Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Do Blue

285/365 Do Blue
Originally uploaded by clogsilk.
For World Arthritis Day, the Arthritis Foundation is encouraging everyone to "Do Blue" today, Tuesday 12 October, from lighting up national landmarks in blue, like Niagara Falls, to wearing blue shoes and other apparel.

World Arthritis Day has been celebrated 1996 by ARI (Arthritis Rheumatism International) first. It is being celebrated each year on October 12th.

The aims of World Arthritis Day are:

To raise awareness of arthritis in all its forms among the medical community, people with arthritis and the general public
To influence public policy by making decision-makers aware of the burden of arthritis and the steps which can be taken to ease it
To ensure all people with arthritis and their caregivers are aware of the vast support network available to them.

I am taking part in this photo-a-day project today in memory of my Nan, who suffered with arthritis for a long time. x

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Aldwych Station Blitz Experience Tour

Mike and I were luck enough to be able to go on one of the tours of Aldwych station that are currently being run as part of a series of commemorative events taking place in London to mark the 70th anniversary of the Blitz. We've both always wanted to have a look around Aldwych station - I moved to London just after it closed in September 1994 so was never able to actually experience it as a working station.

The tours sold out pretty quickly, but some persistence by Mark and Mike in staying on the phones for hours meant we got some tickets. Mark wasn't able to come in the end, but I hope you enjoy looking at the pictures and thanks for getting the tickets!

The queue point
We arrived and queued up with 78 others to go into the station, where we were greeted and had the tour explained to us. We also got the opportunity to visit the toilets (unusual for a tube station to have them!!) and I rather enjoyed this poster:

268/365 Begin Early Shave Yourself!

Air Raid Warden

We were then given our instructions by the air raid warden, who told us off for forgetting to bring our gas masks!

Shelter Manager

It was then on down the 160-step staircase to platform level where the shelter warden explained how we could find a spot on the platform (or the track!) to settle down for the night. Once onto the platform, we moved along four different carriages of a 1938-stock tube train, where actors played out different characters chatting to us about life in the Blitz.

It was all fascinating stuff, and would be brilliant for children, apart from the 160-step spiral staircase down and up. Aldwych has no working lifts so that's the only way in and out, apart from walking up the tracks to Holborn station. I must admit I quite fancied the idea of that, but we didn't need to be evacuated, so walking up the spiral steps it was!

The whole station was decked out in authentic posters - I particularly liked Doctor Carrot and Potato Pete. My only gripe was I would have liked longer to simply wander around at my own pace and really take the station in, but I guess that wasn't really what this was about.

Mike spoke to one of the museum staff afterwards and we got the impression that perhaps there would be more of this sort of event in future, let's hope so!

Once outside we got to look round a restored RT8 bus, which you can see on the picture above. This was a precursor to the Routemaster and remarkably similar all round. All in all a fascinating event, well worth going along to. (Thanks to Mum and Dad for babysitting so we could actually go - definitely not an event suitable for pre-school age children, even though I'm sure James would have loved to sit on the RT8).

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Breastfeeding awareness week

175/365 Breastfeeding awareness week
This week is national breastfeeding awareness week, although if you visit the Department of Health website you'd be forgiven for thinking they'd forgotten. There are loads of benefits to breastfeeding, some of which I'll repeat here!

Breastmilk gives babies all the nutrients they need for the first six months of life and helps protect them from infection and diseases. It also reduces mothers' chances of getting certain diseases later in life.

Breastfeeding also allows you and your baby to get closer - physically and emotionally. So while your child is feeding, the bond between you can grow stronger.

Bottle feeding does not give your baby the same ingredients as breastmilk, which is designed to be easy for your baby to absorb and is perfect to help her grow and develop. Also, bottle feeding doesn't provide protection against infection and diseases.

Breastfeeding helps protect your baby against:

* ear infections
* gastro-intestinal infections
* chest infections
* urine infections
* childhood diabetes
* eczema
* obesity
* asthma.

Breastfeeding helps protect mothers against:

* ovarian cancer
* breast cancer
* weak bones later in life.

Those of you who know me well know that I didn't manage to breastfeed my son James after he was born prematurely and unable to suck. I got no real help and gave up pretty quickly, though I expressed milk for a while.

With Claudia I was pretty determined to succeed, and I'm pleased to say that despite one early wobble we are still going now. She is 22 months old. Of course, according to many people, some of them health professionals, that makes us weird, obscene, disgusting, you name it.

I don't see it like that. I'll admit I never intended to breastfeed much beyond 6 months, I was going back to work for a start. Claudia had other ideas though, and wouldn't take a bottle. So I carried on. And carried on. And carried on. To be honest it's so easy now - she feeds most evenings and some mornings, but not much more than that, that I'm almost inclined to just carry on until she wants to stop. And if that makes me some kind of crazed lentil-knitting hippy, so be it.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Camera Trails course

Jubilee Bridge
Originally uploaded by clogsilk.
I went on a course taking photographs on the South Bank and had a fantastic day out. Mike stayed home with J & C, so I really got to concentrate without any distractions!

Here I am taking photos on the Jubilee Bridge, we started there, then headed along to the Skate Park, Tate Modern and Borough Market.

I really recommend it - Camera Trails limit the numbers to 5, so you really get a lot of attention (and in fact today there were only 3 of us) and they tailor it around what you want to get out of it too.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The leavers

The leavers
Originally uploaded by clogsilk.
So, after just over 11 years, I left my job yesterday! I went on redundancy which has been a long time coming but in the end all happened rather quickly. This photo is of the 6 of us who left on the same day and we shared a leaving do in the local pub.

It was strange in the end, it's been so long coming that I didn't get too emotional, even though at one time I was really angry about what's happened. There just doesn't seem a lot of point getting angry now; time to move on.

I'm going to have a bit of a break I think, then take things from there. I need to catch up on my sleep for a start, given that I've had a non sleeping baby for 18 months and I didn't get loads of sleep during my pregnancy either!

Onwards and upwards!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Oyster PAYG is here!

14/365 Oyster PAYG is here!
Originally uploaded by clogsilk.
This is rather a dull subject and a pretty terrible photo to boot but it's something (sadly) close to my heart. Finally we have Oyster Pay As You Go on National Rail Services in London. It doesn't work perfectly (see Darryl at 853 and Boris Watch for more info), but it does mean that people like me who don't travel into Central London every day can finally use our Oyster cards and (hopefully) not lose out.

No more queuing for a paper ticket in the morning, missing my train in the process! The 'beep' of the Oyster reader at Hither Green station this morning was very satisfying. (See I said it was sad).

Mind you, I'm not convinced all is well with my journey - my walk through Southwark station this evening appeared to cost me the princely sum of £6. Yes, that's £6. Unfortunately it's 48 hours before I can check it out on the Oyster website...

Sunday, January 03, 2010

The famous Newstead lights

The famous Newstead lights
Originally uploaded by clogsilk.
These lights are AMAZING. It has to be the single best house display of Christmas lights I have ever seen in my life. They are just round the corner from where we nearly bought a flat, and only a short hop from where we live now. M took J round them tonight while I waited in the car with C (it was -1 degrees!) J absolutely loved them. Chattered on about them all the way home.

Hope they'll make a return next year so C can enjoy them properly! They must cost a fortune to run though.