Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Election Fever?

I'm being inundated with mail from some Tory chap called Cameron who wants me to vote for his party. He really should get his algorithms adjusted. I'm a socialist, nearly 80 years old, taught for 34 years, was a milkman (complete with horse), laboured in a power station, a soldier (reluctant) for 2 years, engaged in voluntary work since the age of 25, co-founded and run an anti-poverty charity for 12 years and am now a member of the Green Party. How in the name of Almighty Trudget does that equate with a vote for the Tory gang? Oh, and I've read The Guardian every day since the Suez crisis. Cross? Me? You wouldn't like me when I'm cross ... and he addresses me as 'Thomas' ...

Sorry for the rant - I've copied this from my Facebook page so, sorry to the people who've had to read it twice. I do feel very strongly about the self-centered, self-seeking candidates we now have to tolerate at the highest levels of government. They have a low opinion of those of us who take the trouble to vote, imagining we are all of their mind-set: they suppose we are rabidly anti-foreigner, that the only immigrants allowed into our country should be multi-millionaires and that our own poorest people - and there are many poor people in Great Britain - are only worthy of contempt and scorn. They are reluctant to send help to Africans who risk their lives to find a way into Europe by the back door because the front door is closed to them. As I said, sorry for the rant. Some of us do care.
Best wishes,

Friday, 17 April 2015


Just learned that a number of young men from my adopted village have died trying to reach Europe. Our thoughts are with their families and friends. It must take an immense amount of bravery and hope to undertake such a journey and the intention is to help and support the family left behind.
 So very sorry that the adventure ended like this.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Just a Reminder ...

... that mosquitoes still bite and that bite can kill you. In the worry (justified) about Ebola in West Africa perhaps we lost sight of another killer - Malaria. It's back in the news here in the UK because there is concern that one anti-malarial drug, Lariam, can cause problems itself. It appears that some members of the British forces have had bad reactions to this drug, which can cause serious mental problems to some people.
 Other drugs are available - we use Malarone and have had no adverse reactions - and we haven't had Malaria either. Always consult your doctor. Take the anti-malarial drug prescribed, don't miss doses and you'll be properly protected. The Gambia is a wonderful destination for a holiday or voluntary work (surprising how often one becomes the other!). Take care and you'll be fine: enjoy the hospitality, meet the people and remember to haggle when booking a taxi.
 That was the free advice, now for the commercial! The Malinding series of e-books, available from Amazon, contribute to the funds of GOES (Gambian Occasional Emergency Support). Goes helps Gambians with grants for education and health care. We also support Banjul Hospital and Mandinari Village Clinic. Please buy as funds are a little low at the moment - we're waiting for HMRC to check our claim for Gift Aid - but the need for support persists. The books cost a couple of pounds each and if you're considering a trip to The Gambia can provide an introduction to village life and customs.
Best wishes,

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Back to School !

:-) But what a school - Gladstone's Library in Hawarden, Flint, North Wales. When William Gladstone retired from politics at the end of the nineteenth century he decided to give his collection of books to the nation so the 'Readers without books may meet books without readers' (or words to that effect. It was suggested that he build his library in London but he built it in the village where he lived (Yes, he lived in a castle but it was in the village!) He and his family gave the money to build the library and it's said that he wheeled his books across the road from the castle in a wheelbarrow.
The library has grown and grown and now has a chapel, a lecture room, several smaller meeting rooms, twenty bedrooms and a cake shop. Well, it's a complete restaurant with home-made food and the cakes are excellent too.
:-) So that's where I went back to school today. The class, four hours long, with a break for cake, was about publishing books. I perhaps have mentioned the Malinding series of e-books which helps to support GOES? Yes? I thought so. This course explained how to adapt them for other e-readers and even how to publish them as paper back books with real pages. Yes, my brain aches and yes, I should be completing the Gift Aid claim, but J and I had a super day, met some very interesting people, came home with lots of ideas, and we will be back at work for GOES tomorrow. Honestly.
Best wishes,
Tom  :-)

Monday, 6 April 2015

Gift Aid - the struggle!

First let me say that I am not a natural with the computer world: I struggle. This struggle is with on-line banking, on-line form filling and on-line submissions. It ain't natural! I am of the age when fountain pens ruled the world, pencils had an eraser at one end and goose quills had just gone out of fashion. Anybody remember blotting paper and carbon paper?
 So no I have to find the GOES bank statements for the year - and download them because I can't group all the entries from the sale of the Malinding books on line. It may be possible but not for me! I have to group the donations from all our benefactors and check that they are still at the same addressed and are still paying tax. I have to work out how much tax J & I have paid this year and take care not to over claim. Then I have to remember out HMRC passwords and fill in the forms and submit them.
 HMRC are not the monsters they're often said to be - they are a bunch of very helpful people who have loads of patience to answer questions from idiots like me. So, fingers crossed (and that makes using a keyboard very difficult) here we go! I'll let you know when I've completed the task - it may even be this tear!
Best wishes,

Thursday, 2 April 2015