Posts tagged with “children”

June 26

Liberia - no place to be young and female

the title says it all - I heard about the situation there from a "Save the Children" spokesperson on Radio Four this morning - and the images haunt me still... to be written, sorry, but will soon try to encapsulate I did spend many hours trying to find a way to donate specific to my concerns - without success sad to say
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September 05

Get the Bones out of the Flesh!

My darling daughter was told of the engagement yesterday morning (the first to know!).

She has been a wonderful bag of excitement ever since and on top form.  As some might notice I think she has great potential as a creative person and (who knows) maybe even poetry.  Her first effort was very impressive to me, even though I am her Dad others have said as much.

Well when we went to our favourite restaurant last night

she was very eager that they know about the engagement (they are after all a family restaurant and we eat there regularly so they all know us).  We had finished the meal and still it had not revealed what we were celebrating.  In her eagerness for us to say it and be done she used a sudden and impulsive turn of phrase;


And we were all very impressed by her `turn of phrase` - she immediately followed up our astonishment by telling us that we were never to use the phrase without attribution that they were her words - she was very specific about that as only a nine year old daughter can be - I'm even prouder of her for asserting "copyright" to her utterance than I am by the almost Donne like turn of phrase!

PS I scroogled to check the originality, and this was all I turned up pertinent so far as I could see!

PPS Happy birthday today to;



The Sunday Program on Radio Four

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September 04

Categories of Engagement

It is not too often the personal intrudes on this blog (I hope!) But today I would like to indulge myself a little.  Anyone who has been here before will perhaps notice that there are a couple of new categories creeping in here.

One is cycling - and the tandem features (Now enhanced with lights and super bell and ready to roll!).

The other is marriage - and this is because I am now engaged to be wed, I have plighted my troth!  It will be a long engagement, but if any matters come up which I think I can talk about here (or even if I read anything which seems connected) then I may post to this category.

On which subject my fiancee thinks this blog would reach a much wider audience and I can see what she means (though am uncertain I really want the world and it's brother to be reading this - my hosting could not cope for a start!).  BUT I have decided to see if I can register the domain "" as a possible alternative.

UNLESS anyone has any better ideas for the name of this blog?  AND YES; I do realise the heading banner and design would be due for a complete overhaul as a result, then again I am quite keen to improve the site's accessibility and so should not mind this.

A post should be forthcomng to review the book "Chicago" soon and not sure what will follow from that, perhaps a thrilling account of the first tandem tour involving panniers and distance!


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November 09

Isabel's poem

This was written by my daughter at the weekend, I shall photograph the original text and post it, but this is my version typed as faithfully as I can:-

Look! a leaf
Scrunkling my life away.

Look! a rabbit hole
Like a bowl
Eating my life away.

Look!...a nest
Like a bed
Sleeping my life away

Look at the green grass
Like  a bean
I roll my life away

Isabel Eleanor Amelia Wrighton, November 2009.

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November 04


For whatever reason, I had one of those clearing out the loft moments going through ancient boxloads... and I turned up this exercise book that had something in it I wrote years ago intending it to be a childrens story perhaps for my daughter (she was just a babe at the time).  I thought I would type it up as a post.  Wish there was a way I could incorporate it in my novel (have to think on that!).  Here it is anyway:-


There's a wind that blows, and it starts over Spain.  In Spain the sun shines so hard it makes the rocks very hot in the day, but the sea keeps cool because it's so big and blue.  Then, when night falls, the air rushes in from the cool sea to the hot rocks and a special wind is born.

It starts from the sea to the rocks as a gentle breeze, only just enough to blow a crisp packet along.  But as the night gets cool it blows a little stronger and starts to blow its way further up the hills.

The hills in Spain can be very steep indeed, and in some places they are like mountains, except that they are flat on top.  As the wind blows up these hills it gets very strong and can even blow some small trees up the hill if they haven't got their roots into the soil properly.

Here the wind often helps birds to climb up high into the sky without even having to flap their wings - it is like an up escalator for the birds. They soar high into the early morning sky, because that's when they start their hunting.  It has taken all day and all night for the wind to blow from the sunny seaside to the top of the hills in Spain.

Up at the top of the hills in Spain it is called the plain.  It's called the plain because it is very flat, but it also happens to look very plain indeed because the sun burns so brightly that not much grows.  Here the wind gets tired in the midday heat, just only blowing hard enough to make the grass sway a little and ruffle the manes of the horses that play there.

The wind pauses and thinks of a place where it blows into the Americas; here there are ponies too.  Some of these ponies have come all the way from Wales a long time ago.  They are very pretty ponies and their owners still speak to them in Welsh.  This place is called Patagonia and the people who live here have to live a simple life.  When the wind blows they are glad because it often brings some rain.

On and on the wind blows across the plain, leaving the rain behind as it blows along.  After another day the wind reaches the end of the plain and here there are mountains rising up high into the clear blue beyond.  The wind gets thin and cold as it goes higher and higher to pass through the Alps.  It gets so cold that the rain that's left turns into snow and hail.  The wind finds gaps to blow through in the rocks that make the mountains, whistling as it blows higher and higher and thinner and thinner through the mountain passes. It seems to be calling out a sound which might be the name this wind is given in Spain.  Here it is called the Scirocco.  Or perhaps it just got the name since it blows from the sea to the rocks of the Andes mountains.

After a while the wind blows right up to the tops of the mountains - here it is so fierce it can turn the snow into the hardest ice in an instant.  If a man stood up straight when it was blowing its hardest he would be blown straight off the top of the mountain into the valley below.  There is a rumour that a creature called the Yeti can stand up here without getting too cold, because the Yeti can live here - but no man has seen such a creature and lived to tell the tale.

The next day the wind blows down the other side of this mountain range into a new country, far from the sea where it started out all those days ago.  This country is called France, so here the wind has a new name.  It is called the "Mistral" and it brings the cold weather that is the start of winter for the countryside of France.

The people in this French countryside are used to a wonderful long hot summer, so it is a big shock when this wind arrives from the mountains blowing along lots of snow and ice.  All the French farmers rush inside and put their heating on at full blast to keep warm in the storm as the Mistral blows through.  If any of them have left their grapes still growing on the vines then they get very upset because it's too late to harvest them when this wind blows and brings the cold to freeze them on the vine.

After another day and night the wind has blown all the way across France and left the cold of the mountains far behind,  It blows over the channel and picks up plenty of rain to worry any farmers who haven't finished making their hay or harvesting their crops.  But this rain only falls on the hills where the sheep are feeding - so the farmers can relax and the sheep can enjoy nice green grass for pasture.

After another few days of peacefully breezing over the English countryside - where the wind is known as Gale if it gets too strong - then the wind blows up to the lowlands of Scotland where the land starts to rise and the wind gets a little bite to it again.  Because Scotland is lucky at this time of year the sun is shining and the wind gets warm again in the lowlands.

Then after another day and a night the wind gets up to the Scottish mountains where the Golden Eagle nests in the mossy crags at the top.  The eagles fly out from their eiries (that's what these big nests are called) onto the breeze, which lifts them up high over the plains below so that they can hunt baby sheep and rabbits.  Here the wind blows so peacefully and quietly that it hasn't even got a name - or perhaps its name is just forgotten in the peace and quiet.

Eventually the wind reaches the sea at the end of Scotland.  Here the land is quite barren and rocky and the wind blows more strongly with all the open sea and islands ahead.

This is where the wind blows over the sea to Skye (which is one of the islands) and it once took a Prince to hide away on an island - but that's a story for another day.

As the wind blows out to sea at the end of its journey, and at the end of summer too, it lets out a long sigh after blowing so far and falls gently off to sleep on the softly rippling waves of the deep blue sea.  Just like you and me at the end of the day when we go to bed.


I remember being happy with it as a bed time story for a child at the time.  Now when I read it I feel less than satisfied with my writing and unsure how a child would receive it, but I still like the idea behind the story... Perhaps I'll print this post and try reading it to Isabel tonight... Perhaps a reader or two may like to try reading it to their children?  If you do any comments from them would be appreciated.

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October 08

Work, friends, and charity.

Today was undeniably a good day.  After taking my daughter to school and almost being late on account of a missing school jumper which was discovered at the eleventh hour to have been discarded under the hand brake the previous afternoon I meandered along to do a little work.  When I say work, this is not what you could call employment.  Once a week or so I help out a retired gentleman who is coming to grips with a laptop, email, and the internet.  He has made great strides and when I arrived was grappling with the BBC's radio "listen again" service.  I had thought this would be of interest to him earlier, so it was nice to see he had found the facility for himself.  A shame only one of the programs he wanted seemed to be available, we had to report the other missing.

On getting home I was getting ready to cycle over to Islington for a lunch with Marmite Lover, when I took a 'phone call.  I thought it would be a friend calling me back, but it turned out to be a telephone fund raising canvasser for the Childrens Society, whom I used to donate to in the past (when I was working).  I'm not ex-directory, but I had moved so I was mildly impressed they were organised enough to follow up on that.  I explained my circumstances, but at the same time the lady was most persuasive and told me that every five minutes a child "runs away".  I did say that I was not sure about statistics and that perhaps some of these children were not runaways, but returned home.  In any event, when there is no money coming in there is no money to give out, but I said I would give what I could as and when I could.  It occurred to me that something I could do was invite others to give though, so I promised her I would put a button and a link on my blog. So I have. It is there now.

It was a glorious day for cycling, bright sun but not too warm.  So the ride across London was a real pleasure.  I always try to vary my route and crossed Waterloo Bridge heading out and Blackfriars on my return.  Thanks to a mislaid Oyster card I had some time to kill around Chapel Street Market and managed to find a few things I needed going cheap.  Retail therapy always works best for me in charity shops and the like.  On this occasion I acquired some specs to keep the dust out when I cycle, a DVD for my daughter, some bargain teaspoons I can use for her packed lunches, and believe it or not my first Christmas present purchase!  I felt quite bad about that, it used to be a golden rule for me not to buy any presents or much else Christmas related until my birthday had passed on the twelth.  In any case, my daughters mum will be getting a bright pink labelling gizmo, which is brand new in a blister pack and was going for a fiver in a charity shop.  I always check out the charity shops in the more affluent areas, usually they have rich pickings.  An ex acquired me a leather jacket that way for five or ten pounds in Kensington and it's still going strong ten years on.

Sunshine and a half of beer and the prospect of lunch meant I was in a good mood when Marmite Lover turned up.  It's the first time I have met a fellow denizen of the blogosphere and it was great fun. Lunch was a pleasant Chinese buffet with some green tea.  We had plenty to talk about and a lot of shared memories.  I think she is the first person I have met who also saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show in the Kings Road with Tim Curry and Meatloaf.  My uncle took me when I was fourteen and I'm not sure I appreciated it at the time, but I do now.  We had even both had an American Burger nearby, back then such things were a novelty in London, perhaps simply from being similar ages and having parents who let us do pretty much what we wanted to.  We talked about all sorts of things, I found myself telling stories about my youth which I thought were fairly hum drum.  I'm not sure if that was just because to me they are old tales, things I have told friends and people before.  Perhaps to me these memories have become dulled by time.  She was quick to point out to me though that this would make really good subject matter for blog postings.  I cannot help but agree, there is no substitute for hearing from a reader, and another blogger probably gives you some real ideas.  I tend to regard her own blog as a pretty good role model for any aspiring blogger.

I have offered my technical assistance for adding buttons or widgets to her blog.  Of course the setup for is probably more restrictive than my own arrangement with the site hosted on my own server, but I can try out things and see what works.  I like it when I can offer to help people in return for their feedback.  The world would go around a lot more smoothly with a little more cooperation and a little less competition I think.  I keep draft posts pinned on my blog with lists of things it occurs to me to poat about.  These lists seem to get longer and longer though!  Immediately I got back from lunch I dashed off a list of some eight ideas, all of which had come up in conversation over lunch.  So I shall be aiming to make a few nostalgic posts in the future, to ge out of the rut of the hum drum accounts of another day.  Today was a good day and I wanted to just write about it.  It's really nice when you think you've found a new friend.  It's really nice when the sun shines on you.  And it's nice when you feel that your efforts are actually getting you somewhere.

Tomorrow I have to sign on.... I have been wondering what they would say at the job centre in November if I told them I was writing a novel when they asked how my job hunt was going?  I am still not receiving my full benefits despite sending a statement to Belfast THREE times... this is since July, so I am hoping they will backdate it whenever they finally deal with my revised circumstances.

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