I think Orwell was definitely ahead of his time

1984Does anyone remember being told in the 1980’s that the world would end?

I remember going to school on more than one occasion terrified that at 10.30am that day, the world as we knew it would cease to exist. This scaremongering – which did have a small modicum of reality attached to it – was the result of us being told that one very powerful man had access to one very powerful button.

As part of my ongoing plan to expand my general reading, I have been ploughing through 1984 by George Orwell and what has struck me the most is that in modern society, his dystopian world can almost be believable.

We are monitored (albeit not by telescreens or thought police) by cookies and location devices which can electronically track our movements. Thankfully we do not live under the dictatorial rule of Orwell’s world, yet with the UK EU referendum only days away it is impossible to predict what will happen either way. (Don’t worry, I’m not going to get political).

1984-1

I was aware of Orwell at school, indeed Animal Farm was one of our texts, yet I did not appreciate how forward thinking his work was. 1984 was first published in 1949, way before the computer technology that we have now – so how did he know that such a world could exist?

Maybe the same could be said for many dystopian writers. Maybe their worlds too will begin to echo in reality some day but the fact that it is possible to envisage Orwell’s 1984 state is both impressive and frightening in equal measure.

From what I have read I truly believe that Orwell was a man before his time. What does anyone else think?

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My 5k journey – has stalled…

Female legs jogging on a trailThis time last week I woke up to find the right side of my neck and shoulder seriously swollen and very painful. After blaming my husband for thumping me in the night (well, why not?), I began to treat it with ice, heat, very strong painkillers and Reiki/massage.

Today is the first day that I have not found myself in complete agony and the swelling appears to be finally receding. Needless to say that I have not been out training for well over a week now, thus my 5k journey is in a holding pattern.

All being well and if recovery continues as it is, then I plan to try a gentle run again on Monday. I will keep you posted!

Who ever said that running and exercise was good for your health…?

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Which search engine do you use?

Google

Courtesy of google.com

Google.

It’s the default and it’s always there. Right?

Yet, did you know that there are plenty of other search engines out there? I have to admit that I didn’t.

Recently I have been introduced to specialist Google search engines like Google Scholar and Google Books which, if you are a writer and are researching a topic, can be more relevant than a normal Google search.

Here are some others:

Bing Images – image search across the web including copywrite and use details

Europeana Collections – access to cultural artworks, artefacts and books situated in museums throughout Europe

Worldcat – worldwide library catalogue – access to more than 10,000 libraries

Refseek – a way to prioritise only academic sources

DuckDuckGo – general search engine that does not follow your searches (unlike Google so I have learned)

For research purposes I have found all of these search engines eye opening and with DuckDuckGo, I particularly like the layout and the way that the sources are easily signposted.

Try them out, you might be surprised at the results.

Any other search engines anyone can suggest?

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My 5k journey :Trail vs Road

Female legs jogging on a trailTo date I have done most of my training on the old railway line which runs alongside the river behind our house. The terrain is uneven, sometimes muddy and there are plenty of ups and downs. It is a beautiful route, the views are spectacular, however, because it is one long track, it is a case of running half of your desired distance and then turning around and retracing your steps.

Last week I decided I fancied a change and went on a circuitous road route taking in various local estates. Although not as pretty, the route did not repeat and within the first few minutes I was finding the going somewhat easier. There were still plenty of ups and downs – more ups than downs I am sure! – but my breathing was much more consistent and I managed to achieve my longest run to date: 4.4km, 31 minutes. Interestingly I also went a little faster – my split times being 30 seconds or more quicker on the road route.

Sura Nualpradid

Sura Nualpradid via freedigitalphotos.net

I was not aware until I compared the two that there would be that much difference based on the terrain, but I found it a real eye opener.

For the future I plan to alternate my training so that I am still giving myself the challenge of the trail run but I feel confident that by also training on the roads, I will be able to improve my stamina and times more readily.

Does this reflect anyone else’s experiences?

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In the news: Nikon Coolpix

Okay, so it’s not in the actual news, but it’s my news and I figured that would count for one week..

I was given an early birthday present yesterday from my entire family – a Nikon Coolpix L340 digital camera – which is something that I wanted so that I could take quality photos. These I can then hope to use to accompany articles when I am submitting them.

I am a novice photographer but the Nikon is excellent – so I thought I’d share a few of my early photo attempts. Just by way of a change…

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Saying of the week

 

Open book and pages flying into skies

 

Definition: A person’s only vulnerable spot: a serious or fatal weakness

Origin: From Greek mythology – the nymph Thetis dipped her infant son Achilles into the River Styx to make him immortal. The heel by which she held him, however, was not touched by the water and he was killed in battle by an arrow wound to that heel.

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Source: Oxford Dictionary of Idioms 2000

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Article writer? Think Readly

Helpful tips and advice on a yellow office noteAs a keen article writer I was thrilled to recently discover the Readly app. Essentially a magazine reading app it is linked to literally hundreds of magazine titles around the world. By downloading this app you can, at the touch of a button, read the latest edition or even a back copy of any one of those magazines. You can also download the magazines so that they are available when you are offline.

Readly is free to download and offers a free trial period which allows you a couple of days to test it out. After that it is a monthly fee of £7.99 (UK) but when you consider the sheer number of magazines that you can digitally read for that price, it is worth its weight in gold. You can also link multiple accounts to one app meaning that more than one member of your family can enjoy Readly  for the same monthly fee.

Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing better than physically leafing through your favourite magazine. Seeing the articles in all of their glory and inhaling the unique scent of glossy paper cannot be beaten, however, if like me you need to purchase a number of magazines for research, then it can be a costly activity. The last time I bought several magazines it cost me almost £20 and that was just for one edition of each. With Readly I can now access multiple editions of all of these magazines (and many more) at a price which is considerably more affordable.

serge bertasius photography

serge bertasius photography via freedigitalphotos.net

If you haven’t tried out Readly yet then I really suggest that you do. As a source of inspiration for magazine markets then it is tough to be beat and once you get reading, it is oddly addictive. I have found myself reading articles in magazines that I know I never would have picked off the shelf and as a writer that can only be a good thing.

Does anyone else use Readly? Would love to hear your thoughts.

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