This site is English – get used to it…


Photography: suggestive images

Girl enjoying the fun day

This looks fun, photos of children enjoying themselves gives a very positive image. We can promote parks, nature reserves, pubs, carnivals, whatever we like with suitable photographs suggesting a positive image. Some photos are negative however. (more…)


This is an excellent post. I tend to eat ‘in season’. I eat salad in summer and root vegetables in winter more; but this is a different way of looking at it.

Becoming Madame

Eating in season is probably rule number one when it comes to traditional French savoir-vivre. Over here in France this way of eating is not only logical but practical. Unlike in North America where just about any fruit or vegetable is available twelve months of the year thanks to refrigerated transport trucks and Hydroponics, in the outdoor markets of France and even in the grocery stores, you cannot find strawberries in December or clementines in June. Fresh produce is bought and sold according to the natural cycle of Winter, Spring, Fall and Summer.

It’s true that in some French stores nowadays you can find certain varieties of apples all year around. But if you pay attention to who buys them, in Paris anyway, it’ll be the tourists, the new comers, the visitors, perhaps ever now and then the young who are cooking for themselves for the first time. As a…

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I like castles and have been to a few!

Love thy bike

The flashing neon lights of Las Vegas didn’t hold our attention for very long – something seemed to be missing? So we went in search of that something special and discovered ‘ The Valley of Fire’ Nevada’s oldest state park.  What a find!

Approximately 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas via Lake Mead and through intriguing desert terrain our camper van rumbled through the entrance of the ‘Valley of Fire’.  Almost immediately, on either side of road, we were welcomed by enormous crimson rocks clumped together like hot coals in a fireplace.  The desert had suddenly become a golden ember!

It wasn’t long before we had to stop the engine to admire the glow of the red rocks sitting against the crisp blue sky.  Curious Antelope ground squirrels scurried about our feet as we clambered in and around the rocks.  A small wedding was romantically taking place at a picnic spot and…

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The photographs in this blog are amazing and make you want a French kitchen!

Becoming Madame

(I apologize for a bizarre post many of you received from us today. It was due to a false manipulation of the key-board. I do apologize.)

I had a delightful request for some information about French Kitchens from a new reader. Originally my idea for this post was to scour the houses and apartments of all the family and friends I have here in Paris and throughout France in order to do a truly thorough and realistic job of the response-post. I was a little too ambitious. It would take a couple of months for me to invite myself over to all these people’s houses and take the right pictures/video and then put it all together. I decided to error on the side of efficiency given that our reader is currently doing a home reno and just might be under a time restraint to make certain design choices. This, of…

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How to make your first million 2

UK Pounds

On paper

In my first ‘How to make your first Million’ blog, I said you need to understand the nature of money and that the paper stuff goes down in value. This is because they keep printing the stuff! That gold sovereign in the picture however, goes up in value. I know, I know, gold is going to drop in price any minute and I should sell and invest in shares! It dropped a little last week and then went up yet again, people said sell at $1,000 a ounce, $1,500 an ounce and we are on our way to $2,000 an ounce! When interest rates rise and they are higher than inflation, then I would think; maybe, that selling is a good idea. (more…)

A Sunday ramble in June…

Neodigital - a pool makes a good subject

I couldn’t decide on a photograph to begin this blog with. This one isn’t very exciting, but it is a favourite place to take photographs. I held the camera close to the water and took a few shots last time and the pictures are too dark but it made the waves look huge! I am waiting for a quiet day, perhaps a Sunday and good light. I have a quiet day but like on the day I took this photograph, it’s cloudy. (more…)

Word recall…

sketcher - MILL 143

I have started today’s blog with a picture of the entrance to a church yard; for no particular reason, except it looks nice. It is a another attempt at Neodigital Art and I have a few blogs on that subject, complete with pictures. Neodigital Art is actually getting more popular and the originals to some pictures are in fact priceless. The original file size of this one is only 1.52 Mb; but they can be twice as large. You need a high resolution picture to make large copies and up to 10,000 copies can be made in a limited edition of a work of art and so the original file can be expensive. (more…)

Oiks and Toffs

The Black Country Forest by the railway...

Oiks and Toffs

If you don’t know what Oiks and Toffs are; I will explain. The Toffs are people like Cameron who went to Eton and of course Oxford and his mate Cleggy went to Cambridge. I probably qualify as an oik! I was one of those nasty rough lads from town, who spoke with a working class accent. I got my hands dirty at times too and actually did some work; I must be an oik. We oiks had our day though and we went a message to Cleggy in the elections. (more…)

Close Encounters!

Neodigital Art - Do you see this when you look at a cloud?

Horoscope Aquarius

Monday 04 April

Words can be your currency this week, and if they are used in a measured, thoughtful way, your communication can make a major impact. However, equally others can feel passionate about their views and someone may spring something on you that will come as a major surprise, like hearing from an old flame, perhaps by email or text message. (more…)


Neodigital Art - this was taken at a nature reserve a week ago - a hidden treasure


Horoscope Aquarius

Sunday 03 April

Keep a pen and notepad handy, and a camera and your mobile. Today is all about thinking and having the most brilliant ideas you have ever had. Make sure you write them down, photograph them, talk them into a recording device and keep them to hand. Your mind is really operating at the very top of its gearing, and this can see you quick-witted too.

Isn’t that spooky! I had just finished writing some notes in a notepad and I checked my email and got this horoscope. I am planning to go out this afternoon to take photographs for my Neodigital Art blogs and so I checked my mobile (cell phone) was fully charged. Actually it rang, it was still on GMT and the alarm went off; that is my emergency alarm in case I sleep through the clock. It went off a hour late because I hadn’t altered it to dreamless time. I feel constantly tired since altering the clocks an hour; I wish the dreamless ones would leave them alone. You cannot save daylight! I say it every year, twice a year; it makes no difference. (more…)

Neodigital Art – Update two

Neodigital Art - socially inclusive, you just need your computer and a camera.

Neodigital Art – Update two, Saturday, 26 March 2011

“These people have learned not from books, but in the fields, in the wood, on the river bank. Their teachers have been the birds themselves, when they sang to them, the sun when it left a glow of crimson behind it at setting, the very trees, and wild herbs.”
— Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (more…)

Social media and democracy

Windows Live: connect to social media, friends, use a web cam and so much more.

I’ve blanked out the names for reasons of privacy in the above screen snippet. I snipped that 9 minutes after a post on Qzone in China.

Social Media and democracy

What is social media and social networking? I read the other day that someone didn’t know the difference. The media is the way people communicate and that can be a social media site such as LinkedIn or Facebook; it can equally be Twitter which is unique in allowing users to just send 140 characters; but part of that message can include a link to a website or blog. I will actually Tweet a link to this blog with a hash that says #socialmedia to allow people to find it by searching for the tweet. To become part of the Twitter community you need a client like Tweetings for Chrome that I have used or Tweetdeck for Chrome which is the one I use now. I use Chrome simply because it’s fast and I don’t need to have a lot of tool bars. There are other  ‘social network’ sites like Tagged, My Yearbook and Zorpia and they all have some appeal to various groups.  I also count forums as part of social media because they are on the internet and they are very interactive. I would even suggest that the telephone and particularly the cell phone is part of social media because they offer communication and the cell phone is being integrated into networks like Facebook. (more…)

To blog or not to blog…

Neodigital Art: Democratised and open to everyone.

To blog or not to blog,

Sunday, 13 March 2011

This is my horoscope for today:

Information is changing your life whether it comes from books, overheard conversations, surfing the internet or from within the recesses of your own mind. Some of the concepts that you dare to entertain could blow a circuit as they are so different to the way most people think. But out of this you are hatching a cunning plan that could change your life forever.

It is accurate in as far as it goes; because information does govern my life as it does most people these days. I am immersed in social media. I am a regular member of LinkedIn, Facebook and of course Twitter; I blog here on WordPress and I am getting more popular as a writer. So why do I blog? (more…)

Neodigital Art

Neodigital Art

Neodigital - gthe photograph has been digitally altered.

Neodigital Art for the 21st century

Impressionism was a 19th-century art movement that began as a loose association of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions brought them to prominence in the 1870s and 1880s. The name of the movement is derived from the title of a Claude Monet work, Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant), which provoked the critic Louis Leroy to coin the term in a satiric review published in Le Charivari.

The word impressionism has continued to be used to describe a variety of art movements ever since. There have been post-impressionism, neo-impressionism and in the 21st century impressionism is still popular. These days to become a modern day Monet or Cezanne you don’t need paints, brushes or canvas. Many artists now upload the work to the Deviant Art website and many other web sites. Art is now digital (get used to it) and art galleries can go online; artists can display their work online for the world. You don’t need permission to be an artist from the curator of a dusty art gallery; art is being democratised. Art is now digitised and the new 21st century school of art is Neodigital and you can join. You have a computer or you wouldn’t be reading this and so all you need is a digital camera; some free software and an eye for an artistic image. (more…)

Hypnosis, psychology and social networking continued…

Hypnosis, psychology and social networking continued…

If you read my previous post on this subject I said the hypnotherapist needed to be honest. That isn’t quite true. He or she needs to be benevolent rather than malevolent. Lies are usually malevolent but not always. The child who tells his parent about his invisible friend isn’t being honest but isn’t lying either and so when he says he has been playing with his secret friend Charlie; he is being imaginative. Children believe what they say when they are playing and so can sound very honest. The same is true of adults but honesty is still the best policy unless honesty would be malevolent. If someone is over-weight for example it is impolite and malevolent to point it out.

When you are communicating you need to relax and if you are being nasty and malevolent this will be harder to achieve and probably impossible. I have said in previous posts that we can say to ourselves a 1,000 times, “I am more confident,” or “I look good,” and not believe it; but if someone else says “You look good today,” it immediately enhances our self esteem and we feel better and more confident. The hypnotherapist does the same thing but much more effectively when he is trying to rebuild someone’s self esteem. If you don’t believe you can lose weight, the hypnotherapist can help you believe in yourself and it will be easier to stick to a diet and exercise program. The same applies to conquering addictions like drugs and smoking. The hypnotherapist does need knowledge of addiction though; especially with drugs when he will advise clients to reduce the drug slowly. The typical reduction accepted, is a 10% cut in the dosage every two weeks. This reduction works for most drugs but can be difficult when you get down to the last pill in the case of benzodiazepines like Valium, for example. Many people take 30 mg of Valium a day and a 3mg cut is easy but when you get down to below 10 mg a day cutting less than 1 mg isn’t easy and clients often cut more than 10% and this will result in withdrawal symptoms. The hypnotherapist can help negate the withdrawal by giving the client something else to think about other than the withdrawal symptoms which may seem overwhelming. Even on the last 2 mg of Valium a day clients can have problems cutting down and then many file 10% off a pill, take that and keep cutting slowly even though cutting the last 2 mg to nothing may take as long as 6 months.

Hypnotherapists can use the power of suggestion to help with many other problems and need to understand the way the mind works and also the other systems in the body. Suggestion can have a direct affect on the nervous system and reduce pain; it can have an indirect affect on the endocrine system and change the hormone levels. When we are relaxed we produce more oxytocin which is often called the ‘love hormone.’ We produce this when we are relaxed and when we are touched or cuddled. The opposite is the hormone cortisol and high levels of this are implicated in many problems. High cortisol levels also make us feel unwell and anxious and of course anxiety produces high cortisol levels and so it’s a vicious circle. In many people who suffer from anxiety this results in the system going out of control and they experience ‘anxiety attacks’ or ‘panic attacks’ this is a serious and distressing problem that can be helped by hypnotherapy.

You can help stop people becoming anxious using both traditional face to face networking skills and online social networking skills. The main skill to remember is to be nice, be diplomatic and be honest although not malevolently honest as in ‘that’s a fat butt, you must have eaten a few fries to get that.’

Everything we say is suggestion, particularly in person; but also we suggest things with what we write. Just being repetitive makes the suggestion more effective; repetition is both a rhetorical device and a psychological device and used by preachers on a Sunday to instil beliefs and advertisers every day of the week to convince you that their bread is tastier and softer than the other guys. Remember that and be careful of what you say and write and put more thought in to it. Thinking can be a great exercise to improve yourself! Try it while eating your next meal and imagine your next conservation; practice being honest but diplomatic. Consider how to address people, what is proper but friendly. At one time in England nearly everyone was addressed formally as mister, miss or missus but that has made way for more informal communication and first names are used far more often. When you end a letter, end it with your first and possibly you last name too and sign it with your first and last name. It is more informal and informal is seen as friendly. It can be a little confusing if you only use your first name. I have two entries in the guest book of my website and they both have a first name only; I have no idea who they are. I have a lot of friends online and offline and connections on Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networks; so just a first name doesn’t identify who left the message. I must admit I am guilty of leaving messages on answer phones that start with ‘it’s me.’  Just the way you address someone is important to establishing contact and the appropriate form of address is needed. My doctor addresses me informally and if I address him as ‘doctor’ it is more formal but informal would be inappropriate.  Informal isn’t always a two way street. There is etiquette offline and there is also etiquette online, never SHOUT! Use a relaxed style of writing and even if you only write one line try to stay in touch with people who are important to you. I send virals out, jokes, pictures or videos to inform, entertain and amuse. I forwarded videos on a couple of days ago and many people enjoyed them; it gave me a reason to contact people and they were reminded I am still here if they need me.

You should remember that everyone needs everyone else and so don’t ask what they can do for you; ask what you can do for them. In this blog, I am trying to inform based on my experience in psychology and to a certain extent hypnosis. Thinking changes a lot about psychology and hypnosis in particular. In recent years CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) has become popular and some hypnotherapists have used that in conjunction with hypnotherapy or used it to alter the suggestions they give. I haven’t discussed hypnotherapy for a long time and so missed most of these suggestions. I am familiar with CBT generally and not a fan, I have my own thoughts about hypnotherapy and haven’t been affected by collective and trendy thinking. Always beware of trends. I remember a movie that was about a girl with multiple personalities and psychiatrists who watched it were influenced by the collective suggestions in the movie. They started seeing the symptoms of multiple personas in all their patients and the diagnosis of the problem in the USA soared in the months after the movie was released. You can be the subject of suggestion and although we don’t like to think we are easily led; we often are.

Check back for more interesting blogs. I intend to do a few every week and more comedy. 🙂

Social Networking

Social Networking: Learning from the past.


“In the United Kingdom, the network exists primarily within alumni of the Eton Group and the Rugby Group public schools, as well as having affiliation with Oxford University and/or Cambridge University, is colloquially known as “The Old Boys’ Network”. Such a network is often blamed for an apparent high proportion of former pupils of these schools and graduates of these universities in high status positions in government, business, and the professions.

I copied and pasted that quote from Wikipedia and the “Old Boy’s Network” is the oldest form of social networking and the most elitist. My old headmaster was part of that network being Oxbridge educated. Oxbridge means Oxford, Cambridge or both;  being the oldest and most prestigious universities in England. My headmaster insisted that alumni of the school be called ‘old boys’ and couldn’t understand why we objected to that. It was because we detested his “Old Boy’s Network” that discriminated cruelly and all it stood for. It can be a mistake to appear too elitist when engaging in social networking; inverted snobbery criticising people who are doing well just for the sake of it is to be avoided too.

I read the latest column from the young Cambridge graduate journalist this morning. His latest idea is we have some GPS device in our cars and let insurance companies ‘spy’ on us and we get cheaper premiums if we don’t drive in the early hours of the morning and stuff. We would no doubt risk a higher premium if we went over the speed limit and could even provide evidence through GPS technology of wrong doing. He got that job through the “Old boy’s network” or perhaps the “The Old girl’s network”? His article was pathetic but not the worse one I have read this morning. The worst one came from that websites nemesis; their arch rivals.  I was thinking of writing for this site; but not if they accept from morons! Anyway, this guy goes on about “welfare claimants” and supports government cuts with some odd statistics. He doesn’t appear to understand that most of that spending is on benefits supported by national insurance and people have a right to claim and if the government doesn’t pay out they are cheating the people. He also says people on welfare need to work because ‘foreign workers’ are taking their jobs. Yes, give the jobs only to people with good English names, no Patel’s, Singh’s and all that. What was the journalist’s name? Milano, give the kid a job that’s good English name…

I have had to warn my Chinese students about racists and bigots before they come to England to do their Masters degrees. They will borrow money and get grants from the Chinese lottery to come here at a cost that is 17 times that of a Chinese university. That is money pouring into Britain from China; we take tens of thousands of Chinese students but there will be bigots that don’t understand. They will say they are immigrants taking their jobs, not that most of them have a job of course.  A big danger to the students coming here are Chinese though and Triads; they fled China for Hong Kong and then fled Hong Kong for the UK when the Chinese took over. They are mostly active in the Chinese community and in China town so at least they can avoid them.

There is no room for racism in social networking either and colour is just colour; culture can be difficult but you just have to try to understand different cultures and beliefs. We even have to accept the elitist racists and are nice to them; never descend to the level of people in the gutter.

This is serious stuff today; I’ll get back to the dreamless ones tomorrow. I’m still dreaming, weird dreams. Life is so complex, it’s not surprising. My neighbour is shopping; she asked if there was anything I wanted. I need stain remover, she just phoned. Do I want the 500 gram one; they are 2 for £5 or the 1.5 Kg one that is £10 but is on offer and half price? You can’t make this stuff up can you? Why write fiction when life is stranger than fiction? What next?

I just had a break, made tea; looked out of the window. I heard shovelling when I got up and it was cold. I thought it hasn’t snowed has it? I looked out and four guys were shovelling leaves and dirt.  I remembered the election leaflet for the local council election; this is the ‘deep street clean’. They are still at it but down to two guys now, one shovelling and one smoking a cigarette watching him shovelling. They look like a prison work party. The truck must have cost a few quid to hire; they are really cutting back! I wonder what that guy is doing with is cigarette ash; I hope it’s not going on my ‘deep cleaned’ street…

Every cloud has a silver lining. One government department sends out bad news in manila envelopes and I coined the phrase ‘manila envelope syndrome’ to describe the feeling of dread when you get one. I had the dreaded manila envelope this week; they are giving me money! Don’t tell anyone!!! 🙂

My car goes for a Ministry of Transport Test on Thursday and they will service and try to fix it while it’s in the garage. It will be weird being without a car for a day. I shall get a craving for something and not be able to go and buy it. I shall have a think and make sure I have everything I need for the day including any mysterious cravings. I have scotch, beer, drugs, cider, sweets, tea and chips; that should do it. I can’t imagine craving anything else except cigarettes and I even have those; I definitely won’t succumb to that craving if it rears its ugly head. I hope they fix my reserving lights, that is about all that needs fixing and the engine needs an oil change and stuff.

I don’t like travelling; it is a remnant of my years of being very ill. I am getting better, I travel more and one day I will try driving down the motorway to the English countryside. I keep checking Google maps planning my escape to the country to take photographs. I could be driving past Anne Hathaway’s cottage in an hour if I get a move on! Did you know that Shakespeare left Anne Hathaway his ‘best bed’ in his will? I know lots of useless things. 🙂


A Monday morning ramble.

Monday, 08 November 2010,



Farmville I was told changed at the weekend, I can’t see any changes. There is a new spirit of cooperation though as a result. I am even in a co-op with my closest rival. She doesn’t appear to sleep and caught me up nearly at the weekend, but as usual I stayed ahead of the game. I made a mistake this morning; I have made mistakes all weekend. I planted the wrong coloured grapes this morning, I should have planted black grapes and that would have given me a slight advantage with the co-op. I planted white – whoops…  🙂 (more…)

My first blog.

Making a start.

This is my first blog on but I do write a 1,000 word guest blog every day. I would actually like this on my own web space. I have a small website that you may like to visit. I usually write comedy and so come back and read more blogs as I get funnier! Today I am just sorting out the technical stuff and trying to apply the theme I want. I have noticed I can switch to HTML to put links in and so can link it to the WordPress blog I guest write on. I have written a novel and there are details of that on my tiny website. There is a video on my home page with a pre-publication promo slide show style video.  also did some videos for Jake West: The Keeper of the Stones. I am also webmaster on that site, you can find that here. That is a fantasy novel published on Authorhouse and written by M. J. Webb a newly published author who lives in central England, not too far from me.

I am also co-writing ‘Chrisma’ with author Jane Cooper and you can read the ‘Coop’ blog here I have started a psychological thriller that I have called ‘Abduction’ for the time being. Jane says it’s “Raunchy, raunchy, raunchy, keep writing it!” It may be too raunchy, it’s hard writing from the point of view of an 18 years old girl; especially when describing her sexuality. The novel is very ‘adult’ and erotic to say the least. I’ll need some nerve to have that published.

I am now waiting to hear if I have a junior editor interested in my first novel ‘Captain Jack: A Ship’s Log.’ I sent the synopsis off to Penguin who were accepting submissions and I saw this ‘window of opportunity’ and wrote an email and synopsis that must be the best thing I have ever written.

Come back and read my next blog, it will be more interesting and funny.



Hello world!

This is my first post and I’m still working out the technical aspects of WordPress. I would appreciate some subscribers! 🙂 I will be writing regularly and linking the blogs to my friends blogs and websites. I can also link this in to my own website which can be found here. Do come back and read my stuff when I get going. I may even serialise my new raunchy novel. You’ll have to join a queue then! 🙂