Image

WPC: A Good Match – Jonas And Jane

Jonas and Jane

WPC: A Good Match – Jonas And Jane

Jonas and Jane performed on Saturday night at The Wilfrid Noyce Centre in Godalming alongside Backwoods Creek and The Nefarious Picaroons. A night of Americana, Country and Stomped-up Pop in aid of Skillway, the charity chosen by the Mayor of Godalming.

Jonas and Jane are an Americana Duo from the UK who consist of harmony driven and bluegrass influenced folk. They have toured Texas, Colorado and Arizona and have played many UK festivals including two stages at Maverick Americana Festival in 2015 and the main stage at Carfest South 2015 to over 35,000 people, following a live performance of their song ‘Whispered’ on the Chris Evans BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show in August 2015.

Image

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ambience

Meg Barwell

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ambience

Music and lighting really is the embodiment of ambience! I prefer my music LIVE and ORIGINAL. Fortunately, there is an abundance of musical talent in my area with many local, live-music venues and promoters! I am blessed to be able to call some of these fantastic musicians my friends and artistic collaborators. I love discovering new music! Open-mic nights are a great way to support local talent and and enjoy an eclectic mix of musical genres.

One Winter’s Night is the brainchild of Guildford based promoter and musician Gavin Thomas. Produced every January by GT Live Sessions, this concert is a collection of acoustic performances at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre. It was fantastic to watch my friends Richard and Calliopi, from Cardboard Carousel, and Claudia Stark perform on a big stage where they truly belong! The lighting design from John Harris along with the subtle staging from Liza Cheal and Jamie Barber, of the Yvonne Arnaud, added yet more ambience to what was a magical evening of music from the community, for the community.

Thanks to sponsorship from KP Snacks Limited, all the money raised on the night will be donated to two local charities, Challengers and The Onslow Ward at the Royal Surrey County Hospital. Challengers are an independent charity, developing and delivering inclusive play and leisure for disabled children and young people across Surrey, Hampshire and the surrounding areas. Onslow Ward is the inpatient unit for Oncology and Haematology at the Royal Surrey Hospital. The ward is in desperate need of a powered hoist that can be positioned by any bed on the ward, enabling a single nurse/carer to safely move patients in and out of the beds. I know the Royal Surrey Hospital very well myself as it is where I was first admitted with Crohn’s nearly twenty two years ago. They saved my life. My first stay as an inpatient was for about six weeks so I know how much of a difference a hoist like this will mean to both staff and patients alike!

The Dirty Carols and Sophie & Vikki

Tom Gortler

Claudia Stark

Keith Bayley featuring Gavin Thomas

Eva Perrin Fontana

Cardboard Carousel

Portland

Meg Barwell

Bare Jams

And finally…..

I’ve also put together a compilation video of the nights’ performances for your enjoyment! Please note that The Dirty Carols recreate songs that you may know well, BUT with alternate and slightly rude (sometimes, oh okay, most of the time!) lyrics. If you are playing this video to younger people, or are of a sensitive nature, then you may forward through (or mute) their hilarious songs. No offence is intended or taken!

Image

Purple Friday

#PurpleFriday

Purple Friday – Part of Worldwide Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week

For any of my followers who don’t already know, I have Crohn’s. I was diagnosed nearly twenty years ago and have since undergone four major abdominal operations including having an ileostomy created; developed secondary Fibromyalgia, psoriasis, vulvodynia, ocular disease, dental disease, kidney stones, foliculitis, skin ulcers, allergies, abscesses, strictures, hair thinning and reflux; I’ve had countless colonoscopies, ileoscopies, barium meal x-rays, transfusions and blood tests; I’ve taken pretty much every medication ever used in Crohn’s, plus several more experimental treatments; I am now taking Azathioprine and Humira (adalimumab) injections which reduce my immune system, along with numerous other medications for symptoms of all my conditions and to counteract side-effects. I have a GREAT life; brilliant family and friends, two lovely cats, art and photography, poetry, music, travel, the great outdoors, the RHS, lots of children who aren’t mine but I love them all to bits, oh, AND next year I’m getting married to my wonderful man, Simon 🙂

For #PurpleFriday, patients, their families and friends have all been wearing purple and taking selfies to tell their stories and raise awareness of Crohn’s and Colitis all over the world. Instead of a selfie, I decided that sharing some of my favourite purple floral-photos was a much better way of telling people about myself. After all, Crohn’s is only part of my story! It’s also a great way for me to say thank to Crohn’s & Colitis UK (CCUK) for all they have done for me over the years and to send a big hug out to everyone around the world affected by these illnesses.

This is a gallery of posters shared by CCUK this week to raise awareness, please feel free to share them!

Image

Weekly Photo Challenge: Achievement

Salvation

Weekly Photo Challenge: Achievement

The Last Post is a mass participation project that has seen communities across the UK playing the Last Post on a variety of different instruments to remember lives of World War One.  In Woking, our event was organised by Andy Mabbutt from The Phoenix Cultural Centre and hosted by Eddie Jones at The Trench Experience shop and Upcycling Centre.

The Trench Experience shop was the ideal setting for our event. The Charity was founded by Eddie Jones in 2005 and has just started work on a permanent base for the educational project, on land beside Brookwood Military Cemetery in Surrey. The site will be developed in real-time to the events of the First World War, leading up to a Victory Celebration in 2018. The charity has chosen The Artists Rifle Regiment to illustrate trench conditions. The Artists fought as a battalion and were in the thick of the fighting with the Royal Naval Division at Passchendaele and Ypres. I’m really excited about this open-air, living history museum!

Cllr Tony Branagan, the Mayor of Woking, opened the event and welcomed us all. We honoured the memory of the Artist’s Rifles with prose and poetry from Greg Freeman, of the Woking Writers Circle, and also from me. Wilfred Owen is one of the best known members of the Artist’s Rifles and his poetry was a huge inspiration to me from my school days. I felt it was fitting to read a number of his poems including, Beauty and Anthem For Doomed Youth, two of my favourites and incredibly moving pieces. I also read my recently penned homage to Blood Swept Lands.

Vic Cracknell took us on a journey through the music of the era which brought back memories for many of us, young and old. My Great Aunt Jo was always singing with us when we were children and I was probably one of the most vocal members of the audience during the sing-a-long when Vic launched into She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain! Voices rose all around the shop for It’s A Long Way To Tipperary and Pack Up Your Troubles. One of the most moving moments of the event came as Vic read an actual letter from the Grandfather he never met, back home to his family about having been wounded in action and losing an arm. It was full of reassurance to loved ones and gratitude for all the help he was receiving. Such an upbeat letter considering such dire circumstances!

A great achievement bringing several of Woking’s community groups together to put on such a successful and moving event!

Image

Red Nose Day

Red Nose Day

Today is Red Nose Day in the UK, it’s part of the charity Comic Relief which helps disadvantaged people in Africa and the UK.

The charity states that its aim is to “bring about positive and lasting change in the lives of poor and disadvantaged people, which we believe requires investing in work that addresses people’s immediate needs as well as tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice.”

On Red Nose Day people all across the country are doing something funny for money. This is my Dad’s story 🙂 You can donate money through his page Philip Longes!

Unusual Suspects

This year he has parted with his beloved moustache, of 30yrs, whilst wearing an ill-fitting, sparkly, red wig in full public view of the residents of Dorking.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Then it was back to the offices at David Cowan Solicitors to prepare for Crown Court with a very different wig! My Dad practices criminal law, a solicitor advocate for the defence, helping more people, because that’s my Dad, he cares 🙂

Image

St Mark’s

St Mark's

My photo today is of a commemorative, stained-glass plaque that greets patients at my specialist hospital, St Mark’s, with a warm reminder of the hospital’s extraordinary history.

I had a clinic appointment today with my consultant and IBD Nurse Specialist. I have a pretty complicated case of systemic Crohn’s Disease! On the bright side, they were also consulting me about an installation of some of my photography when the outpatient department gets a makeover in about three months time 🙂 Great to be giving something back.

The beginnings of St Mark’s Hospital were in a small room at No 11 Aldersgate Street where, in 1835, Frederick Salmon opened ‘The Infirmary for the Relief of the Poor afflicted with Fistula and other Diseases of the Rectum’.

After the number of patients trebled, Salmon moved to larger premises in Charterhouse Square. From there a site in City Road was purchased and was opened on St Mark’s Day, 25 April 1854, and took the name of St Mark’s Hospital for Fistula and other Diseases of the Rectum.

One famous benefactor was Charles Dickens, who blamed his need for Salmon’s surgical attentions on ‘too much sitting at my desk’! St Mark’s was unique in not employing a physician until 1948. That all changed with the arrival of Francis Avery-Jones, “the father of British gastroenterology”.

The hospital expanded as much as it could at the City Road site until in 1995 it became a part of the North West London NHS trust and moved to the same site as Northwick Park Hospital (Harrow). The hospital maintains strong teaching ties with Imperial College School of Medicine.

St Mark’s is the only hospital in the world to specialise entirely in intestinal and colorectal medicine and is a national and international referral centre for intestinal and colorectal disorders. It prides itself on a multidisciplinary approach to individual patients and combines both medical and surgical expertise with specialist nursing and paramedical skills.

I might not be here now if it hadn’t been for the research and skills of St Mark’s medical staff! Not all research, education, training and other vital developments are paid for by the NHS so St Marks still relies on charitable funds generated by The St Mark’s Hospital Foundation.

Please visit the St Mark’s Hospital and Foundation websites, as well as Crohn’s and Colitis UK, for more information.