I give to charity, I like to think freely. Over the years I've been involved in various kinds of fund raising and volunteering to help other people and I like giving, it makes me feel good to benefit other people so it isn't all one way traffic, how could that ever be but I am so tired of being besieged on television by famous actors showing me horrific scenes of children dying on cancer, dying of lack of clean water, dying of cold, hunger and poverty and abused children lying in corners.
Yesterday over about an hour and a half I got oxfam, British Red Cross, NSPCC, dogs chained up and skinny or being put out of cars and left by the side of the road.
Must I be made to feel guilty because people abuse their children and turn out their pets? The fact that we are dropping bombs on Syria ( not in my name or my MP's ) and an advert is asking me to help the children there seems such a stupid contradiction and although I have given to all of the above charities and dozens more in the past and will in the future I am so tired of watching children huddled in corners, crying and dying and the looks in their mothers' eyes.
Communication has never been so good. I have to save the planet, I know. I am giving as much as I can. I recycle, I hardly go anywhere, I walk places. I eat locally grown vegetables, locally caught fish, local butchered animals though less and less meat being now aware of the energy and food it takes to get that far though I eat lamb because I'm surrounded by farms and if I don't eat the bloody lambs half the farmers in the dale will go without.
My car runs on unleaded fuel. I give away books, clothes. I keep a lawn at the back of the house because it's better for the air than paving.
I am becoming more and more aware that the narrowness of religion has meant that contraception is unavailable to millions of women, that war which men create causes huge problems, that women in most countries have very little voice and no power and the world around me allows white middle class men to get fat and own big houses and their own jets and because there is never enough to go around they are so greedy, so proud of themselves or too stupid to think that they can only sleep in one bed, eat so much, drink so much, their insecurity causes division and yet I know that it is a silly argument in many ways. We have to make money, we have to trade, we have to let people go ahead and try to make us richer, I just want there to be a fairer way to go, that there is no corruption in the churches and in the industries and that people will be employed because of the ability they have and not because of their background, their colour, their gender or the way that they speak.
Power without morals is corrupt and causes huge problems and I will not solve them by donating three pounds for a hat and gloves to a child in Syria though I have already given such a thousand times.
I am sponsoring a guide dog so that a blind person in my area can take a job. That's what I like, an object, a future of some kind for somebody who needs this help. My guide dog's name is Goldie. It will take two years and £30,000 before she is ready to stop somebody stepping off a curb and being run down by a motorist because the disabled person can't see or can't hear or can't understand.
I have given extensively to Water Aid, which is my favourite charity because if you have no clean water it doesn't really matter what you do have.
I give to people who live on the streets in Durham. I give to the old man who limps and plays the penny whistle so beautifully in the town. I haven't seen him in ages. Perhaps he died. I miss him.
I give to the accordionist who plays on Framwellgate Bridge because he can't play and was mocked by local young idiots. I wanted to smash their teeth in so I helped him.
I give to Christian Aid and the British Red Cross and Help the Heroes but I know that I cannot save the whole planet and I do wish that people would leave me my choices, impossible though they are, between hunger, pain, abuse and neglect. I am doing what I can and almost everyone I know does the same and we can do without the adverts on television. They would do better to give that money directly to those who need it. We can all do without any more guilt, we feel bad enough as it is.