10 More Things I Hate About Facebook

It’s long, it’s funny and it’s so sad but true.


Pay it forward – 6 weeks on

Suffolk Scribblings

Pay it forward

When I wrote my original Pay It Forward post, I had little idea of the reaction it would cause. It was largely written as a statement of intent for myself. Why should I, as a self-published author, expect people to buy my work when I didn’t buy books from other self-published authors myself? I decided to change my behaviour, with the aim of purchasing and reading the work of those I had met since beginning this journey and promoting those books I’d enjoyed.

At the same time, I wondered how many other self-published authors bought work from their peers.  The final paragraph – where do you come in – was written in the hope that one or two of my fellow authors would be converted to the cause of paying it forward. It was added mostly as an afterthought. My think was that maybe my thoughts would influence one or two others to join…

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The Life Coach Less Travelled

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The Life Coach Less Travelled


I think I can remember a time when I was happy, before my sister was born. My clearest memory of her is when I was five, going on six.

My saliva was dribbling onto the skin which tickled my lip gently, just at the moment I breathed in fiercely, then sandwiched a chunk of forearm flesh between my teeth, gripping hard, counting one, two, three. I howled protractedly before deciding to lie down and writhe on the rug, rewarded by the sound of the legs of kitchen chairs scraping the parquet and startled, questioning voices already approaching.

Lucia, who had been chattering incoherently, insouciantly and clumsily building bright colourful towers and knocking them down to build higher or more interesting ones, jumped at the noise. Instantly she amplified it with her own shocked and frightened wailing, her huge, brown eyes like rain-washed, precious stones.

My parents flung through the…

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5 More 5 Star Reviews for ‘The Life Coach Less Travelled’

The Life Coach Less Travelled

A very big thank you to these readers who have posted reviews on my Amazon pages. Read more of what they had to say by clicking the links under the comments:


“Couldn’t put this book down!”



“Absolutely loved this!”



 “A gripping, dark page turner”



“Excellent read. Couldn’t put it down”



“I enjoyed this book and recommend it”


faces at stripfeest

At an annual comic books festival in Brussels, Belgium, it could be said, judging by their total immersion captured by this amazing photographer, that some of these readers, browsers and artists were in a state of ‘Flow’. The wooden man’s face is a witty, charming touch.


“People are strange when you’re a stranger
Faces look ugly when you’re alone
Women seem wicked when you’re unwanted”

– The Doors









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6 of the Most Beautiful Writings from and for Gaza


Mahmoud Darwish once wrote, of Gaza, “We are unfair to her when we search for her poems.” We are certainly unfair when we scrabble anywhere for poems, searching for aesthetic pleasure in others’ suffering. But here, poetry seems to have welled up from the need to speak, to create, to defy silence: 

Zuabi speaking at an Edinburgh cultural summit. Zuabi speaking at an Edinburgh cultural summit.

Most of the Arabic writing about Gaza that came out of the last month was first-person reportage on events. But some of it mixed together with other elements to create otherworldly or impassioned prose.

The piece that most stunned me in the last month was not by a Gazan, but by Jerusalem-based playwright Amir Nizar Zuabi. His “The underground ghetto city of Gaza“ ran in Haaretz on August 4. Zuabi has said elsewhere that he would prefer people to see “dreamlike poetry in his work rather than political…

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How Good is Your Country?




How Good is your country in the eyes of the world?

I want to live in a ‘Good’ country? Do you? While Ireland tops the list, fortunately Britain makes the top ten with a creditable 7th place on Simon Anholt’s ‘Good Country Index’. Here’s the Ted talk with his amusing and fascinating explanation of how and why he compiled it.


The full index:  http://www.goodcountry.org/category/prosperity-equality

For me, once I understood more of the criteria, this was a timely and encouraging development. The concept of the goodness of a country, measured in terms of not how it treats its own people, but how it is perceived by the rest of the world, provides a benchmark of progress in an era of globalisation. As Anholt points out, the speed and quantity of information that now reaches us from all around the world can be overwhelming and contribute to a feeling of helplessness in the face of the challenges it presents us with. These are the emotions I have struggled with this week, in trying to make sense of the Israeli actions in Gaza, in the devastating losses of life in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine and elsewhere, and the responses of a world, that can seem to be going crazy, to the events.

With his Good Country Index, Anholt poses a solution; in changing our attitudes to other countries, by becoming more ‘telescopic and outward-looking rather’ than ‘microscopic’ and ‘inward-looking’ in our view of the world, he suggests we can find more creative and effective ways, by cooperation and mutual contribution, of dealing with our problems.

Why should we?

Countries, like people, like to be seen as good. The pay-off, Anholt says, is that countries with good reputations enjoy better economies as foreigners trust them more, want to visit and buy from them. He points out that apart from New Zealand, the ‘top ten’ countries are the wealthier Western European countries, although he says he is heartened by Kenya making the top twenty.  It is not about being a ‘Rich’ country or even a ‘Happy’ one; the measure is not in the moral sense of ‘good’; it is good in the sense of unselfish, how much a country cares and contributes to the rest of the world.

Good country quotes:

“This is my country, that is your country; these are the conceptions of narrow souls – to the liberal minded the whole world is a family.” ~ Virchand Gandhi

“To make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely.”  ~ Edmund Burke,  Reflections on the Revolution in France

“In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” ~ Confucius

“The evil that men do lives after them, The good is oft interred with their bones.”  ~ William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

How can we use the Good Country Index to make things better for everyone?

Ask yourself these questions about your own country then apply them to your politicians and leaders, recommends Anholt:

“Is that the sort of country I want to come from?”

“Am I proud to come from this country? Can I hold my head up in the world?”

“Do I want my Government doing what it’s doing in my name?

As Mahatma Gandhi said,

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

And Nelson Mandela, whose birthday is celebrated today:

“There is still too much discord, hatred, division, conflict and violence in our world here at the beginning of the 21st century. A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of. … It is so easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build. …” 

Happy International Mandela Day!