DIWALI 2014: Festive family photos

Yesterday, on Diwali day itself, I was able to spend time with my family at my mother’s house. It was a beautiful and magical occasion of enjoyment with some of the most special people in my life. There was lots of hugs and smiles as we greeted each other “Happy Diwali”. Mum treated me to a dish of her very delicious vegetarian chilli-con-carne and tasty Indian sweets. We had a quiz game on my brother’s PS4 (out of five players, I came top with a final score of 4,000 points) and later went around the house lighting diyas (lamps) in honour of the festival of lights.

Prompted by a blogging friend who saw my previous post on this year’s HEM selection of animated images on the theme of Diwali and suggested I post up pictures of the event, I here present a gallery of photos of Diwali in the Shah household. Many, many thanks to Anjali and Arjun for contributing pictures to this gallery, and to Suraj, who offered me a chance to take some pictures after he had lit some candles on the mantelpiece.

You can find full-resolution versions of the images in this gallery on the Half-Eaten Mind. Just look out for the square moving Flickr icon on the top of this page. Once you’re on the Flickr site, search for the “Diwali 2014/2070″ album. Images refined and watermarked with piZap.

May thousands of lamps light up your life
with endless happiness, richness, health & wealth forever
wishing you and your family a very

“[*Deepavali*] Happy Diwali Messages In English 2014 *[Msgs*]” – Happy Diwali/Happy Diwali 2014 Wishesms http://www.happydiwali2014wishesms.org/2014/09/deepavali-happy-diwali-messages-in-english-2014.html

WORKSPACE BLOG HOP: Inside the HEM newsroom

The Half-Eaten Mind and myself are proud to announce that we have been invited to participate in the Workspace Blog Hop. The hop is a blogging initiative where the blogger is given an opportunity to share something about themself and the place where their pictures, poems, news stories or novels come to life. I would like to thank Sally Cronin of the blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life” for tagging me in the WBH and giving you an exclusive sneak peek into my blog’s newsroom, where we bring you cutting-edge news and amazing features every weekend.

I thought I’d start first with a bit of background information on the kind of place I live at. I’m from London, England, U.K. and for the moment I live in a houseshare in Plaistow, in the east of London. I live with the landlord, plus three other guys, who hail from India, Japan and Portsmouth here in England. My house sits right next to a junction just behind Plaistow Police Station, so needless to say the traffic around here can be rather noisy. Where I live isn’t a prosperous area, but it’s alright. I have two Iceland supermarkets and a Tesco store within easy walking distance, plus there’s a few good local attractions including a leisure centre, library and Plashet Park a few bus stops away. I have been living here since the end of February 2013. I did not begin the blog here though. That happened at my previous houseshare in Morley Road, Stratford, just across the border from here in Plaistow. My property manager/housemate, who was not a pleasant fellow in the slightest, evicted me from that residence with only two weeks’ notice. Ostensibly he blamed me for wasting electricity just because once I had forgotten to turn off the kitchen light, but now I suspect he just wanted to move someone else in who he could charge higher rent too.

My current room does not win much praise from me. I took the room only as an emergency measure. It’s essentially a box room, small, cluttered and a tad claustrophobic, but I call it home. I was originally looking to eventually move into a one-bedroom flat, but London is a notoriously expensive city and even small flats and studio places are ridiculously pricey. My current landlord has recently raised the rent by an eye-watering amount so it looks like I’ll be bumming around on Gumtree and Zoopla looking for a bigger, but cheaper, room. While my newsroom may not be buzzing with reporters and sweaty-collared editors, poring over banks of PC screens and TVs blaring out the latest breaking news via CNBC or Russia Today, it has the advantage of being portable and therefore easy to set up anywhere with a power supply and a plug socket. Hotdesking par excellence!.

My workspace is also my bedroom, with the usual wardrobe (closet) and chest-of-drawers. I have a single window that affords great views of the neighbours’ backyards and I often see foxes and squirrels milling around the place after dark. The wildlife here are almost as exciting as the shouting drunks that are always stumbling home around here.

This delightfully framed portrait is where the Half-Eaten Mind magic happens. The desk is small but manageable. All my stories and articles are penned on the spot using the laptop you can see. My trusty Toshiba Satellite C660 has been my portal to the internet and loyal office assistant for the past four years now, ever since I had to haul its ass home from the Argos store in Victoria, central London, where I used to work. I actually picked up this babe during my lunchtime. My Tosh is still working fine, albeit a bit more slowly, but still working a dream.

The cool snazzy mouse with the blue lights and red laser was purchased separately from eBay, and although it is futuristic, it’s had its day and I may soon need a replacement. There’s no room on the desk for any fancy stuff like potted plants and picture frames, but I managed to squeeze in a fan, which keeps me cool during summer or when the landlord has cranked on the heating on too high during the colder nights.

The desk, apart from being my workplace and escape zone, also functions as a place to stash my journalism portfolio from when I was at university, my stamps and banknote collections and some important paperwork. There is a recess at the back of the desk where I stash, and hopefully not forget about, any important letters or forms I have to deal with. Right now there is a letter from the borough council concerning postal vote registration which I need to get an envelope and stamp, as they never bothered to enclose a pre-paid one with the form.

I use the Chrome browser when working on the blog or doing internet research and activities, whether pertaining to the blog or not. The Chrome is fast and responsive in my opinion. With the news articles I publish, I use a variety of sources, in particular from news articles posted on my Facebook news feed or from tweets from media organisations I follow on Twitter. I also sometimes make use of press releases from the journalism.co.uk website, an information resource for journalists and PR professionals, who send me an email packed with them every Monday or so. I also get submissions for articles (mainly features) from friends and external contributors. Regardless of the source, it is this laptop where every weekend, I get comfy on my upholstered blue revolving chair and transform into HEM editor and roving reporter, literally from the comfort of my own armchair. I usually start writing around 11:00-12:00 in the morning, after a shower and breakfast, so I feel sufficiently fresh and energised to begin typing. A news story can take as little as thirty minutes to polish off, but some longer articles and features can take as much as two hours from start to finish. It depends. After I publish each blogpost, I visit the HEM Facebook fan page to share the article on my own Facebook, plus with any friends or family who I feel are interested or who originally suggested the story idea. I also do the same on Twitter. I then share on Twitter all of the articles and sources I used in the crafting of the piece, followed by the related articles that I add at the bottom of each published piece. These ‘related articles’ are automatically suggested by a plugin I use, named Zemanta. Zemanta’s really useful in that it ‘reads’ what you are typing and then makes suggestions for these articles, plus images, as you type up.

This device is also very important in my blogging. While it may look like a reject from Beyonce’s jewellery box, it is in fact a Sandisk Cruzer Facet USB drive (memory stick) with around 15 gigabytes of memory. Sandisk is one of the most regarded producers of USB drives and memory cards in the world, and I wanted a quality piece of equipment to hold the images from my blog. This stick is essential, as nearly all of the images I use to spice up each blogpost is then stored on here as a virtual gallery and archive. I do this as it means if an image vanishes from an article becuase the website it is attached to goes down or the relevant link dies, I have a backup copy on this drive ready and waiting to replace it. For extra peace of mind, I also save the images onto a cloud, my Google Drive. Better safe than sorry, don’t you think. I made this picture using a blurred edge photo border in Lunapic, which gives it the appearance of being set behind a fancy glass frame. Admittedly I did goof up on the hashtag on the bottom of the image. It should read #WorkspaceBlogHop, not #WorkplaceBlogHop, but it is astonishingly similar sounding how ‘workplace’ and ‘workspace’ are. In the background of the image above you can also see my bed, complete with psychedelic pillow!. The rest of my room is a bit messy and is overdue a spring clean. That and its size means I decided not to take pictures, but I’d thought instead I’d give you a Google Street View image of the junction I live near.

(c) Google Maps

(c) Google Maps

It’s exactly the view I see whenever I step out to go places or have a cigarette break. The red corrugated iron sheet ‘shed’ is in fact a Gospel Printing Mission that produces religious materials for a local church. The area I live in is highly multicultural and there’s a lot of people from west Africa particularly here, many of which are church-going Christians. The police station, which has a massive car park, is the small, castle-like building with the blue turret towards the centre of the screenshot. This is mostly a residential area and I see a lot of families with young children heading this way to go to the nursery further down Cumberland Road.

And also…here’s another screenshot, this time of my Google Drive, where we stash the pictorial stuff. Our little secret!!

(c) Google Drive

(c) Google Drive

A rabbit feels more comfortable to hop about if there are other rabbits to hop around with. Taking this lesson from our bunny friends, I would like to invite the following people to come join me in the Workspace Blog Hop and share with us their blogging workspaces. Attendance isn’t compulsory but it is a great way to give your friends and blog followers a glimpse into your blogging zone.

My six Hoppers are:

Alex Smithson

Ron Scubadiver


Swetank Raj

Inese MJ

Gene’O Gordon

Sally’s article and her very fascinating blog hop can be found here: My Workspace blog Hop -Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

piZap http://pizap.com/
Lunapic http://www171.lunapic.com/editor/
“Blank aluminium nameplate, 15mm x 50mm” – Label Source http://www.labelsource.co.uk/labels/blank-aluminium-nameplate–15mm-x-50mm/bmnp1a
Google Maps https://www.google.co.uk/maps
Google Drive https://drive.google.com/drive/

BBC GENOME PROJECT: What was on the telly when you was born

The British public service broadcaster the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has launched the beta version of a new online project that will enable people to find out what programmes were broadcast on UK television and radio on the date they were born. The BBC Genome Project is a fascinating new online archive of the BBC’s flagship publication, Radio Times, a radio and television listings magazine that has been published continuously since the 1920s.

The Genome Project, which despite its name has no connection to the Human Genome Project or to any organisation in the field of scientific research, was set up by the BBC  to encourage its viewers and listeners to search their homes and garages for any old recordings or VCR tapes of BBC and other shows which they are then invited to submit. It is hoped that donations of TV shows from times long gone past will help the BBC preserve older programmes for future generations. The Project’s archives extend from the years 1923 to 2009.

(c) BBC via J. Stone

The website enables you to choose individual editions of the Radio Times, as well as search through the magazine archive via year, people’s names, particular programmes and key dates. A virtual gallery of actual Radio Times covers means the Genome Project’s users can witness the changing face of one of the United Kingdom’s most recognisable entertainment magazines – which has been a fixture of the country’s living rooms for over ninety years and is still running. The actual schedule information is presented as plain, easy-to-read text.

According to the Metro newspaper, the BBC claims that the project currently has a total of 4,423,654 programmes incorporated into the archive from 4,469 issues of its magazine.

The hope is that the project will lead to programmes being recovered if the public realises they have audio or video recordings of their own.

Hilary Bishop, editor of archive development at the BBC, said: “Genome is the closest we currently have to a comprehensive broadcast history of the BBC.

`It is highly likely that somewhere out there, in lofts, sheds and basements across the world, many of these “missing” programmes will have been recorded and kept by generations of TV and radio fans.

‘So, we’re hoping to use Genome as a way of bringing copies of those lost programmes back in to the BBC archives too.

The Genome Project will not only be of benefit to media studies and journalism students and historians of public life in the 20th century, but will also be valuable to people who are curious as to what programmes and services were shown on the day they were born.

As part of the celebration of the unveiling of this unique archive, the Half-Eaten Mind’s blogger-in-chief Vijay Shah tried out the BBC’s Genome Project for himself. His aim was to see if he could discover what was broadcast on the day of his birth thirty years ago, Thursday the 4th of October, 1984.


My first impression of the BBC’s new Genome Project website was how much it was like many of the other online arms of the BBC in the internet world. Its slick and minimalist design, a hallmark of the public broadcaster, was reassuringly familiar, yet seemed to understate the vast quantity of publicly-accessible data stored inside. I quickly read through the site’s blurb, while distracted by the strapping image taken from a BBC studio filming from the Sixties or Seventies. A camera operative holding an angular relic with the BBC logo from that time splashed on the side sits precariously on the far right, while a slightly dour-faced audience await the show to begin and the cameras to start rolling.

(c) E.F. Baumgardner/National Archives and Records Administration/Wikimedia Commons

I scrolled down the page to reach a chapter entitled “Browse the issue archive” which gives you all of the years shown in the archive arranged as a table with the columns set aside for different decades. If you scroll further down, there is a selection of thumbnails of front covers from the Radio Times, arranged by decade. Underneath that is a list of up-to-date schedules from the post-digital BBC stable of channels.

I clicked on the year ‘1984’ and that took me to a list of all the Radio Times editions, or issues, for that year, starting from Issue 3139, which came out across England only on the 5th January of that year. The 1984 archive solemnly ends with Issue 3189, published solely for the London TV region on the 20th of December. My birthday issue was numbered 3178, and was published exactly on the 4th October, much to my relief.

Another click of the mouse brought me to some listings of several BBC stations but these only began from the 6th October, which was a Saturday. I then rewound back and tried the previous issue, No. 3177, released on the 27th September 1984. I found TV and radio listings for the following stations: BBC One London, BBC Two England, BBC Radio 1 England, BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 4 FM. There is no mention of any schedules for ITV and Channel 4, which probably was not mentioned as these channels are independent of the Beeb and the Radio Times is a publication funded by the BBC’s print media division. C4 had been founded just two years before my birth and satellite, cable, digital and internet TV and radio was not to appear for a couple of decades yet. BBC One, or BBC1 as it was then called, tends towards popular and light entertainment programming, while BBC Two (BBC2) at that time was more geared to educational and political programming, as well as documentaries. I was fascinated by how many shows from my later childhood, such as Blue Peter, Henry’s Cat, Grange Hill (a soap set in an urban secondary school) and the Six O’Clock News with Moira Stewart were already well established on TV, considering that my memories of these shows are from the late 1980s at the earliest. It was a great trip down memory lane.

While the simple layout of the TV schedules was a bit of a mood killer, I liked the way that information from the pages of the Radio Times was presented in a clear and accessible format, while keeping faithful to the original text, as far as I could see. Even the mention of Ceefax subtitles was retained, showing just how far technology in television had gone since all those years ago.

(c) BBC via Wikimedia Commons

Here are the TV schedules for BBC1 and BBC2 as they were presented in the Radio Times on 4/10/1984:


6.00: Ceefax AM

6.30Breakfast Time

with Frank Bough , Selina Scott Including today: medical advice from the Breakfast Time doctor in his weekly phone-in between 8.30 and 9.0

9.00: Under Sail

2: Pascual Flores
Pascual Flores was built 60 years ago in southern Spain as a fast schooner, but she very nearly ended her days as a scruffy little motor coaster. Now she’s restored.
Narrator Tom Salmon Director JENNI BURROWS Producer ROBIN DRAKE
BBC Bristol. (Part 3 tomorrow at 9.0 am)

9.15: Labour Party Conference 1984

Live coverage of the fourth day’s debates in Blackpool

10.30: * Play School

10.50: * Labour Party Conference 1984

Further live coverage

12.30: * News After Noon

with Moira Stuart and Frances Coverdale including a special report on the Labour Party Conference Weather BILL GILES
12.57 Regional News (London and SE: Financial Report, and News Headlines with subtitles)

13.00: Pebble Mill at One

13.45: Fingerbobs

A See -Saw programme

14.00: Labour Party Conference 1984

Coverage of today’s debates
3.48 Regional News

15.50: Play School: It’s Thursday

Presenter lain Lauchlan Guest Sarah Long
Story: The Luckiest One of All by BILL PEET

16.10: Bananaman

Mystery at the Old Mine
Eric Twinge is just another schoolboy-but when danger calls, a few mouthfuls of his special bananas and Eric is Bananaman. With the voices Of TIM BROOKE-TAYLOR , BILL ODDIE, GRAEME GARDEN, JILL SHILLING Written by BERNIE KAY Music by DAVID COOKE Produced by TREVOR BOND Directed by TERRY WARD

16.15: Beat the Teacher

with Howard Stableford Round 3 of this week’s quiz featuring the most amazing brain-teasers in the world.
(Part 4 tomorrow at 4.15)

16.30: Godzilla

Godzilla, the 600-ton monster who has been asleep for a thousand years, rises from the depths of the Pacific to come to the aid of mankind. In this new series he continues his role as guardian to the crew of the research ship Calico. The Golden Guardians The Golden Guardian attacks Godzilla and turns him into a golden statue.

16.55: John Craven’s Newsround

17.00: Blue Peter

with Simon Groom Janet Ellis and Michael Sundin Flood Alert!
After the summer drought, the villagers of Topsham in Devon were faced with floods when the River Exe produced its highest tide since 1966.
Michael helped to build the barricades to protect the centuries-old houses and joined the men of the Devon Fire Brigade keeping anxious watch on the rising waters. Assistant editor LEWIS BRONZE Editor BIDDY BAXTER *CEEFAX SUBTITLES

17.25: Henry’s Cat


17.30: Grange Hill

A series of 18 programmes
Episode 5 by MARGARET SIMPSON Jimmy McClaren , the ‘Godfather’ of Grange Hill, begins to take a ‘friendly interest’ in Pogo’s chain-letter enterprise.

17.58: Weatherman

18.00: The Six O’Clock News

with Sue Lawley and Jeremy Paxman, including a report by David Coss from the Labour Party Conference.

18.30Regional news magazines

London Plus, Spotlight South Today, Points West Look East, North West Tonight Look North, Midlands Today

18.55: Tomorrow’s World

Presented by Kieran Prendiville Peter McCann , Maggie Philbin and Judith Hann Producers DANA PURVIS , MICHAEL COYLE HENRY CAMPION , CYNTHIA PAGE Studio director STUART MCDONALD Editor MARTIN MORTIMORE

19.20Top of The Pops

Introduced by Simon Bates and Richard Skinner

20.00The Magnificent Evans

by ROY CLARKE starring Ronnie Barker with Sharon Morgan and Myfanwy Talog William Thomas , Dickie Arnold
Film cameraman REX MAIDMENT Film editor DON CANDLIN Studio lighting RON BRISTOW Designer TIM GLEESON Produced and directed by SYDNEY LOTTERBY *CEEFAX SUBTITLES


Written and presented by Roger Cook
Radio 4’s award-winning programme comes to television for a short series to investigate cases raised by viewers which can include unfair dealing, bureaucratic bungling, injustice or even fraud.
Video cameraman LAURIE RUSH Researcher DINA GOLD Television producers DAVID BOWEN-JONES and DAVID HANINGTON Editor JOHN EDWARDS
Roger Cook’s Checkpoint. A BBC Aerial Book £2.95 from booksellers

21.00The Nine O’Clock News

with Julia Somerville and the BBC’s reporters and correspondents around the world including a special report on the Labour Party Conference at Blackpool Weatherman

21.25The Horse of the Year Show

from Wembley Arena featuring The Norwich Union Championship
Puissance mght at Wembley when all eyes are focussed on the big red wall in the centre of the arena. Plus horses racing against each other in the Knock-Out Stakes, and a look at some of the other entertainment.


22.45: * Heart of the Matter

with David Jessel
At the heart of the actions that make the news lie decisions and dilemmas, prejudices and passions, that are defined by our sense of what’s right and what’s wrong. Each week David Jessel takes issue with a major story of concern or conscience, and looks for what can be found at the Heart of the Matter.

Series producer COLIN CAMERON

23.20* Out of the Undertow

Fay Weldon and Richard Hoggart look at working lives and tides of change in Britain: 3: Sweet Dreams with Miriam Margolyes
Managing a small business is a dream to which many people aspire but it’s a dream that doesn’t often come true. A women’s fashion company, a hairdressing salon and an engineering works are three dreams that have come true – but with a struggle.

Film editor HELEN COOK

23.50: * News Headlines; Weatherman

(c) Wikipedia


6.55: Open University

6.55 The Search for Minerals
7.20 History of Mathematics

9.00: Pages from Ceefax

9.20: Daytime on Two

9.20 Tout compris
Everyday life and language of French teenagers. Au college; Au café bar; Chez Claire ; A une boom
9.38 La maree et ses secrets
A five-part adventure serial in French by CHRISTOPHER RUSSELL and JANE COTTAVE 3: Une ombre du passé
9.55 Thinkabout
See How they Grow
It’s hard to believe that Frank was once a baby.
10.12 Science Workshop Paper ‘A’
10.34 Scene
Troubled Minds – What a Lousy Title!
11.5 Near and Far Concrete
The look of many towns and cities owes much to the use of concrete. However the extraction of its raw materials – limestone, clay, sand and gravel has had a dramatic effect on rural areas Producer ROBIN GWYN
11.30 Home Ground
Towns of Wales 2: Just Down the Road
A town is largely composed of buildings – private houses and public edifices. What can these patterns of brick and stone. tile and slate, glass and paint, tell of a town’s history?
11.55 Swim

ANDREW HARVEY introduces a series for swimmers and non-swimmers of all ages. 3: Breaststroke

12.20 pm Illusions of Reality An examination of newsreels of the 1930s
3: Once a Hun….
Discussion notes from [address removed] 8QT. (Please enclose 12″ x 9″ sae and 33p postage)
12.45 Letting Go 3: Sex Education
How parents prepare teenagers for this important part of adult life.
1.10 Mind How You Go
Ten programmes about road accident prevention presented by JIMMY SAVILE OBE
3: Think Child
1.20 Encounter: Germany 3: Communications
By train from Hamelin to Braunschweig – and the work of the railways. A police car chase; a waterways patrol; an island waterway harbour; and life on a canal barge.
1.38 Around Scotland The Great Glen 1: The Ancient Corridor JOHN CARMICHAEL explains how the Great Glen was formed and shows how man has made use of the landscape for forestry and the production of hydro-electricity.


My Brother’s Keeper
As J.R. drives the final wedge between Pam and Bobby, his masterplan to oust his brother from Ewing Oil gathers momentum. Donna meets an old admirer and Sue Ellen finds she has a new one …
Written by ARTHUR BERNARD LEWIS Directed by LEONARD KATZMAN (For cast see Monday. Continued tomorrow at 3.0 pm. Repeat) * CEEFAX SUBTITLES

15.45Labour Party Conference 1984

Further coverage.

17.05Handicapped in the Community

The Centre for Independent Living in Berkeley, California, was founded to help disabled people achieve independence and self-respect.
A BBC/Open University production

17.25News Summary

with subtitles, followed by Weather


3: Uncalled-for Distractions Fred Dibnah’s holiday at Blackpool
Narrator Deryck Guyler

Delightfully comic filming (Sunday Times)
Photography MARTIN LIGHTENING Written and produced by DON HAWORTH. BBC Manchester

18.00Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles

The last of a three part series starring
The Martians
November 2006: Earth is an amber cinder, all life annihilated by total nuclear war. A handful of settlers left on Mars are the sole survivors of the human race. They face a desolate future, cut off and isolated even from each other. Sam Parkhill holds a land grant to half of Mars, handed to him by the original inhabitants of the planet.

19.30: Open Space

Breaking the Mould?
For the bulk of production line workers throughout British industry tomorrow’s work will be just like today’s. Mindless…. repetitive…. demoralising. But deep in the ‘pot bank’ they’re trying to reshape working lives. Staffordshire Potteries, Britain’s major mug producers, have adopted a new Japanese style of management. They are aiming to increase the motivation and job satisfaction of their employees by giving them more say in the company’s decisions. But will this really improve work and conditions on the shopfloor, or is it just subtle psychology designed to boost productivity? Open Space goes to the Potteries to find out how shopfloor and management approach the new tomorrow. Producer JEREMY GIBSON COMMUNITY PROGRAMME UNIT

20.00Commercial Breaks

A series that follows the fortunes of entrepreneurs around the world as their stories unfold. Who Dares, Wins Readers? The inside story of this summer’s bizarre circulation war between Fleet Street’s tabloids. Last week’s Commercial Breaks showed how multi-millionnaire Robert Maxwell bought the Daily Mirror. He immediately vowed to topple the Sun as Britain’s top-selling tabloid. This programme goes behind the scenes as Maxwell controls every detail of his campaign, from directing his own commercials to cross-examining his circulation managers.
Narrator Hugh Sykes
Film editor PETER DELFGOU Research ROBERT THIRKELL Executive producer JONATHAN CRANE

20.30Do They Mean Us?

Our sense of humour baffles them, our politics bother them, our preoccupation with tradition bemuses them. Apparently we don’t wash, and we are morose and miserable even on holiday. On the other hand we are polite and kind to animals, and we would be great in a crisis – if we knew one when we saw one. Each week Derek Jameson looks at the way foreign television reports this country. Tonight he looks at foreign interest in the Royal Family and discovers that, in some ways, they are even more obsessed with them than are the natives.

21.00A Kick Up the 80s

with Ron Bain, Robbie Coltrane. Miriam Margolyes, Roger Sloman, Tracey Ullman. Also featuring Kevin Turvey
Special weight-watchers edition: non-fattening sketches, low-calorie situations, semi-skimmed jokes and a protein-packed song.


21.25: Life of an Orchestra

3: On Tour
The third documentary in the informal four-part series on the London Symphony Orchestra follows the 107 musicians and their £350,000’s worth of instruments on tour to Paris, Vienna and Frankfurt. The film goes behind the scenes with the orchestra and their conductor Claudio Abbado as they rehearse, relax, worry about the Vienna concert and celebrate their successes. There’s music from WEBERN. MAHLER and SCHUBERT, an appearance by Zubin Mehta and more unexpected glimpses into the habits and attitudes of orchestral musicians.
Film cameraman JOHN GOODYER Sound STAN NIGHTINGALE Film editor PETER HARRIS Produced and directed by JENNY BARRACLOUGH

22.15: A Hot Summer Night with Donna

The second part of the spectacular concert featuring the queen of disco, Donna Summer.

22.50: Newsnight

John Tusa and Vincent Hanna with a full report on the day’s events at the Labour Party Conference in Blackpool, with Donald MacCormick and Jenni Murray in London to assess the news at home and abroad. Producer DAVE STANFORD Editor DAVID DICKINSON

23.45Open University

Discussion: Alan Plater ‘s ‘Reunion’ The play concerns two men who meet again many years after their schooldays together. It explores the risks involved in personal relationships, and is followed by a discussion with the author and actors.


For our readers and bloggers from the HEM Community, especially those from the UK, you can see what the BBC played on your birthday and reminisce while you’re doing so. Visit the BBC’s Genome project at this link

“The BBC Genome Project lets you see what was on TV on the day you were born” – Sarah Deen, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (16 October 2014) http://metro.co.uk/2014/10/16/the-bbc-genome-project-lets-you-see-what-was-on-tv-on-the-day-you-were-born-4908844/?ito=facebook
“Welcome to the BBC Genome Project” – BBC Genome Beta – Radio Times 1923 – 2009, BBC http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/
“1984” – BBC Genome Beta – Radio Times 1923 – 2009, BBC http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/years/1984
“Listings” – BBC Genome Beta – Radio Times 1923 – 2009, BBC http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/schedules/bbcone/london/1984-10-04
Creative Commons CC Search http://search.creativecommons.org/
“Radio Times, Doctor Who, Nov 2003, McCoy” – Jem Stone, Flickr (17 June 2005) https://www.flickr.com/photos/jemstone/19864460/
“File:Family watching television 1958.jpg” – Evert F. Baumgardner, National Archives and Records Administration via Wikimedia Commons (original 1958, uploaded 22 January 2007) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Family_watching_television_1958.jpg
“File:Bbc logo before 1986.png” – BBC, Briantist & John Bot II, Wikimedia Commons (5 May 2009) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bbc_logo_before_1986.png
“BBC Television Centre” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC_Television_Centre

NEWHAM RECYCLING: Council leaflets residents on recycling policy

Newham Council, the local government body in charge of the east London borough of Newham, has recently leafletted thousands of homes advising residents on what items they can place in their recycling bins. This is part of the council’s continuing drive to increase both recycling rates and awareness among the borough’s more than 150,000 residents. All households in Newham are provided with two wheelie bins free of charge by the council. One, coloured dark green, is intended for general waste, such as food, garden waste and non-recyclable items. The second bin, with a lighter green body and an orange hinged lid, is meant solely for items that Newham’s Recycling Centre can retrieve to be re-used again. Council refuse operatives usually visit streets on Mondays and Fridays to collect from either one of the two bins. Recycling teams will empty bins every fortnight. Residents are given special orange recycling bags to fill with their recyclable items, as the council sanitary workers are not permitted to accept goods stuffed into black bin liners for recycling.

The council, concerned that many residents are unaware of what items can be placed in their orange and green recycling bins, and to ease the burden of having to dispose of rubbish that they are unable to recycle, have produced leaflets that explain in clear and plain English what residents can and cannot recycle.

(c) Sustainable Initiatives Fund Trust

In the leaflets, Newham Council advises households that they should put only the following items into their recycling bins: cardboard, food tins and soft drinks cans, plastic bottles and paper. Anything else, even if it is possible to recycle, should be thrown into the dark green bin instead. Even if materials can be recycled, different London councils will have not always have the capabilities or facilities to process these items. Recycling policy does in fact vary from one local administration to another.

Mixed paper includes items such as envelopes, telephone directories, junk mail, wrapping paper and scrap paper. Food tins and drinks cans are usually made from aluminium or steel, for example, cans of soft drinks, baked beans tins, chick pea tins or tins for dog food. The council can also recycle plastic bottles, such as those used for soft drinks, mineral water, orange juice (not Tetra-Pak) or milk. Cardboard is also accepted, so Newham residents can place items such as cereal boxes, parcels, electronics packaging and tubes from toilet/kitchen rolls in their orange recycling bags.

Residents should ensure that they put their recyclable rubbish only in the orange bags, of which rolls are provided by Newham Council (and were previously left on doorsteps free of charge). They have been asked to rinse out all cans and plastic bottles, and squash or flatten all cardboard boxes and plastic bottles to maximise space in their bins and in the collection truck.

The council states in their leaflets that they do not accept the following items for recycling. Any dirty or soiled food packaging, such as greasy takeaway cartons are not accepted and should be thrown into the general waste bin instead. Mixed glass, a term used for glass containers of any colour, although recyclable, is not accepted by council recycling teams either. You can take things like beer and wine bottles, jam jars, and assorted glass items to the public glass recycling bins which can be found across Newham where they can be disposed of securely and safely. The council also will not recycle many common types of plastic packaging, such as those used for microwaveable ready meals and blister packs, and also nappies (used or unused). These items should be placed into the dark green bin for collection. Food waste and nappies, if placed in with paper or cardboard packaging, can damage the paper, meaning it cannot be recycled. As some of the recycling is sorted by hand by council workers, residents are also advised not to place sharp objects like broken glass or needles into the bags for safety reasons. If people are unsure that a particular item can be recycled, they should dispose of it in the general rubbish bin. Other prohibited items for recycling are aerosol cans (air fresheners, deodorants), books, cling film, food, cartons with a waxed surface – i.e. Tetra-Pak cartons, cartons for soup, juice and milk, metal objects of any kind other than cans or tins, paint and polystyrene.

(c) Gordon Joly

The Newham recycling programme has been in place for more than a decade as the council encourages residents to recycle their household rubbish to protect the environment, save natural resources and help the council reduce its bill for waste disposal.

Newham residents can find the location of their nearest glass recycling bank by visiting www.newham.gov.uk/recycling . Bulky items such as household furniture, mattresses, expired white goods and old carpet will be collected by the council for free. Anyone who dumps bulky items on the street can risk fines. Residents can book a collection date for their unwanted bulky good by visiting the Newham Council website at www.newham.gov.uk and clicking on the button marked “Apply for it”. Garden waste, such as grass cutting, leaves, twigs/branches and weeds are also collected free of charge. Residents can also compost their garden waste and the council offer special composting bins for a low price if they call the council compost line on 0845 130 6090 – calls charged at local rates from a landline, mobile calls may cost differently.

Glass bottles and jars can be dropped off at any public ‘bring bank’ for recycling in Newham, or can be transported in bulk to the Jenkins Lane Reuse and Recycling Centre in nearby Barking. Residents choosing to use the Jenkins Lane site must bring either a Newham Council-issued council tax statement or a driving licence to get permission to use the Centre’s services. The Centre is not run by Newham Council, but by a non-related firm, Shanks East London on behalf of the East London Waste Authority. For opening hours contact Shanks East London on freephone 0800 389 9918 or go to the Recycle for Your Community website.

“Only put these items in your recycling bin” – recycle for Newham/Newham Council (leaflet)
“Recycling – household collections” – Newham Council http://www.newham.gov.uk/Pages/Services/Recycling-household-collections.aspx
“Household re-use and recycling centres” – Newham Council http://www.newham.gov.uk/Pages/Services/Household-re-use-and-recycling-centres.aspx
Creative Commons CC Search http://search.creativecommons.org/
“Recycling Bin small” – Sustainable Initiatives Fund Trust, Flickr (17 February 2007) https://www.flickr.com/photos/siftnz/4169691961/
“Newham London – a place where people choose to live, work and stay” – Gordon Joly, Flickr (12 May 2010) https://www.flickr.com/photos/loopzilla/4601162396/

GIF MOMENT: HEM’s special GIF selection + wallpaper – Diwali 2014

For the Gregorian year 2014 and the Vikram Samvat year 2071, the festival of lights, Diwali, will fall on Thursday, October 23. It will be a time to welcome the Goddess Lakshmi Devi into our homes to bring Her divine graces and blessings on our families and homes. Lamps (diyas/divas) are lit to welcome Her into our humble abodes and bestow upon us her gifts of prosperity and wellbeing.

Diwali also means spending time with the family, exchanging gifts and wishing each other well. Plates and thalis laden with sweets beckon hungry stomachs and sweet teeth over, while living rooms and courtyards across the world see shadows and smiling faces flicker under the glow of a thousand flames. The skies become a rapturous applause of bright colours, sparks and bangs as a million fireworks launch themselves far into the night sky. Everyone gets out their best sarees, dresses, sherwanis, kurtas and suits because for millions of people across the world, the joyous festival of lights comes but just once a year.

Here in London, the days are getting shorter and the cold is creeping in. As the last of the summer slowly drains away into recent memory, Diwali offers a unique occasion to get away from the darkness and bathe ourselves in holy light. To replace the biting cold winds with the warm scent of freshly made pakoras and roti. A festival of colour being the perfect antidote to the grey and unforgiving climes of late October.

I look forward a lot to this festival…especially as I get to raid my mum’s trays of what us Mauritians call gato Diwali…otherwise known as mithai or Indian sweets:P

There are many stories from Hinduism that tell of how Diwali (Deepavali) came as a gift from God to humanity. The most well known is of course from the epic Ramayaan (Ramayana) concerning the return of Lord Ram and his consort Sita to their kingdom of Ayodhya after a long fourteen years’ exile and a battle of good versus and evil against the mahasur or great demon Ravana. It is said that the citizens of Ayodhya lit lamps along the main road out of the forest of Lord Ram’s exile towards his earthly home to guide Him back to his rightful place on the throne.

Diwali also represents the celebration of the incarnation of Lakshmi Devi. She was given the grace of God to appear during the churning of the primordial ocean that begun the world, the Samudra Manthan, which is one of the few occasions where Gods and demons co-operated. The Goddess of prosperity and wealth soon established the special Lakshmi Puja, or prayer, which is now a standard part of the religious angle of Diwali. The festival also commemorates the destruction of the thieving demon Narakasur, the hellish one, by Lord Krishna, in which the God also liberated 16,000 captives from the demon’s dastardly clutches.

Since the Half-Eaten Mind brought its own brand of news reporting and colour to the blogosphere just over two years ago, we have developed our own unique way of celebrating Diwali as well as many other festivals. With the help of a bit of regular internet research and a flicker of creativity, we have established a tradition of sharing with our readers a selection of our best GIFs to mark the Diwali season as well as a wallpaper/poster image designed especially for the occasion.

For Diwali 2014, the Half-Eaten Mind brings you our top-class, top-rated Diwali GIFs gallery and a special wallpaper. On behalf of myself, and my family, I would like to wish you and yours in advance a very auspicious, happy and prosperous Diwali.

May this Diwali be as bright as ever.
May this Diwali bring joy, health and wealth to you.
May the festival of lights brighten up you and your nearest and dearest ones’ lives.
May this Diwali bring for you the most brightest and choicest happiness and love you have ever wished for.
May this Diwali bring you the utmost in peace and prosperity.
May light triumph over darkness.
May peace transcend the earth.
May the spirit of the light illuminate the world.
May the light that we celebrate at Diwali show us the way and lead us together on the path of peace and social harmony.

(Greeting by Naresh Gupta)

Our official HEM greetings poster….

The Half-Eaten Mind’s festive wallpaper for Diwali this year features a background of what most people know as ‘Big Ben’ but known officially as the Elizabeth Tower. The monument forms part of the Houses of Parliament here in London, and this is a landmark well-known among tourists and Londoners. Much of the initial work, including the HEM logo and initial text was done in the photo editing site Lunapic with the remainder added in via our old favourite piZap. The traditional lamp comes courtesy of ‘zeimusu’, a creator of open-source cliparts.



…and now…our Diwali GIFs…..

“Story of Diwali” – iloveindia.com Festivals http://festivals.iloveindia.com/diwali/story-of-diwali.html
“Featured Diwali Messages” – Society for the Confluence of Festivals in India http://www.diwalifestival.org/diwali-messages.html
“Diwali GIF Animations” – Diwali Greeting http://diwali-habba.blogspot.co.uk/p/diwali-gif-animations.html
“Free Diwali animated gifs, original 3D graphics” – Dave Sutton, Sevenoaks Art http://www.sevenoaksart.co.uk/diwali_animated_gifs.htm
“Blessed Shubh Diwali” – Pictures88.com http://www.pictures88.com/comments/diwali/
“Lets Diwali Celebrate” – DesiGlitters.com http://www.desiglitters.com/glitters/diwali/
“Diwali Best Wishes – Animated Gifs – Deepavali Glitters ” – Easy Scraps, Best Greetings,e-Cards,Orkut Scraps, Glitter Graphics 4 All – Copy and Paste http://easyscraps.blogspot.co.uk/2009/10/diwali-best-wishes-animated-gifs.html
“Happy Diwali Graphic For Myspace” – PunjabiGraphics.com http://www.punjabigraphics.com/pg/diwali/
“Wishing You Very Happy Diwali Teddy Hugs” – Picdesi.com – Diwali Pictures, Images, Graphics http://www.picdesi.com/festival/diwali/
“Happy Diwali Greeting Cards & Diwali Greetings – Diwali Cards and Scraps to Share the Happiness of Diwali” – MalluBar.com http://www.mallubar.com/glitters/diwali-greetings/
IMAGE CREDITS (HEM Diwali wallpaper)
“Big Ben London New Year 2014 Fireworks” – 4HOTOS http://4hotos.com/big-ben-london-new-year-2014-fireworks/
Lunapic, Lunapic.com http://www171.lunapic.com/editor/
piZap http://pizap.com/
“Diwali lamp” – zeimusu, Openclipart (27 October 2011) https://openclipart.org/detail/164947/diwali-lamp-by-zeimusu

HUMOUR MOMENT: The dog and the donkey

with Noor Malick Akbarali (contributor)

Today’s Humour Moment comes from a submission volunteered by my friend and colleague Noor. He works with me at our events and conferences company based in Euston, London. He originally comes from India and is a graduate in computer sciences and engineering from the University of Madras, in the south Indian city of Chennai. He speaks fluent Tamil and is a big fan of cats. He is also a technological whizzkid and once hacked into his Farmville account on a social media site and awarded himself $2 million. I have known him for around five years, since his branch of the department I currently work in relocated from their old offices in Oxford Circus, also in London, and merged with my division. He is an awesome friend, always smiling and yet still working as hard as ever. I dedicate this article to him. He loves to tell and share jokes…although granted some of them are not really to my taste, he certainly knows how to tickle a funnybone.

This Humour Moment is a lightly amusing story of a washer man and his dog and donkey. One night the animal duo are confronted by a thief while their owner is sleeping. There is a valuable lesson in the story which might be applicable to certain employees and their managers in the working world.

(c) werner22brigitte

(c) werner22brigitte

A washer man had a dog and a donkey.

One night when the washer man and his family was sleeping the dog and donkey happened to be awake, when a thief managed to sneak in.

The dog decided not to bark as he thought that the washer man was not taking due care of him anyway and this was his perfect chance to teach his master a lesson.

The donkey, indefatigably loyal to the master, could not remain a mute spectator to the thief’s arrival and advised the dog to bark, but the dog wouldn’t. The dog refused to change his mind and insisted that he would not make even a whimper as the master was not treating him well and this was the right time to take revenge on the master.

The donkey soon realised that he had to do something about this himself and started braying. This made the thief flee the house in fright however it woke up the washer man and his family.

The master did not find any reason for the donkey to be braying in the middle of the night and hence started telling off the donkey.

Moral of the story: One must not engage in duties other than his own


Another Version of the Story:

The washer man is an MBA graduate from a premium management school. He wants to investigate the reason behind the braying of the donkey as it seemed very unusual to him.

He finds some footprints and concludes that there was an intruder, probably a thief. Satisfied with his investigations, the washer man rewards the donkey with some lush green hay in gratitude.

Life does not change much for the dog, but now the washer man starts liking the donkey more and starts expecting more from him in exchange of further gifts of green hey which keeps enticing the donkey into being more responsible. The washer man starts giving the donkey some more tasks, thus increasing his burden of work.

The days pass on and the donkey one day discovers that he is doing most of the tasks for the washer man whereas the dog is just lazing around. But now he couldn’t really complain because he has to maintain his rank of being the best and favoured of all the washer man’s pets.

The donkey is now known to be thinking of quitting the washer man’s duties and relocating to the local animal shelter…

(story adapted for publishing by Vijay Shah)


Noor Malick’s Facebook page.
Creative Commons CC Search http://search.creativecommons.org/
werner22brigitte, Pixabay (20 May 2010) http://pixabay.com/en/donkey-bernese-mountain-dog-canine-53286/

BIRTHDAY SPECIAL: Vijay turns 30

Say R.I.P. to your amazing twenties

As you enter your boring thirties

Say goodbye to your crazy ways

Say hello to monotonous days

Bid adieu to irresponsibility

As you strive towards accountability

Don’t worry, I am just fooling around

Don’t let this rhyme bring you down

You will have the best time at thirty

So chill out, relax and take it easy

Happy 30th birthday

(c) MyNiceProfile.com

Yesterday, Saturday 4th October 2014, I officially kissed my eventful years of being a twenty-something goodbye and said “Oh hi…er…Hello” to my third decade and thirtieth year of milling around on this green, green planet. Needless to say, while you cannot have a cat in hell’s chance of stopping the advances of age, it still was a bit of shock to me. I am actually going to be 30. Thirty!!. That’s a big chunky number. Part of me was telling myself that now I’ve reached the big Three-Zero, maturity and reflection on life was the name of the game, then there was a part of me that felt almost geriatric. Fair enough that I already got my first few white hairs some years back and being tall brings some aches and pains, but this morning I woke up with some noticeable leg cramps. I’m surprised I wasn’t dreaming of dusty suitcases from trips to the hospital, long post office queues and those god-awful 50+ life insurance adverts that infest daytime TV. But thirty is hardly old-age pensioner. It is a decade that will hopefully bring big changes into my life. Marriage, settling down and starting a family, being hired into a better-paid position (hopefully in the media), moving into my first flat,…and many smaller milestones that will turn when and whether. Being thirty is a transition point, a halfway house between the carefree and carelessness of youth and the responsibility, organisation and enhanced maturity of older adulthood.

My thirtieth birthday was a small and private affair with family, with of course many well wishes from friends and acquaintances new and old, and special greetings messages from the extended family in Mauritius. On Friday night (the 3rd of October) I visited my mother, who is recovering from a recent leg operation, to see how she was doing and to have a special dinner with the family. We ordered the food from a local takeaway and I made sure to get my favourite. A lamb doner kebab. This one was tasty but did reek of onions. Sadly there was no cake but I got lots of dosh and a gift box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates, and most importantly the love and best wishes of my family together. My 5-year-old niece even pulled out a little gift from her jacket pocket as she came to hug me and wish me a happy birthday in advance. The gift was a small blue toy car. She must have chosen it especially for me. Once I get a decent-sized place of my own to live in, her toy auto is going on the mantelpiece or shelf. I then went with my niece and my sister to her place, where I spent a short while with her and her husband, before heading off to my home.

Come the big day I was as happy as Larry. I don’t know who Larry is, but I was feeling great. On Facebook, I arranged with my brothers to go to the nearby Westfield Stratford City shopping centre to go bowling and then later, the cinema. It started off a bit crazy though. My brother didn’t have his phone with him as it was in a repair shop having its speaker fixed. He had been having no end of problems with that phone. While chatting to him on Facebook, I had also forgotten to say to him exactly where we were going to meet up as Stratford is  a big place. Cue me waiting like a bum at the area’s bus station for one and a half hours wondering where the hell my brother was. He had been dropped off by car and was also planning to get some clothes shopping in, with the money he received for his own birthday, which falls one week before mine. After frantically Whatsapp messaging my other siblings to try to get to the bottom of this missing persons inquiry, I decided to head up the short walk across the glass-sided bridge to the Westfield shopping district. I started hunting around the nearby clothes shops to see if I could spot the missing brother. No luck. I scanned the crowds, hoping for a glimpse of him. Nah, not happening. Then something told me to head to the Vue cinema that sits on the third floor of the shopping mall. I thought it unlikely he would be there, but I took a chance anyway. Long story short, once I arrived at the picture house, I saw my brother on the balcony of the cinema’s courtyard. He had borrowed another shopper’s phone and was calling home. At the same time as I saw him, one of my sisters messaged me to say where he was. A very strange and almost psychic experience I think. Thankfully we was reunited and went to the bowling alley. All Star Lanes, which is based a very short walk from the cinema, is basically a bowling alley for all ages. It also has an American diner-themed cocktail and milkshake bar with a restaurant serving typical diner food. We booked our lane for the two of us (my other brother was sorting out transport to arrive later to watch the movie). Unfortunately we were told by reception that there would be a twenty minute wait before the lane would be free to use and they armed with a buzzer that looked like an oversized car alarm key. Me and bro decided to kill time by going to the clothes shops. We visited adidas, Topman while my brother tried to find a hoodie he liked. We saw a lot of cool and ridiculous stuff. Ridiculous in both price and aesthetic appeal. Sadly brother could not find the hoodie he wanted. The buzzer apparently went off, but I felt and heard nothing, though I was holding it in my hand to the point my palms were sweaty and probably fusing with the plastic. 

(c) gifovea.tumblr.com via Giphy

We reported back to All Stars and because we had missed the buzz, we had to wait another ten minutes. Me and little brother went to the milkshake bar and ordered a shake each. He ordered vanilla, I got one flavoured with Oreos, in keeping with the American theme. Well mainly really because I have a primal weakness for Oreo-flavoured milky beverages. It was delicious. I was even scooping out the cookie dough like sludge from the bottom of the glass with my straw and eating it because, blimey, it was THAT good. Me and little bro had the third lane from the left and while he was a bowling veteran, this embarrassingly was my first time. I even had to figure out which fingers went into which holes in the ball. I had fortunately played enough bowling of the virtual variety that that experience helped me pick the real thing very quickly. Although little bro triumphed over me, beating my score of 74 points with his haul of 96, we both managed to do I think around three strikes combined, with myself demolishing all the pins on my third go on the lane. It was quite stuffy in the alley though and not even the ice-cold shake could cool me down, but it was a brilliant time.

We sauntered around some more outlets selling designer garments. This time we hit up the Nike Shop and admired their sportswear, their mind-boggling array of trainers, including a ‘trophy case’ display of them pinned to a wall. We saw lurid pink ones, technologically-advanced ones, stylish ones and even ones with holograms and ones that were fitted in material that looked like the metallic skins of bluebottle flies. I saw a few Nike brand basketballs lying around and was tempted to dribble like the great Shaquille and score a triple-pointer. But being booted kicking and screaming (haha, booted) out of Nike by security is not the best way to remember your 30th birthday.

Towards the end of the night, my other brother finally arrived after catching a train from further east and we had booked our tickets. The film we got into was “A Walk Among The Tombstones” starring Liam Neeson. Obviously as it’s a new film, I don’t want to give away any spoilers. I will say that he plays a washed-out former policeman. Divorced and trying to stay sober, he operates as a private detective. A drug trafficker calls on his services to help locate the kidnappers who took his wife. If you are planning to see this film, keep an eye for TJ. He’s hilarious.

My thirtieth birthday may not have been as monumental as other peoples’, but it was a tight family affair. It put a smile on my face and joy in my heart. Reading the many social media messages from my friends and family, plus the texts and calls was the real icing on my birthday cake. Thank you to everyone who made it special. You all made my thirties much, much sweeter.

P.S. For the Half-Eaten Mind’s regular readers on WordPress who were wondering what happened to my usual Saturday article, now you know why!!

Here is a small selection of pictures from my birthday:-

Photo 1: A birthday ‘e-card’ made by my cousin Vipul using some of my Facebook pictures. The theme he ran with was ‘shisha’. One of my hobbies, although it’s been a while since I made an acquantaince with a hookah (stupid snigger). If you’re wondering, my usual flavour is double apple, but I’ve done everything colour in the flavour rainbow, from chocolate to melon.
Photo 2: The toy sports car (Cadillac…Lambo?) gifted to me by my niece Shaniya.
Photo 3: An ‘old chap’ greeting card given by my sister and her family. She just loves to call me ‘grandpa’ now *rolls eyes* *laughs*. I really like the vintage look though, even if it makes me feel a smidgen dessicated.
Photo 4: Another greeting card from my Mum and siblings. Nice blue metallic finish that matches well with Shaniya’s car in Photo 2. I’m seeing stars!!
Photos 5 and 6: Some night time pictures I took of the buildings at Westfield Centre in Stratford City as we waited for my other brother to arrive. The shopping centre does look amazing at dusk.
“30th Birthday Poems” – WishesMessages.com/Valuetivity http://wishesmessages.com/30th-birthday-poems/
“LOOP ANIMATED GIF” – gifovea.tumblr.com via Giphy http://giphy.com/gifs/5BKL0c6zQYWYg
“Happy Birthday 30th” – MyNiceProfile.com http://www.myniceprofile.com/happy-birthday-123299.html
piZap http://pizap.com/
The Half-Eaten Mind/Vijay Shah, Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/110818734@N02

LYNDA BELLINGHAM: ‘Oxo Mum’ only weeks to live

British television actress Lynda Bellingham, famed for playing the matriarch of a Sunday roast-loving family in the Oxo advertisements of the 1980s to the 1990s, has revealed that she is suffering from terminal cancer and has only a few weeks to live.

National tabloid the Daily Mirror reports that Ms. Bellingham will give up chemotherapy treatment and has ‘chosen the date I will die’ but hopes to spend one more Christmas with her real-life family. For the sake of privacy and to help her come to terms with her diagnosis, Bellingham had opted to keep her terminal cancer a secret for the past year. She had been told by medical professionals that she had bowel cancer, but reassured her fans that the cancer would not be fatal.

Recently however, the beloved ‘Oxo mum’, now aged 66, announced that the tumours had spread from her intestines to her liver and lungs, meaning that the illness may now be impossible to treat. This has been despite an intensive and gruelling course of chemotherapy to try to stop the cancer’s advance.

Lynda said: “I’ve only got weeks to live – so I’ve picked the date I’ll die.

I would love to make one more Christmas, if possible, but I want to stop taking chemo around November in order to pass away by the end of January.

It was such a relief to say those words.

Please don’t think I am giving up for the sake of a few ulcers, it’s the fact my body has started to rot, and I promised myself as soon as that happened I would make a plan. I want my family to remember me whole.

I want you all to remember me.”

In an interview with the Daily Mirror, she spoke at length about her decision to keep her illness confidential, but also speaking of her long and illustrious career, her family – including her husband Michael Pattemore  – and how they came to terms with her devastating diagnosis.

I would like to stop having chemo [chemotherapy] and let the natural way do its thing,” she added.

It has been a rather fast deterioration over the past couple of weeks, and bizarrely it has been the desire to finish this book that has both spurned me on and finished me off.”, Bellingham said referring to a book she was working on.

This past Friday night, as her cancer became more aggressive, Bellingham said she was forced to pull out of starring in the play “A Passionate Woman” by Kay Mellor last summer as she began her chemotherapy course. She was diagnosed after her GP (general practitioner/family doctor) spotted something amiss during a routine health check-up. Just weeks later an oncologist told her she had cancer. Three days after receiving the bad news, Lynda Bellingham began treatments. She would have finished all her doses of chemotherapy by December last year. That same Friday, Bellingham also put out a message to her 38,000 Twitter followers to help gain much-needed moral support. She tweeted: “Hi guys back from my holiday. All revealed! I would appreciate your support x

When first diagnosed Lynda described how she hugged the specialist after he told her she was not going to die. She was determined not to let the illness bring her down and vowed to ‘fight it with all her might’. She even described it as a ‘temporary blip’.

At the time she said: “It’s the mantra I’ve repeated every day to myself.”

Lynda has previously lost her sister, Barbara, to cancer in 2005. Then at the same time as she began chemotherapy, her close friend, actor Bernie Nolan, also died from the disease. The loss of her sister turned Lynda into a passionate supporter of cancer charities in the U.K. The most notable of the charities that Bellingham threw her high-profile weight behind were Cancer Research UK and Macmillan.

She writes on Macmillan’s website that she is “very cancer aware” and that her sister’s death taught her “never to be complacent when it comes to health.”

Poignantly, she writes: “Barbara’s diagnosis was terminal but still, she took all the treatment she was offered, I imagine for the sake of her dear husband David and their two children. The news must have broken their world.

Lynda, whose Oxo ads ran from 1983 to 1999, said losing Barbara had given her a positive attitude towards life.

She said: “I have so much to thank her for…Her death made me want to live. I wanted to grab Michael and hold on to him tightly and never let him go.

Even so, nothing quite prepares you for being told you have cancer.

She now wishes to spend her remaining time with her husband Michael, a property developer and her two sons Robbie, 26, and Michael, 31.

Bowel cancer is a particularly aggressive form of the disease, but can be successfully treated if detected early enough. However, patients diagnosed in the advanced stages of bowel cancer generally have only a six per cent chance of making it out alive, with a maximum five-year lifespan. At this stage of the illness, there is currently no cure. The family of bowel cancers, including those that affect the colon, are the second most common type of the illness occurring in British women, after breast cancer. The latest available figures on the frequency of bowel cancer suggest that 16,187 people died of bowel cancer in Britain in 2012.  Most victims of bowel cancer are above the age of sixty-five. It is believed that Bellingham has colorectal cancer, although previously she had refused to reveal the exact nature of her illness.

Lynda Bellingham is most remembered by the British public for playing the much-adored ‘Oxo mum’ in the Oxo adverts that ran from 1983 to 1999. Kindly and loved by her on-screen family as she brought them together for delicious roast dinners made with the Oxo stock cubes, she became an inspiration to a generation of mothers and was widely respected for her depiction of traditional British family values.

Born under the name of Meredith Lee Hughes in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1948, she was given up for adoption at the age of four months for family-related reasons. She was taken in by adoptive parents Donald and Ruth Bellingham who lived in Aston Abbotts in Buckinghamshire, England. She was educated in that county’s main town of Aylesbury before completing her acting training at the Central School of Speech and Drama.

She began her television career in the Seventies, appearing as a nurse in the little-known ITV hospital drama General Hospitalas well as a number of low-key British films. She also took on roles in the Doctor Who sci-fi series, and throughout the Eighties and Nineties, she appeared in several soap operas and televised dramas alongside her role as the Oxo mother. Bellingham also made appearances on stage. Despite playing a role as a ‘sweet mummy’ character, she had no qualms about playing villainous or gritty roles. 

In 2007, Lynda Bellingham became a panellist on the light entertainment gossip show Loose Women. She was a regular feature on that programme until she departed in 2010. She also began delving into presenting, fronting her own daytime cookery show My Tasty Travels, and since last year, she also presents the ITV programme Country House SundayShe also made an appearing on the televised ballroom dancing competition Strictly Come Dancing but was voted out by the fourth week. She also published an autobiography and has her own website showcasing her career at lyndabellingham.com.

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“TV’s Lynda Bellingham: I only have weeks to live as my cancer is terminal” – Grace Macaskill, Mirror – News – UK News/Mirror Online (27 September 2014) http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/tvs-lynda-bellingham-only-weeks-4337053
“Lynda Bellingham” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynda_Bellingham
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“Lynda Bellingham returns to Loose Women – interview – 10th May 2013″ – spikeyroberto, YouTube GB (6 June 2013) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLIfv9KeSnY
“Lynda Bellingham – finding yourself.wmv” – Ebury Reads, YouTube GB (9 March 2010) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZtW24jWHs4
“Last ever OXO advert with Lynda Bellingham” – spikeyroberto, YouTube GB (4 March 2011) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNiU5_r1Aew
“1980’s Oxo Commercial” – TV Ark via Joe Bolox, YouTube GB (12 November 2009) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hj-WJHUO6ag

EAST DEVON ROMAN HOARD: Builder uncovers 20,000 ancient coins in field

A semi-retired builder searching for treasure in the east of the English county of Devon struck historical gold after recently uncovering a hidden hoard of around 20,000 coins dating from the Roman occupation of Britain, national newspaper the Daily Mail reports. The collection of coins, believed to be in the value of £100,000 (US $162,440) was chanced upon by builder and amateur metal detecting enthusiast Laurence Egerton in east Devon, an area in south-western England famed for its picturesque moors and fields.

The hoard of Roman money is believed to be one of the largest hauls of historical coinage ever discovered in the U.K. Egerton, aged 51, was in a local field searching for finds with his metal detector when he stumbled across the hoard of copper-alloy coins, possibly low-denomination coinage issued by the Roman Empire for use by their colonists in their northern most province. The Daily Mail reported that Egerton was so concerned about the possibility of his hoard being stolen that he camped out in the field for three nights, guarding the discovery site while archaeologists arrived to explore the site in more detail.

Dubbed the Seaton Down Hoard, the assortment of 22,000 copper-alloy coins may have been the accumulated savings of a private individual keeping the money safe for a ‘rainy day’ or an informal and well-hidden bank of wages perhaps left by a Roman soldier. It is likely the hoarder died or lost track of the burial site leaving the coins to lay unseen for nearly two thousand years. A picture supplied to the Daily Mail by the British Museum and picture agency Apex shows the Seaton Down Hoard contained in a heavy duty plastic box. The coins appear in still good condition despite being buried for two millennia, but all show signs of corrosion, namely a green rust called verdigris, caused by the copper in the coins reacting with moisture and acids from their surroundings. Many of the coins bear the usual emperor’s profile of Roman coinage and some show two standing figures which possibly have allegorical origins. An analysis by local historian Bill Horner determined that the coins dated back to between 260-348 AD and bear portraits of the Roman emperor Constantine, other emperors ruling alongside him, members of his family. Emperors that ruled either side of Constantine’s reign also make an appearance. According to Horner, Britain at that time was in a prosperous financial state with many Romans and natives flush with money. As one of the outermost provinces of the Roman Empire, Britannia, as the Romans knew it, was a relatively safe area at a time when rebellions on the European mainland against Roman colonial rule made matters unstable there. The Roman colonists in Britain escaped the worst of the tensions and maintained their high standards of living, building many luxurious villas in the south of England. However, freedom struggles and numerous invasions and episodes of infighting in the Empire soon brought financial uncertainty to the rich Romans and Romanised Britons of east Devon, who started hoarding as a security measure.

Romanised farms, or Villas including several in East Devon, were at their richest.

‘But the province was ultimately drawn into Imperial power struggles that, along with increasing attacks from Germanic, Irish and Caledonian tribes, resulted in the rapid decline and end of Roman rule.

‘Coastal areas such as East Devon were on the front-line, and this may be the context for the coin hoard.

‘There were no high street banks, so a good, deep hole in the ground was as secure a place as any to hide your savings in times of trouble, or if you were going away on a long journey.

‘But whoever made this particular deposit never came back to retrieve it” Horner explained.

(c) British Museum via Joanne Bailey.

Believed to have been buried in the 4th century AD, the Seaton Down Hoard is only the third largest such discovery in recent times. In 2010, the Frome Hoard made headlines with its total of 52,503 coins. The second largest was the Nether Compton hoard of 22,703 found in the neighbouring county of Dorset in 1989. Laurence Egerton’s find has been declared ‘treasure trove’ under a Crown law for the protection of British antiquities. A Devon Coroner’s inquest held earlier this month saw the coins donated to the British Museum who are now holding the Seaton Down collection in storage.

A video shot by Egerton shows him wearing gloves and extracting the dirt covered coins from a pit in a muddy field. Despite the muck, archaeologists reckon that his find is one of the best preserved findings of coinage from the last centuries of the Roman Empire in Britain they have ever witnessed. The video later shows archaeologists working on site removing clumps of coins heavily concentrated in a non-descript part of the field.

Interest in the Seaton Down coins, which do not contain any gold or silver, have nevertheless soared between the many museums in Britain concerned with Roman antiquities. The Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) in Exeter, the county town (capital) of Devon already houses a formidable collection of Romano-British artefacts from the local area and is eager to acquire the coins, and is running a fundraising campaign to purchase the coins outright from the British Museum to display for the benefit of local historians, researchers and students.

Although only reported this month, Laurence Egerton made the initial discovery in November 2013 after obtaining permission from the landowner of the field in Honeyditches, eastern Devon, where previously the remains of a Roman villa, or country home had been noted. The find was then reported to the landowner, a privately-owned company named Clinton Devon Estates, in accordance with the Treasure Act 1996, a parliamentary legal instrument aimed at safeguarding artefacts of national and historical value.

In an interview with the Daily Mail newspaper, Mr Egerton said: “It’s by far the biggest find I’ve ever had. It really doesn’t get any better than this.

‘Between finding the hoard and the archaeologists excavating the site, I slept in my car alongside it for three nights to guard it.

‘On this occasion, the ground where I was working was quite flinty and I found what I thought were two Roman coins which is actually quite unusual in Devon.

‘As I began working in a grid formation in the surrounding area I had a signal on the metal detector which means that there is probably iron involved.

‘Most detectors are set up to ignore iron but I decided to dig the earth at that spot and immediately reached some iron ingots which were laid directly on top of the coins’

‘The next shovel was full of coins – they just spilled out over the field.

The coins may have originally being held in a cloth bag at the time of their deposition, but that the ravages of time and chemicals from the nearby soil might have caused the bag to rot away leaving the coins to scatter underground. The find is said to be unusual for the region as the county’s acidic soils would normally decompose any metal left in it, yet the coins are in a remarkable state of preservation.

The United Kingdom, with the exception of Scotland, became part of the Roman Empire in a 55 BC invasion of the area by renowned emperor Julius Caesar, who wrested control from the numerous Celtic tribes previously settled there. Many of the conquered Celts were permitted to continue striking their own coins, which were often modelled on imported Greek coins but made more simplified by the native minters. The Romans began importing their own coinage, mainly to pay Roman soldiers and imperial mercenaries stationed in the UK, and also began minting coins locally and to celebrate their victories in Britain. The gold aureus was used for large payments, but not much for day-to-day transactions. It had a fixed value of 25 denarii until at least 200 AD. The silver denarius was the main coin of value in general circulation. The low value coinage of sestertii, dupondii, and asses was struck variously in bronze, orichalcum and copper. Denarii were paid to soldiers at a rate of one a day, while asses, or aes, were believed to have been used to pay for supplies obtained from local traders by the Romans. However by the time of the Seaton Down Hoard, Roman British coinage had become almost worthless owing to imperial financial mismanagement and debasing of the hard currency.

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“Builder unearths vast treasure trove of 22,000 Roman coins worth up to £100,000 – then spends three nights sleeping on site to guard his hoard” – Victoria Woollaston, Mail Online – Science & Tech/Associated Newspapers Ltd (26 September 2014) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2770576/Builder-unearths-vast-treasure-trove-22-000-Roman-coins-spends-three-nights-sleeping-site-guard-hoard.html
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“Coinage In Roman Britain The Coinage Of Britain During The Roman Occupation” – Peter R Thompson, The Ormskirk and West Lancashire Numismatic Society http://www.numsoc.net/rombrit.html
Joanne Bailey, Twitter https://twitter.com/JBHist
“Seaton Down Hoard – 22,000 Roman Coins unearthed in Devon” – ClintonDevonEstates, YouTube GB (26 September 2014) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRq0SSgKvwo


LADBROKES: Cheshire student nets over £1 million in betting shop lottery

A student in Chester, Cheshire, can finally wave goodbye to Pot Noodles and baked beans after she recently won just over £1 million on a lottery run by a local betting shop. Jirtchaya Klongjarn, 34 years, visited a town centre branch of the betting shop chain Ladbrokes, where she placed two £1 bets for the Friday draw of the ‘49’s ‘ lottery. She successfully chose all six winning numbers and netted herself a cool £1,000,990.

It was a case of ‘second time lucky’ for Klongjarn, who only began playing the 49’s lottery just four months ago. She first won £601 in June 2014 and narrowly missed out on a £200,000 windfall after selecting a different draw for her numbers mistakenly earlier in the summer. Among her lucky numbers, the Thai student picked 8 and 12 based on her birthday of 12th August, while the rest of the lucky digits were picked at random.

I’m over the moon and I still can’t believe it,” Ms Klongjarn said in an interview after the big win. “I told my friends I had won the 49’s and that I might have a chance to win a million, then when I finally found out I was so excited. It still doesn’t feel real and I’ve barely slept. I had some bad luck earlier on in the year but this has made up for it. My friends all play the 49’s and they now say I’m the luckiest in the whole group.

Ladbrokes’ spokesperson Alex Donohue said in an interview with betting website Bettingpro.com that the company was just as happy for their lucky punter, notwithstanding the huge payout. He commented “We couldn’t be happier for our history-making millionaire,

She’s defied the odds in style.

While not as popular as the Lotto (National Lottery) – which draws the lion’s share of non-professional gamblers in the UK, the 49’s lottery is very popular among the hundreds of thousands of customers that visit Ladbrokes’ branches every week. Just like its popular rivals, punters chose a set of numbers and hope to match all the numbers to get the top prize. The maximum cash giveaway is £1,000,000 if a 49’s player successfully matches all six numbers in one of the twice-daily draws held.

Jirtchaya’s windfall is the second million pound pay-out for Ladbrokes in the past 12 months, after another customer in Bournemouth scooped a seven-figure sum after placing a £4 stake in December 2013.

The wins at opposite ends of the country has certainly stunned Ladbrokes just as much as the lucky winners, Donohue added: “These jackpots are won once in a blue moon so the odds of two coming along in under a year are very long

We’re not expecting any sympathy though and we’re paying out with a smile.

Ms. Klongjarn plans to visit Chester Racecourse with her friends to repeat her success at the races as well as celebrate her win. She also plans to share her fortune with her mother, who is living back in Thailand.

“Ladbrokes.com player wins a million pounds” {press release} – Bettingpro.com via Journalism.co.uk (10 September 2014) http://www.journalism.co.uk/press-releases/ladbrokes-com-player-wins-a-millions-pounds/s66/a562397/
“Ladbrokes Player Wins A Million Pounds” – Bettingpro.com (9 September 2014) http://www.bettingpro.com/category/lottery-results/chester-student-wins-one-million-on-49s-lottery-201409090073/
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