Sunshine, flowers and…hackers

First of all I would like to apologise profusely for an expletive laden message that was posted to my blog yesterday afternoon. As you have probably already guessed, I was hacked. A big thank you to some dedicated blog readers for flagging the offending message up to me (Anne and Frances, gold stars for you).

About a month ago WordPress sent me a message advising me to update to the latest version. Was it real or was it some nasty phishing exercise by someone out to scam me? I conferred with my friend Rob (who helps me with the mechanics of this blog). We didn’t follow the link in the email but logged onto my blog and indeed, there was an update waiting to be installed. I said something along the lines of, whenever I update my phone it seems to break everything, but Rob is a super computer whizz so, with everything backed up, the update was installed.

Fast forward to yesterday morning. I wrote a little blog post entitled ‘Sunshine and Flowers’ and posted it. Any of you who viewed my blog between 10am and 2pm yesterday would have seen it. I talked about how much it rained last week and how we all had a tummy bug, and how I ordered some wood anemones (inspired by an article I read about Sibylle Kreutzberger of Sissinghurst fame) to cheer myself up, and how I went to a local nature reserve with Finch and Little Owl where we enjoyed the sunshine and jumping over bog pools and following rabbit roads between the heather, and how in the photo I took of the reserve (see above) you can see the waterlilies under the surface of the pond, and how they will cover the water in the summer with their big yellow flowers.

But at around 2pm my blog post was deleted and replaced with the hacker’s post. The message that the hacker posted had a particular political agenda. Whether it was really posted by the group it advertised is anyone’s guess.

I think I’m fairly politically engaged. I understand that there are all sorts of causes and ideologies being fought about all over the world. Some of these causes and ideologies I have quite strong feelings about, however, the exact point of this blog is not to talk about those things. Wars are raging and people are starving and it’s overwhelming. Even in this country, where things are pretty good, people still die of cancer and can’t afford to feed their children. And then you turn on the TV and, if it’s not the News at Ten full of more wars and starving people, it’s the latest cutting edge ‘challenging’ drama. Don’t get me wrong I think being challenged is very important. You can’t do better than a dose of the Today programme or PM on Radio 4, or Big Dreamer’s wonderful cousin’s articles for the Palestine Monitor. There are really important things we should be actively trying to change. We shouldn’t try to live in a cosy world where we turn our backs on the problems of the world, but the reality is that for most people just walking out of the door is challenging. Everyone has problems.

So here, in this blog, I wanted to create a little safe space to not be challenged. A small corner where people can not think about the fact that they have cancer, or they’ve just lost their job, or people are starving in the world. Instead they can have a little chuckle at the comments of a toddler, or smile at a story about sunshine and flowers, or enjoy tracing the movements of the seasons, or get pleasure from a pretty illustration. Here, moaning about my neighbours’ cats should be as political as it gets.

Lessons to take from this unpleasant episode are:

1) Don’t update things, ever. The hacker got in through the update.

2) Small wonders are what life is really all about. I have a bunch of daffodils in a jar on the kitchen table and Wren was mesmerised by them this morning. I realised that she has never seen a daffodil before. Never. In her whole life. What a very wonderful and precious thing to be seeing your first daffodil, and giving it all the appreciation and wonder the miracle of a spring flower really deserves.

3) Hackers, if you’re open to life lessons, please would you devote your obviously extensive creative and intellectual talents to something really serious…like climate change. Your political agenda won’t mean much when we’re all extinct. How about a solar-powered AK-47 to start things off?

4) Get a brilliant friend called Rob who is a secret super hero and can fix your blog when it is hacked and has probably already got climate change all wrapped up for us.

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