– I am a UK-based independent researcher, author and critical thinker with a predominantly Dutch-American background in the earth & life sciences (as well as in tourism & hospitality and a few other areas). I have been the target of a lot of unusual activity for over a decade.
Life in England (and/or my very weird life in Portsmouth and/or Portsmouth’s strange culture)
The weirdest thing just happened. I ran into one of the neighbours and wanted to update him – see below – and while he was as sweet as peaches last time I spoke with him, he was extremely hostile now and saying crazy things like “I don’t want to see your face anymore”. (Another one of those remarks that are actually intended for his partner? I hardly ever see the guy!)
But…he also said “I don’t think you should be trying to repair your own electricity” …
Here’s the thing. I never said or wrote anything like that to anyone anywhere!
All I said and wrote is that I was trying to transfer the account to see if that would get the problem resolved! (Because my power company – Bulb – clearly isn’t up to the task.)
(These neighbours don’t speak and understand English very well so we’ve always communicated via notes. They always only speak Russian or something on the phone. And they’re on the phone a lot and usually very loudly, too.)
It looks like someone else has been leaving notes for them that they think are from me.
He also said that he was my stalker when I asked him – after his weird remarks – but I’m pretty sure he was just being a misogynistic asshole when he said that.
I’m still not entirely well, but getting there. Yep, it was the head trauma that “knocked me out”. I’ll talk about in a new video soon. (I hit my head against a curved railing, four times, while litter-picking through it on 24 August. There’s something called a subacute subdural hematoma and it looks like that’s what it was. I was lucky. Healthcare is currently very hard to get, I read in Metro last week. Sad stories such as about someone having died because no medical staff was there to notice someone’s dangerously low BP due to a hernia.)
By the way, did you know that Boris Johnson apparently has instructed the NHS to call refurbished hospitals etc “new hospitals”?
So that he can claim he has created x new hospitals. Ha ha.
That means that we’re all millionaires, I’m sure. (Particularly the poor, who try to spend every penny at least three times to make it go further.)
Oh, and there are no fuel shortages either. None whatsoever. The BBC is lying about that.
As it happens, I couldn’t help but overhear shreds of a local conversation about fuel shortages either. I heard someone say something about what I thought was our driveway, so that made me curious.
“been turned into a parking space”
“cars lining up”
Were they serious?
But no, it was about fuel shortages. Cars lining up at the pumps that have fuel.
We also run into empty shelves in supermarkets.
Because Brexit has happened and so many of those evil people from abroad have left the UK, including many lorry drivers (called “truck drivers”, in American English).
The Guardian also had an interesting article on it, too. Apparently, there’s a shortage of around 100,000 lorry drivers. The UK government wants to solve that via a “U-turn” that allows 5,000 visas to be issued towards addressing this shortage?
In these videos. I talk about some experiences I’ve had in England.
I want you to think about what this means for people who aren’t highly educated and from Amsterdam. I know that calling out people the way I have started doing annoys a lot of people, but research has shown that explaining diversity issues in a nice and agreeable manner does not accomplish a thing.
Who Mr Vernon Jackson is, you wonder? He is the local Lib Dem City Council leader. In the summer of 2019, after I came home to another incident of vandalism in my flat, the locks having been picked again while I was away, I asked two professors in the Netherlands to call Portsmouth City Council Leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson. None of these two knew me personally but they were people I was working with at the time and I am a nobody here in Portsmouth.
I needed someone with standing to mediate for me.
I’d been asking for help with my situation for years, after all, as the local police knows and as also for example former local Lib Dem City Councillor Steve Pitt knows. (Steve Pitt used to be a pub landlord. I used to frequent that pub. It no longer exists.)
Professor Karel Keesman (WUR) called Vernon-Jackson, who owes his double-barreled name to his Canadian dad. Not much happened for about a month until yet another attempt was made to evict me and Vernon-Jackson agreed to see me then. He (GVJ) decided to ignore the cause of my problems, the background of my situation. Instead, he kept questioning my sanity; that is what I refer to in this video.
He simply does not know his own town very well, however. (I must say that this also applies to Advice Portsmouth, which is based at Kingston Crescent.)
He lives in a pretty little house in a pretty little street in a pretty little neighbourhood. He has no idea of what goes on in the rest of Portsmouth and a few years ago, he suggested that giving poor people broken, discarded and possibly-made-to-function-somewhat again white goods would help them get out of poverty.
Starting a buyers’ club would be a much better idea. (I worked on that idea briefly, but the locals made fun of it again – because they hack into all my equipment, which my poverty makes too easy, they know what I am up to; they sometimes take ideas and forward them to others so that they can use them, too – and there isn’t a soul that I can talk with in this town, is there?)
Sadly, he probably unwittingly ended up making a public spectacle out of me that signaled to the community that I was a nobody and that it was okay to continue to abuse me. So that is what happened.
Only a few months before I met with Vernon-Jackson, someone had taken a rotary metal cutter to the neck of an animal for no other reason than to signal to me that women must know their place and that this is how men deal with recalcitrant women. (I received a message.) It had happened before. (I received a message that time, too.) That bird died, this one survived. A bird had also been attacked, similarly, inside my flat while I was out. Before that happened, I had received a weird message, someone asking me how my dog was getting along with the bird. I don’t have a dog.
Gerald Vernon-Jackson unwittingly signals that he is okay with this kind of thing because this kind of thing is seen as perfectly normal here as I stated at the beginning, above. He is certainly is no exception. I can’t hold it against him. He’s just like just about everybody else here.
But I do not want to continue to “live” like this. This is no life. At all.
So I have recently started making more and more and more and more noise about my untenable situation. I have currently been without electricity for two weeks for example; this was some kind of punishment for not being a sweet little girl.
There is nothing I can do about it. Nothing!
The electrician who installed the new meter on 28 June said that if I used “the old key”, the meter would go faulty again. That’s how these messages are conveyed; you sound like an idiot when you talk about it but there simply is no such thing as the electricity meter going faulty after you insert the wrong key.
He also sorta fell half on top of me and put warning tape on all the main live wires, signalling “stupid cow freaks out all the time” or “all women are brain-dead” of whatever. Abuse of women is seen as perfectly normal here. I am supposed to beg and cry and fall on my knees and ask please please please pretty please, holy massas with penises, can you please please please let me live my life, please please please?
So, for the past 10+ years, a group of people who literally behave like the bloody mafia have been at me, trying to bully and beat me into acting like a sweet little 5-year-old or 2-year-old like a good woman should. (And/or providing sex to the local hoodlums? Hell no.)
And there is nowhere I can get help with this. I was supposed to have died when I turned 45 and I didn’t and that makes me a bad bad bad woman, or whatever. (This seems to be because I am not married, by the way. The highest achievable goal for any woman in England seems to be to get married.)
I don’t see how I can still make any headway when even the people who are supposed to be my peers treat me like I am a demented old cow, time and time again.
(Poverty has a lot to do with as well – it goes with being seen as brain-dead, to – but initially, people used to be ticked off with me because I was “too” confident, as that too isn’t done here. At least not for women. It becomes a Catch-22.
You cannot not upset English people, I’ve learned. They seem perpetually upset and offended and annoyed so you gotta do your thing no matter what, but you have to go it alone – or with your own kind – because there’s no other way, then, is there.
But then, whoever’s been hacking my equipment interferes with just about anything I do, sigh. So that too is not possible. He used to get angry and still often does when I look at foreign news sites because English sites do not always have a lot of international news.
The locals shut off my water, power etc as they please. They also, for example, used to hang around near the 3-flat building (in 2011), guffawing, and then run into the house and flip the power switches for the entire building. Ha ha. I was usually at my computer and the only one in.
I’ve also talked about my experiences in my book “Is cruelty cool?” You can download the PDF from this site or head to Amazon.
That little hiccup at the start of the first video was likely introduced by my hacker, by the way. It was not done by me.
If you wonder about that HLS course, why my hacker didn’t interfere with that, so have I. It was an introduction to contract law, by the way, by Charles Fried, former Solicitor General of the United States and a professor at HLS.
Curiosity, I think. How I would do.
He did interfere with the second course that I wanted a certificate or at least a score for. That also happened to be at HLS (bioethics, by I. Glenn Cohen). The hacker kept deleting my completed homeworks. (Ha ha. But it does not really matter, does it?) I ended up writing a bioethics-related book after that.
PS It IS possible that he is now out of my equipment, as of yesterday. But that has happened before and it never lasted long.
I think that people who are autistic and based in England and have good hacking skills are often more or less forced to use those skills as currency. But they can also get abused that way as they are the ones taking the risks, aren’t they?
That’s the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards. There are people who mediate in courts, who serve as advocates for autistic people and this organisation has training (and a certificate).
I have meanwhile done some thinking about this. I think it was the detective (link above) who talked about someone following women and taking photos of them. (Yeah, that happened to me too. I thought I was imagining it until the moment came when it was clear that I was not.)
I think I sort of get this, from the Asperger’s side. Having thought a lot about various forms of neurodiversity including certain personality disorders is very slowly starting to give me an intuitive feel for how these things work.
I had a friend with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), have known her for decades. I mentioned that in videos as well as in one of my books. What I didn’t mention is that she actually was the one who brought it up and that is why I looked into it. To protect her identity, I wrote that the friendship fell apart, in the book. It had not yet, but it may have now. Time will tell.
She needles, sometimes in a stealthy way, imagining that people won’t see it. She may give you “Success for Dummies”. She may tell you that the big pharmaceutical companies have programs that give free meds to poor people. She may make fun of you in all sorts of ways. But she also has a lot of genuinely helpful practical tips and a great sense of humor. She’s highly intelligent and for that reason alone already usually highly enjoyable company.
Next, I discovered that I’ve also had an autistic friend for decades. (She’s confirmed that. She is not highly autistic but I have stumbled over hiccups a few times in the past and have apologized to her.)
I am sort of starting to develop a feeling for what brings someone with Asperger’s to stalk women. Autistic people see things from a different angle and that gives them a very different perspective on things. Their logic is different. My autistic friend’s logic is also very different at times, which can be very baffling and even infuriating if you don’t know about the autism and don’t know what’s behind some of her conclusions.
I sometimes see something similar with intelligent non-human animals too. That their logic is different, not flawed, that they see things from their viewpoint, not the mainstream human viewpoint (which is often based on certain facts and without those facts, you can draw very different but equally valid conclusions, I’ve learned).
From the above, it appears that it is not necessarily – as I initially thought and mentioned in one of my books – people with NPD and/or psychopathy – who engage in so-called sadistic stalking.
I didn’t sign it straight away. I generally do not sign petitions if the cause would merely benefit me without any further background.
But there is a lot of deep poverty in the UK and particularly older adults and poor people tend to struggle with their health, also because their healthcare tends to be of lower quality because of bias.
I think that meds should be free for people of all ages, however.
I also think it’s cruel that young people get lower wages and lower benefits. They don’t get their bread, butter, milk and veggies cheaper because of their age and their utilities and rent aren’t cheaper either.
I am based in a town with an often terribly abusive culture and a lot of violence. Abuse is generally glorified here, applauded, at all levels in society and victims made fun of, shunned, at all levels in society.
Here where we live, we frequently get pestered by local youngsters whose parents are typical abusive adult yobs.
They do things like climb onto the roofs and bully us in our homes. The police won’t do anything about it because they’re terrified of getting backlash from these youngsters’ relatively well-to-do parents. Such as getting sued. The youngsters know it and think they know how to use it on civilians.
But their psychopathic troll tactics don’t have the same effect on emancipated civilians like me who’ve seen a bit of the world.
In the past, I took photos, posted them on the local police’s Facebook page and I called the police about them too. A waste of time. I repeat, the local police are (often abusive themselves but also) terrified of these youngsters’ parents.
Other than abusive yobs, the local community consists of mostly unbelievably gullible fools with almost no education, very little life experience hence very little perspective and no hope for the future whatsoever.
Meanwhile, at about the same time near Tampa in Florida, a guy from Brandon killed a 3-month-old baby, the baby’s mother and grandmother, a man, and a dog called Diogi. He also shot an 11-year-old girl several times. A former marine sharpshooter with a health problem.
Most of the locals would consider that a laughing matter.
(No, not literally everyone here would consider it a laughing matter, but far too many to allow me to feel comfortable in this town.)
The fact that I have gotten many messages that spelled out “We the people of Portsmouth do not want you here! Leave! Go away!” from the very day in early 2009 that I collected the keys to my flat in Southsea and continue to be bombarded with that kind of crap…
It does not mean that there are no scammers out there who are abusing random people’s willingness to volunteer for the NHS.
How can you protect yourself? Submit a good enough photo (or scan) of a printed scan or printed photo of your ID with scribbled through it the date of when you are submitting it and what for, namely “NHS volunteering” or the “NHS stewarding” or the like. (This is a tip I got from my consul when there still was a consulate in Southampton.)
Because there are anonymous people here who have a bit of a habit of slicing through the necks of pigeons with a rotary metal cutter just to teach you a lesson, let you know how they feel about pigeons.
I just walked past the lorry of Janssen again, literally around the corner. If I walk around the corner in the other direction, I also often run into them. Always makes me smile.
‘t komt goed.
I have on occasion yelled “Hee! Kaaskop!” at a guy in the van, instantly conveying that we’re fellow Dutch people. Cheese heads. Even though I am not literally a cheese head (blond and from the central part of the Netherlands). And even though there are all sorts of English-language sites that state that “kaaskop” means “stupid person”. It’s more or less the same as “yankee”, I suppose. Kaaskop.
(A funny coincidence is that “yankee” is also Dutch, as it comes from the first name “Jan-Kees”.)
Janssen is a family business that was started in 1985, with only one lorry. They now operate three cooled articulated lorries that provide potted plants and flowers to 140 florists all over the south of England.
With a Florimark Good Trade Practice (GTP) certificate! The certificate is given on the basis of among other things social (societal), environmental and quality requirement and also looks at the level of cooperation within the (product) chain and staff treatment, for example.
They even featured in a BBC documentary. (See below.) Not bad, eh?
Voelt grappig genoeg als “even een poepie laten ruiken” – an expression that probably explains everything about England versus the Netherlands, lol – want wij kaaskoppen zijn toch wel verdomd goed in een hoop dingen. We staan ook aan de wereldtop van waterbeheer en dat soort zaken, wat we recent – zij het op tragische wijze – weer eens hebben kunnen zien.
Would an English person ever understand why a Dutch person would express impressing others with their skills and accomplishments as “letting them smell a fart”?
Maybe this will finally be able to convey to some the locals why I often think that they’re behaving like silly Victorian drama queens straight out of some stuffy family drama on TV. See, the Dutch never get their knickers in a twist. Never.
As far as I know, only the English have this habit of getting terribly upset about things that aren’t important at all. (Think Mrs Bucket.) I do fully confess that it can sometimes be very confusing to a Dutch person living here, lol. (FIRE? WHAT FIRE, WHERE?!) It gets really complicated at times because I am ascribed similar properties, of course, likely even more so because of my age. But I am Dutch! And I was used to hanging out with young people!
It’s like a dance, isn’t it? LOL! Cultural differences. Never a dull moment. Duh!
Now how do you put roses flown across a distance of 4000 miles to the UK into a sustainability perspective? It’s multifaceted. Because those roses also support people. (That too, is multifaceted because human tribes that do not adhere to our consumerist standards may in reality be so much richer than people like you and me can imagine. GDP has become a measure of toxicity, hasn’t it?)
Personally, I’ve never been that much into roses. They’re a little too stuck-up for me. Too… too. Too… inauthentic? But some of them, agreed, are lovely. They’re probably not the roses you’ll find in palaces and at weddings. They’re simple and authentic. At least, that’s how they come across to me. I run into them on walks.
They’re simply there, like the lovely fragrances of the food that a person unknown to me but somewhere close to me is cooking right now that are wafting through the open window into my little office where I am typing this right now.
You can’t import that.
Ah, what IS that great food that I am smelling that probably involves lots of potatoes? It smells SO GOOD and that smell, it’s free. It doesn’t cost me a penny to enjoy it.
I had no idea that this is typically Dutch, but yes, all week, I’ve been looking forward to a Zoom call I will have this weekend and this increased during the week as I added positive things to share to my list.
I now can say that making these notes in my agenda about things happening in the future probably makes me look like a control freak to the uninitiated.
I may also now understand why life can feel dull and hopeless to me in certain other places.
Is this a very un-English thing to do, then?
Emotions, after all, must be pushed down as much and far as possible and the joy of looking forward to something does not fit within that stiff upper lip habit (which apparently was inspired by the stoics, which I never would have guessed, but then, I’ve never been good at guessing and prefer hard cold facts and lush flowery emotions).
Hi Gerald and Steve, and AgeConcern and Portsmouth Disability Forum,
Are many older adults as well as disabled people in Portsmouth currently afraid to leave their homes because of Covid and is their health suffering as a result?
In the Netherlands – with much more prosperity and much less inequality than the UK – clinical geriatric specialists are sounding the alarm because many, even fully vaccinated, older adults are too scared to leave their homes because of Covid. It is leading to malnutrition, broken bones, isolation and exacerbation of dementia etc.
Something similar may also now be going on in the UK. We already knew that Covid has particularly increased food insecurity for people with severe disabilities.
Please note that the attached letter obviously does not address the current situation, with almost all older adults having been vaccinated and restrictions being lifted and that unlike in the Netherlands, we also have the complication that older adults tend to be “demonised” (term used by The Guardian) in the UK.
So, I repeat: Are many older adults as well as disabled people in Portsmouth currently afraid to leave their homes because of Covid and is their health suffering as a result?
Do we know what the situation in Portsmouth is? If we do and if necessary, is it being addressed?
Thanks for looking into this.
PS I forgot to add that it’s been in the news recently that many of those who used to have to shield are feeling abandoned right now and I’ve spotted something similar about the situation for disabled people (an article by Francis Ryan, in The Guardian). I assume that they’re either already aware of that or will find out now.
For those of you who consider me too critical of England… The Dutch have a PPE scandal too. One guy (former lobbyist/commentator Sywert van Lienden) made over 9 million euros (30 million, with two partners) on the purchase and sales of 40 million face masks. He sold them to the Dutch government for 100 million euros.
(He apparently initially claimed to be providing the masks “for free” or at cost through a non-profit, while he was in fact making good money.)
(They were not even considered still urgently needed by some at the time.)
He asked the Dutch government to pay 2.52 euro (2.28 and 2.78) while others were selling them at 1.50, including transport and import fees. The Dutch government chose to buy from the seller with the high price. He also sold some at 1.50, to others.
The problem may have been that civil servants have no idea of the market, its fluctuations and of what is a reasonable price and what isn’t.
The price difference may also relate to a difference in quality, however.
The Dutch government is launching an external investigation into the matter.
In the UK, such initiatives are rarely taken by the government but usually by organisations like the Good Law Project which have to take the UK government to court over such matters. You will also note a difference in scale between what happened in the Netherlands and what happened in the UK.
We earlier saw that Dutch civil servants acted very passively with regard to the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine that is being produced in the Netherlands.
“we are starting to hear some bizarre autarkic rhetoric, when barriers are going up, and when there is a risk that new diseases such as coronavirus will trigger a panic and a desire for market segregation that go beyond what is medically rational to the point of doing real and unnecessary economic damage, then at that moment humanity needs some government somewhere that is willing at least to make the case powerfully for freedom of exchange, some country ready to take off its Clark Kent spectacles and leap into the phone booth and emerge with its cloak flowing as the supercharged champion, of the right of the populations of the earth to buy and sell freely among each other.”
I am badly in need of some long walks for health reasons (including my eye pressure), so I went to the Farlington Marshes yesterday. To demonstrate that I really need to catch up on long-ish walks and get back in shape, I found myself oversleeping this morning.
I got caught in a thunderstorm and the associated strong wind grabbed my face mask and deposited it at the bottom of the seawall. It wasn’t high tide, but I saw no way of getting to it and I had to let it be, slightly upset. Because you do not go to a nature reserve and then leave litter behind. Certainly not a face mask. It fell from one of my coat pockets.
A little later I encountered steps in the seawall so I went down them, and back. When I got to the face mask, the wind had blown it half-way up the slope again. I unfolded my umbrella and hooked the mask with the tip of one of the umbrella’s ribs so that I could pull it towards me. I know that in the eyes of some people, this may be something rather silly to do, but I’ve always been rather conscientious. Not obsessively, mind you, but even when I was still a kid, my mother already called me her little trooper. (My siblings too have a tendency to take action rather than stand by and watch.)
I too often feel silly and sanctimonious when I do and write these things. Why do some people feel that such things are silly? Because they believe that their actions are futile. But they’re not. Each of us doing these silly little things adds up to major change.
On a personal level, being able to retrieve the face mask made my day. 🙂
I had my special phone with me – which I needed for the Home Office app – and its camera grabbed the gorgeous skies magnificently. Enjoy!
After you’ve read that article in the Guardian, about how disgusted Jenny McGee from Invercargill became with how Boris Johnson expressed his gratitude in practice, watch this compilation to see what he said at the time.
(20 May 2021: And then read about the latest revelations, by following the link under the video.)
Shift to a Wellbeing Economy: put the health of people and planet first
We urgently need the Government to prioritise the health and wellbeing of people and planet, by pursuing a Wellbeing Economy approach. To deliver a sustainable and equitable recovery, the Treasury should target social and environmental goals, rather than fixating on short-term profit and growth.
Even for me, after over a year of lockdowns, experiencing a society that is slowly returning to what life used to be like is strange. It’s weird. It’s the only word I can come up with to describe it. Weird.
I am not the only one who feels this way!
We all learned a lot about what we value and what we’d rather not or no longer have in our lives.
This morning, I attended another online meeting about the escalating inequality, poverty and associated misery in England and the rest of the UK. That is, I was 15 minutes late, so I missed a few things.
It was also about how useless the UK government’s response is, as usual.
The only “advantages” coming out of the pandemic are going to the pals of the politicians who get large contracts to supply services and tangible products that they have no previous experience with. (This has led to a lawsuit, as you know, with the court ruling that the UK government is breaking the law through the lack of transparency. The judge wrote: “The Secretary of State spent vast quantities of public money on pandemic-related procurements during 2020. The public were entitled to see who this money was going to, what it was being spent on and how the relevant contracts were awarded. “)
14 million people in the UK live in poverty, it was said. That’s slightly under one entire quarter of the population.
Severely disabled people are currently five times more likely to be food-insecure.
Comments from food-insecure people have included that they’d much rather have cash or vouchers over parcels. They are much better at stretching money than they are given credit for, getting cash or vouchers enables them to take food allergies into account and also allows them to buy fresh fruit instead of the obligate tinned peaches and mandarins, cereal instead of cornflakes and helps them avoid the cookies – or “the bloody biscuits” as the person in question put it.
From the chat:
“Let them eat biscuits.”
“The global humanitarian sector has been significantly moving away from food parcels to food vouchers. Cant believe in UK we still at food parcels discussion.”
“Most local authorities in Scotland have been providing cash payments to families, food parcels are not the go-to everywhere in the UK.”