Wednesday, 31 October 2007


Every day I become more and more fascinated by China, what is happening there right now and what is likely to happen in the future – I think it really is a momentous time and one which we will all probably look back at in wonder and awe. Yes there are huge risks of course, political and economic stability etc. but the opportunities are absolutely immense!

I read somewhere once that in world and economic influence, there were three distinct periods: the Mediterranean (old), the Atlantic (present) and the Pacific (future). The former I guess being the post ‘biblical’ and European influences, the Atlantic being dominated by the Western European and American influence and the Pacific being where the future influence was going to come from.

I think that we are witnessing now the emergence of that ‘Pacific’ or future influence in world terms driven from the ‘new’ economies of the countries around the Pacific Rim but principally China. This is and will continue to have profound effects on the lives of everyone; yes that’s including you and me!

Shirley and I have been to China twice; firstly before the handover of Hong Kong we visited there and travelled to Canton, returning to Kowloon by the ‘International’ train which used to run between mainstream China and the New Territories which were really, I think, part of Hong Kong.

And then we returned for a second visit to that amazing place on earth that Hong Kong was and still is, after the Chinese had ‘taken over’ – we didn’t think that it had changed very much, from a tourist viewpoint and the new airport on Lantau Island was in our opinion, the best in the world at that time! We’ve enjoyed both our trips there and always look forward to going back!

But there is so much more to see in China, the culture, the huge size of the country, the number of people, everything!! Plus the pace of change now of course!! It’s a place I want to see more of before too long! Plus I’m thinking of adding to my ‘Must Do’ list – to learn Mandarin!

Thursday, 25 October 2007

21 days and counting.........!

Well it's 3 weeks or just 21 days before we head off Downunder to Sydney again, this time via a few days stop-over in Dubai where we're staying at the amazing Jumeirah Beach Hotel, apparently voted the Best Resort Hotel in the World - well wow! The big decision every day I guess will be which one of the Hotel's 23 restaurants and bars shall we dine in!!

We're now into run-down mode here, sorting out things and making lists of things we've got to do/complete before we go - and as a result my usually regular sleep pattern is being disturbed by waking at around 4am with my brain running around in circles! Not good!

Also I've been trying to get up-to-date with all my masonic, property freehold and local nature conservation activities as I'll be 'distant' for a few months! But I'm sure that no-one will really miss me!! Or maybe they will for a little more peace and quiet from constant 'phone calls and emails on this or that 'new' initiative!!

Socially we're busy too as everyone has just woken up to the fact that in 3 weeks we wont be around so there's a whirl of dinner parties, restaurant visits and stuff plus last minute trips to see Shirley's folks and Clare's family in Keighley, over 4 hours drive distant!

But this week it's been chilly and putting on a sweater has reminded me that it's time I should be somewhere warmer!! It's how I guess birds feel just before they too migrate and head off to a warmer place for winter!

..... and now I really do have to get back to a more regular Blogging routine!! You wouldn't believe how many 'complaints' I've had from regular readers!! All I can say is ok, 'I'll try harder'!!

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Wear It Pink!!

The campaign to raise awareness and funds for Breast Cancer Research has organised a 'Wear-it-Pink' day this coming Friday 26th October - you can find out more information by clicking here.

So for all our 'Lady' friends across the world, please, please, please remember the five-point code
  • Know what is normal for you
  • Look and feel
  • Know what changes to look for
  • Report any changes without delay
  • Attend breast screening if aged 50 or over
Breast cancer touches so many people, old and young alike - but thankfully it can be successfully treated if caught early enough!

So this Friday, all you guys and girls please join us and wear something pink and donate something, however small, to help the important research effort!!

Humble Pie!

Well, you've probably spotted that I've removed the rather cheeky poke at the Aussie Rugby team getting beaten by the English - something about a new 'Aussie W(h)ine'!!

Yes, we got beaten by a better team yesterday - South Africa, you deserve the title of World Champions!! But we gave it everything but on the day, it was just not enough; arguably I don't think even the 'disputed' Try would have made a difference to the eventual outcome.

So now the wonderful, shiny, gold, Web-Ellis Trophy goes back to South Africa for another 4 years - look after it guys because you can bet that we'll be gunning for it again in 2011 in New Zealand!!

But what a wonderful competition! Hats off to the French for a very well organised and attractive competition - the real winner is the game of Rugby!!

Saturday, 6 October 2007

For all my Aussie friends........

Re-arrange these numbers into a well known combination

2,1,1,0 or

1,1,0,2 or um

1,2,0,1 or um maybe......................


Or put another way, simply:


Thursday, 4 October 2007

The Gift of Life

OK here is something close to my heart (um, pardon the pun!) – organ donation!

Would you believe that apparently, up to 90% of the UK population support organ donation but only 24% have joined the NHS Organ Donor Register – I guess most of us would say its simply something we haven’t got round to doing.

You may have seen that the latest major campaign aims to make it even easier for people to give the gift of life - over 11.6 million UK households are to receive an organ donation leaflet and registration form direct through their letterbox between October 2007 and February 2008 reaching an estimated 29.2 million people – 49.6% of the UK population.

Consider this:

  • 3,086 organ transplants were carried out, thanks to the generosity of 1,495 donors.
  • 949 lives were saved in the UK through a heart, lung, liver or combined heart/lungs, liver/kidney, liver/pancreas or heart/kidney transplant.
  • A total of 2,137 patients received a kidney, pancreas or combined kidney/pancreas transplant.
  • A further 2,402 people had their sight restored through a cornea transplant.
  • A record number of non-heart beating donor kidney transplants took place and accounted for one in seven of all kidney transplants.
  • The highest number of combined kidney/pancreas transplants took place (164, representing a 53% increase on 2005-2006).
  • Living donor kidney transplants are increasing - 461 in 2003-2004, 475 in 2004-2005, 589 in 2005-2006, and 690 in 2006-2007, and now represent more than one in four of all kidney transplants.
  • At the end of March 2007, 7,234 patients were listed as actively waiting for a transplant.
  • Almost a million more people pledged to help others after their death by registering their wishes on the NHS Organ Donor Register, bringing the total at 31 March 2007 to 14,201,229.

So if you’ve been thinking about it but not yet done anything, don’t wait for the postman to deliver the leaflet! Can I urge you to:

Just DO IT!

Click here and Register – its ‘easy peasy’ and who knows, you could be taking the first step to give the precious gift of life to someone!

Monday, 1 October 2007

Clare - update

Clare has now completed a full week of Radiotherapy treatment - Shirley has just returned home after spending the week in Keighley, helping with things generally and giving Clare some moral support.

Clare seems to be fine although beginning to get tired as the treatment progresses - today (Monday) she has a 'day-off' as the equipment is being serviced but she starts again tomorrow; its a daily 3-week routine for her and although the to-and-from the hospital travelling is a chore, the treatment itself seems to be progressing satisfactorily. Her final session is on 15th October and we are all hoping and praying that it will fix the problem for good!

Two pieces of good news - firstly Clare's partner John has just started a new job driving buses around West Yorkshire; he's very pleased to get something more suitable hours-wise and there are some good 'finge' benefits too which he didn't get before.

Secondly Clare has found a new job too - her present company is closing its operations so she's had the added headache and worry of finding another job at the same time as dealing with her cancer problem. (Sometimes life deals nasty cards like that doesn't it!)

Anyway, she's landed a nice job with the Consumer Credit Trade Association in Shipley as a member of their Marketing team - she's really thrilled and excited and starts work with them the day after her treatment finishes. something nice and positive to look forward to!


Hi everyone – ok yes, I know; I’ve been very quiet recently.

No real excuses but I’m going to try harder, I promise!!

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If you think you're a smartypants and should score 100%, then take the test and prove it!

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Pass on the URL to all your friends and spread the word! - phishing is BAD for you!

Good luck!