Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Walking in circles

Sometimes it's nice to go round in circles. This panorama was taken at the bottom of the Pass of the Cattle near Applecross. I really need a new tripod to do this properly but blink at the right time and you don't notice the glitch.

More circular scenery.

I've noticed there are an increasing number of blogs that I nose around these days so I have extended my blog list on the left and will continue to add blogs at the point I realise I'm regularly visiting them. For a recent discovery I was rather taken with the minimalist blogging over at Humdrum, this post in particular pulled me in.

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Sunday, May 21, 2006


I escaped for a while

I have been up in the Highlands experiencing peace, tranquility and the lesser known highland caterpillar, also available in glorious desktop adorning size.

Normal service will be resumed once I've caught up with everything, currently anticipated to be early June. Hopefully.

In the meantime you can always have a wee browse through a few photos from the trip.

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Thursday, May 11, 2006


Somewhere there is a note

It could be on a scrap of paper.

It could be on my computer.

It could be in my Palm.

It contains a burst of inspiration, a moment of clarity. I was going to write about it.

It was going to be fascinating.

But I've lost it.

Instead, I shall mention how much I like coincidence. I love how things can feel meaningful, whilst having no real meaning. Like this....

On a trip to Australia we spent a day at the Northern Territory wildlife park.* Whilst there we saw some fantastic animals and, as you'd expect, a fair number of other visitors including a couple with three rather noisy and boisterous boys in tow. The next day we started the very long drive down the Stuart Highway to Alice Springs and Uluru before flying to Queensland and spending some time in the Daintree Rainforest. We then made our way down the Queensland coast until one day we get a bit lost and end up by the shore at the dead end of a suburban street. We stop, mainly to get our bearings and check the map and another car rolls up.

It was the couple with the 3 kids.

We had travelled about 5000km** in the 3 weeks since we had seen them. We were in a housing estate, beyond some farmland, by mistake. We had a good old chinwag about what we were doing there, and what we'd been doing, and what we were planning on doing. They had also ended up on that street by mistake. It was great.

I love things like that.

* This was a few years ago and there was an ace TV ad for the place, the memory of which still makes me grin. An amazingly chirpy and exuberant Australian saying "You'll never ever know if you never, ever go!". We had to go.

** I have plucked this number out of thin air and a vague memory. I will check it at some point.


Friday, May 05, 2006


Farewell Charles Clarke

Hello John Reid.

Don't let the power go to your head too. Behave please.

I wonder if I should do an updated version of my tribute to Charles Clarke?

Maybe I'll give Mr Reid a week or two first and see how it goes.

Cabinet reshuffle aside I am incredibly impressed at this display of democracy in action.

And from a deluge of messages sent through our Pants Messengers I discover that today is No Pants Day. Blimey.

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Monday, May 01, 2006


In search of equality

Today is Blogging Against Disablism Day. I wasn't sure what I was going to write when I signed up, but a couple of things have popped into my head so.....

... a memory of what happens when you're the wrong kind of statistic. When I worked for a training organisation one of the services offered was advice on finding jobs. Someone turned up at the office one day and said "A friend suggested I come along here. She said you'd help me put a CV together and get some applications out".

Now, everyone who came to us for help was officially referred by other organisations; it was all tied up with how we were funded. I explained this to the woman at the door and asked if she could get referred by the job centre, as she was unemployed.

"Oh I tried that, but they won't help. It doesn't matter to them if I have a job or not".

If you've had dealings with the job centre this will, I'm sure, surprise you. They have targets to meet, boxes to tick. But the woman in question was registered blind, she was getting a disability benefit, and the job centre weren't expected to help her get a job. And because they weren't expected to get her a job, they wouldn't spend any of their time or money trying to help.

We're all different.  And hooray for that.We provided the same help that we provided to hundreds of people each month, but it was all off-the-record and had to be hidden because no-one funding us got a benefit from it. That's just wrong. It wasn't malicious, but it was wrong.

Secondly, a wee observation that I thought I'd share, although I am slightly concerned that not everyone will approve. I think David Blunkett has made one really useful contribution to the world.

No, really.

He might think that civil liberties are 'airy fairy' but he has helped people to realise that people with disabilities are people first and foremost.

There was a time when I, as a slightly wishy washy liberal type, would feel a hint of concern that people would think I was being prejudiced if I called someone with a disability an idiot (let alone the wide and varied selection of rude words I've called Blunkett).

Not anymore.

If I insult Blunkett NO-ONE thinks it's because he has a visual impairment. It's because they know he's a ****.

In its own weird way I think this is a positive thing.

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