About Alison

A feisty mother earth type, who has an opinion about everything I would like to think I use my "chopsy" attitude to throw some light and perhaps a new slant on current social and cultural issues.

Since I moved to the country for a quiet life I have been lucky enough to create a more healthy more relaxed environment for myself. I love country life, Family, Friends, Horses and Dogs. I also love, photography, writing/chatting and connecting with others.

Please have a look at a collection of my photos blog,


or join in on my chats here or on my otherblog


which follows my efforts to learn to ride and care for horses in my 50s! or just follow me on Twitter and I will follow you back (if you are a real person) on @alisonbarton1. Enjoy and talk to me.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

The Time is Now..

In general we live our lives at a pace which means we collect regrets like a squirrel gathers her nuts. Fleetingly we enjoy a moment of pure joy, which, we suddenly value greatly, which causes us to reflect on how we live our lives, if only momentarily.

But if we can’t or wont change, the “nuts” of regret get heavier and disappointments can cling like grey sticky cobwebs around our hearts. We feel pulled every which way, by a multitude of conflicting demands. We often dish out our time, haphazardly to others resulting in someone always gets short changed. We try and calm the rising feelings of fear and shame in our minds by justifying the choices we have made and promising to make amends. But somehow we loose our own arguments.

Sunrise-good time to start afresh
Be still now and think, stop and decide to make the best choices you can and accept that you will try and do your best. If you really are not trying hard enough, realise that it is in your own interests to do so. If you honestly believe you are doing your best and making the best possible choices, cut yourself some slack, do it now.

We cannot do more, we need to do less. We cannot wait until tomorrow, to find a window for this and that. The time is now, for now is the only time we have. Let’s make a choice that lets our hearts feel light and full of love, not heavy and smothered in guilt.

Alison x

Friday, 27 April 2012

Check this, check that and check this again!

I don’t have OCD (Obsessive compulsive disorder), which would be extremely debilitating and difficult to manage. I can however have a tendency to become obsessive, fixated on particular interests or information.

I read a blog yesterday about a state called hyper-vigilance, which certainly resonated with me. For example, I tweet and blog. I routinely check my hot mail, my connections on Twitter and blogger statistics, It s incredibly interesting to see what methods produce increase in page views and where sources of traffic emanate from. I then incorporate or discard methods according to this information, good tool. It makes sense to use information, but I will double check, go back to hotmail make sure I haven’t missed anything and then quickly check the blogger stats again  in case there has been a “rush on”. This has every danger of getting out of control for me so I have  to set limits and try to observe them, or I will still be in my PJs at 4pm checking and re checking, I can do this. Therefore I think I have the situation under control.

The Hyper vigilance thing though made me think as it was introduced in the blog in terms of its connection with ME/CFS. I have a mild form of CFS and generally manage with it OK, after a debilitating period some years ago.

Before I was ill my husband used to say I was constantly scanning, if we sat in a pub I would have to face the door and watch people coming in and see who was with whom. It’s generally called nosy! I know. I didn’t think I was particularly observant I just thought Hubby was in a world of his own,, he never seemed to notice anything. I used to juggle loads of responsibilities and enjoy having the ability to multi task and decry others for being such plodders. When I was relaxing, I routinely monitored the TV read a book and went over lists in my head. Is it any wonder really I had a crash?

I know this is controversial, the fact that I have pretty much recovered, sometimes attracts responses that I never had CFS in the first place. It’s such a fragile acknowledgement of the condition that those who suffer severely and very long term feel under attack, I think, when there’s any action which might undermine their situation and diagnosis.

This is the last thing I want to do and when I was ill it was very real and I still moderate my whole life to be as well as I can. I wont get into the argument whether I did or do actually have CFS or not. Other than to say I went through the process came out with a diagnosis from a consultant and coped the best I could. I was lucky.

My controversial point is this, is there a type of personality that falls prey to ME/CFS? Is there any credence to the implications of being hyper-vigilant. Now I am more vulnerable, shall we say, I cannot have conflicting noises, (ie TV and talking) I do not like the buzz from being in a crowd and heightened emotions agitate me immediately. Unless I have a reasonably ordered and quiet life everything gets too much for me. The affects are very physical the headaches, the body pain, the fatigue, sore throat, etc engulf me. Sometimes my husband is holding my hand watching TV and says relax, you’re all tense. I check and my legs and arms are as stiff as a board. No wonder I ache.
Relaxing my mind  has really helped me and I know there is more to ME/CFS than an emotional condition its very physical. I hope I haven’t upset anyone it’s the last thing I want to do but do you think how we are and how we respond to the things that happen to us and attack us can put us in a better or worse position in relation to our health?

Alison x. 

Thursday, 26 April 2012

I don't want to talk about sex, but.....

What role does media reportage about sex  have in perpetuating certain unhealthy behaviours or trend setting new ones as  an older woman I wonder sometimes if we are being manipulated, by someone who wants us all to be sexually active until the grave. Then I thought well who benefits from this? Besides my husband!

Occasionally we get the horror reports but mainly its a cold rehash served up with a thin topping of how we should all be doing it more, marketing sex  helps sells so many things.

For a start off, the authors of all the “how to” books then there’s the “why you should” books and the “what your missing out on” books. Besides books there is a whole merchandising and service/counselling industry that thrives on this “ sex for ever”, premise being promoted.

So yes there could be a capitalist plot to keep us at it.

But hey! why be sceptical, I don’t have to buy anything if I don’t want to I could just keep abreast of  developments couldn't I. With all this information about how to, etc we are experiencing a rise in STDs. Before the older people out there get all smug dare I say cocky!

There are specific concerns about the rise in STD s amongst the over 50s, so encouraging safer sex is a  good thing, right after all the statistics indicate a reluctance of older men to use condoms.  So lets reduce apathy, but doesn’t this information tell us something more sinister?    That among an age group that should know better there’s a whole lot of very “casual” unsafe sex, going on. (By definition, lacking commitment). The rise of STDs amongst seniors, knocks the shine off “ free love on a pension”, For me it conjures up a picture of Multi partners, experiencing low levels of intimacy, disingenuous affection, more than likely a hell of a lot of deceit and not much satisfaction.

I know this conclusion may seem to be a stretch but advocates of mature or even elderly intimacy point to and stress the health benefits, physical and emotional. of staying sexually active So if we can get everyone wearing a condom it will be cool?

No because this celebration of “senior sex” seems to allude to some pinnacle in human development.  Where emotional neediness is a thing of the past and relaxed physical enjoyment can be truly appreciated for itself, perhaps? Like a good Merlot of a bacon sandwich, no pun intended.

Does my old Bum still look good dear?
For those seeking to start again with someone new, being older surely makes one more vulnerable. Not necessarily mad like a bunny boiler, but sensitive to the risks involved in exposing your wrinkly behind to someone new.

I feel lying underneath the assertion, that we (the over 50s, 60s +70s) should be like rabbits, is the ever present insidious undermining of men and women in general, “If you can’t do this you’re not a real man/woman. Where there is a mismatch of needs in a relationship of course it needs to be managed with love and affection.

Nurse,"Mr Smith?" "yes that's me"

But what about accepting changes, getting older, and trying new things that are really fun and not pressurised?

I don’t want to talk about sex I want to have a laugh enjoy my grumpy old man, my life my family and love myself (no pun intended again). Happiness is the goal, sex isn’t necessarily the ball.  Hey wouldn’t you rather be happy than waiting in a queue at the STD clinic.

(platonic) Love 
Alison x

Thursday, 19 April 2012

To Russia with Love -Привет (Privet)

I wanted people to read my blogs but never imagined how far flung my readers would be. I love the tool on Blogger that lets you see the various statistics surrounding page views, audience and traffic sources.

What this information tells me is that Russia is my biggest audience; I am surprised and intrigued and hope that whoever is viewing my blog actually enjoys the content.

Unfortunately, though I can only guess as I am not getting any comments or feedback at all from this part of the world..

Before I get carried away thinking I am the new sensation in Russia and have a growing fan base. I have considered the other possibilities. Please don't be offended but I even thought crazily  is there some sort of intelligence gathering software, scanning all blogs for any threats to National security? Its possible I suppose and very “Spooks”.

I do get feedback from other countries around the world, America Canada, Ireland,, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and India, which is  great and to be honest quite thrilling for "little old me".

So please anyone in Russia reading my blogs please leave some little note for me, of course I know you have a different alphabet and don’t know how computers are configured to enable you to view my blogs and perhaps you can’t answer I really don’t know and feel really ignorant. Educate me anyone tell me what’s going on here

Всего наилучшего (Vsevo nailučševo)

Alison x

Monday, 16 April 2012

Can A Market Culture be Deadly?

I have never visited India, but the recent tragic death of baby Afreen, in Bangalore last week   makes me count my blessings and gives me cause to reflect.

I am a beloved daughter I grew up with the love of my parents surrounding me. My education was as good as my brothers. At sixteen I left school even though my Mother wanted me to go to college to improve on my qualifications. I began work straight away and as well as earning enough money to look after myself, I paid my parents a small token for my “keep”.  I had a career and succeeded to gain promotion and contributed to a good standard of living for my family.

I married my husband. We met and married as equals.  I would not be the woman I am without his love and support and he would not be the man he is without my love and support. This Synergy creates more than double the energy, as we work together with the agreed values. It means we don’t waste energy disagreeing on our direction..

I am lucky, I happened to be born into a family of wise and wonderful parents. Poverty comes in many guises, no one can be paid to value their daughter, not recognising and valuing the precious gift of a new life, be it a boy or a girl, is to be truly impoverished.

The driving factor of the Market culture where everything has a price or a cost, puts an enormously inflated price tag on a boy child. With it, overwhelming expectations of the boy to become a man who will support and protect his family and be able to carry that weight on his shoulders alone.

Fathers of India if you believe a son is a “saviour “ and more capable of being a provider for his aging parents, than a daughter. Think again.

Daughters of India, survive in spite of a deep and dark conspiracy to devalue them. They succeed even though the cards are stacked against them, imagine if that tenacity, ability and potential was truly nurtured and valued how great things would be, how easier life would be for men to share the load equally.

So can a market culture be deadly? yes it can, not only can it create  pressure to unjustly kill the girl child but it can kill the promise of a brighter more fruitful future.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Are we raising a batch of soft boiled eggs?

Perfect Soft Boiled Eggs. Photo by Diana #2

A lot of criticism is hurled at parents today, it’s a job that requires a hard hat and a thick skin. Because whichever way you turn you do the wrong thing.

For as many variations of families there are, there are styles of parenting. Some people are just not capable or cut out to be parents, some are absolutely fabulous Most of us juggle like crazy in the hope we bring up our children to be safe, happy and accomplished.

It’s true that for quite a lot of today’s parents a good education including extra curricular activities is promoted and provided for their children. However how this is negotiated and actually managed requires logistical capabilities an air traffic controller would be proud of. Because of time constraints and worries about safety, children are taken door to door usually in a car sometimes parents share this to ease the load. But there is no effort required of children, as to where they are going, when they have to be there and what they need to take. These activities are expensive and its much easier for parents to sort all that stuff out, they don’t want little Johnny missing his flute lesson because he left it at home.

So we all know about the taxi service mentality for the children but can it be a bad thing? In a time of “stranger danger”, busy roads and inclement weather.

Parents stand at the touch line of sports fields up and down the country shouting their support. Isn’t that a good thing, interested participating parents?  Their presence is intended to Reinforce high self esteem and give reassurance. We all want our children to believe in themselves and feel good don’t we? There can be dangers in these environments too we need to monitor. After all we know now that churches, sports fields and scout huts can be magnets for sexual predators who seek to groom children with the intent to abuse them. Some parents worry that coaches and other children can if left unsupervised bully or overlook their children.

Then parents who worry about all these external risks relax about providing stimulation, through the use of the latest technology in the safety of their own home. Unfortunately sometimes the youngster’s knowledge of what’s on offer and how to fully exploit the games and computers in their hands far outweighs that of the grown ups and on many occasions activities can be far from, educational, wholesome or safe.

So outside of the home, we carry our children round in a virtual bubble not allowing them to experience things on their own with real people, everything is done for them and any effort no matter how small is praised and any failing pushed to one side or blamed on someone else. We tell them to ignore negativity and take them away from challenges that upset them. Pushing a child into an unpleasant situation is too much trouble anyway.

We encourage use of technology in the safety of our own home and let our guard down because we have security software on the computer. Our children communicate with   “friends” They play games  send photos or images of themselves via the web cam talk live, but when they get bored they switch off they don’t have to show any courtesies., or compromise their way with anyone else’s.  Then there is the possibility that they engage with a new “friend” online and want to take the relationship into the real world and arrange to meet up. How equipped are they?

With our zealous protectionist stance do we make them secretive, eager to shake us off? Worst still do we protect them so much they never feel the jeopardy of their surroundings, feeling totally safe and “bullet proof”  

Lets face it in a blink of an eye they will be 18 (yes really that old) and planning their gap year backpacking around Australia, India, Brazil or Thailand. Are we going to carry their bag? No, so at some point we have to let them get a “bloody nose”  and feel the heat so they can toughen up ready to stand on their own two feet recognise risks around them out there and on the internet. Just hope we can all get it right.

Alison x

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Billion Dollar Question (warning comment about child sexual abuse)

What does our use of Technology reveal about us (Warning not pleasant reading)

I wanted to write something light and funny today but I can’t. When  Mr Zuckerman (Mr Facebook) reportedly hands over a billion dollars for Instagram a question  springs to mind, that keeps banging around in my head.

This Billion dollars, seems to have been swilling about ready for this single acquisition and it tends to infer money is easy to come by and the business of sharing images and all things connected to social networking is incredibly lucrative.

So isn’t it time the people making a successful business out of this technology finally invested sufficient money to use the technology positively to protect all the people who are abused and exploited through the use of the Internet and if not to stop it, reduce it and increase arrests of criminals involved in this evil trade.

What do I mean? Images, still and moving are so easy to capture and distribute now, its equally easy to identify who is uploading downloading and what computers are being used to view images. So if someone is making and distributing illegal images via this or similar technology. They could be identified. More importantly, given the resources it would be possible to trace and rescue children and abused adults.

Its an accepted part of our culture that we communicate via words and images through the ‘net. and nothing is going to change that. This type of technology (Image sharing) does however document more clearly than ever before the more deviant behaviours that have existed within our communities probably since cavemen days. So I am not suggesting the internet is the cause of horrific corruption of our species. What is evident from numerous investigations into child sexual abuse and the distribution of indecent images of children, is that this technology, propels the scale of Image capture, distribution and collection into a new, never imagined stratosphere.

So yes investigations are successfully taking place, but they are so time consuming and can be expensive and law enforcement agencies only have a defined budget to tackle them the surface is only being scratched. The reports in the news of the scale of the numbers of indecent images collected by individuals and the number of individuals driving the demand of new and more graphic images of sexual abuse of children is truly horrifying. In my opinion without the new technologies this explosion of demand and supply would not have happened.

Anyone who thinks viewing indecent images of children is not so serious remember this. The incident really occurs a child is being abused, probably because of the demand for the images and the price being paid for them. Demands include evidence that it is new, dated with current newspapers etc included to show the date. These deviants are proud of their collections and a lot of kudos is attached to obtaining “new releases”.  So this drives new abuse, torture and at times murders.

The element of live broadcasts also add to the horror as “customers” become directors of the abuse. This abuse may happen abroad in some third world country, so it may not be “our “children, believe me some people think that makes a difference. But because of technology and the sheer vulnerability of children this could be happening in a house, a flat, a room near you. These children are real they suffer and are controlled and are not necessarily locked in a dungeon in Indonesia. They might be that quiet little girl who misses school a lot. Or that cheeky kid who is nothing but trouble and runs away from home.
So while this is a billion dollar acquisition I want to know what level of money the industry will contribute to the fight against this awful trade and tackle this huge and growing betrayal of innocence.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Who’s pulling our strings?

Are you the sort of person who can spot a “Hidden agenda” at ten paces? Or are you the gullible type who has to be told by someone else that you have been duped, sucked in, yes Manipulated.

I started thinking about this when I was reading the news online. It ‘s always flooded with celebrity gossip. Who’s pregnant, who’s lost/put on weight. Romance, bromance break ups, real or manufactured? Fashion trends success or faux pas. It’s everywhere and sadly we seem to lap it up with an insatiable appetite.

Is it harmless escapism?    Well with the phone tapping scandal and all we know its far from innocuous. .A proportion of “celebs” may court attention, for their own reasons. But is there a bigger “hidden agenda” why we are fed this diet of spurious revelations and intimate disclosures?

Already accepting its not force feeding, and we do have the option to think for ourselves. I have to ask are we making a free choice. In a society, where neuro linguistic programming, and intentionally influencing peoples decisions is weaved through all the mediums and environments we inhabit. Derren Brown is not the only master of mentalism, others may not be as good or as open but  I believe their practices are played on us all the time.  

So not only are we distracted with juicy gossip, when a  serious  events occur we have no real way of knowing why the “story” has come to our attention on that day, who is pushing this to the fore and what’s behind it.

Lets look at the a recent handling of fuel prices. The threatened strike of Tanker drivers, the advice given to fill up Gerry cans? The date, or time of the month and point in the financial year, the large scale panic buying.

Then surprise surprise, we avoid a double dip recession and experience growth which is good news, but who’s been played? Us?, the tanker drivers?  Have they been Scape goated as the cause of all this panic buying and excuses for price rises. Who led them into this now? The advice, seemed crazy to me and as they say timing is everything. Call me a sceptic, but I want us to be more sceptical about things that matter. Not satisfy our curious natures on the detritus, whether some romance is real or fabricated for media coverage.

There are a host of talented articulate investigative journalists out there come on, dig a bit deeper. The PM eats a pasty and Ed Balls orders a huge amount of sausage rolls and that’s the story?  I am tired of attempts to sucker me and fearful how often its happened without me knowing. I crave integrity, naked truth and ask who’s going to stop pulling my strings and start changing the world?

Alison x