08 Feb

I must paint my pets before they die… too painful otherwise!

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Having lost four dear old dogs within a year of each other, the pain associated with that really did hold me back from painting dogs for a long time. It was unbelievably difficult, firstly looking for photos that would be suitable (especially when both spaniels were ridiculously camera shy!), and secondly feeling their spirits come through as I painted them.

But now all four are reunited, both wherever they go after this life, and now on our kitchen wall! So, this picture is of our Princess Piggy. She was the most gentlest of dogs, and left us at the grand age of 15 years.


17 Feb

Please bring our kids back to the real world and to real childhood

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I’ve vented my spleen with my hairdresser this morning (she understands me!) but the need to articulate my anger at the toxicity of childhood these days has prompted me to write it all down.

We (yes, the collective “we”) are still failing to look at the causes of the problems that beset society and are still looking on the symptoms as the problem that needs fixing. This applies to physical health, mental health, and behavioural issues that are, now, a deep and seemingly out of control feature of our western society. Every single day  news headlines are swamped with regurgitated news of the epidemic of physical health and now, even more alarmingly, the mental health of our children. We are being told day in, day out, that we are all sick; that 1 in 3 of us will have cancer; that 1 in 4 of us will have mental health issues; that 20% of adolescents will have mental health problems  (and that’s just the ones that seek help). The resources to help us all are stretched to breaking point; the NHS can’t cope; government simply says it’s not good enough and we need to do something about it. Read More

24 Jan

Why University For All?

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Well, I heard a snippet of a news article on BBC Radio this morning that said that schools should start encouraging fewer children to consider going on to University from now on. Now can I find that article anywhere on the BBC News website? Of course I can’t. I wanted to  reference it here in my words but as I can’t I’ll just use my own words anyway. This subject has prompted many episodes of anger from me over the years and I can only hope that whatever this news article was suggesting becomes reality sometime soon. A did find an article in the Daily Telegraph from December 2013 but I’m sure I’m not in some kind of time warp. Read More

16 Jan

The plight of the virgin novelist

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Mm, well I’m no virgin but I have just written my first novel. And God, was it painful! Well, it still is.

The highs, the lows, the doubt, and the pleasure. Damn that dream I had twelve years ago that gave me the plot and the title, the subsequent life changes that gave me the requisite material, and blast that psychic who told me I had a book to write that would take me to places I couldn’t imagine I’d ever go. And no, she didn’t know me from Adam. What kind of existential dilemma have I been Vaselined and shoe-horned into? Read More

05 Jan

The Backside of Volunteering

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I was listening to part of the Good Morning Sunday program on Radio 2 last weekend and it was dedicated to volunteering. It was what spurred on my need to write this. It was focussing, while I was listening anyway, on those excellent people who volunteer to help the sick, the elderly, the disabled and disadvantaged. I didn’t hear the entire program, and I’m sure I’ll be told off if I’m wrong, but I suspect that little emphasis was placed on appreciating the work of those who volunteer in every other aspect of social and community living outside of the care industry. Read More

01 Jan

Christmas Smellfungus?

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I felt I had to write something about the QI Elves Word of the Day (19thC) – Smellfungus – someone who always manages to find fault.

I have often wondered what Twitter has to offer us mere mortals who gaze at the feed wondering what the bloody hell it is all about and this evening I almost got it! It’s about sharing knowledge or links to interesting stuff. Have I got that wrong? Probably, knowing me.

But someone tweeted about the word of the day and I latched on. And I learned how to retweet! Woohoo – goodness only knows who will ever see my ‘retweet’ but at least I’ve pressed all the buttons and found the right one. Things are looking up. Read More

31 Dec


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It’s been quite a hideous year, has 2015, in some way or other. There has been a moment or two of joy but, my God, the rest of it has been all over the shop and I can only be glad I can put the crap stuff behind me now. New Year has the capacity to allow you to do that. Funny really; you should be able to make any date in the year the day you decide to shove the past backwards into oblivion without a passing glance and embrace the prospect of exciting new things with open arms. But it rarely happens like that.

And, as I think about hitting the sack at nine thirty on New Year’s Eve, I realise that an early night just ain’t gonna happen. Fireworks in the back and beyond village I live in? With my dogs going bonkers barking at them means not a quiet night to be had here. Read More

08 Dec

Value Added Children

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Last night I realised something quite shocking: – we don’t tell our children how much we value them. I’m not talking about telling a child that they have done something well, or are gifted, well-educated or beautiful, etc. I’m talking about telling children that they make a difference to our lives. We praise them, sometimes too much and possibly unjustifiably and inappropriately, but we don’t let them know that they, too, can inspire us adults and make us feel happy, energised and valued.

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01 May

The Childhood Disconnect

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It’s impossible not to be stunned into utter disbelief and horror that a child of 15 can commit a cold blooded, pre-meditated murder of a trusted figurehead in front of other children but, yet again, we see that it can happen. It has happened before and will no doubt happen again. Where has childhood gone? When did violence, anger, disrespect and lack of compassion become so easy for a child to manifest? It chills me to the bone to think that there are children going to bed at night with feelings of hatred and the desire to kill. Where did that come from? Was it always thus? What has happened to innocence? Read More

30 Apr

I have a book to write…

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I have a book to write – well, I have a book to finish. I started writing it years ago and have always seemed to find some excuse not to continue writing it. I’m a good quarter of the way through it but the problem is having left it so many years untouched I am finding that I am a totally different person to the one who started writing it. It’s hard reading stuff that I wrote well over 5 years or more ago without wanting to scrap it and start all over. With over 30,000 words written it might be hard to do… Read More