Leonard Nimoy’s Final Tweet Will Make You Cry


Leonard Nimoy, who won over an obsessive fan-base with his logical, pointy-eared Mr. Spock on Star Trek, died on Feb. 27. He was 83.

His final tweet from Monday was exceptionally poignant:

Nimoy signed all his tweets “LLAP” or “Live Long and Prosper,” his character’s catchphrase from the Star Trek series and films.

Nimoy had announced via Twitter last year that he had been diagnosed with COPD, a chronic respiratory disease caused by smoking that has no cure. He encouraged his followers to stop smoking.

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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 330 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Terminally-ill woman Brittany Maynard says it’s not the ‘right time, right now’ to die


Brittany Maynard(CNN) — Brittany Maynard says she hasn’t decided yet when she’ll end her life, but it’s a decision she’s still determined to make.

“I still feel good enough and I still have enough joy and I still laugh and smile with my family and friends enough that it doesn’t seem like the right time right now,” Maynard says in a video released to CNN on Wednesday. “But it will come, because I feel myself getting sicker. It’s happening each week.”

Maynard says she has stage IV glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive form of terminal brain cancer. In April, she says, doctors gave her six months to live.

The 29-year-old Oregon woman’s story spread rapidly on social media after she revealed her plans to take medication to end her life. A video explaining her choice has garnered more than 8.8 million views on YouTube. And she’s become a prominent spokeswoman for the…

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ESA appeal update

After over a year of waiting, I had my appeal hearing last Wednesday. I was really shocked that it was being held in the local magistrates court so arranged for someone from the local advocacy service to come with me. The doctor at the hearing asked me questions about the difficulties I have with my slipped discs which were really easy to answer. Yes, sometimes I can hold a jug of water, sometimes I can’t, that sort of thing.
Then the judge asked me how my mental health affects me on a day basis, I took a breath, opened my mouth and an answer started only for me to dissolve into tears. Her and the doctor looked at me so sympathetically that it made it a bit worse! After several goes, I was able to answer most of her questions, there were more tears and by now I was shaking so much I was convinced I was going to move that damn jug of water off the table through the vibrations alone! Once they had finished with me, I went and sat outside with my advocate while I waited for the decision.
When we were called back in, the judge started to tell me the decision but I genuinely had no clue what she was saying to me and told her that so she very slowly said “We have allowed your appeal”. My advocate explained everything to me over a coffee afterwards as I still couldn’t get to grips with it.

I would like to thank everyone that has supported me during this time, the hardest thing I did that day was realise that not only had I been covering up to others how I really felt, I had also not been honest with myself. I have a hard road to walk still but now I have realised just how I really am, I can start pushing for the help I clearly need and, in the judges words, the treatment I need but didn’t receive.

Also, if you are going through this process yourself, make sure you have someone with you on the day, it really does help and it doesn’t need to be a professional although for me it was definitely the best option.


I recently treated myself to Jack Monroe’s cook book, A Girl Called Jack and was so excited to see that Amazon had sent me a signed copy. This was the first recipe I cooked from it, just delicious and I’ve got 3 servings in the freezer!

Cooking on a Bootstrap

Photography by Susan Bell: www.susanbellphotography.co.uk Photography by Susan Bell: http://www.susanbellphotography.co.uk

I never tire of this quick, simple meal. Originally adapted from a beef goulash recipe, but tweaked and tampered with in the way that all recipes are, it has become a sweet and spicy staple in my household and doesn’t disappoint. I use cheap baked beans in place of haricot beans, as they are simply haricot or borlotti beans slathered in sauce – but usually for a third of the price of a tin of plain haricot or borlotti beans. Eat warm on toast, with rice, or stuffed in a pitta bread with lashings of cheese for lunch. Eat from the bowl, water it down and eat it as a soup, or eat it straight from the pan in the name of ‘testing’. Or, for a slightly Mexican twist, have it with tortillas, some grated cheese, sliced red onion and lettuce, with some lime or…

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Father’s Day

I have interrupted my revision to post this. I needed to give my brain a little break and this has been rolling round my head all day. I sent my amazing step-dad a text today, wishing him a happy father’s day. I didn’t send one to my father because I have no contact with him (my choice) and he doesn’t deserve it. I met him at 16 and “dumped” him 10 years later as I had decided that I wanted nothing more to do with him, wish I knew why it took me so long!

Anyway, I saw lots of posts on Facebook and Twitter today wishing single mums a happy fathers day too. I agree that single mums have it tough, especially if you were unlucky enough to be my mum, I know she would agree that I wasn’t the easiest kid, especially when I hit those dreadful teen years. To say I was vile is a genuine understatement (my words, not mum’s). Children of men who have been absent since before or just after birth really don’t know any different. I still remember how surprised I was when I found out that my best friend lived with this weird man-thing, otherwise known as a dad. I had assumed that everyone was the same as I was but then, I was only just 5. My mum agreed with me, single mums don’t think of themselves as mum and dad, they are parents but without the help or possible hindrance of another parent. I never thought of my mum that way either, she was mum, plain and simple. 

I didn’t notice on mother’s day lots of posts wishing single dads a happy mothers day as they had to be mum too. Granted there aren’t as many single dads out there but they do exist, some are even given custody of their children over the mothers for a variety of reasons. I know this as my father had custody of my half brother over his ex wife. 

I said this to my mum and also that I thought we should have a parents day where parents of either sex are acknowledged but mum pointed out that the card manufacturers would oppose that which is a valid point. 

So if you are a dad, step dad, foster dad or any other kind of dad you can think of, happy father’s day to you and enjoy the hastily drawn pictures or other gifts made at school or nursery that you get given, you’ll miss it when your kids get older and are responsible for buying their own cards and presents for you and managing to forget or buy you something they really want!

Do we really need a special day to commemorate our parents? Surely we should show them we care every single day? I know I can’t thank my mum and step dad for everything they do for me, even if it is something as small as proof-reading my essays or listening to me whining about revision!   

University volunteering awards

On Thursday evening, I went to the volunteering awards “do” at the university. I met up with a classmate who was also collecting an award so that neither of us had to go in alone. The student union run a brilliant volunteering scheme where you log the hours you have done as well as any training courses relevant to your voluntary role.

We were called up to receive our certificates in groups of 4 or 5, much easier to do when there’s around 200 people present!

As well as awards that relate to the number of hours of student volunteering, there were also awards for a variety of societies and other great achievements. As I listened to all the amazing accomplishments of students and societies, I was amazed that so many of the full-time students managed to do so much in addition to their studies. I’m a part-time student and don’t manage to do quite as much!

You can imagine my surprise then as my name was called out as volunteer of the year! I genuinely couldn’t believe it and, in a way, still can’t. I was presented with a lovely glass award by the Chair of the voluntary committee and still can’t find the words to tell anyone what it means to me.

Later that night when I was still bouncing off the ceiling, I had a slightly serious thought. I have had an amazing year in so many ways and have achieved so much whilst struggling with depression, just imagine what I can do once my brain fixes itself! I guess it shows that sometimes, when life punches you in the face, you can punch it back, harder, faster and better! I now believe I can achieve almost anything I put my mind to and am looking forward to the next challenge.10295180_10152470881566789_7748269614523236659_o

Admiral Duncan bombing

Yesterday marked 15 years since a nail bomb exploded in the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho. I remember that day pretty well as I was moving into a new house with my then boyfriend. We both worked with a forensic team in the Met Police and knew only too well what our colleagues in that area would be dealing with. My godmother was with us on that day and when I mentioned it to her, she told me that her son sometimes drank there with friends. We tried calling him but only got his voicemail. I tried hard not to show her how worried I was as I left a message asking him to call me ASAP. I am not in any way trying to take on any of the worry that the families of the victims must have felt but my godmother and her children had been in my life since I was about 6 weeks old so I was pretty concerned about him. 

Happily, he did call back and said that he had been just around the corner from the pub when the bomb went off and was pretty shaken up when he saw the side of a van he was walking past ripple with the shock-wave from the bomb.

Whilst I was (and still am) relieved that he wasn’t injured in the attack, my thoughts are with those who were injured and the families of those who died. 


Pride in Medway

I feel very privileged to have been a Pride in Medway finalist and last Saturday I attended a gala evening with a fellow SERV Kent volunteer. I didn’t expect to win anything as all the other finalists were just as worthy, if not more so. The evening was fantastic with good food (and wine) and some hugely heart warming stories. I was surprised that we were all given lovely silver photo frames and am still trying to decide which picture I should put in mine. Fortunately, my guest is more adept with a camera than I am so I have a few good ones to choose from. We both started the evening with the obligatory selfie so that one might well make the short list.
We were all presented our frames by the Sangeeta Bhabra from ITV Meridian and Andy Hessenthaler, manager of Gillingham FC. Surprisingly, I wasn’t star struck but did feel a little emotional but managed not to cry.
I would like to say a huge thanks (for the millionth) time to the volunteer coordinator at the University of Kent for my nomination and a huge congratulations to all the winners, very well deserved wins in my opinion.
My volunteering is not done to get myself personal acclaim but as a student at the University, they could only nominate me for the award. As far as I’m concerned, the honour was as much for all my fellow volunteers as it was for me and I hope it gains us as much coverage as possible. If you would like to find out more about what SERV Kent does, have a look at our website http://www.servkent.org and maybe even sign up as a volunteer while you’re there. Please remember that while we are also looking for riders and drivers, we also need people to join us as controllers which is the role I have and thoroughly enjoy.

Random ramblings

Just lately, I have been struggling (again) with a low mood, lack of sleep and all the crap that goes along with depression as well as a leak in my ceiling. My lovely neighbour upstairs has a crack in her shower tray and all the water is coming through my ceiling and into the living room, it has been for several weeks now. Annoyingly, our landlady is completely ignoring our emails and calls so nothing is being done about it. Outwardly, I wasn’t worried, I had towels and a pot to catch the water in and had moved my living room around so that the water didn’t get on my sofa. I have emailed several pictures of it to my landlady and had no response so I got the council involved. A lovely man from their private tenant department came round, took loads of notes and pictures of my issue and issues from a couple of other flats and assured me that, although it will take time because of the legal process they have to follow, it would get sorted. Although I wasn’t consciously bothered by this, I guess my brain was because after the man from the council came and I knew it was being dealt with, I slept for a little over 9 hours straight. Bearing in mind, I had been merely coping on 3-4 hours for several weeks, this was amazing!

I have been sensible though and saw my doctor yesterday. She prescribed me some sleeping tablets and said that she wanted me to try Cognitive Behavioural Therapy rather than switch my medication as, until recently, I was doing quite well on it. The sleeping tablets worked their trick last night but I woke up pretty fuzzy headed, not something to take on a Tuesday as that’s when I have a morning lecture at uni and I probably wouldn’t take anything in!

If you are struggling, like I was, seek help as soon as you notice it, keep in touch with friends or family and remember you are not alone. My friends and family have been a great comfort to me, as has my university mentor and it is this that stops me getting as badly depressed as I have been. If you know someone who you think is struggling, don’t assume they will contact you to tell you what is going on with them, a quick text or email will remind them someone is thinking of them and if they reply and reach out, think of how great it will make you feel. Once I am over this short blip, I will be back to my usual posts, I promise.