Oscar Pistorius : his biggest challenge yet

Posted in opinion, Parasport on April 29th, 2014 by John Coxon

Oscar Pistorius srart lineHow tough must it have been for Oscar’s Mum and Dad making the brave decision for him, when he was aged just  11months, to allow his legs to be amputated below the knee as it offered him a better quality of life and how fantastic, with their nurturing , throughout his schooling he sought no favours, joined in and , for example, played rugby for his school.

His rise to become one of the most recognised athletes in the world, never playing victim or regarding himself as disabled, and winning the affection and respect of able bodied athletes and those with a disability and inspiring them to achieve their goals was I am sure richly deserved.

A modest man but fierce competitor and hard training, pushing himself to get ever stronger and faster and yet generous to his fellow athletes in victory because , like all true athletes, the race is a competition with the self , a battle to keep believing, set new goals and push to new personal bests and beyond.

The news of Reeva’s tragic death and Oscar being responsible and the subsequent bail and now court case has generated an incredible avalanche of social media activity and very probably no sports person in history has generated that much public debate or media attention. To most reasonable people, this was a tragic accident in a society where violent crimes and especially deaths involving guns is second only to the horrendous statistics of Columbia and the USA.  We must never forget that this is a very personal tragedy that has rocked both Oscar’s family and Reeva’s and we must give due respect for both families for the dignified manner in which they have conducted themselves during these terrible times under intense media scrutiny.

We learn that as apartheid was dismantled the RSA abandoned trial by jury and cases are now heard by a Judge assisted at times by two experienced assessors whose principal role is  to assist the judge in reaching a decision on sentencing. We have learned in following the story through social media of failings in policing, evidence gathering and poor forensic practice, of a disaffected police force , under resourced and many former experienced police officers actually left the profession following the end of apartheid ; crime stats ever rising and yet successful convictions, especially for unlawful deaths, actually worryingly low.

We are in no doubt that Oscar alone is responsible for Reeva’s tragic untimely death but we also know that he is a religious man and is so unlikely to have invented a version of events to escape responsibility and personally I cannot recall any defendant in a similar trial so full of remorse, openly sobbing and being sick and struggling with a mixture of emotions trying I am sure to deal with his personal grief under immense pressure and scrutiny.

It is hard to accept the prosecution’s case and they have , in my view, as yet failed to provide any evidence of intent or of it being, as they allege, the result of a violent domestic row that ended in gunshots and the awful death of a beautiful young woman. The prosecution case rests almost solely on attacking the public image of the athlete, with little actual evidence yet openly calling him a liar, a vain, controlling and angry young man prone to violent outbursts and not the virtual saint he appeared to so many of us as and trying to pile up doubt and through inference , to try and  justify the original flawed charge.

Oscar Pistorius gold medal

Public opinion is divided and will of course hold no sway when the honourable Judge reaches her decision but Oscar has very much been the subject of a virtual trial by social media and personally I have never seen any case generate so much personal imput from people active on social media around the world . I’d say that in terms of public opinion on social media, the positive supporters have the most concrete presence and like many of them, have had to deal with quite a bit of personal abuse in sharing my own views and experiences of the man.

I do know from private contacts how touched his family ,coach and defence team have been and have appreciated all the support and through the very few public statements the family have made. Oscar has overcome what for most would be a major handicap to achieve excellence in his sport, but has had to deal with the sport establishment placing barriers in his way and even investigating whether his high tech blades actually gave him an advantage.

I am sharing that  particular image of Oscar in the starting blocks because this trial and its outcome is both a finishing line but the start of a race which is going to be greatest challenge yet for him. The prospect of jail is a possible outcome and conditions in RSA prisons are notorious and you can only imagine how tough that is for anyone and what it is going to be like for a white guy with prosthetic legs.

An athlete of  Oscar’s quality has an amazing work ethic, self discipline and focus and actually lacks any vanity , and the hope is that this mental toughness will help him get through this, find some sense of closure, be able to deal with the grief and get his own  life back on some sort of track.

 

Shortened URL for this blog entry- cut and paste  http://goo.gl/Ovrzuu

GARDENING TIPS-USING RECYCLED PLASTIC CONTAINERS & OTHER FREE MATERIALS

Posted in Gardening Tips, Gardening/household tips on April 27th, 2014 by John Coxon

GROMMIT

Please click on any image to enlarge.

Although our City provide a recycling wheelie bin service they do not accept a wide range of plastic types of containers so a lot of food packaging goes with general waste and, always wiith a thought to help the environment , I try and find uses for some of  this packaging in the garden. Here are some of the uses I have put a range of containers to in no particular order.

I grow a number plants from seeds both on windowsills in the house and in the greenhouse I made from reclaimed glazed doors and am fond for example of coriander which is easy to grow indoors all year round. I use two litre pots to sow them in but we tend not to have clear polythene bags in the house for capping the potted seeds , keeping them mosit and warm.  Instead I save the hat shapped see through containers which supermarket popadoms come in as they make a perfect fit dome with a couple of inches for seedlings to grow above soil level. I put a single hole through the middle to allow air to circulate and avoid mildew.

Clear plastic peel away lidded popadom packaging fits perfectly over a 2 litre pot (7 inch pot)

Clear plastic peel away lidded popadom packaging fits perfectly over a 2 litre pot (7 inch pot)

The popadom casse makes a nice little windowsill mini- greenhouse to propogate seeds and holds in mositure and allows room forr tiny seedlings to grow above soil level.

The popadom casse makes a nice little windowsill mini- greenhouse to propogate seeds and holds in mositure and allows room for tiny seedlings to grow above soil level.

Mushrooms and tomatoes come in convenienlty sized deep plastic containers ideal for seedlings . The tomato ones usually have four holes in the bottom ( good for drainage) the  brown mushroom ones I pierce with a drill. I collect and break up broken clay pots and use them to cover holes in the bottom of pots to aid drainage  – you can use old tea bags though .

Mushhroom 9 brown) and tomatoe plastic packaging- ideal for seed trays and planting beans.

Mushhroom ( brown) and tomato plastic packaging (clear )- ideal for seed trays and planting beans.

Potting medium added , levelled off with a tamper made from a broken broom handle offcut with a small oblong of plastixc sheet screweed in one end to level the soil surface prior to planting. I use a permannent thin market to label the containers with names and date planted.

Potting medium added , levelled off with a tamper made from a broken broom handle offcut with a small oblong scrap of rigid plastic sheet screwed in one end to level the soil surface prior to planting. I use a permanent thin marker to label the containers with names and date planted.

 

I drill holes in plastic milk bottle caps one and two litre sizes to make a simple lightweight watering. can

I drill holes in plastic milk bottle caps one and two litre sizes to make a simple lightweight watering can

 

to save the chore of filling watering cans from the tap i use a mix of rainwater and tap water and keep a  lidless recycled plastic litter bin close to my garden tap , filled with water and a jug - easy to quickly scoop a jugfull and water inndividual plants in containers.

to save the chore of filling watering cans from the tap I use a mix of rainwater and tap water and keep a lidless recycled plastic litter bin close to my garden tap , filled with water and a jug – easy to quickly scoop a jugfull and water inndividual plants in containers.

DSC_3168

MORE IDEAS FOR FREE PLANT CONTAINERS FROM RECYCLED MATERIALS

It’s amazing what people throw away and so much of which I am happy to collect and  can find a use for. Second hand decking to make stylish box containers, rough sawn free wood from a reclaimed pallet I  dismantled  to make a sturdy table for my plants next to one of the two salvaged shallow stone sinks ( actually dug them up in the garden so original to the house )I have- one for potting and watering the other  a bird bath. A range of pots people have dumped, an old ceramic biscuit container added just for fun and to amuse out little grandson.

 

I am amazed how many people throw away buckets either they are cracket or have cement or plaster stuck to them- cleaned out they make very servicable free plant containers.

I am amazed how many people throw away buckets either they are cracked or have cement or plaster stuck to them- cleaned out they make very servicable free plant containers.

 

the non stick big wok became unusable so i drilled a few holes in the steel bottom and used that as a planter.

The non stick big wok became unusable so I drilled a few holes in the steel bottom and used that as a planter.

 

Washed out , a few holes drilled in the bottom as drainage holes 5 & 10 litre paint tubs make free planters.

Washed out , a few holes drilled in the bottom as drainage holes 5 & 10 litre plastic paint tubs make free planters.

To diguise the paint tubs i wire together slats of wood cut to size and wrapped around the tub to give a free barrel effect ( using reclaimed scarp wood) christams tree  thick log support rubbed down and varnished to make a natural plant stand.

To disguise the paint tubs I wire together slats of wood cut to size and wrapped around the tub to give a free barrel effect ( using reclaimed scarp wood) Christams tree thick log support rubbed down and varnished to make a natural plant stand. Favourite but slightly chipped mugs, drilled wiith one hole using a tile drill for drainage adds a bit of fun and interest.

 

Reclaimed chimney pot makes a nice planter for trailing plants- found a paint tub tthat fitted exactly as a liner.

Reclaimed chimney pot makes a nice planter for trailing plants- found a paint tub that fitted exactly as a liner.

 

Simple box construction scrap wood planter made from dismantled reclaimed pallets.

Simple box construction scrap wood planter made from dismantled reclaimed pallets.

 

Made an archway from recycled wooden ladder and discarded trellis to make my own trellis between the ladder arch.

Made an archway from recycled wooden ladder and discarded trellis to make my own trellis between the ladder arch.

 

another simple wooden box planter- so easy to assemble.

Another simple wooden box planter- so easy to assemble.

Discarded rain pipe" hopers"  are easy to fix to a wall and make attactive plant containers.

Discarded rain pipe” hoppers” are easy to fix to a wall and make attactive plant containers.

 

cheap plastic small washing up bowl- drill a few holes in the bottom for drainage and simple shallow planter for my strawberries.

Cheap plastic small washing up bowl- drill a few holes in the bottom for drainage and simple shallow planter for my strawberries.

 

small cast iron pig shaped barbecue- few holes drilled for drainage- a novel planter.

Small cast iron pig shaped barbecue- few holes drilled for drainage- a novel planter

 

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