Friday, September 26, 2014

What is it about the way we communicate these days?



During the past few days I've read several articles on the Wales Online website about men who have got in trouble for propositioning young women [some have been under age] either online on Facebook or by mobile phone text. 

Each one of these men were in positions of responsibility.  Yet, they chose to lower their professional boundaries by sending explicit messages to the young women.  One even sent a photograph of a certain part of his anatomy.

And it's not just men who do this either, I also read on the Daily Mail website of a nurse who sent explicit texts to a diabetic patient.

Whether they had said these things in person or by text, social media or email, they were still wrong and left behind damning evidence that helped convict them.  It's not just people who are teachers and in professional positions who do this, but sometimes people who bombard their exes with hundreds of text messages, in a form of stalking.

See articles here:

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/driving-instructor-who-begged-young-7832005

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/teacher-guilty-gross-misconduct-after-7834646

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2770188/You-yummy-sexy-married-nurse-sent-diabetic-patient-torrent-flirty-texts-treatment-GP-practice.html

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/stalker-husband-jailed-bombarding-estranged-7781592

When I was on Facebook I noticed there was a tendency for some members of the opposite sex to contact me sometimes leaving lewd comments in my inbox.  These were often men I knew in the real world who I feel would have been unlikely to say these things to my face had I not been on that social network.  More often than not, if they didn't stop after a warning, I'd have to block them.  

So what is it that makes people think it's permissible to do this kind of thing especially as they leave a trail of evidence behind?  Is it drink fuelled?  Is it the fact that social media, mobile phone messages, emails etc are so rapid getting to the other person, that they send that kind of message on impulse and later regret it?  Yet, that can't always be so as most of the people who get convicted appear to have sent a series of messages over a number of days.

I found a good way to cope with those pests online, I've started copying and pasting their 'private messages' to me and posting them back on their own walls for everyone to see.  I never did it on Facebook [I now wish I had!] but now have left but I'm doing it on the Interpals site.  It's supposed to be a pen pal site but some people have other ideas.   I did it to someone the other day and he was shocked and said, "Why did you do that?"  This man was 25 years old.  I replied, "Because you wouldn't like it if a young man of your age sent a message like that to your mother!"  

I think it taught him a lesson and I've had no trouble from him since.   I might try it again sometime.  The thing that fuels these people is the fact they are being explicit in private to you, or maybe they THINK they're being private but as those court cases prove in those news paper articles, in the end their messages end up being very public indeed.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The American Mink



I've been reliably informed that the beautiful, sleek, black creature in my garden, spotted a few days ago, is actually an American Mink.  Apparently they're found near rivers and bad news for wildlife.  There is a river in this area, The River Taff, but it's not that near to my house, so it did seem odd to see one in my back garden running on the decking.

So, how do American Mink end up in the UK, you might ask? 

Apparently, they were released into the wild here from Mink Farms by Animal rights protestors years ago and are thriving big time since they don't have predators themselves.

This is an interesting clip where Bill Oddie talks about them:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/American_Mink#p007vcjx

Friday, September 19, 2014

More than six weeks have passed...



It's been more than six weeks since I left Facebook.   I don't regret it for a second and I'll tell you why...

Last night I went to function, actually it was a comedy evening at the restored town hall.  It was a great night, three wonderful comedians and there was a licenced bar!!!

Anyhow, there were a couple of people there who had once been 'Facebook Friends' but I don't think either of them would have come over to me and introduced themselves or even smiled and said 'hello'.   Most friends on Facebook are not friends at all.  Yet, they are privy to our photographs and thoughts.

Since leaving Facebook, I'm writing a lot and reading a lot, I'm also able to concentrate more on other pursuits instead of checking in on my Facebook page.  The best thing is that the people who are real friends are making an effort to stay in touch.

One of the comedians last night mentioned how his sister-in-law got up his nose on Facebook.  She'd sent him a friend request, which he felt he had to accept not to upset her.   Then she started updating her status, "I can't believe I'm going to Turkey in a couple of weeks!",  then a few days later, "I can't believe I'm going to Turkey next week!".  Then the day before it was, "I can't believe I'm going to Turkey tomorrow!".  Followed by, "I can't believe I'm at the airport!", "I can't believe I'm actually sitting on the plane!" and then it was "I can't believe I'm actually in Turkey!"

He thought that would be the end of it.  But she carried on updating her status on holiday, "I can't believe I'm sunbathing by the pool!" etc,   It drove him up the wall.

When she got home she posted, "I can't believe I'm back home!"

Then it was, "I can't believe this time last week I was sitting by the pool in Turkey!"

So he commented, "I can't believe you're still updating your status about your holiday to Turkey!"

I've no idea if this story is authentic or not but I have seen similar things posted on Facebook, so it does ring true.

At the end of the day, Facebook is about people trying to make out their lives are great and other people liking their 'Facebook Lives'.

Apparently there are around 43 million selfies posted on Facebook every day of the week.  That's an awful lot of posing and showing off!  I've done it myself, posted a selfie and then viewed all the likes and comments.

We wouldn't run out into the street and shout to our neighbours, "Look at the cake I just baked!  Do you like it?"  Then shove an iced vanilla sandwich under their noses!   Or alternatively we wouldn't take a photograph of ourselves and give one to each of our friends and hope they'll tell us they like it.

I think Facebook gives us a feeling of importance and pride that isn't real.   Maybe it helps to bolster fragile self esteems?  I know I felt far more popular on Facebook than in real life.  People often came up to me in town on a Saturday when I was shopping in my home town saying, "You're Lynette from the Rat Pack, aren't you?"  [I used to run a Facebook group called, The Merthyr Rat Pack].   I was always pleased to meet them and the group was great, I even arranged social gatherings.    That is the biggest thing I miss is that group, but it's continuing without me and I'm glad of that as people use Facebook for different reasons.

But this is just my view of the social network site, other people might have more positive things to say from their view point.

I had one Facebook friend who was constantly updating her status and Tweeting it at the same time, so her day would go something like this...

"Debating whether to read my book in bed with the cup of coffee hubby just brought me before he goes to work..."

"Whew just got the kids off to school and pegged the washing out.  Put in another load.   Now to tackle the mountain of ironing..."

"Two thousand words of novel in progress written, now to walk the dog."

"Lunch then meeting friends for coffee."

"Came up with new character for novel while waiting for kids to come out of school"

"Whipped up a dessert for tonight's evening meal"

"Publisher just got in touch, has offered me a series of books"

"Wonderful meal with husband and kids"

"Just got handed glass of bubbly from hubby as I relax in bath..."

The person in question is a lovely lady and deserves all her success but seeing all the constant updates made me feel that my life was somehow inadequate.  She always 'appeared' to be highly motivated and successful, yet I suspect she had bad days like the rest of us but never, ever, showed a chink in her armour.

Her life seemed so perfect.  Yet, was it?

On Facebook I tried to post positive things and often posted links to songs and interesting articles, but think if I was constantly updating my status it would sound more like this:

"Got out of bed to find sink full of dishes, husband not cleared up after himself yet again..."

"Feeling rough.  Shouldn't have drunk that fifth glass of wine last night..."

"Trying to summon up the energy to take the dog for a walk..."

"Publisher is a pain in the neck, either not answering my emails or barking orders..."

"Just got a rejection for my novel from yet another publisher..."

"Didn't have time to make something special for hubby's tea tonight, especially as he left a mess behind in the kitchen this morning.  Blow it, cheese on toast will have to do..."

"Oh heck...why did I drink all that wine last night?   Nothing to drink tonight now..."

Okay, I'm exaggerating, but you get my drift.  No doubt the Facebook friend's life probably wasn't a lot better than mine.   Maybe the truth of it is our lives fall somewhere in between what I've posted here.  Maybe mine is quite a bit better than I described and hers not quite as perfect as it appears every day.

More and more younger people are now leaving Facebook and using Instagram instead.   I think in all honesty, Facebook has had its day and if I was still there I might post a link to this blog post to see how many people liked it lol.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Pole cat or Ferret


video

This little chap appeared in my garden today and gave me quite a fright as I've never seen anything like this in my garden before.  My first guess is that it's a pole cat but it could even be a black ferret I suppose.  He seemed quite timid and kept disappearing down the decking!

Friday, September 05, 2014

Great Review for 'Black Diamonds' [historical romance]



I was thrilled to receive a wonderful review from Welsh author, Gwen Madoc, for my historical romance, 'Black Diamonds'.

BLACK DIAMONDS by Lynette Rees
 
In her novel BLACK DIAMONDS Lynette Rees evokes powerfully the lives of the people of a Welsh mining village in the South Wales Valleys in the mid nineteenth century. The story is based on actual historical events in Merthyr Tydfil, when just before Christmas 1865 an explosion at Gethin Pit at Abercanaid overwhelmed the entire community with grief.

Lily Jenkin is a young heroine with passion, fortitude and courage, who struggles with the uncertainties of life in a mining community where the loss of loved ones from cholera or injury and death at the pit, and the subsequent heartache and poverty that results, are ever present possibilities.

Rees reveals the background and atmosphere of this particular era with depth and richness. Her characters spring off the page brimming with life. We feel strongly their grief and despair; their loves and hates. And also their hopes, and these feelings, together with the strength and variety of the characters, remain with the reader long after the book is read.

Rees takes the reader through the many twists and unexpected turns of the story with skill so that the pace of the novel never flags, creating a page-turner.

There is a great deal of warmth and emotion in the novel which reveals the true nature of the Welsh peoples. Highly recommended.
 
Reviewed by Gwen Madoc author of
NO CHILD OF MINE and
DAUGHTER OF SHAME