Todays Music to keep me Saaaannnee – Tom Paxton.

Tom was a real stalwart on the Greenwich Village scene.


How to be unpopular on WordPress.

Too many followers? You want to reduce them? Here is the simple Opher Goodwin guide to weeding out your followers.

Start by reviewing what most people want.

Here’s a list I prepared earlier:

  • short articles
  • colourful
  • photos
  • food
  • fashion
  • humour
  • Nature poetry
  • everyday life
  • inspiring quotes
  • travel
  • pleasant tone
  • friendly

I do a fair bit of that.

Here’s a list I prepared earlier of things they do not want:

  • Long articles
  • Discussions
  • Religion
  • Politics
  • Brexit
  • Racism
  • Sexism
  • Trump
  • Political poetry
  • Environment
  • Terrorism
  • Extremism

I do a lot of that. It doesn’t make me popular.

Most people do not want to think about issues. They prefer their news in short bites and would rather be distracted by trivia and entertainment.

If you believe that people are basically good but are being led astray by false news and propaganda in the media, that politics is messing up the planet and it does have to be like that. If you believe that the environment is in danger, that wars are unnecessary, that religious extremism is terrible. That politicians lie and seek power at all costs. If you have faith that things can change for the better. Then you have a moral duty to speak your mind and try to improve things, to make people think and question.

I could have an extremely popular blog just focussing on travel, photos, food, tittle-tattle and humour. That is easy to see from the stats.

I choose not to.

I prefer to at least try to make a difference.



For me, freedom is not the right to bear arms and do what you like. It is about living responsibly within a society without violence, hatred or division. Within that society, I want to be free to do what I want without repression, oppression or restriction providing I do not do harm to others, incite hatred or violence, or infringe on other peoples’ rights. That is a compromise.

Freedom to me is having a good standard of life without having to work too hard or in dangerous conditions.

Freedom is about living in an environment that is pleasant, congenial and has respect for nature.

Freedom is about not having to worry about healthcare, injustice, discrimination, exploitation or violence.

Freedom is about having choice.

I feel extremely fortunate to live in a country with a great deal of freedom.

I think we take it for granted.

I live in the UK.

I am free to travel inside my country or abroad.

I can follow or criticise any religion I want.

I can vote for any political party.

I can follow and criticise any political party without fear of retribution.

I live in a country that at least aspires to provide equality to all races, religions and genders (even if there is still inherent racism, sexism and prejudice).

I have access to free education and healthcare.

I have a pension.

I have a welfare system as a safety-net should I need it.

In the workplace, there are rights – minimum pay,  safe working conditions, maximum hours, holiday pay, employer contributions to pension and health.

We do not have a brutal armed police regime.

We have clear restrictions on detainment and the conditions we experience when detained.

We have a justice system.

We are not terrorised by crime. Our criminals are rarely armed. Our society is not riddled with guns.

There are environmental laws to prevent the environment from being destroyed and my food, air, soil and water being polluted.

I am free to protest and complain.


If I compare this to other countries, even Western democracies like the USA, I feel extremely fortunate. Many countries have tyrannical governments, theocracies where other religions or atheism are persecuted, discrimination against homosexuals, women or racial minorities, gagging of protest, heavy police states with armed police and no adequate justice systems. There are places where workers are exploited to the point of being slaves and the environment is trashed for profit, where the air, water and soil are so heavily contaminated as to be a health hazard.

Our rights and freedoms have been long fought-for over many centuries. This is not the result of benevolence from our rulers and bosses. They gave every shred of freedom grudgingly and are always looking to claw it back.

We see in the States the environmental laws being dismantled and workers’ rights being reduced – to maximise profits and stimulate the economy (ie. to put more money in the pockets of the wealthy).

We see the same thing in the UK with Brexit where environmental laws and workers’ rights are up for grabs.

History shows that we have to be vigilant.

I am glad I am living in a free country. It is by no means perfect. There are many battles ahead to maintain our rights and freedoms and to improve upon them.

But, every now and again, perhaps we should stand back and think how lucky we are to live in a country with such freedom and how grateful we should be for the people who fought (and gave their lives) for us to enjoy these freedoms.

The onus is on us now to build upon them.


Today’s Music to keep me saaaaNNNNeeee in Isolation – Malvina Reymolds

Malvina looked like a little old granny but she was a feisty lady who took on the KKK and never backed down.

Most people don’t know that she was the lady who wrote Little Boxes (made famous by Pete Seeger) and What Have They Done To The Rain.

She was writing protest songs before protest songs were invented. She cushions a hard message with a soft touch.

Today I’ll be playing some Malvina and taking heart. We can make the world better!



How much do you know about the Human Population? Are you pessimistic or optimistic about our future?

This is a fascinating little quiz that is extremely informative. Is progress being made? Should we feel pessimistic or optimistic about the future?

 How much do you know about the achievements of the WHO? Try taking the little quiz and finding out a lot more!

Freedom to not wear a face mask

Matt sent this through to me in a tweet. Unfortunately, it was in a form I couldn’t copy so I retyped it.

Thank you to whoever wrote it. Very salutary!

Freedom to not wear a face mask

Welcome to the Freedom Café!

We trust you to make your own choices if you want to wear a face mask. And, in the same spirit of individual liberty, we allow our staff to make their own choices about the safety procedures they prefer to follow as they prepare and serve your food.

We encourage employees to wash their hands after using the bathroom, but understand that some people might be allergic to soaps or may prefer simply not to wash their hands. It is not our place to tell them what to do.

We understand that you may be used to chicken that has been cooked to 165 degrees. We do have to respect that some of our cooks may have seen a meme or a YouTube video saying that 100 degrees is fine and we do not want to encroach on their beliefs.

Some servers may wish to touch your food as they serve it. There is no reason why a healthy person with clean hands can’t touch your food. We will take their word for it that they are all healthy and clean.

Water temperatures and detergent are highly personal choices, and we allow our dishwashing team to decide how they prefer to wash the silverware you will put in your mouth.

Some of you may get sick, but almost everyone survives food poisoning. We think you’ll agree that it’s a small price to pay for the sweet freedom of no one ever being told what to do – and especially not for the silly reason of keeping strangers healthy.

The Corona Diaries – Day 106

Back at the beginning, a death toll of 126 seemed a lot. Sadly, it doesn’t now. 352 new cases yesterday (plus however many untested). I have no faith in any of the figures they are pumping out! They are all massaged.

I think Johnson’s handlers must be pulling their hair out. He is a liability. He’s a real contortionist – every time he opens his mouth he puts his foot in it! Or is this part of the government ploy to deflect criticism on to others? If I remember rightly – the ring of protection they threw around Care Homes was:

  1. No advice – apart from you’ll be alright
  2. No PPE (you don’t need it)
  3. And shoving a whole lot of elderly people with Covid 19 out of the hospitals into Care Homes to infect the inmates and kill thousands.

Now Johnson is trying to say that the thousands of deaths are nothing to do with them but was the incompetence of the Care Homes – incredible. No wonder those people are so angry.

So Jair Bolsonaro has Covid 19 – the little flu – well I hope he discovers it is more than the sniffles. If he were to die it would be poetic justice and good riddance. He is responsible for many deaths.

In the USA Trump is suffering a slump! Due to his appalling handling of both the virus and the BLM people are waking up to his incompetence. About time. The news is that he paid someone to take his exams for him because he knew he wouldn’t pass. I would believe that. His response to the slump in popularity is to move on to the attack and start using the race card. The protestors are now fascists attacking the wonderful heritage of the nation – that wonderful heritage is the slave owners, exploiters and profiteers, the racists, warmongers and callous elite. That’s OK with Trump – he’ll fire up his base. They love those confederate flags and good old days of the Ku Klux Klan.

Today I went for a walk up my hill. It was overcast but great. A kestrel hovered over our heads.  All was right with the world.

I came back, played some Traffic , cleared up after decoration, and tried to watch a bit of cricket (rain stopped play)

Here’s to more cricket tomorrow and a fairer, more equal world, rid of populists!!

Stay safe!!

Traffic – You Can All Join In

In these days of division and hatred, where race is being used by politicians to gain votes and racism still hasn’t been properly addressed, it’s good to hear Traffic singing this.

Back in the 60s we were fighting for equality and freedom. Our music reflected that. The lyrics were pertinent.

Surely we can have differences without hatred? Surely we can disagree without falling out? Surely variety can be strength?