I wanted to post a snowy photo of the hill, but tonight's stunning evening light was so pink the hill disappeared into the background. This photo was taken last year; the view is almost the same, minus the pink sky.
Fifty First Timer No.7
Attend a political meeting
Yes it’s true. I have almost reached the significant age of fifty and have never attended a political meeting, which is strange because there are so many causes that I feel passionately about. Maybe in my maturing years I will become a radical!
The meeting, 'Socialism in the 21st Century', was held in Glasgow University and organised by Rock Around The Blockade. The event had been brought to my attention by my mother in law who also attended with my niece. What I didn’t realise before the meeting was that it solely featured Cuba, a country I have been fascinated with since I read a book about the Bay of Pigs in school.
The representatives from RATB kicked off the proceedings with a propaganda rant that I could have done without. It was ‘comrade this’ and ‘comrade that’, I felt I had stumbled onto the film set of Citizen Smith. This tirade rambled on for ten minutes before the real speakers were introduced.
The first Cuban speaker was Yoselín Rufín Díaz, the twenty two year old President of the municipal Federation of University Students (FEU). She took her audience through systems of education in Cuba. With the exception of the twenty pupil class size what she told us appears similar to what is in place in the UK, but her enthusiasm and charm wafted over the audience and rose above the storm that raged outside. She inspired me so much I wanted to go back to school, but this time in Cuba.
The next speaker, Jesús Pastor García Brigos, had a magnificent soup strainer moustache which transfixed me. He spoke eloquently in English about the political systems in place in Cuba. It seems to me from what these speakers were saying that Cuba has implemented socialism in the way it was spelled out in theory.
Later Jesus answered a question raised by a secondary school pupil in the crowd about what made Eastern Block socialism fail. Jesus said that in Europe the Left have differing ideas. They need to agree on one idea and make that work.
From what I was hearing, I concluded that the Cubans may be poor, but they are all poor together within their sustainable economy and environment.
If I were Cuban and if the success story is true, I would build the blockade higher to prevent the invasion of the nasties of the so called developed world. Who wants trans-fats and market forces with all their evil trappings? The Cubans could end up like other developing nation and match the galloping diabetes statistics that now plague East Asia since they began eating crap processed foods.
The last speaker was worth battering through the streets of Glasgow in the torrential rain and force ten gale to attend this talk.
Orlando Borrego (Che’s pal)
What a charming man he is. Through the able translation of his candid interpreter, the charisma Borrego exuded transformed this political event into a one/two man show.
He used funny observations of his personal life and relaxed anecdotes about political giants Fidel and Chavez to explain the strong links between Cuba and Venezuela. But it was his Che Guevarastories that I could see enthralled the young kids in the audience and I couldn’t help but marvel at the legend of the Argentinean doctor.
I’m off to read ‘The Motor Cycle Diaries’
The Pillars of The Earth by Ken Follett
Hurray, hurray, I have finished it, all 1076 pages of this epic tale of the building of a cathedral.
My son gave me the book as a Christmas present so I was mother bound to read it, but it has been a struggle. The story and the concept are reasonable enough but the writing is excruciating. The author finds it necessary to recap every few chapters. Either he thinks his reader are dense or he has forgotten the plot himself.
His characters are predictable and tinged with many shades of beige and the whole sorry tale is drenched in cliches.
This is probably the worst endurance test I have undertaken and I succeeded, I am so proud.
War and Peace will be a skoosh in comparison.
I am pleased to say the The Nag website have redeemed themselves. In their Mother's Day newsletter they recommended buying Fair Trade products as presents. I could find no profit in this for them. Keep it up chaps.
Fair Trade Fortnight
We are now in the middle of Fair Trade Fortnight, so I hope there is an extra push by the UK public to support this fine initiative. (My local Co-op stocks a huge range of their goodies including some decent wines).
It is just a pity Fair Trade's website was down at the beginning of the fortnight; hopefully is was due to high hits.