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A sober new year

I have volunteered to drive my husband Stephen and our friends this evening, and don’t mind one jot that it means having a sober new year. I just wish there were more interesting non-alcoholic drinks available in bars. I’m not one for yucky Britvic fruit juices, they are so tasteless, and mineral water is fine – up to a point. One of my favourite non-alcoholic tipples is soda...
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Making a difference in 2008

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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas wishes to you all. For the first time ever, my husband’s family and mine will all be together on Christmas Day. I always wonder if it will be the last Christmas we share with our ailing grandparents, I love hearing their stories of old when so little meant so much at Christmas. The important thing is being together, and showing some tolerance. I send you my love and warm...
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How do families of missing children survive Christmas?

How do families with missing children  survive the festive season? How will the McCanns cope during their first Christmas without Madeleine. Their two-year-old gorgeous twins will no doubt be excited, and have even asked if Santa will bring for their sister back. Incredibly, the McCanns have been overwhelmed with gifts from around the world for their missing daughter. They have described...
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Tackling demand for prostitution

A charity I am promoting which aims to abolish sex trafficking has praised Harriet Harman for her bravery in considering a ban on prostitution. I agree. It is an issue which has been badly fudged in the past. Dr Carrie Pemberton, founder and CEO of CHASTE (Churches Alert to Sex Trafficking across Europe) firmly believes it is the question of demand that should be addressed, that paid-for-sex is...
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What’s on your Christmas book list?

I am not making a Christmas book list this year as I still haven’t got round to reading so many books that I bought over the last few months. And apologies for not updating the books listed on my blog, particularly as I know readers have checked them out and bought the titles on my recommendation. At the moment, I am very much enjoying Eurydice Street, by Sofka Zinovieff. It has won many...
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Who’s Who in Cambridge

If you don’t receive a New Year’s Honour this year, how about trying to get included in the next bumper volume of Who’s Who? It could be the next best thing. There are 38 new entries from Cambridge in the latest edition, mainly academics from the University. The Cambridge entry list was among the highest produced by a city or town outside London and more than Birmingham,...
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Have you read the Climate Change Minister’s blog?

Do you know who our Minister for Climate Change is?  He is Phil Woolas. Phil who, you might be asking? This is a man with one of the hottest jobs in government right now. His responsibilities also include flooding, as well as GMOs, chemicals, pesticides and radioactive waste. He wrote a Bali diary from the recent climate change talks and  plans to continue writing his blog through to...
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Capello and his first English challenge

I’m sure Welshcakes would be delighted to help England’s newly crowned Italian football manager Fabio Capello learn English. She is teaching it to young Italians in Sicily – but believes Capello’s linguistic dream is impossible to achieve: “All I can say is that I’d love to know who his English tutor will be, for anyone who has taught or learned a foreign...
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A day of festive fun – and work

I have one humdinger of a day. Firstly, I shall be wearing my Headway hat today as I join its Cambridgeshire members as a helper in my role as trustee on their annual panto trip to The Arts Theatre, Cambridge to see Cinderella. Headway is particularly thrilled and excited that Time Lord Dr Who, played by David Tennant who is Patron of Headway Essex, will be making a BBC Christmas appeal on their...
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Do Blair and tennis go together?

You have to wonder if it is the same Tony Blair. Our premier of old whose government did nothing to save school playing fields from being sold off and promote their use for health and fitness, is now advocating tennis as a sport which notherners should participate in.  The project is, in fact, named after him, as if to say that Blair and tennis are established partners. The Tony Blair...
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Who is Zineta, my new mystery friend?

As I sit in my digitally equipped office and listen to the village  school children singing their Christmas carols outside, a cosy fire roaring in the room next door, I pause to think about my new friend Zineta, and the kind of life she is having in Bosnia. Zineta Plecan has been paired with me through Women for Women International and their sponsorship scheme. It means I am paying around...
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Do our kids have the same hunger to succeed?

Three times in the last hour I have walked into my son David’s bedroom where he was supposed to be deeply engrossed in his studies only to find him feverishly excited about a computer game. This is not an isolated incident, it is a very common occurrence. He needs to study and get good A’level passes for his university admission next year. With this in mind, I send my hearty...
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The "forgotten hostages", asking for the impossible

I fear for the safety of our British hostages in Iraq following their evil captors’ impossible demands for Britain to pull out of Iraq. We know that this is not going to happen. If the 10 day deadline started from the date when Jason’s appeal was broadcast, then it is due to expire tomorrow. This kidnapping of the Britons snatched six months ago has been unlike any other in Iraq as...
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Hi Mike (oops Ian). And my name is not Ethel!

I wondered why Mike walked silently by when I spoke to him at a Christmas bash last week – I called out the wrong name, I should have said Ian! I’m normally good with names, unlike Bryan Appleyard, who becomes readily fixated by ties, agonised expressions, architectural details, stony silences, dentistry, canapes, shoes, carpets – anything, in fact, but words and names. My...
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