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  • Count Your Blessing: Day 38


    Today, an estimated 863 million people are living in slum conditions compared to 760 million in 2000.

    Give 10p for each home you have lived in that has provided you with shelter and comfort.

    I have a sense of deja vue here - I have already posted a length the homes in which I have lived, or at least these that I lived in long term.

    OK... full count of those I can remember or am aware of...

    Childhood: three I remember, at least two I don't

    Student years: one hall of residence, two flats

    Adult years: two homes I owned, two lots of temporary accommodation, one rented flat, two manses

    So that adds up to fifteen, assuming I counted correctly!

    My pledge

    Today £1.50

    Total - £34.05, seven prayers, some thoughts and one e-petition signed

  • Easter Cupcakes on such a Winter's Day!

    First task of the day - decorate four dozen cupcakes for tomorrow's spring fair fundraiser to support someone going to Malawi short term as an educational specialist...


    May post more pics later but a million an done other things to do just now!

  • Ecclesiastical Equinox

    For the liturgical purists out there!  Today is the official vernal equinox, as defined by the ecclesial councils of way back when, and used in the calculation of the date of Easter.  Any similarity to any real vernal equinox living or dead is purely coincidental.  Or something like that.

  • Count Your Blessings: Day 37


    Over 100 million people around the world have no shelter whatsoever.

    Give 30p for each bed in your house.


    Well that's pretty straightforward - unless I include the sofa-bed in my living room... or the airbed in the cupboard (which may or may not still be in working order, it is more than three years since I last used it!).  This feels somehow rather pertinent when the 'bedroom tax' debate on under-occupied social housing is a very live issue.  it is a tricky one. 

    The final house in which my family lived before we grew up was a four-bedroomed council house.  There was no requirement that the tenancy be surrendered, even when we had all left home and my dad died.  My mum recognised for herself that it was inappropriate for her to 'block' a family house and asked for a move... she was then entitled to a one bed-roomed flat, so a massive downsizing exercise had to take place.  The irony is that under the right-to-buy scheme, which my parents had been unable to participate in, being on benefits, the family who moved in bought the house and it was lost to the local social housing stock.

    People who can afford to buy houses can have as many empty rooms as they like.  People who cannot afford to buy or rent privately are penalised if they under occupy, even when there is no smaller accommodation available.  And without and consideration of the possibility that they, too, might like a spare room to serve as an office or guest room.  Whilst I have some sympathy with social housing providers whose larger properties are 'blocked' because people won't downsize, it is as ever those with the least who pay the price.

    So, in my underoccupied flat, I have three beds, one bed-settee and one airbed (Im not going to count the cat's pet bed or the 'vetbed' in her carry case!), and will pay £2 today.


    My pledge

    Today - £2

    Total - £32.55, seven prayers, some thoughts and one e-petition signed

  • Twenty Years On...

    Saturday March 20th 1993, Warrington town centre, and a bomb blast killed two boys as well as leaving many people injured.  It never made the top of the news headlines, because some major international news story broke the same day.  As for me, I was in Manchester with some friends at the Granada Studios Tour, and got stranded at Birchwood railway station because no trains were going to Warrington (by some quirk we had taken the bus to town to catch the train rather than driving in and parking).  Had it been any other Saturday morning, odds are I'd have been in town...

    A lot happened in the wake of that tragedy.

    The town centre was filled with flowers, many from Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.  Incredulity at what had happened in a totally non-strategic town was widespread, and awareness of what might have been had an earlier, foiled attempt proved successful made everyone's blood run cold.

    It seemed, for those who lived there, that it signalled a turning point.  Rather than revenge, most people wanted reconciliation, and a lot of energy was devoted to building good relationships.  For sure, it was a long haul, and it's still far from perfect, but the relentless cycles of revenge seemed to be broken.  The Warrington and Ireland Reconciliation Enterprise (WIRE, a locally appropriate acronym) is still active as far as I am aware.

    And it changed news reporting - never again would some domestic tragedy be relegated to second place by international events.

    Tonight I remember.