Archive for April, 2012

Education – Facts and the CIA? That Internet is Amazing….

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

The Internet is an amazing thing. Facts, the rambling of people (like me), Sights to shock and thrill, lies and half-truths can all be found. I try to be very specific in my searches and do have a decent virus checker for all those reasons. Today I wanted to blog about education and how much is spent per child by country. I was quite boggled when I came upon this website – https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2206rank.html and what a little goldmine of facts it is…..

The site shows spend on education as a proportion of GDP. It also shows population breakdowns, GDP and a myriad of other facts about each country dated by year for accuracy. I decided to take a few of the facts and perform some small analysis on dollar spend per child on education; the table below is the result. You will have to double-click to see the detail:-

There is of course one big missing. I am not an economist, I cannot take it to the next level by balancing one economy against the other to give a deeper analysis. However, at face-value it does make me think.

I ask myself, what is education worth to you? What is it worth to your children? What is education worth to those in poor countries? We in the developed world take education as something that is always there. For those who are not as fortunate as me education is the escape for their children. Perhaps they realise it is too late for them but not for their children. What would teachers in poorer countries be able to achiveve with one or two dollars more per child? What would volunteering to help at your local school do for your community? I am hoping to do this shortly, I wonder what you would like to do?

I am delighted to have found the site above, I will be going back to it again. I know life is full of lies, damned lies and more statistics but sometimes it does one good to look at the numbers.

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

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April 28, 2012 at 3:43 pm Leave a comment

Creative Writing? I Can Only Apologise….

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

WordPress is made for writers, story-tellers, humourists, observers, artists, photographers, cooks, techies and many other types. I’m not sure what category I fall into as I don’t really regard myself as a bona-fide writer, more as a person who types in a very random fashion. I like reading posts from others and I have learned much. I do enjoy those who write creatively and have decided that I should so one post where I have a bash at the more creative side of WordPress. So here goes, Lesley does poetry, you have been warned!

My Haiku

Bathing, swirling eddies

Soothing, calming sad thoughts

Refresh my spirit

———————-

My Limerick!

I tweet, I talk and I blog

My nonsense may leave you agog

But I loves to witter

Through WordPress and Twitter

Write to me, I’ll give you a snog!

———————-

That will do me for now, I don’t really think this creative poetry is for me:) I will continue to admire those who can put their words into beautiful and intricate structures, they reinforce my belief that prose must be my medium. However, if it gets people to read the blog and write to me then I am prepared to torture you all with more attempts at the creative stuff, regardlesss of how crappy I am at it. Again, you have been warned!

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

April 16, 2012 at 10:35 pm Leave a comment

The Sense of an Ending – A Piece of Perfection…..

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post……

This is not a book review, it is about the thoughts a book prompted in me. That book is ‘The Sense of an Ending’ by Julian Barnes. Fair to say I am not the only person who found this book to be a pure delight, it was the Man Booker Prize winner of 2011. The title is not misleading, there are no cut and dried answers with this novel. I will not disclose the plot, will say only that the book made me smile, sigh and think. One passage in particular touched me, I share it here.

‘But time . . . how time first grounds us and then confounds us. We thought we were being mature when we were only being safe. We imagined we were being responsible but were only being cowardly. What we called realism turned out to be a way of avoiding things rather than facing them. Time . . . give us enough time and our best-supported decisions will seem wobbly, our certainties whimsical.’

Brilliant words, I am sure we have all thought them in one form or another through our lives. Didn’t we all think we knew it all when we were eighteen? I considered myself wise beyond my years I am ashamed to say:) That is not to say that all my opinions have changed, I still believe that the answer to poverty is for people and Governments to work together. I still believe that mankind has it within him and her to do great good but too often it is easier to blink away the bad things and dwell only on the good. This may get you through the day but if we focus only on the good the bad will gain ground.

I wonder how much I have changed in the intervening years. I could flatter myself and say I am less self-obsessed but that is part of every human, it is how we process thoughts and outwardly display them that changes. I know my life needs affection and laughter, I think aging makes one very conscious of the need for support. When young we need that support to endorse our ‘rightness’, aging helps us understand that flexibility and compromise are not the enemy.

Words continue to be a constant for me, I have always read and it would be a hardship for me if I couldn’t. When I need to escape I find comfort in books, they take me elsewhere. I know the manners of Jane Austen, the wit of Philip Roth and John Irving, the history of Victor Hugo, the atmosphere of James Lee Burke. I am a reader of many books and many writers, I love to be surprised by words, it does me good to have my beliefs challenged so that I can ensure that my core has some substance, that I am not mere fluff and nonsense. Reading and conversation have helped form me from a smartass teen to, I hope, a grounded adult. I thank my lucky stars that my childhood ambition was not to be ‘famous’ as it is for so many young people today. What does that mean? Fame? Who wants public visibility for the sake of it? At eighteen I wnated to make a difference but wasn’t sure how. Today I still want to make a difference. This blog may help me do that, I am not always sure but will keep putting my words out there, this is the way I have chosen.

Would I change the decisions I made at eighteen? Some of them certainly. Does that mean I regret my decisions? I may wonder about them sometimes but they were and are my choices. Regrets will not change the here and now, actions do. So no, I do not regret but will use my memories to help me move along.

My thanks to Julian Barnes for such a novel, I hope you get to enjoy it as much as I did…..

Courtesy of Julian Barnes website - http://www.julianbarnes.com

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

April 10, 2012 at 4:38 pm Leave a comment

Give Me a Break!

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

No work for me today. In fact, no work for me for five whole days. I am tired and looking forward to the break. I would say rest but I am off to Glasgow this evening for a tweetup! It will be lovely to see many friends I have met before and a few new faces too:)

I need a break for other reasons too. Like most of us I am faced with the daily grind, driving to work, working, driving home, helping with dinner and the tidy-up and then collapsing on the sofa before I start all over again the next day. Weekends are a blur of housework and trying to catch up with friends and family. I owe too many people phone calls, am behind on all the projects I should be doing. When did life get so busy? Are we all like this? I am a strange mixture these days; small bursts of frantic activity and then too tired or bone-idle to get up and do. I berate myself a little every now and then, just a little, not enough to make me do anything:)

This weekend. however, I will not berate myself. I will spend time laughing, not cooking and cleaning. It will make a fine change from the norm. I will miss my family of course but I think two days without me may do them good as well. They can potter about and then have a little tidy before I get home without any nags from me, an added bonus for them.I wouldn’t want my life to be like this all the time but we all need a little me time, this will be mine.

I am happy to be getting my break, conscious that I am lucky to get it. This is a guilt-free trip but as I write this I hope that we can all think about helping someone else over this Easter weekend. Wouldn’t it be nice to help children who don’t get a break have some ‘me time’ too? Think of the children who live in poverty, those who have to care for siblings or parents or those who are very ill themselves. Wouldn’t it be nice to help those children have a safe and happy time if only for the briefest time? I sponsored someone today who will be running for a charity that does just that for children living in poverty. I would love you to do it too.

We do all need a break occasionally; wouldn’t it be grand if we could save our pennies to do this for ourselves then spare a few to do it for someone else. Just a thought…..

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

April 6, 2012 at 4:13 pm 2 comments


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