An unproportionate reaction from Cameron and Obama

I cant think of any other conflict in history where the word ‘proportionate’ is used to justify a massacre.

Palestinian people are being oppressed and they are using terrorism as a final ditch attempt to buy freedom. It tends to happen (South Africa apartheid…..World War 2). Obama and Cameron seem to be chained into this illogical thinking that is at odds with mainstream public opinion. The answer is to free Palestine. Why have the Israelis got Cameron and Obama by the balls? Even the British media seem to work hard to ensure ‘balanced’ reporting, which appears to be more in favour of promoting the Israeli PR machine.

The Israeli bombardment is barbaric and wrong, international support (from people with brains and a conscience) is waning and pretty soon Cameron and Obama will be swimming 7up the river of political suicide floating on palestinian blood.

In contrast to the political lunatics, I was heartened to hear of the protests in London reported on the Huffington Post. Lets hope fighting stops and a peace deal is arranged before more vulnerable and innocent civilians lose their lives.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.



Dogs with apps

We have 2 dogs, they are so small they are barely there. However, like most small dogs (and humans), what they lack in size they make up for in personality. The older of the two likes running for balls (any type of ball, from ping-pong size right up to giant gym balls). My husband once had a job at a golf driving range, my dog didnt know which ball to pick up first, i swear i could almost make out steam coming out of her ears at the sight of o many balls. She will also retrieve sticks and will attempt any size, whacking ankles as it swings dangerously up and down either end. When you play tug of war with the stick she will hold on to it with such grit and determination, that you can lift her straight up into the air.

My other dog (the younger daughter), is not remotely interested in balls or sticks, but point out a pheasant or a squirrel and she is there in a shot with turbo-charges up her tail. She even attempts to climb the tree to get o the squirrels. She is not terribly bright. In the summer she will endure heat-stroke sunning herself in a hot spot. In the winter she gets so close o the woodburner that you burn your hand if you touch her coat. She refuses to be picked up by anyone below the age of 18 and her tail has the clever knack of forming a ‘s’ shape when she is having a poo.

Now most children would love to have dogs like these in their house. This pleasure is somewhat lost on my daughter. Since last Christmas she has longingly looked at a robot dog called Teksta in the local toy shop. It does everything my dogs do and things they dont (such as back-flips, wi-fi and the ability to work with apps on a tablet). My daughter also mentioned to me  that it doesnt poo or smell. Maybe that is the future of pet ownership – robot pets.

I did find it funny when my daughter was playing with Teksta and the ball and right next to her was my dog patiently waiting for her ball to be thrown.

This blog is to raise money for Unicef. The charity’s latest campaign is to save and protect children caught up in the conflct in Susan – find out how you can help here.

Thanks for reading.

A D-Day diary

“The clock struck 7. I could no longer sleep for the sound of planes and guns. As I stirred, I saw a plane fly past our dorm window. It must be the invasion”.

This is an excerpt from a diary written by a teenager as she awoke at her boarding school on 6June 1944, less than 10 mikes away from a British naval port on the South Coast. She also talks about the sight of huge cranes, amphibious tanks and military vehicles filing through the village a few days before. In her dairy entry , she describes how she tries to get answers as to what is happening from her teachers, all of whom seem to have their head buried in the sand or just brick wall enquiries so as not to cause panic amongst the pupils. What astonishes me is that the guns she could hear were not from the British naval port, they were from the coast of France, such was the intensity of the gun-fire.

She was clearly worried but the only news could be sourced from the wireless at break-time or rumours from pupils and a whole lot of scaremongering about the Germans invading.

Tomorrow is the 70th anniversary of D-Day and it was a great opportunity to read what that day must have felt like for a teenager whose only source of information was the sound of gunfire and the odd limited update from a crackly wireless and whether there was a star, a stripe or a cross on the planes overhead.

It makes me think about the conflict in places like Syria and African regions such as the Congo and how powerless children still feel when it comes to wars waged by older generations. Thanks to D-Day, she never experienced the horrors of conflict on her doorstep, but the guns echoing across the English channel as she woke felt as close as if they were 10 miles down the road.

This blog is for Unicef, a charity that also helps vulnerable children in war-torn areas world-wide.

Thanks for reading.

£10 million to change the world?

So, what would you do with £10 million to conquer some of the world’s biggest challenges. That was the question posed by the BBC tonight when they launched the concept of the Longitude prize, a historic award that had previously achieved revolutions such as putting Greenwich and worldwide timekeeping on the map, thanks to a grant given to a carpenter and watchmaker, who succeeded in making a watch that would keep time at sea.

The Longitude is essentially about humanity and sustaining humanity for the future. The biggest issue facing us and our outlook for the future is climate change so this featured highly in the options. I was tempted to vote for the search to find a carbon neutral power for flight, as planes do the most harm to our environment. However, the winner of The Longitude prize would only have to enable a flight capable of a distance from London to Edinburgh, which I don’t think is enough to make a significant change. I am also unconvinced that aviation companies would be falling over themselves to adopt this new energy as there would surely be significant cost implications and we all know how squeezed profit margins are on airlines already. For this work it would take some Government intervention to put pressure on airlines to adopt the cleaner fuel.

I voted for a sustainable and nourishing food source that could be easily farmed, highly nutritious and wouldn’t cause pollution and waste to create it. The current alternatives are insects – which actually looked quite good and ticked all the boxes in terms of nutrition. For 1kg of beef, 22kg of cow feed needs to be produced – for 1kg in insect meat, only 2.2kg feed is required to give to the insects. I can also see insect farming providing a source of income for farmers in the developing world too. This idea had been developed in the Netherlands and they said the challenge to adoption in the West is changing people’s mind set. I think Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall should step forward and come up with some cunning insect recipes – it would all get us grazing on grasshoppers in no time. The other option is GM food, which has received so much bad press it is hard to understand whether it is good for us or not, apparently it is and is far more nutritious. Whoever wins the prize if food becomes the goal will ave the power o improve people’s diets world-wide, help to eliminate the harmful consequences of malnutrition, such as rickets and scurvey and help those countries who suffer from famine because they are unable to source nutritious food. It may also provide a new source of income and transform farming and agriculture plus reduce pollution as it has to be a sustainable food solution.

If you live in the UK and want to cast your vote, visit the website on the Longitude Prize.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading.

Changing education (part four)

I wholeheartedly agree with the questions we pose. Pupils and students are the best judges of a good education, yet they are often the last to be consulted. They say education is like Piccadilly Circus – if you stand there for long enough it will come back round again – this is what is happening with the current Government’s approach and it is deeply concerning and thoroughly depressing.

This blog is for UNICEF – please support the campaign here.

Today a Sudanese woman who faced 100 lashes and execution for renouncing Islam and marrying a Christian was sentenced to death. She is also 8 months pregnant – angry? Then sign the petition by Amnesty for her immediate release – here.

Surviving with grace

4: It all adds up

So far I’ve looked at the systemic failure of our current system, explored some of the external and internal pressures demanding radical change, and suggested what that change might begin to look like. In this final part I’ll consider the influence of formal exams and the need for a different approach.

What you measure is what you get

There’s an old truth that what you measure is what you get, which is to say that examination systems can themselves introduce counter-productive bias. If you put a premium on narrow academic performance then you will skew the rest of the system around it.

This is not about dumbing down; quite the reverse. It’s about asking much more rigorously whether how we test is fit for purpose, which in turn means asking more seriously what the purpose is.

Consider this: if I was managing a call centre…

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Gilt edged donation

Hello fellow bloggers! I have only missed four days of blog posts but it seems like absolutely ages, if it was possible to get blog withdrawal symptoms, I was getting them. However I did enjoy a break from assessing whether there was enough going on in both my brain and life   each time I faced a blank blog screen.

But this blog is for UNICEF and they get a £1 per day of missed blog. The Guardian recently did a poll on whether charitable giving was selfish. The majority recognised that it was better than nothing but that very few charitable donations are given through altruism. There is always personal gain somewhere along the line.

This blog is not altruistic. I do it for 2 main reasons.

The first is keeping digital memories and to prevent boredom in my old age. I am writing this with a view to reading it when I am a little old lady waiting for God. I just hope I am not deaf and blinds when I reach old age – that would be a bummer.

I just had to stop typing to investigate my son’s potty as I thought it smelt, turns out my husband was on the loo, so I sprayed something round him to mask the smell and then closed the door to put him in quarantine – isn’t it lovely when you can’t decipher your son’s poo from your husband’s? I will love reading about that, or have my carer read it to me once I am old.

The second reason I blog for UNICEF is guilt. At the weekend while I was bobbing up and down on the little boat enjoying the sun glints on wave crests and taking in the blue sky, I read through Saturday’s Guardian. It should have the streamline, ‘observe all the snit going n on the world, pity the situation, then resume your existence, which is a whole lot easier than the people in the paper. I feel powerless so want to do something on a regular basis that donates to a good cause and raises awareness of other issues. The middle of the newspaper is where all the major issue stuff tends to go. The stuff that is easier to read in terms of our sensitivities tends  be put at the front and the back. I wonder how many people read stories about the conflict in Syria and the Ukraine, the schoolgirl abductions in Nigeria and the fact that the apartheid legacy lives on n Cape Town’s planning department.

So this is really a selfish blog for a guilty ageing woman to wax lyrical on random subjects of varying degrees of importance.

Even so better doing this than watching the Kardashians or a football game – at least this selfish act has some social benefits.

I am blogging every day for UNICEF – check out the campaign here.

Hanks for reading.






immoral and sentimental

I was watching storage hunters and one particular chap managed to make 12k after finding a drawer full of jewellery and products made of ivory and rhino horn. Granted, the animals have been dead a while but the antique market is helping to fuel demand and re-kindle interest in ivory products. As a result population numbers of both the African and Indian elephants are in rapid decline, with tens of thousands killed bypoachers every year.

My husband has an ivory handled brush and comb. His sister gave it to him for his 18th birthday. I can still recall the momentary feeling of confusion and tension in the air when we all saw him unwrap it, his whole family were surprised that his sister had bought it and worried about how to respond. He accepted it gratefully and thanked his sister but I just had a head full of questions – I couldn’t believe she had bought it and that she bought it from a reputable shop, as it was brand new.

He has had this brush and comb ever since. Every time I move them to dust the dresser, I detest them. The feel of the ivory, the thought of how the elephant succumbed in order for the products to be made. However it holds a sentimental value to my husband, because it was his sister’s special present.

What do I do? I was thinking of selling it on eBay and then sending the proceeds of the sale to WWF but I don’t want to assist in fuelling the ivory trade. I googled the price of ivory and was surprised to see the number of websites offering money for ivory tusks, so there clearly is no real attempt by government authorities to halt trade as it is prevalent online.

A good petition worth your support on, calls for the BBC to stop filming programmes that encourage people to profit from the sale of old ivory items – sign the petition here.


Given the family link, which is awkward, I think I need to pose this question to Graham Norton and Maria on their radio 2 clinic on Saturday mornings.

I welcome the thoughts and advice of fellow bloggers……

This blog is for UNICEF- if you can support the charity’s good work worldwide, click here.

Thanks for reading.


No holding back

It is hard to be English. First is the requirement to be subtle and satirical. This is why I ‘broke free’ from my Britishness shackles in Florida and immersed myself in the carefree approach to gas guzzling over-sized 4×4 motoring without a ‘tut-tut’ in sight or ear-shot. I also enjoyed being able to park everywhere and unashamedly guzzle pancakes and gush over Minnie Mouse without anyone sneering at me. I did all this while dosing up on vitamin E from the sunshine and buzzing from all the megawatt customer service smiles I received everywhere I went. So when I returned to the wet, grey and miserable looking UK I have to confess I momentarily felt like jumping off a bridge. Then I slipped back into being British, which is essentially our coping mechanism for living in predominantly shit weather with not much to look forward to apart from fish and chips on Fridays and something good on the telly, like Mary Berry’s cooking shower Kirstie Allsopp, to remind you how the ‘better half’ live. If only we all lived like those characters in the Working Title films assisted by computer graphics to make the winter seem cosy, the summer seem..well sunny and the budget to live in a period home and drive a mini or an Audi.

But joking aside, thankfully I live in a western country that is stable and not likely to experience an uprising anytime soon, well not since the riots in London of 2011 anyway……I still don’t know what that was all about. Doubt that anyone who shops in Waitrose had anything to do with it though, David Cameron would testify to that. Apparently he believes Waitrose attracts people who use more than monosyllables to communicate and are unlikely to holler like fish wives at their children, because they wouldn’t dream of asking the nanny to bring the children shopping too.

Moving on from middle-class bashing, Amnesty International deal with crimes against humanity world-wide and I like to support their petitions. The recent petition is for Obama to support the UN in intervening to prevent the religiously motivated massacre in central Africa during which women have seen their children killed in front of them just for being in the wrong religion. Sign the petition here.

This blog is for UNICEF – find out more here.

Thanks for reading.