Death in Africa

I had a headache today because I didn’t drink enough water. So I bought some, drank and felt better. In the same week 50 children died of thirst while they crossed the African desert with their mothers hoping to get to Europe to escape the death and disease they suffer in their home country.

The news report we were watching showed pictures of the babies in hospitals, suffering of diseases in the country the migrants were trying to escape. My husband quickly changed channels because it was disturbing to watch. Somehow ‘Celebrity Juice’ wasn’t as entertaining as it was before. That is what is hard about watching the news, because what good is witnessing tragedy if you are powerless to do anything about it?

But are we powerless? As a nation, what could we do as a team to alleviate the suffering of women and children in Africa who are risking their lives to escape to Europe? It is shocking that there is the finance and means out there to vaccinate against the diseases African children suffer from and the technology to irrigate so that crops can be grown and children can be fed. I am talking about a much fairer redistribution of wealth so that everyone has the ability to protect their children from harmful diseases, feed and water their children, educate them and protect them. It may mean that the westernised world does away with some of its dependency on the trappings of wealth and that consumerism is watered down somewhat. But I think (and hope) we would all agree that contributing to solving child poverty, famine and death is worth it. It cost my parent’s friend 12000 to irrigate an acre garden in southern Spain so that he could grow a luscious lawn. So why the fuck cant we do the same on a grander scale in Northern Africa? Then mothers wouldn’t need to risk crossing a desert and dying of thirst trying to get to Europe if their homeland was a better environment for their children.

How many more years will we live in denial and switch off news bulletins that disturb us too much? Like most people I would love to help but donating to charity is just a short-term fix – we need someone with a powerful influence to raise the capital to transform the poverty stricken areas of Africa and other countries where child mortality is high and life prospects are low. So far no-one has cared enough to do this. It is difficult to devote your life to a cause at the expense of your family. Which is why we need everyone to work together. A company to provide the irrigation, more medicine, advice for farmers, advice for people wanting to escape the border – so far this has been left to charities but the problem is too big for them to cope. Imagine if everyone in Britain spent 3o minutes a day helping towards a solution to child poverty – I’m pretty confident that within a year significant progress could be made. It just needs some direction and a little project management – I am going to pose this question to Unicef to see what they would suggest how 30 minutes each day could be best spent (aside from raising money). I will let you know what they suggest.

This blog aims to raise money for Unicef by requesting donations from fellow bloggers – for every day of blogging missed a further 1 pound is raised. Check out my page on Unicef’s site here.

Thanks for reading.

A good reason to watch TV

Most of the programmes on TV are mindless drivel. As Kate Adie said in a recent interview, broadcasting is now focused so much more on entertainment and less on documentary and fact finding. If you want to learn stuff, BBC Four and occasionally channel Four and Beeb 2 churn out good documentaries (I don’t have sky).

One I watched tonight focused on how policies and public opinion towards disability have changed over the decades. These documentaries provide a helpful reflection on just how dire things were and what more needs to change for the future. Thanks to protest marches, the media and pressure groups, all buildings have to be designed with access in mind. I take this for granted now but a documentary filmed back in the 80s showed how it was virtually impossible for a wheelchaired person to go to the shops or take a ride on the bus. What was even more shocking was the reaction of other people, the bus driver, the fellow passenger, the passer by – they just didn’t give a shit. It was almost as if they were saying ‘you are disabled, live with it but don’t expect us to make life easier for you’. I also found it hard to believe that only a few decades a go, the Government was not required to provide educational services for children with learning or physical disabilities – thank God my husband was born in the seventies or he would have jut been put on societies reject heap.

The biggest change has been in attitudes, that disabled people have the right to enjoy life regardless of any physical barriers, therefore they have the same rights. The documentary showed footage of hideous institutions were grown en were made to queue up naked in wheelchairs in prep for their hose down instead of a bath. In another piece of footage, a boy of 10 is tied to a post for 5 hours because they cant control his behaviour – which is nothing more than  a cry out for attention.

Its a fascinating documentary and I recommend taking a break from all the x factor and reality TV shit to get some depth in your life on BBC Four on BBC iPlayer.

I am blogging every day to raise money for Unicef. Tomorrow I hope to have hit target of raising 100 pounds through this blog – I would be very grateful for any bloggers who can give this campaign a boost – check out my site on Unicef’s site here.

Thanks for reading.


Quit while you are ahead

My husband is to casually employ a female for the first time. In any office environment this is of course perfectly normal and common, we are, after all, 50% of the population. But when your ‘office environment’ consists of nothing but the inside of a lorry and working up a sweat in large gardens in often remote or rural areas with no-one else working with you or around, you can see how the working environment could be classed as intimate.

So I could be forgiven for being slightly perturbed at the prospect of my husband working in this environment with a female. Today I have learnt that he had her on a trial day –  already he started off on the back foot by not telling me he worked with her the first time until this evening. Unfortunately for me she is not fat, ugly, hairy and a lesbian. She is (I quote) ‘about 19 or 20’ …..but its OK because she has a boyfriend. Within seconds I was preparing for life as a single Mum, working through new work arrangements, child-care and finances. I then gave him the cold shoulder as if he had already ‘done the dirty’. I know this is a ridiculous over-reaction but I can’t help myself. I am now moping around as if I already am a single mum. The worse thing about it is I can’t seem to stop myself behaving in this manner and I m now worried that if I continue in this manner I will drive him away. I know I should be thinking about equality of the sexes and believing that a woman can do a stereotypical ‘man’s job’ without there being issues with male/female relations. But, my instincts tell me we live in the real world and my cavewoman instincts say ‘chop her head off’ (or my husband’s dick…or both).

I know it is completely unreasonable to ask him not to employ her and I considered my pride was strong enough to prevent me from putting in that request. But, nethertheless I have registered my concern and it has fallen on deaf ears.

So, for the record, today is Tuesday 29th October 2013 and I really hope that I will still be married without incident by this time next year, which will be after our 10th wedding anniversary. Lets hope I am being a melodramatic idiot.

I am blogging every day to raise money for Unicef. See how I am supporting the charity through this blog here.

Thanks for reading.

Bedtime stories

I cant go to sleep unless I have read first. I cant think of an occasion when I didn’t read before bed except maybe after a few too many drinks.

Reading helps me wind down and switch off. This is the case for a lot of people. I wonder if it has its psychological routes in bedtime stories read by parents when I was young. Possibly I retained that need to hear a story before drifting off to sleep. My baby son seems to like being read to whenever he wants to relax and  my daughter has developed y habit of reading before sleep.

Over the past 30 plus years, this has enabled me to cram quite a few titles in. Some far more readable than others. Some too readable to the point where I have kept going through to the early hours. So I thought I might add the occasional book review to this  blog in an effort to retain some of the literary highlights of my pre-slumber time.

Alistair Campbell’s, The Blair Years, (nearly typed just ‘ears’) is my current read. There are a lot of diary entries and Blair’s rein went on a bit so it will take me a while to plough through. However I am already enjoying the behind the scenes glimpse into the egos in political history. We are definitely all human and start out at the same place or thereabouts. 

This blog is for Unicef. This is the week countdown to my 100 pounds target so would be great if a pound or two could be donate the to the cause – here.

Thanks for reading.

Young parents

As the four of us sat in a pub enjoying Sunday lunch but staring at the bedlam on the other side of our table watching our sister and brother in law desperately try to keep control of their 2 year old and placate their 1 year old, we found ourselves thanking our lucky stars that we had our children in our twenties. This is for the simple reason that we had more energy and less of a heritage of life being just me, myself and I. Regardless of your age it also helps to have a laid back approach to parenting for an easier life and my sister in law finds it harder than most to adopt the laid back approach.

But when I think that my daughter will be of driving age by the time I am the age of my sister-in law yet her eldest is 2, no wonder life juggling a toddler and a baby feels like pushing water up hill. As my husband and I tried to alleviate the chaos so that they could at least eat a meal without it going cold and relax a little, I questioned whether they actually enjoyed being a parent or whether their effort to have children quickly before the body clock timed out had back-fired and left them with a life they had not anticipated.

I do not intend to judge anyone for being too old or too young to have children – there are pros and cons to both age ranges. However I am all for seeking the approach that will make the joy of having children even more pleasurable. To be in a situation where you are willing the early years to pass and seeking refuge in work to get some respite is not what parenting should be about yet for many that is what modern parenting has become……and that is very sad.

I am blogging every day to raise money for Unicef. Please support my campaign here.

Thanks for reading.

Better than chocolate

Aunt Irma is visiting again, It has now been a year since I had Mirena ‘installed’ and my periods have been getting heavier not lighter (groan). I like chocolate but I don’t crave it unless Irma  is due to visit and then I absolutely have to have it! Why do periods and chocolate go hand in hand?

It feels as if I am literally draining way.

But being out on the water was a welcome distraction even if it was just to pay a visit to Swift on her moorings to prepare  her for the incoming storm. It was already pretty choppy and we all got wet in the short journey in the rib from the jetty to the mooring. It was thrilling to watch a windsurfing match taking place in force 3 barely skimming the surface of the water as the wind rocketed them from one tack to the other. You could tell they were skilled surfers as they were using their strength and experience to keep upright and tread the fine line between controlled speed and a capsize – in that wind there was no hope of a happy medium.

I think that is what is particularly impressive, witnessing people harnessing the force of nature, whether it is surfing strong winds, skiing effortlessly across snow, driving round a bend at speed on the edge of losing traction… short achieving perfection by being on the edge. For me the greatest example of this is watching John McGuinness, the king of the Mountain, negotiate the TT. Better than chocolate and a whole lot healthier for body and soul,

I am blogging every day for Unicef. If you can help the campaign, visit my site on Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

a domestic affair

I came across another dilemma today. In searching for some part-time help for his business, he has been approached by a woman who wants to re-train from mechanics to arboriculture. Not your average career for a female so hats off to her. But I have come over all cavewoman about it, like she is threatening to take the attention of my dominant male. As if we are in some wildlife sanctuary where females compete for attention of the male species (sounds like your average Saturday night club scene). So rather than do as one girlfriend suggests and do some sleuthing to assess the competition, or as another woman I know, dress up to the nines and parade around the other female as if to say ‘don’t even try it bitch!’

I have spelt it out to him – step out of line and you wont see me for dust. I don’t believe in meddling, if you are not good enough for him (even after lots of years and a couple of kids) you are better off on your own than feeling like second best.

So while my mind is mulling over the fate of our relationship and troubles in the playground with my daughter and meddling mothers, I am continuing to make vey bad cakes (another baking disaster this evening) and produce laundry that smells worse after it has been washed. Of course I blame the oven and the washing machine for failing to turn me into  a domestic goddess.

I will now retreat to the mahhoosive book that is Alistair Campbell’s diary entries of the Blair years.

I am blogging every day to raise money for Unicef – if you can help visit Unicef’s site.

Thanks for reading.

Texting issues

‘I hate to be the bearer of bad news but’………when you receive a text with that opening line, you know you are not going to enjoy reading the rest.

One of my friends whose child is in my daughter’s class, has taken it upon herself to get involved in the playground politics and send a text saying ‘your daughter is not being nice to my daughter in the playground’. I am a firm believer in letting children learn  how to get on with each other, with a little bit of a steer from home as to how to deal with any issues with friends and the best way to approach problems. This does not mean contact the parents of the all the children your child has an altercation with and fight all their battles for them. If the child is being repeatedly bullied or singled out, then this is a different matter. But, in this case, when 7 year old girls fall in and out of favour with each other on a regular basis, texting parents is a bit extreme.

So what to do with the text? I posed this question to my colleagues at work when I received the message and the resounding response was ‘don’t respond’. Instead I will speak to her and assure her that I have spoken to my daughter and clarified the situation and ask her politely to phone me instead of text me next time she has an issue. Although I m worried that in saying this I may be inadvertently inviting her to pass comment on anything my daughter says or does that offends her daughter.

The problem is I quite like my friend other than her over-mothering tendencies, so don’t want to screw this up. Maybe I should put this to Graham Norton on Radio 2….If any fellow bloggers have an opinion please speak freely.

I am blogging every day to raise money for Unicef and I would love it if you could support the campaign – visit my page on Unicef’s site here.

Thanks for reading.


In anticipation of Anchorman

Sometimes when you are too tired to read or type at the end if the day (when it has been one of those days after one of those nights), you just need to watch something rather than read something.

Therefore I strongly suggest you watch the trailer for Anchorman 2 here –


If you think this blog is ‘kind of a big deal’ or not…please support my campaign to blog daily to raise money for Unicef here.

Thanks for reading.

Finding the source of inspiration

Tonight I am mourning the end of the 2013 British Bake Off and elated that Frances won. My friend who is built like a brick shit house and works for public order in the Met in Brixton, said that he and his fellow coppers have been hooked on the series and at every break they are discussing who made the best pie or cake – brilliant! As a result my colossal friend makes a mean cheesecake.

Nothing compares to seeing how the professionals do it, admiring their talent and attempting to emulate them. When I was a groom for a pro dressage rider, I learnt more about riding style and position just by being on the ground watching the pros work their horses in every morning. The brain absorbs what it sees and then holds that vision as an example to follow.

That is why You Tube is such a good tool. My daughter was practicing her guitar earlier going through 3 notes over and over again. The sound was improving but I felt she needed a glimpse of what could be achieved to keep her motivated. So I brought up acoustic versions of Hotel California by The Eagles, Sweet Child O Mine by Guns N Roses, My Little Empire by Manic Street Preachers and Rope by Foo Fighters. I asked her if she just wanted to watch the guitar intros but pretty soon she was hooked. More importantly it showed that an amazing guitar riff on an electrical guitar can sound just as good acoustically and is achievable.

Likewise budding race drivers benefit from watching the on-board cameras of the F1 greats, noting how smooth their driving style is to get maximum results.

So if there is something you want to master, check out how the pros do it.

I am blogging every day to raise money for Unicef. I would love it if a fellow blogger could sponsor me.

Thanks for reading.