Thursday, 25 November 2010

Make some noise to show your respect

Many may already know I support the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, if you’re not sure who Sophie is in 2007 she was a victim of a violent hate crime that took her life. Her mother Sylvia runs the foundation to promote awareness of hate & ignorance and to encourage tolerance for those who are different from you.

As this Friday would have been Sophie's birthday it would be nice to take a minute to remember her. Instead of a minutes silence to show respect Sylvia would like to make it “Make A Noise” day, and has asked if everyone can have a minute of loud noises for Sophie. It’s time to break out your drums, bash things in and sing your heart out, turn it up to 11 and remember Sophie in a way she’d want \m/ If you can record your noise making the foundation and Sylvia would love to hear about it!

A minute of noise for Sophie is a minute of noise against all hate crimes, not just the ones already illegal.

Recent promotion for the foundation have created quite a lot of public support, to continue that support please pass on this message. Comment your ideas I'd love to hear them; I'm going to whack the metal music up to 11 and headbang the whole 60 seconds. Once you’ve recorded your noises send them in to Sylvia here.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Christmas Volunteer

You're bloated, dyspeptic and woozy from all the alcohol and you've just slumped in front of the TV to watch Indiana Jones for the umpteenth time. Discarded toys are a trip hazard and the dishes are stacked up. Oh, and you've been bickering with your relatives all morning. Sound familiar? Welcome to Christmas, which is upon us once again, no matter how hard you try to ignore it.

This year, why not forego the turkey, switch off the TV and do something completely different - such as volunteering? Many of us would admit that we've always thought about volunteering at Christmas, but few have actually done it. Yet research has shown that volunteering your time reduces your blood pressure, improves your social relations, makes you understand people better, and is even associated with decreased depression. It makes a lot of sense. I certainly get a bit of a buzz out of being helpful to others, it's a fair payoff.

This year I hope to work with Crisis who are a charity for the homeless that need extra support at Christmas. They run 9 centres in and around London over the festive period and need over 6000 dedicated volunteers to make it work. If you interested check out their website on general volunteering its very rewarding and worth while. In the past I have worked at council funded Christmas events so try your local council for information on volunteering.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Fuel for the fire

Yesterday we saw extremist Muslims break the 2 minute silence in Central London, with banners holding "British Soldiers Burn In Hell" and the burning of a large symbolic poppy. I'm not trying to stir things but despite this distasteful event it IS a free country and British forces fight to protect that freedom. The spiteful protest got them the publicity they obviously wanted, with news papers and TV stations reporting on it. There were status updates popping up all over facebook stating:

"Today saw Muslims break the 2 minute silence in Central London, with banners holding "British Soldiers Burn In Hell" & the burning of a poppy... If you don't like us English people paying respect for our brave fighters, then you know where the airport is. Disgusting, disrespectful b******s! Copy and paste this if you're British and... proud. R.I.P our brave fighters!"

These type of hard-liners are just like the IRA years ago, they can only achieve their aim by people giving them the publicity they crave. The majority of Muslims in this country are dragged down by the minority of others, like these extremists, which is a shame. I'm sure most indigenous Muslims will be mortified by the actions of a few so lets not tar everyone with the same brush or we risk the same thing happening back. And by that I mean being classed as extreme intolerant right wingers.

Remembrance day is a time of reflection and reverence, if a few who disprove choose to use venom and aggression, dont encourage it. As many of us pay our respects keep in mind the many who are fallen, injured and still serving this country in our armed forces today. Its not about war but sacrifice. Think about the peace they work so hard to protect.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Cold Cat Killer

33 cats have been poisoned by anti freeze in Somerset, in Stogursey and nearby Bridgwater. What kind of pathetic person would maliciously kill peoples beloved pets? I understand that lots of people dislike cats and their roaming can cause trouble for some. In particular they can be condemned for their hunting but they are animals, hunting is their nature and they are innocent animals. It is also true that humans are cruel in their nature but with rational thinking and intelligence they have means to control their behaviour. I hope that authorities can get to the bottom of the mystery soon, I know that If I lived there I'd keep pets safe indoors intill there is a resolution!
Here are the details from the Daily Mail on the story in Somerset. It seems antifreeze is the weapon of choice for cat killers with some similar reports all over the country, Wales and the West Midlands have also had series of kitty murders. Is this intentional killing or just irresponsible storage of the product? One owner Emma Guy is campaigning for bitteran to be added to antifreeze so that animals are repelled from it.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010


While returning home though Stubbylee Park, Bacup on Saturday, 11 August 2007 Sophie Lancaster and Robert Maltby were subjected to a "vicious mob attack". A large group of teenagers assaulted Robert without provocation, when he was knocked unconscious the gang attacked Sophie Lancaster, who was trying to protect him by cradling him in her arms. It was a violent and viscous hate crime instigated solely on the clothes the victims wore. I wrote my thoughts on this crime when 2 main perpetrators and 3 others went to court in 2008.

The Sophie Lancaster Foundation, set up by Sophie's mum Sylvia, works towards awareness of hate crime & prejudice and teaching understanding & respect. Its logo is an acronym of the victims name Stamp Out Prejudice Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere. Recently they released a video depicting this violent crime, it is a beautiful and haunting look on modern life and high lights a disturbing lack of secuirty in our towns.

Today Sylvia Lancaster appeared on the Jeremy Vines show on BBC radio 2 to promote the video and has had a lot of positive feedback, I hope that they can continue the work on awareness. It is not a small scale issue or a unique case (I have been involved in incidents more than once) that needs addressing, too many people are insensitive and ignorant towards this problem. Please take a moment of your day to watch the video, and (possibly) if you feel as I do, share its message with others. Its very haunting and some my find it distressing, I for one will never hear Portishead in the same way again.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


I love to bake and have tried many different recipes, the last 6 months of so I have been modifying recipes to suit and have grown quite good at judging what a mix needs before going in the oven. I've been using basic recipes I have tweaked and made up myself but this week I made up a brand new recipe and it was utterly delicious. Here I can share it with you

  • 40g cocoa
  • 225ml water
  • 100g soft margarine
  • 275g caster sugar or light soft brown sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 190g plain flour
  • 1/4tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 mashed up very ripe bananas

It took a few tries but I think this is the final combination of ingredients *touch wood*. Its a challenge to get these home written recipes right but if you want a perfect set of cupcakes every time try I suggest cheating, I do it often! Try adding 2 large eggs (instead of 3 medium) and 2 mashed bananas to Betty Crockers devils food cake mix :) Die hard baker though I am I can't get enough of Bettys range of cake mixes, they are just so devine!