23 January, 2009

Spare some change, guv?

I'm warning you all now that this post is a shameless plug for one of my favourite charities.

Children and animals, they're my weak spot. Show me an animal suffering and I'll weep like a baby. Show me a child suffering and I'll weep and get mad.

Plan International is a non religious charity which offers child sponsorship in developing countries. I'd heard of them some years ago but they came to prominence with the release of the film About Schmidt. Jack Nicholson's character sponsors a child in Tanzania and writes her bizarre, rambling letters. Being a cold, hard atheist I liked the idea of a secular charity and indeed Plan are able to work with children in some countries where religious charities have no access. Win win, I thought, and so I took the plunge.

I've been sponsoring a little girl called Nadia for some time now. Nadia is the youngest of three daughters and lives in a Bangladeshi village. She's never going to have the opportunities that I had and I can't think of many worse things than being a girl in a country where boys are seen as prized possessions.

I've never received begging letters from Plan asking for more money and I've only ever received two 'phone calls. One was a call welcoming me and thanking me for sponsoring Nadia. I waited for the person at the other end of the line to ask me for more money but they didn't. They just wanted to say thank you. I was incredibly touched.

The second call came last week. The man at the other end thanked me for my continued support and hesitated a bit. I knew what was coming. "I wouldn't ask," he said, "but do you think there's any chance you could take on another sponsorship? We've lost a lot of sponsors lately."

I told him that I would look into my finances and see if I can take on another child. I also told him that I would spread the word and ask my friends, family and workmates if they were interested. I'm also asking you, dear readers. If you can't help, ask a friend. I know money is tight for all of us this year but I hate to see a wonderful charity who never hassle me go short.

I hate to ask. I just don't like to think of all those children who don't have anyone to care. If any of you have a few spare bob - and it's really not that much - please think about sponsoring a child.

Thank you. Plug over.

19 January, 2009

Tony Hart RIP

Another childhood icon has shuffled off this mortal coil. Tony Hart has died at the age of 83 and the world is poorer for his passing.

As children most of the TV we watched was on the BBC. Not for us the trendy Magpie but programmes such as sensible but informative Blue Peter with its gentle tones, sticky back plastic and pets and the excellent Vision On with Tony Hart. It was a revolutionary show for its time because it was a show specifically for deaf children. There weren't that many shows in the seventies which featured a woman doing sign language at peak viewing time and I was transfixed. There was Pat Keysall, mime artists (including Sylvester McCoy) and artwork but more importantly there was Tony and his art.

A gentle and friendly soul, Tony worked his magic on the screen and his artwork held me spellbound. I was never much good in the art department, unco ordinated and with an attention span the size of a full stop, I could never make anything that even I found attractive but that didn't stop me watching Tony and wanting to try that little bit harder. Each week I would watch the gallery of childrens pictures flash past and wish that I could make something worthy of being shown on the screen. Sadly, my cackhanded attempts with string, glitter and glue were....well quite frankly they were crap but at least I had a go. Tony moved on from Vision On with Take Hart and we met Morph, his plasticine friend. Tony would talk to Morph and he would respond in an incomprehensible language but I knew what he was saying.

All over the internet people are talking about Tony and how he inspired them. There's an army of grown up children of the seventies who were as art challenged as me but who watched his shows and wanted to try harder. I think I may have said the same thing about Oliver Postgate last year but I hope Tony realised just what a huge impact he had on us all and how we loved him.

The picture in todays post is doing the rounds. It choked me up. Silly, isn't it? Bet I'm not the only one.

RIP, Tony. Thanks for everything.

17 January, 2009

Nothing to see here

Yes, I'm still here. This lengthy holiday is definately agreeing with me. I'm much less irritable - although I did have a shouting match a couple of weeks ago with a man who was beeping his horn at someone else but annoyed me in the process - and sleeping much better. I sleep past 7am and go to bed late because, well, because I can, really. As predicted I've done as little as possible and I still have a week to go. I've struggled with the crossword, had too many cups of coffee, made a couple of pathetic attempts at housework, read a couple of books, painted my nails, caught up with friends, gone to the cinema a couple of times and had a couple of very damp paddling sessions with a friends children. It's all been quite lovely.

I went to the zoo last week with another friend and her two daughters. It was incredibly hot, the children wanted to run between exhibits with no discernable plan or pattern and as a result we missed the seal show. Here's a couple of shots. The giraffes have the best view in Sydney. And who doesn't love koalas?

06 January, 2009

My morning walk

Ah, Sydney in the summertime. This is why I live where I do, readers. All of these shots were taken this morning when I went for a little stroll in the sunshine.
The most popular coastal walk in the Eastern Suburbs is the Bondi to Bronte. Some of you may have done this walk. It's a nice walk. It's very busy and you stand a high chance of being shoved out of the way by a fitness fanatic/serious exercise type who will hurtle past you with a sense of entitlement - don't you know only the serious exercise people have got the right to do the Bondi to Bronte - but yes, it's a lovely walk.

There's also the Bronte to Coogee walk which in my opinion is much nicer. It's also more challenging as there's more of the uphill stuff going on but it's also quieter as most of the 'serious exercise' types only do the Bondi to Bronte because that's the place to be seen. That suits the rest of us just fine. If you're really serious you can do the Coogee to Bondi walk with the added bonus of being able to fall into one of Bondi's many watering holes at the end of it.
There's also a more gentle walk which is ideal for those days when the temperature is 30 degrees and that's the walk I did this morning. It's probably only a couple of kilometres but the Coogee to Maroubra walk is very scenic. Quite flat but very nice. I did part of it this morning and here are the shots. The very first shot is Coogee beach.

Okay, so I'm no photographer but I think I've done a reasonable job with my mobile 'phone. I hope you like them.

04 January, 2009

And the winner is........

Matt Smith. A 26 year old from Northampton will be the 11th actor to play the 903 year old lonely Time Lord from Gallifrey. The news broke yesterday and the geek forums are in meltdown. And yes, I was on one of them just after 5am this morning.
Hmmm. My first impression is that he's a little young, in fact I'm old enough to be his mother (if I'd been one of those girls at school who took Sex Education way too far) but from what I've seen of his acting I think he'll do well. David Tennant is going to be hard act to follow.
Good luck, Matt. See you in 2010.

03 January, 2009

Update from Lazybones

And so this is Christmas, and what have you done, another year over.......oh, hang on, we've done that bit.

Well, here we are in 2009 and I am completely lacking in inspiration. My clothes are all tight, the floor needs Hoovering and I haven't left the house before 11am in the last fortnight. How is it? Blissful.

I'm not one of those people who make New Years resolutions, nor do I sit down and the start of the year and make a list of goals. I'm way too lazy for that. My sole contribution to personal organisation 2009 stylie has been to organise the massive pile of papers that had been growing on the kitchen table as well as going through a stack of DVDs in the vain hope of finding a couple of blank ones. This mammoth task occured today. By 3pm the place looked like a bomb had gone off in a recycling factory. I chose this time to try the pomegranate juice I'd bought the other day (it looked interesting) and watch some very bad TV. After an hour of procrastination I started again. I'm still not finished. There's a lot of stuff scattered across the floor but I'm loathe to pick it up because then I'll be reminded that the carpet needs Hoovering and I don't have the inclination to do that for at least a couple of days. There are bad things about living alone and there are good things. Not having to tidy up if you don't feel like it is a Very Good Thing.

In other news, marvellous news in the form of a knighthood for Terry Pratchett. Terry is one of my favourite authors and I like to see people I like getting nice things. It's as simple as that.

Secondly, I'm waiting for The Announcement. I've had some time to get used to the idea that David Tennant is going and I'm looking forward to finding out who will piloting the TARDIS in 2010. By the time most of you read this the announcement will have been made. I have absolutely no idea who it will be.

What else......not a lot, really. There's been nothing happening so there's nothing to say. Now if you'll excuse me I've got a sinkful of washing up to ignore.