Category: joy

A tale of root ginger, hope and determination

Once Upon A Time, roughly 9 weeks ago, when everyone in the UK was instructed to stay at home, there was a mini (but nonetheless confronting) crisis in Edinburgh, when root ginger for purchase was nowhere to be found. ‘Sorry, not available’ were the words stamped across online orders, and even kind neighbours who ventured …

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A new decade: a renewed hope

Stratford-upon-Avon has 4 million visitors a year, according to the taxi driver who took me (and my daughter) back to the railway station after a short post-Christmas break indulging in culture in the town of Shakespeare’s birth. It was, I must say, a fabulous trip; we had a great time visiting various sites associated with …

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Random acts of kindness

The petals on the flower in this photo may be curling and fading slightly now, as it gradually wilts in a vase in our hallway, but every time I see it, I smile. For this flower was given to me in a random act of kindness by a stranger as I crossed Dean Bridge in …

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Bailey Matthews and the power of joy

Bailey Matthews is clearly loving life at the moment. If you did not watch the UK’s BBC TV’s Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) Awards on Sunday night, or are not one of the 80 million plus people who have viewed the video online showing Bailey completing a triathlon earlier this year, then you need …

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Margaret Thatcher and an interdependent society

After the distasteful scenes leading up to it, Baroness Thatcher’s funeral yesterday was a dignified and noble affair, with the streets of London lined with people who were there, overwhelmingly, to acknowledge her long service to the country, and to mark her life and her passing. The Bishop of London, in his funeral address, was …

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Don’t let us forget that Parliament can be very female-unfriendly

An interesting set of statistics highlighted by last week’s Sunday Times revealed that, after David Cameron’s latest reshuffle, almost a third of female ministers are “divorced or unattached”, and 40% of the female Shadow ministers on the Labour benches are in exactly the same position. The numbers are small – a rather damning comment still …

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Aung San Suu Kyi at Oxford: a moment in history

This may be the week of our school Founders’ Day, but I had an important appointment today in Oxford, at the Sheldonian, to watch part of the University’s annual Encaenia celebrations. Each year, a number of distinguished people are honoured at the Encaenia ceremony with an honorary doctorate in their field, and this year was …

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Refreshing views on female appearance from Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton – or more specifically Hillary Clinton’s appearance … or more specifically still, Hillary Clinton’s appearance without make-up – was a focus of attention in last week’s Daily Mail, and it was refreshing to hear the US Secretary of State herself say that she had given up trying to look “immaculate” in public, and …

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What education (probably) needs: an Office for Educational Improvement

It was interesting to read Stephen Twigg’s comment piece in The Times last Tuesday, ‘We need facts about education, not opinions’. Writing in his capacity as Shadow Education Secretary, he argued that education policy in the UK needs to be based not on prevailing dogmas, but on evidence, and that a Labour Government would set …

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Marie Colvin – a brave woman who sought to make a difference

You cannot fail to have read or heard this week about the death of Marie Colvin, the Sunday Times journalist who was killed on 22nd February in Syria as she reported on the bloody conflict and the appallingly relentless attack on civilians that continues there day and night. Her death was a shock – a …

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