They bury Keith today.



He didn’t know that morning as

he dressed for work and planned his day

that evil also did the ordinary things

whilst planning.

Tourists said he smiled and posed

for photos,

Joked with children, just was there,


Today, as he makes his final journey

watched by thousands,

A thin blue line of police officers

will line the route, heads bowed

as he passes.

The gap where he should have been

closed up, tight, as they stand together.

Tomorrow another police officer

will step forward from the line,

will do the ordinary things

whilst planning his day,

and go and stand where

Keith, an ordinary man,

stood on the day that evil

came to call.


Than You for your service, PC Palmer.




Life through Facebook


When I joined Facebook, I wasn’t very sure what it could bring to my online experience. I’d joined and had quickly got sucked in to the forums. Strangers with even stranger user names became important to me. I followed their stories with interest. I learned about pregnancies sometimes before they had become public knowledge in real life, and I joined in the congratulations and the cooing when photographs of new babies appeared on the site.

I followed with interest, wedding plans, saw wedding dresses and invitations, gave my opinion when asked about venues, cakes, and bridesmaid dresses. I thought about brides when their big day arrived, and looked forward to their wedding photographs, some of which were even posted on the day!

Sometimes within weeks I read accounts of marriages in trouble, of separation, and eventually of divorce.

All life was on my computer screen. l laughed and cried with the people I “met” on there. I was invited to one girl’s wedding, and was trying to decide how to get out of going, when everything went horribly wrong for her, and thankfully it was cancelled. I hadn’t met her fiancé, but I didn’t like him much.

Eventually the site was taken over and changed to such an extent that people left in their droves, and it all but collapsed. I still check in from time to time, but it isn’t the same.

At about the time of Handbag’s downturn somebody asked me if I was on Facebook, and I decided to join. At first I had little understanding of what the site was about, but I persevered with it, and in a matter of weeks I was hooked.

Facebook has had some bad publicity. Tales of bullying, secrets being told, gossip, marriages breaking up because of illicit relationships spawned on Facebook. Tune into Jeremy Kyle any morning and you’ll see DNA tests and lie detector tests being carried out because of something that has been said on Facebook.

For me though, Facebook has been nothing but positive. Through Facebook I can see photos of my Grandchildren, on the day they were taken. I can follow the lives of my nieces and nephews and their children. I hear their joyous news, and I hear their sad news. I have close contact with cousins, and am able to share their ups and downs, to ask for and to give advice. I read their jokes, laugh with them, and sometimes cry with them.

I have made new friends too, people I will never meet in real life, but who have become important to me. Some of them through games I no longer play, but the connection I felt then is still there, maybe through some shared interest, or just through a shared sense of humour. Some of them are friends because we play Scrabble or Words with Friends. Thankfully none of them seem to mind playing against someone like me, who is too impatient to be a competent player. I don’t mind losing though…and I’m happy to boost their winning statistics!

I think the point is, that I’m not just addicted to Facebook, I’m thankful to have all this contact with people who mean a lot to me, who I’d rarely see, and probably never speak to on the phone or write to. I wonder now what I did before Facebook?