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There had been 17 reported cases of young people around the Bridgend area of South Wales taking their own lives, in just over a year. I'm not sure if this number can be considered an epidemic - the police emphatically deny that this is the case, although some members of the community involved would argue that clearly it is. Epidemic or not, it is apparent that there is a problem in South Wales.
What could be the cause of so many young people in one area committing suicide? That is the question on everybody's minds. It has been confirmed by South Wales police that a number of the young people involved were using an internet social networking site, popular with teens around the UK.
Many have blamed the media and it's so called "sensationalist reporting" where is this so called sensationalism? I have not seen it in any newspaper that has reported these tragic deaths
The last victim found was Jenna Parry, 16. A look at her Bebo site entitled "RIP Jemma Parry", tells a tale in itself. There are so many messages from people devastated by her death. Heartbroken friends and family fill her page with dedications, declaring their love for her and stating how much they miss her. Dedications are posted daily. This is understandable in some ways, of course her family and friends want to be close to her and to share their grief. It seems that internet sites now play a big part in the uniting of grief. But, there are also dedications on Jemma's site from people who never knew her at all, yet they wish to comment on her death. This seems a little odd to me.
Did these young people's tragic endings get them the attention that they craved but never received when they were alive? If this is the case, it seems a bizarre sense of reasoning. Once dead, they are no longer in a position to appreciate this attention.
Did these young people feel unloved and undervalued in their short lives? Do we as parents let our children know how precious they are? How valued they are? Do we spend enough time making sure that they know that we believe in them? Encouraging them to realise their ambitions and chase their dreams? Or do some of our young feel trapped by society and their lives? Do some tragically just see unemployment or a low paid job and breeding as their lot?
I read so many comments and hear so many people talk about our young full of condemnation, scorn and disbelief. Reports of achievements in the newspaper are either belittled, treating with suspicion or just completely ignored. Yet, reports of crimes committed by our youth get far much more attention, even if it is not positive. Are we teaching our kids the wrong message here as a society? It seems that we are saying try hard to achieve something and you will get scorned or ignored, do something bad or illegal and you have our attention.
A poster here recently said something that made so much sense. Our youth should be the responsibility of the whole community and be made to feel valued and empowered. Attitudes need changing throughout every generation of our community, not in just our young.
Child Curfews - Do We Need Them? - If So Why?
Sometimes I really despair that we seem to live in this "government enforced nanny state" and other times I can understand, to an extent, why the government are doing our job for us.
Child curfews are something that I have not made my mind up about. In one way, they seem to be an insult to any decent parent. How dare the government do our job! How can they decide that they know what is best for our child? How can they treat and judge each child the same? Each child is an individual and develops at a different rate. Some ten year olds may be completely different to others. Surely it is our job, as parents, to make the call, on what our child can/cannot do, with regards to their level of maturity and sense of responsibility. We are the people who know them the best.
I have an eight year old daughter, who is old for her years. She has always been this way and has proven herself to be trustworthy and reliable a great deal. Then, I have a nine year old lad, who is more like a six year old. He is just not mature for his age.
We have "family rules" that each child is expected to keep to. But, each of my children has slightly different limits to another, this is dependant on age, the building up of trust, proving themselves and showing maturity. They are all so different. Some need more sleep than others; some can be trusted to go to the shop, some ... NO WAY! This is where clearly a parent knows best, not the government.
Another argument against child curfews is why should any mature, responsible child be restricted by the government, to a curfew, when they don't need it? Surely it is an insult to them? Does this mean that no matter how good their behaviour is, the government are not going to trust them? Are they going to end up thinking well then, what's the point of behaving, if I am restricted, due to the poor behaviour of others? Would Child Curfews cause normally well behaved children to rebel, as there is clearly little incentive for them to behave?
But then there are cases of kids, under the age of sixteen, who are out on the streets, running riot, in the small hours of the morning. Where are the parents?! I can not comprehend willingly letting any child of mine under sixteen, out after midnight! They are still children for goodness sake and mature for their age or not, by then, they should be tucked up in their beds counting zzzzzzz's.
We could do what we do now. That is to impose a child curfew on those who offend and end up in court. But by then, surely it's a little too late? By then, some poor soul has ended up with their car torched or their property damaged. Or even worse, somebody has ended up injured or attacked by a drunken youth. We might argue that prevention is better in the long run. The only way then would be to impose an overall child curfew, rather than an individual one, like we do now.
If some parents are not doing their job and protecting their children, then surely it is time for the government to step in a do something. We are forever complaining that this country is too soft. Society needs protecting and these kids also need protecting from themselves. So where do we draw the line? Would child curfews reduce youth crime rates? Would they reduce teen alchohol and drug abuse?
What do you think?
This breakfast cereal is quite simpy nourish! It is light but filling, very tasty and fills you up till lunch time. Special K is most advertised as being a cereal to eat if you want to look good, or if you are watching your weight, a women's cereal. However I think Special K with red berries makes a truely irresistable all round breakfast cereal for your family. It has the added bonus of being low fat too! This cereal is available in most supermarkets at a very reasonable price
The combination of nourish flakes and red berries work well together. So if you are looking for something different to tantilise your taste buds before starting a long hard day, give this a try. It is simply delicious! A superb all round breakfast cereal!
As a cat lover, I have used this product regularly, both with kittens and adult cats. It is very simple to use and you do not need to use a lot. Basically you just sprinkle a little on your cat litter, to keep it smelling fresh. You can purchase this product at pet shops and most large supermarkets.
This product has saved me money on cat litter and also kept my house smelling fresh! I tended to have to empty the litter tray and replace with fresh litter less often, saving me both money and a chore! It is really good when you are going to be out of the house for a little while. As we all know, if you leave a cat litter tray on a warm day, when you return it can be quite unpleasant. If you sprinkle a little litter fresh on, it keeps your tray and your home smelling nice and fresh.
I would strongly reccomend this product to cat lovers everywhere.
I have used whiskas kitten with my cat Dulcie from the very beginning. In the past, with other kittens, I have tried various foods, but none of them are as good as Whiskas. In fact several of the other cheaper kitten foods available, seemed to upset very young cats stomachs. Kittens are babies and like babies their stomachs are delicate. Whiskas is gentle and contains the right amount of vitamins and minerals that your kitten needs, in order to grow into a healthy cat.
I feed my kitten one pouch of whiskas kitten in the morning and then whiskas kitten dry in the evening. She is truely thriving on it. She is the perfect weight and her coat absolutely gleams. She is a very happy, healthy kitten.
Whiskas kitten may be that little bit more expensive, but in the long run, those few extra pence (and it really is only a few pence,) really do seem to make the difference in a cat's health and vitality. Dulcie is so full of life. She is a lovely, healthy, contented cat and a large part of that is down to her diet.
If you are big on family and enjoy huge meals at very reasonable prices, then the Hungry Horse is for you.
I have taken my family to the Hungry Horse, on numerous occasions over the past five years or so. Our experiences there have always been positive. It is the one place that you can go with your kids and relax. Its family orientated atmosphere is superb.
The childrens menu comes with a reasonably wide variety of meal options. It comes with two size choices, one for younger children and one which is bigger, for children that little bit older, marvellous idea! The menu has recently been updated to show you how many of your five a day, fruit and vegetable portions are in your meal.
The adults menu is reasonably extensive with typical "pub grub" type meals, such as scampi, steak, curry and chicken. There is also a selection of vegetarian dishes. As with the childrens' menu, it clearly states how many of your five a day fruit and vedg are included in your meal, as well as what is a low fat option. The menu is updated frequently to keep regular diners interested and to include seasonal food. But don't worry,firm favourites are always kept.
The Hungry Horse is of course famous for its "Big Plate Specials". These include the "Surf, Turf and Cluck" This is a monstrously huge plate of scampi pieces, 80z steak and a large chicken breast complete with chips, peas, giant mushrooms and onion rings. You get all this for around only £7 superb value! They offer around 12 different big plate specials, Cow Pie and the Steak options are firm favourites.
The desserts are reasonably priced and the Hungry Horse is renowned for their "Candymania" dessert. This is a huge bowl full of a variety of flavours of ice-cream, cream, fudge brownie and a selection of various chocolates, topped with a chocolate sauce. This pudding is a "must have experience" You have never seen anything so huge and wickedly full of gorgeous treats! The Candymania is available on both the childrens menu and adults. The childrens is just as fantastic but comes with a selection of treat size goodies cleverly attached to it.
Whenever we have visited a Hungry Horse establishment, the pub has always been very clean and the staff very professional as well as friendly. The toilets are always spotlessly clean and I feel happy for my children to eat in such an establishment.
If it's a good family meal that you are after, at a reasonable price, the Hungry Horse is the place for you and yours.
We have a Lloyds pharmacy close by that I have used on a few occassions. The shop is clean and well organised. The isles are wide and easily accesible for pushchairs and wheelchairs.
Lloyds stock a wide variety of "own make" products that are as good as the leading brand, but much cheaper. Children's paracetamol and ibrufen medicine is especially good value.
On a less positive note, the staff do not seem very friendly or approacable. In fact they seem to spend a lot of time talking to colleagues and ignoring customers. Their manner is not at all professional.
I have used tescos nappies throughout the years on both my son and daughter. The good news is that they seem to be just as good with both boys and girls. In fact, I can not recall a time, when either child has leaked out of a tesco nappy. They fit snuggly and neither of my children had nappy rash whist using them. They are cheaper than the top brand, but just as good. Tescos nappies are good quality and good value for money.
The 99p store is situated in our local town centre in Swindon. It is easily accesable by bus and close to car parking facilities. The stores isles are not very wide and it is very difficult to shop in there with a buggy or wheelchair. However, it is certainly worth a visit, as it is full of bargins.
Some of the highlights of the store's stock include a fantastic cleaning section, arts and crafts section, and pets section. There are also various fantastic seasonal bargins to be found throughout the year.
Wise Children By Angela Carter
Angela Carters Wise Children is the life story of show businesses Chance Sisters. Dora Chance, twin sister of Nora, narrates throughout the story. She tells their colourful life tale upon the commencement of the twins seventy- fifth birthdays.
The story is set mainly in England. The twins spend a great deal of their lives based at their childhood home in Brixton, South London. I think Angela Chance has chosen this setting to exaggerate and highlight the twins illegitimacy. The North and South divide of social London were very clear at the time of the books setting. The Right side of the tracks is the North and the wrong side, the South. There is to be no overlapping of borders, as the sides are very definitely separated by the river.
At the time of the twins births, there was a huge stigma attached to being illegitimate. Angela Chance has again exaggerated this by adding that the sisters are half orphaned (their Mother died in childbirth) and unacknowledged by their father. So effectively there is double the stigma there.
The fact that Angela Chance has used a lot of exaggeration is no great coincidence. This story centres on the world of show business. A world full of larger than life characters, melodramas and indeed exaggeration on every level.
The twins know very little about their Mother. They know that she died in childbirth, when she was working at 49 Bard Road, Brixton, London. The properties rooms where at the time of the twins births, let to theatricals that Nora describes as being
Not shall I say theatricals of the well heeled variety
Nora and Dora were brought up by the owner of 49 Bard Road whom they know as Grandma although she bears no relation to the girls to their knowledge. In fact, the twins seem to know very little about the woman, who has taken them in, loved, cherished and brought them up. Nora describes what she knows early on the book.
All that I know about her is shed arrived at 49 Bard Road, on new years day 1900, with a bankers draft for the first years rent and the air of a woman making a new start, in a new place, a new century and so the evidence points, a new name.
The sisters biological father is the famous Melchoir Hazzard, an acclaimed actor, who has dedicated his career to playing Shakespeares lead characters. Melchoir has followed in both of his show business parents footsteps. He however does not acknowledge Nora and Dora as being his daughters.
Grandma Chance confronts Melchoir Hazzard about being the girls father, upon discovering that coincidentally he is acting in the play, she has taken the twins to for their seventh birthday. Melchoir is just about to wed Lady Atlanta Lynde at this
point and denies fathering the twins for fear the marriage will not happen if the truth gets out. Instead, Melchoirs twin brother Peregrine claims to be the twins father.
Peregrine Hazard is a flamboyant character who adores the twins. He provides for them financially throughout their childhood and also sends extravagant gifts from some of the far-flung places across the world that he visits. He always seems to have several business ventures on the go, although the twins know very little about these. He is portrayed in this story as quite a hero. He has taken on the girls wholeheartedly whilst his twin brother has disowned them totally, despite being their biological father.
Peregrine wins the girls hearts the first time he meets them, by being a magician. He always turns up unexpectedly at 49 Bard Road laden down with exotic gifts for the girls and bottles of crème de la menthe for Grandma Chance. Right the way throughout the girls childhood, Peregrine displays an endless ability to surprise, delight and wow the girls and Grandma Chance. His reputation however becomes completely tarnished right at the end of the book when we discover all along that Peregrine has sexually abused and taken Noras virginity. One calls in to question the authors sense of moral obligation to her readers.
Throughout the book, Angela Chance uses Melchoir and Peregrine, the twins to display binary opposition. Melchoir and Peregrine are very different in character and that was apparent from an early age, despite them being twins.
Now although these two were twins, they were not alike as two peas
Melchoir is described at ten, as being dark, brooding and very serious about his acting. Whereas his twin brother Peregrine is described as being
A holy terror and couldnt keep a straight face
Angela Chances use of binary opposition adds structuralism to the characters and thus the story.
Nora and Dora take after Grandma Chance, they will help and take in anybody as a member of their own family. Whereas in the Hazzard family, it is an entirely different story altogether. The author uses this to display a clear example of irony. Dora and Noras half sisters by Lady Atlanta display unbelievable cruelty towards their Mother. They push her down the stairs and steal everything that belongs to her. Ironically, it is Nora and Dora who come to the rescue and bring Lady Atlanta to live with them.
Angela Chance has worked at an ideological level that reflects accurately upon the era in which the story has been written. The main example of this is of course the twins illegitimacy. The Hazzard family clearly see themselves as belonging to a different social class to Nora and Dora. They see themselves as a cut above them, despite the fact that this is a dysfunctional family that boasts affairs, incest and indeed poor treatment of many an unfortunate person, who has become involved with the family. This is somehow acceptable because this is a famous, legitimate family. Angela Chance shows how one single irrelevant fact such as illegitimacy can make you socially unacceptable whereas legitimacy means you can get away with near on anything!
The Bad Mothers Handbook By Kate Long
The Bad Mothers Handbook is based on the book, written by the talented Kate Long. Women of every generation will relate to and enjoy this truely wonderful story, that is jam packed full of the rollercoaster emotions that all us mums are capable of experiencing.
The story is set in 1997 and tells the tale of three generations of one familys women. All three women make up one household in a small fictitious village near Wigan. Kate Long successfully manages to tell the tale through each characters very different perspective.
Charlotte is seventeen and is in the process of taking her levels. She is struggling to understand the world around her whilst trying to work out where she fits in to the scheme of things. The confusion in her life is added to when she suddenly finds herself having to cope with a pregnancy that was completely unplanned.
Karen (Charlottes Mum) has been divorced from Charlottes father for a number of years. She works as a part time classroom assistant at the local primary school she attended as a child. She had planned on going to university only she found herself pregnant with Charlotte at the age of seventeen. She now juggles working part time with looking after her elderly Mother. She is determined that daughter Charlotte, will go to university and live the life that she once aspired to herself.
The character of Nan brings warmth, compassion and humour to the book. Nan struggles to make sense of the past and the present in a mind that is slightly muddled. She may struggle to clarify events but she has the advantage of wisdom that only a woman of her age holds.
Kate Long use of humour is quite brilliant, especially in some of the awkward subjects that are covered throughout the story. The humour is used in a sensitive way, in order not to ridicule the characters. She broaches a range of sensitive subjects ranging from Charlotte losing her virginity, Nans elderly dementia, Changing Nans colostomy bag and Karens discovery that she is adopted. The language, dialect and local knowledge she uses really makes the characters come to live in the viewers mind.
Kate Long tells a wonderful story that has you addicted from the very start. This is a compelling watch that explores the complex dynamics of the relationship between three generations of one familys woman. Definitely worth watching!