Jon Richardson and the Futurenauts

For the past few months now I’ve been listening to podcasts, mostly while I walk the dog, or walk to and from work… occasionally in the bath. As we know there are countless podcasts out there now covering, well, probably any subject you care to imagine… so how do you know which are worth listening to?

I downloaded the first episode of Jon Richardson and the Futurenauts for one simple reason – I happen to enjoy the comedy of Jon Richardson and assumed that was what I would be hearing.

Was it? Well yes… and also very much no! This is not a comedy podcast – it is so much more than that – but that being said there is still a good dose of comedy in there, and sometimes with the subjects covered, you really need a moment of laughter!

Podcast Blurb: It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Humanity stands at a crossroads. The mighty forces of progress have lifted billions out of poverty. Energy has lit and warmed (or cooled) our homes and powered us overland, sea and into the air. We grow enough food to feed 10 billion people. And for the first time ever in history the internet is poised to connect every single person on the planet. Together. As one. What could possibly go wrong? 

If only it were that simple. Unfortunately there is also a lot to be very worried about. Our engine of progress is out of control. We’re destroying beautiful wild and natural habitat at a rate of knots. Humankind has kick-started the sixth mass extinction of biodiversity. Burning billions of years of fossilised sunshine as coal, oil and gas is overheating the planet. Industrial agriculture is destroying our soils, with less than a hundred harvests left. Nationalism, populism and factionalism bubble up from a toxic online culture swimming in ‘fake news’. Has it all gone irrecoverably wrong?

Comedian Jon Richardson – the ‘Ultimate Worrier’ – is going to try and find out.

Jon doesn’t sleep much at night. The questions he is asking himself in the small, dark hours see to that. Are we going to run out of food? Is it already too late to stop climate change? Should I start learning Mandarin? Are killer death robots from the future already among us? Will my kids grow up to see a real tiger or giraffe? Could Trump become ‘President for Life?’ Why hasn’t anyone yet made an intelligent hairbrush? Oh they have? As you were…

Playing on his own paranoia Jon will discuss his fears with guarded optimists Ed Gillespie and Mark Stevenson aka ‘The Futurenauts’. Authors, futurists and provocateurs, to ease Jon’s angst Ed and Mark take him on adventures through the futures we need that already exist today.

My Review: 10/10

My Thoughts: I really had no idea what I would be getting when I logged on to listen to this podcast for the first time but I was hooked immediately. Subject matter can be challenging, often depressing, but they certainly make you stop and think about life, about the world, and about what a mess we really have made of everything!

Each subject is split into three categories, starting with “How fucked are we” (usually very), and “Why are we fucked” (often greed and/or stupidity). Thankfully though there is always a light at the end of the tunnel when Jon asks that one final question “How do we unfuck ourselves” and Ed and Mark have the answers – now we just need enough people to want to follow their plans 🙂

If you want to listen to something different that will make you laugh, possibly cry, but almost certainly think, then give this a try – I don’t think you’ll regret it! https://jonrichardsoncomedy.com/2020/06/jon-richardson-and-the-futurenauts/

#Nanowrimo2020

November always ushers in a strange event for some (many… ohhh so many) writers – the challenge that is Nanowrimo.

If you don’t know what that is in short it stands for National Novel Writing Month… yes a month… to write a novel… Insane right? But as millions prove year upon year it is achievable.

The trick, I have found, is just to write. Don’t over think it – don’t worry if this character is behaving a little oddly or if that scene doesn’t quite work how you want it to – you can correct all of that in the following months.

November is for writing and that is ALL.

So for all of those participating this year Good Luck and I’ll see you at the finish line 🙂

Oh, and if you want to Buddy me along the way – I’m here: https://nanowrimo.org/participants/dawneh

Sh**ged.Married.Annoyed – Book Review

There’s no denying we are living through some crazy, stressful, and often depressing times at the moment… so there is a lot to be said for something that just takes you away from all that… and makes you laugh.

This was one such book: Shagged. Married. Annoyed. By Chris & Rosie Ramsey

Blurb: SH**GED
Saturday nights out on the tiles, undying crushes, dating like it’s a competitive sport, awkward tales of dating woes, one-night stands, the walk of shame, ghosting, tears and break-ups.


MARRIED
Finding ‘the one’, meeting their parents, first holidays and romantic weekends away, engagement rings, big moment proposals, wedding bells, the hen do, the stag, the much anticipated – and feared – best man speech, the honeymoon of a lifetime.

ANNOYED
Who stacks a dishwasher like this? Empty milk cartons placed back into the fridge, pregnancy, sleepless nights, toilet seats up, toothpaste everywhere, less and less frequent date nights, DIY weekends, divorce.

Whether you’re sh**ged, married, annoyed, or, all of the above, Chris and Rosie Ramsey, hosts of the number one podcast, write hilariously and with honesty about the ups and downs and ins and outs of love, sex and relationships.

Rating: 5/5

My Thoughts: This is a book I could have sat and read in one day but I chose not to. Instead I stretched it out for a week, dipping in for a treat every evening to make the pleasure of the book last that much longer.

Listening to the SMA podcast has always been like sitting around a kitchen table with old friends and having a good laugh. The book is like those same friends wrote you a letter – and it was equally as enjoyable.

The thing I have always enjoyed about the Ramsey’s is how they are as a couple. No they’re not perfect, they don’t live a dream life, and they don’t always get along – but they are real, and honest, and just so damn entertaining!

With stories from their own lives mixed with letters from the public, there is something to amuse, or possibly disgust, everyone… seriously what IS wrong with people?!

So, if you enjoy the podcast then you’ll enjoy the book. If you’ve never heard the podcast read the book… then you’ll want to listen to the podcast.

Loved it. Love them!

Book Review – Little White Secrets

The end of August already? Did we just skip a few months somewhere? Seriously this strange old year is going by too fast.

So today I should have been heading to Liverpool for the start of International Beatleweek but sadly, and obviously, this had to be cancelled. This is an event I’ve been going to for over 20 years, I celebrate my birthday there and meet up with lots of brilliant friends… it is certainly going to be a hole in my life this year but at least Cavern City Tours have managed to put together a bit of a Virtual Beatleweek (check out their facebook for more info).

In the meantime, it was my birthday on Monday and the sun was shining, so it was the perfect time to finish off a book…. this book…

Little White Secrets by Carol Mason

lwsBlurbA daughter pushing the limits. A marriage ready to crack. A secret that can break them.

For Emily Rossi, life may not be perfect, but it’s pretty close. She has a great career, a house in the country, a solid marriage to Eric and two wonderful children—tennis superstar Daniel and quiet, sensitive Zara. But when her fourteen-year-old daughter brings home a toxic new best friend, Emily’s seemingly perfect family starts to spiral out of control.

Suddenly Zara is staying out late, taking drugs and keeping bad company. And just when Emily needs Eric to be an involved father, he seems too wrapped up with his job in London to care. What’s more, he’s started drinking again.

When a dark secret from the past emerges, Emily’s life is turned upside down. Struggling to protect the people she loves, can she save her damaged family? Doing so may mean keeping a secret of her own…

Rating:  5/5

My thoughts:  It’s easy to believe that someone has the perfect life, the perfect family, the perfect husband… and it’s easy to pretend that is the case – until the perfection cracks and you realise there is nothing holding your life together.

Emily had everything – until she didn’t. And when her life went wrong, it did it in spectacular style.

This was a brilliantly crafted and written book, the characters and story arc held my attention every second of the way, and I was happy to follow the story to the very end, which did not disappoint.

If you’re looking for a good read then you can’t go far wrong here.

Website:  carolmasonbooks.com

Twitter:  @CarolMasonBooks

#RRBC Writers Conference & Book Expo

Do you like to write? Or read? Do you love books? Do you enjoy the tales crafted by talented authors?

Do you want to find a place where all of these things come together in an online conference where you can enjoy everything that writers have to offer?

If the answer to any of those questions is yes then you are in luck! Today sees the launch of the 5th Annual #RRBC Writers Conference & Book Expo; where you can meet authors, and discover new books. A place where you can find tips on everything from coming up with the first seeds of a story idea to promoting your finished novel, and every step in between.

So why not stop by? There is something to appeal to everyone.

https://rrbcwritersconferencebookexpo20.wordpress.com/

exp

 

#BlackLivesMatter

Sometimes you really want to say something, to make a post that causes people to stop and think. Maybe to even change someone’s mind along the way, although for some people you do have to wonder what kind of a mind they have in their heads in the first place.

We all know the pain the world is in at the moment. We all know that a virus is stealing lives at a frightening rate. We all know of the horror of George Floyd’s life being taken from him for no reason other than the colour of his skin. When this terrible event happened I wondered what awful crime this man must have been stopped for to deserve such violent treatment. Was he holding up a bank? Was he threatening someone else’s life? It must have been something truly serious yes? Oh… actually not so much.  He was suspected of using a fake $20 bill… if he had been a white man would he have received the same level of treatment (or rather mistreatment), sadly I think we all know the answer to that one.

I can’t pretend to know how it must feel to be on the receiving end of racial abuse, to know that some people will judge you based on nothing more than the colour of your skin. I can’t even start to imagine how a person learns to live with that treatment.

I guess that means I’m lucky. Lucky to have been born with the “right” coloured skin. I didn’t choose it, I didn’t do anything to deserve my good fortune, I didn’t work hard to be accepted by the world with my pale coloured complexion. I did nothing. So why does my skin tone make me safe when another persons does not?

I am glad to say I have never understood racism. I find it hard to get my head around the fact that people can judge a whole group of people with no real reason. Yes, there are bad black people, just like there are bad white people, and bad people of ever race, creed, religion and race. People are people. Good, bad, happy, sad… we are all made from the same building blocks of life and in a time of such global crisis we need to support each other more than ever.

I only meant this to be a very brief post, I wanted to share a couple of pictures I snaffled off social media because one of the most irritating things I’ve been seeing lately is the whole All Lives Matter thing… it just makes me want to shake people, to make them see that they just don’t “get it.” Are these people genuinely thinking that this makes it an all inclusive statement and are just not realising how dismissive it actually comes across? I hope so. I hope when I see it that it comes from a good place, but I’m sure that on occasion it doesn’t … so these pictures seemed to explain it far better than I ever could.

 

blm2blm1

Thank you for reading 🙂

Exclusive Pedigree: My life in and out of the Brethren by John L Fear – Review

If I didn’t know better I would think that summer has arrived and all is well with the world. A weekend spent out in the garden, enjoying the warmth of the sunshine, the fragrance of newly bloomed flowers, and the soft buzzing of fluffy bumblebees, can make you forget the nightmares that many people are currently living through.

I always enjoy reading while sitting out in the sun, and this brought me to the end of another book… this one:

Blurb:  John Fear was born into a religious sect known as the Exclusive Brethren. This exclusivesheltered him from the outside world as he grew up, but could not hide him from its influences. A struggle began in his mind that led him to leave the Brethren, along with his young family.

Rather than reacting as many do and totally abandoning any belief system, John remained true to his convictions and continued a strongly religious way of life. Still serving God he worked in many places throughout the world, rubbing shoulders with famous people such as Billy Graham, Mother Teresa and Cliff Richard.

The writing style of this book is dynamic and engaging. John’s personality shines through and he paints an insightful account of his personal life and surrounding historical events. This account is not a sensationalised expose of the Exclusive Brethren. Instead, it follows one man’s life journey and is brought to life through his diary entries and family letters.

This beautifully edited book is more than a memoir. It is a delightful mix of history, social customs, travel and belief. An honest, personal and emotive account of how religion can touch and shape a person’s life – forever.

Rating:  3/5
My thoughts: I took my time over this book and reading it in small chunks was reminiscent of visiting an elderly relative and hearing about moments from their lives. It’s a well written tale of one man’s life, his family, and his beliefs.
While I could see the quality of the book I think it would appeal more to people with their own religious convictions, I think I was expecting more about John’s struggle in and out of the Brethren.
An interesting memoir which I am sure will touch many people.

“SO, YOU’RE RAISING YOUR GRANDKIDS!” by #RWISA Author, Harriet Hodgson.

Introducing author Harriet Hodgson – GRAND PRIZE Winner of the #RRBC 2019 KCT INT’L LITERARY AWARDS Contest with her book “So, You’re Raising Your Grandkids!”

Rochester, Minnesota resident Harriet Hodgson has been a freelance writer for 38 years, is the author of thousands of articles, and 36 books. She has a BS from Wheelock College in Boston, an MA from the University of Minnesota, and additional graduate training.
Hodgson is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi). She is a contributing writer for the Open to Hope Foundation, The Grief Toolbox, and The Caregiver Space websites. Visit http://www.thecaregiverspace.org/authors/hhodgson to read her articles.
Harriet Hodgson shirtHodgson has appeared on more than 185 talk radio shows, including CBS Radio, dozens of television stations, including CNN, and dozens of blog talk radio programs. A popular guest, she has given presentations at public health, Alzheimer’s, bereavement, and caregiving conferences.
Her recent work is based on Hodgson’s 21 years as a family caregiver. She was her mother’s family caregiver for nine years, her twin grandchildren’s guardian and caregiver for seven years, and is in her fifth year as her disabled husband’s caregiver. Visit Harriet’s RRBC Author Page to find out more about this busy wife, grandmother, caregiver, and author, as well as more information on her many other books listed in the RRBC catalog.
***

BOOK BLURB
So, You're Raising Your Grandkids by Harriet HodgsonIf you are a grandparent raising your grandchildren, help has arrived.

According to the US Census Bureau, more than 10% of all grandparents in the nation are raising their grandkids, and the number is going up. You may be one of the millions of these grandparents and it’s a role you never expected. Willing as you are to assume this role, you have some questions. How will I find the energy for this? Is my grandchild normal? What if I “blow it?” Each day, you look for ways to make life easier.

This book will:

•Help ease your worries and guilt;
•Offer tips for creating a grandfamily;
•Give methods for improving grandparent-grandchild communication;
•Suggest ideas for how you can connect with your grandchild’s school;
•Provide child development information;
•Recommend approaches to help your grandchild set goals;
•Stress the importance of having fun together;
•Offer ideas of how to foster your grandchild’s hopes and dreams.

So, You’re Raising Your Grandkids blends Harriet Hodgson’s wise and moving grandparenting story with recent research and findings. It shares her 21 years of caregiving experience, including seven years of raising her twin grandkids. Each chapter ends with What Works, proven tips for grandparents raising grandkids.

At the end, you’ll cheer for all the loving grandparents—including you—who are putting grandchildren first.

Harriet Hodgson Revolution Banner

Captain Tom Moore

I’m sure you’ve heard of Captain Tom Moore by now… but if not just read on because wow – how he has captivated the UK – and the world – is truly astounding.

At 99 years old this gentleman should be sitting, with his feet up, deserving a life of comfort that he has deserved. But instead, when the world became gripped in the cold clutches of a terrible virus, Captain Tom decided, rather than sit by he would try, in his own small way, to actually DO something.

So Captain Tom, frail and unsteady on his feet, decided to walk. Aiming to walk 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday, and he had the hope that a few people would donate and help him raise £1,000 for the NHS.

As I write this Captain Tom has raised over £27 million!!

On Thursday 16th April, Captain Tom completed his final 10 laps out of his 100. But people kept donating… and so Tom has continued walking – raising money and, as importantly, raising our spirits in a time when we need something to make us smile.

Well done Captain Tom – keep walking!

And if you want to donate:  https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tomswalkforthenhs

Love this version of a familiar song in his honour 🙂