MicroActivist Connor Berryhill inspiring kids to help protect the oceans

My final environmental hero for this year – looks like he is headed for a good 2019.

Life & Soul Magazine

Eleven-year-old Connor Berryhill is on a mission to connect youth with the world’s oceans, creating “the next generation of ocean warriors”.

The young native of San Diego, California was only 5-years-old when an underwater encounter with an endangered monk seal in Kauai set him on a path to take care of the world’s most vulnerable creatures.

Now 11, Connor Berryhill has taken his small-scale activism big and started his own nonprofit, MicroActivist.

One of the ways in which MicroActivist inspire kids to become ocean warriors is through beach clean ups.

MicroActivist say: “Our [MicroActivist’s] beach cleanups remove trash from the beach…but they also make kids fall in love with the ocean and become ocean warriors forever!

“We strive to make each cleanup a unique and fun experience where we not only clean the entire beach (as only a group of energetic kids can) but we create an ocean experience the kids will…

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Mistletoe and Whine…

Sunday Salon’s guest blogger sums up perfectly, for me and many of us, Xmas Musac. What do you like to hear at this time of year?


By the time this post is published I will have heard Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas’, Slade’s ‘So Here it is, Merry Christmas’, Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’, Wizard’s ‘I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day’ [a nightmare scenario in my opinion], Shakin Stevens’ ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’, Band Aid’s ‘Do they Know it’s Christmas?’ and all the rest of the sorry, repetitive regurgitation of Christmas musical tat that is on a loop everywhere at this time of year, about 1000 times.

You have to feel some empathy for the hapless shop assistants. Not only must they pander to the whims of increasingly irritable customers whilst wearing ‘amusing’ festive jumpers, hats or elf outfits but must also suffer the incessant caterwauling of the aforementioned Christmas songs; an assault to the ears, a type of audio Chinese water torture.

I am not so much of a Humbug. I like the lights…

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Happy birthday, Charles

One week till Christmas and here’s something to liven things up. I wonder how many versions there have been of this carol? This one is certainly BIG! Thanks to Bluebird who brings us music and jokes regularly.

bluebird of bitterness

In honor of the birthday of English hymn writer Charles Wesley (1707-1788), here is one of his greatest hits in an arrangement by American composer Dan Forrest (b. 1978) of a melody by German composer Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847), performed by the combined choirs and orchestra of Concordia College

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Buy a Book for Christmas – #Vampires #Paranormal #Scifi #Dragons – Anne Marie Andrus, Mae Clair, Janet Gogerty and Paul Cude

Once again I am vey happy to be a guest at Sally’s cafe. Read about four very different other worldly novels for your Christmas holiday reading.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to another of the Buy a Book for Christmas promotions of authors in the Cafe and Bookstore.. and the first book is from Anne Marie Andrus and is the prequel toher book Monster & Angels.

About Raimond

A lone soldier on night watch. A single bullet through the heart. Every light in Paris flickers—the city’s thundering silent scream.

When Commander Raimond Banitierre was assassinated, French Revolutionaries lost their gallant leader. After a villain’s offer of eternal life condemned him to slavery, Raimond rebelled again, driving his vampire comrades to freedom.

Raimond escapes to Savannah, Georgia where his dream of becoming a doctor comes true. During his trial-by-fire residency on the Civil War’s battlefields, he discovers his true calling—the power to preserve memories and dignity in the face of death. His chance meeting with a beguiling mortal nurse ignites passionate nights and a long overdue crack in the…

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Straw No More: 10-year-old Molly Steer’s mission to help the world stop single-use plastic

Environmental heroine of the week. It takes a child to speak up and adults who listen.

Life & Soul Magazine

Living on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns, Queensland, 10-year-old Molly Steer has seen first-hand the impact of plastic pollution on the marine life that she adores.

Deeply passionate about the subject, Molly Steer was inspired to make change happen on a school-wide level after watching the documentary film A Plastic Ocean, which explores the fragile state of the oceans and the alarming truths about plastic pollution.

Molly Steer asked her Principal if the school’s tuckshop could stop using plastic straws. Her Principal agreed and had plastic straws removed entirely from the school, a move that even inspired surrounding schools to follow suit.

Her second environmental action soon followed, when last year she launched the initiative Straw No More Project, which implores individuals, businesses and schools to take a pledge to not only ditch plastic straws, but to educate students, customers, peers, friends or family about the grave impacts of plastic straw…

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Silly Saturday – Brother Bernard’s Blog

Brother Bernard’s Blog

Translated from the original Latin.

Greetings from the north. How hast thy week been? I send news to brother bloggers of unholy happenings. Until last week the name of Johannes Gutenberg had never been uttered inside these walls and I hope it never will be again.

I had just returned from my daily constitutional, gazing upon the wondrous waters of the North Sea, contemplating completing Leviticus today, when Brother Franz hove into sight, calling out in a most undignified manner as he dismounted. We had not seen him for many months so were we not eager to hear what news from the continent?

‘Gutenberg is coming’ were his words.

After being enclosed with the Abbot for a fair while he broke bread with us in the refectory and spoke strange words… of printing presses and moveable metal type. I now understand this to mean there are those who would replace men of God writing The Word of God with a contraption to produce many Holy Bibles.

How can a machine write elegant text and illuminate with cinnabar, saffron, verdigris, lapis lazuli, silver and gold? No my friends, it cannot, so therefore I tell you we have nothing to fear, the name of Johannes Gutenberg will soon be forgotten , Gutenberg has not arrived, nor ever will. We shall carry on with our Holy written work as before.



Paradise lost: fabric artist, Barbara Williamson loses her home

I remembered reading Barbara’s amazing story on Sue’s blog a while back, but until today did not realise she was one of the survivors of the terrible Paradise fire. Read her story here.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

A few months ago, I featured the work of American fabric artist, Barbara Williamson, whose use of joy and colour in her art quilts delighted me and whose inspiring story is one of incredible determination.

At the time, Barbara wrote:

“I’m a paraplegic and paralyzed from mid-chest down because I was shot in the chest in 1969 with a 45. I was pregnant at the time of the shooting and it left me in a coma for a month. My mother came to pray for me everyday and I believe that is why I survived. Thankfully the spirits were looking out for me and my child lived.

When I came home to my mother’s house after being released from the hospital, I had my child on my mother’s front porch with the help of a friend and my mom. My baby was a preemy, 3lb 18oz.

I had amnesia…

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Tackling Taboos

Mum and Dad bought their first house when I was six; they were very happy to live on the ground and have a garden and Mum said we wouldn’t move again now we had our own house. But the new estate was a long walk from the shopping parade in the little town. Luckily the greengrocer came round in his van, the butcher’s boy came round on his bike and the milkman delivered a box of groceries weekly.

 When I was old enough to go cycling off on my own I would be sent on urgent errands to the little parade of shops on the next estate. Sometimes Mum would give me a note to hand to the lady in the drapers. She would reach under the counter, put a packet in a brown paper bag and give it to me, these were Mum’s sanitary towels.

We emigrated to Western Australia when I was eleven, exactly five years after Mum said we weren’t going to move again. After a few weeks at school the summer holidays started and so did my first period. I was not shocked because my mother had told me what to expect, but I was mortified and furious that it had happened so soon, ruining the holidays. One day I came home and said Christine’s mother wanted to take us all swimming. Mum said Did you tell her you had your period. I replied that I had been too embarrassed. Going to the local chemist was also nerve racking, the sanitary products were not hidden away, far from it, illuminated signs advertised Modess in larger stores. But if I went into the chemist and there was a man behind the counter, or a male customer walked in, I sneaked out empty handed.

I started at my new high school of fourteen hundred pupils. One day all the boys were ordered to stay in the classrooms and all the girls ordered to the largest quadrangle to be addressed by the headmistress. The talk was about the correct use of the new incinerets being installed in the girls’ toilets. I was always rather nervous of these machines.

By strange coincidence they were discussing periods on Woman’s Hour, BBC Radio Four, just as I started writing this blog; no taboos on this daily programme, they talk about everything, but modern schoolgirls still feel periods aren’t treated a normal.

 Men would not put up with it, or perhaps not survive. Forty years or more of our bodies getting ready to conceive every month, keeping the equipment working when we may want to use it only once, twice or never. Suffering varying from cramps to endometriosis laying you up every month. In my mother’s young days at the bank she was dispatched every month in a cab to deliver her poor colleague home, ill with her period. They must have had an understanding boss. Modern life has not dispatched with the age old problems, but recently there has beena flurry of discussion from every angle.

A while ago a marathon runner apparently decided to run without period protection, I’ll leave the rest to your imagination. It sounds like my worst school PE nightmare come true and I’m not sure what she was trying to prove, that we shouldn’t be ashamed presumably. There are plenty of cultures where women were and still are ( according to the posters in Ladies’ toilets at motorway services ) expected to go and sit out in the desert till their period has finished. Some major religions connect menstruation to spiritual impurity.

But even when periods are treated as normal and healthy there are other aspects which have come up for serious discussion lately.

 There is the environmental issue and some women are making their own reusable pads; things have turned full circle, my mother and her sisters made their own pads out of torn up old sheets and had to soak them in a bucket of salt water.

Then there is period poverty. At first we smugly thought it only happened in third world countries and to refugees on the move with none of life’s necessities.Then it turned out many school girls in Britain can’t afford to buy sanitary protection, making my teenage trials and tribulations seem petty. Scotland is leading the world in supplying free products to all schools and colleges. In the rest of Britain charities are donating products to schools and food banks. 

My novel Quarter Acre Block is inspired by our family’s migation to Austalia. The story is told from two points of view, eleven year old Jennifer’s and her mother’s.