News stories should avoid the m word

Some interesting UK headlines today:

Cycling injuries increase
CTC, the national cycling charity, has warned an increasing number of cyclists are being injured on crumbling roads as councils are taking too long to repair potholes. Its study found that 17 councils fixed only 1 in 10 problem roads while the majority, some 168, repaired less than half. The worst offenders were rural councils. For cyclists, potholes aren’t mere inconveniences. They’re a real blight, where even the most minor defects can lead to serious, life-changing injuries,” CTC’s Sam Jones reflects.The Times, Page: 16

Primary results improve

The government has announced that the performance of children in England in tests at the end of primary school has edged upwards. More pupils than ever have achieved the literacy and maths scores needed for secondary school, according to figures from the DfE. The results of this year’s tests, taken in May by all 11-year-old state school pupils, show a one percentage point rise in those meeting the standard in mathematics (to 87%) and two percentage points in writing (to 87%). Scores in the grammar, punctuation and spelling test rose to 80%, while attainment in reading was unchanged on the year before, at 89%. In total, 80% of pupils achieved the required “Level Four” standard or above in all subjects. However, schools minister Nick Gibb said schools in some council areas had underperformed. He announced a crackdown on councils, including Medway, Poole, Luton, Doncaster and Bedford, whose schools had performed poorly. The Times, Page: 13 The Times BBC News

Street name trends

Green has replaced ‘Church’ as the most popular new street name, according to a study by family history website Ancestry. Historically, titles such as Road, Street and Lane have been the most popular choice. Today Mews, Close and Court are the common choices. Researchers believe this has been driven by the rise of housing estates. Daily Mail, Page: 23

Top of the headlines however is the continued human tragedy of deaths on a large scale of desperate people trying to flee their dangerous countries. I refuse to use the ‘m’ word as it has become a derogatory term that seems to dilute the value of human life and the right to self preservation free from persecution. 

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

Mind the children 

Morning rush, evening rush, get children to bed rush,get children out of bed rush. Not a nice daily rhythm when you have to get to work and be a parent.

A blogger on a site called The Art of Social Work, has a brilliant way of using mindfulness so that you don’t lose sight of your child/rent in the daily grind. 

Check it out here –

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

Healthy for the humdrum – a brave lady who wants that too

Potentially going through a restructure at work so busy applying for jobs.

When I am not applying for jobs I escape into a very good book entitled ‘If wishes were horses’ and drink some beer.

Read a story on a 25 year old who has cystic fibrosis and is in hospital most of the time. at home she can barely draw enough breath to get changed. She is appealing for people to be on the organ donor register as she needs two healthy lungs – if I had some spare I would give them to her but whether my husband likes it or not I am in the register and, if healthy enough, they can have it all. I really feel for this lady as she craves even the humdrum boring and slightly depressing bits of daily life, like the morning commute and food shopping. 

We mustn’t take our good health for granted for we never know how long it will hang around for.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

headlines that Banksy would feature in DismalTimes

Some interesting headlines this week:

Marriage becomes preserve of the rich

Data analysed by the Marriage Foundation shows that wealthier couples are four times more likely to get married than those from poorer backgrounds. Researchers found that of mothers with children under five, 87% with household incomes over £43,000 are married, against only 24% with incomes under £14,000. Campaigners are now warning that poor children risk experiencing ever worsening levels of education, income and poor housing as a result of growing up in single-parent households.The Sunday Telegraph, Page: 9

Solar subsidies face further cuts

Energy secretary Amber Rudd is set to slash solar power subsidies as the government seeks to rein in the costs of feed-in tariffs introduced five years ago. Industry sources fear subsidies could be cut by as much as half. Nearly 100 chief executives, councillors and union leaders signed a letter sent to David Cameron on Friday to warn of the damage being done to a sector. The Sunday Times, Business, Page: 1
Solar subsidies face further cuts

Energy secretary Amber Rudd is set to slash solar power subsidies as the government seeks to rein in the costs of feed-in tariffs introduced five years ago. Industry sources fear subsidies could be cut by as much as half. Nearly 100 chief executives, councillors and union leaders signed a letter sent to David Cameron on Friday to warn of the damage being done to a sector. The Sunday Times, Business, Page: 1

This is the most disturbing recent headline from Banksy’s favourite rag:

Border officials could use force to fingerprint migrants

The Home Office has backed the use of force to take fingerprints from migrants to stop them arriving in poor European countries then trying to claim asylum in richer ones. Britain is supporting the tough line proposed by the EU with the hope that fewer migrants will be able to gather in the makeshift camp in Calais if more of their fingerprints are stored on the Europe-wide database. The Mail on Sunday, Page: 10

This blog is for Unicef.

an unusual and unwanted desire

Had a weird experience today – I was feeling so wretched (a good word mainly found in Austen or Bronte novels or Dickens..) that I felt like cutting myself. For a brief moment it felt like that was the only thing I could do to release the anger and pain that was temporarily inside me. I punched my arm instead and after a while My emotions seemed to pass over like a dark cloud.

I need to sort things out though (ie my job) or else that cloud will come back. 

My medicine was to spend over £10 on some brilliant books in Oxfam – now it’s the end of the day I just need sleep.

It’s a pain having to earn money but at least I have that opportunity.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

proud news

If ever you need to sell something, you get it looking so good you could buy it all over again. This is particularly true when selling a car or a house. In our case we are selling our house. So my husband and I worked like demons today doing the work. One painted while the other kept baby boy entertained while surreptitiously sorting through rather too many toys. My daughter was at Grandmas in a shopping trip. After we were done, one of the main reception rooms gleamed with a new paint job, but despite bags and bags of toys ready for the charity shop, the pile in the toy basket had not diminished.

But the big news headline of the day is that baby boy has cracked cycling! Yes, in addition to balancing on a bike he can now pedal (albeit a little inconsistently and with the odd wobble). I have to confess to resorting to sergeant major tactics to get him to put the effort in when he was so close to getting it. But it was such a relief (both for him and me) when the Eureka moment happened. I remember going through the same process with my father and he did get a little frustrated with me, as I did with baby boy, but the overwhelming positivity when his little feet made a 360 degree turn as opposed to 180 pushed away any negative thoughts and made the struggle worth it. 

The main sentence that baby boy repeated when he came home to report the news to daddy and sister was that ‘ mum is very proud of me’. 

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

the right weather for boys and girls

It was hot today – yay! 2 days on the trot of sunshine is good going as far as British weather is concerned. Rain starts tomorrow.

What I like about the weather is you don’t have to be creative about spending your time. All you need to do is enjoy the outside. My children and a friend were having as much fun as they would do at a theme park flying down a slide with tarpaulin at the base and a hose pipe – home-made waterside ride.

Before that my daughter and her friend made pan pipes with straws, drums and other musical instruments out of recycling and made their own hair bands. 

My little boy just enjoyed watching them. Then turning every shrub cutting that had fallen on to the ground after my husband had enjoyed a prune fest into a weapon. 

The difference between boys and girls continues to astound – I used to disbelieve the argument that some behaviours are inherent and typical of males within their genes – but now starting to see the case for this argument…

This blog us for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

Relating to Lady Oracle

I often find the best books on holiday.mi happen upon them. Last year it was in an old telephone box on a campsite re-used as a library. This year it was in the tiny launderette of a marina. 

I saw the words Margaret Atwood and knew instantly I struck gold. It’s called Lady Oracle and it is a comforting yet occasionally disturbing and enthralling read.

Not for the first time my kindle has been cast aside for the tangible feel of paper and the satisfying fold of a book over that has been held by lots of people on its travels.

Now I will resume the final pages before I sleep.

I will also try to hypnotise myself not to consume only biscuits for dinner tomorrow. Despite this week’s unhealthy eating I still look in the mirror to check the impact is not too great. I’m allowed one relapse surely? Like virtually all women I will continue my unhappy obsession with body image until the grave.

This blog is for UNICEF thanks for reading. 

back to school

I slept better on the boat last week. Now I have returned to a double bed on terra firma I can’t get a decent night’s sleep.

I have returned to work and I miss my children. My youngest is with our childminder and my daughter is at a summer club at a smart school with lots of facilities. It’s midweek and both children are tired and emotional, to be frank we all are. I wrote a letter to my daughter and slipped it in her lunchbox to help her deal with nasty behaviour from another child, I then had a word with my husband about concerns with one of the children our childminder will have in her house while my son is there next week. My daughter says he is physical and aggressive yet she won’t be there to look out for my son, so hubby got an assurance from the CM that she will keep on top of it. Thankfully he will only be there for three days.

It’s not as if we have an awful lot of choices.  Living in a small rural village, you have to travel a good 10 – 15 miles before you get near nurseries etc. not to mention the commuting time to work. It’s the price you pay for living in the countryside. That’s why most mothers are either at home or do local part-time jobs. I used to be one of them, but it doesn’t bring home the bacon.

Tonight I put my very tired and emotional son to bed then went to my daughter’s room and also found her tired and crying. She feels like she is back at school already. 

So do I

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

Biscuits and breaking new ground

I am in the mood for proving you can be sustained by only consuming mcvitities chocolate biscuits. If only this was good for your health and not devastating for your waistline and bottom. Not to mention the unsettling concern that every packet of biscuits you buy boosts junior mcvities’ trust fund (AKA that blonde brat in Made in Chelsea).

I must resist – it can only mean that Aunt Irma is visiting once again….she just seems to be visiting rather frequently bringing along with her all these unwelcome side effects – it must be the coil….

Life feels like one long interview at the mo – but a means to a very good end. Although a door has closed on my social work career, I am pursuing the chance to be an independent visitor and help add some stability and consistency to the life of a child or young teen in care. 

I am also aware my job needs to change and, in turn, our house as our current location is too tricky for commuting.

Lots to change, lots to think about but just grateful for opportunities – you never know how long these chances remain.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading.