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Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

steepholm steepholm
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Mendip Sub Aqua
I went back to Steep Holm yesterday for the first time in two years. It is not only my namesake but an Antaean grounding place for me, and in the past I've always gone alone. Yesterday, however, I persuaded my friend Dru to accompany me - and I'm very glad she did, not only for the pleasure of her company and her superior knowledge of plants and birds (she is an artist of both in words and pictures), but because I didn't have a camera with me, my phone having bust a couple of days ago. Luckily Dru has a good one, and I'm hoping to get some pics from her in due course that I can post here. For now, I'll just mention that it was a lovely day - sunny but not too hot, and that we saw seals, hunting peregrines, and (of course) thousands of very angry seagulls, as well as views from Glastonbury Tor to the Brecon Beacons and everything between. In August apparently, the gulls will break ranks, one half flying all the way to west Africa, the other a few miles up the Severn to Gloucester landfill site. I'm fairly sure I could tell by the look in their eyes which gulls were which.

Then home for a fish-and-chip supper. A good day, all told.

In other news, I see the ECHR has upheld France's ban on Islamic face veils - or indeed, any full face covering, as the French government is quick to point out, though we'll see how many motorcyclists are arrested for wearing full-face helmets in the next year before deciding on the disingenuity of that one. The BBC report adds:

No such general ban applies in the UK, but institutions have discretion to impose their own dress codes.

I find this confusing, though. To borrow the example they used in a recent training session on equalities legislation at my place of work, a restaurant chain that insisted all its employees wear baseball caps would be guilty of indirect discrimination against people (such as Sikhs) whose religious beliefs made it impossible for them to comply. How is the ECHR's ruling not also an example of indirect discrimination of just that sort?

I expect the BBC is no expert in these matters, as it has proved not to be in other matters of employee behaviour.

Glad you were there - I saw Dru's photos and wondered if you had been on the trip too.

It was very refreshing! We spoke warmly of you over lunch.

Oh! How kind. I'm glad you got back to your Special Place.

Daft Punk is French.

Case closed.

Coming from the country of One Direction, I shall say nothing...

Well, the ban on full-face coverings can't be interpreted as religious discrimination, since no religion that I know of requires it - certainly not Islam.

In a sense you're right - I think the issue is at least as much one of racism. But Islam is no more monolithic than Christianity, and for some women this is an expression of their religious identity. In France, that currently applies to only about 2,000 women, but they're numerous enough to be a threat to the commonweal, apparently.

It reminds me very much of when the Swiss voted to ban the building of minarets a few years ago (at a time when the country had four, for a Muslim population of 400,000), and the justice minister claimed that it was "not a rejection of the Muslim community, religion or culture".