Saturday, 28 February 2009

Prejudice is alive and well.

My fellow countrymen never cease to amaze me. And not in a good way this time.

Cerrie Burnell is a television presenter. She co-presents a programme on CBeebies, a children's television channel. An actress by profession, Cerrie is a pretty, blonde haired 29 year old. There is, however, one slight difference between Cerrie and a myriad of other pretty blonde television presenters. Cerrie is missing her lower right arm.

A minority of parents have expressed concern that Ms Burnell's appearance was "scaring" children. One father said he feared it would give his daughter nightmares and a mother said her two-year-old girl could not watch because she thought the presenter had been hurt.

Cerrie says she doesn't take these criticisms personally. But, as she rightly says, these kind of comments highlight the prejudice that disabled people face.

In an interview this week, she said:

"Children come up to me in the street every day and say 'What's that?' I wouldn't say they're frightened but certainly they're inquisitive.

"I would always take the time to explain to a child. All they want is an explanation. They want to know 'What's that?' and 'What's happened?' and 'Why are you different?' And then they will move on."

She hopes that her presence can show young children what they can achieve on merit.

I am not a parent so maybe I'm talking out of my hat here but surely parents should be encouraging their children to accept people who they might see as "different". Surely this is an ideal opportunity for parents to explain to children that some people do have physical disabilities but that this doesn't make them any less a person. If, as a nation, we want to stop prejudice of any description, then I would have thought that the younger the child, the more chance there is of moulding their thoughts against such prejudices.

Parents who can't face explaining this to their children must surely run the risk of passing on their own prejudices and fears of anyone who is "different".

As I said, I am not a parent but I'd be interested to know the views of those of you that are.

Friday, 27 February 2009


That'll be the sound of spring in the air then.

Just a few weeks ago we were knee deep in snow, and today? Spring has most definitely arrived. The reasons I know this are:

The sun is shining and there is some warmth in it's rays.
People are walking around in t-shirts
My daffodils are preparing to burst forth
We've now started our Summer Routine at work
Office workers are strolling the Common in their lunch break
I spend my lunch break doing things instead of spending it hiding indoors in front of the computer
Today I threw the windows wide open to let in the fresh air.
I'm sitting at work with the doors wide open
I've just ordered vegetable seeds for my garden
My thoughts seem to be turning to lust.....having a young, broad-shouldered hunk of a rugby player turning up in ones office on a Friday afternoon can do that to a girl you know.

Oh yes, Spring is most definitely here.

Thursday, 26 February 2009


Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, whohas been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
Why the early bird gets the
Life isn't always fair;
and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an Aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers;
I Know My Rights
I Want It Now
Someone Else Is To Blame
I'm A Victim

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

The sink?

You lot are bonkers! And that's why I love you all!!

Of all the things that I have in my kitchen, the last thing I expected you all to fall in love with was my sink! Do you not have sinks like that in the States then!?

Actually, it might look great but it's not that brilliant. The sink bit is fine but the draining area is completely flat, so it doesn't drain properly.

To answer Faye's question about how involved I was in the whole remodeling project...quite simply, it was pretty much all planned by me from the start, although I did talk to a kitchen designer at the store I bought it from. Ari said she expected it to be more rustic and, if truth be told, I had wanted a more cottagey feel to it, but when I went to look at kitchens and sat down with the designer, we came to the conclusion that it simply wasn't big enough and, whatever I chose, it was going to have to be pretty basic. But I knew the colour scheme I wanted, that I wanted light coloured units and where I wanted everything to be to make best use of the limited space. The designer just tapped it all into his computer and told me whether it would work or not.

Choosing what to have as a backsplash took the longest. I couldn't find any tiles I liked and finally plumped for the wood that you see.

I have to say that planning the kitchen was the best bit of the whole renovation project for me!

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Tuesday Challenge #7 - Out of the Frame

Well, here's a turn up for the books! Stu issued his Tuesday Challenge this morning and here I am with my entry already!

This was Stu's Challenge:

This week, the subject is absent from the frame. This could be for various reasons - location: your subject is present but off to one side of the frame; temporal: your subject was present but has now gone.

There should be sufficient clues in the frame that the viewer will have at least some idea about the subject, even if they don’t know its exact nature. Use shadows, gestures, lingering artefacts… whatever you can to give away as much as you can about your subject without showing it.

I really thought I'd struggle with this one because I'm not very clever when imagination is required. But I hit upon this idea and rushed home at lunchtime to see if I could pull it off.

So did I pull it off? I'll let you decide!

Monday, 23 February 2009

Fun Monday - The Kitchen!

Ari at Beyond my Slab is our Hostess this week and this is our assignment.

Topic: It's time for show and tell. What does your kitchen counter look like right now? (And no fair cleaning just for the picture!) Do you have any favorite or unusual items on your counter?

Well, I'm going to double up on this post because I realised that about 2 years ago I posted pictures of the kitchen how it was when I first moved in, and I've never posted any "after" pictures.

So this is how it was before:

And this is how it is now...

This is an overall view. It looks longer than it actually is because I used the wide-angle lens to get these shots...excuse the patches of water on the floor but I'd just emptied the dishwasher!

This is the view to the left of the door. You can jsut see the corner of the microwave, the hob, my utensils, nestled in the corner is a bowl of eggs from my chickens, and in the slow cooker is a chilli for dinner this evening!

Moving around to the right you can see three bowls of dog food lined up. If I had turned around and taken a photo you would have seen three hounds standing there, saying to me "Enough with the camera, FEED US!! You can also see my toaster, and my peelings bin and on the shelf are my old-fashioned scales which I absolutely love and wouldn't swap for a more modern set for a minute.

Then we come full circle to the doorway and you can see my kettle with the tea and coffee pots and that's my mobile - that is the best place in the cottage for getting a signal so the phone tends to live there. That white thing lying next to the kettle is a candle. It's there because my front door is sticking so I periodically rub some candle wax on it until I can get the door sorted out!

So there you go, that's my kitchen counters!

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Tuesday Challenge #6 - Blue

Stu's Tuesday Challenge for this week was "Blue"

A Bowl of Blue Beads

Friday, 20 February 2009

For women over 40

I have shamelessly pinched this from my friend Nettie who posted it on the Greyhound Gap Forum

60 Minutes Correspondent Andy Rooney (CBS)

As I grow in age, I value women over 40 most of all. Here are just a few reasons why:

A woman over 40 will never wake you in the middle of the night and ask, 'What are you thinking?' She doesn't care what you think.

If a woman over 40 doesn't want to watch the game, she doesn't sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do, and it's usually more interesting.

Women over 40 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won't hesitate to shoot you if they think they can get away with it.

Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it's like to be unappreciated.

Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over 40.

Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 40 is far sexier than her younger counterpart.

Older women are forthright and honest. They'll tell you right off if you are a jerk if you are acting like one. You don't ever have to wonder where you stand with her.

Yes, we praise women over 40 for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it's not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed, hot woman over 40, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year old waitress. Ladies, I apologize.

Andy Rooney is a really smart guy!

Thursday, 19 February 2009

I am such a bad blogger

There has been a distinct lack of blogging on my part over the last week or so. There have been various reasons for this but mainly work has been really really busy so by the time I get home, walk The Lurchers and The Greyhound, feed them, and do a few chores, all my mushy brain is capable of is collapsing in front of the TV.

On top of that, Lurcher No.2 has been poorly. There are a lot of gastroenteritis-type doggy viruses circulating at the moment and, when that happens, you can bet that he will catch at least one of them. So the beginning of last week he was vomiting and then just as he was starting to get over that, the enteritis bit hit and we experienced projectile diarrhea. At 5.30am last Saturday morning, neither of us made it to the door in time. My poor boy, he never soiled in the house even as a puppy and he was mortified.

Then just as he is getting over that and was eating normally, he suddenly stopped eating again yesterday and was sick again overnight. He has eaten a little breakfast this morning though so I'm keeping fingers crossed that it was just a blip.

I have a load of blogging things, and blogging pals, to catch up on and Jo, I promise I haven't forgotten my interview!

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Tuesday Challenge #5 - One out of One

This is Stu's Challenge for this week

Allocate a time this week to the challenge. It can be a day, it can be ten minutes, as you wish.

During the allocated time, you are allowed to take exactly one photo. No more. No “take a few and see which is best”. No “let’s try that from another angle”. Do everything in your power to get a good photo before you press the shutter. This is a great exercise in spotting problems in the background, dodgy camera settings, and so on. To make it even harder on yourself, try shooting a dynamic subject - changing light, or moving objects. Wait for the right moment and go for it.

Well, I didn't manage to get anything "dynamic" but this was a difficult light situation as it was early in the morning and I was shooting almost directly into the sun. The only post-processing this has had is cropping and a little sharpening.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Pamela at The Dust Will Wait is our hostess for this week, and this is our assignment

The subject: Show me in pictures or tell me in words what defines the place where you live.

OK, there are two things that define the place I live.

The first is this:

The Windmill on Wimbledon Common. It's historically important to the area and also a major feature and it's part of my job to help look after it, although I only play a minor role.

Secondly, and probably the thing that will be instantaneaously recognisable to you all, is of course the All England Lawn Tennis Club

and it's famous courts

The tennis courts are literally a mile or so away as the crow flies and, if the wind is blowing in the right direction, I can hear the cheering crowds from my garden.

So head on over to Pamela's and see who else is participating.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Tuesday Challenge - Red

This week's Tuesday Challenge, as set by Stu, is "Red"

Here's my effort!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

One for Pratchett fans I know there are a few of you out who that read this blog.

In case you weren't aware, there is a programme on BBC2 at 9pm tonight about his journey with Alzheimers.

We have a host for Fun Monday!

Pamela at The Dust will Wait has stepped up to the mark!

Thank you Pamela!

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

We need a Fun Monday host for 9th Feb

Any volunteers?

Monday, 2 February 2009

Fun Monday - Books!

I am your hostess for Fun Monday this week and this is the assignment I set you:

Firstly tell me what book you are reading now. What's it about? Are you enjoying it and why? If not, why not?

And secondly, if you were to be stranded on a desert island, what one book would you take with you.


At the moment I am reading Sepulchre by Kate Mosse.

This is what I call a split-story. Part of it is set in the 1890s and the rest is contemporary and the story flits between the two. Although I'm half way through, I haven't quite figured out what the story is yet. There seem to be several threads which I presume will come together at some point. The historical aspect of the story seems to focus on Tarot cards and evil goings-on associated with them, including the calling of demons. The modern aspect is more confusing. The heroine is an American travelling in France carrying out research for a book she is writing about Debussy. At the same time she is researching her family history. Neither aspect of her story is dominant and the author seems to be linking the two but why escapes me for the moment and the Debussy aspect is, I suspect, a bit of a red herring. What is obvious is that you know that three of the characters in the historical part all die on the same day and their story is leading up to that. Slowly. Very very slowly.

Am I enjoying it? No.

I've been having a problem for a few months now in that I've found it difficult to stay with the books I've been reading. Consequently I have a pile of half-read books. So I've been determined that I would stick with Sepulchre until the end, thinking that the problem was with me and not with the book. But whilst getting the Amazon link I scrolled down to read the reviews. It seems I am not the only person having a problem with the book. The reviews give it a serious slating.

Kate Mosse's first novel was a good yarn, Labyrinth, and the story held together even if the writing style left something to be desired. Ms Mosse's characters don't develop terribly well so you don't engage or feel anything for any of them. And in Sepulchre it's even worse. Now I know it's not just me, I may well stop torturing myself and get stuck in to the Twilight series which is burning a hole on my shelf!

As to the second part of Fun Monday - what book would I take with me to a desert island. No question it would be The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I've mentioned a few times that this is my all time favourite book and it's one I could read over and over again and always continue to find something new in it. Always a good recommendation in a book!