Posts filed under ‘Twitter’

First World Problems?

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…..

Sometimes life seems overwhelming. Too many items on the ‘to-do’ list, too many people needing your attention, too much chaos surrounds you. I would love to say that my life is in order but that would be a bit of a porker..

People think I am organised, they think I am ‘sorted’. Hoot! My house needs decluttered, decorated and generally put into order. My paperwork sits in a box that I occasionally dig through for the MOT certificate, birth certificate, pension statement. The latter one is the most depressing, I think I may be able to retire at 95….

Are we all the same? Drowning in the everyday when we know we should really be trying to make a difference. I read that sentence and agree but at the same time want to slap myself hard. It sounds so much like the dinner party scenes from Bremner, Bird and Fortune. I feel like a middle-class cliché, beating my breast and crying for the poor of the world while I wonder what colour to paint the living room. Perhaps I am that wonderful twitter hashtag game, #FirstWorldProblems? Maybe I should be shouting from the rooftops because my home-made mayo has curdled?

I am making fun of myself somewhat but it does bring me to my real point. This blog isn’t about me but it comes from my thoughts and hopes. I hope people out there can still afford to help others, have time to think about others. With all the concerns about the economy, job security, horsemeat burgers, can people see beyond the concerns that are beating down their doors? Am I a first-world problem cliché or will you consider donating to a charity that supports children? I do hope the latter…..

In the meantime,  I will continue to distract myself from a house that needs painting and paperwork that needs filing. I will blog, I will tweet twaddle and I will knit. When words fail me, as they sometimes do, then knitting will relax me. The latest offering is six foot long, a scarf  requested by my daughter. Enjoyed doing it but soooo glad it is finished:)

Scarf

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

February 11, 2013 at 10:40 pm Leave a comment

For once, I agree with Cameron?

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…..

I am not as political as many. I know that I don’t like extremes, be they left or right wing. I would define myself as a liberal, not the Liberals in the current Government who have been diluted, their policies corrupted by constant compromise for (what appears to me to be) very little return.

I am not a huge fan of David Cameron. The economic policies of cut, cut, cut will, I feel, snip away at the infrastructure of our society. Before everyone starts howling at me I know there need to be cuts but there is surely a balance? I don’t believe that depending on the rich to generate all the wealth will work. There must be investment to allow small business to keep going, to keep schools thriving to provide us with a future workforce that is educated and motivated.

I will go no further than this. I am not an economist, I am not a politician. I am sure the paragraph above will annoy enough people so I should to move on to the point of this blog….

David Cameron appeared on the This Morning programme yesterday. He was interviewed by Phillip Schofield, someone I normally admire for his integrity. However, it appears Mr Schofield had a rush of blood to the head. He lifted a list of names of politicians/public figures from the Internet; people who had supposedly been embroiled in the abuse of children in previous decades. He presented the list to David Cameron and wanted his comments on it. Cameron sensibly left the paper without looking and talked about what needs to happen. What was Mr Schofield thinking?

My thoughts?

The Internet is a wonderful thing. Full of useful information, opinion and fun. I love doing research, reading blogs and sprouting nonsense on Twitter and Facebook. However, it is also full of opinion being presented as fact; it promotes conspiracy  theory as ‘the real truth’. When you read anything you need to assume that fact-checking will be required, either using your own common sense or actual fact checking.

I assume Philip Schofield considers himself a smart man, a responsible broadcaster, I know I have always thought so. He comes across as caring and sensible. I consider lifting a list from the Internet to be a dumb thing to do. It is a cheap trick. If you want to be considered a serious broadcaster, even in a magazine programme, then don’t resort to tabloid tricks. He may as well have worn a redtop bandana when he tried this. I am quite angry with him for doing this and reckon he knows he messed up. People will believe him to be right because it was Phillip Schofield, I hope he takes the time to put them straight.

With all the furore over the Savile scandal and repercussions rippling through Government and media now is the time for serious investigation. There are so many people out there who are living with the legacy of abuse. Why would we endanger getting to the facts by stirring up public opinion which may impact any future prosecutions? I understand that we need answers, I want them myself. However, I am prepared to be patient to allow the facts to be uncovered and allow the Justice system to work.

What we need now is not cheap sensationalism. I know this may be hard for people to accept but now is the time to be calm and wait. I expect there to be proper and diligent examination of facts and statements. I expect there to be arrests and charges made where the facts support this. I then expect there to be full and frank disclosure. I don’t think this is too much to ask but I know that this may take time. We need to stop the emotional stunts, this will do no favours to those who have suffered abuse. Give this horrendous situation the seriousness it deserves.

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

November 9, 2012 at 11:24 am 1 comment

Should I? Shouldn’t I?

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…..

I am in a quandary. I have been mulling a long time about writing something more substantial. I could say time and energy are against me with a demanding but satisfying job and a busy life. However, there are words in my head and I want to try and get them on paper/keyboard.

I did start writing a children’s story a while back and showed a few chapters on the blog – Chapter One, Chapter Two and Chapter Three. I know what I want to write and I know the Chapters I added into the blog need work. I have started on this but we are in the early stages.

The question is what to do? Approach a publisher? I know that most publishers are very risk-averse these days, book sales are dropping and new writers are finding it harder than ever to be signed up. This naturally brings me to the dreaded phrase in social media – self publishing 🙂

I don’t want to be the scourge of social media *weeps quietly* but I do have a inkling how this could be a good thing. If I go for self-publishing then I can make sure that at least 50% of any profits go to children’s charities. When I consider how much time I spend nagging folk to donate to charity then isn’t it time I put my money where my words are? Yes, I donate regularly, both monthly and by never passing a collection box, sponsoring etc. However, if I can raise money with my words then I am putting myself out there.

I will still blog, will still nag you all but there will be time spent on putting this book together and seeing where I go. Even if I only raise a few pounds then at least I have tried. I will use Facebook, Twitter, even Linkedin and Google+ to publicise and we will see where we go.

Why post about this today? Simples. I work better when I give myself a deadline. If I say out here that I am going to write then the pressure is on and a little self-imposed stress can be good for one:) I will update periodically on progress but my initial deadline to me if to have it completed by next summer. Research is needed as well as re-writes and more chapters so this should be enough time to spend my weekends on this. Wish me luck folks, I most definitely need it.

Think of me looking like this!

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

October 26, 2012 at 9:56 am 2 comments

Nightmares.

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 a post about nightmares. Sleep is when we get to recharge and rest. It should be sweet and restful, letting your body and mind get ready for the needs of tomorrow. However, for many this is not the case….

I asked the lovely people of Twitter if anyone wanted to share their experiences with me for this blog and I will add in my own so you understand why I wanted to cover this topic. I will use only an initial for those whose words I share and am interested to see if they resonate with you.

From ‘B’

I’ve got a fairly overactive imagination, so sleep has never come easy to me – I take a long time to drift off, and I wake up easily throughout the night and when morning arrives. My ‘nightmares’ often aren’t scary in themselves, but as I’m a borderline sleepwalker, the waking up part can be pretty interesting.

Memorable examples include when I was a student, and had a huge Reservoir Dogs poster on my wall – the Mr Blonde one, where he’s drinking a milkshake – and I woke up halfway through a fist fight with him. On another occasion, I woke up stood at my (locked) bedroom door, trying to get out.

More recently, I dreamed my bedroom ceiling was caving in, and woke up desperately trying to hold it up – obviously it wasn’t collapsing, but the weird part is that some of the ‘dream reality’ lingers for a few minutes before real-world logic kicks in and you realise that what you’re doing is ludicrous.

In terms of ‘normal’ nightmares, I’ve had plenty of dreams about being chased – either by murderous secret agents and assassins, or by toothy monsters hoping to take a bite out of me. In general, I’d opt for waking from one of those, in my own bed, rather than waking up on my feet somewhere else…!

Lesley says – I love the fight with the Reservoir Dogs poster, it shows that B is a ‘goody’ even when asleep, wanting to foil the evil deeds of those baddies. I also had a brother with a tendency to waken up in strange places. I am glad to say that these were normally within our parents’ home but know from his experiences how disorienting it can be to waken in a different place from where you went to sleep.

From D

My nightmare usually consists of a feeling of being smothered, an immense weight on my body, pushing the air out of my lungs, someone hugging me to stop me moving and an inability to speak or scream. My words come out as grunts of fear and sometimes not at all. If my bladder is full I cannot find a toilet as the squeezing of me becomes more intense and stifling.

Mrs D says I usually lie still and sweat…she knows I am having nightmare. When I can, I let out a shout usually ‘NO’ or ‘HELP ME’

Lesley says – This is a terrifying dream. I am no dream analyst but this reflects pain. I can only hope that D finds solace somewhere from this pain. I am grateful for his courage in sharing and hope that relief from this dream and its causes will come his way.

From J

As a child I had two distinct and regular nightmares. The first was that I was on the landing about to walk down the stairs. As I step forward I start to fall, though I am standing upright I am plummeting at speed to the bottom of the stairs. As I reach the bottom I wake up in a sweat with heart pounding. The second regular nightmare is that I am walking somewhere, usually with my father. However instinctively I know this isn’t actually my father but a monster who looks like my father. I try to hide this from him, knowing that if he knows I know, then he will kill me. It always ends with him looking at me, then his face starting to change, his mouth opening up like a snake’s fangs in place of teeth and he emits a beastly, guttural roar before reaching down to kill and devour me.

In later years I started to dream that I was in a hurry to get somewhere. I would be walking along when suddenly I would start to levitate, against my will. I tried to get back on the ground but couldn’t. Because my feet had no purchase, I couldn’t control my direction or speed and inevitably would end up not getting where I needed to be on time.

Sometimes I dream I am stranded miles from home, only wearing pyjamas and have to walk, in the dark, along miles of country roads to get back home. People stop and stare and I feel under constant threat.

Another nightmare that recurs is that I have witnessed a major accident or emergency, sometimes it is someone I know having a heart attack, sometimes it is something like seeing a plane crash and burst into flames as it hits the ocean. I try to phone 999. Sometimes I can’t find a phone. Other times, my phone won’t work. Always, when I get through I am put on hold, then the operators aren’t helpful, they tell me I am through to the wrong department, they reel off long numbers for me to call myself. They never help and leave me frantically unable to get help for the person/people who are dying.

In a lot of nightmares I am murdered or at the receiving end of violent crime. I am in a familiar situation but sometimes one of my friends turns violent, sometimes it is a stranger. In one recent nightmare I was murdered and killed over five times in the space of one dream sequence. Shot, blown up, stabbed, always painful, always violent, never an accident. Sometimes, rather than being murdered, someone I care about or trust turns on me, knocks me out and when I come to, they have me imprisoned and they torture me, electrocution, burning, slicing scalpels into me. Always painful, physical torture.

The newest recurring nightmare has been happening over the last three years. A good friend from work has a granddaughter who has a pet which is always a big cat, lion/tiger/panther/leopard are the variations so far. The pet was a cub but is now reaching adult size. Without meaning to the big cat is a danger to this child. her grandmother tells me to take the big cat and have it put to sleep. I am afraid of the animal and am trying to put a collar and lead on it to take it to the vet, but sense that the big cat knows something is up and is full of sinister menace and waiting for me to approach it so it can tear me apart. In the meantime I am trying to feed it to distract it, and can’t find enough meat to satisfy it. It always ends with me waking up just as the big cat is pouncing on me, about to kill me and probably devour me.

Anyhow, those are the main nightmares I have had over the years. I have experienced them since as far back as I can remember, certainly from about the age of 4 onwards. It is a rare night that I wouldn’t have a nightmare, and these are the most common ones that still plague me on a reoccurring basis.

Lesley says  – A lot of vivid dreams from J. It is interesting that so many feature creatures and ‘change’, a monster disguising itself as his father, friends changing into something J does not recognise.  Also, I had believed that people did not die in dreams but J seems to knock that theory on its head. However, what also shines through is that J’s dreams also focus on trying to help others which speaks to the person he is.

From P

I had a series of five nightmares over a three week period about 15 plus years ago. All involved being watched by something I couldn’t see but could sense was there. The last two were the worst and prompted me to go to the doctor for a chat. I did, we chatted and they stopped. Very strange.

The fourth was as follows:

I was working in a tower block and went down the stairs to meet my wife who was on the floor below at a bank counter. She looked up and waved to me through the window and I pointed to a small child, in Victorian dress, all in black, who was standing in front of the counter staring at her. I kept pointing at the child and mouthing “who is she” but my wife didn’t appear to see her. The child continued to stare and I felt panic rising. Them something moved behind her. I couldn’t make out what it was but it was dark and the air had gone cold. I started to bang on the window telling her to get out as the dark figure got closer and closer behind her but my wife now seemed to be able to see the girl and took no notice of me. Just as the figure was about to envelop her I woke up, wet through and hardly able to breathe.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was the last one.

I often dream about a house we lived in when I was a child. It was a Victorian terrace and behind it was an old slaughter house that my Dad used as a garage. I had to be moved out of one bedroom as I kept waking up screaming in it. I was about six or seven. I claimed the walls were moving.

In the dream, the house was the wrong way round and I remember trying to reconcile this as I slept. The bedroom was where the bathroom should be and vice versa. I was in bed and my two sisters were also in beds alongside me. I was cold. It was dark but I could see the flickering of the TV screen downstairs as my parents watched. A breeze started and then got stronger. It got colder and, again, I became aware of something moving. I started to shout to my parents but they either couldn’t hear or my voice was too weak. Panic built up and, through the flickering I could see the same dark shadow as my previous dream. This time I could hear it too. It scraped and rustled as it climbed the stairs. I was freezing cold and screaming at my sisters to run but they slept. I tried to get up but couldn’t, all I could do was stare at the open door waiting for whatever it was to come round the corner.

Just as the figure was about to appear, there was a grating noise and the walls began to move. In one of the walls, three shapes began to appear. I watched in horror as three tomb spaces appeared and above them I read the names of my two sisters and me. The figure appeared into view and I woke up, again wet through and freezing cold. It was terrible.

As a postscript, the year after, J and I took my dad to France to where he was brought up. A school friend of his hired us a gite. It hadn’t been modernised since the war and we were dismayed when we went in. The walls were filled with dead animal heads and even my implacable dad hated it. In our bedroom was a double bed and at each side of it was a little door, about two foot high with a cross above each. My wife opened a wardrobe door and freaked out. In there was a Victorian doll, dressed exactly as I had described to her in my dream. We moved out the next day.

Lesley says – I think P’s words do illustrate one thing I believe, that children can pick up on nuances/vibes/call them what you will, that adults are perhaps not sensitive to. Some people say that dreams like this are merely coincidence; I have never been that certain. In life and dreams there are coincidences but I also believe there are things not so easily explained. Others place many names for this but I have none, I just know that sometimes your inner voice is the right one to follow.

From Me

I talked to my sons about this blogpost and they too have had this dream so it may be common, I only know how scared I was when I first experienced it…

This dream only happens when I am dozing. In the dream I am sleeping where I have fallen asleep, normally the sofa and the same people are in the room with me as were there when I dozed off. I waken in the dream but I have total paralysis. I cannot open my eyes, cannot move or speak. I remember the panic the first time when I tried to make a noise, any noise, to alert my family to what had happened. I could sense my fear and my heart knocking in my chest but couldn’t do anything about it. I have never known such fear. It felt like an age but was probably only a minute or two before I fell back to sleep.  When I awoke properly I talked about it and asked had it been obvious to anyone but apparently I had looked happily asleep. It preyed on my mind for days.

The second time it happened was exactly the same. Again I thought about it for days and was even frightened to sleep in case it happened again. I am glad to say that thinking about the experience has somehow allowed me to process it. I have had the dream a few times since but once I have those initial moments of panic I have been able to comprehend that this is a dream. This allows me to tell myself to go back to sleep thus allowing me to waken properly shortly after. I hate the feelings it gives me but am hoping that I can now deal with them a little better……

Some theorise that dreams allow us to process the experiences of the day, others believe it is a way for our body to process underlying emotions. Scientists study our sleeping patterns and the brain activity during the phases of sleep. However, no-one has definitive answers for dreams and how they impact our waking selves. I think they will always have some mystery, perhaps they are personal and should remain so?

For me? I hope your dreams are happy and you waken up smiling. When you do, please think of those whose waking hours are the nightmare – poverty, violence, hunger. These are the waking experiences for too many and their nightmares may be a relief. That is a terror to me.

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

September 3, 2012 at 9:19 pm Leave a comment

Taxation. One Man’s Immoral is Another Man’s Business?

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…..

Well, I say, what a furore. Twitter is agog, the news is playing David Cameron on a loop and everyone has an opinion. What larks.

It really is like a bad joke. Did you hear about the comedian who met his Accountant? He made him look like a pariah.

People are piling on the bandwagon to express their dismay at Jimmy Carr’s tax avoidance. David Cameron called his actions morally wrong. I nearly choked watching that segment of the news last night. As I understand it, there are many businesses who have had tax debts written down or off in negotiations with Mr. Cameron and HMRC so to call the actions of one person morally wrong doesn’t really sit well with me.

Jimmy Carr has now tweeted a statement to say the following:-

I appreciate as a comedian, people will expect me to ‘make light’ of this situation, but I’m not going to in this statement.

“As this is obviously a serious matter. I met with a financial advisor and he said to me ‘Do you want to pay less tax? It’s totally legal’. I said ‘Yes’.”

“I now realise I’ve made a terrible error of judgement.

“Although I’ve been advised the K2 Tax scheme is entirely legal, and has been fully disclosed to HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs).

“I’m no longer involved in it and will in future conduct my financial affairs much more responsibly. Apologies to everyone. Jimmy Carr.”

Mr. Carr is working to make the best of a PR nightmare. However, I point out a few of his words – ‘Although I have been advise the K2 Tax scheme is entirely legal’. And therein lies the rub.

HMRC and the Government know these loopholes are there. I am pretty certain that they also know many of those who use these loopholes. If that is the case, why have they not been closed? If I was extremely cynical I could say that they are convenient for friends but morally wrong for those who are not friends.

I believe in paying taxes, those taxes provide me with services and support those who don’t have employment due to circumstance, ill-health. I know many of you will say there are those who don’t want to and take advantage. Yes there are. I believe if you can work you should work and it doesn’t sit well with me that many ‘play the system’. However, many more have this support because they need it. It is not simple but it comes down to the same argument, loopholes need closed.

As for Mr. Carr? I don’t want to condemn him but I think he could have asked a few more questions when he agreed to his K2. I hope he goes back to his Accountant and HMRC and has a wee chat. Wouldn’t it be lovely if he was able to make some donations to charity from some of the monies saved? I think donating to a children’s charity would make him and everyone else feel better:) You knew I would say that, didn’t you?

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

June 21, 2012 at 9:21 am 14 comments

Social Media Exile

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…..

I decided to take a break from all social media for one working week. Five days. No twitter, no Facebook, not even Linkedin, not that I call Linkedin social media. I am many people get value from it but me I just don’t get its (business bingo alert!) ‘value proposition’. The other impact was that I decided to be blog-free too and that I should feel guilty about.

Why did I take this exile? I was saturated in the social media whirl, I needed a break to recharge my typing fingers and clear the confused mass of thoughts clunking round my head. I was starting to feel déjà vu in all my interchanges. In other words, I was boring myself. A person who feels boring is boring so I thought it best to take a little sabbatical before everyone else agreed with me. You can be angry, you can be sad, you can provoke, you can share too much or too little; all those are acceptable faces for the social media hive mentalities. However, boring is the one thing you should never, ever be. I am not sure that I have my mojo back just yet but am dipping my toe in the water again to see if I can raise a smile on my face or better yet, someone else’s. I will judge my performance in a few weeks.

I haven’t been terribly worried about ‘being missed’ while I was away. People have mentioned me but at its heart the world of social media is an immediate world. If you are there then you are at the party, if you are not the party continues merrily without you. This is a good thing. Certainly for facebook and Twitter with friending and following it is about there here and now. You are not there to cast your words into a virtual cloud and expect them to be admired, you are there to have a bit of craic and if you are lucky your words will resonate with someone else and a conversation will unfold. I am only talking about my own viewpoint and experience. There are many who use all social media for work, education, political discussion. I can be serious on Twitter and Facebook but reserve most of my serious for here.

So what did I get up to? Did I spend more time with family, increase my fitness, write a book, even read a book? I wish I could say yes, yes and yes but I cannot. I frittered my time away in other ways. I may have gained three stars in Angry Birds Seasons, 2011  and 2012. Oh the shame….. not:)

I did think though. I thought about this blog and what I want to do with it. There is the never-ending search for more readers and more people to donate to a charity and write to me. I could say this is nothing to do with ego but that would be tosh. Anyone who blogs wants people to read their words, to deny this would ring hollow. I want people to read what I write. More than that is my wish for people to write to me.

My plans? I am making a list. I want sponsorship. This is not for me. I want Companies who wish to advertise here and their payment to be donations to a children’s charity. If you know anyone who wants to advertise online please let me know. If you can think of Companies I should approach then please let me know. I am happy to write more to achieve this so any ideas are most welcome. You can of course message me on Twitter and Facebook and even Linkedin!

As for now, back to the party!

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

June 19, 2012 at 9:23 am Leave a comment

Tears and Smiles….

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…..

There is only one person to blame for this post and that person isn’t me. This post is laid firmly at the door of Brian, a friend of mine from that Twitter (@BrianDLondon if you wish to follow his nonsensicals).

Brian is also one of that select band, using the term loosely, that I have met in real life. He is a warm and slightly bonkers person with a love of cycling and, as I found out at the last tweetup, of rollerblading. As I said, bonkers:)

Brian also raises a lot of money for good causes through cycling, sponsoring and being an all-round good egg. He will  hate that I said that but this is my blog and he will have to live with the notoriety. A cause very close to his heart is Operation Smile. Brian has raised significant amounts for charities that deal with cleft and lip deformities and has talked about this in the comments section adding a large total to the blogroll for which I am very grateful.

Most recently Brian shared a YouTube video with me and that is the point of this blog. I would like you to watch the video, less then four minutes of your time. If this doesn’t make you cry and smile then you are made of sterner stuff than me…..

I don’t need many words tonight as the video says it all. My few words – there are thousands of children born with lip and cleft deformities every year. In many countries these children are shunned and even their families may see them as a source of shame. They can fail to thrive due to feeding problems. The amazing thing is less then one hour can change this. One hour and about £145 – wouldn’t you like to make a little princess smile?

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

May 27, 2012 at 9:00 pm Leave a comment

Causes? No, Effects.

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…..

Twitter was all of a frenzy last night. The #BBCQT hashtag was flying through my timeline with indignation/support/seething rage. The topic was the Rochdale child sex trial and whether race was a motivating factor. There was a lot of dancing around the subject and there was, astonishingly, a discussion (I paraphrase) whether the background/behaviour of the girls and their families was a factor. This made my jaw drop.

Sexual abuse is about control, taking power over another individual and using this power for your own lustful purposes. Domination is a scary term but for some it is the ultimate dream. The very thought of it makes me feel nauseous.

Abusers of the young can be very patient. They are happy to work slowly and gain trust. I was a teenage girl once and I still remember how I felt. It does not matter how confident and outgoing a young girl is, they are rife with insecurities. Am I pretty? Am I too fat? Am I just an abnoxious person? Will anyone ever love me? Young girls can have lots of love and support, be told they are beautiful by those who love them. Their head will translate this to ‘You have to say that, you are my mother/father’.

Any girl who receives flattery and attention will initially be suspicious, will bridle at the thought. However, if it continues with no request for payback then it can slowly build trust. Not in all cases, I don’t want to give the impression that this can happen to all young people. However, those who have that vunerability can be at risk and can come to believe that they are thought of as special for their own sake by those who groom them slowly. When they are hooked, young people become dependant. Their self-worth becomes dictated by the abuser. A little praise will lift them, a little punishment will leave them looking for ways to please. And so the vicious circle continues unless someone breaks it. In this case it took a long time for the circle to break. It was initially thought that one of the victims who approached police would not be a crdible witness; it took another two years before a decision was made to prosecute, yet another horrifying part of this whole case.

I am glad this initial trial is over for the sake of these young girls. I hope, as the police say, that further cases are brought to bring any other abusers to task. This is not a matter of race, this is a matter of abuse. Abusers have long colluded and come together to hurt and use children and young people. Abuse is not a matter of gender, colour, creed or belief. It is a malicious use of power gained slowly. Evil acts have no one source, they come from all areas of life but those who abuse often recognise it in others and come together to cause great harm.

These were children that were hurt. They did not ask for this, they have no blame. They were drawn in and used. I hope they recover from this as best they can. I hope they grow strong and take control for themselves, live life and get pleasure from that life. Abuse damages for a long time, I hope they get the support they need to move forward. One step at a time……

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

May 11, 2012 at 12:36 pm Leave a comment

Rambling, Ranting and a bit of Sport Relief.

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…..

Pre-read warning, this post has a few tangents. Please stick with it, I will have a point, promise…..

I watched most of the BBC’s Sport Relief programme on Friday night. I smiled, laughed and cried in the same measure. I donated, of course I did, I can’t really blog about giving without taking action myself. It was always my intention to donate but I do leave it until near the end every time, perhaps to focus on the watching first, I am not altogether sure.

One  thing that struck me as painful was a new slant I see on programmes of this type. In years gone by there were segments where we we would see a child near death through starvation, pneumonia or malaria. Through the ‘power of television’ we would then see the same child a couple of days/weeks later; they would be on the mend and a smiling presenter would tell us how our donations had made a direct impact on this child’s life.

The same thing happened when we were presented with the children living on streets, working from the age of two to help support their families with no hope of education or a change in circumstances. The next ‘cut to camera’ shot would be those children smiling in classrooms learning their way out of poverty with their families benefiting from some small sum to enable this. Cue happy smiles all around. Our guilt assuaged, we were able to smile too and move on.

Now? The ‘fluffy’ picture has gone. We see the sad and ill children but we do not cut to them getting an education or getting better.  We see other children benefiting from the classroom and other children starting to heal. The children working on rubbish dumps or making bricks were left there to work themselves quite literally to the bone. As for the children who were ill, we were shown shots of resustitation. Frantic efforts made by staff who saw too much death, they brought some children back from the brink but only temporarily. It was a powerful picture, the face of a devastated and exhausted health worker with a glimpse of the body of a small dead child. It was harsh to watch, we moved from the laboured breathing to no breath at all. I cried. I am sure many people cried. However, my tears do no good in this situation, I just hope my money does make a difference to some other mother’s child, I couldn’t help the mothers of those children we saw.

I know why they have moved away from the ‘cute’ shots. Society is ever-changing, the power of the internet means that we can see almost anything we want. Depends what we want to see. I have no desire to see an execution, no desire to see a child die. Are we now so jaded by multi-media that this needs to be the case? The celebrities are still there, they still cry too. Many people feel this is a poor use of celebrity (notoriety even?), that these are crocdile tears furthering a career and not a cause. I disagree to a large extent but have one comment. I don’t need to see a celebrity doing this to make me want to give, a reporter can have the same impact for me. But then we get to my next point –  are there some who enjoy seeing the celebs sadness watching the harsh lives or deaths of others? I would really hate to believe that, if that is how people think then we are in a sorry state as a race, the human race. For myself, it can be reporters, it can be celebrities, they all bring attention to the cause and that is what must be important.

So now, a not so smooth segue to words, specifically the words in the media. There is a link to the rest of this post, I will get to it. A young Welshman was jailed today for posting racist tweets about the footballer Patrice Muamba after he collapsed on the field of play last week. When challenged by other Twitter users he compounded his previous utterances.

I disagree with what he said, this doesn’t go without saying because it needs to be said again and again. I will add though that in my opinion he was drunk and stupid. And here is my point – my warning about social media. In the days before Facebook, Twitter and all those other sites you would be with friends. When you are drunk and stupid with friends they tell you to ‘wind your neck in’ (that is what they would tell you in Northern Ireland anyway) and you would stop. If you carried on, your mates would take you home and leave you there until you sobered up and apologised to them. You do not get the chance to be sorted out so quickly on social media. Your words are out there and all it takes is a couple of retweets or shares and millions will see your crass stupidity. Those millions will screen-scrape and save that stupidity and it will get reposted out there, you can never forget it.

The court case has made some cheer and some frown. There is much debate about the difference between free speech and incitement. I would like to think this young man was not trying to incite hatred but his words were racist and that is against the law. If his words have allowed someone else to justify their bigoted ways then damage has been done.  He will have to live with his actions for a long long time.The horrible truth is that there are many people who post this kind of drivel every day but they do not catch the attention of enough people. I make no excuses for this young man or anyone else, I only know I would never want to cause offense to others with my tweets. Even live phone-ins have a slight delay so that we can filter what goes out on the airwaves. I know the point of social media is not to censor but wouldn’t it be helpful if they had an ‘Are you Sure You Want to Make a Complete Eejit of Yourself’ button that stupidity wouldn’t get out there so easily?

Please do not think I make light of either topic here but I will close with one last point. Would all social media users like to focus their words on changing this world to be a more caring and careful place? Can we have one day where you post only about how you can help one person? Why don’t we have a #changethisworld hashtag, is it too much fun to challenge?

I leave you with the BBC Sport relief website in case you want to check it for yourself – http://www.bbc.co.uk/sportrelief/

Thank You BBC and Sport Relief!

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

March 27, 2012 at 4:11 pm 2 comments

Care in the Recession?

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…..

I watched the Andrew Marr show on Sunday morning and one of the guests was Gareth Malone. You will know him as the Choirmaster whose television shows with schoolchildren and of course the Military Wives have been extremely successful. He was reviewing the papers and the discussion on the programme turned to the preponderance of costume dramas in the television schedules. Mr. Malone made one extremely interesting point thus – at this time people want to see heart-warming programmes such as The Choir, Call the Midwife, Upstairs Downstairs and Downton Abbey and that if we looked at schedules from a decade ago it was very different. The participants discussed reality television and how programmes like the Choir were popular as they covered real people striving and succeeding more than those that focused on aggression and humiliation.

It started me thinking aout the feelgood factor. We are in a recession, cutting back on expenses and looking inwards rather than outwards. Many people have curtailed their social life as one of the easiest ways to save money. They will invite friends round rather than going to restaurants and will watch television instead of visiting the cinema. An impact of this is that more time will be spent watching the television, reading books, listening to music. So, is it true that we want comfort from these activities? I know I would rather watch, read, listen to something that will make me smile. Perhaps I am not alone; do people want distraction from more bad news and their worries about job losses getting very close to home? Take for instance the costume drama. Even though programmes like Call the Midwife look at poverty, poor housing and deprivation the core message is of support, doing good and warmth for your fellow man. Personally I loved it, the storylines were of their time and the acting was excellent (especially Miranda Hart, a woman with so many talents one could almost be jealous?). Oh yes, I do follow her on twitter:)

When I think back to previous economic booms what strikes me? Simple, the advertisements for credit coming at us through every commerical break plus the comedy shows with characters such as the Yuppie and, unforgettably, Loadsamoney by Harry Enfield. I wonder how many UK readers look back on Loadsamoney with fondness. I always admired Harry Enfield’s accurate capture of the boom zeitgeist; he was the essence of the 1980s with his ‘wonga’, those wads of cash he used to wave at audiences who lapped it all up. Personally, it made me squirm, the same way I want to cringe at The Office now. I can see the brains in the concept and the product but still want to hide behind a cushion if I watch it.

I see nothing wrong in wanting a feelgood factor in our lives. There are so many things to worry about; why not have some gentle escapism. But this makes me worry. If we are only look inwards we may miss what is happening to others in the wider world. One BBC news story on Sunday also caught my attention; stating that the charity sector is facing substantial cuts in funding from local and national Government. The report is being disputed, the Cabinet Office states it is a misrepresetation of the facts. I am not that bothered about one story that might be spin but am concerned that our inward focus could mean massively decreased public donations. I have said before and say again, people should take care of their families first. However, if there is a small amount available can we see a way where we let someone in need have a little too?

I want to think I could have a little less of this:-

If a child out there could have a little more of this:-

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

March 5, 2012 at 6:59 pm Leave a comment

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