A blog that few can match (or wish to)
Sometimes a project will fire your imagination. I've just started one which we are calling Eng-Pop www.eng-pop.com. Inspired by one of my authors, Eileen Merwin, who teaches English as a second language to students in New York. Many come from Asia and Russia and other faraway places.
We all have a long list of objections. It's Friday, a time for serious reflection about the weekend ahead, so it is time to mention some of the things and happenings that I dislike: As an ancient my dislike of packaging knows few boundaries. I pay for it. I dislike it.
Dear David Cameron I'd like people from our small social enterprise, Media Fish CIC, to accompany you on your mission to China. We assist a number of enterprises but, for China, the most interesting is to be found at www.eng-pop.com. This is a new venture that comes from many years experience teaching English as a second language.
Donate Now It's heart-breaking to see the people suffering after the typhoon hit the Philippines. The media, TV and the Internet are great communication methods but at times you are just left feeling helpless, particularly so as the reporter tells us all that the next scenes may be disturbing.
Like many men I'm reluctant to go to the doctor. Several good reasons; the first is that whatever is wrong with me will soon pass; secondly that nature gives me, and the doctor, two chances, I will recover or that will not happen, Nature knows best.
It's that time of year again. The shops have shelves of glittering baubles and other trivia. There's even a range of artificial Xmas trees to choose from. Stacks of brightly coloured boxes that are all designed to attract children, who now have time to pester parents with their demands as we approach the annual overspend.
Let's clear the moans out of my mind first: Last week I went to a conference in Ipswich. It cost over £10 just to park the car for that conference. I'm told that in London it can cost much more, but Ipswich town centre is not the best of places to visit - unfortunately planners were allowed to plunder its medieval centre many years ago, and it has never recovered.
I spent yesterday at a Regional Film Conference in Ipswich - full of keen young people. Run by Film Suffolk, started by an enthusiastic young Frenchman and Cad Taylor from Re-Create (incidentally Cad deserves to find success for herself - she is a great worker).
It is time to think about the yearly celebrations. On 4th December we celebrate the life of Saint Barbara, patron of U.S. Army Field Artillery. Barbara lived in the 4th century and brought up as a heathen. A tyrannical father, Dioscorus, had kept her jealously secluded in a lonely tower which he had built for that purpose.
Since Councils were made to privatise the services they offer we have seen many taken over by commerce. Personally I find it difficult to believe that a foreign-owned company (and many are) can operate and manage the work in a small town (for example) any better than the local workers.
Celebrations! They can be so tiring. Plugging through multi-course meals, wondering whether the turkey had a good life, drinking too much wine. Not convinced the excessive consumption was linked to turkey guilt but it left its mark. My head was too heavy to lift from the pillow the next morning.
This is a good time of the year to die. People have time to stop, to consider your life, their life. There's also time to celebrate. The harvest has been gathered in. Plans are made for the coming year. The store cupboard overflows. It's time for a party.
Our young people deserve to be considered first. This week the government announced they will be paying young entrepreneurs to come to this country to start businesses. How does that help the one million young people now looking for a job? Is this government determined to sell everything we own and cherish to anyone who wants it?
The BBC had an interview with a woman in her early 70s who was lonely. She just sat at home every day, didn't bother to wash, just drank tea because she couldn't be bothered to cook. She wanted people to visit her.
We must wake up. The Prince's Trust has published a depressing report about our young people. Our next generation are now largely unemployed. Even those in education are in jeopardy. They will leave college with lessened prospects of getting a job, and with the burden of debt to repay the cost of their education.
It's practically an old adage; 'know yourself' but the concept is complex. As a negative person: half empty not half full I'm tempted to make a resolution to change. So, I started to think. Not easy but that reveals the first conundrum, one that Mr Gove, our Education Minister, needs to bear in mind; I receive information all the time.
In 1582 Pope Gregory introduced the Gregorian Calendar, replacing the Julian calendar of Julius Caesar. It meant that millions were killed because they refused to accept this calendar. Most civilisations already had a calendar: most were 360 days long - not 365.2425 days. The effect of this regime has been very beneficial for commerce.
A New Year. Are you all safely back at work? Noses to the grindstone making cash for someone else? Good. Without you there would be no need for luxury goods of any kind. Remember where you fit in this world. If you need to be reminded walk down the street or go online to look for 'poor people'.
We now have choice. Fantastic choice. Except we are too often controlled by those negative thoughts, which come at us four times more frequently than positive thoughts. I'm not sure how that is managed. Given that it's all a physical, or chemical, world how can negativity have such power?
Sometimes it is necessary to reconsider our institutions. Our armed forces are now being reduced, the Army from 100,000 to 80,000 full-time soldiers. The present thinking is to replace those career soldiers with a part-time force, people who have other jobs. The first question to ask is do we need a military arm at all.
Not sure I always feel in control. That must be the same for many of us. You wake in the morning - no doubt full of the joys (if not stop the alcohol!) - wondering how the day will pan out. That's the ideal state.
You and me have a task ahead of us. What I'm really saying is I need your help. Our literary heritage is in danger. The book trade in England has seen its turnover considerably reduced. We could help. There are several reasons why the book trade is in trouble: Libraries no longer buy many books.
Should our Monarch be given more power? This is not a question for a simple blog but it does need to be considered. Many people are disenchanted with the present system of government. Something of an autocracy run by kids with little or no experience, except that gained from privilege.
I've just renewed my driving licence. Mine was age-related but do you know that a driving licence only lasts 10 years? Most people (estimated at 80%) are, in theory, driving without a valid licence. The real miscreants are much harder to unearth. Who checks anyway? Those expensive traffic signs on motorways have cameras.
Disturbing scenarios are starting to emerge. Not many of us are really rich. They have control over most of our lives. Some of these people use their affluence philanthropically. Bill gates wants to eradicate malaria, and has even suggested we can remove poverty in the near future.