I've been challenged to do more about climate change, so I've had a bit of a look into what I *can* do personally. I've looked the following lists:
science/climate-change-global-warming- chad-frischmann-project-drawdown-carbon- dioxide-a8574461.html
Can I distill this into a short list of things I already do, things I can improve on, and things I'm resistant to?( TL,DR )
Overall the message seems to be that the biggest changes you can make are to ditch the car, eat less meat and have fewer kids! Reducing meat consumption it is then!
Mele Kalikimaka - which was introduced to us by our Head Mistress, who I believe was Hawaiian
and the mince pie song, which I can only find in someone's school performance:
Aaliyah's School Mince Pie Song
I couldn't remember the last verse, and since I haven't found them on Google here's the lyrics:
Christmas was a week away
I went out to tea
It was Granny's baking day
and she gave me mince pies 1, 2, 3
I ate them all and I'll tell you why
You get a happy month for each mince pie
I'm sure to be happy for years and years
cos I've got mince pies coming out of my ears
Next day when my auntie came
What a big surprise
In a great big shiny tin
There were lots and lots of hot mince pies
There was nothing left for tea
On the larder shelf
So I thought I'd have a go
And I made some more mince pies myself
Chorus x 2
In response to the full-page ad from Fair-Play for Women in the Metro yesterday a Facebook friend expressed some worries, not quite sure where they should stand on this issue, and mentioning specifically the issue of safe spaces for women. This resulted in a wonderful conversation with someone I've not me before, who described themselves as:
"A really grumpy former domestic violence and women's group worker whose funding was forever under threat."
She had some great examples, which I condensed significantly in response to a conversation I was already having on Twitter:
I shared my tweet back to the Facebook conversation, and got a longer message talking about the issue of women who have experience sexual trauma in particular. My correspondent has kindly agreed I can share:
Secondly, shelters do not work in the way that people seem to think. Shelters do not let just anyone in just when they ask right away. Quite apart from anything else they're frequently full. If it's just occurred to you now that shelters might be useful, maybe consider a donation to women's aid, which would be 100% more useful than policing gender conformity. I can tell you that most women who went through DV have had quite enough of being told what to wear and how to look and that their bodies and how they behave is wrong.
When you leave, your risk is much higher (you are vastly more likely to be killed just after leaving than the other stages plus the ex will threaten any other folks involved plus any children involved), so everyone has to be checked. Because when you go into a shelter, if you're not fully committed to No Contact, which often means leaving your *entire life*, you can end up putting everyone in danger. If you're a current drug or alcohol user, that brings its own risks. If you're bring children, that has a whole host of implications (and your childen can be 16 year old boys who look like men, don't forget). Your leaving plan needs to be assessed, how likely are you to get out safely without being tracked, who can you safely keep in touch with, if anyone. If you're in London, you can't stay in the borough you were in, you have to move to another so it means being passed from your local shelter staff to wherever has space. Shelters are small communities, so it's not just the risk to you that is assessed but the risks you bring to the shelter itself, if that makes sense. Shelter locations are closely guarded secrets. I worked with a women's aid branch for 4 years and never knew whether the actual shelter was.
If you're assessed as too risky in the shelter to the shelter and its inhabitants safety, you won't be offered a place. It's not a perfect system. No risk assessment ever is. There are no perfect safe spaces. They do the best they can. But the notion that "any man can just claim he's a woman and get in" is complete tosh.
All I can say to this is that having so far only skimmed part of it I think it repeats a lot of misconceptions, and I hope that they can be reassured as the consultation concludes that no, allowing people to use a statutory declaration to change their birth certificate (rather than having to go through a Gender Reassignment Panel process) is not going to result in men turning up at the doors of shelters waving their birth certificates demanding access to womens services and using this as a means to perpetrate violence. Those men who were going to turn up violently at the door will still do so either way, and must be treated appropriately, and very much separately from any issues of gender identity.
For Sale - £1000
Bought in February 2014 from the School Run Centre in Cambridge this bike has been well used for 4.5 years in all weathers, and on many surfaces. It's done the childminder, pre-school and school run, as well as countless leisure trips. But now Matthew is moving into Year 1 we have decided it's time to move on and bought a tandem and sadly we don't have space or funds to keep them both, so it is reluctantly for sale.
We're asking £1000. If you're interested please contact me by email (email@example.com) or text message (07791 272131) to arrange a viewing, test ride, or to borrow for a longer test. We're based in Great Shelford, and can arrange to meet you within the Cambridge area.
A bakfiets (literally "box bike") is a cargo bike with a large box at the front, often used for carrying children. This model is made by Bakfiets.nl - a well regarded brand. It is the smaller of their range, being a bit easier to store and a little bit more manoeuvrable. Suitable for up to two children in the box. This particular bike has a black frame, 8 hub gears and a red rain tent - great for all year riding. We've had it regularly serviced at the School Run Centre. This model is currently £1900 new, and the supplied accessories including rain tent would add £300. (Model and price information.)
( Details )
( more images )
I'd like to draw everyone's attention to "In her shoes - The Women of the Eighth". Who can be found on Twitter as @InHerIrishShoes and on Facebook as @RepealTheEighth. I've been reading their stories, and I've found I want to share my own.
I am Irish, but I am not in her shoes.
My dad is from Larne, but when my parents got pregnant at age 18, out of wedlock, it was in England. They could have chosen an abortion, but did not. They are not in her shoes.
When I got pregnant as a student it was in Oxford, I was retaking my final year, having failed the year before, and in a relationship which was being held together by the fear of suicide. But I was in England, and the wonderful NHS could help me with a termination (medical, as a day case - it was before they would let you go home after taking the pills). Here two doctors must agree that to continue the pregnancy would cause more harm to the mother than to terminate it would - but this is almost a formality. I was not in her shoes.
Nearly 20 years later, I was pregnant again, with a much wanted baby. I was lucky, and had a healthy pregnancy with no complications, and a straightforward birth, and I now have a lovely 5 year old boy. But going through that has only cemented in my mind just how *awful* it must be to be forced to go through this for a pregnancy you do not want, with no option but to do so. It made me more pro-choice than ever. And if anything had gone wrong, I know my care would have been foremost. I am not in her shoes.
I salute you all, from over the water, and I pray to all gods that I don't even believe in that you win, and that once you have won we can win the same argument for the women of Northern Ireland too. So that no-one else ever has to be in her shoes.
I'm sure there was absolutely no sniggering at all from COs or former COs of the department.
It is with mixed emotions that I write to inform you that I will be stepping down as Head of Department on 1st August 2018 to take a new role as Pro Vice-Chancellor for Strategy and Planning at the Old Schools.
I would add that this wasn't a decision I took lightly, having agonised for a number of weeks over whether it would be in the best interests of myself and the Department. On balance, however, I concluded that I could best serve both the University and Department as PVC, and I'm now looking forward to continuing to support the Department at an institutional level as the University approaches an exciting period in its development. I'll still remain an active member of Division C and the Department, even though I'll be spending most of my time at the Old Schools.
I should say that I've thoroughly enjoyed the past four years as Head of Department, which have flown-by, and I'm extremely grateful for the widespread support I've received over this entire period. I appreciate that there have been a number of changes during my tenure, and that a number of them are still establishing themselves within the Department. I sincerely hope that we'll feel the long-term benefits of these changes in due course, but, of course, time will tell.
I'm sure you'll give the incoming Head of Department the same level of support you've given me, and I'll continue to return your support in any way I can.
With very best wishes,
DavidDavid A Cardwell FREng
Head of Department
Department of Engineering
I'm a million miles behind keeping abreast with what's going on in my life. I have photos of the Lake District in July, and of the London Eye in February, and all sorts in between, which haven't made it to Facebook yet. I've kinda given up on Blipfoto, and Instagram is doing my head in, and I've been pretty much silent here since the summer, so there's lots I could catch you up on. But right now my brain is almost entirely occupied by the USS pensions dispute. I'd love to produce a really well written blog post about it, why we strike, what's in dispute, my picket experiences, the shocking lack of unionisation in my department and how demoralising that can be, etc etc, but right now here's a thing I wrote off the top of my head on the subject "Why are you striking?". It's neither eloquent nor probably even terribly accurate, but it's what I've got.
There are many reasons I support the strike. Firstly: I am a union member, and my union calls on me to strike, so I do. However I voted in favour of strike action myself, because I was involved in the debate and action during the last round of Pensions cuts. Nothing I saw then convinced me that the deficit was anything but an accounting artefact largely artificially created through the need to use gilts and bonds in order to meet the needs of the Pensions Regulator, and I was disappointed that despite our work to protest this the Final Salary scheme was closed. To have the Career Average being closed only 3 years later, despite good investments returns, is ludicrous. We need to move away from "excessive prudence" and the fear that the sky is going to fall in. We need to get full independent review of the state of the scheme, agreed by both UCU and UUK, and until that is done we need to ensure that no extreme and unnecessary changes are made - and certainly not ones which have such catastrophic outcomes particularly for the most junior and precarious of staff. And finally I am extremely angry that Cambridge University sent in a response to UUK's consultation in September which was so boldly in favour of removing all risk in the scheme from the University at great cost to its members, and without having had chance to even properly consult its own Pensions Working Group. For UUK to make such sweeping changes on the back of this mockery of a consultation is inexcusable. It's not just about my pension (I have 25 years til retirement, so it could still make a big difference to me) but about those who come after me, and whether they can afford to continue to work in this sector.
Friday: train down to Exeter to meet up with Steph and Dad, where we organise ourselves into two cars, and Steph and Dad drove us over to Wortham Manor, where Em and Mum were already settling in. Also joined by Gail and David, and Bob and Doreen for the first few days who mostly did their own thing in the daytime but were lovely company in the evenings and cooked some great meals!
Saturday: Day out to Bude, lots of fun building sandcastles and chasing waves, but cut short by the realisation we'd not bought enough car parking and weren't allowed to extend it.
Sunday: dad accidentally went off with our car seat in his car, so Em and Steph went off to see Launceton Castle while Mike, Matthew and I had a nice walk in the lanes near the house, and found an incredible blackberry patch. Grandad joined us in the evening, and sadly James had to leave us.
Monday: a rainy day, so we headed to the Fairground Heritage Centre near Lifton. I'd have liked a better look at some of the exhibits, but had lots of fun accompanying Izzy and Matthew on the dodgems, Izzy on the ghost train and Izzy and Ollie on the Chariot Racer - which was *very* fast. Chris and Kathryn managed to join us in the later afternoon which was lovely, and very brave of them to stay for tea with the whole clan :)
Tuesday: Mum's birthday. A lovely lunch out (where I learned the skill of *not* calling one of the chairs round the table "special" in front of three children), excellent food, shame about the service. A very late afternoon tea, with cake and scones and sandwiches and fizz, and Mike and I took an evening walk, and found deer and rabbits, but no badgers this year. We got back just before the rain :)
Wednesday: Off to Hidden Valley with Em and Steph and the kids. The Maze was a big hit with all of them, and they enjoyed the Indiana Jones trail and hunting for clues. I think the grown-ups might have quite liked to do some of the harder puzzles too. We also did an immense quantity of blackberry picking which the kids loved, and left more than enough for apple and blackberry crumble. (I fear eventually the rest went in the compost).
Thursday: last full day spent mostly at the beach at Bude again, wave hopping and paddling before a fish and chips lunch, then sandcastles, dam-building and a dip in the sea pool - Oliver very disappointed that it wasn't a *heated* pool. I braved a whole actual length across and back as well as some pottering about, but it really was rather bracing. A quiet evening as Em headed off early, and mum and dad out to Dinner, so Steph and Mike and I fed the kids and then had a somewhat bonkers last meal of fish fingers, burgers, chips, salsa and sour cream and chive dip :)
Sad not to manage to meet up with Kate and Nigel - but an excuse to go visit their cottage next year!
Photos on Flickr: Wortham Manor 2017
I think with the demise of Livejournal I'm going to be aiming to use Flickr as the best option for both hosting and sharing photos, as it's more visible to folk outside Facebook. If you dislike any of the photos just ask and I can make private or take down.
- Test rode an Onderwater tandem, which has the child stoker seat at front - Matthew loved it
- Second parents evening for Matthew's school, nice to see teachers again and get more idea of school plans
- Rainbow Sponsored Trike Ride - I ended up riding Matthew's bike as a balance bike since he didn't want to join in
- Blood tests: my calcium, parathyroid hormone and vitamin D levels are all normal, but keep taking the vitamin D for now
- We did HBA1C as well, which is average blood sugar levels, also fine - I'm at slight risk due to Type 2 diabetes in family and current weight)
- Picnic lunch and playdate with Kirsten/Andre/Judith/Colin and Lammas Land - lots of fun
- Shelford Feast - Matthew enjoyed all the stalls and mini steam train and bouncy castles, I helped out on the Rainbow stall
- Eye Test for Matthew this morning: doing great, patching is helping his eyes work well together, ordered new lenses for his current glasses, next appointment in October half term
- Work appointed one interim head, who only stayed 2 days, and are now appointing again
- The "implementation" phase of Organisational Change is officially complete and we all now in theory have new jobs - but almost no management so not much actual change at the moment
- Total resignations now at 4 (Patrick, James, Stephen, Andrew) with possibility of more to come
Plus assorted bike rides, visits to the park, dyeing hair purple again and so on - and lots of lego :)
Coming up in the near future:
- Collect Matthew's school uniform (I see the school's admin at Pre-School and she's kindly said she'll bring it along for me)
- Early start tomorrow for Rainbow Leavers Trip to Wandlebury
- Rainbow end of term staff party tomorrow evening: as part of the committee I'm involved in helping host it
- Rainbow leaving party on Friday morning - last day of pre-school!
- A week in the lake district starting on Saturday
- Test riding a Circe Helios tandem when we get back
- Folk Festival on Sunday 30th - possibly with Matthew, possibly without
- New Interim Head of IT Group starts (phased in) on 1st August (Hi Julian)
- A week in Devon with family from 4th August - staying at Wortham Manor
In between the two weeks away Matthew will have a week at Hania's - and then when we get back he's got three weeks of holiday club before granny and grandad come to visit the first week in September, and then school starts on the 11th.
I think I know why I'm exhausted :)
* Ensure a woman’s right to choose a safe, legal abortion – and work to extend that right to women in Northern Ireland.
Today I learn that the supreme court has ruled that women from Northern Ireland, who cannot legally access an abortion at home, have no right to an abortion on the NHS if they travel to England. I'm enormously saddened. Having already sent some money to the Red Cross (which I hope they'll use to help the poor people who've just lost their homes and friends and loved ones in the tower fire last night) I've now also sent a small donation to the Abortion Support Network, who help women who need to travel and pay to access something which I would receive for free. I sincerely hope this situation is one which is changed in my lifetime, but with the DUP having a disproportionate amount of power in the UK at the moment I'm not sure I feel like it will be soon.
This isn't something that people should have to rely on charity for.
I've also registered with the University Playscheme, though sadly they won't take children until they've started school, so not until Autumn half term. I'm hoping Hania can have Matthew one week this summer, we're away for two, Mum and Dad are coming down for a few days the first week in September (when school hasn't started properly yet) - which leaves three weeks to cover over the summer. I'm looking at a Super Camps place on Long Road as one possibility, and have contacted the Wacky Club (who do after-school for Shelford in the same building Matthew goes to Rainbow in and may or may not accept pre-school four year olds over the summer). All so very grown up - but he had a lovely couple of days with granny and grandad staying over half term - and did really when with a teenage friend babysitting for him the other week too.
It will be very strange for all of us when he starts school, but I think he'll enjoy it.
The proposed new organisational chart is something like this:
With James, Stephen and Paul being on the same grade, though James is nominally head of IT, and reporting to Philip as part of the department's senior management.
Trouble is both Stephen and James have resigned - so this week we've been interviewing for a new interim head of IT to replace James for 6 months, and who will help to implement the rest of the organisational change and appoint both her own and Stephen's successors. I was part of the informal stage of the interview process, giving both candidates a tour of the department to meet to people both in IT and Academics and get an idea for the scope of what we do. It was a fairly intense experience, but I'm happy to say that pretty much everyone agreed on one candidate, and as a result Sandra will be starting on Monday, giving a couple of weeks overlap before Stephen and James leave. Phew.
Being in the Infrastructure group does mean a change of manager for me (as Stephen was previously my manager) but will still at least mean a bit of continuity as I'm familiar with Paul. We're all still in a kind of limbo wondering how it will all work out in the end though!
Well, it looks like we're starting to head towards the end. Matthew was 4 in March, and (apart from occasional injury or meltdown) we've only been feeding morning and night since Christmas. A month or so back we stopped doing milk downstairs at bedtime too, so he's only had night-time milk when it's my turn for bedtime.
Last night at teatime I asked if he was ready to stop having mummy milk - and said we'd buy him a lovely present to celebrate being such a big grown up boy (he has his eye on some more Nexo Knights Lego). He agreed - and had just cuddles with his stories at bedtime.
I was not at all surprised to find he did want some milk with his iPad this morning. I asked if he really did want milk, and reminded him about the present, but he decided he did want milk for now, and we can try again tomorrow or next week. We'll see!
Daddy's been ready for him to stop having milk completely for a while now, and I think I'm pretty much ready too. It looks like it won't be long before Matthew is!
Wow, I'm faintly astonished by the amount of stuff being posted here on DW at the moment. I think I'm going to have to investigate reading on my phone rather than just in breaks at work or I'll never keep up :)
So since we got back from the peaks:
- The boiler broke, but was fixed within 24 hours with a £300 quid part. Thank goodness for the annual £160 service contract!
- Easter happened
- We had a visit from Rae and Adam and enjoyed the unexpected sunshine in the Botanic Gardens
- We went for a bike ride over to Whittlesford and Thriplow, with a picnic lunch, and back via Harston Red
- My phone came back from its holiday in Sheffield, safely in one piece
- Primary school place application results were announced (more on that below)
- The UK announced a snap general election
- Mike had a birthday
- We survived three lovely birthday parties for four four-year-olds in two days
- Ireland seem to be on the way to huge changes in abortion law
- The consultation phase on organisational change ends today
Many positive things there, but the organisational change and general election, on top of general brexit fears, are a bit tough. Still the hardest thing at the moment is probably the primary school results.( schools )
Finally, a meme: ( meme )
I'm a bit behind, having entirely failed to blog about:
- Devin Townsend gig
- Matthew's birthday
- Suze and Andy's wedding
- Matthew's birthday party
(all of which were awesome).
However I shall skip a bit and tell you about my holidays :)
We stayed in Bakewell - in a nice enough little apartment in the Sleeplodge at Bagshaw Hall, which is up the most amazing little narrow road/footpath called Fly Hill. Not recommended by bike!
Not too many adventures on the bus and train ride home on Monday, other than accidentally leaving the carrier bag with the bakewell pudding in it on the bus! I am not to be trusted on buses it seems. Still, I have ordered us a replacement online, so no real harm done there. A lovely long weekend away, and we couldn't asked for nicer weather this time of year!
Livejournal's new Terms of Service (which I've had to agree to in order to read about them and post this) are not to my taste. I've been here a long time, and have quite an emotional attachment to it, being a permanent member for many years, but from now on I'll be posting on Dreamwidth instead.
For the meantime I think this LJ will stay open, although I'm also copying the old content over there. I've not yet decided whether to crosspost between the two yet. I might be back some time later, but I'm not sure.
If you're over there and I haven't found you yet do drop by and say hello or add me. I'll be gradually removing friends over here as I confirm they're over there (if that makes sense) - if I've already removed you from my LJ friends but your main account is still your LJ one then let me know and I'll re-add. I'll still be reading here to keep in touch.
So long, and thanks for all the fish.
Larissa Nolan writes in the Irish Times about being a non-religious pro-life supporter in the current climate, and how she finds the rhetoric of some of the pro-choice supporters to be off-putting: The Repeal the Eighth march will backfire
However I find myself utterly baffled, because nearly everything she describes herself as wanting is totally compatible with a pro-choice point of view, and with the repeal of the 8th amendment in Ireland (and the similar laws in Northern Ireland).
"I do not judge anyone who has ever come to the decision that an abortion is the best choice for them at a given time. That is their own business, borne out of their own individual circumstance."
She thinks abortion should be
"a viable last-resort option in a desperate situation"
And details some of those situations:
"women suffering the grief of carrying a baby with a fatal foetal abnormality should not have to travel to end the ordeal."
"if that mother has six other children at home to look after, surely the only right answer is to prioritise her life in the case of an emergency"
But most shocking for me was:
"I understand that there are woman out there who, deep inside, actually do want to go ahead with the pregnancy, despite the emotional, physical and financial struggle of single parenthood – and despite the shame and the social stigma. [...] It is harmful for women not to allow them this."
No-one I know who is pro-choice considers that abortion should be forced upon anyone. What we should be doing is making sure that all women who become pregnant are properly supported in their choice as to what to do next. And that includes making it easier in terms of support for those who want to keep their children in difficult circumstance.
Finally what could be more pro-choice than this:
"It is grossly irresponsible to push your own beliefs and agenda, whatever they may be, on anyone who finds themselves in a crisis pregnancy situation. It is a decision only they can make, as the only ones who have to live with it. It is not you and your political ideology that could be left with a lifetime of psychological damage."
I think overall she makes a very strong case for repealing the 8th amendment.