Social Media Hysteria

I had an experience last week that i found fascinating that involved the social medium of facebook and peoples use of this platform to both vilify and defend  a complete stranger.

To set the scene a business that provides services to the general public including the sale of food and beverages in an environment where lots of young children go to play and are supervised by their parents.

It was a busy school holiday week so the establishment was super busy. One child who used the facility was ill and subsequently threw up everywhere. The child was removed from the premises and the mess cleaned up. Business continued as usual.

Fast forward a couple of days and around a dozen people reported that their children had become ill since visiting the venue a couple of days earlier.

So this is where the hysteria starts. Facebook is the tool of choice it seems for people to publicly judge that of course the venue must be at fault. The food was of course poisoned and the place should be shut down immediately all who work there should be hung, drawn and quartered! People would jump on the band wagon.  They were not even there and were not affected by any illness but of course they wade in with their expert opinions on why this successful 12 year old business which has an excellent 5 star record should now be torched with a flame thrower.

Just as I started to despair at the craziness of it all along came some knights in shining armor. Members of the public who had not been infected with the craziness bug and actually showed some common sense and restraint. Hey this is someones business and livelihood they would say. Lets not judge until the facts have been established.

Well the facts were established by the experts and it was proven that the cause was a simple virus that had been brought into the centre by an ill child. No blame could be proportioned to the said business that people were ready to burn down.

We can all be quick to make judgements. The internet seems to offer an invisible barrier that removes common sense and decency in some people. Thankfully not in others.

I guess the moral of the story is that there is always two sides to a story. Get your facts and do your research before casting a judgement. I think this is something we can all benefit from doing a bit more of.

Cornwall

I first visited Cornwall on family holidays when I was a child. Being from the North West of England the drive there in the car seemed to take forever. Endless miles of M6, then M5 motorways. Finally you hit the end of the 3 lane motorways only to then have another hour or so on the A30. We would arrive in the holiday destination of choice, Newquay.

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Newquay Town

Newquay in the 1980’s was a busy seaside town. Famous for it’s surfing beaches and Fat Willy’s surf shack stores. As a child it seems the weather was always glorious. Hot sunny days spent on Fistral Beach or Crantock Beach. Building sandcastles and bathing in the sea. The ice cream van would park on the beach and it’s tune was like the piped piper gathering in adults and kid’s alike to buy its delicious products. I remember the bleached blond haired Aussie lifeguards in their Yellow tops and red shorts. They would patrol the shore line and ensure you stayed in between the correct colour coded flags. In the evenings Newquay high street was full of families out for a walk or visiting the bars and restaurants.

Fistral Beach, Newquay
Fistral Beach, Newquay

As an Adult I have returned to Cornwall many times. The exciting thing has been discovering that Newquay is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many stunningly beautiful places to visit. My wife and I enjoy putting on our hiking boots and taking to the South West coastal path which runs for hundreds of miles around the entire coast of the county. Particular favourites are Kynance Cove which is a National Trust property. The beach here is stunning and there is a lovely little cafe where you can enjoy refreshments and take in the wonderful views.

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Kynance Cove

Carbis Bay is a delight with its Caribbean style beach. On a warm sunny day you totally forget that you are in the UK. There is a lovely walk from Carbis Bay to St Ives. The railway line follows the walk which passes some lovely properties with amazing views of the ocean.

 

Fowey is a lovely fishing village on the south coast. Hire a kayak or motorised boat and enjoy the waters around this lovely town. The cobbled streets are full of interesting shops to browse in and of course get some fish and chips and sit near the harbour. Watch out for the seagulls though who are great at swooping down to steal the odd chip or two.

fowey
Fowey

 

Padstow is on the North Coast of Cornwall. Situated at the head of the Camel river it has a fishing village feel but with some exclusive shops and eating establishments. Home to the world renowned chef Rick Stein it is home to one of his many restaurants. With some wonderful beaches in and around Padstow it is a real jewel in the Cornish crown.

padstow

Cornwall has miles and miles of beautiful coastline, beaches and some lovely villages and harbours. I could go on and on listing places to go. So don’t just take my word for it. Add it to your list of places to visit, you will not be disappointed. Visit www.visitcornwall.com for more details on all that is Cornwall.

Depeche Mode

depeche mode

We all have a favourite band I guess. Mine is Depeche Mode. Formed in the early 1980’s in Basilden UK the band are still going strong almost 40 years later and still releasing new and relevant material.

I started following Depeche Mode in 1990 when I purchased their hugely successful album called Violator. With thumping tracks such as Enjoy the Silence, World in my Eyes and Personal Jesus I was immediately hooked by their sound.

I quickly filled my shelves with their back catalogue and have purchased every record since. I have been lucky enough to see the band live on many occasions and they have somewhat been the sound track to my life.

I have a broad musical taste and listen to lots of other bands and artists but I always go back to DM on a regular basis. My kid’s have been brought up listening to them. To be fair to them they had no choice really but it makes me smile when I hear them singing along in the back of the car to one of their tracks.

They have given me lots of listening pleasure and long may they continue to keep innovating and producing top quality music. Thank You, Dave, Martin & Fletch for being the soundtrack for my life.

Driving

Is it me or are people getting lazy while driving these days? Take those stick like implements that point out from behind the steering wheel, yes indicators. No body seems to indicate these days especially on roundabouts or is it islands! Anyway how annoying is it when you are patiently sat at the roundabout waiting your turn to move and the driver heading your way doesn’t indicate and casually turns off leaving you sat there thinking I could have gone then! Then there is the driver who decides to pull into your lane on the motorway without even a thought of flicking up that stick to give you advanced warning that you will soon need to slam on your brakes because they have just taken up your breaking distance. Maybe modern cars are to blame. There are so many distractions now in cars. Phones, Sat Nav’s, MP3 players, TV’s, internet access, coffee makers, well there might as well be coffee makers as technology seems to be taking the skill out of driving. Driverless cars is the future they say. Maybe the sooner the better. Let the technology drive the car and allow the human driver the time to update their face book status or twitter feed or even make that cup of coffee. But for me Driving is a skill and one that we humans should continue to be in control of. Do you remember the freedom you felt when you first learnt to drive and the independence it brought. Keep on driving and don’t forget to indicate.

Wasps

What is the point of wasps? What purpose do they have? To me they do a few things. 1. Annoy the hell out of you. 2. Put the fear of god into you. 3.Make you flap your arms around like a silly person. But seriously what do wasps do? I was intrigued so I googled the subject. According to fossil records wasps were around in the Jurassic age and are descended from a common ancestor of the bee and ant. I was not surprised to learn that most wasps are solitary creatures and are parasitoid which means they tend to lay their eggs on the larvae of other insects, the wasp eventually eating and killing the host larvae. Images of alien style sci-fi movies come to mind but hang on a minute this parasite comes in useful as a natural pest control within horticulture such as for whitefly on tomato crops. So while you are flapping your arms around like a silly person just remember maybe there is a use for wasps after all.

Greetings Cards

There is a greetings card for every possible event in life and death to that matter it seems. Once upon a time you sent a greetings card to someone on their Birthday and maybe at Christmas if you were so inclined. But how do you run a greetings card business with only two days per year to target your product at? Well what else can we celebrate? I guess the first thing is Birth, that’s where we all start. Then there are anniversary’s of marriage, apologies, thank you’s, congratulations, good luck’s and farewells, friendships, love and romance, thinking of you and death and sympathy. It seems there is a greetings card for each and every human emotion. Is it any wonder there is a greetings card shop on every high street. But as long as we all wish to express our humanity long live the greetings card.

Teenagers

I am a Dad of two teenage kid’s. My Son is 19 Years old and my Daughter 16 years old. Now you would think that having teenagers for the last 6 years you would think I have the hang of this teenage parenting thing by now but each new day brings along another challenge that you are not prepared or trained to deal with.

When your kid’s are young you have full control over them in many ways. Firstly they tend to believe whatever you tell them. Take Santa Claus and the tooth fairy to be exhibits A & B. They also think that you are the fountain of all knowledge and by far the smartest person in their world and you prove that on a daily basis by answering their many, many questions, such as: Dad, why is the sky blue? Dad, where does the water go when you unplug the bath? Dad, Why did you shout at the man on the TV?

This warm feeling of security and control continues then one day it happens….. 13th Birthday or if your’e super unlucky you have an early developer and it’s sooner. The questions of innocence and wonder are replaced by, Dad, why can’t I go to the party of the year at Joe the dope smoking cool kids house? or Dad, Can i borrow the Car?

Being a Parent of a teenager opens up a completely new world of problems, Obstacles and worries but it can also be a time of great reward, satisfaction and absolute Joy. OK i was getting a bit carried away with that last sentence! Seriously though I have been on a constant learning curve since my kids entered the twilight teenage zone.

The learning curve as taught me so far to do the following:

  • Learn to let Go. This is rather hard to do. Your instinct as a parent is to protect and nurture. Some parents may find letting go easier than others. This is something I found difficult. I am a person who is quite particular, and thorough about how I do things. I am always prepared and thinking ahead. I am early for appointments and do not like to let people down etc. Some may say a bit of a control freak. So letting go was hard for me and it took a while. Thankfully it happens fairly naturally and you soon find that you need your space from your teenagers as much as they need it from you.
  • Except that you are not the centre of their world anymore. I was replaced by the latest boy band in my Daughters case. Posters adorned her bedroom wall and every word spoken by said boy band member was greeted with over excitement that bordered insanity. I found that agreeing to like the boy bands latest hit record and review it as though reviewing Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd gained me some daughter acceptance points. These were however short lasting and were immediately refunded when I would ask “do you really need to wear that much makeup?”
  • Wish you had never bought them that smartphone. Phones are a great invention and they do allow you to be a modern parent and have immediate contact with your child at any time of day (should they answer the damn thing that is!) They do also act as a window for your child to have with the rest of the world. Good and bad of course. I found that talking to my kid’s about the perils of the internet and outside world helped a little but naturally they keep that part of their life close to their chest and it is a difficult nut to crack. Ultimately you know your kid’s and if their behavior changes then something is usually a miss. So in conclusion smartphones are here to stay and they would have asked for one eventually anyway.
  • Pretend that I have never experienced what they are going through and not use the line “When I was your age …..”
    This is a difficult one because it is so natural to compare your younger life with the life of your kid’s. You assume that they are just like you were and you try to impart your wisdom on them, Often it is received with “Dad, you know nothing!” So holding my tongue is the best tactic. I try to subtly suggest rather than to say I did this when I was your age etc.

So the teenage years are like riding a roller coaster, up and down, exciting and scary. Embrace them, battle through them and ultimately enjoy watching your little caterpillars blossom into beautiful butterflies and remember they are not teenagers forever and one day they will hopefully have their own teenagers to enact revenge on them!