Things in my head

The thinkings of a Londoner lost in the mire of Essex

Thursday, February 15, 2007

We don't need no education

or time with parents, or positive relationships, or health and safety, or support from the community. But we do need under age sex, drink and drugs

In the last couple of days Unicef published a report that placed the UK at the bottom of a list of 21 developed nations regarding child well being. It was quite widely reported in the news, and expectedly the government were criticised by the usual suspects as having failed the young people of this country. But the political blame game almost never gets us anywhere, and it's not what I'm interested in. As with most of these sorts of stories, they are used for what political value they may serve and are then discarded. If a report favours the government, they will shout from the rooftops that their policies are working and Britain has never had it so good. If they are negative towards the government then the opposition parties will wade in to the debate, accuse the government as having failed the British public and hope that they have scored some more valuable credibility points with the population.The same thing is true in the media. It was on the front page of the BBC website yesterday, and today there was a little piece focussing on how children in the Netherlands have it so good (they came top of the Unicef report). But is that it?

I couldn't really be bothered less about political points scoring or articles with a clever angle to pitch, particularly in this instance. What this report is saying is that the UK doesn't have the right systems, resources, people, parenting, schooling in place for our children to grow up happy and healthy. The only area that we performed slightly better in was in education, but as David Batty in the Guardian said, "when our children are among the most awkward, lonely, friendless, poor and unhealthy, is it any consolation that they're good at tests?"

So where do we go from here, because we have to go somewhere. It's now impossible to stay where we are. On the one side is the 'kids have got too many rights' brigade. Be tough on them and they'll learn some respect. The recent series 'Brat camp' (which I have to admit to not having watched at all) or 'Bad lads army' would be an example of that sort of thinking. On the other side would be the 'listen to the kids, and let them know that they're important' bunch. Marilyn Manson in Bowling for Columbine opted for this approach when he was asked what he would have done had he been able to speak to Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, the two student who carried out the Columbine Massacre.

But can looking after children be so easily split in to the two debates. Over the past few weeks I've been spending quite a lot of time with a 16 year old boy who has next to no qualifications, and has nowhere to live. He is what it is about. Or the girl who after a year 9 (13-14 year olds) sex education lesson told me that all of the girls in the class had already had sex. The country is in a mess with regards to our children, and a lot of us have invested in trying to look after them. Whether we're working in the health care system, education, justice, religious, whatever, we've spent our time and energy on trying to help young people.

So people, where do you think we can go from here?

Ok, so maybe not bigger, but maybe better

So maybe I jumped the gun a little on the whole 'blogging's back' thing, but we're back in the game now.


Saturday, September 30, 2006

It's back, blogger and better!

Well blogging chums, a new year of blogging is upon us. We've had a nice long break for the summer, but now is the time to get back in to the swing of things blogging wise.

Scriv, Matthews, Victoria and even Joel (see last post)have waded in with some excellent work so far. In fact, I don't think Victoria has ever been so prolific. What can be going on?

Anyhoo, the point of this post is to encourage everyone to start afresh with some new and exciting discussions, rants bits of news etc. Tim Oakes, we need you to step up your game. Now is the time.

So, my question to you is, what do you think the best posts or major topics of discussion could be this year? Ben Brown's increasing blood lust as he senselessly kills more and more people? A journal of Jon's realisation that he is gonna be a daddy, and that means not being a nob? Scriv becoming a militant eco warrior and spending most of the year at her majesties pleasure as a result of throwing his very own home grown eggs at Tony Blair?

The possibilities are endless, so why not brighten our days and blog again?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


I have just seen something so earth shattering, so collosal, so mind blowingly awesome that I had to tell everybody about it:

Joel has just written a new post! Yipee.

Blogging's back in town baby.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Song is True...

We really are going to the chapel and we really are getting married. (Except it's not really a chapel, its a rather large church, so in that respect the song is FALSE).

I thought that I'd let you all know that Vikki and I have got a wedding blog which will keep you up to date with everything regarding the wedding- from the gift list to any piccies that we think are nice. There are also diary bits where Vikki and I will write about weddingey type stuff. It may be a little narcissistic, but humour us, it's our wedding. But we do hope that the wedding blog is fun for you to look at, for those boys who like dreaming of weddings and outfits, and for the girls who like to quickly find the gift list, buy something and get the heck outta' there.

Well that's it. Why don't you go and look at it now. Go on. Go on, go on, go on. Ya will, ya will, ya will, ya will, ya will......

Oh yeah, there's a link to it here

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

What a Weekend!

Well, here they are, some of the pictures from the hotly anticipated, greatly enjoyed Norfolk weekend. The first annual Brum chums trip maybe?

I haven't put all the pictures on yet, but will add more later. I'm sorry there aren't pictures of everyone, some were a bit blurred. But I hope you enjoy them in the slideshow below. I've actually opened up a flickr account and thought that if I share the username and password with you guys, then any of us can add pictures that we want to share. I'll put it in a comment.

Anyways, here's what the Welshy's missed, and what we enjoyed.

Hope you enjoyed it too!


Because of the mad crazy size of the slideshow thing, I've taken it away, but there is a link to all the pictures below:

I'm the link, click on me to see the pictures that I just told you about. Ta.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Bigger is better?

Recently I've been thinking and reading about church. And then I found out that Hannah has written an excellent post about what she's been thinking about church recently. I wasn't sure whether I should carry on writing the post, as I don't want to seem like I'm stealing her thunder, but what I've been thinking about is a little bit different. If any of us end up leading or starting our own church in the future, what would it look like, and would you aim for a big church, or a small one?

What I've been thinking about is the relative merits of big and small churches. Is a big church better than a small church? I work for a church that isn't massive, but is growing, and hopes to be about 1,000 before we think about splitting. But then on the other hand a lot of my friends (you guys) are going to small, kind of cell churches. I can see real positives and negatives in both styles of church, and there's always going to be a certain amount of 'different strokes for different folks', but is one better than the other at all?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The tale of the holiday, the house and the spotted celebrity

For your convenience and reading pleasure, this post will be split in to 3 distinct sections:

Section 1- The house
Section 2- The holiday
Section 3- The results of the 2006 Spot a Stupendous Celebrity Challenge

Section 1- The house

Following the Matthews' lead, I too seem to have acquired a house. I think it's a lovely place. I moved in on Friday the 21st April, and it was a mammouth move if ever there was one. I moved from number 49 to number 43. I didn't even change postcodes!

I don't have a cat (they're rubbish anyway), or a washing machine, but do have a really nice kitchen and garden. And a shower cubicle, and a lovely lounge. Anyway. I really like it, and would love to have any of you come to visit, if you were ever coming to see the sights of Essex and the famous 'Oakwood Hill Estate'. I've got a futon, a sofa bed, and a spare single. Alternatively, one of you could rent a room. I'll give you a good price...

Anyway, here are some pictures from the estate agents thingy to give you a taste. The only key differences are that in the Kitchen, instead of a table (practical), I have a huge table football table (highly impractical). In the lounge, I've got a better sofa, but a more rubbisher rug. Hope you like.

Section 2- The holiday

On Monday the 24th April, a full 2 days after moving in to my new house, I went off on a little vacation with my lovely fiance. We flew to Jackson, Mississippi, and then drove on to the town of Vicksburg. I had a lovely time in Vicksburg, swimming in pools, dining out a casinos on the river, and engaging in a bit of twitching (which, for the less environmentally embracing is ornithology (which for the less etymologically endowed is bird watching)).

After a week in Mississippi we went on a road trip through Georgia and South Carolina to North Carolina where Vikki's dad had a conference. While he was busy talking engineery things, Vikki, her mum and myself made do with sunbathing on the beach, body boarding and twitching (see previous paragraph for definition). Anyhoo, after much too short a time, I had to say goodbye to my fiance and future in-laws and fly fly fly all the way home to Essex land.

I've put some of my photo's on flickr, which is a picture viewing program that's in the sidebar, but I'll put some of my favourites here.

Section 3- The results of the 2006 Spot a Stupendous Celebrity Challenge

Well, the competition has been fierce and there have again been hints of devious goings on, with banned competitors taking part, entrants questioning the validity of other entrants claims and downright silly stories. The panel has convened and made their decisions. For a full list of entries, see the previous post. There is also some explanation to those of you who didn't quite make the grade.

However, I feel that I must point out that the competition was titled spot a celebrity. Not 'know them really well' or 'met my friends dads uncles lama'. So to have brushed past a celebrity counts as much as being born to a celebrity.

There were however many people who did make the grade. So many in fact that I have had to create separate categories for our winners. And fear not, the winner of each section will recieve a prize (if they send me their addresses by email, which can be done in my profile).

So, without further ado, here are the winners of the 2006 Spot a Stupendous Celebrity Challenge

The winner of the Hollywood heavies category is:
CAT- For spotting Al 'say hello to my little friends' Pacino. A cooler hollywood star would be hard to find. Well done.

The prize for the Most famous Christian apart from the Pope award goes to:
JUSTYN and LUKE- Both have stories of meeting Sir Cliff 'devil woman' Richard. There aren't many celebrities who can claim to have had their calendar up in the girls house, but Sir Cliff- little Harry Webb- is one of them

The winner of the Schmoozing with celebrity royalty category is:
LIZ- For your claim of tea with the Queen. However, I did ask for some more information regarding the entry and have not, as yet received any verification as to the stories veracity. More proof as to the truth of this entry is required before a prize can be sent out.

And finally, the Lifetime achievement award goes to:
LUCIE- Special merit for oustanding effort goes to Lucie for a lifetime devoted to the spotting of celebrities. Time doesn't allow me to list the countless celebrities that have crossed Lucies path, so instead I shall merely whet your appetites with a selection of them: Lawrence Llewelyn Bowen, Ruby Wax, Bonny Langford, Bob Holness, Matthew Kelly and been sung to sleep by Captain Birdseye.

Bravo to all the winners. You have done your families proud. Where would the world be without celebrities. And where would the celebrities be without us, their adoring public. God bless celebrities, and God bless you.