Saturday, November 3, 2007

My Daemon

I went on the Golden Compass website (for the forthcoming film adapted from Philip Pullman's trilogy) and completed a questionnaire to find out what my daemon was. According to the books, your daemon is in the form of some kind of animal and is meant to reflect your true personality and nature. In children, the form may change more readily, but as one gets older, it remains the same. Anyway, my friends can comment on my own perception of myself (and therefore the nature of my daemon) by agreeing or disagreeing with some of the statements that reflect my choices in the original questionnaire. You are welcome to go to the link and comment - there are 12 days left for anyone to comment before my daemon settles into its final form.

BTW - I am watching other people's fireworks for free out of the study window and some of them are really lovely. There is the gorgeous smell of home-made naan bread and curry emanating from the kitchen downstairs - mmmmmm.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Catch Up

It's been ages since I've posted on my blog, but I feel it's time to comment. So much has been happening both politically and personally that I seem to have missed. It reminds me of something someone once said to me about 'only people with boring lives write a diary because they are the only ones that have time'. (My partner has just come into the room having treated a mouth ulcer with TCP - I cannot stand the smell! It stinks the whole place out!)

Anyway, where was I? Sensational diaries??? Here's a run down of events:-

Final clinical placement

Lots of travelling, staying away from home, demanding field of work, but a very interesting area and a great learning opportunity with a skilled clinician and good team. (MDT at it's best?!?).

Passed Master's degree!
Finally got results almost a week late (because of the postal strike - see below) but happy to be a newly qualified Speech & Language Therapist. There were times when I really wasn't sure whether I would get through the course, but you just keep going, churning out the work. It's a wonderful achievement and I've learned a lot about myself as well as the subjects I've been studying. Ultimately, it was well worth it, but don't ask me to do anything like it again! (Well, soon, at least!)

Messy but ultimately enjoyable reunion with all those on the course to celebrate getting our results. Partied in Sheffield's finest bars and clubs (?!?!) last Saturday. Stayed out too late, drunk far too much, but hey, I had a great time. Thanks to Helen for providing luxury accommodation and a well received cuppa in the morning! Thank goodness I have such a wonderful partner who let me sleep off my hangover and cooked dinner in the evening!

Back to Work
I recently started a job at the hospital ENT Dept, not as an SLT, but at least in the right area. Anyway, best thing about it is that I cycle in every day. It's only 4.5 miles each way, but I really look forward to it. It was a bit hairy at first cycling through traffic, but I'm getting used to that and I find that I feel really invigorated when I get to work. After a hard day at the office, even though I'm not sat at my desk all day, it is nice to do some physical activity on the way back as a contrast to desk work. It means that when I get home, I've done my exercise for the day. No having to force myself to go out again and go to the gym. And it's free!!! I save around £15 per week on bus fares! I love my bike!!!

Went on demo in Sheffield because it has the largest Karen community in the UK. The Karen community in Burma are not only oppressed, but marginalised in the extreme, with many in refugee camps along the borders. A poignant moment was when the members of this community led the protest calls in their own tongue. The struggle continues - solidarity with the Burmese people and their right to freedom and democracy.

On the issue of Freedom, Democracy and the Right to Protest

The StopTheWar Coalition was initially refused permission under archaic law to march through Parliament Square and areas in the one-mile exclusion zone DESPITE submitting an application. On Monday 8 October, the protesters, determined to exercise their right, gathered regardless. People power won out in the end as it was announced about an hour before the march that the police had done a u-turn on their original decision and it lawfully went ahead. Among those leading the protest (who were prepared to do so unlawfully before the police changed their minds) were Tony Benn and Brian Eno! I had my first day at work on that day, but a massive thank you and well done to everyone who turned up and was prepared to march without permission.

Support the Posties!
Let's get one thing straight about strikes. People strike to hold on to working terms and condition that benefit both them and other workers. I get sick of hearing people moan by saying "get with the real world", "If you don't like it, quit" and "what do you think it is like for the rest of us?". Well, if people supported others merely trying to retain decent wages, final pensions and reasonable working hours and holidays, then it would be harder for bosses to bring about such changes knowing that a) we would fight to retain them and b) victories won by others would mean that too many other sectors had better employment terms with which they would need to compete for staff. Let's not have a race to the bottom of the pile - support any workers and ultimately, you are supporting better conditions for yourself. If only the postal strike was just about pensions and pay, but posties also know that the service being provided will be greatly reduced in the near future. I don't use the Post Office that much, but it's a lifeline to some people and that's enough for me. After all, it is a service first and foremost. And how many private companies delivery to ANYWHERE in the country for the same price? Er, none! Have you seen the cost of private mail?? And just how would they function without the use of Royal Mail's infrastruture? Like any private business, they can come across as efficient because they can externalise costs that are transparent in publicly owned companies. And if the government were so prepared to throw millions of pounds of tax payers money at a private business such as Northern Rock, they how come they can't support a worthwhile service such as Royal Mail, despite it's use by millions of us everyday - and they own this company?!?!?

Trust and Security in Today's Political Climate
Northern Rock - people wondered why so many panicked and queued to withdraw their life savings despite (eventually) receiving government reassurances that their savings were safe. Hmmm - assurances from Gordon Brown who raided the pension fund? With outgoings like utility bills and council tax rising above inflation, wages struggling to meet inflation and pension plan terms and conditions being changed at an alarming rate, can you blame people for not listening and withdrawing what financial security they have???

I think I've finished now. I'm sure there are other things that were important at the time, but there are just a few of my thoughts.

Goodnight! x

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Nelson Mandela Statue

A new statue was unveiled in Parliament Square today of Nelson Mandela. Labour Minister David Milliband ('Nu' Labour Golden Boy) was interviewed on the national news regarding the statue. When asked what he liked about it, he DIDN'T say 'the face of a man bearing the marks of the struggle for freedom and justice, that should inspire us all to aim for the same ideals. No. He said "I like his shirt". Well, there you have it. 27 years in jail, but he never lost his dress sense - thank goodness!

Fortunately, Nelson put it a bit better - "This statue is a beacon of hope. It sends around the world the most powerful of messages: that no injustice can last for ever, that suffering in the cause of freedom will never be in vain, that however long the night of oppression, the dawning of liberty will break through and there is nothing that we, the peoples of the world working together, cannot achieve."

This last sentence echoes a portion of MLK in his famous "I have a dream" speech - "With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day."

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Daily Show

Caught this latest clip on YouTube earlier today. It is extremely funny, but the subject matter is very serious. In an earlier show, Al Gore made the point that in the current corporate media milleu, it seems that we can only get to the truth of the matter through satire. Such comments have particular resonance in relation to this clip.

Ian Brown - "Illegal Attacks"

Pure class from Ian Brown. Well, you wouldn't expect any less really.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Welcome to my blog!

I don't know how much time I will have over the next few weeks to put stuff on here as I am currently finishing off my dissertation and doing my final clinical placement for my masters course, but I hope to make a few worthwhile contributions before that's all done and dusted. As 'Nu' Labour saw fit to strangle the health service of vital funds, I may well be on the dole when I qualify as an allied health professional (speech and language therapist). However, at this time, I will have my blog to occupy me. Well, that and the endless list of hobbies and interests I look forward to pursuing again when I regain my free time after 2 years of hard slog!!!

I am currently writing up the results of my ethnomethodological research. I have used Conversation Analysis to interpret my data. Are you still here??? Don't fall asleep! It's quite interesting when you get into it!!!

Okay, I will try not to talk about that kinda stuff.

Have to go now and get stuff ready as I'm starting a clinical placement tomorrow and I have to get up at 5.00am!!! I will be away from home this week too. Oh, the sacrifices I have made for this course!!! It will all be worth it in the end!?!?! No knowledge is wasted, my partner tells me.

Anyway, love and peace to the Climate Camp Protesters! Well done for keeping your cool and keeping it peaceful despite police harassement and mainstream media misreporting and misrepresentation! Your speakers' comments today about being sick of private profit over environmental concern and 'ordinary' people having to take matters on to avert catastrophe were spot on! So too were the statements that any attempt to prevent their pathway to the BAA offices would constitute protection of corporations above protection of the public. I would have been there if it were not for my dissertation.