Ah, the wonders of “behavioural psychology”…………

 

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If you struggle to drag yourself out of bed in the morning, you’re not alone. New research reveals that Brits spend 18 minutes hitting the snooze alarm a day – that’s the equivalent of 267 days of their life.

In response to the new findings, an “expert” has devised a “scientific backed” formula for becoming a morning person.

The seven-step morning formula involves:-

1. Sleeping on the left side of the bed

2. Wearing something yellow in bed

3. Setting your alarm to your favourite feel-good song

4. Sex or exercise when you wake up (5mins)

5. Doing a headstand (2mins)

6. An ice-cold shower (3mins)

7. Slow energy release breakfast (5mins)

I read this with increasing incredulity but then came the punch line, the programme has been devised by Jo Hemmings, a behavioural psychologist (psychologists are people who think they are scientists) who is no doubt flogging some book or health / wellbeing programme.

Having looked at her on line website I find the following ” Jo Hemmings is a Behavioural Psychologist, specialising in the media and celebrity analysis as well as a dating and relationship coach and TV and radio personality. She was voted Dating Expert of the Year at the UK Dating Awards in 2016.” My goodness that is an impressive scientific background!

Discussing the formula, Jo explained: ‘Instead of spending 18 minutes a morning hitting the snooze button, which can make us feel more tired and groggy, use that time to try out this simple routine to set you up for the day. The formula includes elements to shake up your system.

This is where I fall into a catatonic state after reading such drivel………..to paraphrase Henry the Second, “will no one rid me of these turbulent psychologists”

Source:Mailonline/Personal Comment

 

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Booker T and Steve Cropper at the “Proms”

As a regular viewer / listener to the BBC Proms concerts I took the opportunity recently to watch the recorded concert of the “Tribute to STAX Records” put on by Jools Holland and his big band. It was interesting to read in the musical press that many classical music enthusiasts (read snobs) were up in arms that an evening at the Royal Albert Hall was being devoted to “pop music.”

I can remember back in the 1960s discovering the world of STAX soul music through artists like Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Carla Thomas, William Bell, Eddie Floyd and the “house band” of Booker T and the MGs.

Jools and his band provided backing to those original artists still around and flown in for the concert, namely Sam Moore, William Bell, Eddie Floyd and the two remaining members of the house band, Booker T Jones and Steve Cropper

These original artists were joined by Tom Jones, James Morrison (?), Beverley Knight and Ruby Turner in revisiting the stax catalogue. There were also a couple of “rappers” but it would be kinder not to mention them as they were so awful…………and had no right to be on stage for such a musical event.

Personally, I could have done without the British artists and had more opportunity to listen to the original artists, all of whom could still belt out a song with real feeling.

The two highlights of the evening for me were a performance of  Green Onions by Booker T and Steve Cropper (my friend Mike saw Steve Cropper at the Ramsbottom Blues Festival three years ago, I kid you not) and then most unexpectedly a rendition of Duke Ellington’s “Blues for New Orleans” (from his New Orleans Suite) by Booker T accompanied by the big band.

“Green Onions” is probably the best known piece by Booker T and the MGs but for me “Time is Tight” has always been the standout track by the group. Above is a recording of the song taken from a live concert (my mate Mike says it is too doodly at the start, but what does a man with eight guitars know?) and features the original line up of Booker T, Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn and Al Jackson………………and just listen to that bass line!

 

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RNLI…….the scandal of having to rely on charity!

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A little while ago I happened upon a programme on BBC television about the lifeboat service around British coastal waters and the River Thames. The TV crew went out on various “call outs” from several different services (from Cornwall to the North east of England) and involved everything from a cliff top rescue of a dog, holidaymakers stranded on rocks with an oncoming tide, to a missing kayaker.

The crew members of all these boats (both male and female) are all volunteers and range from accountant, pub landlord, a chip shop owner, student and a trawler man. They all give of their time freely and on occasions put their own lives on the line to try to save others. In their full time day jobs they carry a “bleep” and when this goes off they just drop everything and scramble  the lifeboat (a matter of minutes can make the difference between life and death for someone in the ice-cold waters). A pub landlord said that he often had to stop serving to run to the lifeboat station and leave the customers to serve themselves!

Probably everyone has heard of the RNLI even though most will have had the good fortune not to have had to call on theirs services. They are incredibly admired but perhaps sometimes taken for granted. So  let me appraise you of a few facts:-

  1. The RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea.
  2. Its volunteer lifeboat crews rescue an average of 24 people every day and RNLI lifeguards provide a seasonal lifeguard service on selected beaches.
  3. The RNLI is independent from Government and relies on donations from people like you.

Yes, I know it is hard to believe that they are a charity with no government funding………so tell me again how much we give in “Overseas Aid? what was that figure, “Oh. £13.3 billion”……………but we can’t fund the RNLI?

We have people putting their lives on the line, who receive no payment for what they do, they have to “beg” from the public for funds to keep going and yet the British Government see fit to waste billions of pounds on utterly useless “development” projects abroad usually with regimes riddled with corruption.

I do wonder at times what happened to sanity in this country…………

 

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North West Air Ambulance Service……..relies on charity to the governments shame!

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After visiting my new house in Weaverham, Cheshire yesterday, I was travelling back to the M56 motorway when the traffic suddenly slowed and I was trying to work out why. Eventually I could see  a man walking along the pavement and carrying what looked like a donation bucket and people slowing down as they passed to drop some money in.

As I came up to him a slowed and asked him what he was doing, to which he replied “walking form Nantwich to Millom in Cumbria (the most northerly and southerly points covered by the NWAA)  to raise funds for the North West Air Ambulance Service and the medics who saved my life after an horrific motorway smash.”

His name is Mel Brunskill and wants to repay the kindness of the North West Air Ambulance (NWAA) crew who airlifted him to hospital after they came to his aid three years ago.

The 59-year-old was on his way to Plymouth on the M6 on the morning of June 20, 2014. He was travelling behind slow moving traffic when a car ploughed into the back of his motorcycle at 70mph. After being hurled into the air, he bounced off a crash barrier and eventually came to rest in the central reservation, his head resting inches away from the fast lane of the northbound carriageway. “I could feel blood trickling down my right hand side,” said Mel. “I didn’t dare to move in case I has broken any bones. I feared I had spinal injuries.”

As the traffic had now come to a stand still in both directions, Mel had to be airlifted to South Liverpool hospital, Mel, a retired police officer, fortunately only suffered minor injuries, but experts agreed the Billinge man might not be here today without the help of the Air Ambulance service. Mel said: “According to the police, paramedics and hospital surgeons, I should have died, or been more seriously injured. “That was a sobering thought.”

And now Mel is going the extra mile to repay the debt he feels he owes the North West Air Ambulance. “I never realised that the Air Ambulance was a charity, or that they’re not funded by the government. “I was staggered, so it was on my mind to do some fund-raising for them.”

A serial volunteer, Mel devotes his spare time to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), visiting local schools and youth groups to teach them about the dangers of open waters. Having done epic charity walks in the past, including a 630 mile trek in March along the South West coast for the RNLI, Mel decided to take on the walking challenge. Mel said: “They were there for me – they will be there for you too, should you or your loved ones need to get to a hospital in a life-saving emergency and much faster than a normal ambulance could do so.”

I have a regular payment made to Yorkshire Air Ambulance to try and support their continued existence, but I do find it annoying ( to say the least) that the British Government spends £13.3* billion (yes, read that figure again!) on overseas aid (yours and my money) and yet organisations like air ambulance and RNLI have to rely on charitable gifts.

* Officials at the EDF have somehow contrived to spend thousands of pounds on trapeze lessons, a study on the development of the Pacific Coconut, flying a gamut of officials from across Oceania to a renewable energy conference in Aruba (no, really), supporting the work of the EU’s press operation in Jamaica, and a study into the “youth perceptions, attitudes and views towards EU development policy” in Zimbabwe.

And the government wonders why many of us just hake our heads in despair at the complete and utter waste of money on these (and many other useless) “projects.

To donate to Mel’s cause, visit justgiving.com/mel-brunskill.

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Partition in India……….scapegoat the British as usual!

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I have watched several programmes in the last week or so which have looked at the granting of independence to India and the subsequent results of “partition” of the country with the creation of the new country of Pakistan.

Much of the focus has been on the uprooting of communities based on religious affiliation (mainly Hindus and Muslims) and the atrocities committed by both sides. Rape and murder were commonplace and thousands lost their lives because of this “appalling sectarianism.”

Visually all the programmes have laid the blame for the violence at the door of the British. One discussion programme on the BBC last week with a mainly Asian audience discussed this issue and one comment from the audience from an asian gentleman was to the effect that “the violence was a stain on the British nation.”

Now one can say that the introduction of partition was badly done, poorly organised and to a great extent the new Indian and Pakistan nations were left to get on with it. But forgive me here, but I don’t remember there being mass shootings, wholesale slaughter of villages or gang rapes by British troops.

No one told the two different religious communities to go out and slaughter each other, they chose to do that. So I get a little bit fed up of the finger-pointing at the British to say “it is all your fault.” Do none of the people involved in the atrocities take any responsibility for their action……….and indeed, what drove them to slaughter neighbours they had previously lived alongside in relative harmony for years?

It is time the two countries accepted that they were responsible for the savagery. The British drew the line of partition without apparently, a great deal of thought and this caused a great deal of concern in communities in both India and Pakistan, even accepting the lack of forethought in this, it does not excuse the savage religious sectarianism that followed. And it is sad to say that hate between the two countries still exists today and has been the cause of several wars between the two countries.

So, stop blaming the British (yes, we were guilty of colonialism and no one denies that) for the actions off people who should have known better, particularly as the driving force was religion. I refer you to the quote by Christopher Hitchens: Good men do good things, evil men do evil things, but for good men to do evil things, you need religion.”

 

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St Marys Hospital, Manchester……..customer service at reception, somewhat lacking!

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Yesterday I went to visit my daughter in the Maternity Unit at St Marys Hospital in Manchester. On arriving at the main entrance to the hospital (vaguely similar to the one above) I entered and saw a large reception desk just to the right of the entrance. Hung on the wall was a large sign that said Reception Desk so I approached the desk but could find no staff. The desk was also empty of any papers or indeed a phone, so I was a little bemused by this. I then heard a member of staff in what appeared to be a stock room at the side of the desk, so I asked “Is there a member of staff that I could speak to on the reception desk?”

His response then astounded me, “we don’t have any staff on this reception and it hasn’t been staffed for a very long time.” I responded by saying “so why is there a large sign still above the desk saying reception?” he shrugged his shoulders and indicated I should go and try to find someone inside the hospital to help me ( no attempt on his part to say “tell me what help you need and I will try to answer your query of find someone who can”…….don’t they provide customer service training at this hospital?).

I took his advice and went to a reception desk for one of the outpatients clinics further inside the building. I asked the young man on reception why the reception desk at the entrance was not staffed, to which he responded “we occasionally have volunteers there but we don’t have any staff on duty”. “So why is there still a large sign above the desk saying Reception?” I asked.

He said he didn’t know. He was then able to point me in the direction of the Maternity Unit so that I could see my daughter who was awaiting the birth of her second child.

I find it staggering that a large NHS Hospital cannot get the simplest of things right in terms of providing information to patients and visitors at a Reception Desk, that is still signposted as such, but virtually never staffed, except by the odd “volunteer.’

No doubt the Trust has policies on patient focus and customer service, just a pity that they can’t get some of the absolute basics right. Either staff the reception point or TAKE THE BLOODY SIGN DOWN!

Oh, and when you do your next training needs analysis for the trust, perhaps someone could put “meeting (and exceeding) customer service” at the top of the lis!

 

 

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Yorkshire Sculpture Park on a glorious August day……………..

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Blue skies, cotton wool clouds and a temperature of 18c (that is warm for the UK) meant that a trip to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park was on the cards for today. After parking about a mile from the park and wandering trough several fields (with marvellous views of West Yorkshire) we arrived at the park.

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A gentle stroll along a shaded lane to the bridge, afforded wonderful views to both ends of the lake. The flora and fauna this year are exceptional, beautiful colours and a variety of wildlife to boot!

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The park was very busy with lots of visitors, particularly young families. This is an ideal place to bring them as they can run free and do all the things kids are supposed to, but often are stopped from doing so in these “risk aversion days.

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It doesn’t matter how many times you have visited the park, there is always something new to discover, wildlife to see and people to engage in conversation with, as you amble around the park.

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With trusty Pentax K50 in hand, I did my walk taking photographs of anything that took my fancy, panoramic views, shots of the woods and today some of the insect life of the park, notably the butterflies. I shall be moving to another part of the north of England in a few weeks and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park is the thing I will miss most………….but I am sure I shall make occasional forays across the border to visit this wonderful place.

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Above are some of the photographs I took today, and below a series of photos displaying a very powerful and profound message about art!

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Photographs (c) Kindadukish 2017

 

Posted in Art, Art and Sculpture, blue sky, Flora and fauna, Landscape, Sculpture Park, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment