Honey, I’m Home!

I’ve been free for a few days now and the “YAY I’M NO LONGER IN HOSPITAL!” feeling still hasn’t worn off.

I just want to thank everyone who sent me facebook/twitter/text messages and those who sent me gifts and lovely cards to brighten up my room, it really made all the difference and kept me going through the tougher times.

I’m feeling better and better each day and getting very excited about the summer. . . I’ve got musicals to see, weddings to go to, book festivals to be poncy at and a lot of sunglasses to be worn.

I’m sure the excitement will fade and I’ll start taking my health for granted soon but for the moment I’m going to revel in my new found optimism.

Jude xxx

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Kindle

I’m a big fan of books.

I love reading books, I love going to libraries, I love buying books, and seeing rows and rows of books on a shelf gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. So I was as surprised as anyone that I love my Kindle just as much my bookcase filled with well-thumbed favourites and below are some randomly ordered reasons why:

  • You can read really embarrassing books (like Tony Blair’s autobiography for example) in public without feeling eternal shame.
  • I’m just back from a wee jaunt to Athens; my Kindle saved me a lot of room for important things . . . like make up.
  • I’m running out of space for all my books. With my Kindle I can free up space on my shelves for books I really love, especially ones that are gorgeously bound like the F. Scott Fitzgerald books below. I don’t actually own them but I really, really want them and with my Kindle I have enough space for them (if not the money. . .)

  • I’m heading back to university in September. Just thinking about it makes me feel nauseous but at least I’ll be able to read thousands of journals on my Kindle. . .
  • I love reading ridiculously heavy political books but when I’m exhausted I have the upper body strength of a kitten and I have difficulty reading said heavy books. With my Kindle that problem vanishes.

Despite loving my Kindle I still have a pile of books by my bed. I definitely have room in my life for both. . .

Jude xxx

PS I’ve added a page to this blog dedicated to my love of books, check it out here.

Jude vs. The Telegraph

I think immigration is a GOOD THING.

It may be because I have benefited extensively from it. It employed me when I worked in a Chinese takeaway, it led to me living with lovely people from all over the world (USA, Greece and China if you’re curious), it’s why I have a huge range of options when I go out to dinner, my grandparents were immigrants. . . I could ramble on for a while. I also think that is incredibly hypocritical of a nation that has made serious gains from pilfering other nations’ cultures and people (slavery increased our GDP) to be bitching about how immigration is destroying this great country of ours.

I understand that some of the concern around immigration is about the scariness of change and the unknown but that’s the same argument against feminism and the gay rights movement. I’m not stupid enough to suggest that all change is good but I’m grateful that the UK has moved on beyond the 1950s.

I wasn’t planning on writing a blog post on immigration because I usually stick to posting pictures of cakes and writing love notes about Clement Attlee and there are so many posts on it already (written by better bloggers than me such as this one by Owen Jones) but last night I found this article in The Telegraph: “Almost one in eight people living in UK are born abroad“. The scaremongering turned my stomach and led to me writing my first ever complaint to the Press Complaints Commission which I’ve reproduced below:

I’m concerned about an article in The Telegraph “Almost one in eight people living in UK are born abroad”.

The article claims that “David Coleman, an Oxford University academic, estimated in 2007 that immigrants cost the taxpayer £8.8 billion a year, when social costs such as pressure on public services, running the asylum system and teaching English were accounted for.” However after reading “Select Committee on Economic Affairs Minutes of Evidence” I think this is an incredibly misleading statement. The £8.8 billion a year cost appears to come from adding up all the costs in “Table 2: some potential costs of immigration and diversity”, however, there’s a disclaimer beneath the table stating that “These different estimates should not be added to make a total. They are preliminary and some categories may overlap with others. Please see relevant text, especially paragraph 26.”

I’m also concerned about the selective quoting of Andrew Neather, Tony Blair’s former advisor. The Telegraph states that “He said Labour’s relaxation of controls in 2000-01 was a deliberate plan to “open up the UK to mass migration” but ministers were reluctant to discuss such a move publicly for fear it would alienate its “core working-class vote”.”. I believe they got quote from an article in the London Evening Standard entitled “Don’t listen to the whingers – London needs immigrants” and he has since written a clarification in the same newspaper complaining how his article was taken out of context by other newspapers – “How I became the story and why the Right is wrong“.

I believe this article violates the PCC code, specifically section one, clause one:

“i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures”

I look forward to your response.

I tried to be factual and to the point, so I stuck to the two parts of the article I knew were misleading/inaccurate/false. I also need to say a massive thanks to @5ChinCrack for his (much better) post on the same article, I knew there were falsehoods in the article but his post alerted me to the two parts of the article I’ve complained about and led me to the report and articles I needed to read and submit to the PCC as evidence. I have no idea what the response to my complaint will be but I’ll post it on my blog when I get it.

On a personal and very selfish note, I feel SO much better after sending off my complaint to the PCC.

Jude xxx

An Opportunity to Knit Your (and Other’s) Troubles Away

I haven’t quite mastered the art of knitting yet despite a lot of tutoring from my Grandma and the lovely Iona.

I might yet master it though, this month’s Meet & Make is dedicated to knitting and Iona has very kindly set up a FREE drop-in knitting workshop on 8th May 2011, so if you’re in Glasgow and fancy a knitting lesson you can pop in at your convenience. Even if you’re already a knitting guru you can come along and help those in need by contributing to Iona’s very worthwhile Post A Patch project, which you can read about here. If you’re reading this, love knitting but aren’t near Glasgow you can still contribute to Iona’s project, just click the link for more details.

Hopefully I’ll see you there! I’ll be the one with short-blonde hair, cursing over her knitting needles.

Jude xxx

PS I know Iona is on the lookout for free wool for the event, if you can help out (it’s for a good cause people) please email hello@iheartdotdotdot.co.uk

Sharing the Clement Attlee Love

One Lt Col R.L.T Jones wrote into The Telegraph (?!) today showing his appreciation of Clement Attlee:

“SIR – Clement Attlee showed great courage in honouring Britain’s “distant obligation” to protect the people of South Korea from invasion, in the first military campaign under the Charter of the United Nations in 1950.

At that time, Britain was on the edge of bankruptcy, the Armed Forces were overstretched after the Second World War, and there was need for social change at home. Still, Attlee did not flinch from taking the decision to respond. The Armed Forces addressed the new challenge, and the nation became proud that yet again we were doing the right thing for the free world. We did not argue over exit strategy; we got on with the job.

Now, 61 years later, as a result of legal intervention, the Republic of Korea has become a world-class economic and industrial power.

Today Britain has another courageous Prime Minister, and we have joined other responsible nations, again under the Charter of the United Nations, to ensure that the people of Libya may in the future have freedom to control their own affairs. Our Armed Forces have already responded to the initial challenge, Parliament has given massive support for action, and our nation can be proud that we have found our “moral compass” once again.

Lt Col R.L.T Jones
Odiham, Hampshire”

I don’t agree with him entirely (especially when it comes to the parts about exit strategies and David Cameron!) but it’s nice that there are people out there remembering Clement Attlee and all he achieved. Or at least I think it’s nice.

Jude xxx

The Dangers of Excessive Cake Baking

Yesterday to celebrate my brother’s continued existence (he is now a quarter of a century old!) I went on a cake baking rampage; I baked mini Hummingbird Cupcakes, Red Velvet Cupcakes with vanilla icing and Lemon/Lime cupcakes with a tangy centre. The cakes were well received but being so ambitious yesterday has left me exhausted.

I’ve been chronically ill for nine years now but I still get overly ambitious. I get excited when I have the energy to do something (like bake a lot of cakes), go overboard and then spend the next couple of days barely able to watch TV.

What’s not helping is that I’m incredibly stressed right now. I’m going back into hospital in June to finish my stem cell transplant which is scary enough but I’m also worried about my future. I have incredibly caring friends and family but I’m living in a world where you’re condemned for not having the foresight to be born without a genetic, immunological disorder.

Baking an excessive amount of cake isn’t enough to distract me from all of the above.

When I’m exhausted it’s easy to become negative but I’m going to eat a cupcake, skim my favourite Clement Attlee biography and hope that next week brings better things.

Jude xxx