forgotten, now gone

A couple of sad stories I heard today locally (don’t even get me started on globally).

First, a National Trust house with collections from local museums, including Victoria Crosses and the football played in a match between the Germans and Brits in WW1, went up in flames. Everyone has fond memories of going through the house and all the beautiful rooms. People got married there and were scheduled to get married there. Children, OAPs, everyone enjoyed going there. The volunteers who worked at the house are devastated. It took 6 hours to tackle the blaze and now all that remains is the exterior walls. From the military collection only one medal case was recovered. 

Later on at work we learnt that a council tenant in the town had been found dead in her house. The team from the council had arrived to do a routine check on the boiler and found her body. She had been dead months. How sad that someone can pass away and not be missed for that length of time. A colleague of mine said that this had happened in the past with someone who had been found dead in a council property for years not months. It is beyond comprehension that people can have no-one to look out for them, not even neighbours. The now old fashioned idea of looking out for your neighbour is definitely a thing of the past for most people.

Sorry for such a morbid post, but it is definitely food for thought. Makes you wonder when you last saw your elderly neighbour leave the house. If it’s been a while, knock on the door and have a chat with them.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

Bikes = Smiles

There is an advert that used to be on TV where a guy gets up and goes down a giant water slide every day to get to work and other people join him like it is a normal but fun way to commute every morning.

That is how I feel about riding a motorbike into work. Even better when I have Guns N Roses’ Appetite for Destruction blaring in my ears. One twist of the wrist and I pass 10 cars, Porsches, Jaguars, Range Rover Sports, what’s the point in looking fast and having big engines if you are stuck in traffic? I can feel their eyes burning into my back as I pass and I think to myself ‘why don’t more people do this?’ 

I know the police call bikers ‘organ donors’ and the risks are greater than in a car. BUT, the experience riding a bike is soooo good and providing you don’t take silly risks and assume every car may do something stupid, you’ll be ok. 

It makes getting to work and heading home later a roller coaster ride every day. It never fails to put a smile on my face. I am hooked on speed, I can’t help it and to be getting a ‘hit’ every week day is brilliant.

So if you drive cars and have been mulling over learning to ride a bike –  DO IT! You wont regret it.

This blog is for UNICEF. Thanks for reading. 

UNICEF brings good news to Yemen

© UNICEF/NYHQ2015-0800/Mohammed


This blog is for UNICEF and the amazing things they do to help vulnerable children and families worldwide. This is how they are helping children in Yemen:

SANA’A, Yemen/AMMAN, Jordan, 28 April 2015 – A UNICEF shipment of urgent medical supplies reached Yemen today and will benefit more than 500,000 people, mostly women and children, for the next three months. 

The supplies which arrived by boat in Aden will replenish the rapidly depleting lifesaving supplies in hospitals and health centres in Aden, Al Dhale, Lahj, Abyan and Shabwa governorates which are among the worst hit areas.
“We urgently need medical supplies in Aden. Our hospitals are overloaded with patients and critical supplies are quickly running out,” said Dr. Omer Zain, head of Lahj Governorate Health Office, a coordinating partner with UNICEF on the humanitarian response. 

The supplies include medicines to treat up to 7,000 children for acute watery diarrhoea and 50 midwifery kits that will support the safe delivery of 2,500 babies. Another consignment of critical supplies is expected to arrive by boat in Hodeida tomorrow.

Across the country, much needed basic services have been paralyzed as fuel, water and food resources are running out fast. Garbage is accumulating on the streets and sewage is overflowing. These appalling hygiene and sanitation conditions greatly increase the risk of diarrheal infections and the spread of diseases. Emergency health and water supplies from UNICEF will help to ward off such threats. 
“More than ever, children now face a greater risk of death due to diseases such as acute watery diarrhoea and the general deterioration of living conditions”, said Julien Harneis, UNICEF Representative to Yemen.  “There is an urgent need to bring in food and fuel supplies into the country. While humanitarian agencies can provide immediate relief, they can in no way meet the huge daily needs of the affected civilian population.” 
UNICEF continues to support health centres and clinics across the country with essential medical supplies. Messages are being broadcast to alert children and parents on the dangers of unexploded ordnance, and water tankering services are providing safe drinking water to thousands who are displaced.

A blue and not so pleasant land in local politics

I went to my local parish council meeting this evening, along with a few Mums who wanted to support a campaign to better the play and recreational facilities in our area.

We were met with disdain. But I was not giving up and pushed for the current playground working party of councillors (consisting of two women whose children are now in their thirties and one woman in her eighties) to take in members of the local community as part of the group. The Leader of the party kept dodging the question, supported by some of her parish council colleagues , so I had to take the approach of Jeremy Paxman and repeat my question until she eventually answered it. They finally agreed to offer membership up to volunteers via an open day. I then tried to get them to consider a site that is parish council owned as a good place to have a play area, it appears that someone on the residents association on that road speaks louder than the rest and they listen to her rather than the wishes of local families. 

For all of us sharing an interest in local politics and to make a difference to a local community it was like pushing water uphill with the parish council. The needs of a local resident are defined by those who speak the loudest rather than those who have needs. Our political system is skewed by the demographic of people who have the time and finances to devote to public life. No wonder the Tories do so well in elections.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

A mayday marriage

The end of this week marks the 11th anniversary of our wedding – Mayday. My mum joked it was ‘mayday’ as in the distress signal, there have been plenty of times when that has been true in our marriage and, I’m sure, plenty of times still to come. But there exists a magnetic pull between us that doesn’t seem to break no matter what the stress. Maybe it is because we have been together so long we wouldn’t know how to live any other life, or we have grown up from our late teens together and this shared ageing process is in itself a bond. I just think it’s love and that it really does ‘conquer all’ -the rough, the smooth, the upsets, disappointments, hopes, arguments, dreams, ambitions, compromises, career changes, despair, delight, depression and elation.

If we had to live rough tomorrow and start our lives over we would go through that together, we’d argue about it lots, but we’d still stick it out.

It’s something my parents had but lost sight of (alcohol not helping the situation) so I am just so thankful that I have been lucky enough to experience such a bond for however long it lasts.

Eleven years married, eighteen years together, but I’m not counting, just enjoying (and occasionally tolerating) the ride.

This blog is for UNICEF

Thanks for reading. 

Happy Saturdays …and what do do when they are not

After two weeks of being squeaky clean, eating healthily and only allowing sugar from fruit to pass my lips…

Today was chocolate biscuit day.

A day when everything seems to go Pete Tong/Tits Up/ a bit wobbly it can only be sorted by chocolate and a chocolate covered biscuit with a steaming mug of red bush tea. 

I won’t go into the minutiae of why the day led to an indulgent biscuit, or 4 (albeit Sainsburys basic range at 45p per packet). But let’s just say I spent too much time on a sunny Saturday in a car, waiting for electric gates to open and close on a wild goose chase to locate one of my daughters shoes.

This was not helped by a fluctuation in my hormone levels, which made me less able to deal with life’s shit. When you feel like this it is not a good idea to go to an evening event meeting all brand new people with children in tow – but we did and it was hard work.

Another recommendation to cheer up a bad day – Peter Kay’s car share – haven’t laughed this hard in a while.

Happy Saturday.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

Campaigning ideology 

Just signed a petition for the UK Government to help with the humanitarian disaster occurring in Yemen. Where conflict is displacing communities who were already vulnerable to begin with – sign the petition here.

Just completed our postal votes. After initially saying I would support Labour, I discovered Miliband supports the Trident contract for £100 billion in nuclear defence. Over my dead body am I citing for that. So I have gone with my heart and voted Green. I know I may have just handed another vote to the Tories, given this ridiculous voting system that we have in this country, but I will not enter into tactical voting, I may as well not bother to vote at all. So I will continue to vote for what I believe in, with the vain hope that voters are doing the same. Vote for the closest match to your ideology , not the best of a bad bunch. 

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading.

mind the gap…..between the Rock and hard place

I have been mostly going out this week, so £2 in the pot to UNICEF in missed blog posts.

I read a quote that said ‘you know when you are a parent when the bins go out more than you do’. 

I can confidently confirm that I have been out more times than my bin this week. Not sure Monday counts as I went to a parish council meeting. I was hardly living it up on Tuesday either, going to a meeting of my school’s pta. 

Last night I met with a former colleague of mine who was hoping to return part-time to work after maternity leave, but she has been told to get on her bike. So now she has been left to fight for the 7 weeks holiday payment she is entitled to. But she is financially crippled after maternity leave and the prospect of not working at all is daunting. So now she is going cap in hand to her boss (my former boss) to see if she can broker a compromise deal.

We have all been there and it ain’t easy because if the cost of childcare. I think more should be done to support working parents. The current Government aren’t doing anywhere near enough in my opinion. Many families are between a rock and a hard place – income squeezed by childcare, but cost of living makes it difficult for one parent to remain at home. So we all are shuffling tentatively sideways through the financial gap and keeping our fingers crossed while we do it.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading.

Is religion an excuse for apathy?

I was looking at Hootsuite today as part of my new job. For those of you unfamiliar with it, the site offers you the opportunity to review tweets and Facebook posts on a variety of topics simultaneously from a variety of different online profiles and media sites.

As you can imagine it is constantly buzzing with news. Story after story of bad stuff going on in the world, peppered occasionally with some trivial or mildly entertaining material.

Some of the tragic stories involved children, either struggling to escape Libya in heavily laden boats, risking their lives to get to the Italian coast, or a toddler whose life was taken by parents who abused her vulnerability and innocence.

Glancing at his dashboard of misery, I began to think about religion – the historical ‘sponge’ of misery. I am not religious myself but I thought wouldn’t it be good, if God did exist, if he/she had a version of Hootsuite to help him prioritise the plethora of hideous and complex problems to be sorted out. I haven’t a clue where she/he would begin to start but at least there would be a beginning and there would be action. At the moment there is apathy, which is unbearable.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

See you again

Sorry for the lack of post last night. 

We went on our date night to see Fast and Furious 7, which blew us away. Definitely the best F and F yet. I am not going to spoil the ending for people who have yet to see it (even if you are not that into cars you will enjoy it – pure entertainment). For die hard F and F fans the ending is perfect and a fitting tribute to Paul Walker. For those of you who have grown up with Fast & Furious, take tissues as its a real tear jerker – it feels like the end of an era and that is very, very sad.

Today myself, my best friend and my daughter swam in a swimathon to raise money for Marie Curie Cancer care. Together we swam over 200 lengths and raised £230. It was tough but I was super proud of my daughter who did 70 lengths having not swam for a year and covered the distance in backstroke, freestyle and breast-stroke.

This was our fourth year doing the challenge and the sense of pride and satisfaction at going the distance still remains. 

I am hoping I will sleep better tonight as a result, as last night I was thinking about PW and the lyrics to this musical tribute – (today just topped the UK singles charts) –

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading.