Coffee collaborations

What a fantastic idea. I’ve read so many recycling ideas and then pause to think but how could I actually implement them? This is such a practical response and benefits not only the environment but, more importantly in my eyes, people in need.

Beyond the Highrise

Coffe Compost Recycle them right and your coffee capsules could be helping farmers as well as under-priveleged Hong Kongers 

Nespresso is pressing customers to recycle their coffee capsules as part of a sustainability campaign in partnership with local charity Food Angel.

The aluminium in the capsules is “infinitely recyclable” according to the company. If recycled, waste capsules can be taken to a local plant, shredded and sent to a scrap-metal collector for re-melting. Meanwhile, the residual coffee grounds are separated from the capsules and taken to a local farm in the New Territories and used as compost on crops.

The coffee specialist has also pledged to make a monthly donation of vegetables from the farm to Food Angel, which runs a food rescue initiative, creating hot meals from perfectly safe and usable waste food and distributing it to underprivileged local communities.

To take part, simply return bags of over 30 waste capsules…

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Mother love

My husband and I moved to Hong Kong in the very last days of 2001 with our daughter who’d just turned six and our son who was weeks shy of his fifth birthday. We lived very close to Bowen Road and spent many happy hours walking alongside our children as they rode their scooters along Bowen Road. Mothers’ Choice was right at the other end to us and we would then drop down and pick up the Peak Tram into Central. Whilst sitting on the tram, I’d often think about Mothers’ Choice, what was it, what did it do and for whom? I made an educated guess and as we settled into Hong Kong life and began to make friends, I found out exactly how amazing a place it is.

I’m delighted to share this blog post and I hope it spreads the message that there is always a choice and always hope.

Beyond the Highrise

Local charity Mother’s Choice has been helping vulnerable teens and their babies for over 30 years. Carolynne Dear met with chief exec Alia Eyres

Alia Eyres (low-res) Alia Eyres now heads up the Hong Kong charity her parents set up in the 1980s

It takes passion and it takes great heart to successfully lead a charity and Alia Eyres, who heads up local non-government organisation Mother’s Choice, has these character attributes in bucketloads.

The organisation celebrated its pearl anniversary last year, an impressive thirty year history of helping one of Hong Kong’s most vulnerable sectors of society – abandoned babies and pregnant teens.

Last year alone, the charity provided 150 young children and babies with temporary care and 58 were placed with permanent families; its outreach programme offered over 10,000 young people with sexuality education workshops. It’s a multi-faceted approach to an issue that requires an holistic solution.

“Our mission is to join…

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Migration

I am sharing this on behalf of my friend, the Reverend Michaela Youngson, one of the Chairs of the London District of the Methodist Church, and a regular contributor to Radio 2’s Thought for the Day (or Micky, as we know her).

“6 Bible studies on themes of migration – for use anytime. They would work well in Lent or anytime you want a series. Each includes a quote from John or Charles Wesley, as well as Bible passages and reflections from six writers. The pack comes with a liturgy which can be used with each study or as a resource for public worship.”

I know many of my followers are friends from my time abroad and who are on their own journey and I hope they will be able to share and use this resource.

https://www.movingstorieslondon.com/biblestudies

 

Happy New Year 2018 Groundhog Day

It feels like Groundhog Day, Happy New Year messages are pinging on my phone constantly and it’s not yet midday, UK time. As a result of us moving to Hong Kong in 2001, I now have friends all over the world and they have been sending Happy New Year messages since I got up at 7am. Thanks to Facebook I am now in touch with family all over the world too, from New Zealand to Trinidad and many places in between. New Year started with a super message from my cousin in New Zealand which came in at just after 7am UK time. Since then, my son has seen in the New Year in Japan, friends have messaged from Hong Kong and it’s only four hours until the UK reaches midnight. Then I shall wait for hubby in New Jersey to call, hopefully then family in Trinidad will post on Facebook and then my friends on the West Coast of America will see the New Year in. Are you experiencing that Groundhog moment too?

Hong Kong has a special place in my heart, no-one does fireworks better than the Chinese.

Don’t mis-understand me, I think it’s wonderful. My maternal family has had a reunion for the last two years and our cousin from New Zealand is coming to the UK in 2018 for the first time in 17 years to share in the next one and we are all very excited.

Having said all that, I am actually sat on my own, watching TV with a bottle of bubbles at my side. I indulged myself earlier today and read “Go Set A Watchman” by Harper Lee and loved it. Being on your own doesn’t mean being lonely so I raise my glass to all my family and friends and wish you all the very best for 2018, what ever it brings. Just know that whether we connect in person or via social media, your friendship means a lot.

 

 

 

 

 

Remembrance Day 2017

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I always feel conflicted this time of year and I use the word deliberately.

When I was growing up in the UK in the 1970s, we were regular churchgoers so of course, we went to church on Remembrance Sunday. It always left me extremely uncomfortable, the talk was about the Glorious Dead and I was beginning to question how being dead was glorious. I was lucky, both my Grandads survived their wars but many of the children I went to school with weren’t so lucky.  Every time I talked about going to see them, someone would say that they never knew their Grandad and wasn’t I the lucky one. It was never meant nastily, it was just fact.

My maternal Grandad was in the Royal Army Medical Corps, called up when conscription started in 1916, he was 22.

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My paternal Grandad was called up in World War II and coincidentally, was also a medic. He was a psychiatric nurse and had the gruesome job of landing in France on Day 2 of the D-Day landings and sorting out who was dead and who wasn’t. He then followed the front line as the soldiers fought their way through France to Germany. Afterwards, he was sent to the Far East, based in India. He had the equally horrific task of finding soldiers who had lost their minds after the atrocities in that region and had gone feral.

He is in the back row, second left.

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I never heard either of them talk about their experiences and I wasn’t aware of them wearing poppies, although they might well have done.

I was also conflicted about what we had won. Britain wasn’t at war but it didn’t feel like a place that was at peace either. Every time the England football team played West Germany, the newspapers were full of hatred and I couldn’t relate to that (it has only recently stopped, 70+ years on).  I was confused as to the “evil” we went to war over in 1914. It was much easier to identify the evil in World War II but I hated the fact that Britain didn’t feel reconciled to peace. Places like Coventry were a light in the darkness.

The 1970s went into the 1980s and the Cold War was still a threat. Greenham Common became the focus of anti-war campaigning. I joined CND. I didn’t want World War III, nuclear destruction and the devastation that would follow if the planet survived. We had already lost a generation of men after The Great War, I didn’t want that to happen again.

Yet I am not a pacifist. I believe there is evil in the world and we need to stand up to it, as individuals and sometimes as a nation. I am grateful that some people chose to fight on my behalf and make the ultimate sacrifice with their lives.

What I want is for war to be the very last response.

I don’t want anyone’s life to end needlessly.

I want our politicians to work harder to find other ways of solving conflicts.

I want our armed forces to have the equipment they need and not to die because of our negligence.

I want business and commerce to run fairly so people don’t live in poverty and feel that violence is their only way of being heard.

I want each person to be more tolerant to those who are different to us and not fear difference.

I am sorry that our weakness as humans leads us to behave inhumanely towards each other. I believe we are better than that. We see greatness in peace and in times of war. Let’s work harder to look less at self and more at others. Let us learn to let go of our self-importance, as individuals and as nations. I am a patriot not at nationalist.  A journalist at the Huffington Post gives this explanation.

Nationalism and patriotism are two words which are often used inter-changeably. This is incorrect since there is a world of difference between the two concepts, in spite of a few shared ideals. While patriotism fundamentally means affection for one’s country and willingness to defend it, nationalism is a more extreme, unforgiving form of allegiance to one’s country. As opposed to patriotism, which involves social conditioning and personal opinion, nationalism involves national identity and the belief that one’s nation and/or its government is supreme.

The legacy of the Great War was the League of Nations created after the First World War to provide a forum for resolving international disputes. We need to be better at doing this so no more people die.

The Royal British Legion is doing a tremendous job and I support them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A new project

Those of you who know me well, know how devastated I was to leave Hong Kong – so many reasons why – but one of those was the loss of my job as Library Assistant at Bradbury School. It had stemmed from a phone call, received out of the blue, which lead to six wonderful years and, in my mid-40s, I had found my vocation. And then we left.

Now back in the UK, I’ve been lucky enough to find another job in a school library and it has inspired me to share my enthusiasm for all things literary and library orientated.

I’ve started a new blog, just for that. It’s called The Serendipitous Librarian and I hope you’ll take a look.

Crongton Knights book review

I’ve recently started work in the library at a local comprehensive school in mostly white, middle-class suburbia in the South East of England and was pleasantly surprised to discover this on our shelves. I didn’t realise it was the middle book in a trilogy until I’d finished the book, delighted to say it stands on its own two feet, I didn’t feel I’d missed anything by not reading the first book (however, I shall be checking we own all three, such was the power of this book). It moved me, it shook me and it made me laugh. Somehow, this book, written using street talk I am totally unfamiliar with, set in a fictitious inner city, full of gangs and a culture I am so far removed from, struck a chord deep inside that will stay with me for a long time. It proved to me, once again, that the power of words can reach out like a winding rope and wrap around you and reel you in and you don’t want to escape, you want more, you want to ride alongside the characters, you want their safety, you want their bonds to include you and you want them to live. Read it.
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<a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/8573306-debra”>View all my reviews</a>

A Trailing Spouse By Any Other Name

I was going through my inbox earlier today and came across this blog. I read it at the time and it spoke so loudly to me that I kept it. On re-reading it, I decided to share it. June is a month when many families are moving countries and/or repatriating so it seems the right time to share this. I hope you find strength and value in this and in yourself.

Wine and Cheese (Doodles)

vintage travel 10Trailing spouse. It’s a term most expats are familiar with and many, including myself, use it for lack of a better alternative. A recent post by a fellow expat caused me to re-explore my feelings about the term and truth be told, the more I think about it, the less I like it.

If I was on the fence before, her vivid description of toilet paper stuck to the bottom of a shoe made me come down firmly on the side of dislike. Because in a nutshell, trailing spouse has the  implication of someone following behind and picking up all the debris and crud the person in front of dropped along the way.

The last person in a race trails. Burning exhaust fumes trail. A caboose trails. Spouses shouldn’t trail. Who wants to be compared to a caboose toot tootling along behind the shiny diesel engine?

More than insinuation or semantics, what bothers…

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