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Grave thoughts

Vulcan on the Bridge
Not that I'm planning on making use of it any time soon but one thing nagging at the back of my mind was the title deeds to the lair in Hawkhill cemetery where my family are buried. This lair was originally bought by my grandfather when my grandmother died and the grave now contains them, my uncle, and the ashes of my parents and my sister. With all the unpleasantness over my mother's will I thought that I was barred from being buried with the rest of my family as the Evil Bitch probably has the title deeds to the lair.

I say probably as I have no idea what has happened to them. The last I saw them was when we were getting my mother's funeral arranged. When the Evil Bitch changed the locks they were one of many things denied to me. I have been visiting the grave regularly but have seen no sign of the Evil Bitch showing any such interest. When it ended up that she got a big fat zero out of the estate she must have lost all interest, especially as she was subsequently made bankrupt (and I guess that was her motivation behind it all). However, I wouldn't have put it past her for her to try to deny me burial with my family just because she's an Evil Bitch. So I decided to look into things.

It turns out that I DO have the right to be buried there as I am the daughter of the family and no Evil Bitch can deny me that. She may well have the title deeds to the grave and it would entail some legal procedure to get them transferred to me but she cannot deny me my right to burial with my family. As I said earlier, I do not plan to make use of this anytime soon but I was a bit upset at the thought that she might stop me. She's caused enough upset as it is. But this she cannot interfere with. In fact I would doubt she even has the deeds now. They were probably binned when she discovered she wasn't making any further money out of my mother.

A redshirt no more.

Vulcan on the Bridge
The idea behind John Scalzi's "Redshirts" is that the characters become aware that their fate is decided upon by the script-writers and so they go in search of them to change the plot and stop further redshirts being killed. I have a similar feeling.

A soap opera, along with every other story, has a beginning, a middle, and an end. I hope I have now reached the end of the soap opera I appear to have been written into. I feel an ending has been reached.

I have now found out that the Evil Bitch who wormed her way into my mother's trust was made bankrupt last year. This is what lay behind the events of two years ago. It was an attempt by the Evil Bitch to acquire funds, by any means, fair or foul, to avoid this happening. She didn't give a damn if she came between my mother and myself, she didn't give a damn that she made the last year of an old lady's life more unpleasant than it needed to have been. An old lady who had already lost her husband and her younger daughter. She didn't give a damn that the memory of my last year with my mother would be tainted with the situation brought about by the Evil Bitch.

I have had too much time to rehash that time, to go over things to see if there was something I could have done better, to see if I really was deserving of being cut out of the will as if I had never existed. Never mind the house, the car etc, I have lost the majority of the bits and pieces that make up the memories of my family. I am glad I managed to rescue the photos and a few other things but there were things that belonged to my grandparents, my sister, my uncle that I do not have. All because of the Evil Bitch. So I am pleased to see that she was made bankrupt. I am not going to feel sorry for her. She deserves it.

I just didn't need to be written into some soap opera, a genre I have no tolerance for. Let this be the ending of the book. I want a new story, one that I like.

Not so sunny Saltcoats by the sea

Vulcan on the Bridge
I went to Saltcoats today. I hired a car via City Car Club (http://www.citycarclub.co.uk/) as that would enable me to go there and back again via Asda for some shopping and still give me time to do other stuff. It's coming up on the 2nd anniversary of my mother's death and therefore I wanted to go down to the cemetery with flowers. I also wanted to see the house once more, although I wasn't sure if this was a good idea or not.

I left Glasgow with the main aim being visiting the cemetery but I had been thinking about seeing how I would cope with seeing the former family home, especially given all the shit I have had to deal with. To recap, said shit being that a "carer" persuaded my mother to change her will, cutting me out of it, and leaving it all to said "carer" or Evil Bitch as I prefer to call her. The Evil Bitch didn't get it all her own way, money was left to 2 charities and after trying to get Legal Aid to challenge the will I claimed my rights under Scottish law. Evil Bitch got a big bill and zero else.

I was in two minds about going to the house, but I soon found myself on the way there. I parked across the road. The house looked much the same as it did, although it's now rented out apparently, after having been sold at auction. (Evil Bitch didn't get the house, although I think that was part of her plans) My plan was to walk about, go along the cycle path behind the house and take a look at the sycamore in the garden. I spent long hours as a child climbing up into this tree and sitting among its branches. It was a pirate ship, a space ship, a refuge, a place just to be.

However, the first person I saw when I got out of the car was the next door neighbour. I hadn't seen her since not long after the funeral at which the Evil Bitch had shouted at me in the street, calling me names after she had discovered I had changed the locks and didn't want her accompanying me in the funeral car. Once the Evil Bitch regained access to the house I didn't go near anymore. So I was able to tell her what had happened with me. She told me how the Evil Bitch and her son would come down to the house after 9.00 am when they thought no one would be about to see them loading their car up with stuff from the house. This stuff was supposedly going to "charity" but both of us severely doubt it and that the only charity to benefit was the Evil Bitch charity.

This was stuff that belonged to my family, to my parents, my sister, my grandparents and the Evil Bitch made off with it. If I had thought that things would go the way they did I could have loaded up my parents big suitcases and taken stuff away myself. But I was trying to be honest and thought that I ought to leave things in place until the legal stuff was sorted. I also naively thought that the Evil Bitch wasn't such an Evil Bitch that she wouldn't give me the opportunity to get personal items. So it's just as well that I did rescue as many photographs as I could find and that I did take some small things with me. But everything else has gone.

After talking to the neighbour I went along the cycle path and managed to see the sycamore and the bluebells around the base. I walked about a bit and then returned to the car, went into central Saltcoats for a wander and then went into Stevenston. I went to the charity shop the Evil Bitch had some involvement with just to see if there was anything there I would recognise. What I would do if I bumped into the Evil Bitch I wasn't sure. However, I saw nothing and there were no unfortunate incidents.

I then went on to the cemetery and eventually returned home. I'm glad I plucked up the courage to go back to the house, I'm glad I bumped into the neighbour. Now that I've got over this difficulty it means I can go back to Saltcoats again. I last walked on the beach on the day I had my last conversation with my mother, before she slipped into that liminal place between life and death. Perhaps I'll be able to walk on the beach once more.

Satellite 4

Vulcan on the Bridge
I had a really good time at Satellite 4, this year's Eastercon which was held in Glasgow. I met up with people I hadn't seen for a while, attended panels and programme items, took part in panels and programme items, and was entertained by a swing band and the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppets. I also drank a lot of real ale and forgot to have lunch on occasion and sat talking till late. I'm looking forward to Loncon 3, this year's Worldcon which is taking place in London in August.

I also volunteered to work in Ops. I did several shifts in Ops over the weekend. This was in spite of unexpected opposition from my ex of seven years who suddenly decided to raise an objection to my doing so. Why he did so after seven years of us being apart I do not know but I did not allow it to put me off doing what I had said I would do. This will not deter me from continuing to work in Ops at Worldcon. And if he doesn't like it, then that's just too bad. The world does not revolve around him.

Stupid, childish behavior aside, it was a really good weekend, really enjoyable and just the break I needed to recharge my batteries. I'm looking forward to Worldcon.

5k day today

Vulcan on the Bridge
I'm doing a 5k today for the Stroke Association today. I'm doing it to raise money for them but I'm also doing it to lay some ghosts. Three years ago I took part in the 5k, a few months after my father died as a result of a stroke and before I realised how needy my mother actually was.

I'm sitting at breakfast in front of the laptop, typing this, just as I was three years ago. A lot has happened in those three years. Someday I will write it all up as I need to do so. But right now I'm still in the middle of processing those events. I think I'm beginning to come out the other side.

Three years ago, during breakfast, I got a call to say that my mother had fallen in the house. I was in Glasgow, committed to taking part in the event, and without my parents' car which would have made it easier for me to return to Saltcoats. On hindsight, maybe I should have dropped everything and gone straight back down. But I felt obliged to take part as people were sponsoring me and I would have felt guilty otherwise. I did feel guilty about taking part but I was in a no win situation , no matter what I did.

Three years on, I'm doing the 5k again. I'm going forward.
Vulcan on the Bridge
I had lunch at the new Hard Rock Cafe in Glasgow yesterday. I won't be back. I was dubious about the place as I had looked at their menu and couldn't see much that was vegetarian. However, my work has a birthday lunch tradition and the new Hard Rock Cafe was the chosen venue.

I had previously tweeted my impression of the menu when the place opened and got several replies from the venue trying to tell me that they did do vegetarian stuff and that I could ask my server about them. I'm not very impressed with places who do not list vegetarian options as part of their normal menu as it gives the impression that they do not do vegetarian food and that they are really not interested in doing any. I don't want to turn up and have to dig for information on what they can cook. Asking me "What would you like?" is not very helpful as how am I supposed to know what they have in their kitchen? This sort of thing usually leads to the really ignorant "We have fish" comments which shows that they haven't a clue, nor do they care.

So, getting back to the Hard Rock Cafe. They apparently don't do the full menu at lunchtimes so all the options they had tweeted at me were not available except for the veggie burger. The two starters were both salads so I asked the server which one was vegetarian. She told me one had Parmesan in it so I went for the other one (due to Parmesan being made with animal rennet).

The salad arrived, it looked good and I began eating. Until I tasted something salty and suspicious. On investigation I discovered bacon sprinkled all through it! What sort of fool puts bacon in a salad? I called the server, asked if what I had found was in fact meat (because not eating it means I do not always recognize it). She went off to the kitchen and came back to confirm that it was. She was extremely apologetic and brought me a fresh salad but the notion had worn off me.

Then it was on to the main course. The veggie burger. Now, I'm a vegetarian because I fundamentally do not like the taste, texture and smell of meat. I should have been vegetarian since birth as I have never liked meat. My parents always had huge battles with me to get me to eat the stuff and when I was old enough to make my own decisions I went vegetarian.

So the Hard Rock's veggie burger was an extremely good effort on their part to pretend to be meat. It smelled like it, looked like it, and tasted like it. There are vegetarians who would probably appreciate that. But not me.

The Hard Rock Cafe was as big a disappointment as I had originally thought it would be. All their tweets about what they could offer vegetarians came to nothing as they weren't offering those options at lunchtime. I'm not impressed.

An exasperated post

Vulcan on the Bridge
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This image caused a bit of a stooshie to break out in a group I am member of. No one thought anything more of it other than what was evident from the image, it's a joke about the fact that Spring needs to hurry up and get here. No one, that is, bar one, who took a completely out of the blue stance accusing the OP of “promoting rape culture” and refusing to listen to any statements to the contrary. Not only that, but they stormed off this particular group and began ranting on another one that they admin, claiming they had thrown people off that group who supported this image and generally throwing a wobbly.

This post isn't about the pros and cons of the image. It was a funny image, one of many hundreds that appear on Facebook on a daily basis. Promoting rape culture was the last thing anyone thought about. This post is about the behaviour of that certain person and how unacceptable I find it.

Back in 2012 I wrote http://rhionnach.livejournal.com/371227.html after a particular discussion on a group. This person decided that my disagreeing with them was a “personal attack” on them and nothing anyone said to them would persuade them otherwise. I have to state here that I was NOT attacking them, personally or otherwise, but that person took it into their head that I was.

She was approached by several people to try to sort the whole situation out. I wanted to let her know I was not attacking her and I wanted to sort things out. But she would not listen to anyone. As she had blocked me on Facebook this led to problems as she was still a member of the group I admin and was still saying things on it. Eventually, after much discussion on the part of others she climbed down sufficiently to unblock me as long as I unposted the above LJ post. So I marked it as “private” so that only I could see it.

A silence descended between us. She would occasionally make comments on discussion threads and I would occasionally respond but on the whole we avoided each other. We had occasions to be at events where we would say nothing to each other. That was fine. Saying nothing at all cannot lead to issues. When I had the opportunity to go on a camping weekend with a particular group I was in two minds about going as it would mean spending an entire weekend in the presence of this person. I decided against going as I really couldn't be arsed with her. I'd only end up with a headache and it would not have been a fun weekend.

However, moving forward to the stooshie over the image above. I was astonished at her behaviour, at the comments made, and at her parting shot as she stormed off the group. If she had legitimate concerns then presenting those concerns in a group-up, adult manner would probably have meant she was listened to and the whole subject could have been discussed. But that is not her way.

This is not the first time she's done this sort of thing. There seems to be a pattern of behaviour where, if you do not toe the line (her line, that is) she will go off on one. We've all seen this sort of thing happen with a lot of people, especially online, where things can so quickly and easily get out of hand. However, my particular objection to her behaviour is that this person is a fairly high up member of an organisation which represents a particular set of beliefs. This person is the person that is asked to comment on areas concerning those beliefs. This person is seen as representing us all, whether we are members of the organisation or not. This person cannot simply go off on one if someone holds a different opinion to the one she holds.

I've got to the point now where I really do not give a damn about upsetting this person. Nothing I do will be right, so why bother? Back in 2012 I was quite horrified at her claims of personal attacks and I did try to sort things out - to no avail. But now, I really do not care. I am fed up of her behaviour. I am shocked that someone holding the position she holds is allowed to get away with this. I think we've all tolerated it for too long. However, it will be up to each person individually to decided if they've had enough of her behaviour and if they want to do anything about it.

Loncon3 membership sorted.

Vulcan on the Bridge
After posting yesterday's comments on my inability to get any response from Loncon3 about my membership it has now been sorted out. I had emailed the convention on several occasions but got no reply until I posted my little rant on Livejournal, Facebook and Twitter.

I did give them time to respond. It's not as if I was hopping up and down in a blind rage because they didn't reply within five minutes of emailing, but I did expect even an acknowledgement that they were looking into it and would get back to me.

I'm very glad I took the booking of my hotel room into my own hands and didn't wait for the convention bookings to open.

Please sort out my Worldcon membership!

Vulcan on the Bridge
I am getting more than a bit annoyed with Loncon 3.

I filled out an installment plan form at Eastercon in Bradford last year. I have made 2 payments on it. I have asked several times to be told what the outstanding balance is. Additionally, they appear to have "lost" my paperwork, according to an email I received.

I want to just pay it all up and get it sorted but I am not getting a reply from anyone!

I really want to go to Loncon so I would really appreciate it if they could please sort it out.

Loncon 3 hotels

Vulcan on the Bridge
I'm very glad I didn't wait around for the Loncon 3 hotel bookings to open up.

I booked the Travelodge back in September when their rates were even cheaper so I'm paying for 5 nights what some are paying for 1 night. I had originally thought of the Premier Inn but it tripled its rates from one week to the next so I went for the Travelodge which means I now have 400 yards to walk to the Excel as opposed to 300 yards. I'm sure I can manage.

As all I need for a con is a decent room with a bed and a bathroom I fail to see why I should pay more than I need to. It's not as if I'm going to be spending huge amounts of time in it.

I decided to book early as I knew I would be going to the convention so my leave is also booked from work and all I need to do now is organise travel.

Oh! One other thing I need to get sorted is my membership. I'm on the installment plan which seems to have got a bit messed up. I've emailed them about it so hopefully will get it sorted soon.

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