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"To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower; Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour." William Blake

Dry Suit Diving

July 22nd, 2007 by sunflowers

GlastonburyWhen is a dry suit a wet suit? When you buy it off of ebay and the seals are too big. I did my dry suit course today in the start to getting my PADI advanced open water diver before I go to South America. It is the first time that I have dived since 1999 when I was in Fiji on the way to coming to the UK.

GildenburghThis morning I set off at six thirty to ride one hundred miles up to Gildenburgh (it would have only been about eighty-five miles except I got lost). Gildenburgh is a man made dive lake with a sunken bus, Luckily my friend who is doing the instruction took all my dive gear up so I was able to ride the bike and combine two sports were you get to wear unflattering outfits!

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Socially Speaking Two

July 18th, 2007 by sunflowers

I signed up to socially speaking. I almost skipped the evening to see the latest Potter movie but my mate that I wanted to go with pointed out that if I didn’t attend I wasn’t going to learn. We practised verbs by playing battle ships (I won, not because I was good at Spanish but I like playing games). Anyway I really better make an effort before next week as I still am struggling with the basics.

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July 15th, 2007 by sunflowers

First on the Scene CourseOn Sunday our bike group organised a ‘first on the scene’ course at the Woodford Fire Station. The morning was spent learning about what to do medically if you are the first to a road traffic accident and practising our ABCs (airway, breathing and compression).

If you come across an accident victim you should:-
Check if they are unresponsive
Shout for help
Open airway
Not breathing normally?
Call 999
30 chest compressions
2 rescue breaths/30 chest compressions

First on the Scene CourseFirst on the Scene CourseI was shocked to learn that they think that up to 75% of spinal injuries could be secondary incidents and that being moved and particularly having your helmet removed can cause a lifetime of sitting in a wheel chair and should only be moved if you are not breathing! I am soo getting something put on my helmet that says not to remove.

The things NOT to do are:-
1. Put yourself in danger
2. Forget your ABC
3. Move the victim unless absolutely necessary
4. Remove the helmet unless airway compromised
5. Remove foreign bodies from wounds
6. Leave wounds uncovered
7. Leave the victim unattended
8. Let the victim get cold
9. Give the victim anything to eat, drink or smoke
10. Let information be lost

First on the Scene CourseFirst on the Scene CourseIn the afternoon they piled a couple of cars on a motorbike and we practiced being first on the scene. For some of the groups I was the motorcycle victim and had my helmet removed three times (because I wasn’t breathing – the first time I was).

Then the fire brigade did a response where they cut the cars open to get out the accident victims. I had really wanted to volunteer for that but I wasn’t loud enough when they asked for someone.

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Saturday Morning Social Run

July 14th, 2007 by sunflowers

I think this is only the second social run I have been on with my bike group. The first was before I had even done the course. Then it was only the sixth time I had ridden my bike and riding on the motorway at 70 miles an hour was scary. You can see my impression of my bike group and riding in the UK if you follow the link notes from a newbie.

This time it was similar in that I haven’t ridden my new bike since I brought it back from the Faroe Islands but everything else was different. This time I knew about half the group when we met at the Harlow Mcdonalds at 9am (though I did decide to get petrol before hand as I had showed up at 8am, then accidentally went back onto the M11 going the wrong way, the first junction was the M25 so I managed to do 20 miles before getting back to where I was suppose to be and all for £3 of petrol). For the first half of the ride the roads were almost walking trails with heaps of bends and I thought that I was doing a good job at keeping up even though I was out of my comfort zone for some of the bends. Then after the break when everyone zoomed by me I realised that it was just that no one had been able to pass.

BBQ at the AllotmentWe made a quick stop along the side of the road for men to use the public conveniences (bushes) and then after a couple hours of riding and about eighty miles we officially ended the ride in a little village and stopped for lunch.

After the ride I headed off to the allotment in North London where we were having a bbq with more drinking than digging going on. After I went to Nanbucca’s as a friend of a friend’s band ‘Father of the Bride’ was playing. They have a slightly edgy sixties sound and I wouldn’t be surprised if they did pretty well. The evening was finished off playing pool at the rougher (a lot of piercing and mohawks while listing to Johnny Cash, Metallica and Faith no More) Big Red down the road where I managed to hold the table for about four games

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Socially Speaking

July 10th, 2007 by sunflowers

I went along to my second socially speaking evening. This time the normal teacher was back from holiday and after the break we played some games with Spanish. I am still the worst in the group but it is really motivating me to study. Next time though I am not going to drink throughout the lesson and afterwards another couple large glasses of wine as I was wreaked by the time I got home.

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It is better to give than to receive

July 9th, 2007 by sunflowers

I had my second speech at Toastmasters tonight. My delivery wasn’t worth writing home about. A précis of the topic was: when I started doing volunteer work after university it was to appease the guilt I felt from not doing something good with my life. But after the amazing experiences I have had when I was working with the youth drop-in centre in Adelaide, being a volunteer bush fire fighter in Canberra and mentoring here in London that now I want to do it because of how much I get from it. It included a quote from Seligman’s book Learned Optimism, “depression comes from an over commitment to self and an under commitment to the common good”.

Just to note that it isn’t all that easy to volunteer. I signed up for NCH in Feb and when I followed it up recently they only wanted guys.

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Live Earth

July 7th, 2007 by sunflowers

On the 7th July Al Gore arranged a number of music concerts to be held in seven different continents. The tickets for London where held with a lottery and the first release was on the 20th April. Unfortunately I didn’t get any tickets but then on the 18th June they must have had a redraw and I was able to apply for two seats.

Live EarthIt was a great day out. It was amazing to see acts like Madonna, Snow Patrol, David Grey, Black Eyed Peas, Duran Duran, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica and James Blunt etc. There were a lot of little video clips covering environmental awareness and the importance of looking after our world.

One of the things that I didn’t think that they covered very well was the high level of consumerism we have in our society and how we are much more likely to buy new than repair the things that we have.

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Learning a Language

July 5th, 2007 by sunflowers

I have taken two Spanish courses and tried to learn French and other than picking up some words even simple phrases elude me. I find languages so difficult that I have even been asked if English is my second language. I am determined to learn Spanish no matter how hard it is. I was looking for classes and I learnt about Socially Speaking which get together at a bar every Wednesday to socially speak German, Italian, French and Spanish in a social environment so I decided to check it out.

I did realise that my 20 words or so in Spanish wasn’t going to get me far in conversation but when I showed up and the table was conversing in simple Spanish even though I could pick up a few words I realised that I really needed to concentrate on learning Spanish and it was an indication of what is going to be like in Latin America.

It turns out that the regular teacher wasn’t there and usually they sit the beginners together to go at a slower pace so the organisers, who were incredibly friendly, offered me another free lesson to come along next week.

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July 3rd, 2007 by sunflowers

Garden BeforeGarden AfterI fought the garden and the garden won in the end. I decided to get rid of all the overgrown jasmine in the back yard. I managed to pull up a significant amount of it but in the end I somehow managed to get stung by a stinging nettle all over my neck and now have these angry welts on my neck. Still there was something therapeutic pulling apart the garden in the rain and thunder while drinking wine.

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O2 Centre

July 2nd, 2007 by sunflowers

Ferry to O2O2 CentreO2 CentreFor the millennium London built a dome in the Docklands which had an expo centre in it which was a flop and cost millions. In has finally been reopened as the O2 centre and a huge stadium that opened on the 24th of June with a Bon Jovi concert. Ferry to O2It also has an eleven screen cinema, a bunch of restaurants and bars and the Indigo club which opened tonight with a Jools Holland concert that my friend had an extra ticket for. Apparently Jools Holland is a bit of an English institution but the cool things for me were going on the ferry to the centre and seeing Lulu who is extremely fit for her age. There is also a David Beckham football academy out there. David Beckham

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