Friday, March 30, 2007

Its all about the water bills!

Whoever would have thought? This week, arch enemies Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams decided to sit down together and share power in Northern Ireland.

This historic move has coincided with the British government's decision to issue water bills to the people of Northern Ireland (something we have never had to pay for). They have come together and told the British government not to issue the water bills due this week! (I kid you not!)

Historic times? Well definately, if these two are willing to sit down together. Perhaps there is a future in Northern Ireland where we will get by without paramilitary violence and find a peaceful way to live together.

For me, growing up in Belfast, only time will tell. Old wounds don't heal quickly, but perhaps if we can finally stop opening them time and time again...

I'll leave you with the plea of a 12 year old boy, who was murdered by a "real IRA" bomb blast in Omagh, 15th August 1998. I desperately hope our political leaders and those who are still agitating towards violence in Northern Ireland will hear him.

"Orange and Green it does not matter,
United now, don't shatter our dream,
Scatter the seeds of peace over our land, so we can travel
Hand in hand, across the Bridge of Hope."
~Sean McLaughlin, aged 12.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Happy birthday to me...

My birthday presents from partner dude. Nice...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


I have a confession to make. I am addicted to spinning and just added another class to my schedule. That's 3 classes a week - oooh, squeeze my ass. (No seriously, if anyone wants buns of steel, spinning is definately the way to get them!)

It was my post-PhD resolution to get fit - and getting fit I have been getting ;). I only wish I'd done it earlier - genuinely, I feel brighter, more energetic and proud of myself. The latest studies have found exercise to be as good as anti-depressants and cognitive-behaviour therapy (the treatment of choice for depression) in reducing mild depression and I'm certainly seeing the effect on my general mood (although I have not been depressed, in case anyone is worried!)

Next stage (on the persuasion of one of my spinning instructors)....weight training :O

Now, I have to keep this up as the demands of my clinical training get tougher!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Health care for people with learning disabilties

I'm glad to see this is being taken seriously. People with learning disbilities do endure substandard health care because most professionals are clueless about the issues and ways of working positively with people with learning disabilities.

Personally, I have loved my work with people with learning disabilities, and learned a tremendous amount about being human from being around people who our society devalues - when you can't get a PhD, earn a fortune, or take care of yourself, sometimes I think what is left is pure, unadulterated human-ness. It reminds me to value people for people and not their achievements or status.

But its not easy and people with learning disabilities get a shocking deal in the health service. I hope they look into mental health services too, because they are dire for people with learning disabilties (an extremely serious issue as people with learning disabilities are at high risk for developing mental health problems). What is sometimes the most shocking is the attitudes and general lack of knowledge in staff in some settings. I once had to explain to a senior staff member in mental health who asked, "Well how do we know if its psychosis or just his learning disability" that "Hearing voices is not a symptom of learning disabilities. If he's hearing voices and its causing distress its psychosis and should be treated as such."

Friday, March 09, 2007

Quakers go Cyber

I've just been reading Jez's blog, Quaker Street to find that blogging Friends (aka Quakers) are taking British Yearly Meeting (annual gathering of Quakers from throughout Britain) into cyberspace this year on a new blog.

I look forward to reading it!

Birthday cake

I baked this for partner dude's birthday, quite a masterpiece I think :)

Underneath the layers of pure milk chocolate, gourmet smarties, and the very best pink and yellow marshmallows, there was, in fact, a very beautiful, bitter-sweet chocolate and red wine cake from Gennaro Contaldo's fantastic recipe book, "Passione".