Welcome to this weeks blog post (sorry it’s late). In this weeks blog I will be updating you on some of the things happening in my life and discussing book clubs, education syllabus, the European Elections, the Global Corporate Challenge, Game of Thrones, and the film Maleficent.  As there is a bit to get through then I had better get started. So if you are sitting comfortably I will begin.

For a few weeks now I have said I have had lots going on in my life but haven’t been able to say what was going on. I can now talk about some of the things that have been going on. Well this week I finally got my new contract at work. I am now doing the supervisor role full-time instead of a job share. I am quite excited about it but there is a lot of responsibility with it but it will be a great experience and I have learnt a lot from the job share in the last 12 months so hopefully this will help for the future. I have known for a while this was happening but didn’t want to say anything publicly until I had signed the contract which I did this week.

The other thing I wanted to mention is that I am trying to be healthier following my trip to the doctors a month ago. My test for a nut allergy was ok which was good but still a bit wary about nuts generally but at least I know it is ok. The big thing though is that I was overweight and just int the obese category according to my BMI. I knew I wasn’t as fit as I was a few years ago but didn’t realise I was this weight. In the last month I have cut out snacks, trying to eat 5 fruit/veg a day and now eating smaller portions at meal times. Since doing this a month ago I have lost 9 lb . I am getting to the stage where I will need to do more exercise as well but at least I have made a start. I have noticed a difference as my clothes aren’t as tight as they were and this makes me feel good about myself. I need to take more care in how I look and how it makes me feel. I need to start dressing like the young professional guy that I am. I notice people on my train to work or around work who are dressed much better than me and I need to look better in my clothes as well as having nicer clothes. I have talked about this before but I need to work harder at this.

For about 5 years now I have been running a book club for staff at work. You would think running a book club in a library would be easy and have lots of members etc. It isn’t as easy as you would think though. A lot of people are interested in it and what we read but there are not many active members. It is a good way to discover new books and authors but it does mean you don’t have much choice over what you read during the year. Some people come and go during the year which is fine but because I run the book club I have to read them all which is a big task and has made reading a bit less enjoyable for me. With this in mind I have been thinking about not doing the book club anymore. Theres a quote by Josh Jameson “There comes a time when you have to choose between turning the page and closing the book”. Well it is my time to close this book. It is not the only reason though my role at work means less time to do this and I am getting involved in other university related tasks but outside of my job. I was going to go to the end of the year but with other things that are now happening now seems the better time. Someone may want to take it over but if not then the meeting this week will be our last.

While on the subject of reading I was angry to learn about the changes to English Literature syllabus regarding the removal of books such as ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and ‘Of Mice and Men’ and a bigger focus on pre 1900 English Literature. The books you read at school are the ones that stay with you and you are likely to go back to later in life. I am ashamed to say I haven’t read ‘Of Mice and Men’ but I have read ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’. This is such an important book in the English language and should be on the syllabus. All these changes have been made by Education Secretary Michael Gove without proper consultation. The media have portrayed the story as Shakespeare vs Steinbeck and Harper Lee vs Dickens but this isn’t the case. All of these books are important and are worth reading it but teachers should be allowed to have a diverse choice of titles to choose from. Asking a child to sit and read and study in depth a novel by Charles Dickens is a tough challenge and could put them off reading at that age. Shakespeare is already on the syllabus and I do think it should be taught and from an early age. By teaching though I mean pupils should be able to see Shakespeare for free. If Gove is so passionate about what texts pupils study he should pay for every child to see 2 productions of Shakespeare in a theatre instead of reading them.

I don’t want to make this post too political but I do want to comment on the European election results that were announced in the last week. It is worrying to see such a rise in support for far right political parties. In the UK the support for UKIP is worrying but I don’t believe it will be the same result in the General Election next year. The first past the post system will make it difficult for UKIP to get seats in the General Election, well I hope so anyway. All the main political parties need to address the issue of UKIP and more importantly why people have become disillusioned in politics. They need to engage with the public and start listening to the everyday person and not make decisions based on what they think is best. Watching the coverage of the election results I got quite mad over the focus by the media especially the BBC on UKIP. Yes they did well in the European elections but so did other parties. The BBC seem to forget the Green Party for example exist and don’t treat them as a main party even though they have both European MP’s and an MP in Parliament which is more than UKIP have. I hope the coverage of the General Election next year is a bit more impartial and less sensationalised by the BBC.

On Wednesday it was the start of the Global Corporate Challenge. This is a challenge for workplaces to be more active and the aim is to do at least 10,000 steps a day. You do it as a team of 7 and each day you update your profile with the number of steps you have down that day. As well as competing with each other (and boy are we getting competitive) we are also working as a team and competing with other teams from the University as well as thousands of others around the world. It is good fun and it is making me think about how I can be more active and improve my fitness and I don’t want to come last. It is making me realise I am more competitive than I thought I was. The challenge lasts for a 100 days and I will update you all how it is going. If any of you reading this are taking part then please let me know and we can have some sort of mini league.

I know I am late to the party with this but I have finally finished watching Game of Thrones season 1. I now see what all the fuss is about and I look forward to watching the rest.

On Saturday I went to see Maleficent at the cinema. I had high hopes for this film and it was one of the films for this year that I was really looking forward to seeing. Generally I not a huge fan of Angeline Jolie but she is good in this film and certainly looks the part. My big problem is that there was no need for this story. Disney seem to want to make their villains into good guys and there is no need for it. Apparently Maleficent topped a poll by Disney for people’s favourite Disney Villain and this is one of the reasons this film has been made. what Disney have forgotten is that people like Maleficent because she is a villain. The story of Sleeping Beauty is changed with this film and even the fairies have different names. As child I remember watching and rewatching the film ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and for me it doesn’t need this twist. As well as Jolie another great performance is by Sam Riley who plays Diaval. I think this character could have been used more effectively though. Saying this though the film was OK and I would give it 2.5/5.

In the local newspaper this week there was a letter from some audience members who came to Under Milk Wood. They said how much they enjoyed themselves and said how good we all were. It was such a lovely thing for them to do and it makes that whole experience even more enjoyable. I hope people enjoy the Tempest just as much.

As so much has been going on in my life recently it has made me stop and think and put some things into perspective. We are almost half way through the year and I need to step up and make things happen more and start working on improving my confidence.  Well that is it for this weeks post. Sorry it is late but I was at rehearsals. I will try to be on time next time.


Top Programme of the Week – Quirke

Top Song of the Week – Pharrell Williams – Happy

Book I Am Currently Reading – Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin