If this doesn’t make you realize just how potent it is, what will?

Each year, over 330,000 accidents caused by texting while driving, lead to severe injuries.

In the UK the statistics based on population size is just as damning

According to the   UK Department of Transport, there were 1793 traffic fatalities in 2017 and 170,993 injuries due to road traffic collisions. Of these, mobile phone use was found to be a contributory factor in 33 of fatalities, 90 serious injuries, and 308 less serious injuries. This does not include pedestrians, and these numbers are based on 93,125 accidents.

For those who are tempted to have just one more little drink before driving home because everybody else does… don’t they?

  • In 2016, 10,497 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for 28% of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.
  • Of the 1,233 traffic deaths among children ages 0 to 14 years in 2016, 214 (17%) involved an alcohol-impaired driver.
  • In 2016, more than 1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.3 That’s one percent of the 111 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults each year (figure below).
  • Drugs other than alcohol (legal and illegal) are involved in about 16% of motor vehicle crashes.
  • Marijuana use is increasing and 13% of nighttime, weekend drivers have marijuana in their system.
  • Marijuana users were about 25% more likely to be involved in a crash than drivers with no evidence of marijuana use, however other factors–such as age and gender–may account for the increased crash risk among marijuana users.

CDC Impaired Driving Statistics 2016

To put these figures into perspective there were approximately 17,284 homicides in the United States for 2017. A figure that is reported daily by the press throughout the year, but road accidents are rarely quoted as an accumulated figure.

In the UK the statistics show the same pattern Road Safety Drinking and Driving

  • In 2016, figures show that 230 people were killed and there were over 9,000 casualties in total in drink drive accidents.
  • Over 200 people are still killed in drink drive accidents every year.
  • Over 70,000 people are still caught drink driving annually.
  • In 2016, 100 pedestrians were killed or seriously injured by drink drivers, as were 390 car passengers. 40 children were killed or seriously injured by drink drivers that year.
  • In 2017, 325,887 roadside breath tests were carried out by the police, of which 44,893 drivers or riders (14% of those tested) failed or refused to take the test.

In the UK there were 716 homicides in 2017. And the 230 deaths due to drink driving should be added to that figure in my mind, as they are the result of a person knowingly getting behind the wheel of a lethal weapon whilst drunk.

Everyone has the right to remedy by tribunals for violation of the fundamental rights.

I agree with this in general, and as part of the European Union, that ‘right’ has been well exercised. There is no doubt that many were justified. However, you have to ask yourself exactly who wins from these long drawn out appeals. Usually it is the lawyers. There are some areas however, where I do question this ‘free for all’ approach to the right to appeal on the grounds of Human Rights.

Foreign prisoners including murderers and terrorists have a ‘right’ to appeal for example against deportation to their own countries. This is an expensive process that is not funded by the prisoners themselves but by the taxpayer. As is their incarceration in UK jails at £40,000 + a year per prisoner. (Their rights already include – well heated accommodation, three meals a day, television, free medical and dental).

To put another spin on this – There are approximately two million pensioners in the UK living below the poverty line, attempting to pay for a roof over their heads, eat healthily and to keep warm on an average of £6,000 per annum. BBC News

Whilst I agree that prisoners should be treated with humanity, I do think we need to ask ourselves whether their depriving their victims of their human rights should be taken into account before granting permission to appeal.

Recently a prisoner brought an appeal based on the fact that he had put on weight in prison due to the abundance of fattening meals. Other spurious suits have been brought all under the label of violation of Human Rights.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

This is one that is not always easy to define. Although it is strenuously denied, profiling does take place. Certainly in the US and UK, particularly following increased terrorist activity, adherence to this right seems to be suspended at will. People do find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, if the authorities are working on the basis that there is ‘no smoke without fire’, and you are associating with people who are involved in criminal activities, then you might be perceived as guilty by association.

Everyone is entitled to a fair trial or public and impartial hearing.

This should be everyone’s right, and having met people who have been arrested and charged despite being innocent, it is a right that we should hold dear. Again, the majority of people who do make it as far as trial invariably do have strong evidence against them. The amount of convictions for innocent people is not huge, but still it is a warning that even the best legal system is not infallible. Unfortunately, in our day and age, people are usually tried and convicted even before their first court date in the media and on social media. Many a reputation has been ruined by overzealous and incorrect investigations even before reaching a courtroom. That damage can be life changing. An example of that is the hounding and public humiliation of Sir Cliff Richard with collusion between the media and the police.

I also have my doubts about a jury of my peers. Does this mean that there will be a panel of 66 year old men and women who have like-minds, judging my actions? Or just those men and women who did not manage to get out of jury duty!

Everyone charged with an offence is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

This is an established right, but again, once an offence and an arrest is made public, then it must be very difficult to be a juror in a high profile case, not go into a trial without some preconceived assumptions. Also, whilst it makes me sound more than a little cynical, I am not convinced that those who have already a long track record of anti-social behaviour should be awarded this right, time after time.

The statistics for this are hard to pin down, but they are unlikely to have changed that much from this report in the Telegraph

  • One in three offenders put before the courts, including sex offenders, drug dealers and violent thugs, have at least 15 previous crimes to their name, figures revealed.
  • The trend also made a mockery of claims by Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary, this week that thousands of people are being wrongly sent to prison to appease the “popular press”.
  • The figures showed that almost half of those jailed last year were, in fact, hardened criminals with a long history of offending.
  • The Ministry of Justice research also found one in four violent offenders sentenced last year was responsible for at least 15 previous crimes, as were four in ten burglars and a fifth of robbers.
  • Other figures showed more than 4,600 offenders were given a caution for a crime last year despite have at least 15 previous offences to their name.

The money involved is in the millions each year and that is taxpayer’s money. Money that could be better spent housing and caring for those in need rather than those who feel they have a ‘right’ to abuse the system.

This is an interesting article by a legal website that shows the extent of the problem in the USA.

According to a report by the Pew Charitable Trusts, approximately four out of ten people released from prison are returned to prison within three years. In some states, the number of repeat offenders, also called recidivists, is even higher. Repeat offenders can pose dangers to people and property, and state governments spend millions of dollars incarcerating, releasing, and re-incarcerating repeat offenders. Are our laws and policies up to the challenge of preventing recidivism?

I also find it difficult at times to reconcile the lawyer’s contribution to getting their client off, even when they know they are guilty. Whilst everyone might be entitled to a vigorous defence, it is not a job I could do!

There is another critical ‘Right’. To remain silent!

I was once told by someone who went through an arrest and prosecution, who was incidentally innocent; to say nothing if arrested until you have a lawyer with you. It does not matter if it makes you look guilty, as the police have assumed that already. You now need to prove your innocence and everything you say will be taken down in evidence, however innocuous you may think it might be.

It is the prosecution’s burden to find you guilty, but if you have associated with people who have criminal records it does make their job easier.

To bring this particular right down to a personal level, how many of us jump to conclusions in our own relationships and presume innocence first!

Where human rights and reality impact us on a national basis.

You may not agree with all the laws of the land, and find some of them downright ludicrous, but they are not so funny if you are caught breaking them and hauled into court. Our obligation is to obey the laws of the country where we are resident even if they are not laws in our country of origin. This can be difficult, as I found out living in South Africa when there was apartheid. It is also becoming an issue in the UK and it is very easy to forget as you chat amongst your friends on Facebook, that your comments are visible and that you can be prosecuted under the hate crimes statutes.

Human rights state that a person should be able to practice their religion freely which is not in dispute. However, there are certain practices associated with religions that might not fit in with a host culture and can easily be misinterpreted or be found unacceptable.

Part of emigrating to any country is to begin a new life, often in a less restricted environment and with greater freedoms for change. It is understandable that those moving from another culture would want to bring their established legal system with them as in the case of Sharia or Muslim religious Law.

Unfortunately there are interpretations of Sharia that impose penalties in other countries that are particularly harsh for women. This does not fit in with our established cultural beliefs and legal system and it does create a division in society as it is feared women are not being treated as fairly as their fellow British citizens.

Sharia law is used to clarify religious and family issues, as well as some disputes, however none of the councils that are set up in Britain can overrule the regular courts.  This is where human rights and reality collide and it will not be resolved by limiting the number of people entering the country, but by establishing a clear understanding of how we can live and work side by side despite our differences.

And the issue is not just one-sided. In the pursuit to satisfy the needs of children who will only eat halal meat from animals that have not been slaughtered in a humane manner, and according to our own Health and Safety food guidelines, here are some facts on school meals. Daily Mail

  • Hundreds of schools have banned pork – sausages and bacon – and switched to halal only meat for meals even where Muslims are in the minority.
  • Dinner ladies in hundreds of schools are expected to serve halal meat to primary and secondary school age pupils every day of the week whether they are Muslim or not.
  • The driving force appears to be cost because it is far easier and cheaper to have a single source of halal meat for everyone, rather than having to provide a segregated menu.
  • In most cases the halal meat served in schools will come from animals that have been pre-stunned before slaughter, which welfare experts say is the minimum required to minimise suffering.
  • The concern among non-Muslim parents is that it is not clear which schools are using halal only meat. Separately, a move to halal only meat means children have no choice but to eat it or switch to a vegetarian option.
  • This is a particular worry for the Sikh community who refuse to eat halal meat on religious grounds.
  • A spokesman for the Sikh Council UK said: ‘We are concerned that many schools, councils and other public sector bodies and their caterers are effectively allowed to deceive the public by providing halal meat without declaring it as such.

It is my opinion that should a child have specific dietary requirements that are contrary to those already in place, that they have the vegetarian option which is usually available and eat meat prepared in their own homes. And if the percentage of children requiring halal meat is significantly more than those children who do not, then the parents should be informed and there should be a choice of meats used. And the education authorities should swallow any additional cost.

Some countries have determined that the best way to deal with this issue is to take the stance ‘My house, my rules‘ and ‘If you Don’t Like it.. there is the door.’

And that is the direction I feel the UK is moving towards as the population begins to feel that they are the ones who are expected to change to accommodate new residents.  Especially when they recognise that some of their own established customs have been suspended in case they might offend others. This does not encourage integration or a balanced view of immigration policies.

And sometimes the loudest critics are those from your own country, and as an example of this, a couple of years ago I was taken to task for running a series called Sally’s Christmas Grotto. I was called out in a public comment and admonished for using the term Christmas as it excluded those who are non-Christian.

Well, I am sorry but I have celebrated Christmas for 66 years and will continue to do so, and I would never demand that anybody else should change the name of their major religious observances to make sure I was not offended. I am sure that there would be a great deal of resistance to renaming all the other religious holidays at that time of year.

Mawlid el-Nabi — Islam
Solstice — Wicca/Pagan
Immaculate Conception — Catholic
Zarathosht Diso (Death of Prophet Zarathustra) — Zoroastrian
Rohatsu (Bodhi Day) — Buddhist

I have enjoyed many a Christmas with friends of other faiths, who in turn have invited me to join them during their own festivals. We need to maintain our identity however cosmopolitan our society, and sharing each other’s culture is an enriching experience, forcing that culture upon someone however is not.

Our multi-cultural society is only going to increase year on year, and we have to find a way to co-exist, respect each others customs and beliefs and celebrate them together where appropriate.

©sallycronin The R’s of Life

You can find the other chapters in the series in this directory… and your feedback is always welcome:

Next time  Rights and our Personal Freedoms.

Something to Think About – The R’s of Life – Survival in a Modern World – Our Rights – Part One – Sally Cronin

When I was revisiting these posts from two years ago, it occurred to me that I was ranting a bit…. well more than a bit. What also struck me is that what I thought was bad then is even worse now. The collective thinking and consideration for each other is clearly not newsworthy, and whilst I know that the majority of people work hard, take responsibility for their lives, health, children, income, housing, education, old age care, pay taxes, and contribute to the community, there are a lot more people today who feel that they have a right to leech off that sector of the comminity than ever before.

For example, recently a family who have never worked talked about how they had a right since it was government money. Sorry the government has rarely made a penny itself, but has legally and sometimes stealthily removed it from the pockets of the general population who have worked very hard for it! So as a taxpayer from the age of 16, I have to say… that it is my money. Where do people imagine the money comes from to pay benefits, support a free health service, educate children etc?

As never before, across so many elements of modern life we are hearing the statement ‘It’s my right.’

What also interested me was that in many cases that expression of right, was referring to something that was not internationally recognised as a ‘right’. For example.. the right to obesity surgery, cosmetic surgery, have a baby even without means to support it, live on benefits for a lifetime, vote in elections when in prison, to be drunk and disorderly, to take drugs, to smoke, to riot, to loot, to carry firearms, to make racist comments. And all justified very passionately, including attached to the statement relating to recognised health hazards….’It’s my body’. Absolutely, until someone, usually the health service has to step in and try to undo the damage you have done to ‘your body’.

What are the official ‘Human Rights’ we should all expect?

I decided to look at the official version of what is considered to be the ‘rights’ of every human on the planet.  I am going to look at each of the ‘rights’ as laid out and explore the reality that I perceive. I am not an expert in the application of Human Rights and these opinions may not be acceptable to everyone. I hope however that they will give you something to consider the next time you feel that you need to establish your ‘rights’.

There is one thing that I do believe and that is that for every ‘right’ there is an ‘obligation’. That obligation is on us, the recipients of the ‘right’ to ensure that we value the privilege of having access to it in the first place.

There is no way that this is going to be one post…. so I am going to spread it over a number and divide appropriately where possible.

There are thirty Articles established in a Bill of Rights by the United Nations. These identify which rights every human on this planet is entitled to, and certainly, if all of these thirty articles were adhered to, the world would be a much better place.

However, it is clear from the headlines that we read daily, these rights that are allegedly attached to every human being on the planet are discriminatory and not adhered to by far too many governments around the world.

What this bill of human rights should really be called is a Wish List’. If you are reading this then the chances are you are living in a country where there is a commitment to adhering to the concepts laid out, and in most cases this commitment is successful but needs work.

However, if you look at the summary of the main points of the bill over the next few chapters, you will immediately be able to name certain countries that have not taken this seriously; continuing to treat the humans under their jurisdiction with total disregard for their rights or freedom. Whether it is a woman who has been stoned to death for alleged adultery or the imprisonment of those who choose to disagree with governmental policy; there is a huge discrepancy between cultures.

We might recognise that we are fortunate in where we live and our freedoms, and sympathise with those still living under the harsher regimes, but it is actually overwhelming and tough to understand how we, as an individual,  can make a difference.

However, we also have to recognise that with every ‘right’  we enjoy there comes that ‘obligation’. There is of course a general obligation to appreciate how very lucky we are to enjoy the majority of the following rights, and there are also very specific obligations to qualify us for that particular privilege.

You might also question why we should be concerned about these Human Rights, since so many of them refer to those who do not have them!. Whilst it is probably fair to say that getting global adherence to these rights is unlikely to happen in our lifetimes, it is important that we do at least make a start on the project for the sake of the next generation and those that follow.

1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Every human is entitled to all the rights outlined in the bill irrespective of race, colour, sex, language, religion, politics, nationality, style of government of home country, social status, ownership of property.

This first article is very general and is a ‘mission statement’ that identifies that all humans are entitled to expect and receive the rights as laid out. Very laudable but without measurements of the numbers of those who currently receive or do not receive the rights, it is vague.

2. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Absolutely, but again this is only possible for those born into environments where liberty and security are established under democratic law. For those born in countries where there is dictatorial rule and inherent violence, they will never have that right. Although vague this does come with an obligation. Liberty is not just freedom to live safely within an environment, it is also about the ‘rights’ that we have been given to ensure that liberty for our lifetime and those of our children. This includes the right to vote for a government who protects our rights as individuals and as a nation.

Our obligation: In 2015, which was a critical general election with the prospect of a referendum on the EU looming, 66.1% of the UK eligible voters went to the polls. This means that nearly 34% of the UK population did not exercise their right to vote for a government that would take them into a very crucial time in British history.

There are millions around the world who do not have this right to vote for a democratic government and it would seem to me that there is every reason to ask those 34% of voters why they chose not to exercise their right… and make sure that they understand how important their contribution is.

3. No one should be held in slavery or servitude and the slave trade is prohibited in all its forms.

Slavery has been abolished but it still thrives. Here is an excerpt from a global study by the United Nations based on information from 155 countries.

‘The term trafficking in persons can be misleading: it places emphasis on the transaction aspects of a crime that is more accurately described as enslavement . Exploitation of people, day after day. For years on end.

According to the Report, the most common form of human trafficking (79%) is sexual exploitation. The victims of sexual exploitation are predominantly women and girls. Surprisingly, in 30% of the countries which provided information on the gender of traffickers, women make up the largest proportion of traffickers. In some parts of the world, women trafficking women is the norm.

The second most common form of human trafficking is forced labour (18%), although this may be a misrepresentation because forced labour is less frequently detected and reported than trafficking for sexual exploitation.

Worldwide, almost 20% of all trafficking victims are children. However, in some parts of Africa and the Mekong region, children are the majority (up to 100% in parts of West Africa)’.

Having read the executive summary it is important to note that only percentages are used and there is no mention of the fact that those percentages represent millions of women, men and children worldwide.

Our Obligation: Do not remain silent if you believe there is any form of this vile trade being conducted around you. In most countries there is a way to report crimes anonymously and in the UK you can contact Crimestoppers – – that one call could prevent the suffering and often death of an individual or a much larger group.

4. No one shall be subjected to torture, cruel or inhuman treatment, degradation or punishment.

Obviously this one is definitely not globally adhered to by governments; in fact there are probably far too many countries employing these tactics than not.

But what about our personal obligation to ensure that where we live, this ‘right’ is afforded to as many people as possible?

The one cruel and degrading treatment that comes to mind is bullying. There has been a steady increase in the number of young teenagers committing suicide which is unacceptable.

Bullying Frequency

Recent U.S. studies have found that 28% of students in grades 6-12 and 20% of students in grades 9-12 have experienced bullying. That’s between 1 in 4 and 1 in every 3 students in the U.S.

But, the UK Annual Bullying Survey of 2017 has showed more alarming results. The survey was conducted in secondary schools and colleges all across the United Kingdom. 54% of all respondents said that they have been bullied at some point in their lives – that’s every other child! 1 in 5 said that they’ve been bullied within the past year, and 1 in 10 has been bullied at least one in the past week.

Number one motive for bullying was attitude towards victim’s appearance – 50% of all bullying motives. 40% were attitudes towards interest and hobbies, followed by attitudes towards high grades, household income, low grades, family issues, disabilities, race, cultural identity, religion, sexuality and gender identity.

The most common type of bullying is reported to be verbal bullying, followed by physical, cyber and social.

This is in countries where we like to think we are civilized and live in a free and democratic society. Worryingly these statistics will be mirrored in most of our countries.

Our obligation begins as parents.. a school is a place to be educated and basic civilisation and morality should be taught in the home before a child begins to interact with others.

The school then has an obligation to have a zero tolerance policy on bullying, but that can only happen when those who are bullied come forward, which they are more often than not too scared to do so. Also these days there appear to be far too few consequences for the act of bullying towards another. Detention just seems to enhance the culprit’s status amongst their usual sycophantic following. Removal of phone and other online privileges are not effective as they buy a burner phone or use public online access.

Personally, and at the risk of causing a PC melt-down, I favour a little public humiliation in the form of the stocks and well aimed rotten tomatoes.

As bosses and leaders there is also an obligation to ensure there is a zero tolerance policy in the workplace. This is enlightened self-interest since businesses are badly impacted by bullying, not to mention work-related discrimination law suits. Bullying in the workplace tends to be towards groups as well as individuals and can be insidious. The intolerance to bullying needs to be emphasised at induction training of all staff at every level, and should be included in performance reviews annually. The tone needs to be set from the top down. And considering the millions of sick days taken each year which impact the bottom line of every business, many stress related, bosses need to ensure that bullying is not part of their culture.

As individuals we also have to accept the responsibility. It is easier to turn our backs when we see individual or group abuse happening and some of that is self-preservation. But what if it was our child or grandchild. At the very least, if there is a personal safety issue, there is no reason not to pick up a phone and talk to someone who can deal with the matter as quickly as possible. If urgent, then the police, but if systemic in your neighbourhood, work with the council and community outreach programmes.

Sometimes a problem can appear to be so overwhelming and we can feel that our contribution will be a mere drop in the ocean. However, if our actions only help just one person who is trapped in this nightmare, then we have done a good thing. Multiplied by millions of individuals doing the right thing… and a huge difference can be made.

©sallycronin The R’s of Life

Next time –  Rights and the Legal system.

You can find the other chapters in the series in this directory… and your feedback is always welcome: