Charles Darwin and the terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-day

I never thought I’d find myself writing this, but even amazing minds like Charles Darwin know exactly how the rest of us feel.  In an 1861 letter to a friend, he wrote

“But I am very poorly today and very stupid and hate everybody and everything.”

Charles Darwin and the terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-day

Biggin’ up my bike

As part of ‘Big Green Week’, Triodos Bank have been encouraging their customers to ‘Big up their bike’.  I’ve taken up their call and submitted a picture of my beloved two-wheeler to their Facebook page – take a look and see if you can guess which is mine (the caption – revealed when you click on the image – might give it away even if the photograph doesn’t).  You can even ‘like’ my bike while you’re there!!/media/set/?set=a.433687309989736.109683.207111975980605&type=3

Biggin’ up my bike

She gave it all…

In less than four hours since I originally posted this, the total donated to her justgiving page has gone up from £330,000 to over £407,000. It is absolutely amazing and it feels so good to see such an outpouring in tribute an ‘ordinary’ woman, not a celebrity – although clearly the way her death has touched so many people is far beyond ordinary.

The sad death of Claire Squires, a young woman who was running the London Marathon to raise money for the Samaritans, made the news in Britain.  What has now also made the news is that donations to Claire’s JustGiving page have since passed £330,000. It’s an amazing outpouring of goodwill and generosity from the public, a small sign that society is not broken, and hopefully it will provide some comfort to her family and friends at a dark time for them.  Good things can emerge from sadness.

Read more about Claire’s story ( or visit her JustGiving page ( 

She gave her all; what can we do? 

She gave it all…

Written in the stars

I’m going to begin this post with the comment that every person makes before then going on to describe a recent horoscope that they’ve read: I don’t believe in horoscopes, but…. today I heard my stars read out on the radio and it seemed particularly apt.  I know that they always manage to do this by going for statements that are pretty vague, but this one made me sit up and listen.  It seemed to so speak to how I’ve been feeling in the last day or two, and what I’ve been doing, that it spooked me a little.  Maybe I’m just feeling suggestible.  Maybe I’m looking for easy answers to difficult questions, or even simply signs that my thoughts are on the right track.  Whatever the case, I know that the statement made for Cancer really hit home in a way that none of the nine that followed did – and I made sure that I listened hard to the others that were left, just to see if they were vague enough to apply to me too.  They didn’t.  It was quite creepy.  Not that I’m going to be converted to believing in astrology anytime soon.  As Stuart Maconie once put, to take astrology seriously requires two beliefs: one, that the alignment and arrangement of these enormous, great celestial entities mysteriously dictates the path of our lives and two, that the best person to interpret these mysteries of the universe is Russell Grant.

Having said that, here’s what Shelley von Strunckel said anyway (for Cancerians, w/b 15/04/2012):

After a period of unsettling but informative confusion, you`re reviewing elements of your life you`ve accepted unthinkingly. Now that you realise changes are possible, you`re considering your options. This is timely, since between certain arrangements coming to an end and intriguing new ones surfacing, you`ve numerous options, many of them unexpectedly inspiring. Explore them all but take your time over the decision-making process.


Written in the stars

Count Your Blessings

I’m super-duper excited that today is Shrove Tuesday!  My excitement is not about pancakes, but about the fact that today being Shrove Tuesday means that tomorrow is Ash Wednesday – the start of Lent. 

Until last year, I always felt a bit ambiguous about Lent.  The forty days & nights that preceed Easter have no particular significance in terms of Quakerism; the Quaker view that every day is special means that we don’t recognise particular days as ‘holy’ or ‘religious’.  The idea of arbitarily giving something up also seemed like it could end up being a pointless exercise devoid of meaning.  At the same time, the idea of doing something, using the period as a time of reflection, had huge appeal.  But what? 

As I was musing on possible Lent-related activities last year, a leaflet fell out of a magazine (Psychologies, to be precise) and into my lap.  The leaflet was for Christian Aid’s ‘Count Your Blessings’ Lent programme: daily snippets of info & statistics designed to encourage reflection on how blessed we are.  I can honestly say that it changed my life, encouraging a level of gratitude that was far beyond anything I could muster up before. 

I was delighted when I saw that they’re running something similar this year.  I have my leaflet ready & I’m desperate for Lent to begin.  Whether you consider yourself religious or not, I’d encourage anyone to give it a go.  Follow the link in the banner above & see where their Lent journey takes you…

Count Your Blessings

Further to my X Factor rant…

Further to my X Factor rant in my previous post, a friend drew my attention to this article (click on the banner in the post’s title to follow the link).  V interesting & adds another angle to my concerns about exploitation and the media.  Additional point of interest: the person who alerted me to this article is also the person who decided to try the ‘angel train’ concept!

Further to my X Factor rant…