And Life Goes On

The random bloggings on what gets my goat!

Been Gone a While

I have had numerous problems with computers and laptops over the past few months and have been doing most of my computer work on my Blackberry. this is why there have been no blog posts.

But I am back now, so normal service will resume, no I hear you cry!!!!

Thank you for your patience.

Hayley

Happy New Year

Happy new year to you all, 2012!
I cannot believe that we are actually in the Olympics year already, it seemed so long ago that we were given the right to host the Olympics and now the year is upon us!
I pass the Olympic site often and it really is speeding along now, actually looking like something resembling a sports arena rather that just piles of rubble, with a few cranes thrown in for good measure!
I hope that 2012 brings each and every one of you all that you wanted.
Stay safe and smile
It’s going to be a great year

Oppose The Extradition Review Whitewash

If you oppose the sickening whitewash produced by Sir Scott Baker’s Extradition Review Panel, please take a moment and use the form below to make your views known to the government.
Just fill in your details and add your name at the end of the text in the message box below, or delete the suggested text and use the box to write your own message. When you press Submit, your message will then be sent to the Home Office, the Home Secretary and the Deputy Prime Minister. (The Prime Minister must be contacted separately, by clicking here – opens in a new window). The Home Office are obliged to reply to UK correspondence within approx. 20 working days, which is why you must enter your details – This website will not see or store your info, but if you want the Home Office to take note of your message, you must enter your valid email and UK postcode.
Just a few reasons why our current extradition arrangements DO need to change:

  • The Extradition Act (2003) is in explicit contravention of our Article 7 Human Rights, since it applies retrospectively. Article 7 of the Human Rights Act very clearly prohibits retrospectivity. The Extradition Act means that any one of us can be extradited for an offence that was not an offence when allegedly committed, and without a shred of evidence.
  • Nine times as many UK citizens have been extradited to the USA under the Act, compared to the number of US citizens extradited to the UK. This is according to the Home Office’s own figures. The claim by the Review Panel that the UK/US extradition treaty is even-handed and not unbalanced in its operation simply does not hold water. Even Baroness Scotland herself, who was instrumental in negotiating the treaty, admitted freely in the House of Lords (scroll to Column 1063) that the treaty is unbalanced.
  • David Blunkett, who signed the extradition treaty with the USA, has admitted before the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee and in the media that he ‘gave too much away’.
  • The extradition treaty with the USA was signed under Queen’s Perogative, an arcane manoeuvre which bypasses due Parliamentary process and meant that Parliament did not see the wording of the treaty until some three months after it was signed. This renders the application of the treaty unlawful, according to a recent Supreme Court ruling.
  • The UK’s extradition treaty with the USA has been condemned by both Liberty and the American Civil Liberties Union. You can also read the Law Society’s response to the Home Office consultation here.
  • The public consultation to the Extradition Review generated a massive response opposing our current extradition arrangements, yet the Panel have chosen to ignore the overwhelming professional and public opinion that the Extradition Act is fundamentally unjust and needs to change.
Subject: Extradition Review? Whitewash!
* Name:  
* Email:  
* Postcode:  
* To Whom It May Concern:
The Extradition Review is a whitewash and a sham. The recommendations of the Panel bear no relation to the facts, show no regard for public opinion, and are blatantly counter to the interests of justice and the British people. We demand justice and human rights for all. Introduce the Forum amendment, abolish the European Arrest Warrant and rip up the UK/US extradition treaty now.
 
A * indicates a field is required

End Stoning in Iran

Stoning. It’s designed to cause maximum suffering. It generally takes between 20 minutes and two agonising hours to kill someone. Those sentenced to death are more likely to be poor and marginalised, particularly women. 

And as you read this, 14 people in Iran are at risk of this inhumane death. Take action: stop stoning

Diagram of a stoningHow to stone someone to death
Stoning is mandatory under Iranian law for men and women convicted of ‘adultery while married’.

The Penal Code explains in chilling detail how to carry out the punishment, from how deeply to bury the victim in the ground to the size of the stones to use: not so large as to kill too quickly, not so small as to cause too little hurt.

Find out how a stoning is carried out

How to help stop stoning
However, right now the Iranian authorities are reviewing that very document – the Penal Code – which details all the country’s criminal law. They can and should remove stoning from it.

With your pressure we can encourage them to end this barbaric practice, once and for all. Call on the Iranian authorities to stop stoning

Thank you,

NHS Urgent Petition

Which way will they vote? This Wednesday the House of Lords makes a choice. They could wave through the government’s dangerous NHS plans. Or they could insist on proper scrutiny and big changes to protect our health service.

The press say it’s on a knife edge. It could come down to one or two votes. [1] Together we can help tip the balance. If we can prove that the public wants Lansley’s plans put under the microscope, we can convince wavering Lords and Baronesses to stand up to the government and vote the right way.

Thousands of us have written personally to Lords and Baronesses. We know our message is starting to get through. Now let’s show wavering Lords just how many of us want them to vote to protect our NHS – by building a huge, people powered petition.

The vote is on Wednesday afternoon, and we’ll need to deliver the petition just before it starts. Please add your name now:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/message-to-lords

An influential Lord, David Owen, has announced he will call a vote to put Lansley’s NHS plan under the microscope, by creating a special ‘select committee’. [2] The committee would investigate key concerns of ours – like scrapping of the Secretary of State’s “duty to provide” health services. We can win this vote! And if we do, it will be a massive boost to our chances of stopping dangerous changes to the NHS being forced through.

The government doesn’t want this to happen. They’re doing all they can to pressure Lords to toe the line. [3] We can outweigh that pressure with people power. Let’s prove to the Lords that the government doesn’t speak for us. We never voted for this dangerous NHS plan and we can show our support for Lords’ efforts to stop it.

Please take 30 seconds to add your name to the urgent petition to the House of Lords:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/message-to-lords

There’s a lot at stake here. We all rely on the NHS to look after us and to look after our loved ones. We know that if the government’s plans go through unchanged, we could lose our health service forever. The House of Lords could be our best hope of protecting our health service for future generations.

Thousands of 38 Degrees members have sent personal emails to Lords and Baronesses, telling them why the NHS matters so much. Now let’s back that up with big numbers. Let’s build a huge petition to the Lords to show them how many of us support efforts to protect the health service.

https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/message-to-lords

Thanks for being involved,

NOTES

[1] See for example:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2047210/Controversial-NHS-reforms-killed-peers-days.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/oct/08/lords-kill-off-nhs-reforms

[2] Lord Owen isn’t the only Lord who’s written an amendment to put the bill under the microscope, or stop it completely. But Lord Owen’s amendment has the greatest chance of success. The full text of Lord Owen’s amendment reads:

“And that a Select Committee shall be appointed to examine and make recommendations to the House on the issues raised by the 18th Report of the Constitution Committee, namely the Government’s and Parliament’s constitutional responsibilities with regard to the NHS, in particular to clarify (a) the extent to which the Secretary of State remains responsible and accountable for the comprehensive health service, and (b) individual Ministerial responsibility to Parliament, and to report on the extent to which legal accountability to the courts is fragmented; that this House requests that the services of Parliamentary Counsel be available to the Committee; and that the Committee shall report no later than 19 December 2011.”

[3] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/8816585/Health-bill-could-be-diluted-further-to-win-Lords-vote.html

NaNoWrimo – Second Time Around?

I tried to do my first NaNoWrimo last year, but failed miserably. I had too much going on in the way of College, family, school tests and general day to day living to really get into it and once I had not written for a few days I became too disheartened and decided to leave it.

NOT THIS YEAR!

I have been plotting my attempt already, I have a good grasp of the characters and I am hoping that with this attention to planning ewach detail I will find it easier to complete this year.

A few points that I am doing this huge task with are:-

  • Tell your family what you are doing, that you will need this month in order to complete it, if they understand then you are more able to lock yourself away in order to write
  • Start at midnight on the 1st November, therefore you will have the first 1600+ words in the bag on the first day, and hopefully stay in front
  • If you are unable to sit down for long periods of time, break the time up, maybe doing 5 sessions of 15 minutes a session and really write all you can down, you will be surprised how much you will be able to write in the alloted time.
  • And lastly, enjoy the experience as you may have a masterpiece on your hands, or at the very least all writing is good practice, a great way to learn the craft of writing well, is to write, write, write.

Good luck fellow NaNoWrimo’s.

Add me as a buddy if you like Hayley_DM, I am going to need all the support I can muster.

Bring The ABSU 5 Who Gang-Raped Woman in Nigeria to Justice

There’s a desperate search on for a female university student in Nigeria. Some want to silence her. Others want to protect her.

On August 16, the unidentified woman was gang-raped by five male students at Abia State University — for hours, as she begged first for mercy, and then for her rapists to kill her because of the pain. And it’s all on video.

Change.org member Adetomi Aladekomo has joined bloggers and activists working to bring the victim to safety and her rapists to justice by starting a petition to Abia State University (ABSU) and state officials.

Over the past two weeks, bloggers and individuals around the world have put up reward money and used video imaging software to try to identify the victim and the rapists — when the police should have been doing this all along. Unbelievably, state authorities have so far stymied efforts, preferring to deny the rape ever even happened under their watch. Local women’s groups fear that they’re even out to silence the victim, perpetuating a culture of fear and shame around rape in Nigeria, where such crimes are dramatically under-reported and under-prosecuted.

Adetomi, who grew up in Nigeria until she was seventeen, knows that international outcry around the gang rape at ABSU will be decisive in protecting the victim and bringing justice. With the whole world watching, the victim may have the courage to come forward and press charges — and other women who’ve been raped may come forward, too, when they previously would not have.

In fact, it was because of Change.org members and international outcry earlier this year that a woman who had created a Change.org petition from inside a Cape Town safe house was able to come out and seek justice for her partner, who had been gang-raped and killed to ‘cure’ her of being a lesbian.

I just signed the petition “Bring The ABSU 5 Who Gang-Raped Woman in Nigeria to Justice” and wanted to see if you could help by adding your name.

Our goal is to reach 100,000 signatures and we need more support. You can read more and sign the petition here:

http://www.change.org/petitions/bring-the-absu-5-who-gang-raped-woman-in-nigeria-to-justice

Thanks!
Hayley

My First Short Story Competition – Glutton for Punishment

Last week I entered my first short story competition. Are you bloody mad? I ask myself. Well maybe seeing as how I have never written one before, but I never do things in half measures, so I jumped in all guns blazing, so to speak!

I stumbled upon this in a Twitter chat room on Sunday night, #Writechat, Emily Suess the organiser of this great competition mentioned it there and I wanted to give it a go.

 We were given 50 writing prompts on the Monday morning and we were to hand in our finished piece by Friday at midnight, the writing prompts can be found here http://blog.emilysuess.com/2011/09/12/writers-week-writing-contest/. You can also read the 50+ entries that were submitted. This was a great first time exercise for me, I don’t expect to win, but I found the exercise a great learning experience and I intend to have a go at a few more of the prompts in order to polish my craft.

So thanks Emily, I will definately be doing this again next year.

The Three Musketeers – Writers Week Official Entry 2011

Oh. My. God. I wasn’t going to say anything, but you have left me with no choice. You walk around with your head in the air looking down at the rest of us when it is your life that is the farce!

 

We have known each other for years since our group were all in school together back in the day when we all had our whole lives ahead; the three of us were like The Three Musketeers, Reece, Rhea and me, Sienna. We thought we could do anything and for a time there at school that is just what we did, we had no cares, no worries; we did what we wanted and when we wanted to.

 

But whereby we all realised that we could not go on like that, you have carried on believing that the world owes you a favour and that you can do what you want, whenever you want.

 

All three of us are now grown up; Rhea has a flourishing career as a Facilities Director for a large International Advertising Agency, no children, but she travels all over the world living a very glamorous life that we are all more than a bit jealous about.

 

I am a full time Mum with a fantastic husband and lovely children, I have given up work in order to look after them and that suits me fine, people often make comments on what good children they are and that makes everything worthwhile.

 

Reece lives the life, I can tell you. She has a massive house that would not look out of place on the pages of Hello Magazine. Her husband is a trader and is earning upwards of £10,000 a month and that is without the bonuses he accrues.

 

***

 

We are having our usual monthly get together tonight; it is dinner at Reece’s house this evening which no doubt will be the usual lavish affair. Reece really pushes the boat out when it is her turn to host, private caterers are called in, you get the gist?

 

What the hell am I going to wear? I am standing in front of my wardrobe and it is boring the hell out of me, so God knows what Reece and Sienna will think about it.

 

An hour later and my wardrobe is now either scattered all over the floor or the bed, I could scream!

 

“Get yourself together Sienna” I tell myself as I settle for a pair of skinny jeans, a nice sparkly top, this partnered with a pair of sexy high sandals should do the trick, sexy, but it looks like I haven’t really put that much thought into it, yeah right!!!

 

I sit on the edge of the bed, looking around the room, picking up the clothes that I have just thrown all over. Yes, Reece has everything, but she is not happy, her husband Riley is never at home, he is always at work, entertaining clients or the other women in his life. Oh yes, although Reece never admits to it but everyone knows.

 

***

 

“Right I’m off Tony, have a good night”

 

“You too love, you wont be late will you?”

 

“Not if I can help it!” giving Tony a kiss before I head out of the door. He is such a good husband and father, I may not have the money that the other two have but are they happy? Smiling to myself, I get into the taxi that is outside waiting for me.

 

As the taxi pulls up the long drive that leads up to Reece’s house, I look up at the house that is all lit up like a Christmas tree. Eight bedrooms, all en suite, what they need all those bedrooms for, who knows?

 

The gardens are tended to by their live-in gardener, they are glorious, and now whilst dark I can hear the crickets coming into their own as they realise their time is now and they are not likely to be disturbed. The only other sound I can hear is the distant trickle of water from the water feature that lies in the middle of the garden, I can just about fit in a pool for the kids to have a splash about in the Summer, how the other half live!

 

“Sienna, there you are, we thought we heard a car pull up, what are you doing standing there gazing into the distance?”

 

“Just admiring your garden, you are so lucky, such a beautiful house”

 

“You do this every time you come here, it is not as if you have never been here before” Reece barks back. No, I think, I have been here before, numerous times, but you don’t appreciate it and that is what gets me.

 

As we enter the house, I can see Rhea has already arrived in the kitchen at the end of the vast entrance hall.

 

“Champagne okay darling?”

 

“That would be lovely, thank you” I reply, when really I am thinking a vodka and coke would suffice.

 

“Evening Rhea, how are you? How is work?”

 

“All great thanks sweetie, it is lovely to see you. How are Tony and the kids?”

 

“All good, all good”

Reece is running around like a headless chicken as we sit down at the table that she has even placed name cards on, even though it is only the three of us tonight.

 

Dinner was exquisite as usual, and whilst we are eating the cheese course, we are all rather merry as a few bottles ofChampagnehas now passed our lips.

 

“Anyone for coffee?” Reece asks

 

“No, more Champers!” Rhea drunkenly shouts.

 

Reece comes back to the table with another three bottles of Champagne, my head is going to be banging in the morning on the school run, but we don’t really get to be together often and Tony said that he would do the school run, he is such a love, all my friends tell me what a great guy Tony is, and believe me, he is I am a very lucky girl and I know it.

 

The night was getting messy and we had all taken to dancing around the room screaming into our hairbrushes

 

“…… and push it real good…….. Reece was now doing her usual drunken rendition of the Salt and Pepa classic, she sounded terrible but she was convinced that she was the mighty Salt herself, my face aches from laughing, these nights are great, we all have so much fun and we have been doing this once a month from as far back as I remember.

 

***

 

“So Sienna, how are things with the girls and Tony?” asks Rhea as we have crashed onto the sofas all fairly inebriated and more than ready to call it a night. Rhea and I were just waiting for our cabs to arrive.

 

“Great thanks Rhea, and you, all okay with you?”

 

“Yeah great thanks, I have been so busy at work I have not really done much else”.

 

“Riley is having another affair” Reece blurts out, neither of us had noticed that she was quietly crying by herself on the other sofa.

 

Rhea and I both ran over and sat at either side of her.

 

“What makes you say that?” Rhea asks.

 

“I just know, come on, it won’t be the first or I doubt the last” Reece sobbed.

 

“Oh honey I am so sorry, how long has it been going on? Are you sure he is having an affair and not just busy at work as he usually is?” I asked.

 

“I know the signs hon, he is, this one just seems to be different, I have watched him over the years having numerous affairs, I just accepted it, and he always came back to me. But this time, it seems different, I think this time he has found someone he really likes, he is distant with me and we haven’t made love in months” Reece was sobbing by now, she was usually so strong, neither of us had ever seen her cry as far as I was aware .

 

“Oh darling, I am so sorry” Rhea comforted her.

 

I didn’t know what to say or do, seeing her in this vulnerable state had shaken me up a bit, she looked almost fragile with Rhea practically cradling Reece in her arms.

 

“Do you know who it is that he is having the affair with?

 

At that point, I noticed Riley standing in the doorway, Rhea and Reece both looked up at the same time.

 

“Are you going to tell her Sienna, or shall I?”

 

And with that, my life would never, ever be the same again.

writers' week

SUNDAY TIMES EFG AWARD 2012 NOW OPEN!

The Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award is now open for entries for 2012.

£30,000 first prize! Up £5,000 from last year!

Stories may be previously unpublished, or first published/scheduled for publication after 1 January 2011.

All entries must be under 6,000 words and entirely original.

Closing date is 28th October.

This year you can also enter online.

Click here for details http://www.booktrust.org.uk/Prizes-and-awards/Sunday-Times-EFG-Private-Bank-Award

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