Stepping Out

Stepping Out Directory
Season 10 – Autumn 2021
Sunday 03rd October 2021
Approaches another winter of discontent … again!
There is fungi springing up everywhere – the conditions are right at the moment – very wet grounds, and this is coming in with the pathway chippings we spread.

The world was already a bad place when l was a kid growing up to become an adult, l don’t look back on the good ol’ days through rose tinted glasses – facts are simpler – the world has always been a bad place. It’s always had the problems we are facing today, but l do think that if anything – 1] times change everything and 2] l do think that today things may be worse and in some and sadly many cases, exponentially worse than they were yesterday …… but the world today, is still a bad place. Let’s not kid ourselves.

I wouldn’t want to be a child growing up in today’s world – l had my hardships already and they were hard, l wouldn’t want to redo it or them, my once, was once enough. I have lived my life to the best of my ability, l have many life experiences, not all good, but not all bad either and some were very so so, which as l have already discussed with a friend this morning, a so so is better, way better than a no no, but not as good as a yes yes. It’s a so so and that is neutral, so that is fine.

I have always wanted to do more with my life, achieve more, make a statement and or make an impact and l have done that … but l am not yet done ‘on that’, there are still things l want to do. For many years l was without a solid direction .. but that’s changed, now l have a direction, a belief, and a determination to ‘go for it’, l don’t know where it’ll take me or what new paths it will open up, but that’s the risk of life – you don’t know anything till you reach out and grab it.

I am making a suggestion this week coming in the reserve to the volunteers – which is – we need more order, more regularity and above many things, l think we need more hands on deck. People are very good at saying yes, but not very good at actually working that yes into actionables. Things that can be achieved with an absolute yes, and not a half hearted yes, because the latter is a maybe and at worse, a sly no, but it looks good to say YES! On paper, but what good is a yes if that yes is not being worked at with real hands?

We have had non-stop rains since Thursday evening, heralding the arrival of autumn and slowly the summer beauty of the reserve dies off to be replaced with the time of decomposition and fade away.

At the reserve we have a lack of YES hands, but too many weak YES words. It’s the same crowd every Wednesday although there is one that works non-stop like it’s going out of fashion every day alongside the reserve warden and the conservation warden. I like him, although l suspect he might be on the autism spectrum like me, but he is different like we all are …. he is driven to the point of social exclusion – he sees no point to people and less point in people being social. He is not a real social spectrumite. I am not a party animal, but l am more social than he is. He doesn’t understand that if you have volunteers, they like to have a social chat on occasion … as you know, l am all for the sociality of the volunteers as long as work is being achieved at the same time.

Yet Greg, doesn’t believe volunteers should be there to be social, just to work and that it’s perfectly acceptable for him to act in an antisocial spectrumite fashion and yell at people who have given up their free time to work [volunteer their time] in the reserve. He doesn’t understand the difference between being asocial and antisocial or he just does not care .. he doesn’t understand that people need to be social, and they can work at the same time as being social. He doesn’t understand balance …

The world will not end because there is some bantering, laughter and smiling going on whilst we whistle and work our way through the bracken and weeded mountains of nature to beat down and cut through visible spaces for other people to enjoy … he doesn’t get that concept.

But he is a YES hand, a very able bodied mid 70’s year old YES hand. A few weeks back whilst we were in the closing stages of clearing the dreaded duckweed from the lake, we were all heaving and hoing and pulling ropes backwards and forwards and shovelling bloody great amounts of sodden green duckweed from wheelbarrows to dump off into a trench. But it wasn’t going his way, and he was NOT happy, and so Greg transformed from mid 70’s grumpy loner to snarling swearing leaf shaking and hollering troll and he yelled four letter worded abuse at several of the volunteers from across the lake.

You can now see the great difference from the bridge on the clearer waters we all worked together to achieve – to free off the duckweed – whilst the first image is in fact on the other side of the bridge. We erected a board to prevent more duckweed entering the pond, but it didn’t restrict new waters coming in from sluice gate openings. The Duckweed is still present on the sludgy side of the channel.

Now me, l am not bothered by grumpy trolls who swear, that’s life it ain’t pretty but it’s life, but l am more courteous and polite when in the company of others … l don’t scream and shout at people – l find more results are achieved by simply asking and suggesting. But grumpy troll Greg doesn’t think like that and after calling an elderly group of volunteers everything under the sun, he stormed off in a huff, threw his toys out of the pram and screamed loud enough for Mars to hear “I am here to effing work, not laugh and work with imbeciles!”

Oh yes, that’s the talk that wins you friends and fans and followers ………. in the days of the dinosaur wrestling cavemen – but not in the social quiet of the Gazen Salts reserve in Sandwich!

After that performance, l would have thought he was gone, l mean had that been a work, as in a real work situation – he would have twenty years ago been fired on the spot and twenty years later, probably cautioned and issued a third and final warning from his employer. That little incident lost us three volunteers .. they said they were there to NOT be sworn at.

Slowly and surely the summer leaves die off from green to the new emerging autumnal colours.

Now, the reserve has a total of thirty-five volunteers – on paper – but the reality is that we only actually had maybe 14 YES hands, actual boots on the ground people that turn up as regular as clock work … l am one of them … so is Greg, but that number also included the Reserve Warden and the Conservation Warden, which to the savvy calculator equals 12 boots on ground volunteers. if Greg had stayed gone that would have meant there was only 11 of us, but he then came back the next day – he apologised to the Conservation Warden, but no one else …. but the three that were called C##Ts – they never returned and they were never apologised to either ….. that’s wrong and l have voiced that.

Apparently it was best to keep one angry grumpy troll who was there daily, than it was to keep three that turned up every week ……..

I have recently suggested that we need to take a listing of people’s environmental interests because l think we might be able to achieve more if we know what people like, l am making this suggestion because l think we actually need a Volunteer Co-ordinator – someone who gives a damn about the volunteer’s not just one, but all of them and someone that can perhaps speak to people like they are people and motivate others to perhaps become YES hands over that of nothing hands. One of the volunteers is a retired event co-ordinator who would be very good in this position l feel. I also think somewhere in the future we might need an actual Volunteer Works Co-ordinator – someone who understands how to set ‘jobs/tasks’, which sadly is restrictive if we don’t have many people turn up.

The Reserve Warden is an apprentice and whilst very good at getting certain things done, he lacks management of people skills [but he is very friendly – unlike grumpy troll!] – this is where a works co-ordinator would be valuable at identifying the tasks in the reserve that need prioritising. Grumpy Greg has his good points [not in the social department] but he is a solid worker who just needs tasks of his own to accomplish and work through and NOT be in the general area of people who obviously piss him off immensely – l get it, l really do, but we need people and if they can socialise and work at the same time and not gather around gawking and doing nothing then that’s great and for the most of the time, they do work and talk and discuss things of general interest.

Like last week, we were discussing conservation issues and oddly enough The Handmaid’s Tale [which l hadn’t watched but have started to watch since that discussion] and the real question was ‘how long does humanity really have left alongside what world are we truly leaving our next generations, and does it matter or not what the state is?’

This led to some very interesting conversation and we all discovered that Grumpy Greg wasn’t in the slightest bit bothered about the state of the world, as a man, as a father as a grandfather or even great grandfather – he wasn’t bothered – it mattered not what state the world was left in after he had gone, his job was to make it good for him at the time he was living in it – afterwards – after he had left the planet – his children and their children could ‘sort the shit out’. He would be dead and what would it matter anyway? He worked in the reserve as a means to an end perhaps the end, to award him something to do, he loved nature, but detested people, detested everything they stood for, detested the very essence of their lives – detested the damage they had done. he used to be an idealist, but was now cynical to mankind, let them rot, let them die, let them burn!”

An interesting viewpoint l thought, displaying more to me about Geoff than l thought l knew, l could again understand what he was saying. I didn’t agree with the way he said it, but it does make you think.

The Handmaid’s Tale was quite the discussion and upon hearing the content couldn’t help but think about recent events in Afghanistan and have as said, started watching Series 1 . How very bizarre a series it is and yet, how very scary and sadly realistic l could see things like this happening.

From that we then talked of and about end of world scenario’s and how the world seemingly whilst always a bad place, has become far far worse than ever before, climatically, environmentally, politically, personally and socially – are we not already on the brink of our demise as we know it? Yes, probably but have we not been on the brink anyway and always?

They were interesting conversation topics last week and they were designed to make you think and l have been, all week. Society is on the edge of social collapse, civil unrest and change …………. what’s new? Another winter of discontent approaches … again.

Winter is just around the corner …

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26 thoughts on “Stepping Out

  1. Oh I feel sorry for Greg. It’s sad to become disillusioned and cynical. You guys have done a remarkable job of clearing the duckweed. Now I understand the yesterday’s question and where it was coming from!

    1. We all become a little disillusioned with life and cynicism is never far behind sadly – BUT, l think the conservation warden when receiving the appology from Greg, should have taken further steps to make that appology apparent to other people and a works co-ordinator could best make use of Greg’s working ethics.

      Because we have neither and we only have people who are great at certain things and not others as in the ‘wardens’, we have now lost more YES working hands and only kept one person, so our 14 or 12 is now 9 and that’s bad news, when we could have if handled correctly kept everyone.

      1. Yes, you’re right that the whole incident wasn’t handled well. Perhaps the conservation warden had had previous experience of Greg’s behavior problems.
        And yes indeed, disillusionment and cynicism go hand in hand. I still feel sorry for anyone who is disillusioned with life as there’s always something good happening if we just look around us carefully.

  2. I agree that the world was never a great place for most folks. Life has always been hard for the vast majority. I guess since I survived my hardships, I too wouldn’t want to be a child now and have to navigate around intrusive social media and the intense political polarization. All the old fears still exist: disease, nuclear war, being ostracized by peers, etc. And finding love is as hard as it ever was if not more so because of our heightened expectations of relationships…

    1. Hey Paula, oh goodness very much so – l was saying to Suze tonight on our walk about the very things you mention here alone and the hypernusiance of social media and all the troubles it causes.

      Relationships …..oh grief, even when they used to be harder yesterday they were still easier than today and as for finding love?

      Hahahah 🙂

      I used to be a believer … not any more.

  3. I think the world has always been shitty, but technology puts in our faces and we have more free time than people had back in the day to get worked up about things. 200 years ago, people were only living until they were 40 and they were probably losing multiple children in infancy, so they had more immediate things to worry about.

    1. Totally with you on the 200 years example and shorter lives, now people live longer and seemingly are all out for war from day one. Technology isn’t helping either – the advances sped up and people weren’t ready.

  4. You have some great ideas to help coordinate and organize the volunteers to the best use of their gifts and talents. It’s my experience that volunteers treated with gratitude and kindness in a well organized fashion respond in kind and the working environment becomes a contented place for all to be and lend a helping hand. Best wishes with the future of the Reserve and all its inhabitants… including the volunteers 😉

  5. There are two shows that I have not watched. Game of Thrones. I refuse to watch as it veered so far from the books and how can you have a series finale when the book series is still not finished. I mean really 12 years or so and counting. Other then George RR Martin the only other book series I have waited this long for is written by JV Jones. Recently checked her website to ensure that she was still alive and going to complete the novel. It has been so long I will have to reread all the previous books before reading the last one if it ever comes out.
    As for The Handmaid’s Tale I will never watch it. I had to read the book for an English course in university and I could not stand the writing. I am not sure why and you would think that given Margret Atwood is Canadian that on that premise alone I would read the books. I have tried and I have to say I do not understand her style of writing. So I am already prejudiced against it.
    Love the pictures as always.
    Have a good Sunday.

    1. Hey Jay-lyn wishing you also a lovely Sunday.

      What was it about her style that caused you the angst in this book?

      There have been many that have said they found it very easy to read equally as many have found her style awkward and disjointed, too many commas is something l remember reading.

      What age were you when you were at university, do you think that approaching it now through different eyes you might see the style differently?

      I haven’t read it – so l am not influenced per se – l don’t have the inclination as l once did to read works of fiction anymore – although l can understand your desire to only read from the books and not view the television.

      I did that with The Witcher series, but they were just books waiting to be translated from x to Y and in the end l decided to simply watch the series direct.

      1. I was 18 or 19. Actually have it backwards. Read a book of hers about a woman in am island by herself written late ’60’s. Really disliked. So I tried to read The Handmaidens Tale because she is Canadian and I thought maybe the first book. But nope.

  6. Ginormous P.I.T.A. It’s unfortunate to lose volunteers but who can blame them. No one likes to have their generosity repaid with abuse. People Management skills are definitely needed.

    How sad is it that this technology, the internet and social media, things that were supposed to break down barriers and unite us, have instead isolated us in our own echo chambers? Then the pandemic and lockdowns… humans are going to find it difficult to socialize with each other in person. More so than the awkwardness of teens, and anxiety, autism etc from our younger days.


    1. Hey Gramma, something for sure is needed.

      I could see a lady called Anne taking the social co-ording on board, she is well liked by everyone and as to the works co-ording, who knows, but at present until we get more people on board, it doesn’t really matter.

      Social media is the downfall of this world sadly and it does isolate people, because people and organisations have made that so.

  7. I’m sorry for Greg and for the other volunteers thou but I think there are quite a lot of people that think like him: I make the world better for while I’m around and and after that I don’t care…
    You are just a few but you did a great work so far 😉

    1. Hey Ribana, sadly what and how Greg thinks is exactly how many people feel – a sort of ‘not my problem’.

      Yes, we have made some really great headway 🙂

      Wishing you a lovely Monday and week ahead 🙂

  8. The world has always been like a child’s playground where the bullies reign, IMO. But, we’re here, in the now, and need to make the best of it. That’s unfortunate about Greg and the other volunteers.

    1. Hey Eugenia, yes the world is indeed nothing much short of a bullies playground and yeah, Greg put a dampener on things. As much as l like the man – he made me very wary as well.

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