Dragon Arts

Wales is renowned for its artistic genes. Artists and bards spring up everywhere. After all Aberystwyth boasts my son in law as a sculptor in residence.
Last month the Ceredigion coast experienced some late spring gales and among other detritus a tree washed up on the beach.
If as Michaelangelo  said “Every block of stone has a statue inside it.” then every piece of wood harbours an artistic expression that wishes to
emerge like the butterfly from the cocoon.
So it was with no surprise that one morning we discovered that the tree trunk had been transformed into a dragon complete with (dead) 
spider crabs for eyes.
As can be seen, my grandson is a true native of Wales and shows no fear of dragons!

 

Thoughts from London

Regular readers of my blog may have noticed that I have been quiet lately. This reticence is partly because my bloggable life has not been that eventful.
However not long after the London Bridge terrorist outrage, I dined at the George Inn in Southwark (just south of London Bridge).
The George Inn was
built in 1677 and is the only galleried inn in London. The street was reasonably busy, since London Bridge is a major railway terminus for the Kent towns. The George is quite close to the site of the Tabard which features in the opening lines of the Canterbury Tales:

At nyght was come into the hostelrye
Wel nyne and twenty in a compaignye
Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle
In felaweshipe, and pilgrims were they alle,
That toward Caunterbury wolden ryde

The George was busy and the coaching area was now full of drinking people enjoying each other’s company before going home. The two bouncers at the front of the yard may have been permanent and not just because of terrorist security issues.
I sensed that the overall feeling in London was of not letting the security situation get one down or restrict one’s social life.
Ten days later I treated myself to a fish and chip supper at the Fishbone in Cleveland Street (between Great Portland Street and Tottenham Court Road). Coincidentally opposite the restaurant was the George & Dragon pub. From what I could see it was not very large but there were about a hundred people outside drinking and enjoying themselves as if the terrorism threat was totally elsewhere.
Perhaps it is all in the survivorship genes. People are around today because their ancestors survived previous horrors. If you don’t keep going forward then you lose out on the game of life.

Wags4Tags

There is always plenty of doom and gloom wherever you look. Sometimes the morning news makes valiant efforts to stress the nice things about the day – such as spring blossoms but often the focus is on pollen and the associated allergies (welcome to my world). On the other hand there are many people making significant and beneficial changes to people’s lives. I came across one such person at the Triangle BABCNC Tra’Li Networking Social where I met Vivienne Carosso who is a key member of the Wags4Tags team. Basically Wags4tags unites psychologically and emotionally impaired Veterans across North Carolina with trained Companion, Emotional Support Dogs rescued from kill shelters so the two can heal in unconditional love, trust and loyalty. They are coming up to their 50th pairing so all credit to their President and Founder Ronnie Sadoski Trained animal companionship can help Veterans in their readjustment to civilian life by easing their symptoms and providing assistance, unconditional love, trust and loyalty.   There are many ways to support this enterprise. It takes up to $2,000 per dog to prepare it for his/her new Veteran-owner. This includes, but is not limited to rescue/adoption fees, and cost to spay/neuter, vaccinate, treat for heartworms, take care of other medical issues (such as eye infections, flea infections), micro chip, feed, foster/train, certify. None of these costs are passed on to the Veteran. The contact for Wags4tags is WAGS4TAGSNC@gmail.com Wags4Tags is entirely volunteer-based, and all donations stay in North Carolina. 98% of all donations go directly to rescuing, vetting, training, and matching a dog to his or her new Veteran, including any and all supplies the Veteran will need.

Nice Curves

This week’s factoid and opinion comes from the Spectator of 11th March 2017 in which Rory Sutherland advises and opines that we should spare a nod to Vilfredo Pareto, after whom the 80/20 effect was named.
Pareto did at least live in accordance with his theories: his final years were spent secluded in an Alpine chalet with a mistress and 20 Persian cats.
Sutherland’s guess is that Pareto started off with five mistresses and 100 cats before deciding that 20 per cent of these would give him 80 per cent of the pleasure.

Rory Sutherland is vice-chairman of Ogilvy Group UK.

Clearly, we are doing something right!

Last Friday (3rd March) Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane delivered the annual State-of-the-City address.
Key front-end points for residents and potential residents were:
Raleigh continues to be recognized nationally and internationally. Some of Raleigh’s accolades from the past year include:
#3 Best Large City to Live In
#2 Best City for Young Entrepreneurs
#6 Best-Performing Large City in 2016 : Miliken Institute
#2 Area with the Highest Number of Tech Jobs-
NY Times Forbes Magazine has ranked Raleigh:
#2 Hottest Spot for Tech Jobs
#3 Best Place for Business
#3 Best City for Young Professionals
#4 Best City for Mid-Career Professionals in 2016
#4 Easiest City to Find a Job #5 City of the Future
#9 in the Top Ten Cities Americans are Moving to Right Now
#9 Best City for Jobs.
And just last month, U.S. News & World Report named Raleigh the #4 Best Place to Live.
The population continues to grow by about 2.3% annually. We had some big announcements by businesses of new locations or expansions. Citrix is adding 400 jobs; Optum 200; WalkMe 100; and Ateb announced an investment of $3 million with the number of jobs still to be announced. All together in 2016 we saw a 4.3% increase in employment numbers.
Last year, 138 permits were issued for new commercial and industrial development; this was valued at over $800 million dollars. We continue to proactively position ourselves as a city of the future. The recent additions to our market of high speed gigabit fiber offer our residents more options in high speed internet service than New York City or San Francisco.
The city is working to provide more opportunities to make sure that Raleigh’s success is enjoyed by everyone that lives here.
Raleigh has always been and will always be an open, welcoming community to everyone that comes here.
The address can be seen YouTube: Mayor’s State of the City address
As the Mayor said “Clearly, we are doing something right!”

Hadleigh Stars Gymnastics

GymnasticsToday amidst all the doom and gloom about the Brexit aftermath I received the following e-mail from Kelly Mires, Head Coach at Hadleigh Stars Gymnastics:

Dear Mr Riley
I’m writing  to say thank you so very much for the news I received today that you have awarded Hadleigh Stars Gymnastics a grant of £1000.
This is a huge amount of money for the club and it means we can now look to purchase the safety mats we have been fundraising hard to buy .
Thank you once again from myself and all 285 Children in Hadleigh Stars Gymnastics.
Kelly Mires
Head Coach
The locality monies will help fund the purchase of a tumble run and two safety landing mats.
The Hadleigh Stars Gymnastics are holding a club competition on Saturday 23rd July at the Hadleigh Leisure Centre. This is their biggest annual fundraiser and they will be serving refreshments and holding a raffle. All the coaches volunteer their time so that every penny raised goes into the fundraising pot to buy equipment. So if you have a free moment on the 23rd, please drop in on the Leisure Centre and support the Hadleigh Stars Gymnastics.
The monies came from my County Councillor’s Locality Budget. As readers of this blog may know the Locality Budget amounts to £12,000 a year and is distributed in Hadleigh to promote ways in which Suffolk County Council can make life better for its residents. I like to direct the monies to game changers. So in the past I have given support to (among others)  Hadleigh Diamond Lites (Drum Majorettes), an ecotherapy allotment project for Suffolk Mind and Surviving Winter in Hadleigh whose funding was to cover the initial expenses in establishing the charity and to provide such ongoing support as necessary.

Freely to breathe again!

Jenny Antill (a fellow blogger) posted this on Friday morning.
View from the window 160624View from the window. 24th June 2016 6.15 a.m.

Oh what joy, in the open air
Freely to breathe again!
Up here alone is life!
The dungeon is a grave.
FIRST PRISONER
We shall with all our faith
Trust in the help of God!
Hope whispers softly in my ears!
We shall be free, we shall find peace.
ALL THE OTHERS
Oh Heaven! Salvation! Happiness!
Oh Freedom! Will you be given us?

CHOR DER GEFANGENEN (Prisoners Chorus, Fidelio)