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Nicole Bourcier Photographer/Artist/Author
Nicole Bourcier Photographer/Artist/Author

Soapbox Corner

I thought I would start a page of varied topics from chat or thoughts I may have on any given day Unlike my news page which only focuses on my news, this page could feature anything at all and being the eccentric I am, quite likely . Hope you enjoy wherever they may lead you...., If you would like to join in the conversation or give your own thoughts please leave your comment below by using contact page. Thank You
FIRST TOPIC- Pesticides verses Organic?
As some of you may have noticed I have started not only this page but also a Health BLOG Page too. So my first topic here is actually related to Health as I have been pondering for years this question-Organic verses Pesticides which is better for us, the planet, and the fauna?
And for years, my answer is still the same in that I still do not think we have gone far enough. I do think pesticides may help produce more crops as it eradicates pests/disease but in doing so I feel anything we eat is subjected to must contain even minute traces you would think. Not to mention the poor creatures that get in the way of the crop spraying etc.
On the other end of the scales is the seemingly at first glance a much better idea of Organic-Yippee, let's celebrate no more harmful chemicals/pesticides on our crops, or hurting the atmosphere or the fauna. Before you all jump around with glee my thought has and still is this...... I do not believe we are quite there yet. As yes I like organic better but as a vegetarian I know that the organic soil the crops are grown in under the organic status can use BLOOD or BONE fertiliser and this actually puts me off MORE than risking the pesticides for now which sounds ludicrous I know because also I know from having tasted organic produce compared to pesticide produced I do think the flavours are much better in organic food, but because it is not labelled to state or have a symbol stating something like 'we do not use any animal/human by products to grow this food' Hold on, you say why have I said 'human by-products???' Because and to be fair this may not be an organic use at all or it may be more a pesticide grower use but I have certainly been aware of a few farmers being paid to have human sewerage put on their land where our potatoes were then grown. So there are a lot more things I am not keen on about that as the first thought is obviously -not everybody that uses the bathroom is going to be fighting fit and even animal by-products are all the animals healthy that we are then growing our potential food in??? Lots to think on there! Anyway my final analysis is that I do not think we are quite right yet. I say organic, but I for one do not want my vegetables grown in animal blood or bone either! And why is there no label on organic produce to state soil content is 'animal by-product free' as that would be something to celebrate.

Time For Change- The Good Life ,CHAT 2

I was responding to a video I saw recently and how society needs to change. Certainly I feel the ever coming in bills for Electricity Water, Council Tax, Gas, etc, needs to change as I was very surprised that even during the Lockdowns- when we cannot go out, that none of these bills were then- free, as if we all have a money tree in the garden to miraculously come up with the demands.
The struggles and constant worry of how to fund these and food is a never ending cycle leading us all to have to slog ourselves to death until we do just that. Even as a child I thought we had it all wrong as the people with the really flash sports cars and nice clothes and lifestyle often appeared to be those that were retired, in other words OLD! If ever I did see a really nice car it was always driven by a guy that had clearly worked all his life just to finally buy the dream car at a time when really he was too old to really enjoy it. I remember thinking ' People are travelling around the world or going on jungle tours at a time when they are not really fit enough to do so and how silly are our rules for life if you have to wait until then to have any fun as not all of us make it!' However, now having reached the OLD part myself I have realised that mentally we all think the same as we did as kids- least I do (it is the same brain I was born with HA)
I thought it would be far better if we were all able to do and have what we wanted as young adults. Although, without this constant burden of money worries that stops our dreams and plagues us all I don't see how. Something has to change. Man, I have always felt is His own worst enemy. As only he would set up a society of constant worry, haves and have nots all because of the need for money. When I was younger I always thought it would be good to be in a hippie commune and still do, but only for a few minutes, as having had many neighbour problems over the years at various homes I came to realize it takes more than me to be the person that 'gives and takes'- in order to live in close proximity to others and I have personally found most don't! They want to do exactly what they want to do, but it anybody else around them wants to do the same they completely 'throw their toys out of the pram' over it. It seems more a case of 'we want to do what we want and live in close proximity to others BUT the others mustn't be allowed to have a life of their own if we don't like what it is they are doing' Hardly 'Live and let Live' Much more 'Live and Let Die'-Well-spotted, Linda! (My Hero)
Also wanting to test my theory of friends who always spoke about their dreams and wishing they could just change course or do whatever they dream of- I have ultimately found when you present, even hypothetically (which of course I knew it was-just testing) their dream come true in that second I have yet to meet one pal or person that takes it! They immediately give me a barrage of excuses why not! We are all institutionalised and the thought of us getting off the rails is just a dream for the many.

From the initial response to me saying I would be writing a forthcoming blog on Ghosts. I felt if It was up to the critics/sceptics I should be writing this on my HEALTH page HA OR LACK OF IT! Depending on your point of view. But it is here on my chat page, as in my chat page intro, I did warn you all, that this page could contain anything unexpected. So here goes.......

Firstly, I am led to write this TRUE story after recently hearing somebody talk on the Jeremy Vine show. For those that have been with me on Twitter since joining you may well remember the tweets on this subject. This however is the first time I have given full account of my personal experience which is not something I do lightly as I was a sceptic as a child even though I loved unusually for a kid, all the horror films of the day which were actually very mild compared to the same genre today, and I loved a scary story of werewolves, ghosts and the like. However I know being in the minority I say now I would hardly be wanting to lose all my fans or followers as being thought of as 'she is a liar /she is crazy'. Which if I were not of this knowledge I am about to divulge with you I would be agreeing wholeheartedly with the former sentence about myself. Also I am not a journalist so have no need to draw attention to myself by writing something that is for many, hard to believe, but the speaker on the radio show although I agreed with a lot of what he said about his topic and 'many things you can explain away'. I felt compelled to write my story as this, MY Story, is completely what happened to me. I also now believe that maybe some people do not, or are not shown what/whoever it is, that is or is not shown to them BECAUSE it is deemed by a greater force, I cannot explain, that they would not believe and would deny their own eyes/self. Also when I mentioned this forthcoming BLOG on Twitter I was met as I expected with a barrage of abuse as if I am completely nuts even suggesting such a thing as a ghost. The TRUE account follows-all I ask is judge it for yourselves and keep an open mind, as I always have, in all things. As it has led me to adventures- some good, some bad, that you only ever expect to see, 'made up' in films. If I lose all my fans/followers so be it, but to deny this account would be to deny the ghost's existence and I cannot and will not do that as it would not be what I know to be true.

My Ghost Story- My parents managed Hotels. This time was slightly different as it was by all accounts a large country type house with an old grain store, that had been converted to hotel accommodation, in a very small way, compared to the very grand, nearer London hotels we had lived in before. It was a substantial country pub though, with three bars and two restaurants and a function room. It had a typical beer garden surrounded by hedging and trees and beyond that was nothing but farmer's fields. I was a teen at the time and I add this information as I have read before that it is often as a teen that these sort of happenings occur for whatever reason. Anyway my interest at that time was very much as it is still today -HORSES. Then I was working hard and saving like mad to get my own pony. I had even found the black beauty lookalike, Shetland pony I wanted to buy and as this beer garden had space for a pony. I had even converted a garage behind the pub in readiness in the hope my parents would agree eventually. I used to ride my racing bike 8ish miles a day whenever I could, to visit my as yet unbought pony, I had the odd school pal over for chat and crisps and a coke drink. I think by this time I did not have my old boxer rescue dog-Sharni. Unfortunately, I think she had already been, at least this is what they all told me at the time- let off her chain from her kennel by a chef and ran onto main road and been run over. I was out with our cleaner's family I remember that as she had two girls and I used to stay over as that family were great fun. I am giving you this information not to pad out a made up story but to give you an idea of the person I was then and how my mind worked to help you get a better picture in your own minds about your own feelings on what follows by an insight of me at that time.
Anyway enough of me here is my account-

I was outside one day. It was a perfect sunny day and it must have been a Sunday as the pub was not open early for if it was open there may have been people in the garden, but I was alone and all was quiet out there I was climbing on structures to relieve any boredom.. I was then sitting high up deep in thought about what, I couldn't tell you as that I don't remember, but what followed I have never ever forgotten . I heard a noise in the garden and looked up as I did so, I saw a man with a axe over his shoulder come out of the wood boundary and walk back in again closely followed by a border collie ( I knew my dogs as I studied books on all the breeds as a child as I love dogs as much today as I did then so knew the breed immediately) He looked straight at me and me at him for a moment. I remember at the time thinking his clothes were odd by the fashions of the day and looked very old. Breeches, long socks, he had a grey hair and beard. then they were gone into the bushes.
I carried on with what I was doing/ thinking. Saying to myself 'oh, must be a gardener/workman' and thought no more of it, being used to all sorts of strangers, employed by my parents, being around/in our home as it was also a business and 24/7.
I did mention when asked what I had done that morning 'Oh, I was out in the garden and saw our gardener/ workman and he has a dog' I said. That was the moment I knew something wasn't right! My parents told me 'we don't have anyone working out there at all'. 'But you must have I just saw him' They were very dismissive. So much so and me being a 'Virgo' child, not used to being disbelieved, over the next few days I became distant as the more they said 'no' the more I said 'yes' and my parents were for the first time ever at loggerheads with me and I now was most annoyed and dismayed at turn of events and how can I prove it now? the man and his dog have gone- home probably. wherever that is.
May be a week or two passed and I was still sure but as I felt I can't prove anything I resigned myself to not forget incident but never mention it again for fear of being told off.
This is where I got a knowledge of Karma and how things often have a way even against all odds of working out.
As I said at the start- this pub had three bars. One day I was sat on a long bench like seat in a bar adjoining the function room. The pub and restaurant were open and it was lunchtime so I was enjoying a bag of Smiths crisps and my drink of childhood choice- coke from the bottle, with a straw so it would last longer, as I could sip it. Anyway I was looking around and became aware of photos on the walls. There were lots, black and white, Some Old too. (I sometimes ask myself if this whole event isn't the reason that I got so obsessed with photographs and photography-who knows).
I suddenly saw a picture of somebody I recognised instantly as I thought 'hey, there he is, there is the gardener man! well. what do you know!' He is there, I thought, on the wall- so he does work here. I was just about to tell my parents pleased as punch as I had found a photo to prove he does work here after all!. I wasn't going mad as I was made to think. But wait, there was writing underneath the photo, I hadn't spotted. Before, I was just about to leap up to go tell them, I read the words first, very slowly 'This is the Woodman and his border collie dog who used to tend the garden' dated !8?? I noted! although cannot remember exact date now but I know I quickly worked it out to be sure what I now knew could not be wrong by miscalculation on my part of age of photo. No mistake and I felt uneasy and reeling as I knew I had not been going mad. I did see this man and his dog, only I was not expecting in my wildest imaginings that there was no way he was alive or the dog now I knew then -What I had seen were -Ghosts.
In the photo he was also dressed in the same attire that I thought so odd and really that had been the only thing odd I had noted about him at the time of seeing him in the garden as at the time there was for me no question that they were alive as real as you or me.
Of course, I told and showed my parents the photo. As they both looked at each other bewildered. As even I could not ever have expected proof. I mean who has ever captured a ghost in a photo! It was the first of many events in my life so far that I have used the saying 'You just couldn't write it! or make it up'

We left the pub/hotel sometime later as my parents separated having both found new partners. However, Mother kept in contact with our old staff there and apparently many staff who used staff quarters in the pub claimed to have seen the woodman with his axe on his shoulder in the building. That is how word got back to me, as I knew then Mother was now also convinced of my account of events. Every time she reported a new sighting to me, as she drove me to school and I sat there silent but content in the satisfaction of being proved- right and not mad at all. So Thank the Lord for Photos!!! My love was born.

footnote- In recent years this particular pub has actually always been my favourite as it was very pretty and if I had the money would buy it for sure although our Isleworth Hotel was the favourite for location. In fact the house live in now has a bathroom that when I viewed house has the same colour on the walls, same dimensions and identical window to my Father's office in that pub. It was like being transported back there in time and is, every time I step into bathroom here which has been the reason I cannot change colour . HA.
Also I researched the ownership of pub and found out it is still owned by Oxford College which I find bizarre especially when I tell you it is nowhere near Oxford!!!! as you might expect as would I. It also leads me to question whether the reason they keep it, is because they know of the ghostly happenings there? and own all the pictures to prove it !HA.


From a young age I remember not being very impressed with dresses available for sale on the high street and the fashion regarding dresses for the public at the time. An example can be seen on an episode of Beasts called Baby. The dresses were generally flowery material worn over a roll neck jumper and very long and pretty shapeless. Something we could all make even with no sewing experience. Except for a few exceptions worn by Margo Leadbetter on The Good Life or Jo on Man about the House. Therefore I was never keen on buying a dress or wearing one. I would say 'If I am going to wear a dress, I want a DRESS that is a showstopper!' But always felt we were years away from when high street fashion would catch up with the dresses I had seen in films. Those were the dresses I loved and still do and would love to own the originals. What films? Plenty of them.... Hello Dolly (even had super hats) . Chitty Chitty Bang Bang when Truly sings in her garden. Oliver- although not an obvious choice , Nancy's dress only has to be viewed to instantly conjure up the images of the film and as she proved. Ideal for a dance and sing song. Mary Poppins on her outing, Alice in Wonderland another dress that instantly transports us when viewed. Pretty Woman-The red dress worn by Julia Roberts as she is transformed for a date night. Goldie Hawn as Duchess in the film Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox is a favourite look. Michelle Pfeiffer being my fave American actress and her wardrobe for the film Scarface was simply stunning every one. Also in her role a Suzy Diamond in The Fabulous Baker Boys, again many show stopping outfits. Brigitte Bardot in Shalako. I am sure I can think of more I like and will add them to this CHAT when I do. But the reason for this particular chat is because another dress I always liked is from Batman, that Kim Basinger's character wears to go to the party held at Bruce Wayne's house. In fact I liked it so much I kept a hunt for it since seeing the film. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts I missed the auction of it!!! However undeterred, I kept a eye out at any charity shops I frequented in case I happened upon something similar. Over the years I have found TWO similar dresses. One is more like it, in that it is plainer and certainly the right type of material but needed additions. Which I have bought sometime ago but am yet to find the time to sew on. The other though was already done with many more bells and whistles than the original film version and altogether more ball like with flounces galore, probably nearer a Cinderella style but as it was the closest I thought I could ever buy off the shelf, I didn't buy it! What? I hear you say 'why?' well, as I said I was searching charity shops and as charity shop prices go, it was a lot. So I left it, However next time I was in town shopping over a month or more later. I was very surprised to see the dress was still for sale but by now the price had halved! RESULT and Fate had meant it to be mine I felt, although I still had no idea of length or size but at that price decided to get it anyway.
Then of course you have to have the right place to wear any of these dresses/outfits I like so much and that is the reason why I like my house so much as for photography it delivers in spades. To see both my dress and house see my photography page. I have already said on my website before that the house makes ideal venue for filming or photography shoots but this virus pandemic has halted a lot of my plans to help the house pay for itself. Now, if you can just zip me up please?

ALL Change
Ever since the first pandemic of Covid, something has seemed wrong. A few years on now and it seems worse still, not better. More new viruses of concern - polio, and monkeypox (from prairie dogs, not monkeys !) China apparently already have a new one brewing. Don't ask me what it is I am not even wanting to know anymore. Even children are not now fit enough via their own immune system they say and are subjected to vaccines the like we have never seen before, being seemingly permanently masked up in this new world we are living in.
Although living is also seeming to be something I feel we are not being able to do anymore either. What with energy bills skyrocketing and no sign of stopping. I am already switching off my electricity and only using it when it is absolutely necessary which in actual fact was all the time if I am LIVING. However I am beginning to question whether we are even allowed to exist anymore I read Farmers all over the world are being offered money to sell up and stop growing crops to help climate change and the survival of the planet but what we are all supposed to do for grain and crops to eat then is rather worrying as the only thought then is- starve or go hungry presumably Which many of us are already doing due to war in Ukraine- African people are not getting the grain food needed for their survival. I was always suspicious of those Smartmeters and only recently discovered that once installed the energy companies could in theory disconnect your supply from a distance without entering your home at all! Add to that the digitization of the banks and all these things add up to me, to a force bigger than us, wanting to control us all by fear, starvation, poverty, or our total inability to keep warm in our homes come the winter. It really is seeming that the world is becoming survival of the fittest, and the wealthiest. For it is only those that will be able to keep up. I do feel it is commendable and imperative to save the planet but if the majority are gone from here, who are we saving the planet for?, as even the richest and fittest will not be able to fulfil all the roles of the majority on earth from as we have seem from Ukraine flour and grain farmers to the Doctors and Nurses on the NHS frontlines and the shopkeepers, etc, etc. Everything we do has a knock on effect, you only have to see what happens in nature, when a removal of one species is tried for whatever reason a then much worse scenario ensues. I am myself , trying to find new ways or old ways in reality of cooking , and lighting house etc as I cannot afford to increase payments even if that means going without even the basics of heating, lighting, cooking and hot water on tap. I never thought things would get this tough in the future