Monday, 2 March 2015

Teenager takes on cops arresting homeless man in McDonald's

Monday, 23 February 2015

Independence day 23rd Feb

Today, 23.2.15. This dated is imprinted on my brain. it will be one of my last memories as it changed my life completely. On September 23rd 1963 we, Mrs Ruth Cranston and I arrived in Southampton aboard the ship, TV Ascania for a short holiday in Britain. We had spent 30 days aboard, travelling around the Caribbean and Europe. A trip I intend to reverse sometime this year. I was with my mothers' first cousin who had fostered me not long after my mothers' death. The plan was to come and visit her daughter in Leeds. I've written about this in Memories from Home (selfpublished) and Death of a Mother, Daughters' Stories (harper-Collins). Our holiday was spoilt by a broken leg after a fall with a lit paraffin heater which caught the house on fire ( a memory which i haven't written about b4 as I only 'remembered when a friend on facebok, jogged my memory) Whilst Mrs Cranston was bedridden she got pneumonia and died on February 23 1964. I remember the funeral. I was wearing a a short sleeved purple dress with pleats from the hips (i had none but that's another story. I shivered in the graveyard. I realised that I was all alone in a strange country with a family that did not want me. The few days after her death was spent listening to 'hushed' conversations about my future. After the funeral i reacted to an accusation, (murderer) by smashing the room and screaming. 3 doctors decided to tranqualise me. Unusual behaviour seeing it still only takes two to section an adult. Realising I was now alone I decided not to ever get involved with anyone else because they always left me, usually by dying. 9 years in care, under care, boarded out, hungry, skinny, ignored, abused, screaming but not heard, followed. I regarded myself as homeless. Sure i lived in a house, paid for by Social Services but i didn't always get the benefits of it. During school holidays i went off to my uncles' in Birmingham. In spite of this, because i came to England, educated, having served in a shop, used to a better standard of living with my own bedroom books,ability to type, do needlecrafts, sew and play piano I survived, went to to a Thoresby High (grammar) school and carried on to Worcester College of Education. February 23rd is an important day for me. In 1979 I was shocked when told that my baby was due on this date. She, or maybe it was God, had other plans. After 3 months in hospital I brought her home on 29th December. So today is not only the Anniversary of Ruth Cranston's Death, it's also my independent day and my daughters' unofficial birthday ie Unbirthday.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Love Thy Neighbour

Everyone who has lived in this flat has had trouble with the neighbours. When I went to visit having been made homeless in Willenhall and with Teaching contract ended, plus post traumatic stress disorder after being bullied at work, I met one of the neighbours. 'You wont like it here," she said. 'The guy upstairs won't let the council in to fix the windows. He's a bit funny-like. I think they call it disabled nowadays." I asked why the windows needed fixing. She replied that the kids were always breaking them. So I said they wouldn't do that to me because i'd make one phone call and have 60 disabled people there in minutes. she said, 'Oh, don't do that.' Well I managed to break my foot getting into the removal van 3 weeks later. I was offered a Supply Teaching job but couldn't take it up and as I had no contract yet they didn't have to save the job. So I started to enjoy daytime tv. Whilst doing this I found another heart condition to add to all the other things I'd got. SO I decided not to do my usual community links either. I did manage to give out freebies for World Mental Health Day, 10.10.02 with the help of my toddler granddaughter. The neighbour called the police and after a chat they decided that I was doing something useful and there was no cause for concern. One day I was awakened by a neighbour telling me to shut my window. I a\said I wasn't going out but she said they'd come in even if I was home. The guy upstairs with learning difficulties was stoned, teased, harrassed. I found out that tenants b4 me were broken into, had cars wrecked and stolen and the garden was used as a dumping ground. I paid nearly 100.00 to get the garden cleared. They found needles, condoms, tools, crockery, even a kitchen sink buried in a hole. Soon my washing line was burnt down and clothes trodden on. I called the police when the doorbell was unscrewed. Gangs congregated in the garden on the corner, and then round the back when the police started driving around at intervals. The guy upstairs had had enough. On International Day of Disabled people he dragged everything downstairs and what he couldn't put in the car to take to his mothers' he smashed up. No one wanted to know. I tried to help but couldn't do much. When I heard noises in the night and called the police the conversation went like this. Is it your house. No it's two flats. I live Downstairs. Is the vandalism in your flat? No. Then mind your own business. A sick, disabled, single old woman alone in the middle of the night does not expect this response from Stechford or any other police station. Another time I was told 'we haven't done much to help have we? when asked what he meant the guy said, i am looking at all your complaints and it's obvious you've never had justice from us. So I wrote to everybody, newspapers, councillors, MP about this and other times I had negative responses from West Midlands Police. For the next few days efforts were made to solve previous crimes. The new neighbour worked for Thomas Cooks. He was ok until he got a girlfriend who parked outside my door and I couldn't get into my flat. Then they had a baby and he wanted a downstairs flat or 2 bedroom. When told no, he went private. My boyfriend had his car stolen and it was found down the road in a bad way. He didn't report it as his experiences of police solving crimes are similar to mine. One day I came home to find the council cleaning the garden. The flat upstairs was being let. I was asked if I had enemies because rubbish from either side of my flat wad thrown in the back garden. An outdoor umbrella, branches etc, When the garden was cleaned up the guy on the right changed his fence and left his old one in my garden after he'd cut down some of my plants. Then the present neighbours. Both work in care homes. when they came to view the man said he was impressed with the large garden and couldn't wait to have barbecues. I said nothing. I am asthmatic. I don't smoke, nor do i wish to inhale anyone else's. They moved in. I told them the carparking space was mine. It came with the bottom flat. Once in a while I come out or home and find a car parked by my door. Sometimes there's one across the drive so i can't drag my suitcase or trouble through the gate. The council then changed the path and the once accessible path now had steps. Then I received a letter about the overgrown garden. I informed them that it was shared. Did they write to the guys upstairs? Then I received a letter with photos of my friends van which she had temporarily parked there. I was willing to battle it out with the council but she wanted to make a few pounds on it rather than have it towed away. Upstairs bully then starts getting verbal. He had been writing to the council since he got there. His wife was a deputy manager of a care home and he would ask her to call social services because I obviously need help. He told me he'd been given permission to cut down the tree in the front garden. the one which when i spend a lot of time sick in bed i am able to look at, see the birds nesting in etc. All this time I was on Yardley Housing liason Board. My colleagues were making decisions behind my back. So lately I told my neighbours not to touch the plants by my door. He would stand for minutes at a time staring through my window, standing by the door. His tools are in a gap in the wall. It's unsafe. He tried to put them in the back and i said no. He said he wasn't like me. He did not want dirt in his flat. He said he'd leave within 7 months because he didn't want his child living there. I was counting down the ays but one year later he's still there annoying me. I came home today and there's a car on the drive. I couldn't get to my door. He's done this b4. last time he cut the plants down and left nettles etc on the path to my door and on the drive. e will not be told. He ha the backing of some people in the Council. When will this end. Do I get everyone I know to pay a visit, have a gardening party, turn to violence. I've been trying for months to get money to move stuff to a unit. I am exhausted with high blood pressure, swollen feet etc. first DLA went,free bus pass, now no points from ATOS, miraculous recovery means I am back on Job Seekers and attending EOS whose only interest is their 2,777 bonus for pretending to get people into work. Money laundering at its worse. Forging signatures, writing lies on forms, missing out relevant information on forms, preventing people using phones and internet, depriving them of services, having no complaints procedure, lying to the public about unemployment figures, getting people sanctioned, forcing people into suicide, arson, murder. The struggle continues

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Community Meals I met Marian just after Christmas when my blood pressure was high and my left foot was swollen. I also had allergic reaction after spending 4 nights on a mattress with about 100 homeless, socially excluded,lonely, disabled people. I was emotionally, spiritually and physically drained. Marian said from 2011 she'd had this desire to come out and feed people. I suggested that she stayed in and did it. I felt there were enough of us on Albert street and Paradise Forum, New st and wherever else we go to be with less well off. I outlined my plan. Open your church door, set tables, invite everyone regardless of circumstance and eat with them. I was not after a soup kitchen. I did not want Staff and clients, uniforms and badges. I wanted a Christian open honest setting where the love of God shone through the people who had given up their time to help. I wanted a Jesus driven affair where believing the Word of God noone worried about whether they'd be enough. God always provide enough. I suggested a Friday night as most nights are already catered for. For the rest of the week we corresponded by text. I had a fever and sore throat too. Friday around 3 Marian phoned to say she'd done it and was ready for 7pm that night. The response from businesses, church members, friends was fantastic, she said. I text everyone on my phone with information on time:7-9pm, address: United Reform Church, offer: sit down meal and food parcel with toiletries Cost: warm friendly atmosphere and FREE. By 9 my phone was like New St Station. Busy/ Lots of positive feedback. I arranged for parcels to be delivered to my friends' flat as feeling so ill, I didn't want to be on my own. Next day, still feeling week, I repacked parcels and set out to deliver to people who needed stuff.I was helped onto and off the buses and prayed for strength to get to destinations cos I had no taxi fare. By this time DWP in their wisdom had declared me fit therefore taking a substantial amount of money from me. On Sunday I went out with more stuff. It was like Mary Poppins bag. I thought I'd never get rid of everything. I had been given a lot more food and clothes on Saturday evening and by Sunday lunch time had distributed. But as always happen with me, By 8pm Sunday I had more stuff. So on Monday morning I set off to deliver bread. Lots of it. Given to me by homeless people at the soup run who knowing I hadn't got a market stall to resell donations gave me anything they thought with help 'others worse off than them' By Monday evening I was shattered. Every first Friday of the month a group of go to help Marian pack the bags. We don't know whats going to come in. fruit, veg, cakes, tins, spread on tables and conveyor belt style, one of this, two of that, packed into bags for whoever comes. After all the guests are catered for: hot and cold drinks, pastries, soup, sandwich, sweet, before after and during meal prayers, food parcels and toiletries are distributed. Helpers take leftovers to people in need. Clothes are not given out at this event but maybe in the future. I usually have stuff to take home then redistribute on Saturdays. One week I went to a cousins' funeral and arrived at URC about 8.30. There were about 30 tubs of egg mayonnaise sell by date: next day. Nobody knew what to do with them. I said I'd take them and sleep on it. I woke up next day and it was obvious what i should do: take them to Seventh Day Adventist Church. They have a Community Meal after the Service to which everyone is invited. So I turned up and donated 30 tubs of egg mayonnaise. They came in handy for the soup run that night too. Since then I take anything unused, uncooked, food to Seventh Day Adventist Church, Camp Hill. I'm now negotiating for them to open their doors on Sundays too because there are a lot of people who need somewhere to go on Sundays: drink, food, games, someone to talk to. Pubs are expensive and ban or bar 'undesirables'. How long can someone sip half pint of orange juice? Where do you put your trolley, sleeping bag or dog? Jesus said to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the homeless, love one another, whatever you do for the tramp you are doing for Him. Telling people what the Bible says is not enough. By your deeds you will be known.

Famous Failures Movie

Famous Failures Movie: Sometimes in life when think you about what you should be accomplishing and what you could have achieved it can really fill you with a sense of pain and shame. We all come up against obstacles to achieving our goals...but when you hear success stories of people who overcome numerous setbacks... An entry on my Social Services notes says that I was overambitious and didn't understand what being a nursery nurse entails. The career adviser suggested I become a nursery nurse because ' you girls make good nurses' entry qualifications was two O levels. I already had 6. It went on to say that i would not get the required grades to get to college. They only wanted 5 O levels and evidence that I'd sat 2 A levels. I found a letter in my Medical Records at the GP. It was from my Senior lecturer who said I would never make it as a teacher but having been through all the 'stuff' they were hoping I'd make the decision myself. Thank God I saw the letter after I qualifed with distinction in one subject and was teaching for a couple of years. How many more children were discouraged from doing their best because a teacher, parent carer had no faith in them? JD Wetherspoon is named after the teacher who said this boy would abmount to nothing. The boy set up JD Wetherspoon and named it after the teacher who was so rude about him. What a stronger, progressive society we'd have if more people were encouraged to do their best, were given a helping hand, were given the means to positively succeed. Instead our jails and psychiatric systems are filled with people who were cast aside as hopeless, helpless, no good from childhood. I thank my Godmother, Josephine Clarke for the love and care and encouragement that she gave me from birth. I was a premature baby born in an abusive household. I thrived against all the odds. I neither walked nor talked for over 2 years but Mama always encouraged me and when i started walking and talking I never stopped. 9 years in an abusive foster home did not stop me striving to do my best and though i left the house homeless, broke, on valium, librium sleeping pills and vitamins something inside me kept me going through 3 years in Worcester and on to independence. racism and sexism was rife in the staffrooms but I persevered and have always encouraged others to aim high, do their best and carry on.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Zion Intercessory Ministry

Just before Christmas 2014, I was told by Toni a local hairdresser about a Christmas Party, open to all. The last three words are important because my major moan is about how unChristian some people in this country and in our churches can be to homeless, poor, disaffected people. Toni as an elder in the community listens to my concerns and i know i can pop into her shop anytime i like, have a drink, share snacks and feel better when i leave. So she told me about this party where Shirley's Tribe would be welcome. As per usual, i told everyone i met, drew up a poster and tried to get them all there. On walking through the Open Market looking for 'stragglers' i saw a a few people and asked 'are you coming to the party'. They'd already been. Their was a Carol service and prayers before the meal at 6pm. They were hungry and couldn't wait that long. I tried to encourage them to come back with me. No, they'd wait till the soup run. I had my grandchildren with me. We got to the church, Egan House in Constitution Hill. It didn't look like a church from the outside by inside there were the things I now associate with African churches; beautiful decorations, silks, flowers. A lot of young people sang, praised, preached. It was so warm and welcoming. Afterwards there was food. Lots of it. SO whilst munching on a patty I got talking to the pastor and brought up my favourite topic about Churches and Homelessness; the fact that people were being fed in churchyards, carparks, street corners. The Pastor called a young man over and said,' talk to Shirley.' Within 10 minutes he decided he wanted to get involved with feeding and clothing people. I said fine but i don't want anymore outdoor 'soup runs' I wanted Church buildings open and Jesus' commandments to feed the hungry, house the homeless, clothed the naked, love one another, followed, So we agreed. They will open their doors on Saturdays, once a month to begin with, and feed people. The pastor then told me she'd spoken to someone about clothes but the person had not turned up for them. It was me. She'd misheard my name. So my grandchildren, Shirley's Tribe and others left that day, Spiritually and Physically fed, with hope, joy and bags of clothes, food and even a modern bit of technology that i had never seen before. Straight from there into town to feed the ones who hadn't come to the party and see who was at the 'Soup run' in Albert St. four weeks later after few phone calls, posters and word-of-mouth we arrived for the opening of the Saturday Meal at Zion Intercessory Mission. It was in the church amidst prayers, testiomonies, music. People went away with clothes, food, hope to tell everyone how these Christians had welcome them. We are now up to our fourth event. Last month we had jolloff rice, takeaways with cake, drinks, 'wash stuff' No clothes because the cleaner had thrown out the black bags thinking it was a load of rubbish. we had some size 11 shoes which were too big. I kept asking if anyone knew anybody they'd fit but noone did. At the last minute two people arrived with size 11 feet and were very happy to take the shoes away. One week there were lots of Indian designer clothes and a young woman who goes to the sikh temple for her Sunday Dinner was so pleased to have these clothes. She isn't Sikh but feels welcome there. The Zion Intercessory Church feeds, clothes and gives people hope. They do not just feed the body but also the spirit. They are a loving, caring, sharing group of people who are doing as instructed by Jesus. They have no funding but comes with love and compassion and that draws in the things they need to share with people. With support all things are possible. Thank you for yours support which comes straight from the heart

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Fay Thompson RIP

I was shocked when I read the Facebook comment below. I had only spoken to her a few days before and we had arranged to meet to 'catch up'. I contacted her to tell her that someone we both knew, Vincent Shirley RIP, had died and she couldn't remember him. She said she was having memory problems. We exchanged comments for a while and as I was very tired i said i'd get back to her. Fay was a wonderful, caring person. I first spoke to her when I saw her outside Welford Primary School, Handsworth, Birmingham, crying her eyes out. She was clearly distressed. I stopped to comfort her as people were looking and walking by. In between sobs she told me what was wrong. I then arranged to meet with her the next day. I went to her home on Lozells Rd and that was the start of many visits. She was a single mother, struggling with her children. She had decided to have a heart-to-heart with the older ones because she felt there were things which they were now old enough to know about her. I was just setting up my women's groups, Black Women Domestic Violence and Child Sex Abuse Survivors as well as Burbury Creative Writers' Circle (BCWC)in Newtown. Fay started coming to BCWC. She had a lot to offer. Ambitious, full of ideas, she was willing to try new ideas even if they backfired. I remember her saying that she was going to try something for the last time. I disagreed with her reminding her that we had to keep trying till we succeeded. A few days later she came in with a computer disc. We had a computer donated by Adult Education and Fay could not afford one. She brought in the disc and i asked if she'd acquired a coputer. She said no but the disc was the beginning. She had enough faith to know that she would get a computer. We had a group discussion on support for our writing. One day I suggested we visit an organisation for help. Fay insisted that though it was raining and she had to pick up her child from school she was going to see someone right now, this minute, as he could only say no. She walked up to Villa Rd Resource Centre because the 46 bus would have taken too long. She convinced the manager to let her use one of the computers though she wasn't Job Seeking. He said yes. Fay's disc stayed in the envelope till she was able to afford a computer. I even joked that it was like buying the petrol before the car but we knew that determination would get us through. Burbury Creative Writers' Circle then got funded by Adult Education, We received a grant to spend a Writers' weekend in Birmingham University and Fay was thrilled that she, a black single parent could spend a whole weekend there and she wasn't your typical black woman in the University ie. cleaner. She couldn't wait to tell everyone that she had spent a whole weekend in this prestigious place. She insisted that she was going back as a student. We also went to Standford Hall in Sheffield for a Writers Weekend, funded by West Midlands Arts. The Federation of Worker Writers' and Community Publishers had their AGM in this venue every Easter. Snow, lambs, daffodils, good food, childcare, all contributed to us having a lovely time with lots of influences, inspiration for writing. The local chemist also contributed to BCWC's success and we were able to leave Birmingham every 6 weeks to find inspiration. Fay was full of ideas. She would come up with stuff that had others in stitches. She wrote a play about Child Abuse. we tried to convince her that she didn't need lots of furniture but a few boxes covered up could be used in the scenery. Not Fay. She decided that if the play called for a settee then a settee was going on stage. We had some good times. Fay loved life, worked hard, helped others. Condolences to her family friends from Me, my family and all those in Burbury Creative writers' Circle including Leon Blades, Margaret, Spicy Fingers, the 3 pastors. Celebration of Life - Details The celebration of life service for our mother Fay Thompson will be on Wednesday 12th February 2014 will be held at Nechells Outreach Centre, 264 Long Acre, Nechells, B7 5JP. Time: 10:30am She will be laid to rest at Sutton New Hall Cemetery, Lindridge Road, Sutton Coldfield, B75 7HX. Time: 13:30 We are also inviting all those who knew and loved our mother to join us for refreshments and food at The Emerald Suite, 214 Green Lane, Small Heath, Birmingham, B9 5DH.

RIPs, buying American Property, Birth Cetrificates, Cruises and Grand Children

John aka Ozzie Osbourne Yesterday at the Poppy Day friends and I remembered John aka Ozzie who spent a lot of his time in the market sitting drinking tea, talking about his daughter and his time in the forces. He was 'in care' for some of his childhood and carried on into another British Institution. He has always been independent. A good father, he really loved his daughter and would do anything to protect her. Unfortunately Social Services and the Courts stepped in and took his daughter away. I have seen some of the paper work. John was very worried about the whole affair. Anyway he was found dead in his bed two saturdays ago. Condolences to all who knew him. we'll know more after the inquest. Cyril A native of St Kitts-Nevis Cyril and I met nearly every Tuesday at the market. We rummaged through tat left by stallholders and shared some of our finds. every week he'd tell me about his health, hospital visits, etc and his bargains. If we saw each other anywhere else eg McDonalds in Paradise Forum we'd wave, exchange findings and promise to meet in the market on Tuesday. I only heard through a homeless person of Cyril's death. I didn't know his address but heard that it was boarded up within days Lance's Dad Lance attended a family funeral and within days he was mourning his own father's death. More details later Ainsley I tried to get to this funeral but it didn't happen. Earlier the day, we went to the Western Westley Hotel for a conference on how to buy property in America. Free Lunch promised, sandwhiches chips and coffee or tea. All attendees got a digital camera, disc with info on property buying and the first 50 will receive their promised tablet by post. It was a great networking session. I met people i hadn't seen for years like David who used to work for Handsworth Employment Scheme. BCIL financial Advisor who came in to help before the organisation folded was also there. I met new people like a neighbour who runs a childcare organisation. My exbiker, exmilitary friend aka my Minder, came with us. He is such a laugh at times. Unashamedly dressed in leathers and jeans with all his badges, patches, equipment. he came in then went for a smoke. He came back and promised to zippit. The body language said it all. He smelt a rat. So what did he do. Find out when I finish writing his book. Suffice to he was his usual mischievous self. we then went to wetherspoons in Acocks Green. As we were going to a funeral we put said friend in taxi and waited at bus stop. B4 that we met an infamous Birmingham character and had another laugh. As we were not dressed for funeral we tried the second hand shops and others but no one, if they were open had black trousers we could afford. So instead we went to KFC, decided it was not wahat we wanted, said hello to a friend and his daughter then went back to Wetherspoons. We had 241 but i paid extra cos they'd made a mistake and we got 3 instead of 2 meals. Not the best i've ever had at wetherspoons and they seem to be skimping on portions. Then the dreaded phonecall. Friend had got home and fallen backwards down the stairs. We rushed over in a taxi thanking God that we hadnt gone to Cape Hill. No, he was not going to hospital. He had been through wars and riots and hospital is for softies (stronger Unpc words but who knows who will be reading this) So Ainsley who was a good friend had a good send off, packed church, lovely afterdo, nice food and we nursed a sick man overnight. Birth Certificate. I was born in St Kitts then part of St.Kitts Nevis Anguilla. Because my parents were not married I have no fathers name on this said paper. A dash. Shirley Dash. hmm. So for years I was known as Shirley Lake. The problem started when I had to get a passport to come to England. I signed Shirley L crossed out Cooper. At the age of 9years /355 days I changed identity. My Birth Certificate was safe in my suitcase for years. everytime I needed a new passport i would send the old one. I once paid someone to get me a new Birth Certificate when they went 'home' on holiday. Yeah I know how to get one now. I can get one in england because we were British then and our colonial masters kept records. But one fine evening,. surrounded by warring grandchildren I decided to pay someone to send me a birth certificate. I paid for express delivery, one week. I got an email to say it would take one month. Then I got hacked and someone wrote all (32000) emails have been deleted now you have nothing to read, put your feet up and have a cup of tea. A few days later the emails returned. Meanwhile I am waiting patiently for an email with a copy of my birth certificate and the post with another copy. Then i found the email. It was unsuccessful. I didnt exist. Maybe if they had not mixed up Lake with Lane I would have been found. Consequently I wasn't able to pay for my Atlantic cruise from Southampton, Azores to Eastern Caribbean including St Kitts. The return journey. I had travelled from st kitts to southampton in 1963 and I've always wanted a 30 day return. Altenatives I could have gone to southampton for a Child Sex Abuse Survivors weekend conference but I didn't intend to be in UK so didn't book it. Consolation, after Christmas when everyone has spent all, i will have money for a holiday. Grandchildren. I have two. I look at them and sometimes wish i had the freedom of expression and security they have and other times I think they could never have coped with my childhood. They are surrounded by aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins and two parents. They remind me that they are not five, not babies. Their wisdom with electronics is fantastic. After not being able to sit still 5 minutes to learn to knit, one said, I can learn it on Ebay, seeing that's where i've learnt to play instruments. And she did learn to knit from eBay. I have a certificate in Education which includes Psychology of Education but noone mentioned grandchildren

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Just What is wrong with Halloween?

Christian Voice E-Alert – 31st October 2013 This Christian Voice E-Alert contains no images or dodgy links concealing tracking devices to identify you and monitor your activity. Dear Shirley, Just what is wrong with Halloween? It’s that time of year when, in the UK at least, the pumpkins invade the supermarkets, shop assistants dress up as witches, zombie outfits are on sale and confectionery is rebranded to be ‘scary’. Just a bit of fun? Leaving aside the unpleasantness of ‘trick or treat’, does something sinister lurk behind the ‘Happy Halloween’ jollity? Is witchcraft really so innocuous? How should the church respond? A couple of months ago, I was so troubled by the failure of a young Christian girl to respond adequately on TV to a challenge to agree or disagree with Exodus 22:18, that I sought the Lord on what the church should say about the subject. The result was this article: ‘What’s wrong with witchcraft’. Please feel free to leave a comment. The article also looks at the prevalence of witchcraft in the UK. Some of what I discovered may come as a shock to anyone who thinks that witchcraft is only a problem in the developing world. As for something practical to do, it may be a bit late for this year, but churches can hold alternatives. A church I attended in Carshalton used to hold a 'Rainbow Party'. The name does not matter, it's the doing of it in the name of Christ that is important. But please be warned such an event is not taken lightly by the forces of evil. The mild-mannered organiser of the first Rainbow Party in that South London church answered his bell one evening to find a slaughtered cat on his doorstep. Whilst writing, the Christian Voice monthly prayer meeting at West Ham in London, near the site of the proposed ‘megamosque’, is this Saturday from 10.30am to 12.30pm. All Christian believers are welcome. Aim for E15 3ND or find further details and directions at PRAY: For those churches providing a Christian alternative to Halloween parties. They are a big challenge to the world of the occult and need our support for protection and success. Exodus 22:18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Yours in the mighty name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Stephen Green, National Director, Christian Voice.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Shirley P. Cooper's Tribe And Gallery: Water

Shirley  P. Cooper's Tribe And Gallery: Water
 Thank You Mama
 Come Back Liza
Rum and Coco cola
Coconut water, Good for your daughter
 Never thirst Again


National Poetry Day this year was quite wet. The theme was water. Here's what I produced for Cannon Hill writers' Group Thirty Days over the sea To meet such pain and misery To bully's who sang: You're a drip, you're a drip, you're a drip, You're a drip, you're a drip, you're a drip D R I P I replied: I'm a drip, drip is water, water is nature, nature is beauty, thank you. Losing a loved one Trying to keep strong, singing: Everytime me memba Liza, Water come a me yeye And today on my Birthday I sing Thank you Mama for carrying me through all the pain and suffering# Seven months inna yu belly Through the pain and misery Thank you Mama for loving me And when we wet my baby's head with rum not water it was said coconut water, good for you daughter, make her strong like lion, And when I despair I lift my eyes and sing Never Thirst again Oh never Thirst again Yes never Thirst Again Oh Never Thirst again "For he that drinketh," Jesus said, "will never ever thirst again."

Monday, 21 October 2013

My Motive for Charity Work

I ahd a text off someone who i have supported since i first met her in my first teaching posts. She told me that I walked around finding freebies all the time and i only helped people so that i could feel good and better than them. This is someone that i've taken flack for, fallen out with people who have spoken against and attacked her. So how true was her text. When I first started teaching I soon became aware of social porblems in the class. Mothers started coming in to see me, at first supposedly about their children's education but eventually about themselves. I was younger than them. Soon themes started showing: domestic violence, poverty, not knowing who to turn to. I started supporting these mums. They came in with their black eyes. I comforted them. My headteacher told me I wasn't a Social worker, it wasn't my job to solve their problems. I ignored him. If someone needed help and i could give it, i did. Children came in without dinner money; i paid it for them. I prevented prostitution by handing over large amoutns of cash when these women had no other choices in order to feed their children. I paid airfare for one mother to go away and sort her life out. The children were encourged to succeeed against the odds. I noticed their cuts and bruises and tackled the parents about it. I notified the head if i suspected child abues but ususally got told to mind my own business. some of these children also came to me on Saturdays when i taught at a Supplementary School. I fed them, not just by paying their dined money at times but also by inviting them round to mine or bringing things into the classroom. Birthdays, Easter and Christmas as well as end of terms were great cos i always provided for these occasions. I started getting invitations to their events. I have kept in touch with those families over the years. when my daughter was born i asked some of these expupils and their parents to babysit. As my daughters' birthday is the week before Christams I had large birthday parties in which i invited every child first to my home then later to palces I hired. One Birthday I heard an appeal on PCRl (a pirate station) for donations to their Christmas party. I pledged the alcohol money which upset the people who came round every year. I not only gave the moeny for the Christmas Party but I also went and helped with it every year providing presents as well. After a request for presents from a Mental Health Manager I acquired a room full of items. Every year until the West Midlands Christmas Tree Appeal stopped, I collected or had delivered a van load of presents which i then presented to pubs and clubs for their Christmas Parties some of which I usually ran. One year I went to visit and old woman and she was unable to provide a cup of tea as she had no gas electricity or all the items for a cuppa. Disgusted, I went out and collected money and everything she needed. I then realised that many seniors spent all their money on presents for children and grandchildren and had nothing left for themselves. I then started delivering presents to them every year. I ran a fabric painting business for a few years, took on 32 instructors and taught them everything i knew. I then visited some of my customers on a regular basis to deliver paints, teach them a new technique but more importantly to see if they were ok. I attended numerous day centres and clubs and helped the members with whatever advice, help they needed. My daughter thought she had numerous grandparents and Santa Claus came to all birthday parties. One day after the second person who talked about committing suicide because Christmas was coming and he was lonely, I spoke to members of a committee that I was on. I suggested we open somewhere for Christmas so that anyone who had nowhere to go or people to be with can come and join us. I appealed for 5p. 50p, £5.00, an onion or carrot for the soup. The response was great. I did my usual Christmas shopping and took everything to the centre. For 10 days we fed, comforted, advised everyone who came in. I had been taking in people every Christmas since 1975 in a bedsit. Since then I'd used my 2 bed room terrace, 3 bedroomed semi and 6 bedroom terrace to welcome anyone who needed a roof over their head. I did this without funding. I was a member of various organisation until quite recently when i decided to stop voluntary work. African and Caribbean People's Movement had 70 a/C organisations. I was women's officer for a while, responsible for every a/c woman in Birmingham. I helped to raise funds for various topics including mental health, child abuse survivors, sex abuse survivors and domestic violence. Over the years I have put a tremendous amount of my own resources: money, time, health, strength into improving people's lives. Lately I find out where everything is: food banks, handouts, clothes, tickets, freebies and inform everyone. I then pass this information on to those who need it. I have 2 phones. If someone needs to make a call i lend them whichever has credits in. Once in a while someone gives me a few pounds towards my work. I go beyond the call of duty to help people. As a Christian I believe that I should house the homeless, feed the hungry, clothe the naked and love everyone. It's not easy. I get ostracised, criticised, spat at, physically attacked, verbally abused but I do it because it needs to be dond. The people I work with aren't going to fill in forms or write letters recommending me for MBE, OBE or anything else and I am not expecting it. If my motive was to get credits, thanks etc for doing what the Bible tells us to do, I would have given up a long time ago. But I know I have saved livesby my action. That's what it's all about. Spreading the love.

Happy Birthday to Me

For my 60th Year I decided to do at least 60 things. The List was as folllows> 1. Go to New York to see Brother in New York 2. See sister in Tortola 3. Go to Buckingham Palace for Coronation Exhibition as I was in the womb during the Coronation parties when my sister was Coronation Queen 4. Hire Art Space to carry on with my Visual Arts 5. Clear out flat, leaving only living not working stuff in it, 6. Do garden 7. Distribute surplus stuff from house and stall clearances 8. Buy piano and steelpan. Restart my music career 9. Pay off all outstanding debts 10. Put up curtains, blinds in grandchildren's bedrooms 11. Change front door 12. Buy sofa bed 13. Fill fridge, freezer, cupboards 14. Get momentos et christening, 19th birthday, 21st, 30th, etc together 15. Send for all records eg Housing, Teaching, Fostering 15. Publish books 16. Edit friends books 17 Write friends' life story 18. Tour previous homes eg 137 freer rd, 8 Holly rd with friends. write stories, set up websites and take photos 19. Stay in Leeds for a few weeks and go down memory lane. Catch up on everything, take photos, do blog 20. "This is me" website 21 Redo "Memroies from Home" 21. Head to Toe Health check 22 Re/join Support Groups and peel off onion skin 23 Attend all Meetup groups that I signed up for 24 order Graze box for Granddaughter and others 25. London weekend 26. Survivors weekend in Southampton 27 Blackpool illuminations 28. Go to St.Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla 29. World Cruise 30. Back to Bingo Sessions 31. A week at Pioneer centre 32 Record 2 songs 33. Set up Shirley's Tribe Meetup group 34 Start a coupon Book 35. Have a Barbeque 36. Start Swimming Again 37. Distribute 60 flasks and water bottles 38 Celebrate World Mental Health Day 39 Have stalls at Natural Living Fair and similar 40 Update Doll Collection 41. Sort out all Collections 42 Take a cake or biscuits to at least 60 venues 43. Go camping 44. Spend a lot of time in Libary of Birmingham 45. Have a Memorial Service for my Mother, Uvina Rosetta Cooper 46 Upload and start websites for all court cases, tribunals, to date 47 Collect in all moeny owed, inheritance, maintencance, 48 New Business Cards 49 Tablet, laptop, etc 50 Home phone, TV and all trimmings 51 Research father's life and death 52 Grand sort out 53. Church service with churches i've attended 54. Spend more time at theatre, cinema, arts centre etc 55. spend more time at health fairs 56. eat out more 57. Burlesque evening 58. Shirley and Friends Visual Arts Display 59 Donate to charities, causes, individuals not donated to b4 60 Subscriptions to magazines I have done some of the above but as most of it costs money, i'm in a catch 22 situation: need money to make money. Exciting things so far: 1. walking round with all Birthday cards and showing them off 2. Giving out chocolates, sweets and cake on the bus 3. Going to the New Library, finding all the toilets and looking for 'Shirley's Space' 4. Saying no to some of the things i used to do, cutting back on charity work 5. Buying a new bus pass

Wednesday, 4 September 2013


last few weeks have been very interesting. First there was the saga with Neil. I found him collapsed in Gloucester St between market stalls, He recognised me. I called 999. Steve came on his motorbike. He was concerned. Neil had been in hospital 3 times in 3 weeks. big bump on his head. he wan't just drunk. he was in pain. The paramedics arrived. , They did not want to take him to hospital though he was begging for that. The man told me seeing i knew him and where he lived should take him home. i said, have you seen my foot (another saga about me and my GP) the paramedic agreed that i couldnt walk Neil home. They drove off. Steve remained. we tried to find solutions. Steve mentioned Sifa ad St Martins Help Desk. Mental note to me, get SIFA to provide new information and maybe St Martins could inform other services that they no longer provide help. A policeman arrived. long name. should have written it down. He marvelled that Neil had moved a few yards from where he'd left him earlier. this guy maybe should have been reminded that the Police Station is listed as a place of Safety to which people in distress are taken. I listened disgusted as this longnamed police officer told me that he had no time to waste taking this alcoholic, mentally ill, injured man into the police station or indeed pick him up off the ground. longnamed officer left me and Steve to deal with Neil who could just about stand up, I went to get him a coffee and was told all about how Neil was left earlier to collapse and drop his bag. I went for the bag but it was empty Someone had helped themself to content. so we sat on a bench with the coffee then moved further along to the nd of Spiceal st and Edgbaston St. Then Neil wandered off and came back with some. He left me sitting there. a few days later i heard he'd been taken into hospital with head injuries and had to be operated on. I went into St Martins a few days later and was told that Neil was just in, drunk in pyjamas. i found him opposite the church. Who s supposed to be caring for the Neils of the world? Where are the Christians, Outreach workers, support worker. Where is the love and compassion, the mega funding that's given to help alcoholics, homeless, badly housed, mentally ill, disaffected, socially excluded. Why arent the people doing their Jobs? Why are people banned from services? Why are service users not using these services

Sunset seen from our new lbrary

A truly inspirational woman

The Real You - Alan Watts

Friday, 12 July 2013

This week

What a week! I have had a strange week. On Sunday I wandered around in the heat and stopped to talk to lots of peope. Neil, who had a birthday the day b4 and was happy that he had accomodation that he felt comfortable in at last. No church services for a change. I sat outside St Martins for over 2 hours but didn't go in. NO karaoke, live singing either. Monday I went to Bingley Place to see GREASE. It was chosen as one of Birmingham's favourite films. I remeber taking my class to see this in the 70's. They were John Travolta mad. His name appeared over the desks, on books, walls etc so I thought GREASE would cure them. It did. They, aged 11/12, rather homophobically declared him gay and actually scrubbed his hname from the classroom on their return. Last week a group of sat on bean bags, blamkets and deckchairs and enjoyed the film. My friend Chuff, turned up with tankard in left and cigarette in right hand and was soon asked if he would 'have a word' with the security man. I watched them talk for a while and kept an eye on the film at the same time. Unfortunately Chuff then told me that out of view of the audience, the security man grabbed him and pushed him away. Not the best way to treat people but i'm noticing more and more bullying in public by high viz or otherwise uniformed people. After the film and free popcorn, we went to The Figure of Eight across the road and had a drink. Then to MacDonald on High St, Dale end to catch up on days events with some homeless people. We then went to McDonald, New St as my friend had missed her bus and neither of us had taxi fare. We stayed till 5.30am Tuesday drinking tea, looking at my Boaading Out notes from Social Services Leeds and talking to other 'overnighters'. I then caught to bus to a friends house and slept for 2 hours before venturing into town again. Tuesday. It's strange being on a bus at 5.45am. I used to do that when I worked at Waddingtons and Petty's in Leeds during the summers b4 I started teaching. I meant to go to the healing service but spent time in the sun then the Pavillion, Internet cafe instead. THen it was back to Film night at Bingley Place. First I popped in to see the guys in the gunshop. I am buying a bullet belt to keep my lollipops in and a gun bag for my knitting needles and crochet hooks. I've spent a lot of time in there lately cos my friend is a guncollector. legal and above board b4 you ask. After Raiders of the last Ark and no popcorns cos I was too late, we went back to The FIgure of Eight then McDonalds. God, aren't i predictable? Then a very late bus home. Wednesday. A bus ride to Hope Family Church who though it was cooler than the last few days, were evangelising in Swanshurst Park. a cup of tea and a - 2, 3, nobody is counting, biscuit fron True Christian. I had milk. Richard came all the way from Worcester and missed the open air befriending cos they'd taken the tables and chairs back across the road and left the park. SO we wandered around and went to the lake. there we met Lorraine from Scotland who told us about the guys who'd shot the swans with a pellet gun and the ones in Handsworth who'd killed the ducks and got caught as the feathers were in the bin whilst the birds were roasting. Then Richard and I played Dare. It felt like it. Do we catch the 2, 3 then the 50 to the Farm or 11 then 50? We did the latter and that's probably why i fell face down in Vicarage Rd whilst crossing the Road to catch the 50 outside All Saints Church. It could be cos i was tired or Richard with his tales of foreigners in Britain who won't integrate, the Poles who steal his food in the shared house or the ones who push in the queue at the soup run. Or it could have been the fact that i made a comment about not crossing in front of a cop car in case they knocked me down and refuse compensation. Whatever the reason i fell and grazed my knees and hurt my hands which i used to break the fall. I was surrounded by some nice people and helped back to my feet, advised to go to hospital even. I thak God I had worn trousers. the night b4 i took out a pink skirt and scarf and cardigan to have a girly day. then i remembered that i was going to Birmingham entrepreneurs meetup later and i didn't want to be too girly so i swapped pink skirt for black trousers. I would never get over the embarraing of falling in a pink skirt. It was bad enough in trousers but my knees were scraped and no underwear was displayed to the uncoming traffic and passengers at the bus stops. I took some photos as evidence in case i find someone to sue and then went towards the 50 bus stop to find the Inner City Farm. We got off the bus and went to ORT in the Old Print Works. QUick tour then down St Pauls Rd. Still dazed we walked all the way round stopping at my cousins who weren't home. We asked a few people and noone seemed to know the farm less than 100 yards from where we stood. One little girl argued with her father who were sending us in the wrong direction. she knew cos she'd been there with school. The farm was closed. we were too late. We then went to Unis Internet Cafe in the Pavillion then I phoned Rik to find out where the food for homeless was being served. I then sent someone to pick up a sandwich and sat on internet until I set off with Judith for Urban Coffee COmpany 4 business meeting. It was great. I did 'Ask Shirley' and Phil came with us to McDonalds CHerry St and Dale End to find SHirley's Tribe. We then admired Jamie's artwork, had hot chocolate and talked about court case, art, flats, cvs. Then someone came, admired the art and asked if we could come and do some art in their flat. WHoah. Birmingham Artist with lots of wall space to decorate b4 the council demolishes the building. Then I went home to a friends cos i was feeling hurt, after the fall and didn't fancy being home alone. Thursday Feeling very ill. Feet hurt. can't walk. room spinning nauseated. Finally managed to leave the house after 3 but still feeling wobbly. Too late for Senior Screen at Odeon New St. Unis Internet cafe again. Then walk with Judith to York Bakery for Wordpress meetup which was cancelled. I was so tired. my feet hurt and i wanted to go somewhere so we went by cab £4 to Hearth, Litterature for Wellbeing and met up with Tessa, Freda and other supportive friends in Ginos Restaurant. Lovely environment, cocktail with mint, limes, ginger ale. Then Gaynor Arnold came for Meetup 2 in same venue and I bought her book. It was book buying day yeterday. I bought Bob No Ordinary Cat by James Bowen (who's in BIrmingham on 25th July) and Wreck this Journal by Keri Smith. I fancy starting a workshop with the latter. Number 101 bus, browse for bargains in supermarkets by SNow Hill Station, chocolate, bisuits, cookies then hot chocolate in McDonalds. More flat, cv, art talk then home to bed where dispite sore knees slept for a long time.

Greenpeace - scaling Europe's tallest skyscraper

Hi Shirley, If you're reading this email it means I'm clinging to the side of the Shard - attempting something that's never been done before: scaling Europe's tallest skyscraper. If we make it to the top, we plan to install a giant piece of art in direct view of Shell's three London headquarters down around me. We can see them, so I know they can see us. WATCH LIVE and send your message of support to show the whole world that we don't want Arctic drilling. I've been climbing for years, but this is the biggest challenge I've ever taken on. Am I scared? Hell yeah. But I know that fear is only what you make of it. For me this is a personal act of bravery, and I hope that beyond all else it can encourage anyone hesitating over taking action - no matter what scale - to take that step today. There are only six of us up here, but there are millions of us in every corner of the world who want the Arctic protected. The most effective action we can do now is to make everyone else care for the Arctic as we do, and to do that we need to make it news. This is not a niche subject. This affects every single person on our shared planet. Everyone should know that we've lost 80% of the Arctic sea ice in the last 30 years, and that should make people want to protect it. Not to drill for more oil that caused the melting in the first place. Follow our progress on LIVE TV and please share this page with everyone you know on Facebook, Twitter and over email. Let's make this as big as we can. Shell doesn't want us talking about their dangerous Arctic oil drilling plans. Together we can shout about them from the rooftops ;) Wish us luck, Victo (and Sandra, Sabine, Liesbeth, Wiola and Ali) x

Water, water everywhere (and some poison)

A very interesting link and includes all extended family too New video with several professionals discussing evidence and pollution, hazardousness of F in water, in toothpaste, etc. PS NZ is only 0.7 F

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Expand Your Consciousness

Expand your consciousness: - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Sky channel 191 &192 - PSTV

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Local Variation in Avoidable Death Rates Published figures for the West Midlands

DRAFT Embargo 00:01 Tuesday 11 June 2013 LOCAL VARIATION IN AVOIDABLE DEATH RATES PUBLISHED Figures for the West Midlands on causes of early death A new website showing significant variation in early death rates has been launched today to drive pu blic awareness and local action to tackle public health problems. Longer Lives, a new Public Health England (PHE) website, allows people to easily see local information for the West Midlands on early deaths from major killers like heart disease, stroke an d cancer, and how it varies across the area and the country. Using a traffic -light rating system, it ranks areas showing those above average in tackling avoidable deaths as green, while those that still have more to do, are red. The website contains a r ange of data that , for the first time , allows people to easily compare an area’s mortality against those with similar populations, incomes and levels of health. Overall it shows that the north of England has a higher risk of early death than the south, but when comparing areas of a similar socioeconomic status, it reveals a more complex picture. Across the West Midlands, the picture is mixed with early death rates varying across the 14 county and unitary local authority areas. For example:  Shropshire Council and Solihull Council have the lowest rates of heart disease and stroke related deaths in the West Midlands, ranked at 25th and 28th respectively – well below the national average.  Within a group of 15 comparable local authorities with the same level of deprivation Dudley Council ranks 5th overall in the group and has lower rates of premature death than the group average.  Herefordshire Council is in the top five local authorities in the country for the lowest rate of lung disease related deaths, ranking 4th out of 150 top tier local authorities . News Release 2 The data and website will provide local areas with information to help them understand their own position and better target efforts to improve the health of the people they serve. Dr Sue Ibbotson, West Midlands Centre Director said:“Longer Lives will support local government in its new role as the local leaders for people’s health in their area . It presents a clear picture of an important aspect of health in local areas – where the causes of avoidable death have been tackled and where there is more to do – so everyone involved can consider and agree how to make improvements from a common basis of the same information. “The website goes further than just data, and contains evidence of what needs to be done and case studies of what has been successful elsewhere . Longer Lives has the potential to make a real difference to the health of each and every community in the West Midlands and we’ll be working hard with local authorities and the NHS to bring about the changes we need.” The evidence is clear – a person’s likelihood of dying prematurely from one of the top four killers varies widely between local authorities due to differences in risk factors, such as obesity, alcohol and smoking and socioeconomic determinants. Local councils were given the leadership of public health in April 2013 as part of a move to empower local areas to make real change in people’s lives. To help them deliver these improvements the government has given them £5.46bn of funding. Leading the work of the local Health and Wellbeing Board with Clinical Commissioning Group partners, local councils have a pivotal role in piloting the local health and care system to improve the health of their local citizens. The website provides examples of best practice from other local authorities, guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and links to NHS Choices so that individuals, families and citizens can learn about these conditions and what they can to do to improve their health. This data is the first information to be rolled out as part of the Government’s plans to provide the public and health professionals in local areas with clear, easy accessible information on how health and care services are doing in improving the health outcomes wherever we live. ENDS