Authonomy – Summer Competition

Does your story have an attention grabbing opening line? If it does, this competition is for you.

Authonomy are dedicated to discovering, connecting and nurturing exciting new writers.

The competition will run from now until midnight BST the night of Sunday 8th September. The winning entry will be selected by a panel of readers at HarperCollins.

To keep the blog comments free for entries, please send any questions you have to

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Posted by on August 19, 2013 in 21st century


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Join the dots …

You buy a bottle of milk. You pay for it at the checkout. You take the milk home and use it in your coffee and cereal.

Now if that was national insurance…you’d buy it. Take it to the checkout and pay but as your leaving the shop the security guy stops you and asks what you’ll be using it for?

For use in coffee, there are additional beverage related charges. For use in cereal there are additional nutritional related benefit charges.

Originally the milk cost £1.00 GBP.
Add beverage charges £1.00 GBP
Add nutrition charges £1.00 GBP

The £1.00 bottle of milk now costs £3.00 but the product benefits remain the same

“National Insurance payments were introduced in 1911.

The idea was to provide a government safety-net for workers who fell on hard times.

Employees paid money into the scheme out of their wages.

Anyone needing cash for medical treatment, or because they had lost their job, could claim from the fund.”

“You pay National Insurance contributions to build up your entitlement to certain state benefits, including the State Pension. The contributions you pay depend on how much you earn and whether you’re employed or self-employed. You stop paying National Insurance contributions when you reach State Pension age.”

“Funding for the NHS comes directly from taxation and is granted to the Department of Health by Parliament. When the NHS was launched in 1948 it had a budget of £437 million (roughly £9 billion at today#s value). For 2012/13 it is around £108.9 billion. “

The system has changed over the years.

“National Insurance is now used to pay for:

Unemployment benefit
Sickness and disability allowances
The state pension
NI is supposed to be “ring fenced” – meaning the money raised is only used for these areas and won’t be spent on things like building schools or employing police officers.

However, the government can borrow from the National Insurance fund to help pay for other projects”

Who approves this?

We pay 3 times for the same product but the level of service continues to deteriorate.

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Posted by on August 19, 2013 in 21st century


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Be careful out there

Many organisations are now changing.  With all of this re-structuring and re-organisation, have there been too many cut backs that leave companies vulnerable?

If you are in charge of an organisation, it may be worth looking at some of the Case Studies on the International Compliance Association web site.

Compliance is not witchcraft, so don’t get caught out by going down the wrong alley…


Photo taken at the Harry Potter Studio Tour, Leavesden Studios, Watford. 2012

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Posted by on August 18, 2013 in 21st century


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Long overdue update on writing activities and current employment.
Warmest wishes to all on a cold snowy day.

Originally posted on Maggie's small stones for the River:

These are the blogs of a working Mum, who is currently employed by a great supermarket brand, whose motto is “Every little helps”. It is a multi-layered motto, within and without of the brand. Her colleagues are lovely, friendly and very kind people. Her family are incredible. Her life would be empty without them. Throughout her life she has been lucky enough to meet and work with loads of fascinating people. She has always had a passion about books and writing. This passion is now being explored.


Update January 2013.

Since the end of 2012, I have had the privilege to work for a charitable organisation whose motto is “Servitor Servientium”.

Writing is still in progress…


Maggie’s small stones for the River” is a creative blog where she is exploring the fun to be had by noticing how extraordinary things are and writing those things down,

View original 187 more words

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Posted by on January 19, 2013 in 21st century, TaTUM


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This blog was created out of inspiration and wanting to share that inspiration with others.

A wonderfully brave and inspiring young lady has been very much in my thoughts over the past month. I am sure you will have heard about her. Shahida Choudhry from Birmingham has created a petition to give Malala the Nobel Peace Prize on

Shahida describes the global movement to urge the Nobel Foundation to give Malala the Nobel Peace Prize

“On October 9, 2012, 15-year old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in response to her campaign against the destruction of girls schools in Pakistan. In the face of terror, Malala risked her life to speak out for the rights of girls everywhere. Malala’s bravery has sparked a global movement and we believe the Nobel Foundation should give her the Nobel Peace Prize. “

Picture from the petition by Shahida Choudhary

Picture from the petition by Shahida Choudhary

Two days ago the petition was also reported on BBC news. “Gordon Brown, the UN special envoy for education, has said Malala would be a worthy recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize “

Malala’s father, Ziauddin – who is visiting his daughter in the UK – said she wanted to convey how grateful and amazed she was that people around the world were interested in her well-being.

“Malala is recovering well, and she wants me to tell you she has been inspired, and humbled by the thousands of messages, cards and gifts. They have helped her survive and stay strong,” he said.

He has also said that she was a worthy candidate for the peace award.

“Malala stands for the human dignity, tolerance and pluralism. She has drawn with her sacred blood a clear line between barbarity and human civilisation. Her voice is the voice of the people of Pakistan and all downtrodden and deprived children of the world.”

In the UK, campaigner Shahida Choudhary said she set up the petition “because a Nobel Peace Prize for Malala will send a clear message that the world is watching”.

We are inspired by you Malala. In my mind you are clearly a worthy recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and I am sure many more people will be signing this petition.

As Shahida has said, the world is watching.

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Posted by on November 11, 2012 in 21st century


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Our little Star – Trixie

On the 9th October we welcomed to our home the lovely Star. This was the name given to her by her foster mum from Aristocat Rescue. She didn’t seem to respond to Star so we tried other names, Luna, Cleo, Suzie, Suki and then we finally settled for Trixie as her little ears pricked up when she heard that name. She also responds very well to the sound of cat food bowls moving as she is a hungry little girl. The first of many pictures is below and we are very happy to welcome her to our family.

Photo by Becky

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Posted by on October 13, 2012 in 21st century



The Programming World needs you?

This has been a very productive and interesting week, not least when I received a mail from Allison, asking for my thoughts on the graphic here and below,

If you have read my blog posts about Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, or The ENIAC “Computers” you will understand how the work of the online college is very much of the same ethos as the posts I have been making here under the Soft Footsteps series.

The intention of the Soft Footsteps blog (and the book) was to inspire people to extend themselves and make the most of their talents. The online college goes one step further by inspiring people to make “2012 their Code Year” and provides access to the educational tools that will help them improve their skill base.

This line of study certainly seems to be gaining momentum in the US and it would be interesting to find out if there is anything similar available in the UK?

Please Include Attribution to With This Graphic Programming Infographic

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Posted by on September 24, 2012 in 21st century


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