Well what about me? For what it's worth I've travelled far and wide I was born in the UK lived & worked in the US for 10 years came back to the UK now live in Gozo (Malta) one of my favourite places is Bali. I have had several blogs running at the same time but I'm in the process of integrating all blogs under this one. (wish me luck:-)
There’s been a lot of talk recently about loneliness and also stress affecting our health, suicide rates continue to rise in particular amongst the younger generation, could the lack of challenges affect us in the same way? In older times I’m sure that these symptoms wouldn’t have been so clear. Now I admit to all three of these conditions of Loneliness Stress and lack of Challenge. Its been a progressive affect on me for many years, I’ve suffered from insomnia, attempted suicide, been hospitalised for physical problems, had a pacemaker fitted which went wrong and needed replacement and I have been under psychiatric care, well not so much now as I’m developing the middle path.
WHY? I asked myself have all of these things crept up on me, well I think I understand as far as loneliness is concerned I now live alone for the 1st time in my life, my Facebook connections started dropping off so I wasn’t hearing from friends etc. When it came to stress well lack of income, problems with taxes, people scamming me stealing from me was severely affecting my sleep. The effects of a divorce plunged me into the depth of suicide which as I’m writing this now clearly wasn’t successful (thanks to my sisters).
However, tonight I suddenly realised that all these problems were challenges in one way or another. In this modern time we aren’t faced with the same kind of challenges we were faced with in older times. We are no longer hunter/gatherers we sit watch TV, have our food delivered or eat in restaurants, play on the internet etc.
So maybe its the lack of CHALLENGE which is the root cause, the lack of Peace and Love, being told lies either directly or through fake news. In the old days we communicated face to face, not anymore. I have family and friends who for example don’t use Facebook and they’re relatively happy, I relied on Facebook to keep in touch then suddenly I start having problems with my Facebook account, was Mark Zuckerberg the great Satan, lulling us into believing that Facebook was the only way to stay connected.
Well I can only put this theory for you to judge, after all I’m known as The Crazy Brit so I think maybe its more appropriate for you to give your thoughts. I’d truly appreciate a response from YOU my reader even if its a “well you’re bloody crazy” Synchronicity has played a great part in my life just tonight watching the BBC the word CHALLENGES kept coming up, that’s what inspired this brief post. Goodnight sleep tight don’t let the bed bugs bite.
So I decided I needed to simplify my life, come off Facebook, close bank accounts, even reduce blogging to one a month…..EASIER SAID THAN DONE. I’ve been blogging for years under different names etc and I’d forgotten most of them NOW I’ve found some of my original blogs http://betterbusinesschanges.blogspot.com/ was possibly the start but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more as the dates look too recent. However back to Downsizing. Yes maybe I should monetise my blog, I need PayPal for that and unfortunately we don’t seem to be getting along recently. But I’ll persevere ‘cos there’s money involved. Coming off Facebook is a dream (or in my case a nightmare). My aim is to cut free from Facebook by 2020 (20/20 vision resonates with me) BUT I need Facebook to publicise another little venture I’m thinking of starting, a tea shop like no other seen before, this place would be run a a non profit people could come to buy sell and swap things, massage, meditation, book exchange, talks by guest speakers and lots of other things (whatever the guest/customer/member wants it will do). I’ve had tea shops before and I know what will and won’t be successful and I even have the signage from my last tea shop “The Divine LOVE Tea shop” and I have a location. BUT I refuse to invest my money so I’ll have to be creative in funding. IF anyone is interested I can be contacted. Being a non profit doesn’t mean people work for free, wages and commissions would be paid but once all costs are covered any profits are donated to a local Gozo charity. Hopefully this will encourage locals to get involved (hmm easier said than done).https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvgN5gCuLac&t=10s
So maybe you thinking (like me) hang on he’s trying to simplify his life but adding all this new STUFF. Well so long as it’s enjoyable I see no problem. My new religion:- IF it hurts no-one else you can do anything that makes you happy, no boundaries, but no-one else should be hurt or offended, (it goes without saying I won’t be running naked down the street).
So my saga with HSBC Malta continues, I saw I could apply
online for a loan I didn’t really need one but was interested if as a foreigner
I would get one. My meeting today went as follows.
H Good morning Mr Chalkley…how old are you? me 68. H Oh you don’t look your age. me Thank you that’s the nicest thing anyone has said to me all week. H,Now I will go through the details….. Now I will go and check but you should know we don’t usually give loans to people over 65..
The nice lady returns, H. sorry but unless you can give us the equivalent amount as security we can’t do the loan. ME…To put it simply I’m not surprised HSBC Malta is a mess, they have always been the worst country to deal with and the most uncooperative, I’m tempted to apply again but that would just be mischievous
OK now as a bit of a dinosaur I’m going to try and monetise my blog. I’ve been writing blogs for years mainly with WordPress but I think it would be interesting and maybe even financially rewarding to start the process. We shall see.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTP2RUD_cL0
In a favourite movie of mine Meet Joe Black, Brad Pit as death said “there are two things that are guaranteed in life Death and Taxes”.
So is the IRS more concerned with death or taxes?
I have been in a constant battle with the IRS since January 2019 the IRS is impossible to deal with, they ignore communications and instead continue to issue meaningless false notices, here’s the whole skinny: –
Until January this year I paid no tax on my small pension from the TRS (Teachers Retirement System). I pay my taxes in Malta and under the double taxation treaty this has always been the case. However, for the first time they suddenly started deducting tax at 30%, now this may not be a whole lot of money as far as most people are concerned but to me was a big slice of my US pension. Fortunately, most of my pensions come from the UK and they remain untaxed as they should be.
IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig recently said it was cheaper and easier for them to audit the poor as auditing the rich cost more in money and expertise, he asked the US government to give them more money to commence audits for the rich but for some reason the government don’t want to do that. Conflict of interest maybe? The whole scam of tax and the cost of recovering it could be settled easily with a more transparent and fair way of taxing people. Tax on what we consume, VAT, Power, etc. What is the point of trying to find hidden money, its like searching for a needle in a haystack?
Death and Taxes indeed, well my problems will not be the death of me, in fact perhaps I should send a copy of this deliberately short post to Charles Rettig (long words seem to be difficult for him.
When I started this blog, it evolved around The Buddha, but
how many people understand Buddhism so maybe I should add my thoughts. Firstly,
Buddhism is not a religion The Buddha sought the middle path and when he found
it he shared it with others to save us having to go through the long journey he
went through to find his enlightenment. He never expected to be worshipped as a
god, he didn’t even preach that there is a god so why do we seek these
spiritual experiences? There is something inherent in us that tells us there is
more to life than just what we are today. Reincarnation, when we die, we don’t
simply disappear whatever happens our atoms our being is reabsorbed back into
the universe, I happen to believe in reincarnation but that’s for each of us to
decide for ourselves.
So what about The Buddha? He was born a prince (Siddhārtha)
his father wanted to protect him from the outside world and built a palace were
his every need was catered for. One day Siddhārtha went outside and saw old
people, illness, death etc. for the first time (can you imagine the impact that
would have on you). Buddhism was founded and he is believed to have lived and
taught mostly in the north-eastern part of ancient India sometime between the
6th and 4th centuries BCE.
Gautama taught a Middle Way between sensual indulgence and
the severe asceticism found in the Sramana movement common in his region. He
later taught throughout other regions of eastern India such as Magadha and
Gautama is the primary figure in Buddhism. He is believed by
Buddhists to be an enlightened teacher who attained full Buddhahood and shared
his insights to help sentient beings end rebirth and suffering. Accounts of his
life, discourses and monastic rules are believed by Buddhists to have been
summarised after his death and memorized by his followers. Various collections
of teachings attributed to him were passed down by oral tradition and first committed
to writing about 400 years later.
So Buddhism has been around a long time, longer than
Christianity, Islam and many other so called religions. We should be encouraged
to know that there is this middle path, a life to enjoy, its our duty to enjoy
this life and so long as we do no harm to others then anything goes. Forget the
teachings we’ve been indoctrinated with throughout our lives Peace and Love
will prevail. Namaste.
4-30 am may does not seem to be the best time for writing a post but for some reason that happens a lot with me. Yesterday I got into something of a financial crunch and had to ask my sisters to bail me out. I don’t mind saying my eldest sister (the matriarch of the family) gave me a right hard time, I deserved it I’d taken a financial risk in my recent home move, but it paid off.
Now that produced the dream I’ve just woken up from, the many time I took risks in business and pulled off some major coups. This dream was about Frank Dee Corporation now (IF its still around) Gateway, they were then based in Hull and as a seasoned salesman I popped in by chance to their head office and asked why they weren’t stocking our household products. Frank Dee himself said that actually they thought the same thing and agreed to place a range in each of their hundreds of stores.
When I returned to my H/O my boss Barry (BMW) was amazed at this coup and wanted to come with me to the next appointment from here the dream progressed to the high I’d get from getting the big million pound order something I’ve done a few time in my life.
The fact is sometimes we have to take chances (and risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss-R.K) sitting safely on the side-lines gets us nowhere.
In between moving house I found myself with a little time and as I’m also in the process of another case decided to put my thoughts down. I expect the truth and in the USA as many places justice is not only blind but dumb. I took Nordstrom to the feds and they agreed to represent me, however through some manipulation behind the scenes I was left to fight the case myself while they hired one of the biggest firm of attorneys in Texas Strasbourg. Kim Young their lead attorney was/is an attractive blond woman and in my usual unconventional way I communicated outside of court and as they say come into my parlour said the spider to the fly, I the fly went into the web, and what a web it was. My case was fought on discrimination sex,age etc. They were and are wholly wrong in what they did and had commited what was a serious breach of the law. Their chairman Eric Nordstrom could well have found himself in prison, maybe thats why on the day of the hearing they flew staff in from all over the US, I stood alone’.
Now I’m a big boy and am happy to fight the bigger boy’s but I have to admit to being a bit naive in my quest for justice. The little people don’t count to the big boy’s but social media is levelling the field. this is just one of the notes I found from the time and was really the final straw that affected 2 young kids …
1st occasion little girl 3-4 left at door Mother
walked away to her car, the little girl was crying, I followed the mother and
waved to her telling her to come back she reversed the car and told her
daughter to come to the car across the busy lot which she did under my
2nd occasion a young boy 8-9 was
left in foyer to the store, I saw him and asked if he was OK he was sitting on
the floor in the corner with a black eye and clearly distressed, I said come
inside the store he said he couldn’t he’d been told to stay there. 15 minutes
later still there, customers also concerned. I called Loss Prevention for a
lady to come. She came and sat with the boy still no mother. I explained to
shoe dept. manager our responsibilities he said he didn’t know what to do. I
explained the DFPS regulations still no response. I clocked off and said I
would do it as an individual then. Then LP lady calmed boy down then the mother
turned up apparently 45 minutes later and LP let them go, she said she was
concerned about the child and said there was clearly something wrong. I have
experience of child abuse having worked with many at-risk kids.
I will continue this post in part 2 but for now enough is enough, and I have hundreds of documents to post involving communications from Nordstom’s directors. Namaste the truth is out there.
For Rukhsana the only woman who loved me for who I was and
who through my naivety I let down badly, and to my best friend Steve who’s now
passed away but stood by me through thick and thin.
We can never truly imagine what the ripple effects of a
brief conversation can have on our life just such a conversation took place
between me and my ex brother in law and best mate. Steve worked as a senior
salesman in a company I ran as General Sales Manager, Steve was a bit of a lad
and well known for his gallivanting and womanising, but he was always there
with a joke even in the worst of times. It was on such a day that he sat I my
office and as usual instead of getting down to business he turned to the glass
partition and looked out into the sales office which was manned by several good
looking young girls and asked me “IF you had a pick of any of the girls which
one would you pick”. Typical of Steve to try and detract from the fact that his
sales figures weren’t exactly setting the world on fire, but I took the bait.
Hmm I looked out at all these young things who all flaunted their sexuality and
looked at a shy and reserved British born Pakistani girl and said I think
Rukhsana. Quick as a flash he laughed and said, “no chance”.
And that’s where this truly life changing, and tragic story began. The year was 1991. I was 40 and Rukhsana was only 20 and was very carefully handled by her family being brought to work and picked up at the end of the working day. This should have been a warning about the excesses of Islam that would take me to the deprivation of the Punjab within a few miles of the place where in 2011 many years later the US military caught and executed Osama Bin Laden in a place called Abbottabad just 600km from where I spent a sad 2 weeks. I left broken hearted, but I get ahead of myself. This involved the British Special branch, my local MP, the red cross, the foreign office and just about every agency I could involve in what has become the nightmare I’ve lived with for 28 years (so far).
So Steve asked the question which would you pick, he laughed when I said Rukhsana I couldn’t blame him R was a quiet conservatively dressed shy Pakistani she could hardly look me in the eye when she had to speak to me, besides I was twice her age and the likelihood of even getting a chance to get any private time alone with her seemed too unlikely for words. This was Walsall near Birmingham and a hub for Islamic Pakistanis. I completely forgot about this incidental conversation between “lads” lads talk of course was usually just talk. R was a beautiful girl but never ever wore a dress or skirt and never wore makeup like the other girls, besides every night she was out at 5pm and was met by one of her three brothers and escorted home. It was the night of the Christmas break and everyone was in good spirits making their way to Christmas parties and what not. I looked out at my sales office and surprisingly saw Rukhsana still packing up to leave, I was about to leave for my long trek back to Hampshire where I lived but was away each week staying at a local hotel. I was on my way out and asked R why she wasn’t with her brothers, oh they’re at the Christmas parties tonight so I’m making my own way home. Let me give you a lift I’m going your way, she looked so shy and smiled saying well OK. We drove towards her house a few miles away and she asked me to stop down the road “in case anyone saw her with me”. OK no problem but you know Rocky it’s Christmas and at least I should get a Christmas kiss, she blushed and gave me a quick kiss and I was smitten. We said goodbye and off we went until the New Year. I convinced myself this was nothing more than a brief flirtation and nothing could come of it, but I was proven wrong.
I returned home to Hampshire where my wife simply looked at me as I walked into the house and said, “oh your home are you”. This was about par for the course, my wife was 17 years older than me and had 6 kids when I met her, (age has never been important to me as far as relationships go) besides by this time we’d grown apart for many reasons mostly my fault and our relationship had become quite cold. In truth the only thing that kept us together was our daughter who was of course the light of my life. Christmas and New Year came and went, and I returned to start the New Year and the challenges of trying to save a company that was in a mess, that was the reason they hired me. I’d missed seeing R and her innocent beautiful good looks. But we formed what was at the time a perfectly innocent (no sex) friendship. We started seeing each other and grew close. Eventually the company we worked for overextended itself and went into receivership. But before then having got myself a job in Huddersfield she asked if she could come and live with me. Now I’m no angel I’ve been around the block many times, but R was so different from anyone I’d ever met before, I moved with my job and rented a small cottage in Denby Dale. She came to me, which was a very risky situation, we lived together and were both really happy (I know she was because of her diary which much later I found). I was offered another job in Wilmslow Cheshire I rented a house in Goostrey near Jodrell Bank. We’d been keeping a low profile as R was worried her family might find her, I knew she missed her family and felt she was overreacting to their intentions, so I got in touch with her father and explained the R was quite happy and safe. They asked if they could come and see us (they didn’t know where we were), we discussed it and R reluctantly agreed.
The day came when we expected her mother and father to arrive, we set everything up for her father putting a prayer mat in a spare room so he could do his daily worship. They arrived with her two brothers; I talked her father he said it’s OK for you to marry our daughter, (I was still married but he said in Islam you can have more than one wife!). I said we would get married once I had my divorce. They asked if R could go home for just the weekend as relatives were coming from Pakistan to visit. Rukhsana was nervous I told her I will keep your British passport so no-one can take you away. So, they all left in their car, and that was the last time I ever saw her, to this day I don’t know if she’s alive and happy.
At the end of the weekend I’d heard nothing, so I rang her
parents. Her brother Iqbal answered the phone and said forget her she’s in
Pakistan, I was desperate I said but what if she’s pregnant, we “tested” her he
said and she’s not. Unbeknown to us they had obtained a Pakistani passport from
the consul in Manchester, they took her to Pakistan, Father Mother and three
brothers. In those days’ airport security wasn’t like it is today and I
befriended a guy in Emirates airlines who found the flight and when they were
due to return. I knew from R where they would go, Multan in the Punjab so I
booked a flight and sent a message to her father via relatives in the UK asking
to meet him there. I arrived in Karachi and stayed in a hotel which was guarded
by soldiers with machine guns, I flew to Lahore stayed a few days met a friend
of a friend and booked a flight to Multan. I arrived and was surrounded by
people wanting to help me with my bags, I very well-spoken Pakistani came to me
and asked would I like a taxi, yes I said to the hotel Sinbad. On the way there
I asked Jamil how much it would cost to hire his taxi for the day, we agreed a
very low price so I asked him to drive around the city. What I saw there was a
nightmare but I trusted Jamil and decided to tell him my story. “These sort of
people are bastards” he said come and stay at my house. I went to his modest
house met his wife daughter and son. I moved into his son’s room and the next
day we went looking for the compound that Rs family were living but it was
impossible. I got in touch with her cousins in the UK and asked them to ask her
father to meet me at the mosque, they said if you are here we will kill you. I
went but he never turned up. I put an advert in the local paper saying John
from England is in Multan and would like to meet his friends, nothing.
After 2 weeks I decided to return to the UK, Jamil asked if I would like to marry his daughter Jamila, I said no of course but we remained friends. I returned to the UK but still determined to find R, I knew the flight they were due back on. Steve came with me to Heathrow to meet the returning group, I still expected R to be with them, Steve watched a photographed what happened next, the mother and father came out first, I walked to the father and put my hand on his shoulder and said “now can we talk” the brothers came out of arrivals and a scuffle started, airport security got involved everyone went their separate ways and I went home to Goostrey. The father got in touch and asked for her passport I went to their house and we talked he said R was married now, I didn’t believe him so he showed me a photo of her in red and gold, I said that proves nothing, he showed me a letter from R I read the letter it was heart-breaking. She was asking her dad to bring her home and her “husband” had told her she must stop crying. I realised the only way she could get back was with her UK passport so gave it them. I harassed them, followed them went to the police saw special branch (they said I was a fool trusting them as this sort of thing happened all of the time). I learnt from mutual friends that they drugged her and took her on the flight.
It didn’t stop there of course I spent 5 years looking for
her, eventually I accepted the inevitable but hoped she was safe and well. IF
you are out there Rukhsana just let me know you are OK. IF I know for sure I
won’t disturb you and the “life” you have now. Namaste.