Tag Archives: africa

No doom and gloom just bravery and beauty

Chantelle Msumbuga

What’s the connection between Charles Dickens and this: Should have died in infancy. Didn’t. At the age of four had meningitis and went into a coma. Recovered. Had a stroke with complications that lasted a year. Survived. Major blood transfusions. Long term organ damage. Hours of chelation therapy five times a week to reduce iron overload from blood transfusions. Bruising, discoloration, pain, pain, pain…

Dickens is renowned for cataloging the suffering of the poor and downtrodden, but this is not the torment visited by his imagination on some poor character. It’s real suffering. It’s what happens when a young girl is born with sickle cell anaemia.

A young girl like Chantelle Msumbuga. She’s now a young woman – almost 16 years old. Last weekend she told me and some others about the succession of pain and setbacks she’s undergone in her short life. And she was so cheerful and beautiful as she told it. Her blog is here. She educated us about the condition and the very invasive and intensive treatment she received at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) for Children.

Liliane’s lovely buns – you have to bite through the head of Charles Dickens to taste them.

Now do you get it?

After JM Barrie and Peter Pan, Charles Dickens is the famous figure most associated with this London hospital for children. Shortly after it opened, he helped save it from bankrupcy and to double in size.

That’s why Charles Dickens fan Christopher West (who also lectures under the nom de plume Charles Dickens London) arranged a special Dickens Day to raise funds for GOSH – to mark the connection between writer and hospital during this year, the 200th anniversary of Dickens’s birth.

Liliane the beautiful cake maker from the Cote d’Ivoire

Oh – there’s another reason too. It’s not just Chantelle who medical staff at GOSH are helping. They also saved the life of Christopher’s granddaughter not so long ago. So, like Chantelle he’s also saying thank you for personal reasons.

Chantelle and Christopher were helped and supported by lots of other people too. People like the Kings College Chorus, schools, experts and Liliane. She’s from the Cote d’Ivoire, has beautfully accented French, beautiful buns (no not that! I do actually mean the buns in the picture) and is just beautiful.

There was a lot of beauty around that day – and that includes Continue reading

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Filed under art, D - Loose Bloggers Consortium, friends

Africa Express

The Africa Express

Some nights are magical. Saturday was one of those nights.

The Africa Express completed its British journey in London, disgorging a unique and wonderful band of African and British musical stars at the back of Kings Cross station.

Then they began to play Continue reading

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Sodcasting

Sodcasters... But they look so lovely. They're probably listening to Price Tag by Jessie J or Ave Maria.

Are you a sodcaster? Or have you been the victim of sodcasting? (Or even the beneficiary?)

Whaddaya mean – What is sodcasting? You’ll almost certainly have experienced it. Unless perhaps you’re American. Because it’s a public transport phenomenon. (So this post particularly goes out to the newly resurrected Exile Imaging, who works in city transit for Austin, Texas.)

So what is it? Sodcasting is the playing of tinny tuneless repetitive beats on your phone loud speaker, or more likely that the sound leaks from your earbuds – thus giving other passengers on the bus or train the joy of sharing your musical tastes.

The music will be bad. Because it has to compete with the rumble of the vehicle. It’ll be distorted because it’s turned up so loud. And it’ll probably be rubbish, because it has been specially made to suit the medium – lots of treble, little or no bass.

I have to admit, though I’m familiar with the phenomenon, I hadn’t heard the term until this week. It is derived from podcasting – combined with a “Sod You” attitude.

And this is the important thing. I heard it on a wonderful radio programme on BBC Radio 4 which Continue reading

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Things you don’t expect to see in Harlem

So I was wandering through Harlem (New York) when I saw this sign. I did a double take. Checked my surroundings. Re-checked. Yup, still in Harlem.

No – the letters on the sign haven’t been mischievously rearranged Continue reading

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Beware of the goat

I’m all for innovation. Finding ways round problems. Flexibility. Work rounds. Not being defeated by seemingly insurmountable problems. So I should approve of what they’ve done on the island of Fuerteventura. Continue reading

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A tune and a wee cup of tea

Tea first, then scroll down to mellow music

Too much pressure? Too much fussin’ and fighting? Time for a mellow tune and a wee cup of tea – just where you wouldn’t expect it.

Here’s the challenge Continue reading

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Will he hurt us?

In need of a happiness boost? Is life’s hourglass aggravating you? Don’t call computer/life support – they’ll only tell you to switch it off and on again. Three happy things await below the hourglass. As usual the joke is at the bottom…


Continue reading

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