It all began in a Pub…..well in Britain anyway

Feeling all charged up and empowered tonight after a good meeting with the village Mums in the pub to talk about the playground facilities and what we would like to see in the village. 

This is in response to the work of a rather lacklustre working group of committee members who are making plans to simply replace like for like on the playground – and us Mums want more! Have they consulted with us? NO. Will they need us to help raise funds for the new equipment? YES!

So we hopefully have the power to influence these less than qualified decision makers (one of the working group is in her 80s…it’s been a while since she sat on a swing).

Our local pub was the venue for the discussion and it got me thinking how many important meetings take place in a pub? In fact, how many important decisions have been made in pubs over the centuries? 

I would say more than the Houses of Parliament.

I say make the HOP a super club, the party capital of Europe and devolve power to publicans…..maybe then we would have, as Carlsberg would put it….’probably the best political system in the world…’

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading.

Every Child Matters – and the award goes to…

I think the best award ever given at my daughters school was the one for attendance. When the Headmaster asked for the person who had won the award to receive it…..they weren’t there. Was it an act of rebellion taken on the wrong day, or to prove a point, or just bad luck?

There are lots of other awards, student of the week, woodland cup, most improved student etc etc. whenever I have seen these award ceremonies, I always feel bad for the 99% who don’t receive the award. Does it inspire them to do better or make them feel worse that their own achievements haven’t been recognised? I agree life is hard and we have to learn how to lose gracefully, but does this lesson really have to start so young and is an awards programme really the best form of encouragement for children?

I have been on both sides of the fence, seeing my daughter’s excitement and pride as she receives an award and the disappointment when she doesn’t. I said to her she doesn’t need an award to know how well she has done at something but she thinks she has done something wrong when many of her friends are recognised and she isn’t. I think it may just be the case that the teacher is newly qualified and she has lost track of who has and hasn’t had awards. Which is why the system, in my view, is so flawed and I feel does more harm than good.

One of the phrases fundamental to the national curriculum is Every Child Matters – is there an award for that?

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading.

Who gets your vote?

Go on to the Google within the next 8 days and you get the chance to vote for amazing apps that will change lives.

There are 10 to choose from and Google invite you to choose your top 4. The winner will receive financial support from Google to put the technology in production and the runners-up will get support from Google to help convert the dream into reality.

This is what I went for….

1) A technology that will ultimately prevent the spread of diseases transmitted by mosquitoes.

2) A technology that helps protect wildlife and communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

3) A technology to enable farmers in poor communities to develop cost-effective fertilisers to protect vital crops

4) A technology to help blind people experience better vision and quality of life through smart glasses

Sounds good? Its a difficult choice, other causes to vote for include: homelessness, rehabilitation, marriage guidance and social care – to cast your vote click here.

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.

Punctures and Pride, motherly pride

On the way home last night I hit a dip in the road, I momentarily winced, then carried on. Later on in my journey the tyre pressure light came on by which point i had forgotten about the dip in the road incident so just assumed the warning light glowplugs were playing up again (a common fault with Skodas I am told). But when my husband went to drive it later and saw the car was sitting at a funny angle and noticed a tyre as flat as a pancake, i remembered the dip in the road…..(but kept quiet about it as husband was already moaning about the cost of tyres).

Like most cars now, the Skoda doesnt carry a spare, so i got on the phone to my Dad who thankfully lives locally, to ask if i could borrow his old Honda. He was very happy to oblige. So this morning, I contend with an automatic gearbox and make the most of the sunroof on a hot day and set off for my last day at work (read post about HMRC) via Clive the tyre man. Once the new tyre was loaded in the boot of Dad’s car (along with 2 huge sacks of bird feed and a large bag of pigs ears) i continued my journey. I switched on the radio and heard nothing but whote noise, so played the cd dad had buried in there, ‘the bet of musicals’. About the quarter of the way through my journey I was desperate for noise other than the musicals cd, so then pulled over to wind up the aerial (the car is 14 years old so it is a nit old school), i then realised manual intervention was a bad thing as now I hear the whirring sound of a car desperately trying to get its aerial up but to no avail -i could say something about old men and viagra here…..

After eventually getting to work then surviving my last day, my next mission is to get myself and baby boy extracted from work/creche as soon as possible so that we can make it for my daughters awards ceremony. I was blown away by the lovely things that both the Headmaster and her lass teacher said about her, including talking about her willingness and determination to try anything once. It was tricky as I was filming the start of the Headmasters speech assuming that she would be getting an award but not necessarily the one I was filming (parents are invited if their child is to receive an award). He said so many lovely things to describe her and her learning ability including her ‘thorough’ approach to maths. I felt the pride of a parent who stares in awe at a child that is doing well regardless of her parents….

This blog is for Unicef, thanks for reading.



Town mouse country mouse

Sometimes I fantasise about living in the big smoke, amongst the hubub of the crowds, the traffic, the shops, the culture, the cosmopolitan atmosphere. London in particular contains a kind of energy that you cant help feeling as soon as you step off the train. I love going there with my daughter and once baby boy is older he will enjoy it even more. There is no need to spend any money once you have arrived, just a walk along the embankment, or a bus ride down Oxford Street is enough to absorb the sights and sounds.

But then I look out of our window at the scrubland and trees behind our gate, the barn owl gliding above the bushes on the hunt for mice and the bats zipping across the garden at dusk and I think, this beats man-made entertainment. Nature has a vibe all of her own and it is on a completely different level.

As for kids growing up in both environments, both have their pros and cons. Country kids probably don’t have as much opportunity to appreciate different cultures and have less access to events and experiences. City kids are less likely to experience nature with less access to forest schools and long walks in the country-side. My daughter recently enjoyed meeting pupils from a school in London, they couldn’t believe there was only one shop and that there was no street-lighting. Its amazing that children living in the same country cam experience such very different environments and upbringing.

But now the Government wants cities to get bigger to accommodate the need for more housing. So what happens to our green bits in-between? What will be left for future generations of kids? England is a small island in comparison to many European countries, where are we expected to go for some fresh air in 50 years time when all these houses have been built?

Where are the barn owls going to hunt? Where are they going to live?

I am blogging every day for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.