Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Brilliant Brussels [Part One]


Well last Tuesday I awoke at 5:45a.m.  My head ached, my eyes were droopy.  I felt like something out of the movie “Nightmare on Elm Street”.  I forced myself to drag myself out of my bottomless pit of a bed and have a shower.  After a bowl of Kellogg’s Frosties and a cup of coffee I began to come to my senses.


A taxi had been arranged to pick me up at 6:00a.m to take me to my local youth club, where I was met by the other members of the forum.  There were about twenty of us altogether.  We were all excited about traveling to Brussels so the cold wind didn’t seem to bother us.


The journey on the coach seemed to pass quickly.  I watched two films, “Bruce Almighty” and “Big Momma’s House 2”.  I enjoyed both of them, they were both hilarious!  Also we played games of bingo and had a quiz.  I won two lines, so I wontwo packets of chewy sweets.


In Surrey, we passed Cilla Black’s home. For those who don’t know, Cilla Black became a huge star in the 1960’s singing songs of Bacharach and David.  But she’s most commonly known to millions as the host of “Blind Date”.  I did try to get a photo, but we passed it too quickly.  On the way back home, it was too dark to see anything.




I felt like the dog from the Churchill car insurance commercials as the bus drove over the bumps in the roads.  I couldn’t help but nod my head.



On the ferry from Dover, it was a good crossing.  I didn’t feel the ship moving at all.  Well, only a few vibrations at the start.  A bottle of Evian mineral water cost £1.85 though, Shocking!!


Friday, 24 November 2006

Stop Bullying Now! (Anti-Bullying Week)

Bullying takes many forms: name-calling, hitting, spreading rumours, stealing, excluding people and turning someone’s friends against them are just a few examples.


Why do bullies do it?

v     They could be angry about something, having problems at home or school, feeling insecure, unliked or jealous of their targets.

v     Although it’s hard to feel sorry for bullies, it might help to understand that happy people don’t need to make others feel unhappy or small.

v     Bullies try to make out it’s their target's fault for being different, but none of us are the same.

v     Remember, it’s the bullies who have a problem, not the people they target!

How can I make them stop?

v     It’s important to speak out. You have the right to live without being tormented.

v     Hitting back at bullies can make things worse and get you into trouble. Even if it helps you, the bully will soon be picking on someone else.

v     Keep a diary of what happens. It’ll help you decide what to do. It should also stop you missing out anything important and help show you’re telling the truth.

Who should I tell?

v     Tell as many people as you can. Sometimes just having things out in the open can be enough to make bullies stop.

v     If it’s at school, any of your teachers should be able to help, and your school should have an anti-bullying policy.

v     If you can’t tell your teachers, ask a parent or another adult to speak to them for you.

Monday, 20 November 2006

"Au Reviour"

Tomorrow I am going on a much-anticipated three day trip to Brussels with the Rhondda Youth Forum.  I can’t wait!  You may remember I said in a previous entry, I am part of a discussion group, which aims to make the community a better place to live in.


I shall be traveling by coach, then by ferry.  The journey will take about 10 hours.  I am a bit nervous bout going on a ferry, as I have never travelled on one before.  I only hope the weather is fine for the crossover tomorrow.  But whatever happens I’m sure it will be an enjoyable experience.


Then we are going to take a tour around the European Parliament Building.  Then meet some famous MP’s.  I have packed a disposable camera, so I’ll be sure to take lots of photographs to show you all.  My digital one has broken, so I’m hoping Santa will bring me one for Christmas.


One thing I’m really looking forward to is indulging in some Belgian chocolate... yum!


Take care,


Leigh J


P.S. I had some graphics prepared for this entry but File manager wouldn’t load.  Is this happening to anyone else?

Friday, 17 November 2006

A Pirate's Life For Me!

We all had a bit of fun in class today.  It was all for a good cause “BBC Children in Need”.  Each class was given a fancy dress theme and ours was “Pirates of the Caribbean”.  Although I did not fully dress up as a pirate, I did wear a stripy top and donate £3 to this worthy appeal.



Other groups of students dressed up as punk rockers, cowboys and cowgirls.  Some even wore their pajamas!  I will let you all know the total amount of money collected when I find out.



“BBC Children in Need” is a fund-raising extravaganza held every year in November.  It helps disadvantaged children to have a better life.  These include children who are chronically ill or profoundly disabled, those who've been badly treated by the adults around them, children who live in poverty or inadequate housing, and some who are bullied, excluded or distressed in the U.K.



Join Terry Wogan, Pudsey Bear and many other celebrities tonight on BBC 1 at 7p.m for lots of fun and frolics, all in the name of charity.  If you would like to learn some more about the Appeal or donate some money, click the link below:


~Children in Need~


I’ll leave you now with a music video.  It is the official single for the Children in Need Appeal 2006.  While you watch the video, keep a lookout for the other stars of "Strictly Come Dancing".  I think that's what makes this video extra special, the fact they all got involved in making it.


Emma Bunton – ‘Downtown’.



Tuesday, 14 November 2006

Patience Is A Virtue


Last Friday I had no lessons at school.  So I decided to go to Cardiff to start my Christmas shopping.  I did most of it.  I only have two more presents to buy, something for my father and uncle.



I browsed around many shops.  But I spent most of my time in a shop called T.K. Maxx.  My uncle said it was one of his favourite shops.  Apparently, he has bought many birthday and Christmas presents from the store.



I walked in and let out a big sigh.  All I could see was shelves of this, racks of that.  My initial reaction was “Oh My God! Will I actually find anything here?” 



But undaunted I made my way into the Store.  I was determined this Christmas shopping was going to be done today.   I looked at this and that there is so much to choose from I hardly knew where to start!



You can pick up some good bargains if you look in the right places.  All you need is Patience!



I have discovered you need plenty of that when you shopping for Christmas presents.  It is hard to think what the person would like.  That gives me a big headache, but all the agonizing decisions are worth it when you see the person’s smile as they open your present on Christmas morning.


Friday, 10 November 2006

"And the Winners Are..."


Here is the list of winners of the VIVI Awards 2006.




Dad's Tomato Garden Journal




Jeannette's Jottings


This and That and Hockey


Dazzling Designs


D's Designs




Photo Trek


Dust Bunny Collector


Sometimes I Think


Wishing, Hoping, Praying Believing




I Shaved My Legs for This?


Northern Trip


It is What it Is


Welcome to My Travels

A Couple of Nomads 



Marie's Muses


Just Mary


Treasure Chest Full of Life


My Beloved Furr Babies


Unhappily Ever After


I Shaved My Legs for This?


Dianna's Mindless Musings




Random Thoughts


The Impossible Dream


Daughters of the Shadow Men


Wishing, Hoping, Praying Believing


Domestic Abuse


Just One Girls Head Noise


Times of my Life - One Nurses Story


Lori's Laurels

Well done to all of you!  Thanks to the organizers Chris & Jackie for all your hard work to make these awards possible.


Here’s to many more!   


Thursday, 9 November 2006

Hanging On the Telephone


I think it's amazing how quickly technology can develop.  I write very slowly, due to my condition, but I am articulate.  I don’t type faster either.  I only use two fingers to type.  My Health and Social Care teacher has introduced me to Voice Recognition Software.  It seemed the perfect aid.  You see, if I train this program, it will type for me as I talk into a microphone.




When Ross showed me a demonstration, I was left speechless (and that’s not often!).  The headmaster came in with a few colleagues as I started the tutorial process.  Iwas told to talk loudly.  I was taking as I normally would.  But that was too quiet and the microphone picked up everyone else’s voices as well as mine.  I was told to PROJECT my voice, but I felt really embarrassed because everyone was watching.



So last night after my cookery class I practiced projecting my voice.  Mum gave me a few helpful tips, too.  “Talk as if you’re on the phone” she said.  Apparently, I talk louder on the phone than I do face to face.  Mum said she can hear everything I say on the phone, even though my bedroom door is closed!  Whoops, I didn’t realise!



I had a free period first lesson, so Ross and I went into the digi-lab.  It was really quiet and I felt a little more confident.  Funnily enough, the first tip he gave me was “Talk as if you’re on the phone” LOL! I couldn’t help but laugh, was I really that loud talking to people on the telephone? I’m sorry!



Anyway we went through part one of the training sections.  The program was working fine so hopefully it shall continue to do so!  Computers can be very temperamental on times, we all know about that don’t we?


Tuesday, 7 November 2006

Things Can Only Get Better


The Half Term holiday seemed to go really quickly.  No sooner had it started, the holiday was over.



Mum and Dad spent the weekend in Bath, England doing some Christmas shopping.  I wasn’t allowed to go because what Santa brings is meant to be a surprise, so I stayed with my grandmother.  But I would have liked to have visited the Jane Austen Centre.  Mum drove past it.  She said it looked really magnificent.



I started back to school on Monday.  I had not been given much homework to do prior to the week’s holiday, but now it’s slowly piling up.  I’m glad I’m getting more work to do because it keeps me occupied during the free periods in school.  I know I should be grateful for the free time, but I’m just used to having something to do.



I got my first English Literature essay back yesterday.  I had to read “The Other Side” by Seamus Heaney, then write about the impression he gives of his hometown Northern Ireland.  I got a Grade E, which by my standards is bad. 



Mr. Mealing explained that I was not “getting to grips with the poem at all”.  Its structure didn’t flow, and I had “relied on omniscient points” to guide me through the essay.  I was slightly shocked by the grade as I was used to getting A or B grades at GCSE level.  But it is a big step moving from GCSE to Advanced Level.



Today I had another English essay back, this time from Mrs. Francis.  I had to write about the characters and situations going on in Chapter 2 of “Emma” by Jane Austen.  This time I achieved a D grade.



Mrs. Francis said I had a good understanding of the novel.  I made a point, gave a quote as evidence, and explained its effect.  But I had not explained it enough.  So now I know what my faults are, I will try to improve in the next essay I write.  I’m aiming for that C!



As Shania sings “Things can only go UP from here!”


Sunday, 5 November 2006

"A Penny for the Guy!"

The merry shouts of children asking for money echo up and down the streets. And with them they have "the Guy," a straw dummy dressed in old clothes. Many of the children are wearing costumes and masks.

It is November 5th, and people in England are celebrating a holiday called Guy Fawkes Day.

Nearly four hundred years ago, in 1605, a man named Guy Fawkes tried to blow up a government building. He wanted to kill King James I and the king's leaders. Fawkes was one of a group of men who felt that the government was treating Roman Catholics unfairly.

The king and his leaders were to meet on November 5th. So, the group placed barrels of gunpowder in a cellar beneath the building where the king and others were to meet. Guy Fawkes was to light the fuse that would set off the explosion. But the plot was discovered before he had a chance to do this. The king was saved, and Fawkes was hanged.

Ever since, Guy Fawkes Day has been a time for merrymaking. It is a holiday that both children and grown-ups enjoy. The best part comes as darkness falls. Then, straw dummies are tossed into huge bonfires. Amid cries of glee, firecrackers pop and "the Guy" goes up in a blaze of fire.

Friday, 3 November 2006

The Network Conference

Yesterday I attended a conference, organized by members of the Young Disabled People of Wales Network.  We have a conference every three months.  Then discuss any issues we may have, and how we could resolve them.



I was picked up at 09:30a.m by a fellow Viva worker.  Then when we arrived at the venue in Newport, South Wales I was introduced to everyone.  There were approximately twenty people there.  There seemed to be a lot of new faces, but this is the great thing about conferences, you meet new people and you make new friends.



The first workshop was all about Campaigning.  We learnt about various methods people use when they campaign.  The main reason behind campaigns is the people want issues resolved!



Lunch was provided for us.  There was such a large variety to choose from ranging from ham sandwiches to Chinese cuisine.  I tried a bit of everything and particularly enjoyed the spring rolls with chili sauce.  I hadn’t eaten since about 8a.m and I was really hungry! Those who know me will know how much I adore food, LOL!



Both workshops were interesting, but I particularly enjoyed the second one.  It was all about Building up a Person’s Confidence.  I get very shy when I have to speak in public, I’m sure many of you do.  But I have learnt valuable techniques to overcome the fear.



I love to sing on stage.  I get a ‘buzz’ from the audience’s reaction and singing makes me feel a much happier person.  I’m very nervous if I have to act on stage.  You wouldn’t think so but my mind goes blank.  Mainly because the dialogue I have to learn is not me, it’s another person.




During rehearsals for the Viva Christmas Pantomime of “Cinderella” I hope to put the techniques into practice and not come out of character during my time on stage.



Have you voted in the VIVI Journal Awards yet?  If not voted yet, this link will take you to the page:


~ViVi Journal Awards 2006 Voting Site


The voting site closes on the 6th November 2006.  Then the winners will be announced at a ‘ceremony’ on 11th November.  Thank you all once again for nominating my journal and good luck to all nominees!


Have a good weekend.


Wednesday, 1 November 2006

Pinch, Punch, First of the Month!


Today is November the First.  Gone are the long, drawn out summer days.  It really does feel like autumn now the clocks have been put back an hour and leaves are falling from the trees.  Time goes so quickly, doesn’t it?  But at least we get an hour extra in bed!



We didn’t get many children trick or treating around where I live.  Only four knocked.  But I did not answer.



It has been reported on the news that some youths had been taking advantage of this date to cause trouble.  The police had put extra men on duty because many youths had thrown eggs at houses or cars, not particularly in this area.



Today mum was rather excited because we had a new fridge/freezer installed.  It’s a white 1950’s-style SMEG refrigerator.  I like it, compared to our old fridge (a small, built-in fridge in a unit) it's a luxury.