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Monday, 10 July 2017 16:01

minä rakastan sinua

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Minä Rakastan Sinua
The breath that blows through –a
Feeds the fire that that burns within – a
Passion that flows to fill – a
Heart that yearns and aches for – a
Tell a, shout a, cry a, whisper
Minä Rakastan Sinua
Monday, 03 July 2017 15:35

Fourth of July Blues

Written by
Captain Kirk and tribbles
Why am I blue on the Fourth of July?
We're run by a loon who lets the Tweets fly
No matter how stupid or evil or rude
Or childish or hateful or painful or crude

With hair like a Tribble and orange fake tan
Modus operandi is hate flames to fan.
No morals would he beg, steal or borrow 
Decency dead fills me with sorrow.

E pluribus unum turned on its head
Many American hearts full of dread
Will democracy die in the land of the free?
Run by "facts" gleaned from Fox News TV?

Republicans say, "He's just Trump."
Lefties think he's dumb as a tree stump.
While they bicker, bluster, bumble and spin
The world staggers on as if full of gin.

Why does the Fourth of July make me feel blue?
For reasons preceding you should have a clue.
Donald Trump is deranged, deluded and strange.
That, I am certain, isn't subject to change.
Monday, 03 July 2017 11:05

Mis Gatas Españolas

Written by
Lucy has eyes of ice cold blue
Loretta's are more a Caribbean hue
Lucy loves her belly rubs
'Retta likes to hide in shrubs
Amo mis gatas Españolas!

But why do I love these little girls so?
Why does my heart beat or my blood flow?
Is it such a ridiculous thing?
Their purrs alone make my heart sing!

Amo mis gatas Españolas!

Lucy meows like a megaphone 
Loretta flies around like a remote control drone 
They wake me at four
Wanting cuddles and more

Amo mis gatas Españolas!

Hard to believe they were once on the street
Because they have made my life ever so sweet 
Since these cats have entered my life
They help me to deal with the stress and the strife.

Amo mis gatas Españolas!
Thursday, 29 June 2017 16:16

Review: Omnibus at Unity Theatre Liverpool

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The beautifully intimate Unity Theatre on Liverpool's Hope Place recently hosted comedy play Omnibus, which ran until last week.

The play, produced by the Royal Court Theatre in association with Unity Theatre, is advertised as a 'farce', and the anarchic quick-fire, and oft slapstick comic set pieces, reminiscent in style at times of Fawlty Towers, would certainly lend itself to this billing.

Furthermore, the inter-gender house-sharing concept, with all of the action taking place between the male and female protagonists in the confines of a living room, certainly evokes fond memories of classic 90s farce sitcom Men Behaving Badly.

Indeed, the pace never lets up. Testament to the writing of Katie Mulgrew, and the quality of the talented actors involved, the dialogue and interaction between characters is witty and well-executed. And even when a joke falls flat, as they inevitably do sometimes in a play of this nature, an instantaneous humorous retort or quick comic observation has the audience back on side.

The young talent involved in this play, which is a winner of the prestigious Hope Playwriting Prize, deserve an enormous amount of credit for carrying the action, which relies on their slick synergy with each other. And their comfort of working together and trust in each other is palpable.

Crucially, and refreshingly, all of the five main characters are given equal footing in the production and sufficient lines and character depth for each and every one of them to make a lasting and endearing impact on the audience.

The play focuses on three twenty-somethings sharing a house being rudely interrupted from their Sunday mundanity of making a roast and watching the telly by a hapless bank-robber on the run.

Alice Bunker Whitney plays half-cut jilted-at-the-altar Lauren, who shares her now-greater mortgage repayments with old university pals Mark (played by Joel Parry) and Nell (Gemma Banks), who, it is clear, have unfinished romantic business. This is news to Mark's girlfriend Jess (Eva McKenna), whose 'sexily stupid' persona ensures she stays oblivious to most of the action unfolding around her, which often make for very amusing results.

The interplay between the four is energetic, fun and at times hilarious. Their timing is spot-on, and the action, as a result, is delivered at a frenetic pace, which leaves the audience howling with laughter at some junctures and gasping for breath at others. However, it is Danny Burns who steals the show as loveable, unwitting bank robber Leslie. His stage presence, facial expressions and comedic aping provides the play with its major laugh out loud moments.

Notable cameos come from the legendary Eithne Browne, who is a comic whirlwind upon her entrance, and a rubber mask of Margaret Thatcher (whose ridiculing of is always appreciated by a Liverpool audience). Her appearance in the form of a rubber mask, and implied 'sexy-time' role play with said mask, ensured a hearty laugh from the audience, who revelled in the poking of fun of the late 'Iron Lady'.

Omnibus does not always hit the mark comedy-wise, which can be attributed to the sheer volume of dialogue, although when it does the results are hilarious. The play is at once funny, energetic and moving. The characters are relatable and garner real empathy and endearment from an audience that ultimately invests in them and wants to see them happy (apart from Margaret Thatcher, obvs!). Omnibus is, overall, a triumph, and befitting for a venue with the warmth and charm of the Unity.

This is a selection of artworks created in Italy, France and Spain between 1200-1500 on display at the Walker Art Gallery. The combination of emotional imagery and abundant realistic detail was also influential in Southern Europe, particularly Spain, the political overlord of Flanders and the Netherlands until the late sixteenth century.

St Peter and St Paul 1373-1452
Studio of Bicci di Levenzo

Both circular paintings come from an altarpiece or polyptych.  St Peter and St Paul were often placed on the left and right sides of the altar.  St Peter holds the keys to heaven and hell.  he was widely acknowledged as the first pope.  Paul carries the sword with which he was beheaded.

Coronation of the virgin with angels playing musical instruments
Studio of Giovanni di Bionot

Christ is shown crowning his mother as Queen of Heaven, following her death.  Two segments of a larger painting.  The lower part shows angels playing a fiddle, lute and glittern. This was not reunited with the coronation until 1962 when the walker Art Gallery bought the paintings.  Although the middle section of the painting is missing you can see the pattern on the lower part of the virgin Mary's robe in the bottom painting.

A Legend of St Andrew
Bartolomeo di Giovanni (1475-1511)

According to legend a bishop was visited by a devil in the form of a young woman.  He was saved from danger by St Andrew wearing blue and green robes who revealed the woman's true identity.  The woman in the painting is depicted with horns.

Reliquary Casket
Limoges, France 1200-1225
Oak and enamel on gilt copper alloy.

Casket made to hold relic of a saint - possibly St Thomas a Becket.  The enamel plaques show his murder at Canterbury Cathedral in 1170.

Mirror Frame
Ivory and Wood  Venice 1400-1450

Made in the Embriachi Workshop.  The blindfolded figure in the centre at the top of the frame represents faith.  There are 2 panels either side for his and hers coats of arms. this was possibly given as a wedding present.  The top panel is square with a triangle on the top (like a church shape).  There are wooden panels on the outside and interior sections surrounding the mirror. Between these panels are sections of ivory engraved with flowers, plants, fabrics and angels/figurines, This is in a octagonal shape.

I was attracted to these particular artworks because of their vivid colours and striking imagery.  I once went on a touring holiday to Italy where we were taken out by coach each day - during which time we visited a lot of churches.

Sunday, 25 June 2017 18:09

Liverpool Makefest 2017

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Makefest Liverpool 2017

Where can you make your own heart badge, meet future scientists and contact the International Space Station?

During a weekend already chock full of exciting events, Liverpool Central Library played host to the 3rd annual Makefest, a full day packed with traditional craftsmen as well as those involved in high tech creations. Makefest, a free event,  is run by volunteers who hope to inspire young and old in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics.  Covering all four floors of the Central Library, as well as the terrace, the event ran from 9am until 4pm.  Those wishing to avoid crowds are advised to attend prior to noon, as the afternoon period is when many families with small children attend.

Women in Tech, centrally located on the ground floor, was a welcome introduction to this year’s festivities.  In an effort to attract girls and women into technology, Liverpool Girl Geeks hosted women currently employed in technological fields.  Rachel Frier, a featured designer, has had her garments combining traditional craftsmanship with technology shown on the London Catwalk.

The Liverpool Girl Geeks themselves are a local organisation who work in collaboration with FACT to train teenage females in traditionally male-dominated technological fields.  The Girl Geeks will host their second academy for young females in September 2017.  Perhaps future Makefest events will be able to expand the Women in Tech area, and add more hands on participation for eager young females.  Many opportunities for hands on experience were on offer in other areas, but unfortunately, not in the Women in Tech area.

Other highlights of this participant’s day included a discussion with a humanitarian involved with Field Ready, an organisation that travels to areas devastated by war, famine or natural disasters.  She showed me an umbilical clamp printed by a solar powered laser printer taken to Africa.  Previously, due to lack of supplies, locals had used dirty shoelaces to clamp the umbilical cords of new-born babies.  Likewise, previously donated incubators had become unusable due to lack of parts.  As the incubators had been donated from other countries and were now obsolete in “first world countries,” parts to repair them were no longer available.  Solar-powered laser printers were used to construct parts suitable for repairing the equipment, so the incubators can once again be used to save vulnerable new-borns.

Around lunchtime, a call went out for those interested to join the Quantum Tech Club on the library terrace as they attempted to contact the International Space Station as it passed overhead.  People young and old, male and female gathered as two gentlemen, one equipped with a laptop computer and the other with a hand held antenna, sent signals to bounce off the international space station.  In a scene reminiscent of a Big Bang Theory episode, the crowd was entertained by blips on a computer screen and modem like sounds as equipment from a rooftop on Liverpool sent signals to the International Space Station.  It was a scene that would bring a tear to the eye of Sheldon Cooper, PhD.

Liverpool continues to offer ample opportunities for local residents to be exposed to arts and sciences.  In a world that often seems geared only towards making the rich richer, and grinding the poor even further into the dirt, it is an honour to live in a city that continues to champion ordinary people, and offer them hope for the future.  Makefest, now in its 3rd year of existence, continues to highlight the best of humanity.  Well done to the volunteer army who put on a day of fun and learning for the whole family.
Tuesday, 20 June 2017 18:03

Susan's Iced Tea

Written by
*Dear Reader: Please note that this recipe is meant to accompany my article called, "Eating at Bea's."  I'm not much of a cook, but the Guardian's "We like to eat" section usually includes a recipe of some sort.

Susan's Iced Tea (As Made by her Mother Doris)

Get a pot as big as you can find (a gallon or more should suffice).
Fill the pot up about 3/4 full with water.
Put the pot on the stove and bring water to a rolling boil.  (This will require you to turn the stove (hob) up to high, whichever way your particular stovetop works).
When the water starts boiling, turn the stove back off.
Throw in 8-10 tea bags, according to how strong you like your tea.
Let the tea get to the strength you want. Weaker tea is generally caramel coloured. Really strong tea is the colour of tar.
Slowly stir in sugar. Generally, start with a 5 lb bag, then sweeten to taste.
Make sure the sugar is dissolved. There's nothing worse than sweet tea with sugar that has sunk to the bottom.
Helpful hint: When you reach the sweetness of maple syrup, you've reached sweet tea perfection!
Now, pour it in a really big jug, or several jugs depending on the size of pot you used.
When the tea is ice cold, pour it into a Mason jar or other drinking vessel, whichever kind you prefer.
Tip for folks not from the American Deep South: Real ice tea has LOTS of ice in it.  There's a reason we call it ice tea (or iced tea as they say in the UK).
Now, lie back, and enjoy your diabetic coma.

Please note: Southerners like to embellish and exaggerate, so please don't report me to the sugar police. Frankly, I can't afford another fine and am too busy to do the jail time. 

Monday, 12 June 2017 16:59

Wife's Quiet Contemplation in Paradise

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This is my favourite ever photograph of my wife (and not because it’s of the back of her head). Joking aside, in the 9 years since I first met my wife, there have been many snapshots that encapsulate facets of her personality, like images of her laughing with carefree abandon, or tender photos with her children, showing her proud, maternal side, or our wedding day, where her beauty shone on an otherwise rainy May Saturday in 2014.


However, this photo is the one image of my wife I treasure the most. And the reasons for this are multiple. Firstly, I could make the obligatory parallels between the stunning location and the beauty of my wife. I could also draw metaphorical comparisons between her and the ocean. Like the sea, she can be tumultuous, unpredictable and feisty. But she can also be composed, thoughtful, and a calming influence, something she has certainly been for me in a difficult past couple of years.


I also love that this is her favourite place. This was taken in Mexico, and owing to getting swept up in the excitement of the holiday, and revelling in the postcard surroundings, this was a rare moment of contemplation, that I, far from being the most adept photographer in the world, somehow managed to capture.


To know my wife is to know that she quickly becomes the life and soul of the party who loves meeting people and becomes fiercely loyal once an acquaintance has been promoted to friendship. Knowing my wife how I do, however, I know how she is also incredibly sensitive, at times very guarded, and also (unjustifiably) unsure and overly-critical of herself.


Which brings me to the overarching importance of what this photo represents. It is a small glimpse into the wider context of her life at this time. Always painfully self-deprecating, she believed that leaving school with only a couple of GCSEs signalled her out as stupid. But she has intelligence in spades, and a real passion and verve for making a difference in people’s lives. But what she has in these areas she severely lacks in self-confidence and belief. However, post-holiday, she was about to embark on a journey back into education that would take her from resitting her GCSEs to completing a Master’s in Social Work. This photo, I would like to think, was my wife Kerry standing on the precipice of something unbelievable and life-changing. I would like to think, knowing how she has her quiet contemplative moments, that she was standing in paradise, looking out at the vast ocean, finally realising that the world is hers if she wants it, and she subsequently finished her daiquiri, got on the plane home, and took it.

Monday, 12 June 2017 13:37

Chip shop sweetheart

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She was covered in curry sauce i just asked for a portion of chips!
when my eyes caught her gaze over the counter my heart skipped a beat
I said" oh make that an extra portion and just put it on my tab!
She was was my Chip shop sweetheart my Donner Kebab!

She said how do like your sausage Dinner ?
i said make it once twice, three times Chips ,mushy peas, baby!
She said play your cards right lad!
and you'll get your greasy chips maybe!

She was my chip shop sweetheart , every time i have a chippy tea!
I think about asking her out for a drink somewhwere ,and then i'll get free gravy!
oh and don't forget a can of pop !

Monday, 05 June 2017 16:27

Twitter description of Write to Work

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Dynamic course explores modern paid writing opportunities. Over 16, eligible to work in England, unemployed & curious? http://bit.ly/2sJAPEN
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