Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Summer fun with the kids

Today was a warm oasis amidst this long wet summer we have been having. Such a glorious day we have had at a local park. One of those long summer days that childhood memories are made. The kids: son, niece and nephew; packed a picnic for them and me and with our simple provisions we set off.

First there was the crazy golf, and then the canoing. Each child with their own canoe, scary at first for 10 year old niece but such a brilliant confidence builder as she learned to master the canoe on the boating pond which was little more than knee deep. The park rangers walked around the pond and assisted those that needed it. Meanwhile, I'm snapping away - thank goodness for digital cameras with almost endless memory cards.

Then our picnic followed by a very long play on the apparatus whilst I lay on the grassy knoll watching them. First the three of them are playing chase and then bit by bit the numbers involved in this game increased until there were about eleven children all playing. My son, possibly the eldest, saying "hi" to new kids and asking them their name and encouraging them to play it was wonderful to watch the co-operation. Children from five to thirteen all playing together. The older ones giving the younger ones a chance. So kind and democratic.

At dinner tonight niece asked each of us what was our favourite bit of the day to which I replied it was sitting on the grass watching and thinking. Thinking about how much the kids had loved the canoes and watching niece mastering hers. Watching the world go by was such a rare pleasure. All sorts of family groups going by. A grandfather waiting by the bin for his charge to finish his ice cream and then whip out his tissue wetting it with his mouth before rubbing vigourously at the child's chin. The child grimacing as all kids do. The three generations of women the youngest of which was not that young had her three young sons with them making four generations out for a summer stroll.

The family playing chase: mum, dad and children. The two young chic women with their impossibly small toy dogs wearing tiny jackets. The Arabic family, of which the three women in their floor length black gowns billowing in the warm breeze carrying a household rug as a picnic blanket. The university students, two of whom had those running stilt thingies and when one of the females in the group put them on then she'd have a bevvy of young males around perhaps on the hope she might fall into their arms!

Happy, smiling people the whole day. Except when a child fell off its bicycle and then a concerned parent would run up and soothe away the tears. No arguing. No fighting. Just an amazing day.

After hours of playing, long after most people had made their way home we headed over to the paddling pond where the children became more wet than they should. But oh so many lovely photos of them. To dry off they ran around the now empty go-kart track pretending to be racing cars, making all the noises and a mock commentary. That was all their idea and I just stood there laughing and laughing.

Such a glorious day and one for the memory banks.

Friday, 13 July 2007

What Mega Mosque? (Abbey Mills)

Emails are circulating drumming up last minute support for a petition to the UK government against a mega mosque to be built near the 2012 London Olympic site with public funding.

It is curious that I have only heard of the petition and nothing at all about the actual plans for this building so I started googling. Pages and pages of venom and anger on forums and noticeboards and blogs. It has taken me quite a while to find anything about any plans so I am logging my findings here. Of note are two articles.

One is from The Times Online dated 27 November 2005:

Giant mosque for 40,000 may be built at London Olympics

And the other is from This Is Local London dated a year later 7 November 2006:

Mega-mosque planning deadline missed

Just to clarify: what had been proposed was a new three storey building that included a mosque, school, library and community facilities. The artists impression from the link above does make it look quite a stunning bit of architecture. It would replace the existing undersized mosque facilities. These were not at any time going to be funded from tax payers money. What is not clear is IF any part of this project is going ahead.

However, if you read the email doing the rounds one would think think that what is being proposed is to be a landmark larger than the Wembley Stadium, being paid for out of our taxes by a Moslem-appeasing Red Ken (Mayor of London). Seems to me that this is an email and petition designed to simply stir things up and create more tension and hatred, especially towards those of the Moslem faith. But of course when put like the email below, it is understandable that there is anger at the thought of any public funds being used in this way when so much else needs fixing or doing.

Normally I just delete such online circulars. I remember I was taken in by one a few years ago and was concerned about whatever it was. Only after I had forwarded it did I then find out it was way out of date and not actually of any help anyway. It had sunk into an Urban Legend which I wonder if this one will as well.

Has the UK gone completely Mad ?

Subject: Vote to scrap the 'Mega Mosque' for which YOU will be paying.

We need to act NOW before it's too late

Don't know if you have heard about this but Ken Livingstone is apparently planning to use tax payer's money to build an enormous mosque costing an estimated £100M in the docklands.

Wouldn't it be better to spend the money on a new hospital or improved transport facilities? Anything but such a scheme as this:
The mosque will be BIGGER THAN ST PAUL'S!!!

The plan is for the mosque to be so big so that people flying in from all over the world for the 2012 Olympics will see it as the biggest landmark in London , bigger than St Pauls, Westminster Abbey or Wembley Stadium.

The vote so far is 56 % in favour. It looks like the Muslim community in the UK is casting its vote in droves, and as usual the British are burying their heads in the sand....
It is an undemocratic use of British Tax payer's money, especially when our Churches that are 100's of years old get no government funding to keep their structures standing, and we are supposedly a Christian Nation.

To vote to 'Scrap the 'Mega-Mosque' please sign the official Government petition in the link below.


After voting, please forward this to as many UK citizens as you can

Addendum: Oh lovely! In closing down my various browser windows I just did a websearch for the name of the person who started this petition. Jill Barham has a blog called English Rose with the tagline: Opposing the Labour Government and the Islamization of this Country. Says it all really.

The (almost) last word goes to Ken Livingstone from 5 April 2007:

Mayor Attacks Mosque Email Campaign

Finally, here is the name of the actual project "Abbey Mills Mosque" who have a website I have only been able to access so far through the Google cache:



Wednesday, 11 July 2007

A jog too far

With the disappearance of Madeleine McCann and the re-interviewing yesterday of one of the alleged suspects I flicked on to the FindMadeleine website this morning hoping to get an update to find Madeleine's father's latest blog entry [copy and pasted as written]:

Latest Update - Gerry's Blog/Diary

Day 68 - 10/07/2007

Kate and I both managed early morning runs today- it is definitely the time of day to it with the high temperatures in the middle of summer. Getting some aerobic exercise certainly helps us feel better physically and psychologically which helps maintain our positive attitude.

The investigation into Madelienes disapperance remains very active and we note that the Portuguese police are conducting a series of interviews today and tomorrow.

Is it really relevant to know that he went jogging on a day when there were important developments?

Why does he often mis-spell his missing daughter's name?

And how is the alleged nearly million GB pounds that has been raised to be used?

The ultimate responsibility for what happened to Madeleine is with whomever took her (though plenty of theories abound that this might not even be the case) but I am so fed up with this supposed dignity of the parents propounded by the McCanns themselves and the UK press when I think there should be a whole lot more humility and humbleness shown because they screwed up big time and left their toddler children unattended, in an unlocked room in a foreign country whilst they went out for dinner. They don't have to spend their time being a public emotional wreck but this behaviour of theirs is bizarre.

Would you walk out your unlocked hotel room and leave your wallet and valuables on the bed?

Further interesting reading:

Mike Hitchen has long been on my blog roll and it was his writings on the subject that alerted me to a different view of what we were being presented

The current affairs forum of the Mirror. What is written on there can be controversial and mad, but some interesting points

This WAS a petition to Leicestershire social services to investigate the child care practises of the family; but it is now abused and just a talking place if you can get through the repetitive messages

This is Madeleine's family's own, official website. I note that it contains no information of substance such as when their daughter disappeared, nor any useful timelines of note for anyone who might have been in the area. It strikes me it is more about raising money...

14 July 2007 Addendum:

Latest Update - Gerry's Blog/Diary

Day 71 - 13/07/2007

[...]Kate and I believe that someone, somewhere knows something about Madleines abduction. The events of recent weeks and the high profile of Madeleine reassure us that when the key piece of information comes in, to any law enforcement agnecy, it will be treated seriously and fed into the inquiry quiickly and actioned.

Typos are one thing, not very good coming from a professional, but it is this continual misspelling of an identity that is so strange. A name is precious and whilst one shouldn't get hung up on the spelling when one is talking about one's own missing child I should think they deserve more care to make sure that at least one spells it correctly. Is Gerry McCann trying to say something psychological here?

Monday, 2 July 2007

Divine Dr Who

The third series has just finished, restoring my faith in the good Doctor. It has been rather good having these strong, clever and brave women as his companion (Rose Tyler and then Martha Jones) but it started to bother me in the last few episodes it seems to be always Martha saving the day. The Doctor had become vulnerable and have many weaknesses. Which is realistic and no bad thing, but there is a bit of a dilemma when he is no longer the powerful creature we expect.

Better than pornography, Dr Who does it for me. I can't remember as a kid ever thinking of fancying Jon Pertwee or Tom Baker, but Christopher Ecclestone and now David Tennant have gotten me, ever so gently, entwined in a magical spell where I am smitten. So to have the character needing to be saved so many times slightly dents the fantasy.

It is important to note, that as an hetrosexual woman I am also attracted to the companion characters in the revived Dr Who. No longer the blonde bimbo, or a bit of fluff as a supporting act to the magician, the companions are hard hitting characters of their own. I love what has been done and, in contrast, can barely name any of the companions from the Dr Who of my childhood.

Last Saturday saw the last in the trilogy from the final series. Oh joy of joys when the Dr "resurrected" and transformed to do the deed only he could do. (Admittedly he couldn't have done it without Martha Jones but at least he went on to do his bit.) The light show and special effects are not lost on me as I hugged myself in joy as the tables turned and the Dr regained his former glory .... and good looks. When David Tennant smiles at Freema Agyeman I can imagine him smiling at me and then there is only him and me in the room and I am so gone!

Such a good twist with Martha finally telling the Dr she was not going to travel with him for the forseeable. The BBC news site has an article which confirms Doctor Who to get extra companion and that Freema will be off shooting some episodes for Torchwood and will miss the first half of Series 4 of Dr Who.

Dr Who

PS. It just gets better! Kylie stars in festive Doctor Who