the village hall


Hasui Kawase - Snow theme.
01. Evening Snow of Terajima Village (1920).
02. Snow at Ueno, Toshogu Shrine (1929).
03. Snow at Kinkakuji (1922).
04. Snow at Kiyomizu Hall (1929).
05. Senzoku Pond in Snow (1928).

One female genital mutilation case reported every hour in the UK

A case of female genital mutilation (FGM) is either discovered or treated at a medical appointment in England every hour, according to analysis of NHS statistics by a charity.

Between April 2015 and March 2016 there were 8,656 times when women or girls attended doctors’ surgeries or hospitals and the problem was assessed — the equivalent of one every 61 minutes.

Among those who attended, a case of FGM is newly recorded every 92 minutes on average.

This means a woman or girl has their case recorded by the NHS for the first time, although in many cases they will have been cut some years before but it has not come to the attention of doctors sooner.

The figures come as the world marks the international day of zero tolerance to FGM — a UN-sponsored event to raise awareness of the issue.

Tanya Barron, chief executive of the charity Plan International UK, which analysed the statistics, said: “These figures are once again a reminder of the global prevalence of FGM as we mark international day of zero tolerance today. An estimated 200 million women and girls worldwide are affected.

"Across the UK and around the world, there’s more awareness than ever of the dangers of this practice, and momentum continues to build as we strive to end it once and for all.”

But FGM will only end if it is tackled globally, from the village halls of Mali and Sierra Leone to the classrooms of Britain, she said.

It has been illegal to carry out FGM in the UK since 1985, but there has not been a single successful prosecution. This failure has been branded a “national scandal” by the Home Affairs Select Committee.

And Sarah Champion, shadow secretary of state for women, said until perpetrators are sentenced people will continue to think they can get away with it.

She told the Press Association: “We have had the legislation now for 30 years, but legislation, unless it is embedded in practice, is just a piece of paper.

"Until we get a conviction I don’t think the message is going to go out, loud and plain, that this is child abuse and is unacceptable.”

She said that while the Government has introduced new measures, including an obligation on teachers, medics and social workers to report FGM in children, more must be done.

She added: “The Government has been good at changing legislation, they have brought in mandatory reporting.

"But funding has not gone in a meaningful way to groups working in these communities, talking to people, telling them this is child abuse and this is something they will go to jail for.”

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “FGM is a devastating act of violence that no woman or girl should ever have to suffer and the criminals who perpetrate it should be brought to justice.

"This Government has introduced FGM protection orders, a new offence of failing to protect a girl from FGM, a mandatory reporting duty for frontline professionals, new guidance for the police, and lifelong anonymity for victims to encourage them to come forward.

"We are sending a clear message that FGM will not be tolerated, and as part of this I am determined to see the country’s first successful prosecution for FGM.”

Press Association


How could I resist buying this book?

The king is ready for war. 

Louis of France is not yet thirty, and already he is the greatest king in Europe. He loves his subjects. He loves God. And his armies have never been defeated. 

This war, though, is different.

He is not fighting another army. 

He is not fighting another king. 

He is fighting three children.

And their dog.

On a dark night in 1242, travelers gather at a small French inn. It is the perfect night for a story, and everyone in the kingdom is consumed by the tale of three children: Jeanne, a peasant girl who has visions of the future; William, a young monk with supernatural strength; and Jacob, a Jewish boy who can heal any wound. Together, their powers will be tested by demons and dragons, cruel knights and cunning monks. From small villages to grand banquet halls, these three unlikely friends—and their faithful greyhound—are chased through France to a final showdown in the waves at the foot of the abbey-fortress of Mont-Saint-Michel. 

Imagine Ivar saving you from certain pain. (Part 3)

Work IV

Part I:
Part II:

Summary: After three months of heartbreak you go back to Kattegat only to find Ivar in a terrible stage of rage what almost costs you your life. Luckily love overcomes everything.
Words: 1454

It was three months now … three months since you last saw Ivar, since you last felt his lips against your skin, since you last saw those gorgeous bleu eyes. He asked you then to come back as soon as possible but you couldn’t. You were two weeks home when your father showed signs of sickness. He didn’t get better and you couldn’t spare one moment to go to Kattegat, to see Ivar. Every minute away from your father could mean a minute less spend with him. The first month Ivar was permanent on your mind. But you forgot him a little bit when you fathers gets more sick every day. His memory just faded away while you took care of your father. Half the time you sat in tears besides his bed, praying to the gods he would get throught this. But he didn’t, he died after nine weeks of intensive sickness and you were left alone with a farm and nothing left to live for. That day was the first day you thought of Ivar again. You imaged Ivar sitting beside you on the bed, rocking you to sleep, wispering comfort words in your ear. But when you opened your eyes he wasn’t there. He never looked for you, visited you and you began to wonder if that one week with him was just a imagination.

Two weeks after the dead of your father you just began to wonder what to do with your life. You  couldn’t stay here, not with all the memories and  the heartbreak. Even if you would, what should you do? Live a lonely life far from any village? So you decided to travel back to Kattegat, to sell the farm of your fahter and to look for something else. It wasn’t a happy future you thought of but anything was better than staying in the farm, even becoming a slavegirl sounded good enough. But the closer you get to Kattegat, the more tenser you felt. What if you saw Ivar again? You were scared, scared of what he would say or do when you paths crossed each other. For that reason you left the horse in the woods and did the rest of the road on foot. With spring nearby it was harder to cover your face from al the familiar faces you saw. Kattegat chanched since you last were here. It was busier. More people, and more lookout points. You saw some shield maidens in you walk through the village. The great Hall was still as imposing as you recalled it to be. You looked from behind a wooden pallet to the builing. Ubbe sat on the steps before, staring in the distant. But that was not the only thing you saw. The great Hall had shield maidens in front of it, on each side of Ubbe. Some part of you wanted to talk to him, explain your abscent so he could prepare Ivar for it. But you were scared, even for what Ubbe would say about it. All the confidence Ivar gave you had vanished, you were that scared insecure girl again. So you left you possition, did the things you came for and then went to the beach to watch the sunset.

At some point you must have fallen asleep cause when you waked up it was dark … and Ivar sat right beside you. You startled and moved you body as slowly as possible until you sat right in the sand.
“Y/n.” He said with clenched teeth. You heard the certain rage in his tone and held you eyes on the sea, to scared to look at him. Would he understand if you explained? You swallowed and let you head rest on your knees.
“I can explain.” You began after a couple minutes of silence.
“Sure you can, how is life y/n, have kids already?” The sarcasm in his voice maked you a little angry.
“It’s not like that, I was,”
“My father died, murded by king Aella. My mother is killed by Lagertha.” He spat the words in the sand and you looked in the other direction. Thats why there were al those shield maidens, that was also maybe the reason he didn’t came looking for you.
“I’m sorry to hear that.” You reacted. What else could you said? You felt his gaze on you but it took you several moments to look back. And when you looked back you saw those blue eyes almost spitting fire. His reaction on those words came so fast you had hardly the time to pull back. His hand clutched your throat and he pressed you back in the sand. His face hardly inches removed from yours.
“I asked you to come back, I warned you for what I could do.” His fingers didn’t lost grip. He wasn’t suffocating you … yet. The tears rolled over your cheeks while your hand looked for some grip on his. “I needed you.” He wispered angry against your cheek.
“Please, Ivar, let me explain.” You squeaked, looking for some air.
“Why should I?”
“My father died to.” You threw out. He squeezed his eyes and lost his grip a little bit. You gasped for air and rolled on you side while coughing. Why did he do this? Was it anger, sadness? He almost killed you and yet you didn’t ran away.

You lay with you back towards him while you try to take control over your crying body. It came all at once, the loss of your father, the love you felt for Ivar, what he just  did to you …
“Y/n.” He said softly. He laid his hand on your arm and slowly rolled you over to your back again. “I’m sorry, I would never hurt you, I’m sorry, can you forgive me?” He asked. You had your eyes closed and opened them carefull to look at him. His anger was gone, in fact there was only sadness in his eyes now. “Please y/n, I couldn’t bare to lose you to.” He pulled a loose strand of hair behind your ear and strokes your cheek with his fingertips.
“Don’t do that again.” You replied while you wraped you arms around his neck and hides you head against it. He pulled you as close as possible and embraced you for as long as necesary. “I missed you Ivar, if I had a change to come I would but,” Your words get lost for a moment. He pulled his head back en cupped your face with one hand.
“What happend?” He asked tenderly.
“My father became ill, for nine weeks and then he died.” You wispered through your tears. He wiped them carefull away with his thumb before kissing you. On that moment you knew that you never forgot him, that you missed him with all of your heart. You fingers locked themselves in his hair, pressing your body so close you could to his. It was the most intensive kiss you shared with him and it felt like everything was on his place again.
“I need you y/n.” He murmured against your lips.
“I’m not leaving again.” You reassured him.
“Never?” He asked while kissing you again.
“I leave next week for Engeland, will you come?” It was typical Ivar to ruin sush a moment. You just said you wouldn’t leave him again, never, so your options were limited.
“If thats what you want.” You nodded. He smiled, a small insecure smile.
“I need to avenge my fathers dead.”
“Than I will be there to take care of you when you come back from battle.” You smiled a little shyly.
“Do you forgive me?” He asked, his eyes hurt by the idea of almost killing you. You nodded, planted a kiss on his lips and nodded again.
“I forgive you.” You replied. He wraped an arm around you shoulder as you let your head rest on his chest. You stared at the sea, the stars, enjoying the moment. You had so much questions for him but didn’t want to ruin the moment of peace between you.
“When my father died I pretended you were there to comfort me.” You wispered while looking back at him.
“When my mother died I pretended the same thing.”
“There in Valhalla now, celebrating with good food, laughing and telling stories.” You pussed yourself up on your elbows and looked down at Ivar. “You will avenge your fathers dead Ivar, you will concure, I’m sure of that.” You said with a strong voice, you believed in him. He maybe was a cripple but not in his mind.
“With you by my side I can overcome everything.” He said sofly, with a loving voice.

So … the end? Do you guys need more? Requests? I’m all ears. Hope you liked it, leave a comment if you do.


Lockport, Virginia isn’t exactly the ghost town she’d feared. Not like some of those towns they passed through in Ohio and Kentucky, where everything was perfectly preserved. Like bugs in amber, or the Pueblo cliff dwellings in Colorado. Plates and bowls left out on tables and no bodies anywhere.

The outskirts are entirely deserted. No smoke from any of the chimneys, no ragged survivors peering out of frosty windows. The houses are cold and dead. Some of them are torn up — an exterior wall missing, so Scully can peer in like a dollhouse. The corner stores have empty shelves and broken windows like jagged teeth. It makes her shiver, but at least it’s evidence of life after the attacks.

They pause not too far from Will’s old elementary school. “What if no one’s here?” she says, but Skinner shakes his head, resolute.

“There were,” he says. “It wasn’t that long ago.” She doesn’t ask what he’s talking about.

And as they come closer, they see it. There’s a rough barricade surrounding the very center of town: the square, the library, the village hall; a handful of stores and houses. The makeshift fence must have been put up before the snow fell. Furniture, felled trees, wood that looks like it came from the sides of those houses. It wouldn’t stop an army, but it’ll stop them.

Squinting in the light, Skinner points east. A break in the fence, and men with machine guns. Again.

Scully states the obvious. “This seems like a bad idea.” On old instinct she reaches for her gun, and for the first time in years she’s reassured by its presence.

“Don’t you know these people?” Skinner asks.

She sighs. “I have no idea. I did. Some of them. But I don’t know who survived, I don’t know who’s here.” And I don’t know how they’ve changed.

Skinner checks his hip too, belying his confidence, but he says, “Only one way to find out.”

And she follows him over.
Operation London Bridge: the secret plan for the days after the Queen’s death

It makes sense that these exist, but still feels a little weird to read about the extensive preparations and active rehearsals (!) that the media has in place for Queen Elizabeth’s eventual death:

> All news organisations will scramble to get films on air and obituaries online. At the Guardian, the deputy editor has a list of prepared stories pinned to his wall. The Times is said to have 11 days of coverage ready to go. At Sky News and ITN, which for years rehearsed the death of the Queen substituting the name “Mrs Robinson”, calls will go out to royal experts who have already signed contracts to speak exclusively on those channels. “I am going to be sitting outside the doors of the Abbey on a hugely enlarged trestle table commentating to 300 million Americans about this,” one told me.

> For people stuck in traffic, or with Heart FM on in the background, there will only be the subtlest of indications, at first, that something is going on. Britain’s commercial radio stations have a network of blue “obit lights”, which is tested once a week and supposed to light up in the event of a national catastrophe. When the news breaks, these lights will start flashing, to alert DJs to switch to the news in the next few minutes and to play inoffensive music in the meantime. Every station, down to hospital radio, has prepared music lists made up of “Mood 2” (sad) or “Mood 1” (saddest) songs to reach for in times of sudden mourning. “If you ever hear Haunted Dancehall (Nursery Remix) by Sabres of Paradise on daytime Radio 1, turn the TV on,” wrote Chris Price, a BBC radio producer, for the Huffington Post in 2011. “Something terrible has just happened.”

> Having plans in place for the death of leading royals is a practice that makes some journalists uncomfortable. “There is one story which is deemed to be so much more important than others,” one former Today programme producer complained to me. For 30 years, BBC news teams were hauled to work on quiet Sunday mornings to perform mock storylines about the Queen Mother choking on a fishbone. There was once a scenario about Princess Diana dying in a car crash on the M4. […]

> … there will be no extemporising with the Queen. The newsreaders will wear black suits and black ties. Category one was made for her. Programmes will stop. Networks will merge. BBC 1, 2 and 4 will be interrupted and revert silently to their respective idents – an exercise class in a village hall, a swan waiting on a pond – before coming together for the news. Listeners to Radio 4 and Radio 5 live will hear a specific formulation of words, “This is the BBC from London,” which, intentionally or not, will summon a spirit of national emergency.

> The main reason for rehearsals is to have words that are roughly approximate to the moment. “It is with the greatest sorrow that we make the following announcement,” said John Snagge, the BBC presenter who informed the world of the death of George VI. (The news was repeated seven times, every 15 minutes, and then the BBC went silent for five hours). According to one former head of BBC news, a very similar set of words will be used for the Queen. The rehearsals for her are different to the other members of the family, he explained. People become upset, and contemplate the unthinkable oddness of her absence. “She is the only monarch that most of us have ever known,” he said.


This was such a special afternoon ❤️

Too many photos of my face but my best friends were gems and took photos of me EVERYWHERE! You all know I love my show (and I know I’ve been a bit vacant recently but my distance at the moment has nothing to do with my love for ED) and have loved it for over 20 years so to get to walking through the village was so so special, to spend actual time seeing everything I wanted, to hear how it all works even down to the clever gardener having to glue leaves on the trees to match seasons and the remote controlled smoke for the chimneys… it was so lovely.

Everything felt so tiny but those photos with the phone box in the background felt SURREAL to me. Walking a little way through the village and looking at all the houses was so fun but it was when you turned and looked up the street that it was really kind of magical for me.

I got to see so much I didn’t even think about from Sarah Sugden’s & Carl King’s graves (had a bit of a moment at both!), the bridge of tears, inside the vets, got to sit in the church and inside the village hall and I had a sit on Val’s bench. We were allowed into the garage for a short while too but it was set up for filming but nothing spoilery. I spied the two tubs they used as seats for the “wedding”!

The tour guide laughed at me when I asked if Rob’s Porsche was around (so many of the cars were) but apparently it’s off elsewhere :( also the blue van wasn’t on site either because I wanted my photo with that too! Managed to get to the bottom of the mystery of all of the barns though (aka the bread barn etc) and which is which. Seeing the old Wishing Well set was such a MOMENT for me too, you all know the dream is to cuddle up with Alfie on those crochet blankets!

All in all, it was a gorgeous afternoon. I was like a giddy child and couldn’t stop smiling. The village is beautiful; it’s so so pretty (especially the flowers around Beauty and Bernice) and finishing off the tour with a cheeky walk down the road to see Wishing Well and the back of the scrap yard (they aren’t on the tour so you can’t visit them) was fun!

I miss you all and I hope to be back in the next few weeks. Feel like I have so much to offload about the show and get excited about (LYDIA❤️) but in the mean time, sending lots of love to you all.

I’ve seen a couple of posts now about why art is more relevant than ever now that we are facing down the darkest timeline, and they’ve been great, but nothing’s quite lined up exactly with what’s in my head and why I’ve decided to double down on art in the next four years.  So fuck it – I’m going to write it myself.

The thing I keep coming back to is a little two-word phrase that crops up in the AITAF mission statement:  shared humanity.  This is something that I feel we as a country are really struggling with right now.  Because let’s be honest with ourselves:  There are a hell of a lot of people out there in this country who have been taught all their lives, whether that’s eighteen years or eight decades worth of living, that all humans are not created equal.  That some humans are lazier than others.  More criminal than others.  More sinful than others.  Weaker and more emotional and less rational than others.  That some humans are better than others.  That they have achieved more.  That they are naturally stronger and smarter and braver and more deserving than others.  That there is no such thing as a shared humanity.  That there always have been and always will be some people who, due to their gender and their religion and their sexual orientation and (of course, always) the color of their skin are just meant to be the ones in charge.  And that, on the flip side, the rest of humanity is just the side characters.  At best lust objects, at worst villains to be destroyed.  That if you are not a straight, white, cisgender, able-bodied, Christian (but not Mormon, and only sometimes Catholic) male whose family has been in this country at least three generations, you are not fully human.  You are other.  You are less.

Right?  This is how we end up with things like “A black woman stole my scholarship” or “An immigrant took my job.”  Mine.  Because white dudes are the humans in this story, and what they get is what they earned.  Everyone else is less than human.  What we get, we steal.  We cannot earn.  We are not human enough for that.

This is why people claimed Donald “tells it like it is.”  Because he said that immigrants were criminals by default.  Because he accused the Jews of running the banks and the media and everything else (and, of course, doing it for their own benefit).  Because he treated women like objects and mocked the disabled.  Because his vision for America was a vision of a country where, again, we are not all created equal.  We do not all deserve the same.  Where there is no such thing as shared humanity.

How do we fix that?  How do we teach people who, again, have spent all their lives living in a world where it’s entirely logical to reject a candidate who promised to better the country as a whole because she didn’t pander enough to “working-class white men”?

I got an e-mail from AITAF just the other day, sort of a year in review for the organization.  At the bottom of it was this:

“The most moving monologue was the one from Hurt Village because it gave me a perspective I did not have before hearing it.”

“The most moving was Hurt Village. I grew up in really rough situations. I have seen my own mother that desperate before. She showed a whole world of people and a struggle they have yet to understand with one monologue.”

“The intensity and realism helped bring the issue to life.”

“The Hurt Village—'cause it meant something to our classmate.”

“Hurt Village. I’ve seen it firsthand, so it really hit home for me. I almost cried.”

“The welfare monologue seemed to be the most moving because it hit home with a lot of people and caused a lot of emotion, allowing yourself to picture the scenario better.”

“I think that the monologue of the woman begging for support was the most moving because it felt so real.”

“The monologue about the woman and her housing situation. This was moving because the actress made it feel like she actually was in that scenario and it just made me sad believing she was in that distress.”

“I found the monologue about welfare most moving because the desperation, dread, and small bits of humor immersed you into the full range of emotions felt.”

“Most moving – food stamps – such intense visceral emotion. I was very sympathetic.”

“The most moving monologue for me was the piece where the woman was trying to collect her welfare check. I felt so strongly for this character and nearly cried as she continued to plead and beg.”

“The food stamps monologue was authentic, poignant, and moving. Thank you for reminding us that stories, like the food stamps one, occur every day. By directly facing us, you gave us the chance to fully engage with your performance and feel a little bit of your character’s pain, sadness, and desperation.”

“I found the monologue about welfare the most moving because for me, I’ve always looked at the other side—my parents are small business owners and my mom works HR so I’ve always heard about people who just try to sham out of work and get the government to pay their way. It was very emotional to hear the other side of the conversation.”

“Monologue about asking for food stamps. It was easily the most relatable to me, almost all of my friends live in that system so I have seen the struggle their families face.”

-Westpoint Military Academy’s cadets’ responses to the monologue from Hurt Village by Katori Hall, read by Tonye Patano

The answer, guys, is art. 

Human beings have always told stories.  It’s what we do.  It’s who we are.  We’ve done it with cave drawings and epic poems, with dance and sculpture and tapestries and goddamn Broadway shows about the Founding Fathers.  We tell our stories and if we get it right, if we make it real, we can give people a perspective they didn’t have before.  They can see the humanity in that mother on welfare.  In that gay teenager in Ohio who just wants to hold hands in the hallway.  In that immigrant kid trying to write his way out.  In the refugee, in the soldier, in the teacher, in the frightened child hearing his drunken father trying to kick his door down.  We make art, we tell our stories, we express over and over again the undeniable truth of our shared humanity.

We chip away at the wall that the greedy and power-hungry keep trying to build between us.  We reach out.  We connect.  We become stronger with every link we forge.

Make art.  Share art.  Support art.  Promote and defend and distribute art.  It is the best tool we have in the fight to prove our shared humanity.  So pick it up, hold it, and get to building.

Map of Emmerdale Village