Race for Life

Today I decided to do something I’ve been meaning to do for some time but never had the courage. I’ve signed up to run a charity race. I wanted to raise funds like so many millions of others, to help find a cure for “the Big C” – that’s cancer in case you’re wondering. The disease that touches someone, somewhere almost daily. I am willing to bet good money that all of you reading this will know someone who has been affected by cancer. It was 1992 when I first heard about non-Hodgkins lymphoma. The man who first uttered those alien words to me was a doctor, who calmly told me that my father had it. “How did he catch it?” “Oh, it’s not catching” he reassured me with a wry smile, deliberately misunderstanding my question to try to ease the tension in the room. 18 months later and despite the best medical treatment in London, my father was dead.
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Sing for Pleasure

Are choirs the new “rock and roll?” Apparently so, due largely to the popularity of Gareth Malone’s reality-TV programmes and his hugely successful hits with the Military Wives’ Choir. Suddenly, choral conductors are the sexy, new darlings of the media, on the covers of magazines and newspapers, lauded by the great and the good. Four-part harmonies are doing it for a nation of music-lovers like never before with choirs springing up everywhere and long-established, choral societies enjoying an unprecedented surge in membership. Can this phenomenon be attributed solely to the efforts of one charismatic, young choirmaster and his fogeyish charms?
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The hand that rocks the cradle also rocks the world

Miriam González Durántez
Copyright: Mumsnet

This was the best quote of the day from Miriam González Durántez, a truly impressive, keynote speaker at the MumsnetBlogFest I attended recently in London.  It might seem a bit of a presumptuous cliche  but if you follow the thought through and realise that humans are shaped from infancy and that those infants might become the decision-makers of the future, it doesn’t seem so far-fetched.  I remembered the words of my independent midwife when I was pregnant with my firstborn: “for the first three years of your child’s life you will be laying down the emotional foundations that will support the rest of its life.” Quite an overwhelming responsibility for any parent.  Continue reading

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Play time or no time?

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A Mum at the school gate asked me when my five-year-old son would be free for a “play date.”  Neither of us had a free slot until Christmas Eve.  I headed off thinking “how and when did play time become so complicated?” When did a run-around in the fresh air after school or playing Lego with a friend require the formality of a diary consultation between parents?  All the more baffling in this case because my son and his friend are in the same class at school and see each other every day.  It’s a sad indictment of the hamster-wheel, busy lifestyle of many families today that some children don’t get to play spontaneously with friends.  Continue reading

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Lady Sybil

Watching an episode of “Downton Abbey” in which Lady Sybil dies from complications following childbirth, made me think how far we have come in all matters relating to women having babies.  I was appalled at how the life and death decisions in Lady Sybil’s case were made by men (her father and her father’s chosen specialist, who then argued with the family GP -another man- over what to do when things started to go wrong.) “That would never happen now” I said to my Mum watching next to me.   Continue reading

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