ladies of many ‘leisures’

School fundraising, cake sales, second-hand uniform sales, raffles, fairs, bingo nights, quiz nights, wine tasting, barbecues, drinks nights, sponsored walks, car boot sales, guest speaker nights, barn dance nights, band nights, silent auctions….. How many of these can you fit in an academic year?

I have just returned from a meeting of our PTA, which seems to take place at various mums houses that are all considerably grander than mine. In fact following the meeting I felt a bit like Rodney from Only Fools & Horses when I asked the Mum dropping me off home in her luxurious 4×4 to just set me down at the end of the street (Unlike Rodney I wasn’t going to pretend I lived in a mansion). This particular Mum is a northerner so a bit more grounded. In fact regardless of money and who does what, I found myself in a situation where we were all working together to achieve the aim of getting our Headmaster his all singing all dancing white boards. But at £3000 each for every year group, it’s quite a bit of money to raise. The events you organise tread the fine line between providing entertainment and making lots of money. There will always be one (or several) that complain they have been ‘fleeced’ at an event but you go to a fundraiser to have fun and help the school – that’s the trade-off for having fun isn’t it? People like myself can’t afford to make big donations so I donate my time instead. 

Of course the Mums that are part of the committee are not, as you might think, ladies of leisure, but Mums who do have a day job or jobs as well as caring for their children. Which makes it all the more challenging. 

I wonder what what the so called ‘ladies of leisure’ do? I think it is a myth..

This blog is for UNICEF.

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.


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.

The best of humanity

“They will just glance at you and walk past”, said my husband when he saw the banner I had put out in the corridor ready for tomorrow’s hoopathon for the Bhopal Medical Appeal. Of course I am hoping that won’t be the case, which is why myself and my friend will be making a complete spectacle of ourselves as we prance about spinning the hoop to hopefully more than one man and his dog. My husband has just criticised the image I am using for the banner, he thinks it will scare people away. I am hoping it will make them stop and look and want to know more.
It is difficult to summarise the Bhopal disaster in a nutshell without using lots of text. The image of the child’s face buried in the earth following the lethal chemical spill speaks volumes and is more powerful than words.

I will let you know who had the more accurate take on humanity in tomorrow’s post. In the meantime please take time to visit the website of the Bhopal Medical Appeal, to find out what happened and why I feel motivated to take action.

Thanks for reading this fundraising blog.

Handling failure

One of the first negative issues we have to deal with in life is the shitty realisation that we have cocked up/ failed/ screwed up/ messed up etc. Its worst when it happens despite best efforts. From failing a test at school or losing a game to causing a problem at work. One of the first lessons we learn in life is how to deal with failure. To many people, it happens so often, that they become de-sensitised to feeling rubbish at failing and just default to cocking up with incredibly low self-esteem, pride and self confidence. They often find themselves in this predicament because of a lack of parental support or care as the root problem with all subsequent issues just making their lives worse. If you don’t have love and support in your very earliest experiences of failure then the mechanisms for coping just don’t exist and things get worse.

So what has inspired me to talk about this positive topic on a Friday night? At work we have received news that a subsidiary start-up business has failed to get off the ground due to lack of custom so they are pulling the plug. However no-one has told my colleague who manages this subsidiary business. So I am in a very awkward situation where she is asking for help and my boss has told me to withdraw all activity. Going silent on email speaks volumes and it is horrible. I have also been asked to keep the knowledge that her ship is sinking to my chest – that’s a double whammy in the feeling shit and guilty conscience department. But, If I give her a secret heads-up where do I stand if they u-turn on their decision (which could happen). So I am pushed into temporary paralysis over this quandary. No-one knows the precise reason why the business has failed. Apparently decisions were based on sound market research. It’s just another victim of the recession when working in consumers’ ‘nice to have but not essential’ service category is not very secure.

Today my mother also told me of a friend who, in her first job as a freelance consultant, blew her client’s £100k budget on a project that was expected to receive a certain level of results and guess what? Those results didn’t materialise. So, getting further work on that basis is going to prove tricky.

A first conclusion is that it is extremely tough to start-up a business in these market conditions. The second is that the strongest characters and business-people persist regardless of the economic conditions and regardless of failure. Sir Alan Sugar will admit he cocked up a few times in his career. The key is working out how much you are willing to sacrifice in order to dust yourself off and move on.

I am blogging every day for Unicef to raise money for the charity. I am aiming to raise £1 a day through this blog. So far I have failed in my mission but bugger it, I’m a stubborn old goat and will just keep on going in the hope the fundraising will materialise soon – I’ve got the rest of my life to achieve this aim, so hopefully that will be a long enough time to make some decent money for the charity.

Thanks for reading.