Category Archives: Uncategorized

I’m Sorry To Tell You…

…but this is not Michelle writing but her daughter Iona.

Unfortunately my mum passed away on Tuesday night. As most of you know, she had experienced a long eleven year struggle with a complex illness that even I could not start to explain, and I feel she was ready to go home. She never made it to the hospital, but died at home attended by paramedics who did a wonderful, sensitive job. The cause of death is known, but as yet has not been properly explained to us by her GP, so I cannot give you any real information on that.

The family has come together and the children are coping as  well as they can, we hope you will have us in your prayers for the coming days and months, and as mum once wrote ‘if you don’t have a God, borrow one’.

I know that she appreciated the love and support she found from her internet friends and so we all thank you for any advice, kind comments and the faithful readership you offered her in her life.




Home ed happens anyway.

It’s been rough recently. For dysautonomia awareness month my dysautonomia is making me very aware of it.

This week is a quiet week for home ed. I’ve set music, reading, finishing off work including the Archimedes pack and we’ve started an artists lapbook.

I had a doctors appt to get to today. I was gone a long time. When I got back the children were doing some cooking with Iona. They had finished off all their lessons and watched an episode of SALSA (which they love) before starting some cooking.

It’s really heartening to see how they just continue to do their learning no matter what’s going on around them. They were pretty proud of themselves too 🙂

The plan for me is that I am to go back to the doc on Thurs if I’ve managed to stay out of hospital until then. As it happens half term is coming up so hospital wouldn’t effect things so much anyway. We’ll see. Hospital is no place for sick people – but I am running out of excuses not to go in.

Talent – it’s out there. Go and see.

I’m not sure I’m allowed to say this, but honestly, my children are quite talented really.

finalrender_cu_001Alex is revamping his portfolio at WESTBURY BISCUIT and it’s looking good. You can click on the pictures and see how they came about. I love the Captain who’s creation you can see HERE. More recently he has been working his way through some Andrew Loomis work so he can get a good handle on drawing figures.

Things in the video games industry are a bit rough right now, but with a lot of hard work Alex hopes to make it onto the ladder when things improve.

Iona has a blog with her friend at Life the Universe and Would You Pass theP1100644 Custard Creams? Iona posts her poems which are always funny. She has also set up a place to show her cakes as her business is officially launched by the end of next week. See her creations at Iona Rose Cakes.

I am being a proud mum, but you have to admit – they are good at what they do.

Day of Prayer and Fasting for Syria

873159734232b37b679313fd7ea15336Pope Francis has called for a worldwide day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria. He has given his ideas for negotiating peace in this situation to Pres. Putin who is chairing the G20 summit.

In the UK the vote went against the war. Both our Government and Obama’s want to go against the Syrian Govt by backing the groups, one of whom is Al Qaeda. How it can be even remotely ethical to back terrorism is beyond me.

The Christians are being slaughtered by the very people Cameron and Obama wish to support!

So prayer and fasting is sorely needed.

Book list for boy aged 10 -11 (USA grade 4-5 UK year 5-6)

I thought I would write a list of the books that Ronan has read, listened to and what I’d like him to read over the next few months. Obviously I’m not saying the books are only suitable for boys – but they are books I think he’ll enjoy.

Literature and fun

The Narnia books all of them. We have them in paperback but they are a bit messed up. Also free audio at Ancient Faith Radio

The Letzenstein Chronicles bks 1-4

The Hobbit Alvin Fernald books

The Railway Children

Around the World in 80 Days

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Historical novels

Eagle of the Ninth Chronicles Rosemary Sutcliffe and other of her books.

The Blood Red Crescent

Detectives in Togas and The Roman Ransom

Secret of the Shetlands

Hidden Treaures of Glaston

Red Hugh

The High Deeds of Finn MacCool

Alfred of Wessex


The Little Duke Charlotte M Yonge

Living Books factual History/Science

The Mystery of the Periodic Table

Galen and the Gateway to Medicine and Archimedes and the Door to Science

Mythology and tales

Odysseus and Troy 

The Age of Fable

Books of Padraic Colum including The Children’s Homer which I have in hardcopy (from a second hand bookshop in Wigtown) There are other books and a few years ago


Beethoven by Thomas Tapper

The Story of My Life Helen Keller



Gutenburg Children’s bookshelves (free ebooks)

Other books Home Geography Long

Possibly the Tarzan books

I bought the full pack of Yesterday’s Classics which works out pretty well. Their sister site Baldwin Classics has now launched a curriculum. Check out Heritage History as well.

The poverty diet, charity and neighbours.

This article on how chronically sick people (specifically those with ME in this case) find themselves poor and therefore relying on cheap or free food, making them sicker for longer, opens a can of questions.

u8_thin-girl-fat-girlFirst of all, we know from other studies and just knowing people, that the poverty diet is part of the everyday life of a lot of people regardless of their health when they became poor. The rise in rickets, malnutrition and even the return of scurvy to Britain is surely a sign that we are getting it badly wrong. The exponential rise in people having type 2 diabetes is surely linked with the poverty diet.

Now food must be handed out to the poor from Government distribution systems such as food banks, so that people don’t starve. We have a food bank opening up just up the road where my oldest daughter will volunteer.  There is no famine, no war, no massive shift in the population and yet many people can’t or don’t eat healthy well balanced food, and food prices are getting very high indeed.

It’s not just because people are poor. A lot of the problem is that food quality is so bad, and cheap food is often barely food at all.  We have poisoned the soil and our fruit an veg have sucked up pesticides for so long that rinsing them under the tap or peeling them is pointless. We’ve known for years that industrially farmed meat is bad for animals and for those who eat them, but it’s still more expensive and more difficult to find free range meat and organic meat is out of most people’s regular price range.

Being fat is not the biggest problem we face. Being sick because we can’t get the right minerals and vitamins to keep us from being very ill is the problem. The poverty diet becomes a vicious circle. You can’t eat healthy food, so you either stay sick, get worse or become sick; then you are too sick to earn more money, or to keep your job, so you stay on the poverty diet. Worse still, being ill can prevent a person being able to cook properly and so getting easy food becomes a habit.

Poor diet has been implicated in the massive rise in depression. The quick fix approach to this serious disease is to hand out prescriptions of antidepressants all of which have the side effect of weight gain. In women poor diet leads to hormonal imbalances which are always treated with the sledgehammer of chemical contraception, with the side effect of weight gain.

Then there are those of us on loads of steroids and yes, you guessed it, weight gain is a major side effect.

We’ve known for years that starvation diets and starvation in “real” situations has a negative effect on metabolism and we know that poor quality food effects both physical and mental health but still starvation diets are advertised as a good idea, and it’s only recently that any move to improve the quality of hospital food has happened.

It has also been well known for a long time that starvation effects metabolism and so people who have been starved often end up heavier once they can eat a normal amount because their metabolism is used to conserving energy. Couple this with the rise in diseases like Dysautonomia and ME which effect metabolism and the problem is made worse. The question remains unanswered (unresearched thanks to the way food is distributed by very big and powerful business) on whether diet is at the root of the exponential rise in autoimmune diseases. It has been noted that in Asian and African countries autoimmune disease is rare, but in Asian and African populations living in the West it’s on the rise at a shocking rate.

gkc1The BBC are repeating the interesting mini series documentary “The Men Who Made us Fat” alongside a new doc “The Men Who Made us Thin”. Obviously it’s the BBC so treat with caution but the questions raised are valid.

Now that the cause for dear ol’G.K.C. is finally moving ahead perhaps we can get ourselves a patron saint of fat people. There is a story that a lady approached him rather crossly during the war and demanded to know why he wasn’t out at the front.

“Madam,” responded GK, “If you walk to the side you will see that I am.”

Iona and other lovely places

We have been very blessed to get just over two weeks holiday again this year. We went up to the caravan site near Bamburgh and spent a day on Lindisfarne, aka Holy Isle.

P1020974It’s family tradition that the children walk the causeway from Beale on the mainland to Lindisfarne, following the poles that stick out of the sand marking the way. The older three have walked the causeway a few times and last year was Ronan’s first time. This year Avila joined the walk for her first time also. Hopefully Heleyna will get her turn in the next couple of years.

P1020977It’s not quite the same as the monks and pilgrims because we meet them in the car at the end, but it’s close.

From Bamburgh we came up to Edinburgh and spent the night catching up with cousins. The children all played together as though they see each other every day, rather than once or twice a year. I love how well they get on.

The folks went on their holiday at some unearthly hour the next morning and left us their house for two weeks.

We were able to meet up with other family and catch up.

Then on Tuesday we headed north to Iona where we had a B&B booked for two nights and Josh’n’Jenny had a hotel booked.P1110515

It’s a very long journey through stunning countryside, mountains and waterfalls. The Highlands are Tolkeinesque in beauty and space.

We got the ferry to the island of Mull and drove across it to the ferry that would take us to Iona.

P1110694We were last their 12 years ago. It’s been a long time and Ronan has been looking forward to going there for a long time. He finally got to visit the ruins of the Augustinian nunnery that was destroyed by Henry VIII and handed over to his already wealthy friends. In the ground is what is left of the little chapel dedicated to St. Ronan of Iona.

Ronan was a bit disappointed that the building had been turned into a kind of shed and locked up. But we saw it at least.

P1110605The lady who ran the B&B was lovely. She had a lovely kitchen and we were allowed to use it whenever we liked, making tea and coffee. She was very generous and took a real shine to the children. She told me the whole island had been told about my kids – in a good way! She had a particular soft spot for Iona and gave her a big hug when we left.

She met us at the ferry and gave us all a lift to the house and then took us back to the ferry when we left.

Ronan overcame his fear of dogs making friends with a big softie of a dog who just loved being stroked and fussed.

There were sheep in the garden (owned by the son) and views across the sea.

We were going to head further north but the travelling was way too much so we came back to Edinburgh. Al needed a rest after all that driving.

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