Rachel Cullen blogs a bit about cycling across Costa Rica!!

rachelcullenwrites

This feels weird. I can’t blog about this one. It’s too big, and too good. Like glimmering nuggets of pure comedy gold sifted from tonnes of dust and rubble… and I’m so sorry about that. I feel like I’m letting my eight fans down, and short-changing you few, special people of possibly the blog of the century, but I am under strict instructions. It breaks my heart not to share what I’ve already written about this epic adventure with you, but you’ll thank me in the long-run.

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So, we cycled 480km across Costa Rica. It almost broke us, and it brought me to my knees (literally, it did) from start to finish. As I sit here on our comfortable sofa with a cold beer to my right and the wounds beginning to heal on my ribboned flesh, I have a king-size bed waiting for me to sink into upstairs, and…

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Gallery  —  Posted: November 18, 2017 in Uncategorized

Sunday Poem – Kate Fox

Posted: October 22, 2017 in Uncategorized

Kim Moore’s latest post

Kim Moore

It has been a strange week for me – the #metoo hashtag on social media has made me sad and angry and hopeful in an exhausting cycle..  Amongst all of this, I’ve had to get on with doing stuff as well of course.  I had a meeting with my  PhD supervisors about the next stage of the PhD, the RD2 form.  I’d sent them some writing, which was far too personal to use, but I wanted to try and get straight in my head what I’m trying to do with the PhD.  I’ve got to make it much more ‘academic’, less personal etc etc.  I’ve had a go this week and have almost finished the ‘Abstract’ part of the RD2, in what I hope is a more academic voice.  It feels like putting on another head.  I wonder if everybody feels like this or if it’s just me.

I’ve also started…

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It’s the anxiety that kills you
Strangles you alive
Forcing even the bacteria
From the bowels of your stomach
So you have nothing left
Not even a bacteria
To settle the nerves
Raising from the
Depths of your stomach
So you feel nothing
See nothing, hear nothing
Life becomes a blur
As you shake powered
By nervous energy
The foundations of your
House begin to move
Cracks appear in the
Road outside as
Your shaking threatens
Global peace, Trump and Kim
Blame each other for
Launching a nuclear missile
And just when you
Cannot take any more
It stops
Your mind and body
Cannot take anymore
Exhausted by anxiety
They give up the fight
You feel relaxed
So you see what you’ve missed
Texts, calls, emails, bills
Appointments, deadlines
Everybody wants you
Everybody wants something from you

Breaking the chain

Posted: October 6, 2017 in Uncategorized

A powerful story from David Riley

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With Mental health awareness week coming up, i wanted to share my struggle with depression and suicide and hopefully be able to help people on the way. By sharing my journey with you, i hope that along the way it will help break down the stigma attached to mental health issues and finally allow people to talk about this hidden issue.

when i was a young lad, i thought my life was the best with perfect parents, i thought i was the luckiest lad alive. To be honest the first few years of my life was, my relationship with my mum was i loved her to bits and we would do lots of wonderful things together. My dad though things started deteriorating a bit, we where starting to get a bit distanced from each other, arguments where happening between my dad and mum. He was going out more and more…

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Birthday reflections…

Posted: September 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

The only pleasure in life is cheating death one more time in the knowledge that this time you have escaped death’s dark clutches, but in the knowledge that one day it will find you and catch you and take you away from everything you know and love…

Realising how lucky you are

Posted: September 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

Today started off as one of those days when it seems hard work just to do the basics but you still do them because you have to. You feel like you’re going through the motions and you wonder why you’re doing what you’re doing and if it’s worth it. I felt like that today with my Masters. More interviews to transcribe and then analyse and make sense of. Yeah sometimes research can get on top of you and you wonder if it’s worth it. And then you go to the monthly autism meeting you help out at and see people who have got problems far worse than you have and they’re just coping the best they can. Life hasn’t dealt them the best hand but they’re playing it the best they can. Someone comes up to you and talks about the hopes and dreams they had and how they were crushed despite their best efforts and whilst time has passed you can see it still really hurts them. It hurts them because they know and you do too that they are better than what has become of them and they can achieve so much more with the right care and support. Yet the institutions that should have provided the care and support have failed them and dumped them at the road side, left to crawl back onto the kerb, find their pavement and do their best to get back on the path of life. Your research impacts directly on their personal experience, your research is about people like them and institutions like the ones they have come into contact with and given them a bad experience. This makes you wake up and realise that the research you are doing can have a real impact on peoples lives and institutions and change them for the better. This is research that is important to society, to have people are perceived and how people are given a chance in society to prove themselves and show society just what they are capable of. You realise that your research could change peoples lives and make people happy. You realise that despite how you feel you have to carry on and do your best if not for yourself for others less fortunate than you.

Alive with running

Posted: September 6, 2017 in Uncategorized

I’m tired writing this but it’s a good tired. It’s tired that comes from having made progress with my Masters and having had a very good run. Felt fast, powerful and strong especially on the hills. Got some nice fastest times on some sections too. I felt good today. I felt alive again.

The wrong transcript

Posted: September 5, 2017 in Uncategorized

I won’t bore you anymore with the details of my sleeping patterns. Needless to say I woke up around 5am but dropped off again quite soon so had a good nights sleep. Today I knew I had to get back into my Masters. I’d been putting it off for too long now through fear of it I think. Can you get scared and fearful of doing something like a Masters? It doesn’t really make any sense to be scared of it but I was and I’m sure others do too. So after putting it off for a bit longer I finally set up my headset and audio files ready to start transcribing them. And then away I went happily talking away into my microphone and watching my spoken words appear on screen as if by magic. I did this for an hour and a half, transcribing over half an hour of my interview. And then something happened. The word daughter was said in my interview. Strange I thought because that shouldn’t be said but I carried on. And then it was said again and it was then that I realised I was transcribing the wrong interview! Bugger I thought and smiled wryly to myself. No point in getting angry. It was my fault and just one of those things but it did make me smile. My head was beginning to ache now though so I went for a walk to clear it and on my return I made sure I had the right files ready to transcribe the next day!


Rachel writes about running a trail race on tarmac. This wouldn’t happen in Yorkshire!

rachelcullenwrites

‘It’s a 10k trail race,’ I proclaim confidently, ‘around the grounds of some beautiful Estate in Chester.’

‘Sounds great!’ Gav replies. ‘I wonder how “traily” it is, though?’ he continues. We’ve fallen foul of this being used to describe everything from balls-out fell races (Bingley and Ilkely, to name but a few) to more steady jaunts through woodland paths. Ironically, the Trailblazer Half Marathon in Clumber Park falls into this latter category. Hard in its own way, but the trails are at least a) visible and b) not vertical.

Anyway, without further ado – and for no other reason than it is a CFD (a Child Free Day) – we enter the Deer Park Dash 10k. Job done.

A day or so later, a large ‘signed for’ envelope arrives through the post which always generates some level of excitement. What could it be? A cheque reimbursing us hundreds of pounds…

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Gallery  —  Posted: September 5, 2017 in Uncategorized

Traffic jams on Monday

Posted: September 4, 2017 in Uncategorized

A tiring but good day. Started off with my usual habit of waking up early but then it was a bit different. I was wide awake from around 3am till 4:30am. At 4:30am I decided to have the dreaded extra 5 minutes in bed and unsurprisingly woke up an hour later at 5:30am and quite a bit later than I wanted to. The reason for my wanting an early start was to avoid the traffic jams on the way to university at Huddersfield, there are road works for a year on my way to Huddersfield and knowing how bad it can be without them I decided to set off as early as I could. As it turned out I needn’t have worried. Apart from the usual morons pulling into my lane of traffic at the last minute it was uneventful and stress free. Consequently, I arrived at university in plenty of time for my meeting at 9:30am but this meant I could relax and catch up on emails and stuff. I’m doing a Masters by Research in Education. The good thing about this is I have a free, creative rein on what I can do. The bad thing is I have no structure to follow so I got some books from the library on how to write a Masters dissertation to give me some much needed ideas! I also looked up ontology. Although I’ve a degree in sociology and the terms ontology and epistemology are familiar to me I have always had a problem understanding ontology and just exactly what it is. Well today I finally came to an understanding of ontology. Epistemology is the understanding of knowledge and how we come to know things. Ontology questions what things are for instance what is a car and what does it mean to people. The epistemological stance would be what do we know about cars and how have we come to accumulate that knowledge. As with most things philosophical this is my interpretation and it may differ to someone else’s interpretation, but I’m happy with what I’ve got now and can make progress with my dissertation. My meeting went well and soon I was back on the road home. Out of Huddersfield to Ainley top everything was fine and my journey went without a problem. Then I hit traffic, traffic tailed back because of the road works that will take forever. For the next hour and a half I crawled along a mile of road with other equally frustrated road users all consigned to having to bide their time until they get through the road works. Maybe it was my sense of resignation and the knowledge that I couldn’t do anything about my situation but the hour and a half passed reasonably quickly. I have been stuck in traffic jams for shorter periods and it felt a lot longer. I thought about the traffic in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo where traffic jams can reach over 100km in length. Wouldn’t it be easier to just drive to work on a Monday and stay there till Friday? To Sainsbury’s for petrol and food and then home. And today I re-potted some plants for the first time ever! Whether they will survive or not remains to be seen but I am so pleased with myself and hoping that they will. End the day watching TV, University Challenge and Have I Lied to You. All in all a good day.