Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Not something I think of with regard to an adult arena.
But it can be.
Soldiers, at Deepcut
Embarking on their careers
Took their own lives

Or did they?

A culture of bullying
Cover-ups a plenty.
A tragedy.

And thinking of soldiers,
You can have tattoos and enlist
In the US forces

You can read more here and here. (Thanks to Stevie-G for bloggage style)

Monday, March 27, 2006

My rock star name...

My Rock Star is Stevie "The Shill Master" Stevenson.
Take Rock Star Name Generator today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Name Generator Generator.

I prefer my name generated by this one: Bijou Chuff Chuff

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Daylight saving

Wasn't aware of the history of daylight saving until I read this.
And I have discovered Lord Tanlaw's "Lighter Evenings Experiment Bill", which goes before the Lords on Friday. He urges us to write to our MPs in support of his proposal which he claims could save lives.

I'm not sure whether lives would be saved but anything meaning getting the benefit of extra daylight has my vote.

Friday, March 24, 2006

A stranger in a strange land

I always have the deepest respect and sympathy for people who flee their own country because of poverty, war or a lack of opportunities. To come here thinking this is a place of opportunities and wealth, a place where the dreams and the future of all the family back home can be assured because of the money sent back.
It makes me angry that people make money out of people's hopes and dreams: forging paperwork, setting up transport and fleecing them for thousands. Sometimes the poor souls never make it out of their own country alive as they're herded like cattle and asphyxiate in a steel box. Some are cheated and sold into slavery close to home but some are "fortunate" and make it to England, land of opportunity.
Liu Guogong left China just under 2 years ago to come to Britain, a trip that cost him £15,000. His wife left back in the Fujian province of China said, "He would call and tell me how tough life in Britain was. Work was always difficult to find. The hours were very long and the money bad. He said it was hell, that he wished he had never gone." When the news started trickling through that at least 21 Chinese people had drowned off the north-west coast of England, Mrs Li did not worry.
"I knew he was a strong swimmer, not like other Chinese. I knew he'd be fine." In all probability, Liu Guogong's swimming ability borrowed him some extra time but in the pitch dark, with no way to reference a way back to the shore, he was just delaying the inevitable. His was one of the bodies found some time after all the others.
It seems to be that authorities are aware of these immigrants and yet they are a "low priority". In many ways, cockle pickers (or seasonal fruit and veg pickers) are fulfilling a market need for cheap, temporary labour. Nobody from around here wants the work but that suits the ring leaders fine because they can't afford to pay the minimum wage. The fact that these people are kept 30 at a time in ordinary houses, they have little knowledge of English and are often subject to intimidation and threats makes me believe that there is a whole new "underworld" out there that Christians need to be a part of and praying into. This may not be Morecambe but we have our own hidden illegal workforces scattered around the county. Why not start here?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Please pray for...

Christian Abdul Rahman who is charged with rejecting Islam in Afghanistan and could face the death sentence under Sharia law unless he recants. His case will be heard in about 2 months. Full news story here

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Update fuelled by toast and jam

My thoughts have been purely about academic study over the last week- not surprising really in rushing to complete a uni course. But also been thinking about eldest daughter applying to uni which is rather fun: which uni; which course; what entry requirements; what after uni? The Eldest One has had the opportunity to tap into a series of workshops aimed at helping and informing students who potentially would like to apply to Oxbridge. This was originally met with vague interest, then hostility and now after a day of chatting with ex-CNS pupils who are studying at Oxford, non-committal interest. It may well be worth noting that an air of self preservation hangs around proceedings as the knowledge that two thirds of applicants are unsuccessful menas you can't get too hung up on going. My thinking is that a vague interest in exploring the possibilities has always got to be better than an outright "no"! I think the uni most favoured atm is Edinburgh, not sure why but a big attraction is that it's nowhere near Norwich!

So in this atmosphere, I start to think about continuing my studies. "Wouldn't it be nice to do some youth work research?" "Maybe I need to consider finishing the degree course or move on to the Masters?" "Is it possible to "top up" what I've done with some theological study?"

Well I finished one folder yesterday- Work as a Member of a Team- probably need to crack on and get some more finished before I start planning on further study.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Essay 2...

...this one got a remarkable 85%! I can't believe that! I only referenced websites! I thought I'd be lucky to get a B! Still in the words of Mark and Lard, "Musn't grwumble!"

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


...came through today: got 72% (an A) . Yay!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Folders update...

Well sorting through my folders yesterday was quite encouraging. I seem to have advanced quite considerably in several. I've done the larger pieces of work for 2, one comparing 3 projects and the other detailing 2 projects over the course of a year. I have written a community profile, I have almost finished my cluster plan for work so I'll be able to use that and I've started pulling things out to write the one about Value Base which is one of 2 concluding folders. It's all looking promising and thanks to people who are being so understanding and letting me get on.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Redefining Priesthood

This article really says a lot to me and I wanted to share it with you:

A Bristol vicar whose daughter died in the London bombings last July has announced she intends to step down from her parish role in St George.
Reverend Julie Nicholson said she is having difficulty reconciling her feelings over Jenny's death with her role as a priest at St Aidan Church.
Jennifer Nicholson, 24, died in the explosion at Edgware Road.
The Rev Nicholson said she wants to continue to work with young people within the Bristol Diocese.
Church of England spokesman John Lloyd said: "This new post is taking up her special and long-term interest in the arts and theology and is a natural extension of her ministry within the church."
Rev Julie Nicholson said: "In terms of my ministry... a colleague and a friend recently said priesthood begins in the world not in the church and I was very relieved to hear that because what I am trying to do now is redefine my priesthood.
"I am looking for a way in which I can still have priestly ministry when there are some things I can no longer practise, or I can't currently practise... and for me that's about integrity.
"It's very difficult for me to stand behind an altar and celebrate the Eucharist Communion and lead people in words of peace and reconciliation and forgiveness when I feel very far from that myself... so for the time being, for the moment, that wound in me is having to heal."

BBC story here

Redefining priesthood. Obviously my reasons for redefinition are different to Rev Nicholson's but I admire and respect the decision she has made and pray that she is able to find a (recognised) niche for her new ministry soon.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Strange day yesterday! I managed to track down Nichole and picked up 2 of her folders and 1 belonging to someone else. I already had retrieved Rebecca's 2 from the training unit so I have 5 lovely (complete!) folders to look through for ideas! I feel happier about my own folder work now. From the looks of it, the stuff I'm doing is far beyond what is expected so it should be OK.

I have been signing into MSN of late in order to pick up emails from my Brunel supervisor and yesterday randomly bumped into Hannah (in SA) and my old mate Sandra! Woo! It was good to catch up!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

In defence of Political Correctness

I have a fondness for PC language, I always have. I think it comes from my political ideology, firmly encamped on the left. Here is the definition from Wikipedia:
Political correctness (also politically correct, P.C. or PC) is a term used in various countries to describe real or perceived attempts to impose limits on language, terms, and viewpoints in public discussion in order to avoid potentially offensive terminology. While it usually refers to a
linguistic phenomenon, it is sometimes extended to cover political ideology or public behavior.
In several English-speaking nations, the term often has a pejorative or ironic meaning—typically connoting an excessive attempt by social or political liberals to alter language and culture. It is also sometimes used to describe attempts to respect marginalized groups (e.g., the Canadian Oxford Dictionary (Oxford University Press Canada 2001) defines political correctness as "the avoidance of forms of expression or action that exclude, marginalize, or insult certain racial or cultural groups").
According to predominantly conservative critics of what they call the "political correctness movement," PC involves censorship and social engineering, and has influenced popular culture, such as music, film, literature, arts and advertising.

Language is a powerful tool: it can be used to generate hate; it can be used to heal and create bonds. Just because it is an ability most people tend to share, it doesn’t mean that we instinctively know how to use it wisely. Parental and school influences strongly come into play in the formative years and many beliefs and prejudices can be picked up without qualms and most of these will be expressed verbally.

The “freedom of speech” argument is a powerful and almost sacred Get Out of Jail Free card: once played, people tend to bow out respectfully, not wishing to curtail what everyone believes is a Basic Human Right. But we need to analyse what “freedom of speech” actually entails. We know that a child who is called “stupid” repeatedly will grow up believing they are stupid. If they are told they are worthless and will never amount to anything, this is emotional abuse and they are in as much danger as any other child who is abused. A fist was never raised, they never went hungry but with the power of words, they were sold a lie that could harm them for the rest of their life. That is the power of words and that is a freedom we are not prepared to allow to the extent that if that happens there are legal sanctions that come into play.

The boys that killed Stephen Lawrence weren’t at liberty to call him “nigger”, David Irving isn’t at liberty to deny the holocaust and Ayman al-Zawahiri is not at liberty to commend terror strikes. We have laws against incitement to racial hatred and we have laws against slander and we have laws against emotional abuse.
But language is a beautiful, subtle thing; the boundaries are not clearly marked and meanings aren’t static. Take the word “gay”: 100 years ago, it meant happy, cheerful; 20 years ago it meant homosexual. What does it mean in the present day? Well it could mean homosexual but common usage especially with young people is to indicate that something is lame, rubbish, ineffectual. Could it be that language is being fluid again and is moving on to a new meaning? Well possibly but the word “gay” is a good example of unpolitically correct terminology. If the accepted meaning of the word “gay” is to mean homosexual, using that word to indicate something negative transfers the negativity to homosexuals too. So by using “gay” as an insult you are saying “That’s lame just like homosexuals are”. Personally, I don’t believe that homosexuals are lame, rubbish or ineffectual so I wouldn’t say it. By not saying “gay” in that context still gives the young people I work with a free reign to say it. I believe that in my role as an informal educator that I need to open young people up to new concepts and ideas and this is done by introducing new ways of thinking through conversation.

YP 1: “Oh that film is so gay!”
YP 2: ”I know!”
Helen: “Well, what do you mean by “gay”?”
YP 1: “Well it’s rubbish”
Helen: “A gay person might not want you to call a rubbish film “gay”.”
YP 2: “Are you gay then?”
Helen: “No, does it matter?”
YP 1: “Yeah, of course it matters if you’re gay. Don’t want you here if you’re gay!”
YP 2: “Yeah you might try it on with me!”
Helen: “Well not every boy fancies you do they? Why would every gay woman?”
YP 2: “I don’t know!”
Helen; “Do you know anyone who’s gay?”
YP 1: “Yeah, there’s this boy in yr 11 who talks like this…(does effeminate impression)”
Helen: “It doesn’t automatically make him gay if he talks like that. And what if he was, does it matter?”
YP1: “Yeah of course it does!”
Helen: “I’ve got lots of friends who are gay- they’re still my friends whoever they go out with, it makes no difference to me. Why should it? And they might be offended by you using the word “gay” as an insult.”
YP 2: “Well yeah I see what you mean but we don’t really mean it like that. It just kinda means rubbish. Everybody says it”
Helen; “Well I don’t and I’d prefer it if you didn’t too, if that’s OK.”
YP 1: “OK”

It gets to the stage where the young people say it on automatic pilot and then immediately apologise! I don't really mind but I like them to have an alternative view point so that they are able to think about the choices they make.

In my mind it’s about thinking about the hidden power in words and what they can convey. When I was asked if I could “man” the stall, I replied that I could “staff” it. I guess some people would think that’s just picky but it makes me feel less uncomfortable. I also try and pick language that might allow others to feel comfortable too like using the word partner instead of husband/wife.

I'm interested in the way that humour pushes boundaries in order to get laughes but I'm thinking that that is another post entirely. What do you think of PC language?

Sunday, March 05, 2006


Well Informal Ed is a complete nightmare and so have been doing bits and pieces on No 7. Was supposed to collect a couple of folders from my friend Nichole yesterday but she was out. Grr! That would have given me a few pointers.

Oh yeah, my blog is not going to get any more interesting than this over the next few weeks, so you may want to camp elsewhere!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

One down, 10 to go...

...I have finished completely the first competence and I'm trying to finish at least another one but I'd like to get another 2 to a "getting there" stage. I'm going to be focusing on:
Competence No.4: An ability to Provide Informal Education and
Competence No.7: Management of the Work
I'll update you as and when.

If only I could get rid of this constant headache and tummy ache I've had for over a week now...