About Me

Sunday, 29 January 2012

A pleasant weekend. Went to a great party last night where three old friends celebrated their 50th birthdays. Great DJs and band. Nice to meet up and chat with friends and even enjoy a bit of a boogie.

Was a bit tired this morning but by lunch time was ready to take part in the RSPB's Great Garden Bird Watch. Pleased to record that, between twelve and one o'clock, eleven kinds of birds visited our garden.

Friday, 27 January 2012

The vulnerable in a virtual world

Spent the afternoon doing special training about safety on the internet and just how much kids, and adults, need to be aware of its 'dark side'. It's easy to imagine how kids, and adults, can get sucked into out of control situations.

There's something about the internet, which, fan as I am, has often disturbed me. Perhaps it comes from the solitary element combined with opportunities for communication? Whatever it is, there's a potential temptation for individuals to create a fantasy world, project an image of themselves, or blur the boundaries in ways they'd never dream of trying out in 'real life'. The internet mashes up the real and the virtual in some very strange ways. Virtual life doesn't seem real. It can seem like a game, a pastime, a secret world even; a place where an individual can create or even confront a secret self, and even find others on-line with whom they can try out aspects of their personalities which they might suppress or find hard to express in real life. That might not be such a bad thing in itself, if the participants are adult -although it surely carries it's own dangers - but statistics suggest there's lot of unpleasant, disturbed and manipulative people out there who are waiting for a chance to 'do their thing'. Shadowy flatters lie in wait, to exploit the vulnerable - hence the numbers of groomers preying on the young and vulnerable. Plus the bullying, which can include manipulating images and hounding others.

Nasty. Horrid. Thank goodness that agencies have been set up to help deal with it. Although given the commercialisation of social networking and gaming sites, there's still a way to go.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

An audience?

According to my stats, modest as they are, this month I've had thirty-six hits from Russia. Wonder why? Maybe it's part of an exercise helping Russians improve their English? I'm sitting here, tapping at the keyboard, visualising thirty-six English students flicking through English blogs, reading extracts aloud to the tutor, who is encouraging them to tackle tricky diphthongs and explaining unfamiliar idioms to them. Or could it be that the Moscow branch of The Sherlock Holmes Society have stumbled across last year's entry on their hero? Then again, could it be a natural history group reading up on dunnocks? My entry on the sexual habits of the dunnock is one of my better read posts, though I've often suspected it's the term 'sexual habits' which attracts hits from punters, Russian or otherwise, in search of more erotic fare. More likely it's some kind of internet 'drone' mining Western sites for goodness knows what purpose.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Fresh fields

Lots of rest and a little less tiredness. I feel like I can start making an effort again.

Enjoyed New Year's Eve with friends. Good company is indeed a wonderful thing. One of the guests was back to visit his friends in England for a few days. He gave up his office bound job here in England, went back to France, worked on farms for a while and has now returned to college to study agricultural. He is hoping, eventually, to start a commercial small holding of his own. His descriptions of life in rural south-west France are really engaging, and he looks fresh and revitalised like he's found a real sense of purpose, which is lovely to witness. So many of us sleep walk through our lives and stay stuck in situations that don't bring the real rewards of a life well lived. Not that I want to up sticks and start a farm but I need to remember that life is for living and not just working and slopping about in front of the TV.

Afterwards, we got dropped off from the mini-bus and walked down the lane home. It had stopped raining and we had a wonderful night view across Cheshire and West Lancashire. It was so very quiet and peaceful.