Thursday, 30 July 2015

A Lion Named Cecil

The internet is buzzing to the hashtag #CeciltheLion, so the topic barely needs an introduction. Butchered by American dentist Walter Palmer, a father of two from Minnesota. the story is abhorrent and distressing, but also profoundly informative on our views on humanity and man's place within the animal kingdom.

The world wide web has galvanised itself as judge and jury and I suspect despite his apology Walter Palmer's days as a dentist are over. According to The Mail he has lied about the location of a bear he hunted and killed in the past, and further allegations continue to surface. He has apologised - but his apology further highlights the bizarre way we categorise animals in our attempt to understand our place in the world. Palmer said he didn't realise that the lion had a name or that he was breaking the law by killing an animal that had been coaxed away from the game reserve it lived on.

It's this response that has had such a profound impact on me.

What is it about a wild animal with a name?

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Survival - top tips for getting through to September!

The summer holidays. Those nine weeks that loom large after the Christmas frenzy dies down. And yes, I did say nine, although I guess if you want to be pedantic it's a couple of days under nine .... but seriously, who is splitting hairs here? It's week four and they have all gone to bed early after yet another fight and it could just as well be week one given the scary amount of time yet to go!

Don't get me wrong, I love my kids. And I would love to spend quality time with them over the summer. And we do achieve it at times. I just wish they liked each other - at least a little bit!

I did have a plan. Sort of. It's not as if you bury your head in the sand and pretend two months a year don't happen, they loom large once Easter is over and necessitate a Category 5 level of planning. But the Great British Weather hasn't helped and I'm stuck!

I remember my first summer holiday as a mum. Thrilled to have a full two months to spend with my (then eight month old) little boy every single day was savoured. Having returned to work when he was a mere twelve weeks old (the archaic maternity law then stated that 14 weeks was my maximum time off - although my employer would have gladly let me go indefinitely for daring to fall pregnant in my first year of work!) any time off was incredibly valuable. The easiest of my four children by several miles (and some) we had a truly epic summer. Travelling to stay with friends, days out, quiet days at home, trips together - it was a really special two months and perhaps set the bar a little too high. Because let's face it, the reality for most of us is that the key word for the school summer holidays isn't so much excitement as SURVIVAL.

So for those equally trapped, struggling to create some precious memories out of a quagmire of frustration, here are some top tips!
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