Italian earthquake

Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the victims of the natural disaster in Italy. The earthquake, 6.2 on the Richter Scale, most affected the towns and villages of Amatrice, Arquata, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto. First reports on Wednesday morning were of six dead. At the time of writing, the number tragically continues to rise through the hundreds.

Many spoke of the terror, of their world suddenly shaken to unstable ground. Wiped out. And aftershocks affecting the rescuers. Earth biting back.

There’s an app, maybe several, that you can download which tells you when earthquakes happen around the world. I stopped using one after the earthquake in Nepal. It didn’t feel right, receiving the details, the data, of a moment of violence which could cost so many lives.

And, closer to home, the five who lost their lives in the rising tide at Camber Sands, our local beach. Lifeguards posted temporarily to help reassure the tourists.


Through the letter box

A leaflet: Good Mental Health Matters. The Guide produced by the NHS clinical commissioning groups in Kent and Medway and aimed at teenagers and parents of teenagers. Well written, with some good advice, encouraging all to talk #gmh

But what we need is more art, story, play, theatre, to help people engage openly with the issues.


Depression in teenagers

I noticed the headline on the cover of The Times, in a newspaper rack at the supermarket. But this quote is from the Guardian: more than a third of teenage girls in England suffer depression and anxiety. Admissions to hospital in the under 16s for self-harm are up 52% according to a Government survey of 14 year olds.

Among the girls, 37% reported feeling unhappy, worthless or unable to concentrate, more than twice the percentage of boys reporting such feelings. And yet, later in life the statistics for suicides show the boys well ahead.

Some raised the possibility of a link with activity on social media.



Sometimes difficult to tell the cared for from the carers,
except where scars of razor cuts hash the lower arms.

I remember the day she came up to the window
stared in at me from the garden,

then battered the panes with her wrists
until the glass broke, drew blood.


A reflection from experience many years ago, one of several girls in the asylum who were self-harming, now the poem is part of my forthcoming collection ‘When the Change Came’.


Changing Faces

Here’s a heart warming charity, that can help lift the mood, shown through the strength of those who have some form of disfigurement and who have overcome the obvious difficulties of confronting society’s perception, in contrast to the stigma of invisible mental ill-health. I’ve seen Adam Pearson give excellent presentations at Business Disability Forum events. He was featured on BBC2 last night, in a documentary on neurofibroma.



So we’ve all heard about them now, trillions of plastic beads included with personal cleaning solutions, toothpastes and cosmetics, which are not biodegradable, polluting planet earth, killing sea life.  A cross party Environmental Audit Committee report demands a ban by end 2017. It is said that a ‘single shower can result in 100,000 plastic particles entering the ocean’. Small beads, admittedly, but they can accumulate in the food chain.

I guess they have a benefit in terms of cleaning, providing a smooth finish, to teeth, or skin, but seriously, who thought it would be a good idea to float indestructible plastics down the sewers and into the sea?

These plastics are just one example of so many chemicals which are now being found to be toxic, persistent, or accumulative in the environment. They’ve all been designed for a reason, we’ve all benefited from plastics, but never did anyone think of the environmental impact, it just wasn’t considered!



I read the other day, that simply repealing the European Communities Act 1972 would mean that all EU-related legislation, on health, safety and environment for instance, would simply disappear. It would no longer be enforceable. Could it really be so easy? We’re on dangerous ground!



The month is almost here. The slide into autumn, winter. There’s something about the transition, the change in the nature and quality of the air, all the optimism of Spring and Summer vapourising, like tears on the pavement in the noonday sun. I’m fighting the natural cycle – perhaps it’s simply the ingrained and remembered dread of returning to school after the holidays.

But over to Strictly…for the fourteenth time…perhaps to lift the spirits..!


See Fast Train Approaching… and Voices: mental health survivors, carers, therapist, family and friends


Blog – Friday 26th August 2016