Category Archives: Uncategorized

Six Things you might not Know about BBC Question Time 

  1. Last week I was lucky enough to be picked to be in the audience of BBC Question Time when it came to Gloucester. I even had my question selected which meant that I got to read it out. This was quite an accomplishment as 1000 people had applied to be in the audience, 150 were chosen and all of those 150 submitted at least one question.

This was my question:

I asked this question because Ken Loach himself was on the panel. He was brilliant; I recommend looking up the episode on iplayer or YouTube just to listen to Ken Loach .
Here is a video of my fifteen minutes of fame:  http://linkis.com/www.youtube.com/EfscJ

It was an amazing experience finding out about the show and being part of it. Here are six interesting facts about the programme that I learned .

  1. It is not broadcast live but it is filmed all in one go and broadcast exactly as filmed with no editing. They didn’t even bleep out the four letter word that one audience member used. We finished filming about an hour before it went on the air, giving me enough time to get home, pour myself a glass of wine and go on Facebook to tell all my friends to watch .
  2. You get tea, coffee and biscuits when you arrive.
  3. David Dimbleby is a lovely gentleman . He spoke to us all in a room before we started filming about what we should and shouldn’t do. (Do boo if you disagree with what someone is saying; don’t say hi to your mum.) He chatted and joked with us in a very natural and genuine way so you would never guess,  if you didn’t know, that he must make the same jokes to a different audience every week .
  4. They have a practice run with members of the audience sitting in for the panel in order to test the cameras and the sound. This is when someone reads all the questions and selects the ones to be used in the show.
  5. You only get to know just beforehand if your question has been picked. They interrupt the practice run to read out the names of the successful people who are then taken outside the room for a quick talk on how to read your question which is handed back to you printed on a piece of paper. Even then you can’t be sure that your question will be used because they have to pick more questions than they need just in case the debate dries up on one particular topic.
  6. The panel don’t know  what the questions are going to be so they have to think on their feet which some of them do better than others.
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Two Fun but Annoying Gifts from Pringles

My kids love Pringles and so do I. I know they are probably really unhealthy but there is something compulsive about eating them. When I saw that they were giving away free gifts I stocked up.

The first gift I sent off for was the Pringles Bowl.pringoalsIt consists of a plastic bowl with markings like a football. It has a white ring-shaped insert that makes it perfect for arranging Pringles in. A whole packet will fit in it, and will go all the way round the bowl. In the centre of the ring there is a space for a red cylinder into which you have to put batteries (which are included!) If you make the mistake of switching on the little switch, every time you reach for a Pringle, the bowl will let out a roar and shout, “Pringoal!” whatever that means. I guess it’s good if you are on a diet as it will certainly put you off eating Pringles.

The second gift I sent off for was the karaoke kit.karaoke

A free karaoke kit! Sounds like a great deal. This gift comes with two sets of batteries – one for the speaker and one for the microphone. The speaker and microphone fit on the ends of a Pringles packet, so if you forgot to keep one of the tubes you have to go and eat a whole packet before you can set up your karaoke kit. (Or you could just pour the Pringles into your free bowl.) There is a jack that connects to your mobile phone and you can play any music you want on your phone and sing into the microphone. Your voice will mingle with the music, and come out of the speaker. It is really quite ingenious, but the novelty soon wears off when your children won’t stop using it. But I did get my own back by forcing them to listen to me singing Adele.

Eight Not-So-Wonky Types of Vegetable

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Today I bought my first wonky veg box from Asda. In an effort to reduce food waste, Asda are rolling out the wonky veg box, containing vegetables that would normally be rejected by supermarkets for their imperfections, in many of their stores. At just £3.50 it is a bargain, especially when compared to what you can pay for a veg box of a similar size elsewhere.

This is what my veg box contained, and most of it is not wonky at all.

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I was disappointed that there was only one parsnip, but it doesn’t seem wonky in the least.

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One cabbage, also not in the least bit wonky.

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One of my two cucumbers had a little discolouration on one side.

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My box contained several carrots and I could only find one that could be described as wonky.

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A couple of the peppers had a slightly uneven shape.

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The leeks were a little on the small side but otherwise perfect.

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The same could be said for the onions – small but perfectly formed.

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A couple of the potatoes had some green patches, which I assume can be easily cut off. Most were perfect.

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I highly recommend this wonky veg box. It is great value for money and by buying it you are doing your bit against food waste, and helping the farmers to sell the vegetables that supermarkets have turned up their noses at until now.

Twelve Photos of my Cat, Custard

I have a cat called Custard. She is very affectionate and friendly. For my last post of National Blog Posting Month here are some photos of her.

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In the shopping bag
cat 1
Chilling on the Sofa
cat 2
She likes high up places like the ironing board
cat 3
playing with toilet paper
cat dorito
She likes Doritos!
cat hippos
Playing Hungry Hippos
cat hot
Relaxing on the staits
cat ill
When I was ill in bed one day she watched over me in my sick bed.
cat long arms
Her arms look really long in this photo
cat pizza
Guarding the pizza
cat selfie
selfie
cat washing machine
in the washing machine

 

Fifteen Cute Photos of Kittens

We have a cat called Custard. She has been neutered now but she had a few litters of kittens before we had her spayed. It was lovely for the boys to watch kittens being born and learn how to look after them. Here are some of the cutest photos of Custard’s kittens.

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Two-headed kitten!
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It’s a hard life when you’re feeding a toddler. been there, done that.
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Where’s all the food gone?
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More toddler feeding
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tabby cuddles
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Hugs!
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This was Custard’s last kitten. The boys called him Ninja and they were so sad when he left.
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Good morning!
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Sleeping on his back.
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Tabby brothers
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My son looking very cute with a kitten
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So cute!
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Tiny babies
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Cuddles
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Kitler!

 

 

Four Signs That You May Have Prosopagnosia

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I had never heard of prosopagnosia, or face blindness, until about 10 years ago. It was being discussed on a chat show on TV and as the discussion progressed, all sorts of little things fell into place for me and I realised that I wasn’t just inattentive or not very observant.

People who suffer from prosopagnosia find it hard to recognise people’s faces. There are varying degrees of face blindness; some people even have difficulty recognising their own loved ones. I once saw a photo of my son, dressed as a sheep, in his school nativity play. he was with a few other children all dressed the same, and his costume covered his hair so all I could see was his face. It took me a while to figure out which sheep was my son, and even when I had identified him, I couldn’t be 100% sure that it was him. As you can imagine, prosopagnosia can cause a lot of problems in social situations and at work, and can lead to embarrassment and distress.

If you can say yes to most of the following signs, you may have prosopagnosia.

  1. You find it hard to recognise people that you know, especially if you see them in a different context.
  2. You find it difficult to follow films or TV shows because you get the characters muddled up.
  3. You have a poor sense of direction.
  4. If you are talking to someone and they leave the room and then come in again, you are unsure whether it is the same person or not.

I have always found it quite hard to make friends. I have to know someone for quite a long time before I become friends with them. When I heard about prosopagnosia I thought this might explain why. When my children were little I used to go to toddler groups. All the other mums seemed to get to know each other very quickly but I struggled. If a mum walked into the room, I couldn’t be sure if I had met her before or not. I might have a very friendly conversation with someone, but I would completely forget who I had been talking to by the next week, or sometimes by the next moment. One time, I was talking to a mum at a toddler group, and then later I tried to continue the conversation. It was only when she looked at me blankly that I noticed the woman I had talked to earlier over the other side of the hall. This was a completely different person.

I always have to concentrate very hard when watching a film or I get completely lost. This is because if there are two similar looking characters in the film, I won’t be able to tell which is which. They don’t even have to be very similar – two men with short dark hair look the same to me if I don’t know them well.

Imagine you saw a black cat in the street, and then later you saw another black cat. You probably wouldn’t be sure if they were two different cats or if you had seen the same cat twice. If you saw both cats together and you looked closely you would probably notice that one had bigger ears, or the other one had a wider face, but if you saw them individually they would just look like any other black cat. For me it’s the same with humans. Two women in their twenties with long blond hair look the same to me. If I saw them together I would notice differences between them, but then if I met one of them later I wouldn’t know which one it was.

This can cause problems in my job. I teach in a college, and most of my students are studying sport. I might have a class of fifteen footballers who I only meet once or twice a week. They are all the same age, they all have similar hair cuts and builds, and they are almost all white males. They usually wear identical college polo shirts. Consequently it takes me a long time to remember their names and I am constantly calling them by the wrong name. Before I found out about face blindness, I used to feel very bad about this and I wondered how other teachers could learn their students’ names with relative ease while it was so difficult for me.

People who suffer from prosopagnosia often have a very poor sense of direction, although it is not understood why. I am very good at reading maps but if I am without a map or a sat nav it is almost impossible for me to find my way around an unfamiliar place. If I turn a corner I have no idea which direction I am facing. If I walk into a room in a building, especially if the route involves stairs or corridors, I will find it very difficult to make my way back to the entrance of the building again.

Face blindness can run in families and I do wonder whether my eight-year-old may have inherited it from me. Children often wave to him in the street and call out his name, but when I ask him who they are he can never tell me their names. His teacher last year told me that she had noticed that he didn’t know the names of the other children in his class, even towards the end of the summer term. If she asked him to sit next to a certain child he wouldn’t know where to sit. This seems to be making it difficult for him to form friendships, just as it does for me, and I worry about how he will manage in later life.

Recent research suggests that as many as 2 – 2.5% of the population may have this condition, and many are unaware, as I was, believing themselves to be forgetful or absent-minded.

To find out more about face blindness, visit the prosopagnosia research website.

 

Ten Things

Ten Things about Me

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I recently went to see Caitlin Moran at the Cheltenham Festival of Literature (she was fab!) and she said when she first started her career as a writer with Melody Maker, she basically just used to write lists, and she said this is a really easy  way of writing. Now I always like to find an easy way of doing things, and I’d been thinking of starting a blog for a while, so this gave me an idea. Why not blog about lists? This is how Ten Things was born.

So here it is – my first blog post. Ten things about me.

  1. I am a maths teacher – I teach GCSE maths in a Further Education college to students who failed it when they were at school. I love maths and try to inspire the same passion in my students, generally with little success.
  2. I love cats and I have a tabby cat called Custard.
  3. I joined the Labour party on the day that Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the party
  4. I am a mother to two sons.
  5. I am married to an Albanian man.
  6. I live in Gloucestershire.
  7. I speak fluent Italian because I spent 10 years teaching English in Italy.
  8. I am a vegetarian.
  9. I used to weigh about three stone more than I do now. I lost the weight a few years ago, first with the low GI diet and then with the 5:2 diet which I still follow in order to maintain the weight loss and also because of the many health benefits. I also do exercise videos at home to tone up and keep the weight off.
  10. I only have one kidney. The other one was removed ten years ago along with a large benign growth called an angiomyolipoma which weighed about 2kg .

This list will give you some idea of the things I will be blogging about – family, food, exercise, politics, maths, cats and anything else that inspires me to write.