Clare Flourish

Dislike of trans women; discomfort around trans women, believed to be a problem with the trans woman rather than something the misogynist should just deal with. On a facebook Quaker group, someone posted how shocking it was that a Quaker meeting house hosted a talk by “A Woman’s Place”, which campaigns against gender recognition. Other people said the opinions of AWP were perfectly reasonable.

Someone objects to me in the women’s loos, not because of anything objectionable I have done, just because of what I am. Why is that my problem? It is far worse when they object to the mere idea of me. They have never actually seen a trans woman in a woman’s loo, but fear they might, or even it’s that if one is there it’s horrible. If a trans woman uses a loo in an otherwise empty building, are all trans-excluders still outraged?

Most of what…

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How Fascism Takes Over

Whistling In The Wind

Have you ever watched a historical documentary or perhaps a Second World War movie and wondered how the fascists ever took over? How did they convince people to follow them? How did they reshape a nation in their mould? How could anyone support that kind of hatred? Why weren’t they stopped, why did more people not stand up to them? Have you ever wondered what you would have done if you were in that situation? Surely you would have stood up to them, right? Surely they would have no appeal to people like you?

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What can men (and women) do against such reckless hate?

This clip has being going round and round in my head over the last few days. The answer?
“Ride out.
Ride out and meet them.”

It feels strange to be saying this here because, on the surface, armed horsemen charging out of their stronghold into the midst of Saruman’s army have nothing to do with either Quakers or beads. And yet… I feel it is vital that we disappointed Remainers don’t seal ourselves off from the rest of the UK but that we do “ride out” fearlessly and meet our apparent opposites.
Meet them in dialogue, meet them in friendship, keep building bridges.

I know that’s hard to do when it hurts but these are still the same people we stood next to in the bus queue or the supermarket on Wednesday. People who care about their families and their country as much as we do. And, importantly, not every Leave voter is a racist.

Now I’m recovering from the initial shock, my hunch is that many Leavers may get very disappointed when it becomes clear that many of the promises given can’t be delivered. Remainers already know that, so we have the chance to think ahead, to find ways of making it work. Not to say I told you so but for the sake of us all.

It’s important in our bridge building to stay open to what we can learn from those we talk to, those who seem different from us. One of my favourite Quaker sayings is “think it possible you may be mistaken”. It is an ever present possibility. Am I open to my own thinking being changed?

As I was thinking how to express myself here, my daughter sent me a link to yesterday’s statement from Friends House which sums it up much better than I ever could.

Remainers or Leavers, can we turn this situation to good? Can we find ways of taking this revelation of the extent of disaffection and addressing the causes in the interests of greater understanding and unity in these islands and across the world?

Tacky Beads (again!)

I’ve written before about tacky beads (or, rather, beads I dislike) working up into something pleasing. So I shouldn’t be surprised when it happens  but, yet again, I am.


DSCN0923 (2)Yuk

DSCN0925 (2)Yuk

DSCN0928 (2)Yuckitty Yuk

These are the sort of beads I slide to the bottom of the drawer with a shudder and move on. To be fair, the shiny ones weren’t my choice, just included in one of the monthly bead club packets I’ve mentioned before. The round ones are something semiprecious, I can’t remember which but, seriously, what was I thinking? The opaque facets are just evil but hold on…

They actually work quite well together. I might even be enjoying this piece?DSCN0931 (2)


And here’s the finished bracelet. I’m pleased with it and, for the right person, it will be the right thing at the right time.DSCN0932 (2)

Following one’s instincts

Waking early this morning to the sound of the birds bopping around, a new project and surprising colourway jumped into my head. Surprising because I’ve had this packet of firepolished beads for some time but don’t actually like them very much. Opaque’s not really my thing. So I kept the idea at the back of my mind until the alarm went off, then got up to try it out.

And, of course, it’s really pleasing
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When will I ever learn? I know this stuff at head level but sometimes it takes my heart and soul a while to catch up. I missed a trick last week, when I was introduced to the first series of The Killing, spotting the perpetrator very early on but allowing myself to be swept away among the shoal of red herrings.

So in future I’ll be trusting my gut feelings more, even when they don’t seem to make sense. Maybe I’ll “wait” with them for a while, as we Quakers say, to see what happens. But when I know it’s time for action I’ll be out there, just watch me.

A glorious mess

On my beading mat this morning are some cabochons and cameos for brooches and pendants.


But before anything can get to even a half finished state (and I work on several at a time) it’s necessary to fetch out all my seed beads to draw on.


So with this lot spread out all over my tiny craft space, and a drawer of crystals added to the mix, things look pretty disorganised to the outsider at the moment. Luckily I have a long suffering and supportive husband who knows from experience that putting up with my mess in the sitting room results in a batch of pieces he feels proud of and a very happy me. Until the carpet starts crunching underfoot – but that’s another story.


The laugh’s on me

I’m a sporadic member of a Bead Club. This means that, once a year or so, I sign up for a six month subscription and receive a packet of beads once a month. It always includes a tube of size 15/o Japanese seed beads, another of size 11/o and two tubes of size 8/o. In addition, there’s a string of 4mm Czech firepolished facets and a “surprise” item. All great for expanding my colour range and excellent value for £7 a month including postage. Except for the occasional shock:

DSCN0331 (2)

Metallic Gold 8/o

Yer-avvin-a-larff, I thought, as my jaw hit the floor. Not only was there one tube of the things but TWO, being size 8/o and all.  “Tacky” is the only word I can find to describe them. Everybody knows I don’t do bling, so the only solution was to shove the little beasts out of sight and try to forget the horror.

Fast forward a couple of weeks… I’m weaving a batch of nine-bead Russian Spiral rope necklaces to help with Woodbrooke’s fundraising and have been badly stuck for something to use with these:

Dark Topaz Frosted AB 8/o

Dark Topaz Frosted AB 8/o

Possibly the most boring beads in my collection, I bought 100g in 2006, used them about twice and they stare accusingly at me every time I open the cupboard. But wait:

DSCN0334 (2)

I can’t begin to express how satisfying this feels. My tacky little friends have lifted their dull companions into a really pleasing piece. I can’t help feeling there’s a life lesson here – something about room for us all, and all of us being necessary.

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