Life Struggle

When I was 10 my mother died, before that point in my life there was a lot of love and positive encouragement in my life, even though my father had left when I was around 3 years old. However, after my mother’s death a lot of things happened that were not good, eventually after around 3 – 4 years of abuse I ended up in a children’s home. When I reached the age of 16 /17 years of age, I was being told that with my background I would most likely be a young single mother, an alcoholic or a drug addict, that was really what my life would amount to.

I left school at the grand old age of 17 with a total of 4 x ‘O’ grades, from here I went straight into a job as a nanny, this I discovered, was not for me, the problem was not so much the children but the parents. I had applied for, and had been accepted into a few nursing schools, so I decided at this point to try nursing, both of these jobs had the added bonus of providing accommodation. I completed my training and worked as a qualified nurse for a few years before deciding that nursing was not what I wanted to do. Whilst nursing I met, what I thought, was the man I would marry (we were engaged), but after a few years, it became clear this was not going to be, especially when he became violent. I was hit and knocked over once, I left, leaving everything behind, and moved in with my sister, temporarily. I drifted through a few jobs trying to find something that I enjoyed doing, I worked in security for a local bingo hall, I worked in the bank of a casino and in the bar of an Indian restaurant. Meanwhile I had also moved into a bedsit for a year or two and then into a flat above the Indian restaurant that I worked in, unfortunately when I left this job, I also had to move out of the flat, which made me homeless for a while. I stayed with my brother for a few weeks and then moved into a homeless hostel for a few months before finally finding a flat. Over this period of time I had attended college and received two sets of training one in secretarial and accounts (mostly book-keeping) and the other in secretarial and business administration. Over the next few years I worked in various offices on a temporary basis until finally finding a full-time job with a computer company, working within the engineering department. Life, I felt was starting to settle down a bit again.

After about 7 years working with this company, I was starting to feel as though there had to be a bit more to life than what I was doing, so I decide to do some evening classes, as it happened, the classes I took turned out to be an access course for university and I was advised to apply to do a university degree, the subjects I was studying was Classical Civilization and Social Anthropology. So, I applied for university and was extremely surprised to discover that I was accepted.

When I had been studying for about a year and a half I became quite ill and was diagnosed with a thyroid problem, as it was quite bad my doctor had advised that I should stop my studies until the condition was under control. I gave it some thought and decided that if I stopped, the chances were that I probably wouldn’t go back, or would not have the opportunity to go back to university again. So, I continued, I asked the student disability department at the university for help, and received a great deal of support from both them and the lecturers. I am pleased to say that I got through my undergraduate joint course and graduated with a degree in Archaeology / Classics.

Of course, through the four-year full-time coursework I was also working, sometimes (particularly in the first year) more than one job. After a couple of years, I was able to return to university, again full-time to do a postgraduate course in Mediterranean Archaeology this was for one year, but whilst I was doing this I was also working full time, this time for the company that I have now been working with for 11 years. Although, I successfully got through the course and continued to work full-time I would most definitely not recommend doing this.

A couple of years ago my brother died at the young age of 49, part of his will included that I take my niece for a holiday abroad. As I had always wanted to visit Rome, and as she was happy with this choice we made our very first visit to Italy. We both loved the city, the country, and the people, so much so that I am now preparing to move to Rome to live and work, hopefully for the rest of my days.

During the last year, while I have been researching and planning, whoever said there is free movement between EU countries was talking nonsense, there is a lot of red tape / paperwork involved, I have had some encouragement from some, and from others not so much.

My point for writing this short account of my life is this. Don’t allow others to influence your life expectations / plans. Live your life as you would like, if you don’t try you will never know what could have been, or what can be. Don’t allow others to tell you, you will not amount to much, what they think is immaterial.  Keep the positive people in your life.  Whether you are a young person or an older person, it doesn’t matter, get out there and live your life, otherwise you will regret it.


Mythica: A Quest for Heroes – A Review

mythica-a-quest-for-heroes-picked-up-by-contv-as-its-first-ever-original-feature-film-306026-600x586I first discovered this film a year or so ago when I was checking out some recent films featuring Kevin Sorbo.  I had discovered Survivor which features Kevin Sorbo, Melanie Stone and Rocky Myers, my first introduction to both Melanie and Rocky.  Melanie played a small but admirable part in this film and Rocky made me want to watch more of his work.  So the search began.  During the search I came across a Kickstarter project for Mythica:  The Darkspore and through that I discovered Mythica:  A Quest for Heroes.

This was the beginning of a great film adventure, as well as backing the Kickstarter project I invested in the first film, A Quest for Heroes; don’t like starting a story half way through.  A Quest for Heroes started straight forward enough with the story of a s slave girl, Marek (Melanie Stone), her life as a slave and her friendship with a wizard, Gojun Pye (Kevin Sorbo).  This, however quickly changes when she finds herself in trouble with the town guard for being out beyond curfew.  The speed of the film picks up pace from here and introduces the other three heroes, and major characters of the film, Thane a seasoned warrior (Adam Johnson), Teela, a priestess of Ana-Sett and healer (Nicola Posener), and last, but most definitely not least, Dagen a half-elven rogue (Jake Stormoen).  It is difficult to imagine anyone else playing these parts.  The talent and personality of the four main characters makes it very difficult not to get drawn in to the story unfolding before you.

Marek takes on a quest for a bounty from the priestess Teela, she puts together a team from some of the people she has met on her journey,  her team, when complete, consists of Marek, Thane, Dagen and Teela.  Their quest is to find, and free Teela’s sister Caeryn.  Their adventures lead to many troubles and some humour.  the story is very fluid and the actors carry this along well, each bringing to the film their own brand of drama, humour and tragedy.

If you are a fan of the Fantasy genre, and Dungeons and Dragons then this is most definitely a film for you.  It has all the characters, the action, humour, tragedy, good guys, and bad guys you could want.  If you are not a fan of Fantasy or Dungeon and Dragons, I would say to you, this is still a film well worth watching, it has the beginnings of a love story and much drama.  This film has something for everyone.



47 Ronin

47 Ronin47 Ronin featuring Keanu Reeves must be one of the best films I have seen in a long time.

The story of a young boy who grows up within a Samurai environment as an outcast, always shunned and bullied and how he is welcomed in to the Samurai group after their Lord has been unjustly killed to revenge their Lord and rescue his daughter.  Based in Japan and on Japanese lore this is a fascinating story, well written and well acted upon. Every part could have been made especially for each and every actor; they seemed to fit so easily together.  There seemed to be no forced emotion, all natural, which carries you along with the story.  Excellent directing and work all around.

There is something for everyone in this film, with lots of action, the love story, good versus evil, and witches and demons.  I would most definitely recommend this film.

I Have a Dream: Scotland after the Referendum 2014

When I was young I had two dreams one was going with the nationalistic view of a free and independent Scotland, the other, was of a world living and working together for the greater good of all. How can this be, you might ask, one is a dream of separation the other is of unity? Well one is borne from years of West of Scotland protestant and nationalistic indoctrination (father side of the family) the other is from, in part, a mother who’s family (Roman Catholic) had just migrated from an Ireland that was split through sectarianism looking for a life where people worked, lived and tolerated one another’s differences.

I have found the time of the Scottish Referendum an extremely difficult time, torn between the two dreams, the nationalist and the union, but in the end a decision had to be made. One dream has been put on a back burner, so to speak, due to the majority making a democratic decision and staying with the United Kingdom. So, it is time to move on and see if there is a way of at least partially realising the other.

It is now time for the Scots to put aside their differences and look forward to what I hope could be a promising future. If we really want to move on and create a Scotland where everyone matters, then we have to stop looking backwards and start looking forwards. What do we have and how can we improve on that? Stop looking to the glories of past centuries and start thinking and making future glories, we started with having a democratic referendum (unfortunately some of that has lost it’s greatness because of the recent troubles, hopefully we can rise above this) and a choice was made, not to everyone’s liking but that is how it works in a democracy, deal with it and move on, the quicker we do this the better it will be for all concerned.

Do not let the momentum slow, we need to get in there and fight for proportional equality in all things.

At this point I am going to let the words of a great man who had an amazing dream, Martin Luther King Jr. do the talking, I have amended to be more relevant to Scotland and the UK, although this could be equally relevant to any of the 4 countries as individuals within this nation.

(Martin Luther King Jr. I Have a Dream speech, given 28th August 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.) 1

“I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.”

We  remind Westminster and the Scottish Government of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off, or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.
Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy.
Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of justice.
Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksand to the solid rock of brotherhood.
Now is the time to make justice a reality for all.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. September 2014 is not an end for Scotland or the UK but a beginning. And those who hope that the Scottish needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquillity in the UK until the governments of the United Kingdom settle their differences and work towards a brighter future for all. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to all, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for equality by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvellous new militancy which has engulfed the Scottish community must not lead us to a distrust of all politicians, for many have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.
We cannot turn back.

We cannot be satisfied as long as any given country within the UK is as a smaller town to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by poorer conditions than in other areas.

I am not unmindful that some of you read this out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from food banks, and some of you have come from areas where your quest — quest for a life rather than mere survival has left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by cruel reforms. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to your homes in the poorer and not so poor areas of our cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the fact that we all want a good life, a life where our children and their children can live without suffering.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of what the United Kingdom should stand for, equality and safety for all.

I have a dream that one day in Scotland, our sons and daughters will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day our United Kingdom will be transformed into an oasis of justice.

I have a dream that our children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

That we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood, we will be able to work together, to struggle together, and to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will succeed one day.”


Mama-Kii Tea donates to Kevin Sorbo’s OEKSFC Birthday Project 2013

Sounds like a great product and Mamaki of Hawaii, Inc. will be donating to a great cause.

Sorbo Writer's Blog

Mama-Kii logo 1Mamaki of Hawaii, Inc., has generously agreed to help the Official European Kevin Sorbo Fan Club (OEKSFC) raise funds for the Birthday Project 2013 by making a contribution and offering some great deals on its amazing product, Mama-Kii Tea.

The OEKSFC Birthday Project 2013 honors Actor/Producer/Author Kevin Sorbo’s upcoming birthday on September 24, by acceptinKevin Sorbo Mama-Kii Tea 1g donations to benefit Sorbo’s Los Angeles-based nonprofit, A World Fit For Kids! (WFIT). Please note that the new contribution deadline is Saturday, October 5, 2013.

From now until October 5, 2013, Mamaki of Hawaii, Inc., will give a 10% discount on all orders placed using the codeword “Sorbo” when checking out. Free shipping will apply for U.S. orders over $75.00 and International orders over $125.00. Mamaki of Hawaii, Inc., will then donate 20% of the cost of each Mama-Kii Tea tin purchased using the codeword “Sorbo” to the OEKSFC Birthday Project 2013…

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FEAR, RELIGION & EXORCISM: Demonic Possession and the Battle of Good vs. Evil in Horror

Alyson Dunlop's Blog

EXORIST, I.V.(Contains Spoilers!)

I read two things this week that made me decide to write about the role of religion in horror.  Firstly, my idol Gabriel Byrne said that he thought the Catholic Church was evil.  Secondly, parks have a calming effect on the mind, apparently!  What have these got to do with one another?

Well, although I’m pagan I have to both agree and disagree with Gabriel.  Religion, like every entity, has a good and a bad side.  Both positive and negative psychology exists in most religions.  Many people have horrific or depressing experiences within the confines of a place of worship or due to the beliefs held, but just as many have hugely fulfilling life-long relationships with their God(s); despite my lack of Christian belief, I never fail to feel spiritually at peace in beautiful big Italian churches.  They are designed that way deliberately, to give you a sense…

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Past versus Present

We, as archaeologists, try not to use our modern-day beliefs and customs to interpret the past as their beliefs and customs and language were different. While I agree with Dave re racism I’m not quite convinced by some of  his arguments, for example  in the language used by Petrie. Is this not a case of using modern-day beliefs and customs, language in interpreting a time when ‘racism’ was only just being recognised as such?

For example –

1.  Barbarian – When the ancient Greeks refer to barbarians (barbaroi) they are talking more about language – the unintelligible speech of foreigners.  By the time we get to Latin (barbari) the meaning has changed slightly to barbarous country, uncivilised.

2.  Gay –  Not so long ago, mid – late 20th century gay had a meaning more along the lines of happy. Now, late 20th early 21st century that meaning has taken on a new meaning – non-heterosexual humans.

3.  Getting away from language examples.  There was a display of our National poet Robert Burns in the Kelvingrove museum a few years ago, I think within the last 5 years, let’s be honest by modern standards he was no great catch, but by the standards of his time he was just that.  I read a few of the comments left by visitors (using their modern-day standards to interpret), a lot of whom were women, needless to say they were not impressed by the alcoholism or the womanising.

It is easy to slip in to judging the past by todays standards, what we have to remember is the people who lived back then, even 50 – 100 years ago, were not living by the same standards, they had different languages, different cultures, different beliefs and their knowledge of life/cultures and how we should treat one another was also different and normal by their standards.

We today might not think that these standards should have been correct but we only know that from learning from their mistakes.


True Strength

Excellent book, well worth the read. The story of a man who at the age of 38 has 3 x strokes and survives and after much hard work now lives an exhausting but successful life.

Sorbo Writer's Blog

Kevin’s excellent, inspirational book, True Strength: My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal—and How Nearly Dying Saved My Life, is available in paperback Tuesday, October 16.

Our good friends at DaCapo Press, Kevin’s publisher, kindly provided this insightful interview with Kevin that outlines his tragic, yet uplifting story.

A Talk with Kevin Sorbo

Author of True Strength

You sufferedKevin Sorbo True Strength three strokes at the age of 38. Were there any warning signs that something was wrong? If so, what did you think they could mean?

I had tingling and loss of feeling in my fingers and hand, my fingers turned cold and eventually blue, and I had pain shooting down my arm. It came and went, gradually getting worse as time went by. But I was doing a heavy promotional tour for Kull, the Conqueror at the time they started getting really annoying, so I consulted with doctors at the…

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Julia X – Thought provoking?

A discussion on Facebook re one of Kevin Sorbo’s new releases, Julia X prompted me to look more closely at the films I choose to watch.  My usual type of films fall under science fiction/fantasy, adventure, supernatural, action, musicals and westerns, I think that just about covers it.

A few of the ladies were commenting that horror type films are not their norm but they watched/will watch this one because Kevin Sorbo is in it.  Well that got me to thinking, although horror is not my favourite, I will be more likely to watch a horror film than a ‘chick flick’.  In saying that however, like those ladies commenting on Julia X, I have been known to watch some films that would not be my norm just because Kevin Sorbo is in the film.

Films like Last Chance Cafe, Soul Surfer and What If would have been films that I would have given a miss if it was not for the fact that they all featured Kevin Sorbo, and I have to admit I have watched all of them more than once, not only because of Kevin but because the story lines have been excellent, all the cast have performed well and the films have all been extremely enjoyable.

Kevin Sorbo is a great actor; he does not take his celebrity status for granted making as much time as he can for his fans, which, I think, encourages them all to watch films/programmes that they would not normally watch.  This has to say a lot for the personality of Kevin and his talent, not to mention his hard work, and what seems like never ending energy.

I have not, as yet been able to watch Julia X but I look forward to watching this film as much as any other film that Kevin has featured in.

Is there still a difference between NI and tax within the UK?

Below is a transcript from my facebook this morning 02/09/2012

I think it is time people in the UK stood up for what is right and held the polititians accountable for what they are doing to our National Insurance.  Any other insurance company would be held accountable for, at the very least, mismanagement.

Who out there thinks National Insurance is just another word for tax???
If you do, you’re wrong.
National Insurance, according to the 1946 Act, provided for compulsory contributions for unemployment, sickness, maternity and widows’ benefits and old age pensions from employers and employees, with the government funding the balance.
There is a National Insurance Act 1965 which consolodates with the 1946 Act – note the operative words INSURED PERSONS!!!!!!
I have contacted my MP and 10 Downing St to find out where our National Insurance contributions are going, my MP’s response was we don’t know Westiminster just give us a lump sum – well MP FIND OUT!!!!!!. By the way this is a SNP MP. No. 10 have yet to respond after more than 6months. It was an article I read a while ago, unfortunately I’ve lost it but will keep looking, that peaked my interest. In this article it stated that in 2010 over £53 billion was collected in National Insurance, my question is where did that £53billion go?????
If the government was a private insurance company they would have to tell us where our money was going and how it was being invested, this government seems to think that this doesn’t apply to them. If this was a private insurance company and the funds being paid into the insurance pot were not going where they should and were being diverted elsewhere then there would be an investigation/trial with charges of fraud/embezzlement.
I think this government, and previous governments rely on the majority of the people thinking that NI is just another tax which can be lumped with everything else – WRONG!!!!! No wonder our health and benefit system is in the state it is in.
It’s time for the people to stand up and say NO this is our retirement and our health insurance you are playing with and we want it back!!!!!!!
Ok, rant over 🙂

If I can remember my Social Policy correctly, the NI scheme, when it was originally set up was to run for a while before money was taken out. However, pensions and other benefits and the health service were taking funds out from day one. So our contributions are not being saved, but are being spent! Unemployment benefits were never intended to be paid out indefinitely either, they were supposed to be emergency payments used over a short term till people found work; and as we know government are in the main to blame for lack of employment, but also some folk are too lazy to work. Also, there were several generations where, and I hate to say it, but women sat at home bringing up children, their husbands paid a few shillings in NI on their behalf – but that doesnt really cover their use of NHS to have those babies or the NHS services they have used over the years, or their pensions. Also we allow foreign nationals access to funds, and the NHS without expecting them to have contributed. Hospitals near large airports used to see a lot of women coming here in their last month of pregnancy come here to have their babies for free. It sounds mean to say it but if we were to go abroad we have to pay for any emergency treatment. And we would not have access to public funds….Moan over….However, your right to pursue our MPs as they seem to think our money is theirs.
It would seem that it has been mis-used since day one. Time to sort it out properly I think, for instance you don’t get to use it unless you pay NI. Where would the private insurance companies be if they allowed anyone to claim regardless of whether they paid insurance contributions or not?

Long term unemployed do pay a minimal amount of NI, I know this because I have had to have two long term sickness periods due to arthritis/thyroid condition and I paid NI direct from my benefit. I only discovered this by accident as they don’t tell you this.
Also, I think people forget or don’t realise that an E111 gives them the right to basic health care within the EU, another use for our NI.
Very good points! I said something similar a few months back. We are basically medically insured. The government should have to answer where our NI payments are going – and your MSP’s answer is simply not good enough. You should complain or speak with someone else. I think you’d make an excellent politician, by the way! 😀 You could whip them all into shape!
Oh, I forgot to point out that the benefits mentioned do not include child benefit only maternity benefit – not the same thing. I’m assuming then that child benefit is included in the many things we are taxed for. Is it quicker these days to list the things we don’t get taxed for???

AD –  Lol, politians are too intersted in power and lining their own pockets, I wouldn’t last a day 🙂
Not all of them. Some of them are there to stand up for justice, and the rights of the ordinary people. More people like you in Parliament wouldn’t be a bad thing
What we need is more people to actually take an interest and differentiate between tax and NI, and make the government & polititians accountable for the mismanagement of our insurance.
You should write an article on that
I’d need a lot more information and someone who understood lawyer speak to break down the gobbledegook. I think that is part of the problem, make things sound as complicated as possible and people will just go along as it is too difficult to investigate.


This is something I posted on Facebook in March 2012 and then forgot about.  I hope you enjoy 🙂 

I’ve taken this list from one of those posts that says if you agree re-post type things, which I usually don’t because I don’t like conditions put on things, I either re-post/share because I agree/like or I don’t, I don’t need to have the condition tagged on at the end of a post.

Anyway, I have taken the following ten points from the post and below that are my comments re things I have learned about each of those points over the years 🙂

I was raised to –

  1.  Speak when I enter a room
  2. Say please and thank you
  3. To have respect for my elders
  4. To get up off my lazy butt and let the elder in the room have my chair
  5. Say yes sir and no sir
  6. Lend a helping hand to those in need
  7. Hold the door for the person behind me, not let it slam in their face.
  8. Say excuse me when it’s needed
  9. To love people for who they are, not for what I can get from them
  10. To treat people the way I want to be treated

 Things I have learned over the years –

  1. It is not always necessary to speak when I enter a room
  2. I still always say please and thank you, you get such a better response from people even if you are complaining about something.
  3. Elders should earn respect as much as their younger counterparts, respect is not a god given right
  4. I will still get up off my lazy butt to give some-one who is not as well and able as I a seat whether it is in a room or elsewhere (public transport)
  5. I’ve never said yes sir or no sir (except to my teachers at school, which was required) but I usually say yes please or no thank you.
  6. As far as possible I will lend a helping hand however, that helping hand might not always be welcome so I always ask if help is required first.
  7. I always check behind me when going through a door to ensure it is not going to slam in some-one’s face.  Lesson I have learned is to try not to shout after the bad mannered idiot in front of me, who has slammed the door in my face, ‘thanks very much, always wanted a flat nose’ to prevent me getting a fist in the face 🙂 (brother’s advice lol)
  8. I always say excuse me (I’ve even managed it in Greek and French :-))
  9. I always try to love people for who they are.  There’s nothing worse than some-one saying I love you but, could you just change this or that or do you by any chance have (time to) with no reciprocation.
  10. I always try to treat people the way I would like to be treated, but I am only human and this sometimes does not happen 😦

 So after all that, I think the message should be, be yourself but try to consider others when doing so, so that you don’t come across as a selfish, self centred, bad mannered sod.

Various ventures

I love to learn new things and I am always looking for more input.  I have various sites which you will be able to see what I am learning, hopefully you will find some of it interesting.

You can follow my progress on twitter @jdarch1

For musical you will find me on youtube -jdarch1 or soundcloud I also have a website

For Archaeology/Classics see site

Please no spamming/adverts, thanks.

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