Welcome to Diana's Blog

I blog about anything that interests me - my local area, things I've seen or heard on the news, politics and human rights, gardening, arts and crafts, poetry, photographs and general advice.

And, when you've finished reading, don't forget to leave a comment - I love hearing from people

Tuesday 22 December 2009

Poem: The Fire at Alexandra Palace

I saw the Palace burning,
Burning, burning,
I saw the Palace burning
Lighting up the sky 
A smoke-grey finger swirling
Swirling, swirling
Just glimpsed between the houses
Pointing to the sky

Then crowds of people surging
Surging, surging
To see the flames go licking
Up towards the sky

And scarlet engines racing
Racing, racing
With firebells loudly ringing,
Their clanging filled the sky

Like ants appeared the firemen,
Firemen, firemen
Swarming round the building
Dark forms against the sky

And children rushing forward,
Forward, forward
While policemen barred their progress
As they looked up to the sky

And beams and ashes falling
Falling, falling
Made everyone step backwards
As they watched the darkening sky

And now the wind was blowing
Blowing, blowing
And flames and smoke now billowed
In their race to meet the sky

And fiercely sprayed the water,
Water, water
As the firemen turned their hoses
Up towards the sky

Then home we turned, exhausted,
Exhausted, exhausted
The fire raged ever fiercer
And lit the dusky sky

The blaze was like a beacon
Beacon, beacon
All London saw it burning
Till dawn suffused the sky
       Then Lloyds paid out eight million                                   £8,000,000
       Eight million, eight million
       And the Owners were so happy                                     
       Their insurance was sky high                                   

Diana Grant


Alexandra Palace Fire 10th July 1980

Who would have thought  it was nearly 30 years ago?

 My son and I were sitting on our front wall just beyond Alexandra Park Road, chatting. I looked up and noticed a small dark smoke cloud drifting up above the rooftops. I pointed it out to Charlie, and although we couldn’t see the source, we both agreed it was probably the Palace, and we ran out to see.

I had previously seen Blandford House burn down in the Palace grounds only a few years previously. Curious, we jumped into the car, and drove part of the way up the hill where it became obvious that it was indeed the Palace on Fire. We left the car a safe distance away and went the rest of the way by foot.

We were among the first to arrive even before
 the fire engines were there.

We stood on grass by the steep slope, very close to the fire, and Charlie was so excited he wanted to run right up the slope to get closer still, and I had to haul him back as I was frightened he might be hit by falling timber or hamper the firemen, who were just beginning to arrive.

We moved back and they seemed like little ants rushing about. At that stage the fire had not really taken hold and they seemed to be getting it under control.

We could see the big window at the front of the Great Hall lit up with great orange flames licking out of it. At first it was hard to distinguish the flames from the yellow-red brickwork, but the intense moving colours soon drew our eyes.

There was scaffolding round the front of the building where workmen had been renovating that area.

I knew the Palace and Park well, from going to the Panorama Bar, courting there in my youth, working, taking my children to the ice rink, and generally roaming around. I used to work in the BBC Television Newsroom in the part where the BBC Television Tower is.

During the afternoon the flames seemed to have died down a bit, but later that evening I happened to visit someone who lived high up in a flat in Shepherd’s Hill, Highgate, with a clear view of the Palace, which was again completely engulfed in flames, and I believe it burned all night.

Oh, and by the way, there had been local wrangles all the previous year about who was to take over the Palace, and who was to pay for substantial upgrading and renovation.  Then came the fire, apparently started from an electrical fault whilst the renovations were being carried out, and there was a £3million insurance pay-out.  Was that handy or what?  Every cloud has a silver lining and this was quite a large cloud. Curious nimbus.

Here is a LINK to the BBC Television News Video Report in 1980.

And here is a LINK to the fire at St Andrew's Church, Alexandra Park Road, N10 in 2009.

And a LINK to the fire at Blandford Hall, Alexandra Park  on July 17th 1971.

And a LINK to a very detailed article dated 1993 about the history of the great organ at Alexandra Palace.

                          (Acknowledgement to I Barwell for the picture on the right)

And this LINK is to my POEM "The Fire at Alexandra Palace"

Saturday 12 December 2009

Copenhagen - Candlelit Vigil Across the World


Let your candles burn tonight
The world needs our support

Let your candles shine so bright
Our leaders need support

It’s our job to spread the light
The world’s poor need support

Keep your candles glowing white
Our children need support

Add your voice to the climate fight
Our wildlife needs support

Hope and pray with all your might
The world will give support

As people round the world unite
And join in their support

Hold the ideal in your sight
Hold your intention really tight
And as our candles burn tonight
Light up the world with gentle light


Wendy Beauchamp-Ward             12 December 2009

Friday 20 November 2009


Yahoo! Avatars              This is a selection of Questions on Google Answers with Diana's Replies

Mumbling While I Speak?

Hi, I usually mumble most thing's I say and so I don't really talk at all. But however, If I get a PS3 and a headset and talk to people for about 2 year's will I start to speak clearer?

Not really, as you could still continue with your habitual way of speaking. You need to practise using your facial muscles, saying a..e..i..o..u in an exaggerated way, stretching your mouth sideways, opening your jaw and using your lips as much as possible. You will feel the stretch. Also put your chin up, not down on your chest.

Do all this in front of a mirror, listen to yourself, including making a recording of what you sound like mumbling and what you sound like saying the same thing stretching your facial muscles. Feel and hear the difference. The new way might sound a bit silly, so keep it for practice, and tone it down a bit when talking to other people, but keep reminding yourself how to speak clearly and keep up the practice until it becomes a habit. Changing your habit is important so that you don't lapse when you are tired or embarrassed or nervous.
I went to speach training myself.

My baby is 16 months old and still not talkin?
He is 16 months old and my 2nd child. he started walkin a week before his 1st birthday and understands everythin you say to him. he tells me what he wants by shoutin or gesturin. my 1st son was walkin and sayin words. is he just a late starter??

Two out of seven babies in my family  were slow starters talking, but if they get what they want by gestures and noises, then don't worry, because that is in fact communicating and, as you say, your baby understands what you are saying. Some babies (including the two I mentioned) seem to wait until they can speak in whole phrases or sentences, rather than isolated words but they are thinking, and it doesn't mean they have something wrong with them, and indeed my two turned out to be well above normal intelligence.

If you are still concerned that there is a problem, speak to your doctor or ask if you can see a child development specialist.

What can you do with ground chicken?
It was on sale yesterday really cheap, I couldnt resist.. I just dont know what to do with it?

Chicken patties - you can add onion, cooked potato, cooked greens, the chicken and a raw egg (to bind it). Mix them all together, form them into burger shaped patties, dunk in flour to stop them sticking to the pan if you so wish, and fry in olive (or other) oil until pale golden brown, turning them over when needed.

Highly delicious - ooh I fancy some myself now

Asker's Comment:
They sound really good.. Definetly worth a try! thank you=)

Can I defrost sausages in the microwave?
Yes I am really that clueless and yes, my breakfast depends on this.  thanks :)

Yes I do, and I have never gone up in blue smoke or suffered any other ill effects. You could put it on lower power and do it for about 4 minutes. Then when you grill them, the grill will cook them through. I like my sausages well done until crispy, so there is no worry about them not being cooked in the middle.

What is your favorite meal to make one day, and using the meat, eat as leftovers the next?


Roast lamb and roast potatoes: I use all the yummy outside bits on the first day. Then on the second day I heat up the lamb and roast potatoes in a frying pan. This makes them as brown and crispy, if not more so, as they were on the first day, and therefore not like leftovers at all.

What would you do if someone particulally kids didn't like the smell of trout?

would you care if they put on tantrums?

I would take notice of them - we all dislike different things and they should be respected. Their sense of smell is more sensitive than that of adults and as they grow older you will find they are more comfortable with smells that revolt them when they are young. I remember when I was a child I couldn't bear to go into a butchers because the smell was overpowering and made me feel sick, but as an adult I hardly notice it.

The "Security Guard" in my local Morrisons is decrepit he couldn't catch a cold; so what's he FOR?
Next time I go there, I'm going to follow HIM around the store, and see how HE likes being spied upon.

So what do you expect? - he's not hired as a bouncer. YOU will be old one day, and lets see whether you change your mind then about who can and who can't do a job.

What do you think of immigrants who cannot speak the language?
I hate it, if you are going to live in the country, how can you not speak the language? I don't mind if they are tourists, but how can you become a resident without learning the language first?

The people who can speak the language but still insist on not speaking it in public places also annoy me.
What are your opinions?


I think they should be encouraged to learn by advertising free classes at their local community centres, and a sympathetic friendly approach by English-speakers.

On the whole the younger generation pick up English fairly quickly because they need to and their memory for vocabulary is better, but the older generation find it more difficult to adapt, find learning vocabulary a nightmare because of poor memory, and need more help, including, possibly, English speaking volunteers to befriend them and have patience with teaching them the basics.

I know many English speaking people living in Spain and other countries who tend to settle in little English enclaves and don't really assimilate, so why do we demand more of others than we are willing to do ourselves? Most English people in Africa and Asia (and Australia and New Zealand, dare I mention) didn't see fit to learn the indiginous languages so don't be too harsh on immigrants. Why not befriend them, treat them warmly and help them with kindness to overcome what must be quite a disadvantage to them.

Tuesday 10 November 2009

Local Sights of North London: Muswell Hill, Wood Green,Hornsey and Highgate

Here are some Photo's of local architecture and scenery in North London

This is the view of Canary Wharf seen
from the Top of Hillfield Park Road
standing in Muswell Hill Broadway, N10

Eclipse over Rhodes Avenue,
                                                       Wood Green, N22

                                                             London Mennonite Library,
                                                                        Highgate N6
   Sewage Pumping Station,
                                                         Hornsey, N8

Did you ever wonder what was behind the locked wooden gate in Rhodes Avenue N22 with a sign on it saying "Danger", belonging to the Electricity Board?
To me it was one of life's unsolved mysteries for decades, and then a year ago it was unlocked for the first time in years, for maintenance purposes, and I nipped along and took a photo.  It made me so happy!

  Snow in Durnsford Road Park, looking
 out towards Durnsford Road, N22


Snow on the totem pole at Rhodes
Avenue Primary School, Wood Green N22

Helicopter circling to take off from - would you believe it - Muswell Hill Golf Course N22
(you can see the Club House in the background).  Very odd, and quite exceptional

 Bust of Oliver Tambo ANC Leader
who lived in Muswell Hill
You'll find it outside Alexandra Park School and
Rhodes Avenue Primary School
in Durnsford Road Park, Wood Green, London N22

Here's a Song, Muswell Hill Billy, by The Kinks, who used to live just up the road from me

Books for Boys – Vintage Boyhood Favourites


Captain W. E. Johns wrote a series of 98 Biggles books, and such was their popularity that they have been published in 26 countries and are still currently being republished.

Biggles, or James Bigglesworth, starts off as a young flyer in the Royal Flying Corps in France where he is taken under the wing of Mahoney and soon becomes a very skilled pilot. His adventures span a period from World War I through to World War II and beyond, many of the stories arising from W. E. John’s own experience who was often writing about authentic events, with embellishments which were not always entirely credible. After the two World Wars, Biggles and associates are recruited into a special airborne police unit to continue their adventures.

Captain W.E.Johns (1893 – 1968) served as a machine gunner in WWI and from 1918 was himself a fighter pilot with the Royal Flying Corps in France. He was shot down over Mannheim and became a Prisoner of War and escaped. He was recaptured and only avoided execution because of the abrupt end to the war. He remained in the Royal Air Force until 1931 when his final rank was Flying Officer, and he added the epithet of Captain when he became a prolific and famous writer, the author of 167 books, including the Worrals, Gimlet and Steeley series, as well as science fiction and books on aviation and gardening.

I own the following collection of books, which I would like to sell. You can see more about them, including pictures, on my website gloriousconfusion.com if you navigate to Childrens Books, or alternatively go directly there via this link: http://www.gloriousconfusion.com/books/childrens_books/childrens_books_we_john.php

Capt. WE Johns:

Biggles in The Cruise of the Condor The Thames Publishing Co (Regent Classics) undated, ca. 1952/

Biggles Air Detective Dean & Son Reprint 1952 (?)

Biggles Flies Again Dean & Sons, (Reprint) Undated.

Biggles in the South Seas third edition 1962 Brockhampton Press,

Biggles Combined Operation Hodder & Stoughton 1959 1st Edition, illustrated by Stead.

Biggles in the South Seas third edition 1962 Brockhampton Press

Biggles Takes a Holiday 1951 Third Impression Hodder & Stoughton. illustrated by Stead

Biggles Secret Agent Reprinted 1950 Oxford University Press, illustrated by Alfred Sindall

Biggles and the Missing Millionaire 1961 –1st edition Brock Books.

Biggles Follows On Hodder & Stoughton, illustrated by Stead
Biggles in Africa Reprint 1952 Oxford Illus. Alfred Sindall

Gimlet Goes Again University of London Press Ltd November 1944 - 1st edition – illustrated by Stead

Monday 9 November 2009

Legally Compromised Computer Security

In my last blog, I ended by saying I would tell you what I had found out whilst I was researching Norton 360. To me what I discovered was a bit of a bombshell, but really, knowing the wily ways of the world, it should not have been all that surprising, especially having read the sort of books that Chomsky,

Jonathan Bloch have written.

I had innocently looked up Norton 360 Version 3.0 to compare it with Version 2.0 in Wikipedia, which was very helpful.

The next section was entitled "FBI cooperation". In a nutshell, they said that Symantec (Norton), in compliance with the FBI, had whitelisted Magic Lantern, a keylogger developed by the FBI, whose purpose was to obtain passwords to encrypted email, to assist with criminal investigations. Magic Lantern is deployed as an email attachment and when opened, a Trojan horse is installed on the suspect's computer which is activated when PGP encryption is used, which would normally be to increase the email security.

According to the Wiki article, Symantec and some other major antivirus vendors have rendered their own antivirus products incapable of detecting Magic Lantern, giving rise to further concerns that hackers too might be able to subvert the programme for unlawful purposes.

It is not clear whether the FBI is required to obtain a court order before gaining access in this way since the statement of the FBI spokesman Paul Bresson merely stated that "like all technology projects or tools deployed by the FBI it would be used pursuant to the appropriate legal process". To me that does not sound 100% watertight, and it could well be open to subjective interpretation by anyone seeking to use such powers.

Opposing this intentional failure to guard against all malware, The view of Marc Maiffret, chief technical officer and co-founder of eEye Digital Security, was that customers pay for a service to protect them from all forms of malicious code and it is not up to his Security firm to do law enforcement's job for them and so they do not and will not make any exceptions for law enforcement malware or other tools.

And if the FBI has those powers, who else might have them? MI5? Metropolitan Police? And what about the police and spy services in other countries? There seems to be a bit of a moral dilemma here. What do others think?

A Day in the Life of Diana - Trouble Down at t'Mill

Yahoo! Avatars

Yesterday morning I was having a bit of trouble with my Symantec Norton 360 Version 2.0. security system. It was showing a message saying Symantec Service Framework has encountered a problem and needs to close, and whatever I was doing on the computer, the message kept on flashing up and wouldn’t be silenced. I spent a considerable amount of time checking the support webpages, trying to get free advice. I found that the Forum and online advice was free but that if I wanted support by phone, it would cost me, so I decided to go it alone. I found a string of about 200 comments (honestly, I’m not exaggerating) about this exact problem on the Forum, many by the same person, who had clearly tried everything from FAQs to detailed assistance by other Forum users ,as well as technical support over the phone. I had a sinking feeling that all was not well in the state of Denmark, and that if this poor man had had such trouble, what hope was there for me, a non-techie?


So at lunch time I emailed Technical Support and received an immediate acknowledgment that they would reply fully within 48 hours..........Well, who wants to wait 48 hours when you’re in the middle of doing something?

So, being impatient, I decided to fiddle.

According to our man in the Forum thread, it didn’t sound as though it was worth spending time trying to fix the problem, because nothing seemed to work for him. I pondered over whether I should uninstall and then re-install my Norton security programme. It felt like taking an awful risk leaving my computer exposed to the elements if it didn’t go well. But then I reasoned that I could always download a free firewall like AVG or Firefox to tide me over, and I found a Norton webpage which reassured me that, if I did uninstall, I would not lose my year’s membership licence (which still had six months to run).


I ran a back-up on to a DVD and that took me several hours, because I couldn’t find the DVD’s and, after looking in various biscuit tins and boxes, I discovered lots of my old cassette tapes, and many of my partner’s too, and lots of empty plastic cases, so almost seamlessly I found myself matching tapes to boxes, and sorting them alphabetically as they had lain all jumbled together for years and I could never find anything – indeed I had acquired so many from other people that I didn’t even remember what I had. By the time I had organized them, which included reviving many memories (not all of them romantic) and my room in chaos for a couple of hours, a vision of the location of the pack of blank DVD’s suddenly flitted through my mind.

I abandoned the cassettes to insert a disc in the computer.


I was a bit disconcerted that the disc tray had not opened automatically when I ran the back-up programme, but shrugged it off as a random quirk. After another hour of fiddling about and getting the same failure warning flashing up on the screen , closing the sign, and getting it replicating several more times, and having the whole back up programme freezing on me, I took out the DVD, closed down the computer and started it up and ran the back-up again and after a suspenseful hour got a message that it was only partially completed, because I had left my Outlook programme switched on. I didn’t know how to do an incremental back-up, or indeed whether it was even possible to do this on a used DVD, so I ran the whole thing again, and this time everything ran smoothly.

Then, quaking in my virtual boots, I uninstalled Norton, my friend of three years’ standing, and reloaded it, restarted the computer and waited to see whether it had interfered with any of my work done early in the day. All was well.


So I returned some twelve hours later to checking all my Earrings web pages to tally them up with what earrings I had actually got – I didn‘t want to offer my wonderful hand-crafted earrings

 for sale if they were no longer available. That sort of went all right. I have been carrying the earrings round quite a bit recently, on a big cork notice board wrapped up in red satin, to trade at North London Local Exchange Trading Scheme socials and trading nights, and apart from those I have actually traded for pledges (the NLLETS local currency), I was shocked to find out how many earrings I had actually lost – they must have dropped off in the street or at the venue, leaving me with the other half. And of course, I now had to check every earring entry on my website, gloriousconfusion.com to find out what was missing. I’m a bit new to all this as I have only just started selling them, and haven’t got an organized system yet. Indeed, as I am more of a hobbyist than a serious merchandiser, I may never get round to it.

Midnight at the Oasis:

Then, just after midnight, what do you think happened? You’ll never guess, so I’ll tell you: I received an unimaginably helpful email from Norton Support. Without any ifs or buts, they offered me a free upgrade from Norton 360.02 to Norton 360.03 which came out this March, and told me how to do it. I must confess that once I had got over the pleasure of a productive response and the annoyance of having mucked about all day for nothing trying to fix it, my first thought was “why would they want to do that?”

It’s not easy being a cynic.

This train of thought led me to Google various websites to compare the two programmes including the price, benefits of the upgrade, and why there might have been a problem fixing Norton 360 Version 2 for me. And what I found will be the subject of my next article, blog, lens or what-have-you.

Sunday 8 November 2009

Photographs of Crouch End and Alexandra Palace in Haringey, North London

Here are some pictures of Crouch End, London N8, and Alexandra Palace, Haringey, with some lovely examples of late Victorian/Early Edwardian and Art Deco architecture

Crouch End
Showing the Clock Tower and terraces of flats and shops

Below and Right:
Crouch End Town Centre

Below:  Crouch End Town Hall and the old Electricity Board building
Right and Below:                                       Alexandra Palace, Haringey

Tuesday 27 October 2009

Do you know what Mennonites are?

Somewhere at the top of Shepherds Hill in Highgate, London, there is an enormous old red brick Victorian manor house.  I had reason to go there to collect something, and discovered that it was the  Library of the London Mennonite Centre.  I was curious to find out what this organization was, as I had never heard of it.  I tried the usual Wiki search, but it was a bit too piecemeal for me so I tried another website, gotquestions.org, which seems to be a website about all things biblical. I have summarised what they say :

"Question: "Who are the Mennonites and what are their beliefs?
 Answer: The Mennonites are a group of Anabaptist (opposed to infant baptism) denominations      named after and influenced by the teachings and tradition of Menno Simons (1496-1561). They are  committed to nonviolence, nonresistance, and pacifism.

"Mennonite congregations worldwide embody the full scope of Mennonite practice from old-fashioned “plain” people to those who are indistinguishable in dress and appearance from the general population.

Early Mennonites in Europe were good farmers and were invited to take over poor soils and enrich them through hard work and good sense. Often the governing bodies would take back the land and force the Mennonites to move on since they would offer no resistance. So the migration to America started and they were welcomed by the Colonists.

There are many schisms, which actually started in Europe in the 1600s and continued after the immigration to America. Many of these churches were formed as a response to deep disagreements about theology, doctrine, and church discipline. Mennonite theology emphasizes the teachings of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament. Their core beliefs deriving from Anabaptist traditions are: the authority of Scripture and the Holy Spirit; salvation through conversion by the Spirit of God; believer’s baptism by sprinkling; discipline in the church (including shunning in some congregations); and the Lord’s Supper as a memorial rather than as a sacrament or Christian rite.

There is a wide scope of worship, doctrine and traditions among Mennonites today. Old Order Mennonites use horse and buggy for transportation and speak Pennsylvania Dutch (similar to German). They refuse to participate in politics and other so-called “sins of the world.” Most Old Order groups also school their children in church-operated schools. Conservative Mennonites maintain conservative dress but accept most other technology. They are not a unified group and are divided into various independent conferences. Moderate Mennonites differ very little from other conservative evangelical protestant congregations. There is no special form of dress and no restrictions on use of technology. They emphasize peace, community and service.

Another group of Mennonites have established their own colleges and universities and have taken a step away from strict Bible teaching. They ordain women pastors, embrace homosexual unions, and practice a liberal agenda, focusing on peace studies and social justice issues, good works and service to others.

There are many varieties of Mennonites. Some  are more evangelical than others; some are focused on Bible study and prayer; others re carefully maintain the works-based tradition set out by their ancestors; and, some  have left the faith of their fathers and focus instead on current social issues."

Wednesday 27 May 2009

Memorial to Oliver Tambo in Durnsford Road Park, Muswell Hill, London

Oliver Tambo lived with his family in Muswell Hill for many years during his exile from South Africa during the apartheid years.

Here are some photographs of his bust in the park and a few words about him. I got up very early one November morning to get the most spectacular photos I could, just before and after the sun rose as the colour of the bronze changed from dull brown to shimmering gold; and then, in addition, I couldn't resist showing a very chilly Oliver in the snow.

November - a minute before sunrise

The minute of sunrise November Dawn

A cold winter's day

Oliver Tambo, co-founder of modern South Africa, was instrumental in bringing down the apartheid regime from a house in Muswell Hill, North London. He and his former home were recognised in October 2007, when his bust, by the late Ian Walters (who also sculpted the statue of Nelson Mandela in Parliament Square) was unveiled in Durnsford Road Park, and a blue commemoration plaque was placed on his old house.

The three-storey house on the corner of Alexandra Park Road was once, in effect, the home of a government in exile and the children of one of the 20th century’s greatest statesmen used to play in the nearby park where now there is a memorial site with the bust of Oliver Tambo, the co-founder of the modern South African state, who came to London penniless and unknown in 1960, with the police on his tail. His wife Adelaide and young children were smuggled out to join him. The family could not have afforded this large house had it not been for political sympathisers raising the money to provide what was in effect the unofficial London headquarters of the African National Congress.

Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela together led their people to freedom. While Mandela was in prison for 27 years for political offences under the old apartheid regime, Tambo was travelling the world as a head of a quasi government in exile. In Muswell Hill a lot of people had never heard of him, and he was remembered by many locally, if at all, as the quietly spoken husband of an NHS nurse who lived with her three children in the big house. Unknown to them, it was a house where the phone was tapped and which attracted many visits from those involved in the anti-apartheid movement.

Nelson Mandela, a fellow lawyer and activist, visited him briefly in 1962. At that time Mandela was unknown, but by the time of Mandela’s second visit just after his release from 27 years’ imprisonment, they were both world leaders.

Over the years Tambo lobbied for international recognition, establishing ANC missions which were shadow embassies for a future South Africa, in 27 countries. He also founded the military wing of the ANC. When the Portuguese empire came to an end in 1975 Tambo moved his guerrillas out of training camps in Tanzania and Zambia into Angola near the South African border as a warning that the ANC were prepared to use force unless the apartheid system was dismantled peacefully. By the mid 1980’s, governments across Europe were in contact with him. The British Thatcher government, however, still considered the ANC to be a terrorist organisation, but eventually at an unofficial meeting with Sir Geoffrey Howe, the foreign secretary, Tambo was able to convince Howe of his serious statesmanlike qualities.

In 1989 Tambo suffered a stroke and, seriously ill, he was warned not to overwork. He returned to South Africa for the ANC’S first legal national conference there, in July 1991 and was elected as its National Chairman, but he died less than two years later barely having time to enjoy the fruits of his hard thirty-year struggle for freedom from apartheid in South Africa
[The source of most of this information is an article by Andy McSmith in The Independent 15 October 2007]

Monday 25 May 2009

Our lovely MP's

Now that all their shennanigans have come to light how are we to feel confident that our Members of Parliament are working on our behalf and not for their own benefit?

 Well, I am happy to learn that my local  MP for Wood Green, Haringey, Lynne Featherstone, LibDem, has been declared clean by the Daily Telegraph, and she has been claiming somewhat less than most: no mortgage, no second home, no half-baked tricky-dicky expenses. In fact she has behaved as one would expect an MP to behave.

Thanks, Lynne!

Although it might be easy to throw up one's hands and
never vote  again, I do feel people should still vote, and not lose heart entirely, in order to avoid creating a vacuum which would swiftly be filled by fringe candidates with odd ideas, and I leave those ideas to your imagination

........and don't mention Nick Griffin! 

(it's about half-way down that page).

Sunday 19 April 2009

Hallo, this is my first ever web page. It has taken me months to find out how to do this, but now here I am.


My name is Diana, and I have recently retired. Well actually I had not formed the intention to retire but as I have not had paid work for over a year, I might as well call it retirement rather than saying I am unemployed. I thought I might dread it but in fact I am strangely excited. Even the prospect of spending my old age in comparative penury does not completely dismay me, as my needs are few. As you can see, I have been quite busy designing and building this website, starting with zero knowledge and much research, trial and error, reading computer books, studying Computer Active magazines and visiting numerous websites, together with hints, help and teaching from various people. I have been collecting books for years, always hoping to read them, but having conflicting calls on my time with too many diversionary things to do. Imagine having shelves and shelves of books all ripe for reading, and at last being free to pick even the longest of them, knowing you can wallow and ruminate to your heart's content. What freedom, what luxury! ......... and then being told by your opthalmologist after an eye test that your eyesight is getting worse.


I am ashamed to admit that I was so short of book space that I have even been storing them in boxes. My first task, at my daughter's instigation, was to start sifting and ruthlessly disposing of all the books I am unlikely to read, or have already read. I was very reluctant to let go, but knowing she was right, I have managed to part with several bags of books, and it is no longer necessary to have them stacked in double piles on the shelves in disorder - they have now been distributed to their new owners.Farewell to my BabiesI will no longer be involved in management of a business, so out went The One Minute Manager (but I quickly re-read it first) ; out went Industrial Psychology (not only unread, but also extremely out of date); Time Management went because I have no intention of managing my time or anyone else's, and I know how to make lists and "To Do" notes; out went Linda McCartney and several other vegetarian, casserole and slimming cookery books, all unused because I usually just like to make up things with the ingredients in my kitchen, and if I need a recipe, I go to Madhur Jaffrey, La Rousse Gastronomique, Robert Carrier, Elizabeth David, Cranks, Betty Crocker, Jewish, Middle Eastern and Asian recipe books, and a motley crew of amateur anthologies collected over the years. Favoured cookery books are greasy, floury and chocolatey and only the clean ones have gone; I have discovered that the web provides a wealth of good recipes and useful information such as the difference between, and uses of, Baking Powder, Cream of Tartar and Bicarbonate of Soda - life's little mysteries which are not properly addressed in most cookery books. I reluctantly said goodbye to Anna Karenina, which I loved, and a duplicate dictionary and thesaurus. Exodus and other war books went because I couldn't bear to read them, and a bit of pulp fiction because they were bottom of my reading list and I knew I was never going to read them.

More soon - Diana