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"We Choose To Go To The Moon"

I choose to go to remote parts of Scotland and UK not because it's easy but because it's hard,
Whether naysayers at ATOS, DWP and numpty neighbours agree or abhor;
Spina bifida limping to scenic areas to soak up the scenery and solitude -
Hindered further by leg ulcers, lymphoedema and walking stick support 'guard' -
Durness a highlight, Rannoch Moor another, Isle of Wight - the Needles, Birsay/Orkney, a multitude.
Mull of Galloway, Cairngorms ski centre viewpoint, Applecross road '1 in 3' Bealach Na Ba,

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I told you something. I regret that now. 

“Where’s your self-respect?”

Right here where it belongs, stalwart, and unaffected. I wish the rest of my feathers were as difficult to ruffle. 

You are ashamed of me. That’s a shame. You taught me that what society considers normal isn’t always right.

You told me it would almost be better if I was desperate and believed I had no choice, that I was not a self-confident young woman who does as she wishes with her body - despite the restrictions put upon her by society.

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1968: Birth of my Rebellion

How long can I stand in the burn until my feet go numb? Too long. Better to keep throwing stones into the deep bit. Maybe I'll wake up a fish. I wonder where all this water comes from? Up that hill I suppose.

I can hear Daddy shouting my name. What does he want? It's probably breakfast time. But they can wait. They know I spend all day out here by the burn, exploring, filling up and emptying my aluminium coffee pot. There's so much to do; so many rocks to examine, so much sand to filter through my fingers, so much brown water that I can make clear by pouring through my pot.

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He said we should support the miners, stand with them at the gates.

Off we went, early doors, down to our local coal fired power station.

The first few weeks, it turned out, were quite civil.

The Police Officers were rotated away, and a load from elsewhere rotated in to manage us.

After a few days they would stop our car (full) and turn us back at the roundabout a couple of miles from the picket.

He would chat with the officers, asking for chapter and verse of whatever powers they were using to turn us away.

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A Corporate Camus

I am 31 years old and for the last year I have been stealing from my employer. I would like to tell you how I got to this point by telling you a little about myself.

I was expelled from military boarding school for stealing a heart from biology and putting it on my friend’s plate at lunchtime. My charge: “deliberate and wilful attempt to spread E. coli”. Absurd considering the school cooks seemed to be managing that fine by themselves.

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A Couple of Baskets

I spent 1991 crawling to and from my service industry job feeling as if I had died, but no one had buried me. A year on, I got a diagnosis. It wasn't terminal, but my specialist recommended I wind up my business, invest in a good mattress, and move to a bungalow by the sea.

I was twenty-eight.

For a fortnight, I lay in bed with a pile of library books and a second-hand budgie for company.

As soon as I could sit up again, I went shopping. It had to be window shopping because my previous employer had pocketed my National Insurance contributions, and I had no income.  

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A Dressing Down

Looking back, secondary school rules on dress were fairly relaxed when I started there in 1989. Ties, although encouraged, were an endangered species, and dark-blue blazers reached extinction some time during my second year.  Trainers and “T-shirts with slogans” were severely frowned upon; jeans banned outright.

“You’ve got the biggest bit.”  My brother Andrew measured the chocolate Swiss roll with his eyes. “Put some back.”

I stacked the three sections on top of each other. “We’ve all got exactly the same size.  Stop whining.”

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A Faint Whiff of Rebellion

Being a rebel has never been my forte. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always seen the romanticism in rebellion, from the heroes of the French Resistance to the ‘rebel scum’ who stood against Vader’s Empire. I grew up in the seventies & eighties, when every cop series featured the gritty detective fighting against the strictures of his superiors and getting the job done, dammit! The rebel was my hero, the aspirational self of my fantasies.

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A Forgotten Rebel

Every act is ephemeral

To Rebel is an act

All Rebellion is ephemeral?

Seventeen years ago, I served in northern Iraq as the Field Coordinator in a UN project providing aid to Internally Displaced Persons (IDP). Some 66% of the population in the northern Governorates of Sulaymaniyah, Erbil and Duhok had been displaced at least once in their life, resulting in an effective breakdown of societal structures and community support networks.

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A Goat Named Miro

It was Liz's idea. I mean I was content in returning Miro to the Hagerstons, but Liz insisted this was a battle we needed to fight. When she gave her impassioned speech all I could think about was "will this cut into my Mario Brothers playing time?" I knew it would, I knew it would cut into catching salamanders and toads down at the bog that borders our subdivison. I knew it would cut into a lot of things that I prefered to do instead of civic activism regarding a pet goat. I was counting on the folks to step in and curb Liz's ridiculous idea. But they gently encouraged her.

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