Tuesday 28 April 2009

Frustrated entrepreneur!

So, how are you all surviving the credit crunch? Or is that a silly question? Do you remember what it is like to hold cold cash in your hand? Me neither!!

It is now 5.20pm and I have been on my laptop since 9am. I have finished applying for a job that I really want, but I have been surfing the web to find other innovative ways to make a buck. But I have come up with nothing.

For ages, even before the crunch kicked in fully, I've felt that I wanted to do something entrepreneurial...but I just don't know what! Grrrrr! You know that feeling when you are trying to remember someone's name and it is on the tip of your tongue but you just can't say it? That is exactly how I feel. I desperately need a Bill Gates or Richard Branson moment!

How are you all faring? My friends are 50-50; some of them have jobs but others don't. I have a cousin who has just now got a job after being made redundant from a Vice President position years ago. But funnily enough during the worst recession in living memory he has found a job that is in line with his experience!

I'm in a good-ish place. I'm doing an internship for a Chicago based magazine which I enjoy. I'm toying with the idea of doing another internship for a London-based publication as their focus is different and I will gain a lot of experience from them which is always a great thing. Now all I need is someone to PAY ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday 4 April 2009

Kettle calling pot, come in pot.....

If I were to ask you to define what the characteristics of a police man and woman should be, what would you say? Can I assume that you would state that they should keep the law? That they should be honest and above board in the execution of all their duties? I can almost hear some of you snickering sarcastically as if these are utterly ridiculous expectations of our boys and girls in blue!

Now, no one in this country is naive; we have all seen and read chilling accounts of police corruption, racism and brutality throughout the years. All of these things exploded powerfully into the public’s consciousness with the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 by five racist youths; an inquiry into the murder led to no convictions being brought against them primarily because of the incomprehensible, some say deliberate, incompetence of the police throughout the investigation. These issues led to the writing of the McPherson Report which, after investigation, concluded that the Metropolitan Police Service is “institutionally racist.”

Even allowing for all the disturbing reports, it was still shocking to learn that out of 144,000 serving police officers in England and Wales, 1,063 of these have received criminal records while in active duty. The data, obtained by the Liberal Democrats under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act, include 59 convictions for assault, 36 for theft and 96 for dishonesty. Other offences include battery, fraud, perverting the course of justice and forgery. What is especially alarming is that, once these officers have been convicted by a panel/jury of their peers for deliberately breaking the very law they are supposed to up hold, they are being allowed to keep their jobs. How in all good conscience can they arrest someone for the same crimes they have committed? The words pot, kettle and black spring to mind.

Chris Huhne, the Lib Dem home affairs spokesman, said:

"It is staggering that so many of the people entrusted to protect us from crime have criminal convictions themselves. It is even more worrying that so many police officers convicted of serious crimes involving dishonesty or violence have been allowed to keep their jobs. The public entrust the police with the use of legal force precisely because they are self-disciplined and restrained, which is why anyone convicted of a violent offence should be dismissed. I cannot see how a police officer convicted of dishonesty can perform their duty effectively.

"The trust that is absolutely vital in policing is seriously undermined when police officers are being convicted of crimes of dishonesty. Allowing police officers convicted of offences of violence or dishonesty to continue serving merely brings the vast majority of law-abiding and diligent officers into disrepute."

Amazingly, whilst there are vetting procedures for dealing with new applicants, there are no Home Office guidelines for dealing with officers committing offences while serving.

Data obtained which covers 41 of the 52 forces show a further 247 officers have either resigned or been suspended because of their convictions.
According to the figures, the forces with the highest number of police with convictions are the Metropolitan police with 274, West Midlands with 121 and Strathclyde (Scotland), 107.

Interestingly, Peter Fahy, the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester and head of workforce development for The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) said:
"Where an officer has committed misconduct, which can include a criminal offence, a range of disciplinary actions can be taken. Each case is judged on its merit. The force concerned will then take action depending on a range of factors including the severity of the offence and its impact on an officer's ability to carry out their duties."

I totally disagree. If as a custodian of the law you willfully break it knowing full well the penalties of your actions, you should be dismissed from the force. Full stop.

Friday 27 March 2009


There are few topics that produce such divided, passionate and oftentimes violent reactions like abortion does. Other topics that arouse similar passions are race, religion, politics and sexuality.

CNN picked up a story in Brazil, of the excommunication from the Catholic Church of all parties that played a part in an abortion procedure performed on a nine year old girl who had been raped by her step-father. Those excommunicated included the child’s mother and medical staff. The child was not excommunicated because the Catholic Church states that children can’t be, but unbelievably, neither was the step-father. The archbishop who was responsible for the excommunications, Archbishop Don Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, said this was because "a graver act than (rape) is abortion." My jaw dropped at that comment. Does the nine year old girl not classify as being “an innocent life”? In Brazil, at least 40% of those treated for pregnancies as a result of rape are children. Rape is obviously an epidemic in certain parts of Brazil and the archbishop would do well to tackle what ails such a large proportion of the men in his society rather than making such ill-informed statements. http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/americas/03/11/brazil.rape.abortion/index.html

Once upon a time I had very strong views on abortion. I believed it to be wrong, particularly in cases where the pregnancies occurred as a result of living irresponsibly or it was deemed an inconvenient time to have a child. I still do not believe abortion to be right in these scenarios at all. Sex with protection isn’t always a sure-fire way of preventing unwanted pregnancies as condoms can split and leak and oral contraceptives have a habit of failing, so worse case scenarios should always be worked through carefully. About 15 years ago, a friend of mine became pregnant as a result of a split condom and she went on to have an abortion; a decision that she is still affected by today. The psychological impact of an abortion is something that women are never fully prepared for even, with pre-abortion counselling.

I know of another woman my age who fell pregnant with all of her children as a result of her oral contraceptives failing, but she had them all and they are a lively bunch who she and her husband love dearly. For sure she would have rather waited until she felt she and her husband were ready, but she figured as children were always part of the plan, she may as well go ahead with it.

Years later the question of what a woman should do if she became pregnant through rape crossed my mind. She didn’t choose to have sex with her attacker, so why should she go through with a pregnancy she had no consenting part in? My immediate response was “well they should abort it; who in the world wants to have a rapist’s baby? How can the mother bring herself to love it? What will it grow up to be like? How will you explain who their father is?”

A number of years ago I was sent an email entitled “who would you abort?” One of the questions was:

A white man rapes a 13 year old black girl and she get pregnant. If you were her parents, would you recommend an abortion?

If so, in this case you would have killed Ethel Waters, the great gospel singer.

I was dumbfounded, as I had no idea up till then that some women who had become pregnant through rape went on to give birth to these children. A couple of years ago at a women's conference, one of the speakers shared the story of her life. She was a beautiful, confident woman who was married with a grown up son and she was doing great things with her life. All her life she had known that she was adopted and she was fine with that as her adoptive parents were wonderful people. When her adoptive father died, however, it sent her on a quest to find out why she had been given up for adoption.

After a few months she traced her biological mother via the name that had been given on her birth certificate. There was no mention of the father. It took a while but her mother agreed to meet with her. It was a little awkward at first, but then they got a bit more comfortable with each other. I can't remember if it was the lady or her mother who broached the subject of the circumstances of her adoption first, but the mother said the reason that there was no mention of her father on the birth certificate was because she had no idea who he was; her pregnancy was the result of a gang-rape. The speaker admitted she was stunned. She had not expected that answer. She felt great compassion and love for her biological mother, as well as gratitude that she had allowed her to live. The speaker said that she still felt a bit adrift not knowing who her biological father was, but it didn't matter. Her adoptive father had more than made up for this void.

As I was doing research for this piece I came across this amazing website which has stories from people who had been conceived through rape. It is a real eye opener. http://www.rebeccakiessling.com/Othersconceivedinrape.html

I still feel that in the instance of a rape pregnancy, a woman should do what is best for her. This a traumatic experience that few people can even begin to understand. Such a woman will need a strong support system around her comprised of people who will love and care for her first and foremost, and support her in whatever decision she makes.

When you can put a face to those who could have become an abortion statistic for whatever reason and hear what they have to say, it causes us to look at the issue in a whole new light. I’m not judging or guilt-tripping anyone; it’s just that in light of hearing from those who were products of rape and those who became parents in adverse circumstances, it has just made me look at the whole issue differently.

Monday 2 March 2009

Have seven years passed already!??

It was my niece's 7th birthday on Saturday! Already! I remember when I first saw her aged about 6 weeks old; eyes closed, clutched fists and spindly little legs that were all part of a tiny little body which fit in the crook of my arm. My next memory is of her at a year old. She couldn't walk or talk and needed to be carried everywhere with a continuous eye kept on her.

Fast forward a few years and she is now such a wonderful, confident, independent little girl who loves people, being the centre of attention, all things pink (please note the birthday outfit!)....

...and is a die-hard High School Musical fan! Happy Birthday sweetheart!

Saturday 21 February 2009

On the streets

Hi there, on this very peaceful Sunday morning. Well, Friday night I went out with the team of Street Pastors and we had a really good night. It was the best night I've had by far with this team. We had great conversations with many people. My sister was asking if we were planning to go out every week. On reflection I think we do need more of a regular presence in Brixton. So many people there really just want someone to talk to; some of the stories people shared with us were really touching and very sad. There needs to be a continuous presence there of some kind.

Am still trying to figure out how to work my camera so pardon me if the shots aren't that clear.

Thursday 19 February 2009

London At Night

Shots of iconic London landmarks taken yesterday:

Tower Bridge

The London Mayor's Building

The Gherkin

London Bridge

Wednesday 18 February 2009

Vauxhall at night

Went out for a bite to eat and to test out my camera again last night. The zoom lens is incredible; it can make out images clearly from quite a distance. Very James Bond!

Ok, so it looks like slop, but it was actually quite a nice meal!! It was egg fried rice and ribs in curry sauce at Noodle Noodle in Victoria.

Swanky Riverside apartments right on Vauxhall Bridge. Very expensive!!

The other side of the River

Showing the shops and eateries under the plush apartments using the zoom lens. I'm several hundred feet away taking this shot using the zoom lens. Impressive!

The London Eye at night

Monday 16 February 2009

Pricey Apartments

These apartments in Marylebone Road go for a few million pounds each!!

Playing with my new toy!

Hey guys! Two days after I wrote saying that I hadn't received my camera, it arrived!! Typical! I seriously thought of sending it back on principle as it had not arrived when Amazon had promised it would and I was therefore entitled to a full refund. But I reasoned that I would need a camera at some point anyway and there was no point in cutting off my nose to spite my face.

I was surprised at how tiny the camera was; it for sure will fit into all of my handbags!

So, I took it out today for a test drive. I went to my favourite park, Regent's Park, and took some snaps. Not bad, though I say so myself!

A map showing how huge this park is! It isn't as big as Hyde Park, but it is still one of the biggest in London.

Saturday 14 February 2009

Broken Britain

I don't know if the news has reached your respective corners of the world yet, but for the last few days England has been shocked at the news that a boy, Alfie Patten, has become a father at the age of 13; copy and past the link into your browser to read the whole article and watch the video.


I'm wondering if this chap really is 13 because I personally would say he looks no older than 10 years old. Whatever his age, I feel sorry for him because it is so evident that the enormity of this situation is completely lost on him. His parents are milking it for every penny that they can get, having already netted several thousand pounds since the story broke late last week. Alfie is being tossed to and fro in the media hurricane and no one is looking out for his welfare. This story has been debated in Parliament where speakers are saying it illustrates clearly how broken our society is. To add to this crazy situation, Alfie has to take a DNA test to prove his paternity because two other boys, aged 14 and 16, are claiming they are the father of this baby. One suspects this is purely for financial gain as this is one of the biggest, and therefore one of the most lucrative, stories in England at the moment.

I agree that our society is broken, but it has been broken for decades. With each year that passes there is another crack in the dam of English society that threatens to burst and destroy everything in its path. The world and therefore our immediate societies are changing at breakneck speed leaving in its wake problems and challenges that this nation is ill equipped to deal with.

I'm 36 years old and all I know for sure is what I have witnessed during these years. I trace the decay to when the government took power from the teachers and parents and put it in the hands of the young. The youth of this land get away with all kinds of antisocial behaviour on a daily basis because the poor decisions made in Parliament over the years have made them virtually untouchable. Parents can't correct their children their way, teachers can only give a token reprimand to pupils otherwise they could be charged with abuse. Their hands are tied and the law will not back them to do what is necessary to bring order back into homes and schools. The result has been gangs of feral youth and young adults roaming the streets and causing untold misery to thousands. The law favours the criminal heavily; it would appear that only a foolish person would choose to live within the law. Few people take responsibility for their actions because the law in the main does not hold them accountable for the deliberate decisions that they have made to break it.

England has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the whole of Europe. Why? One of the reasons, and I stress it isn't the ONLY reason, is because for decades pregnant teenagers were immediately given council flats and a whole range of benefits to help them in their new lives as young mums. It is only in the last couple of years that the government has started to clamp down on those who are getting themselves pregnant purely to get their foot on the housing ladder, but I think it is a case of too little too late. I remember when I was unhappy at home and decided to go and apply for a council flat. I was asked a number of questions: was I pregnant or did I have children, was I on drugs, was I in an abusive relationship, etc. When I replied in the negative to these questions and all the others I was asked, I was told I wasn't a priority and would be on the housing waiting list for many years. If I had been pregnant or a law breaker I would have gone to the top of the list.

I could go on and on; the Jamie Bulger case, all the horrifying stories of children being killed at the hands of their parents, binge drinking, crime spiralling out of control, people fleeing the country in terror, etc. But all it would do is make you want to jump off a cliff!! What is needed to restore order and peace in this land is for a few men and women in places of authority with backbone to stand up and say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done AND NOT SEEK TO PLEASE PEOPLE JUST TO BE POPULAR. It will be a lot harder to do it at this stage in our country's history but it CAN be done. This country has a glorious heritage, but the only reason it has one like this is because of the calibre of men and women who were in positions of power who stood for what was right in the face of overwhelming opposition, and sometimes even death. Fortunately, it isn't as drastic as that anymore and with that in mind we must believe for politicians who are of the stock of their political ancestors to step up to the plate and make the much needed changes. England isn't finished with yet, but NOW is the time for those who can turn this country around to do so.

Friday 13 February 2009

25 Random things about me!

1. I love to eat but I hate to cook!
2. I'm the only one in my family who has fillings.
3. I love travelling.
4. I attract a worrying number of insane people!
5. In London I'm often mistaken for someone called Sandra Henderson.
6. In America I'm mistaken for a famous basketballer called Lisa Leslie!
7. My plan is to move to the US in the not too distant future, unless God has other plans!
8. My paternal grandfather was conscripted to fight for England in the 1st World War.
9. I LOVE crime shows, i.e. CSI Vegas and New York, True Crimes, Crime Scene USA, Forensic Detectives etc.
10. Growing up I wanted to be a post man so that I could read everyone's letters.
11. I also wanted to be a bus conductor because I thought that all the money people gave them was theirs to keep!
12. I used to like eating brick dust and chalk.
13. I often don't get the punch line in jokes until months after the fact!
14. I had my one and only fist fight when I was about 9 or 10. I won!!
15. My sisters used to say that I was like Idi Amin, and I would take that as a compliment!
16. I started smoking at 11 to try and fit in with the cool kids, stopped when I was in my twenties.
17. I wanted to be an archaeologist after watching Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom!
18. Wanted to be a croupier after watching a few James Bond movies, but my maths is rubbish!
19. I flew for the first time when I was 19, which was a miracle because I had a fear of heights, water and being in enclosed spaces!! I had been praying hard in the days leading up to the flight because I didn't want to freak out! It worked!
20. I took the Eurostar by mistake and DID freak out! Long embarrassing story!!!
21. Even though I was born and raised in London, America is the only place I have ever felt at home and that is where the bulk of my friends are. I find people here a bit wierd in comparison.
22. January 1st is my favourite day of the whole year.
23. I played baskeball for England when I was 14.
24. I'm a nature baby and LOVE the outdoors. Except for when it is raining, snowing and freezing cold. I guess I'm basically saying I love the sun!
25. Red is my all time favourite colour.

Wednesday 11 February 2009

No camera!!

Sigh!! My camera never arrived, boo hoo!! :-( It was supposed to be delivered into my eager hands on 3rd February, but the day came and went with no camera. At first I thought that they were having problems getting to me with the bad weather that we have had lately. I called Amazon on the 4th to find out what was happening, only to be told that the delivery date had been extended till today. I was sorely tempted to cancel at that point because I only found out this information because I had called them. They had not advised me of any delay to the delivery prior to my enquiry.

I took a deep breath and decided to be mature about it. I agreed to wait until today but said I would cancel if nothing showed up. Well, it is now 4.41pm and there has been no delivery. I called up and cancelled. The chap I spoke to reckons it has got lost in the post. Mmmmmmhhhhhhhmmmm. I'm disappointed because I was really looking forward to getting my new toy. Oh well, I'll have to search elsewhere for a camera now.

Wednesday 4 February 2009

Curiouser and curiouser

I hadn't been to work this week until today due to the bad weather. As I stepped gingerly out of my house for the first time in two days (you wimp, I hear you cry! Yes, I’m a wimp and proud of it LOL!!), the ice crunched beneath my feet with each step I took. I was surprised at how easy it was to walk on it without falling.

I bought my weekly ticket and went to the station to catch the bus that would take me on the first leg of my two hour journey. It went without incident although I noted when I got to Brixton that the journey had taken nearly 30 minutes longer than it normally does.

The second leg of my journey to Oxford Circus took 30 minutes. I knew that I would now be late for work. On the third leg of my journey, I called work at 9am to let them know I would be there in 20 minutes. The line manager answered the phone; when I told her I would be late she asked me if I had spoken to my agency recently. I said that I had spoken to them yesterday to let them know I wouldn’t be in that day. The line manager then said she had spoken to them yesterday saying that that I shouldn’t bother coming in any more. I was surprised at this, but secretly happy. She said it was bad of the agency not to have told me this, but she would fill me in when I got to work. I was not impressed with this shabby treatment.

I called my agency but kept missing the person I wanted to speak to. While on another call I heard my other phone ringing. I didn’t look at it as I figured the person would leave a message. When I finished the call I was on I switched my attention to the other phone. It was from my agency; I listened to a rather frantic message from the lady who was handling my account saying that she had left a message for me yesterday on my voicemail saying that the contract had been terminated as there wasn't enough work for me to do, or something like that. She said that she hoped that I wasn’t on my way to work.

In retrospect, I can see that this woman was trying to cover herself. She did not leave any such message for me on my phone. She never called me; I think it was the call from the line manager that jogged her memory to the fact that she hadn’t passed the message on yesterday.

I eventually spoke to the lady in question at the agency. She told me that because the professor who I was working for had changed how he works, e.g. he now checked his own emails, there wasn’t a lot for me to do and so therefore there was no point in being there any longer. She said that she had left a message on my voicemail, to which I replied there was no message on my phone. She didn’t challenge that and said she had probably called someone else, although she thought it had been my voicemail. She said it wasn't anything that I had or hadn't done which resulted in the termination of the contract. She told me there was another job available, a junior PA post in central London. I wasn’t happy with this as she knows I am a senior PA, but because of the current climate I swallowed my pride and told her to put my CV forward for consideration.

I eventually got to the place where I worked. The line manager came out and said she was sorry I’d had a long trek in for nothing. She again stated she thought it was bad that the agency hadn’t told me; she also made mention of the fact that they hadn’t told her yesterday that I had called them to say that I wasn’t going to be in. She repeated the same story that the agency had given me, namely that the boss' work habits had changed and this meant that another my post wasn’t required. I couldn’t shift the feeling that neither she nor the agency were telling me the truth, but I really couldn’t care less. I was relieved that I wasn’t going to be working there anymore. I took my things from my desk, said goodbye and with that I left.

I really don’t want to work for people anymore, but until I nail down exactly what I want to do, it’s the way it’s going to have to be for now.

I told you – I’m a weirdo magnet. I think I’ve met enough weird people and had enough strange encounters to be due a break now!!

So, how was YOUR day?

Monday 2 February 2009

What happens in London when it snows?

Greetings on this snowy morning! What a difference a few hours make! On my way home from church yesterday, there was a very light dusting of snow crystals on the ground that were blowing around like fine dust in the strong wind. I've woken up this morning to discover that the whole of London is paralysed because we are totally snowed under. There must be at least eight inches of snow outside our front door. No trains or buses are running AT ALL so I am unable to go to work today (which I'm really sad about even though I'm smiling, lol!!). There are only a handful of cars on the road. Central London is shut, nothing can go in or out. I've just checked the website for my nephew's school and discovered it is closed due to the severe weather so he is staying home. After some persuasion my sister had decided not to go to work, as the conditions really are hazardous. The news reports have said that this is the heaviest snow we have had since 1991. I wish I had my camera so that I could show you. But I've attached a couple of pictures to show you what London looks like, but they really don't do justice to the scenes in the city. I have a feeling that delivery service won't be venturing out to deliver my brand new toy today, boo hoo!! :-(

It tends to be worse outside London, so they are probably buried, almost literally, under a few feet of snow. I don't know if it is going to get worse or better but I will keep you posted! Enjoy your day today!

Sunday 1 February 2009


Today in church a young couple announced that they had got engaged. I was pleased for them and clapped and cheered along with everyone else at the news. Afterwards I got to thinking about how fascinating life is.

We never know what each day is going to bring. In February of last year this couple didn't know the other existed. They were both getting on with their lives and doing their thing, never dreaming that in August of that year their paths would cross and their lives would be forever changed. On the morning of the day they first met, it no doubt seemed to them to be a day like any other. They got up as they normally did, showered, dressed and went about their daily lives, not realising that day was very different indeed; it was a day like no other for on that day they would meet the one they would spend the rest of their lives with.

I recall in August or October of last year I was at a lunch with the young lady in question. She told me that she was helping plan her younger sister's wedding. She was happy but sad at the changes that would bring into their lives. She is very close to her sister and the thought of that relationship changing was difficult for her to digest, not realising that in 5 or 6 months time she would be planning her own wedding and would be moving to Italy!

Each day is brimming with endless possibilities and life changing experiences. That is why January 1st is my favourite day of the whole year. The year stretches ahead of us like a blank canvas waiting for our daily lives to draw a picture on it. It reminds me of when snow would fall overnight and there wouldn’t be a single mark or foot print on the fresh white powder, it was untouched. We have absolutely no idea what to expect from each day. In some ways that is terrifying, in other ways it’s electrifying. We have eleven month’s worth of opportunities and experiences waiting for us. Isn’t that great!

That notwithstanding though, I have come to realise that life isn’t something that happens to you; we have a huge hand in shaping the type of lives that we end up living. My attitude previously was to sit back and expect things to come to me. But I know now that I have to get up and invest my life in a variety of different ways in order to reap a return/harvest. Harvest time will only come for those farmers who sowed seed in the first place. The farmer who doesn’t sow seed doesn’t go out expecting to see anything growing in his fields. There are four main investments I plan to make this year:

1) In my relationship with God by applying the teachings of the bible to my life and spending more time asking God to help me understand who He really is, not who I think He is.
2) In people; I want to spend more time building relationships of all types.
3) In my writing.
4)In myself.

I know that as I diligently and consistently ‘sow’ this seed, I will be amazed at the ‘harvest’ I reap! How exciting!

Saturday 31 January 2009

New toy on the way!

My camera has been dispatched and is finally on its way to me!! I love getting new gadgets! Now I will be able to take my own pictures and post on here. I asked a guy who is really into photography what camera I should get. I was thinking about one of those silver ones that every one has that can fit into a handbag. But oh no! This chap had other ideas. He told me to get the one in the picture. Apparently it isn't as big and bulky as it looks; I hope not because I plan to take it around with me a lot. Well, that will be something to look forward to next week!

I could get used to this!

My sister and I have just got back home from visiting the spa. I must admit I really enjoyed it.

I didn't really know what to expect as neither one of us had ever been to one before, but having watched all the episodes in 'Friends' where Phoebe worked in a spa, I figured I had it pretty much sussed; which I did!! LOL!

The room was very tranquil. The walls and floor were a warm beige colour. There were scented candles on the dresser where a lot of the products were kept, There was a massage table with a cut out for your face to go through, just like in Phoebe's spa! On the counter, playing so softly that you almost had to strain to hear, was the CD 'Rockferry' by Duffy. Just in case I wasn't relaxed enough, before she began my session, the lady attending to me turned the lights down even lower than what they were.

I had a neck and back massage first. To be perfectly honest it made no difference but I guess it was relaxing. Then I had my face pampered with cleansers and scrubs. After the lady had put some pads soaked in some treatment on my eyes she started to massage my feet.

After a few moments I was startled by what I thought was snoring. I reasoned that I couldn't have fallen asleep so I shrugged it off. It happened again; I shrugged it off once more. But by the fourth incident I knew my ears were not deceiving me: I HAD drifted off to sleep!! And was snoring!!!!!!! IN PUBLIC!!!!!!!!!!!! I apologised to the lady in embarrassment but she laughed it off. When I told my sister later on what had happened she said that the lady who was giving her her treatments told her that people fall asleep all the time during sessions! It really is amazing!

Anyway, all too soon it was over. My lady finished off my feet with a moisturiser, washed off whatever she had put on my face, applied a lotion and then we were done. I could have easily gone through another hour of such pampering. I’m not surprised the stars love it so much! I may have found a new habit to indulge in this year!

Friday 30 January 2009

What's the deal?

Greetings people! Hope your week has been great!!

Mine has been a bit strange. The people I work with are definitely odd. At first I thought it was just awkwardness on their part as I was the new girl on the block. Then I thought maybe I was giving off unfriendly vibes, which in my heart I knew I wasn't but I was seeking to find an explanation for their awkwardness with me. After crossing off these things, I've seen for sure that the people I work with are definitely avoiding connecting with me.

I'm a very open, embracing person. I love people and will talk to anyone. I have been friendly and courteous, but I have been made to feel a fish out of water. The person I am actually supposed to be working for has made no attempt to speak to me whatsoever apart from an irritated conversation today about where the cab booked to take him to a meeting was parked. Normally he just walks into our office and talks to the other two women and says nothing to me at all. On a couple of occasions he has waved to me through his office door, which I find peculiar, but that is it. Two other guys completely ignore me. One comes in and hi-fives the other two ladies and totally ignores me. Even when I asked his name he responded only to tell me his name and then continued with his conversation; he didn't bother to ask my name. That one word answer has been the only thing he has said to me in the nine days I've been there.

Today the boss, upon discovering I had chocolate biscuits said "I've totally changed my opinion of you." His PA who is my line manager expressed similar sentiment, saying that since she discovered that we had the same taste in certain things, she too feels differently about me, i.e. these episodes changed the way they saw me; it made me better in their eyes. And no, they weren't totally joking. It is the strangest situation I've ever been in but I'm not letting them affect me. I think it is bizarre for people of their calibre to behave this way. Never mind; I'm not going to stay there long. I'm working on finding a weirdo-free placement!! Will let you know how it goes.

Wednesday 28 January 2009

Here we go again!

Well good morning folks! This morning I took the train to work; as I was approaching my platform I saw a familiar sign on schedule board that I hadn't seen for a long time: train delayed.

I chuckled to myself as I recalled the days of travelling on the Silverlink Rail service 2 years ago, quite possibly the worst train line in the whole of England. I've lost count of how many times the train was cancelled or delayed, in some instances the train was delayed by as much as 50 minutes.

One particular journey was so bad that I vowed to never use the service again. The train pulled into the station late, as per usual, and by this time the platform was thronging with people. We all fought, shoved and squeezed our way on the train and after about two minutes the doors shut. I was holding onto one of the bars that was at eye level for support and some unfortunate soul was wedged in my armpit. Fortunately for them my armpits were deodorised....as they are every morning I hasten to add!!

I could feel a variety of body parts squashed firmly into mine. I tried not to think about which parts they were as the train pulled away from the station. As far as the eye could see on my carriage there were people crammed into every available space. There were more people standing up than there were seated; I think I stopped counting after 100. You could hardly breathe. It was so bad that if the train had crashed we would all have died standing up! If I could have manoeuvred my hands to my phone I would have taken a picture of the sight and sent it to a national paper.

If animals were transported that way there would have been a national outcry with immediate remedies being drafted up in Parliament. But for Silverlink passengers, pfffffft, forget about it. Although that episode was the worst case of overcrowding I'd experienced on that line, it was pretty much standard fare.

As I waited on the platform today wondering what would happen, the train rolled up. It only had three carriages with possibly 200 people to get on. Yep, it was pretty similar to my experience 2 years ago; it all came flooding back to me. After one stop the congestion eased a bit. When I got to my stop I chuckled to myself and shook my head. Some things never change! I'd better steel myself as this is the way I will be travelling to work for the next few months or so!

Monday 26 January 2009

New Career?

Never one NOT to act on impulse, I've booked myself onto a Life Coaching course for two days next month. I do love helping people. Funnily enough, once upon a time I could see myself as a counsellor, until I realised that as a counsellor you cannot tell people what to do. You have to help them find the answers themselves, which, depending upon the emotional/psychological state the client arrives at your door, may not always be possible at worst and extremely difficult at best. I prefer to make suggestions or give people examples of what has happened when other people have done the things I've suggested. I can see it now: sitting in my own comfy, spacious office with a steady stream of clients who I successfully help find their path. Counselling, listening and giving sound advice is one of my strengths so let's see if I can make a career out of it! Will keep you posted!


I've been thinking about my father a bit today. He passed away at 12.30pm on September 6th 2007. My family and I have been coping very well with it; I was concerned at the time that I didn't really cry about his death. I haven't cried for more than 20 minutes all told. Maybe because I'd had a little while to prepare for it, or maybe I don't really know how to grieve. Maybe I was in denial, because the whole thing seemed so unreal that I didn't believe my father would die from his illness. I don't know. In any case when I've thought about him today, tears have pricked my eyes.

Nothing triggers the memories really. They just come from out of nowhere of their own accord. I know people grieve in different ways, but I do wonder if I've repressed my emotions concerning my father's passing and other horrible events in my life, or if my emotions are frozen. I picture an emotional dam on the inside that is straining at the boundaries that is going to burst at any moment. I'm sure it will happen at some point and to be honest, I'm looking forward to it. It will be a complete release of every repressed/frozen/denied emotion that may be inside me. It will be very freeing, liberating in fact, and I believe it will help in closing certain chapters of my life for good.

Sunday 25 January 2009

Violence, violence everywhere

Today I witnessed two acts of violence. On the bus en route to church, three people got on a few stops from where I needed to alight. There was a guy who was cussing like crazy, every second word was a swear word. At first it was quite muted then he started to raise his voice. The guy was English and was racially abusing an eastern European couple. The eastern European guy got fed up and began to swear back at the English man. After the European guy threatened to shut the English guy up if he didn't stop, they both stood to their feet. Then as they sat down the English guy threw a punch and a fight broke out. It was over in a few seconds, but then they were on their feet again after the English guy accused the other man of spitting at him and more punches were thrown. They had each other in a head lock for ages. When they let go of each other the eastern European guy had a bloody nose. His girlfriend pleaded with him to let it go, but he was livid. I spent some time with them after we all got of the bus to make sure they were OK. I urged them to go to the police but they refused as they felt that the police would side with the English man as they were foreigners. It was sad; they were such a sweet couple.

The second incident was on my way home from church. There was a young man trying to make a U-turn in the middle of the road. He was completing his first turn when another car drove in to his space blocking his path as he tried to make his second turn. The young driver ended up driving into the pavement. The young man corrected himself and eventually completed his turn, the older guy who practically drove into him called out something. The young guy made an obscene gesture with his hand and the older guy obviously said something in return, because the young man got out of his car and threw something full force at the older guy's side window. It didn't smash but it may have cracked; I couldn't see. I really can see why people are leaving England by the boatload. It's getting worse.

What is the real issue?

So, Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States. On the day that he won, I was in a state of shock and elation the whole day. The enormity of the occasion as well as the daunting task that lay ahead for the then President-elect Obama penetrated deeper into my mind as the day progressed. Every people group across the globe are pinning the fulfilment of their hopes and dreams of a better world on him; he will be expected to straighten out the economy of the US and assist with stabilising the global economy; he is expected to bring an end to the war in Iraq, close Guantanamo bay, sort out the war in Gaza, keep an eye on Pakistan and Iran’s Uranium purchase; the list goes on and on. Not to mention the very real threat of assassination by those who did not want to see him take office in the first place.

It dawned on me that quite possibly, in the history of mankind, no one individual has had more expected of them than President Obama. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think even Nelson Mandela was under this amount of scrutiny and pressure when he became the first black President of South Africa all those years ago, another incredibly moving occasion. Maybe he was; but in the post 9/11 era, there are threats and dangers today that didn’t exist in the Nineties so things are radically different for this new president.

Since President Obama’s victory, I have found the most bitter and extreme displeasure to this event in the once place I never expected to find it – the church.

There are those who are considered leaders and prophets of the Christian church as a whole, such as Dutch Sheets, who have gone on record as saying President Obama’s victory was not God’s desire, while others have stated that he is the anti-Christ spoken of in the Book of Revelation in the bible. They have taken this from Revelations 13, in which a charismatic figure has the whole world following after him for a period of time.

Now don’t get me wrong, I understand if Republicans are upset that a Democrat won the election and it goes no deeper than that. The church by and large is Republican. But from the conversations I have had and read, I don’t think that the issues people have with the president is solely his political affiliation. Google Barack Obama and the church or Barack Obama and Christians and see what you think.

I’m a Christian and whilst I don’t know the bible like the back of my hand, I know it says about leaders. Speaking to the church in the book of Titus chapter 3 verses 1 and 2, Paul the Apostle says this:
“Remind them (Christians) to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men”.

Again it says in the book of Romans Chapter 1 verse 1 to 7:
“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God” (bold script mine).

And lastly in the book of Timothy it says:
“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority (bold script mine), that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth”. (1 Timothy 2:1-4).

Such is their contempt towards this new president that some of those who are classified as prophets and Christian leaders to the nations seem to have ‘forgotten’ these scriptures. Why is President Obama exempt from the explicit mandates above as far as some of them are concerned?

I believe that God uses the right tool for the job, and this new administration is one of the tools He is using to bring to the forefront things in the church that had previously been hidden beneath smiles and “Christianese” i.e. religious sounding language. Whatever we think of the President and his stance on certain issues, we are called to pray for him and his administration. If there are things that we do not like, pray, God will hear and do as He sees fit. It is not the role of anyone, irrespective of the position they hold in various circles, to damn a leader/politician simply because they do not like them personally.

What everyone must realise is that this new administration is made of up of people who won’t always get things right, who will make mistakes and sometimes do things we don’t like. The fact someone is a hugely popular choice for a leader does not mean they are in league with Satan! It simply means that people are desperate for change and they chose the party that for them best represented that.

When all is said and done, whether we believe it or not, God is in control. He knew this day would come and He knows what He has created President Obama to do in this hour of our history. Let us not lose sight of that.

Tuesday 20 January 2009

Whatever happened to romance?????

Ok, we've already established that I am a very tall female. But what we don't seem to have established is that I am also a woman; one who has feelings, emotions and just like the rest of the red-blooded female global population, I dream of having a relationship with a man who likes/loves me for me. Not my height, not my looks, but for my heart, my character and personality.

So far, this desire of mine is the equivalent of looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! I'm a magnet for all types of very strange men. I call myself The Weirdo Magnet. I never attract sane, normal men. What is the deal here??? For example, tonight I logged on to Facebook and found an email with the following message:

"i am nick, a 5ft10 bloke i like tall women so how tall r and do you have big feet if so what size. I wish you happiness and prosperity."
What type of message is that to leave in the inbox of a total stranger??? I have no clue who this guy is!

But he is at the saner end of madness. I've had an email from a guy who asked me if I would be willing to step on his face!! A little off his game this guy, isn't he???

Yesterday one of my Facebook buddies and I had a long conversation. Just as I was starting to become interested and daring to allow myself to believe that this could be a guy worth knowing, he drops a major clanger. During our conversation he asked me what origin I was as my surname is unusual. I told him it was Nigerian. He then proceeded to tell me that he loved African women (he is German) because they can cook, look good and the sex is great. Not exactly the right way to woo me, or to convince me to have a relationship with him!
I've had guys who have asked me to meet up with them for a drink, and when I've got there, it turns out all they wanted to see was whether or not I was as tall as I'd said. The conversation then never shifts from questions about my height, the size of my feet and hands and the height of previous boyfriends!

I'm not being pompous or presumptuous but I think know how famous people feel about people wanting to date them. You always wonder what their motivation is; why do they want to be with you? Do they want to be with you or is it something else they're after?

Where have all the good guys gone!? Why have they been replaced with these strange creatures I encounter all the time!? Why do I attract these types of guys?

Monday 19 January 2009

I've got a job!!

Well, after a hiccup on Friday, I finally had my interview for an administrative role. The interview was not intense at all. They just wanted to know whether or not I was serious enough about my writing for it to take off and see me becoming the next J.K. Rowling. I assured them that this wasn't the case at the moment! I haven't had an article published yet although I would like to see myself published this year.

I start tomorrow! It is an ongoing assignment which will hopefully last for a year. I really need the money at the moment while I am figuring out what to do. It is a long way to travel from where I live, a bit of a planes, trains and automobiles affair, but in this current climate anyone who has a job should be grateful!! Will keep you posted on what happens.

Wednesday 7 January 2009

Where did I get them from?

My nephew thinks I'm a pencil thief; he believes that I am systematically depleting his stock of supplies. Every time he sees me with a new pencil or pen he wails: "that's mine!" just as he did moments ago to the point of tears. I hotly denied that my pencil was his, it was mine as I had found it in my room. Just like the other ones. But then on reflection I have no idea how I have acquired the pens and pencils that I have as I have no recollection of buying them, but I have a little tub partially filled with all types of stationery. Hmm, could I have a problem? Am I an unconscious kleptomaniac with a particular weakness for children's pens and pencils?

To be continued.......

Monday 5 January 2009


When I woke up this morning I discovered that snow had fallen. It had pretty much disappeared from around here by lunch time. I'm so glad I'm not working today!!!

Sunday 4 January 2009

It takes a whole village to raise a child. Oh really?

Superstar rapper Nellie found himself embroiled in controversy last year for telling parents to “raise your own kids.” Nellie made this statement after years of heavy criticism for being a poor role model because of the saucy lyrical content of his music and the misogynistic flavour of his videos, particularly the video for his song “Tip Drill”. In an interview with the Voice Newspaper, a publication aimed at the Afro-Caribbean community in England, he said:

“Back in the day, our parents took responsibility (for raising their children) and I’m doing the same. I’m not gonna leave it to Lil Wayne, or Jeezy or Amy Winehouse to raise my kids. I love those artists but it’s not their job to raise my kids. That’s my job. I’m sure this isn’t a new theory, so how about we just raise our kids? How about that?”

While I don’t really like Nellie’s music nor the lyrics of many other musicians of all genres, I have to say a hearty AMEN. I am SO fed with people holding those in the public eye largely responsible for the moral decay in our societies.

Celebrities DID NOT sign up to parent everybody’s children. They signed up for the chance to live their dream. The general public and papparazzi may automatically confer upon them the responsibility of moral guardians for the nations, but that does NOT mean that they can be or should be.

I have listened to many heated televised debates on the roles that public figures play in negatively influencing culture, particularly youth culture. The debate usually ends with the public figures being confirmed as the villains and the host trying to elicit some sort of promise that said villains will clean up their acts in future as they are role models for our youth. The majority of people hosting these debates are highly educated and intelligent people, so I am always surprised that no one asks the one question which, for me, is very obvious: why aren’t the parents the role models for their children?

Why is the influence of famous people on these children far greater than the influence of their parents? For me this is the question that needs to be answered. Excluding those who became pregnant through violation, every person/couple who has children chose to do so, therefore they are responsible for ensuring their children are raised correctly, not actors, rappers and sports stars. It seems to me that those who are pointing the finger at public figures for their children’s behaviour are simply looking to lay the blame for their own shortcomings as parents at someone else’s door.

There are many factors that contribute to anti-social behaviour and one of those factors is choice. We forget that the youth of whom we are speaking have chosen to do the things they have done. Little or no influence was needed.

Long gone are the days when grownups could reprimand a youth and expect to be listened to. Over the last few years in England the papers have reported with alarming regularity the murders of men, women and young adults who been killed while stepping in to challenge or speak to people who were behaving in an antisocial manner. The parents have shown little concern about the heinous acts of their offspring. In one shocking case the grandmother of a teenage boy found guilty of murdering a have-a-go-hero said that person who died “deserved it. He should have minded his own business.” When the situation hasn’t gone as far as murder, people have been verbally and sometimes physically abused for trying to correct wayward children and youth. Their parents did not take kindly to other “villagers” helping them to raise their child.

I grew up in a ultra strict household. We weren’t allowed to do many of the things that our peers did. In hindsight I can see that it was my parents’ way of trying to protect us, but to my siblings and I it could be a pretty hellish existence at times. My way of escape was to lose myself in books and films. However, I knew the difference between fantasy and reality. The things I read and watched were fantasy; the reality was that I lived in my parents’ house and if I had pulled some of the stunts that my heroines had I would have been in serious trouble!!! Even though I wasn’t allowed, I knew that I could pretty much read and watch anything I wanted and not run out and copy what I had seen and read. Why? Because my parents, as strict as they were, were the role models for me; it didn't matter what other people were doing, I knew not to copy them if it was different to what my parents had taught me.

Society needs to get back to a place where individuals take responsibility for their behaviour. We are responsible for the things that we do and the choices that we make. If, as is very evident in England at least, parents do not want others correcting their children and do not want them to be influenced by what they perceive as negative cultures, then it is up to those parents to step fully into the breach using every means available to them to raise their young men and women to be responsible, law abiding individuals. Because at the end of the day, they alone will give an account for how their children were brought up. No one else.

Friday 2 January 2009


I ventured outside today, the first time I had done so since December 30th. It was cold but not as cold as it was on New Year’s Eve. Mercifully the sky, while cloudy was not overcast. It had the promise of being brighter later on. As I turned right out of my street I saw my bus coming so I ran for it. I jumped on and ran upstairs. The guy sitting in front of me stared at me full in the face for a few seconds longer than I felt was polite. I let it go and looked out of the window.

A few minutes later, the guy turned round and started talking to me. It turns out he had seen me in the Norwood area a few times. I can’t remember his name although he did tell me, and I can’t remember what his country of origin was, although he told me that too. Considering that as a trained journalist I am supposed to be hot on details, my memory is shocking!!

As we got chatting he shared his story with me. He had just broken up with his girlfriend of nine years as she had felt he’d outlived his usefulness. After commiserating with him, we got to discussing what we wanted to do with our lives. We were both in the process of making plans to emigrate to other countries for pretty much the same reasons: the people here are unfriendly, to have a better work/life balance and to escape this bone chilling cold weather!!

I recalled all the other conversations I’d had with people over the years who were leaving London for other parts of the world. Of the people I had spoken to, there were only two reasons people were leaving: the coldness of the people here and the level of violent crime. Only one person gave crime as her reason for emigrating.

People are leaving England in droves for a myriad of reasons. Of this group increasing numbers of British people are packing up their families and leaving in search of a different type of life. In the current economic climate, those who originally came to London to work are also having to return home to as they have lost their jobs and are unable to find anything else.

A report in the online Daily Telegraph in April 2008 said that last year, 207,000 British citizens left the UK permanently, but this isn’t necessarily a definitive figure. Even allowing for that, people are leaving and going to other countries, particularly Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Europe; apparently, eight out of every 100 move to the US. I’ll soon be in that number!!

It is sad though how the country has deteriorated over the last 20 years or so. As bad as things are right now, I do believe that England can be turned around; with the right government, a major overhaul of all of the public services, laws and the healthcare system then the country has a fighting chance of being a great place again. There is a huge amount of work to be done, but it can be done if those in power have the vision and correct strategy to bring it to pass.

Thursday 1 January 2009

Happy New Year!

So, how did you all spend the last few moments of 2008? I'd got myself all ready to go out even though I didn't feel that well. There has been a horrid lurgy sweeping through London and I wasn't sure whether or not I was beginning to catch it. Then I had a flash of wisdom: to check and see what time my last bus home would leave the nearest point that I was planning to go for New Year's celebrations. The lady who I spoke to at London Travel Information informed me that the last bus home would leave at 12.01am!!! I would have had to leave 15 minutes before everything kicked off in order to get my last bus!! You would have thought that those running the bus system in this city would have been a bit smarter than that. It isn't like this is a one off event that they with hindsight could have planned better for; this was New Year's Eve!! It happens EVERY year!! Why arrange for my last bus home to leave while Big Ben had just begun to chime?????

I took this as a sign to stay at home!! As I took of my coat, jacket and hat I recalled my nightmare of when I last spent a New Year's Eve at an event. It took me over five hours to get back home!!! I don't know what it is like in other main cities, but what they do here on New Year's Eve is that they put up an exclusion zone about a mile away from the centre of London as this is where a lot of the activities take place. No form of transportation can get through. On some public transport routes they operate frequent transportation throughout the early hours of New Year’s morning to help get the hundreds of thousands of revellers home, but not on the route I was taking that freezing, rainy New Year's morning a few years ago! It was then I made a resolution to start driving. Uh-huh. See my comment below about my history with New Year’s resolutions!!!

Anyway in the end I stayed in and watch the firework displays on TV. This has proven to be a good choice as I still don't feel very well at the moment; the temperature last night was one degree above freezing, so I definitely would have felt a lot worse than I do at present had I gone out.

So it’s January 1st today and even though I don't believe in New Year's resolutions (my previous attempts at noble actions only ever lasted a few hours maximum!!) I have set myself a list of goals. They are as follows:

To take WAY more risks than I have done to date.
To make a list of everything I desire to do and do at least one thing a week.
To procrastinate less!
To write on my blog daily, even if it is one paragraph I put on there.
To do the things that I really want to do.
To travel to the US this year to see if I really want to live there.

So there you have it folks. I’m going to attempt to turn my blog into a public diary which will keep me on track with my 4th goal. I’m meeting my goals already, how cool!

Speak to you again soon!