Strictly Come Dancing…


Now I love Strictly Come Dancing and have always fancied going to see it recorded.  Anyway a while back I got an email about going to see the show and putting in a request for some tickets… Well out of the 4.5 million people that have applied for Strictly, we got two tickets for the Halloween special.

First of all I thought it was a hoax… I’ve never applied for tickets before and to be successful on my first attempt of trying to go and see the show… was just beyond belief.

Then came the email with the tickets… and yes we were lucky… :D :D :D :D

Big smiles all around.

Anyway we had to go to Borehamwood to the Elstree Studio and we had to be there preferably by 9 am to get your tickets validated.  The BBC staff would start validating tickets from 9 am onwards and once your tickets were validated you could do what you like until you returned to the Studio at 3pm.

1897959_1023508537701953_2599487009226414688_nWell we arrived at just after 8am… in the morning and this was the queue to get your tickets validated.  And many, many more arrived after us.  Anyway at 9 am the staff arrived to validate tickets and we were numbers 301 and 302 on the validation list.

Believe it or not some people were queuing to get their tickets validated at 2 am in the morning… they were camped outside the Maxwell Road gate already for prime seats.

Well after validation we found the nearest Toby and had the ‘As much as you can eat Breakfast’… and then headed towards our hotel for the night.  We stayed at the Premier Inn and we were lucky… they gave us a disabled room and we could check in early.  Mind you I did create a bit of a stir… You see in the bathroom was a red cord.. and yes with soap in my eyes, thinking it was a light pull, pulled the cord.  Next thing the phone was ringing and then somebody arrived at our room already to rescue me… :D :D :D :D

What a dipstick I felt.

Then we got all glamourous and headed back towards the studio at 3 pm.  Once 3 pm arrived you were ushered into a tent area where you could have your photograph taken, get a drink at the bar and then sit down before being shown into the studio.

Once seated… the show started to record at 5.30 pm and the Pro dances came on and recorded the opening dance for the start of the show, in which the celebrities joined in towards the end.  Then they recorded the Sunday night guest appearance.  James Morrison was the star attraction and he was brilliant.  After that they recorded some further parts and then Tess and Claudia came on… Claudia had me in stitches… she fluffed a bit and then went ‘F**k’.  Well that had me cracked up.

Next was the live show… and yes it is live.   And there is so much that goes on when they celebrity and pro dancer speak about their weeks training. What with set changes and sweeping the floor already for the dancers.

After the live show, there is a small break where they supply you with a Kit Kat and Juice drink… good old BBC… they could have put a Vodka in it :D :D :D , before they start recording the results show.  The Pro dancers do another dance and then the who is dancing next week and who is leaving is recorded.  The interviews with Claudia are done and then the Pro dance is recorded, which was brilliant to watch (The Chequerboard routine – oh on the first take they had a wardrobe malfunction) and then the dance off and who is leaving and the final dance.  By 10.30 pm the show is over and you are leaving the studios.

It is a long day… but believe me… if you ever get a chance to go… do so… I will be applying for tickets for next years show… but wear comfortable shoes… because all that standing around plays havoc with your feet.

I LOVE STRICTLY….. AND WE WENT :D :D :D :D  And the best part was I was just a few feet away from Peter Andre… sorry Sarah (my friend) he was all mine for the night

Feeling all arty



Wonder if mum liked the artwork once she got over the shock?

Hyundai i20

i20 3-door

i20 3-doorI love my little Hyundai i20… it is nice to drive and easy to park and a great little car.  Well actually it was my father-in-laws car and he gave it to us back in April and it is barely 2 years old.

Anyway Saturday bought a new meaning to watching your life go by you in a flash of a moment.  We had been to Belmont House and Gardens in Throwley, Kent to take some photographs.  Having had a beautiful day out.. we were on our way home on the M2.

Now I don’t know if you know the M2 motorway at all …. but as you go past the junction for Rochester and Chatham heading towards London… it is a four lane motorway.  And that junction can be very busy as people use it when leaving the M20 to get onto the M2.

We had just passed the junction… when we came across the lane hoggers.  You know the ones… stick to one friggin lane no matter what speed they decide to travel at.  Well we had to go into the 4th Lane to pass someone… then pulled back in to let someone else go by and this 3rd lane road hogger had no intention of pulling over so the next step was to go back into the 4th lane to pass to him.

Just as he was about to pull out…. he had no power …. no accelerator… absolutely nothing.   At first we thought the accelerator cable must have broken… and it felt like the car was still going… but it wasn’t.

His quick reaction was to switch on the hazard warning lights and get to the hard shoulder as soon as possible… the only problem was we had no brakes and no power steering.  Doing 70mph down a motorway and then have no brakes is bloody scary believe me.

My life was flashing right in front of me… had visions of how people would get into my dogs… and was scared to death.  Eventually after much struggle we got onto the hard shoulder and the car came to a halt.

Now when you stall a car.. you still have the battery and oil light glowing… we had nothing… the key in the ignition was still in the on position… but we had no lights… absolutely no warning lights came up and all the dials were where they would be if you switched the car off… it had lost complete electrical power.

Eventually when we stopped… we were on the hard shoulder and had no alternative but to sit in the car because there was no bank we could get to for safety…  So he switched the bloody thing off, even though nothing was working … amongst a lot of swearing and baffling of what could be wrong…. he had never in all his years driving experienced anything like this.

Well I was googling our breakdown number.. because him indoors forgot his phone… when he said let me see if I have power now… so he switched the ignition key to the on position  and all the dials started to work and then he tried to start it and the car started.  So we drove home with hazard warning lights on.

The next day, Sunday, it took it down to Morrison’s and it was fine.

Anyway… I wouldn’t get in the thing… and he told me to ring Hyundai on Monday morning and tell them what happened.

Hyundai at Rainham were brilliant… they told me to get it there by 3pm and they would put it on the  computer to see what happened.

Well they did and they came back and said they had some very weird and wonderful readings come up… and there is a fault but they can’t pinpoint it.  So they asked if I would leave it with them… and they have given me a courtesy car to use…. which I love…. it is automatic and when you get in to start it up it is like mission control.. button and gadgets everywhere.

So far.. they still can’t pinpoint the problem… and we have told them we don’t want our car back until they have found the problem… when he indoors explained to me… it was safer when it did it on the motorway because you had the hard shoulder to stop… I really felt worried about driving it to Rainham on Monday afternoon… because I wouldn’t have been able to stop in time if this fault occurred again as I would have had no brakes or power steering..

So my apologies to all those that thought I was a Sunday driver on a Monday afternoon trip…  I just wanted to get this car to Rainham as safely as I could and I apologise for doing such a slow ridiculous speed… but it was better to be safe than sorry.

And as we carry our grand-son around in that car… we want the problem fixed before we take the car back… it is not safe to drive on the road.   It might never happen again.. but what if it happened whilst travelling down an road at 40 or 50mph or even 30mph and you couldn’t stop.  You could kill yourself as well as the possibility of killing someone else.  It wouldn’t be bad if the problem happened when you were stationery .. but it happened whilst travelling at speed… which is really scary.

Hyundai have been wonderful through this and understand our concerns and they agree with us that.. until the fault is found they will keep the car and keep trying to find the fault… and we can have the courtesy car.

Talk about your life flashing in front of you… and to be honest.. all these new cars are like this…. so reliant on electronics… it makes me yearn for the days when cars were more mechanical and less electronically controlled by bloody computers and sensors.

Men Seldom get Depressed


I stole this from Facebook…

Men Seldom get Depressed

Men Are Just Happier People —
What do you expect from such simple creatures?
Your last name stays put.
The garage is all yours.
Wedding plans take care of themselves.
Chocolate is just another snack…
You can never be pregnant.
You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park.
You can wear NO shirt to a water park.
Car mechanics tell you the truth.
The world is your urinal.
You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky.
You don’t have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.
Wrinkles add character.
Wedding dress $5000. Tux rental-$100.
People never stare at your chest when you’re talking to them.
New shoes don’t cut, blister,
or mangle your feet.
One mood all the time.
Phone conversations are over
in 30 seconds flat.
You know stuff about tanks.
A five-day vacation requires
only one suitcase.
You can open all your own jars.
If someone forgets to invite you,
He or she can still be your friend.
Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack.
Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.
Everything on your face stays
its original color.
The same hairstyle lasts for years,
even decades.
You only have to shave your face and neck.
You can play with toys all your life.
One wallet and one pair of shoes —
one color for all seasons.
You can wear shorts no matter
how your legs look.
You can ‘do’ your nails with a pocket knife.
You have freedom of choice
concerning growing a mustache.
You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives
On December 24 in 25 minutes.
Men Are Just Happier People
If Laura, Kate and Sarah go out for lunch, they will call each other Laura, Kate and Sarah. If Mike, Dave and John go out, they will affectionately refer to each other as Fat Boy, Bubba and Wildman.
When the bill arrives, Mike, Dave and John will each throw in $20, even though it’s only for $32.50. None of them will have anything smaller and none will actually admit they want change back.
When the girls get their bill, out come the pocket calculators…YEP!!!
A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he needs.
A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she doesn’t need but it’s on sale.
A man has six items in his bathroom: toothbrush and toothpaste, shaving cream, razor, a bar of soap, and a towel.
The average number of items in the typical woman’s bathroom is 337. A man would not be able to identify more than 20 of these items.
A woman has the last word in any argument.
Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.
A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.
A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.
A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn’t.
A man marries a woman expecting that she won’t change, but she does.
A woman will dress up to go shopping, water the plants, empty the trash, answer the phone, read a book, and get the mail.
A man will dress up for weddings and funerals.
Men wake up as good-looking as they went to bed.
Women somehow deteriorate during the night.
Ah, children. A woman knows all about her children. She knows about dentist appointments and romances, best friends, favorite foods, secret fears and hopes and dreams.
A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in the house.

A married man can forget his mistakes. There’s no use in two people remembering the same thing!

Oh how I wish…


I was American… they have all the best TV shows… sorry Political Candidates hitting their TV screens.  Why should us Brits miss out?  We have DishFace Cameron and Georgie Porgy Pudding and Pie telling us we have to have more austerity measures thrust upon us…  We have to watch Cameron tell us he is on top of immigration… yet you lovely American people have all the fun.

What with Donald Trump telling the world his hair is real

And now Kanye West seeking Presidential Election in 2020… who would’ve thought it.

Can you imagine it Kim Kardashian being First Lady and ‘I Am Cait – 5 years on’ being beamed from the White House?

This is the best comedy show to hit our screens… and to think we will have at least 5 seasons of ‘Kayne for President’ to endure.

I’m loving it…. :D :D :D :D :D :D It is better than Boris on a good day :D :D :D :D

How long…

Today this world has suffered 3 terrorists attacks, one in France, one in Kuwait and now 27 people, including holiday makers from 6 different nationalists, killed whilst being on holiday in Tunisia.

Or as being reported in France, for just  being  the boss of the terrorist.

But do you know what is the most scariest thing going?

How long before non-Muslims, start looking at the local Muslim lad serving them in their local shop and start to question whether one day he will become a terrorist and start to distrust them?

How long before we start looking at the Muslim travelling on the train and sitting by us, and start to wonder if he is carrying a bomb in his backpack?

How long before we start to look differently at our Muslim neighbours?

How long before we start to alienate Muslims and refuse to be friends with them?

How long before the majority of people start to tarnish all Muslims with the same brush?

And the most scariest part is how long is it before that alienated Muslim, who we have turned against and shown distrust to, turns to the likes of ISIS?

The solution to this problem lies within the Muslim community… through education, understanding and encouraging that young Muslim to teach others that Islam is a gentle faith and for every Muslim to encourage unite his fellow Muslims and to publicly condemn ISIS and their barbaric ways. And for that young Muslim by teaching other young Muslims that look up to him… that ISIS and its kind is nothing but a disease.

A disease that needs to be eradicated.

We have to encourage and praise the young Muslim that stands up to the radical preacher on the street.  We have to encourage that young Muslim when he stops radicalisation from being carried out in his name and when he stops another person from running off to ISIS.

Guns, bombs and boots on the ground won’t do it… education will… but not education conducted by Governments, but education conducted by the young Muslim men that ISIS so wants to recruit.  We have to help the disgruntled Muslim to understand that slaughtering people is not the way to improve things… and that is not how democracy works.

And it has to be done, not tomorrow or next year, it has to be done today… before there is a big divide between non-Muslims and Muslims, Before there is them and us.  And above all, it has to be done  for humanity’s sake.

My thoughts and prayers today are with all those who have lost someone dear to them and to those that have loved ones injured, in these cold blooded killings today.

Know your car warning lights..

Love one of the comments on this….

I just put stickers over the lights when they come on…then I have glow stickers

Holiday of a lifetime – Part 3


San Francisco (Free Day)

Today was our one and only free day in San Francisco… which is a shame really because I would have loved to have met up with some photographers who I have got to respect online, people like Laura Macky and Dan Shehan.  But unfortunately this time it wasn’t to be.

That is the thing when you read in the brochures about the holiday, you think you have more time in places than you really have.  We could have easily spent another couple of days in San Francisco, because even though we packed a lot in during our one free day, there was still more we could have done.

The two places that I wanted to visit again, was the Palace of Fine Arts and to stop this time at the Conservatory of Flowers and go in and have a look.  The other half wanted to visit the Haight District again and go down to Fisherman’s wharf.

But the one thing I wanted to do above all was to ride on a cable car… and by luck the California Street terminus was just around the corner from our hotel… so that morning after another wonderful breakfast at the New Village Cafe.. we headed to the cable car stop, after purchasing a $17 dollar daily pass to ride on all the public transport we could fit in. :D :D

That bus pass proved invaluable, because it is $6 dollars each to ride on the cable cars and we did two of them and $2.55 to get on a bus no matter where you went.

Now that was another adventure trying to find the bus stops… but we managed and finally we sussed out that the bus stops were at the corner of blocks and not in the middle like we are used to.  And one of the people on the trip told us, when we had left, that he had worked out that the bus stops had a red marking on the kerb stone.

So first stop cable car, then bus to Palace of Fine Arts (which is my favourite place I have to say), then back on the bus down to the Conservatory of Flowers, a walk through Golden Gate Park and the Pan Handle, a stroll around the Haight district and then back to Fisherman’s wharf for dinner.

San Francisco is a lovely city… my only regret is that we never saw the Golden Gate Bridge without the fog and mist surrounding it….  And it was taking me some time to get used to going into bars and tabs being set up straight away.

I bet those waitresses at times thought here we have another thick Brit… because I was there with my dollars, which I didn’t have a clue about, ready to pay as soon as I had ordered.

As we strolled around Pier 41 and Pier 39, I think it was on Pier 39 that there was some seals basking on wooden boards floating in the sea… crowds were amassing and watching the side show of one seal refusing to allow any seal on his half of the wooden board.  Every time this particular seal tried to slide on the board he would whoosh him with his flipper and that was it he had knocked him for six back into the sea.

We had to laugh though, because whilst he was preoccupied with this one seal trying to muscle in on his board, another had  sneaked in behind him… mind you when he realised what had happened was their a set to… the crowds were roaring with laughter.    To be honest I think he was playing to the crowds because when the noise from the crowds lessened he got up to some more antics…. what an attention seeker he was. :D :D :D

That evening we decided to get a light snack locally and knew that we had a very early start the very next morning…. our cases had to be outside our rooms by 5.15 am and we were on the coach at six heading for Oakland station to get the train to Merced.

Already I was missing San Francisco….. and one day I hope to return but this time I will spent far more time there… and hopefully catch up with Laura and Dan xx

Sorry Foxy…


jjBut fighting ISIS is not like taking on the Nazis… I give you war is war… but war is not like the films make it out to be… all guts and glory.  In war innocent people die… and in order to fight a war you have to have men to do it… We already have a depleted Army, Navy and Air Force… what then, should these men die on the front line… call-ups… young boys sent to the front line to fight a war that will only cause more hatred to the West.

You say in your column yesterday the following:

But to go to war against IS, Boko Haram, Al Shebaab and Al Qaeda would give them exactly what they want – a crusade that would recruit more to their cause, and form the caliphate they crave.

You then go on to say, we can’t ignore it and we can’t build a wall… but what is the alternative?  Because you say

The simple truth is that doing nothing is not much of an option. We will have to fight them one day, and the sooner we start the sooner it’s done.

So how do we fight them… we can only fight them through education… teaching young Muslims that taking up arms is not the way to solve your problems…

You can’t even liken fighting the Nazis to fighting ISIS, simply because we were fighting a nation back in those wars.  We were fighting the Germans… we weren’t fighting a religion that had been taken to radicalised extremest extent.

When we fought the war in World War II we were fighting the German people and Hitler… In 1939 German nationals living in Britain were given classes and some were segregated into interment camps…  Those that were categorised as class A were put in internment camps and not allowed out… class B internees were also put in camps but had restrictions against them but they could leave the camps… class C German nationals were free to go and not deemed a risk.

In 1940 the authorities rounded up all Class B German nationals and placed them into internment camps and took away their rights to freedom.

The Daily Mail orchestrated a campaign for people to sack German nationals… German people, people who didn’t agree with Hitler, lost their jobs and their freedoms, in the end many were exported to Canada and Australia.  The same happened to Italian internees when they sided with Hitler.

The poll at the end of your article reads as of today the 80% of people think we should go to war with ISIS.


Only in the news recently, we have had teenage girls runaway to Syria to marry ISIS fighters, we have seen married men crying because their wives have gone to Syria to join ISIS and taken these men’s children with them.

How many more will turn to ISIS should we decide to go to war?  How many people will try to get to Syria because they are seeing innocent Muslim women and children being killed?  How many will turn to a extremist radicalised view and make their way to Syria to fight with ISIS?

And the most frightening part is not from those that go to Syria or Iraq to fight with ISIS but those that stay behind and bring carnage to our streets.  We have seen a soldier slaughtered on our streets, should be go to war how long will it be before Sylvia is slaughtered on our streets?

Or do we do what the British Government did back in 1939, intern all Muslim people, because we don’t know which ones now will become radicalised do we? So will we have to intern them all, just to be on the safe side?

Back in the second world war, some local authorities took away council houses that were rented to German nationals… is that what we do should we go to war with ISIS?  Take away council houses from Muslim people?  What about those that have businesses and own their own home?  Do we intern these people and sell off their assets to pay for a war?

Going to war is not an option… and those 80% of people who think going to war is … really do need to think outside the box and how our lifestyle will change drastically.  What about the British Muslim that wants to fight with us and fight against ISIS, do we say ‘No’ just in case?  What about the Muslims already in our forces?  Do we intern them and remove them from our forces?

Because this war isn’t about nation against nation… is it is about an extremist group who have taken the Islamic faith and turned it into a barbaric way of life. And people who don’t abide by that way of life will die.  This war is about religion and how one religion should rule the earth. This time we are fighting a religion albeit one that has been taken totally out of context by nutters.

ISIS are tapping into the mindset of young people and ISIS know damn well that if we go to war with them… they can cause more damage here by getting the message to young Muslims who feel they don’t have a chance, that they are not needed to fight in Syria but they are needed to cause carnage in Britain. And Sylvia from Bracknell will lose her head.

This war will only be won by education… teaching young Muslims that there is an alternative to ISIS and I think this comment from one of your commentators on your Facebook page… sums it up perfectly:

I’m not very well informed on these matters, but what i think we are witnessing is not IS at war with the west but with Islam itself. Could this be the beginning of a reformation of this relatively young religion ? Islam needs to die and be reborn so it can survive in the modern age. Those that can facilitate this is the young forward thinking “moderate” muslims who can lead and educate the rest. Boots on the ground, guns, bombs etc are just a symptom of cataclysmic change. It’s now those seeds need to be planted if we are going to see the results in many generations time.

We can’t deal with ISIS overnight… it is going to take ‘moderate’ Muslims to get this message across and to teach other people that backing ISIS is turning their religion into something it is not…

Young moderate Muslims and proper border control, security services – even if it means giving up a little bit of our own privacy – is the only way to fight ISIS.

This time around troops, bullets and bombs won’t work.

And we need to face up to the fact that we created this bloody mess in the first place.  When we invaded Iraq.  Let’s be honest since we took out Saddam, the whole region has destabilised.  Yes he was brutal to his people, yes he was barbaric and no better than ISIS, but we took him and his government out and left the power vacuum there for every nutter to fight for.

Holiday of a lifetime – Part 2


San Francisco


Well after a 10½ hour flight we landed safety in San Francisco.  The flight was lovely and as we flew over Greenland and Iceland out of the window I captured these lovely snowy mountains.

Some people decided to catch a few hours sleep whilst flying… me I was too excited and was just admire the view from the aircraft window.  The Airbus A380 was a beautiful plane to fly on.

Mind you there is a lot to be desired with regards to the food that is served by British Airways… aircraft food hasn’t really improved as it.  But on saying that when we eventually got talking to another couple on our holiday who flew by Virgin.. they told us what their meals were and how they got cream cakes and teas.. and how I wish we had flown Virgin.

San Francisco is normally renowned for having a slow customs procedure and it can take up to an hour standing in a queue to go through immigration.  We had luck on our side that day and there was only our plane going through immigration and the queue wasn’t bad at all.  In fact our tour guide did say this is quickest she’d been through immigration.

It wasn’t long before our suitcases arrived at the carousel and then off to find our coach that was to take us to the Holiday Inn on Van Ness, in the heart of San Francisco.

The sun was shining, and even though it was now gone two in the morning our time, I was as fresh as a daisy, all excited like a child at Christmas.

We were staying at the Holiday Inn for 3 nights, which gave us 2 full days in San Francisco, our first day was taken up with a pre arranged guide of the city and and a boat trip to Alacatraz in the afternoon.

On the night of our arrival, our tour guide Juila (a lovely lady, so friendly and helpful and a credit to Great Train Journeys) took us on a walkabout.  She had booked us all in for dinner at 9pm at the Grubstake Diner just around the corner from our hotel in Pine Street.  She only walked us around the block and showed us where New Village Cafe was if we wanted breakfast.  Where the cable car terminus was in California Street and where Walgreens was, which was a shot that sold just about everything.

©Grubstake Diner

Then it was off to the Grubstake Diner for our evening meal and for us all to get a chance to get to know each other.  For the next 15 days, we would be travelling in a group and I do have to say that our group was brilliant.

The restaurant was set inside an old train car… it was run by Portuguese people and they offered a wide range of dishes.  We settled for American Burgers and our meal was served hot and plentiful.  The service was friendly, but soon the tiredness creeped in… in our time terms it was now 4 in the morning.. (isn’t there a song there) and after the meal we headed back to the hotel.

New Village Cafe
©Google Maps

The next morning, we decided to go the the New Village Cafe for breakfast… the cafe our tour guide had recommended.  As we were meeting at 9 am for our guided tour of San Francisco… we were up and down at the New Village Cafe by 7.30 am.

Hubby had the full breakfast and I just wanted toast… The owner of the cafe was friendly and he asked what I wanted my toast make with… white bread, wheat bread, sourdough bread (a speciality of San Francisco).  I asked for white, Julia our Tour Guide was in the cafe at the same time and said try the sourdough but I stuck with the white, just to be on the safe side.

It wasn’t long before our food was served and boy did his breakfast look delicious, and again it was plentiful… oh boy they do big portions in the States… your waistline is not going to be same again… I can assure you. Within seconds of serving our breakfast the owner arrived with two slices of toasted sourdough bread free of charge for us to try.  And that is one thing I did find hard to get accustomed too, and that was them keeping filling your cup up with coffee.  Here, back in the UK, if you want more coffee you pay for it… in the States, they are forever topping your cup up.

I took one bite into this sourdough bread and I was hooked… it was lovely… and I am not one for putting jam on toast, but they do serve Welch’s Grape Jelly in portions that you can put on your toast.  It was delicious… and I do wish they sold it back here in the UK.  If anybody knows where I can buy Welch’s grape Jelly back here in the UK, please post a comment and let me know.

We then strolled back to our hotel and met up with the group and then boarded the coach for our Guide Tour of San Francisco.  Our tour guide for the trip was Steve and he was lovely… talk about laugh a minute… he had us in stitches.  On the coach we toured around the streets of San Francisco and he asked us where we wanted to be taken.  Laura Macky had told me once to visit the Palace of Fine Arts so I asked Steve if we could do a stop there… and he agreed to it.


One of the well known landmarks is Crooked Street and boy is it crooked and steep.  The coach dropped us off near the top of Crooked street and we took a stroll down … It was beautiful… and did it make your knees ache as you tried to stop yourself from running down…

He took us to many places, some we stopped at and others we just saw from the coach… but as we had a free day the next day, he told us where we might want to revisit.  He did take us to the Palace of Fine Arts, and we stopped for a while just to take a couple of shots and then it was back on the bus, to our next stop.  I can’t remember what ordered we visited places, but I do know we stopped at the Hamon Observation Tower and headed up to the top to take a look of downtown San Francisco.

As the coach went through the Golden Gate park he told us about the Conservatory of Flowers and Golden Gate Park is just beautiful.  We drove through Presidio, Russian Hill, the Haight District (remember the 60’s) and we even went through a part of Paciffic Heights.  He told us to steer clear of the Tenderloin area on our free day but the rest of San Francisco is fine for us to wander around in.

We also drove over the Golden Gate Bridge, but unfortunately the mist was coming in.. and it wasn’t in clear view.  San Francisco we found had very many mini climates… one minute you were in a location that was warm and hot, the next you were being blown to bits, like it was when we visited the Golden Gate Bridge. We stopped at a place just on the other side of the bridge and got a wonderful view of the Bay and the mist rolling in.

There are many sites and places in San Francisco to visit and I was taking a mental note of where I wanted to go on our free day.  Our tour ended at Pier 39 around lunch-time and we were shown where Pier 33 was, which was our meeting place to get the boat over to Alcatraz in the afternoon.

Steve even got the driver of the coach to show us where the bus stop was for the 47 bus back to Van Ness, and by luck the bus top was directly opposite our hotel.

When we left the coach we spent some time on our own for lunch and we were to meet at Pier 33 at a certain time in order to catch the boat across.  The afternoon was free… after our tour of Alcatraz… we could catch the boat back when we wished bearing in mind the last sailing time, and our tour guide was returning on the 4.15 pm boat, so we opted for that one.

I didn’t like the boat ride to Alcatraz…the waters were choppy and I am not a water person.. Getting to Alcatraz involves walking up a steep hill… if you have any disabilities they do run a buggy service to the top.  Already my hip and knees were giving me jip so I took the buggy to the top and hubby walked…

Alcatraz to me seemed cold, but one thing me and him kept doing was thinking about the film ‘The Rock’ with Nicholas Cage and Sean Connery… and comparing the film to the actual place.  My god I would have hated being a prisoner in that place…  and some of the cells have been restored to show you exactly what they were like.  We strolled around Alcatraz and then then headed back to the mainland.

We took a walk back to Pier 39 and then onto the 47 bus eventually… and back to the hotel.  It has been a long day, so in the evening we decided to find a place to eat close to the hotel and we had a walk through the streets of San Francisco.

So tonight then..

The Real Victim

If I decide to down a few bottles of booze, smoke skunk cannabis and get high on cocaine and continue on this lifestyle for a few months then decide to chop the heads off of my dogs and the old man… I will be classed as insane and not a murderer?  Because that is what has happened today Nicholas Salvador has been found NOT GUILTY of murder due to insanity.

Psychiatrists for the prosecution and defence told the jurors at the Old Bailey that Salvador had paranoid schizophrenia.  So if I too decided to do the same carnage after months of self-inflicted drug and alcohol abuse, I too should be classed as insane and suffer from paranoid schizophrenia.

One of the possible causes of schizophrenia can be Drug Abuse… The NHS Website states:

Drug abuse

Drugs do not directly cause schizophrenia, but studies have shown drug misuse increases the risk of developing schizophrenia or a similar illness.

Certain drugs, particularly cannabis, cocaine, LSD or amphetamines, may trigger symptoms of schizophrenia in people who are susceptible. Using amphetamines or cocaine can lead to psychosis and can cause a relapse in people recovering from an earlier episode.

Three major studies have shown teenagers under 15 who use cannabis regularly, especially “skunk” and other more potent forms of the drug, are up to four times more likely to develop schizophrenia by the age of 26.

Yes Salvador may be in Broadmoor hospital at the moment but in a few years maybe months when he can’t get the drugs, the skunk and the booze he will be well on the road to what experts call, recovery.   He won’t be insane, he will have proven that he is now well and no longer a danger to society.  Even though the Judge said he would be there for many years in Broadmoor, the reality is he might not be.  Then a few bloody bureaucrats sitting there will see a sane man, remorseful for what he did and decide it is time to integrate him back into society. ‘Here you go mate, take the meds, stay off of the drugs and booze and you will be OK’.  Is that the logical way of thinking about this case?

Most definitely not.

“Mental disorders are neither necessary, nor sufficient causes of violence”Source

No matter how you look at it… there is a high probability that his cause of schizophrenia was caused by his lifestyle and if that is the case then he should be held accountable for his actions and should never be put into the path of temptation again.  And that is what being free will give him.. the easy access to booze and drugs.  It was his decision to smoke ‘Skunk’, it was his decision to take cannabis and it was his decision to ply himself with booze.

Once a drug addict always a drug addict… you might become clean and not touch drugs but the urge when times get rough to head straight to the nearest drug dealer are at times uncontrollable and before  some drug users know it they are back on the drugs.  Back down that slippery road where they will do whatever they have to in order to get their next fix.

The same goes for alcoholics, once an alcoholic always an alcoholic.  One drink will lead to another and before you know it you are off of the wagon… and back to being a full-blown alcoholic.

Nobody is denying that Salvador needs treatment… and he should be sent to a psychiatric hospital like Broadmoor, but he should also have to face the consequences of his actions.

So in a few years, should Salvador ever be released and once integrate back into society and things don’t go as planned or he decides to hit the bottle, smoke skunk and do a bit of cocaine, who could his next victim be… me, you, your mother, your partner, your child?  Who?

Haven’t we learnt from the tragic death of Jonathon Zito. His killer, Clunis was a paranoid schizophrenic with a violent background, who ended up murdering in cold blood Jon Zito.

The inquiry found:

…..that hospitals and social services failed to contact his family or GP, repeatedly treated admissions as separate incidents, failed to check his false claims that he abused drugs, and discharged him from hospital when he was not ready because of pressure on beds, or to save money.

The report catalogues ‘a whole series of violent attacks’ by Clunis over four years, often involving knives or cutlery. Just eight days before he killed Mr Zito, he attacked and injured a man with a screwdriver in north London and later the same day terrified a group of adults and children by chasing them round a street brandishing a screwdriver.

Salvador, should never be set free…. but he will be, eventually.  The true victims of this horrendous crimes have been forgotten.  Our justice system stinks… and I honestly think if I was sitting on that jury I could not have found this man not guilty due to insanity.  He was bloody sane when he bought the drugs, the skunk and booze which are probably the causes of his schizophrenia.  Rest in Peace Mrs Palmira Silva.. you didn’t get the justice you deserved today.  My thoughts are with your family and friends at this sad time.

The Real Victim
The Real Victim

And before all the do-gooders start shouting about how I don’t understand mental illness, let me tell you, there are many people who struggle on a daily basis with being schizophrenic but they don’t go around harming other people.

Today’s verdict was a cop-out… and just remember, he might admit causing her death, but you can never call him a murderer or killer, because technically in the eyes of the law to do so, could be classed as libelling this gentleman… simply because he hasn’t been convicted.  Ironic isn’t it… who is the law protecting in this case… it definitely isn’t the innocent victim is it?