Using the internet to track down old friends can be a particularly frustrating experience. Many sites exist that will lead you down the garden path, though the 'free' offers are not necessarily the only culprits.
Or do you know of an alternative site that has worked for you? If so, please 'pass-it-on' to the rest of us.
to Top Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world
Take care with this one : www.ted.comcan be very addictive. It's a website which gives you access to a large number of seminars / talks / presentations on a wide variety of topics, given by leading experts in the field. Themes include technology, entertainment, design, business, Science, global issues etc.
Save water and electricity by changing your shower head.
'Never recommend a plumber / builder to a close friend' the saying goes, so check this one out for yourself.
The Eco Camel Shower Head is an inexpensive shower head that you simply swop for your existing one. (£24.99). The manufacturers claim that it can save you up to £240 off the cost of your water and fuel bills. I cannot vouch for that (though it's been independently tested) but after using using it for more than a year I'm still very pleased with the pleasant shower that it gives.
" The ecocamel showerhead uses the principles of fluid dynamics to inject air directly into the water stream, causing high pressured air bubbles to increase the turbulence inside the shower head making the water spin at high speed. The extra velocity produces a unique pressurised shower spray that accelerates and increases the volume of the water as it leaves the showerhead to give powerful soaking and washing properties with a high impact rinse. "
If you have a non-electric shower and reasonable water preesure you may wish to investigate the free 'Water widget', of which I have no experience.
Very cheap accommodation in the heart of Seville
(with thanks to Patricia Hawkins de Medina)
The nuns of the Convento Santa Rosalía offer accommodation in this convent, at 15 Euro per night. (Yes!) The convent is situated on the Calle Cardenal Spinola, beside Plaza de la Gavidia, right in the historic centre of Seville.
The rooms are quite austere, but have ensuite bathroom—and lots and lots of silence.
The phone number is 00 34 954 383209. When your call is answered the greeting you will hear is "Ave Maria Purísima".
You will also be helping these nuns who are experiencing difficult times because of financial problems.
Deaths and Marriages
If you are asked to speak on these occasions and you're stuck for something
that might appeal to a very 'mixed' / 'secular' / 'agnostic' audience, you may
find some of the following useful. Apologies, in advance, if they are not to
your taste or if you are over-familiar with the items presented.
(These items are in a form that is easily cut-and-pasted, of course).
HAVE YOU ANY FAVOURITES OF YOUR OWN THAT COULD BE ADDED TO THIS LIST
Subject: Monica Source : David Harkins
You can shed tears that she is gone, or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she'll come back, or you can open your eyes and see all she's left.
Your heart can be empty because you can't see her, or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday, or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember her only that she is gone, or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind,
be empty and turn your back. Or you can do what she'd want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.
If I should go before the rest of you
Break not a flower, nor inscribe a stone
Nor when I'm gone speak in a Sunday voice
But be the usual selves that I have known
Weep if you must
Parting is hell
But life goes on
So sing as well
Gone from my sight Source : Poem by Henry
I am standing upon that
foreshore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning
breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white
cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says: "There, she is gone!!"
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull
and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear
her load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when
someone at my side says: "There, she is gone!" there are other
eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout:
"Here she comes!"
And that is dying.
Death is nothing at all Source : Poem by Henry
Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I , you are you.
Whatever we were to each other, that we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name,
speak to me in the easy way you always used to.
Put no difference in your tone, wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Let my name be ever the household word it always was,
let it be spoken without effort,
without the trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval,
somewhere very near, just round the corner.
All is well.
Subject: Children Source : "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran
AND a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children.
And he said: Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of to-morrow, which you cannot visit,
not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you
with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the Archer's hand be for gladness ;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He
loves also the bow that is stable.
A simple philosophy for life, but full of wisdom
(sometimes entitled "Desiderata") Source : Found in Old St Paul's
Church, Baltimore. dated 1692
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste and remember what peace
there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even the dull
and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself to others you
may become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser
persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested
in your career however humble; it is a real possession in the changing
fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full
of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many
persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself, especially
do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face
of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take
kindly the councel of the years gracefully surrendering to the things
Nurture the strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue
and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars:
you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no
doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be;
and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Remember Source : Poem by Christina
Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far that you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.
When you open the box of presents that we sent, you will find that there
is a small bottle of glycerine for Mummy.
You can use this for making very large bubbles. The glycerine makes
the bubbles stronger so they can be MUCH larger.
If you enjoy making bubbles (as I do) then you could follow the instructions
that I have copied below.
We hope that you enjoy your Christmas presents.
Lots of love from Grandpa & Grandma
for making HUGE BUBBLES
Make a soap solution with washing up liquid (10%), water (89%)
and glycerine (1%).
Mix the solution carefully and dont whisk it hard
or youll get lots of small bubbles appearing that make blowing larger
Use a simple hoop of wire to test out your bubble mixture.
Now design different hoops to make a square bubble can you
do it? (Six bubbles together will make a square bubble in the centre).
If not, make one huge bubble.
Different Dippers :
Take a short piece of pipecleaner and form a loop in it about 4 cm in
Dip into the bubble solution and gently blow.
Drinking straws make fairly good bubble
They will hold more bubble juice if 4 short slits (about 5cm) are cut
at the bubble end.
The big bubble loop :
Slide two drinking straws onto a piece of string about 1m long.
Tie off the ends to form a loop.
Hold the straws apart to form a big rectangle.
Bring the straws together to close the rectangle and dunk it into a bucket
of bubble juice.
Pull it out again and slowly separate the two straws.
A film should form around the loop. If it doesn't break, pull the loop
through the air to form a giant bubble.
You may already know that there are several free web broswers available,
each offering a slightly different layout or facilities. Perhaps you have
already tested some alternatives to Microsoft's Internet Explorer
and therefore know that it's quite safe to do so and doesn't stop
you from switching back to your normal browser, which remains unaffected
on your computer's hard disk.
The FIREFOX web browser is considered to be one of the best, though
you may not understand why until you have tested some of its 'add-ons'.
It is very easy to get hold of these extra facilities : FIREFOX provides
a convenient box on the top righthand corner through which you can get
immediate access to 'engines' such as GOOGLE, YAHOO and
It also invites you to add umpteem extra engines of your choice. For example,
if you live in the States you might wish to have weather reports at your
finger tips (from weather.com). And once you have selected your choices
these powerful tools are available to you at the click of a button.
For your convenience, here's a list of extra engines that are currently
on offer :
Amazon's A9 search engine.
Better search results with keywords or questions.
Search for the latest news on BBC.
Search through most bookmarked sites.
Get the latest sports news, scores, and highlights.
Search for hotels by destination with Expedia's Best
Search for photos on Flickr.
Food Network Recipes
Find recipes from your favorite chefs.
Search for movies and movie listings
The Internet Movie Database.
Search your LinkedIn network for the people you need
when you are on any Web site.
Lonely Planet Online
Search through Lonely Planet's travel guides.
Stock quote look-up and financial information.
English dictionary search.
MSN search engine.
A real-time search engine that keeps track of what is
going on in the blogosphere
Enter city, state or zip code to find your weather information.
The incredible free encyclopedia.
Search engine for kids and teens.
Search real answers to real questions from real people.
One further option is ' ROLLYO ' ,
which offers you the ability to search the content of a list of specified
websites. Think about this one : if, for example, you wanted to see
if there is any mention of a particular White Father on any of the following
sites, this option would do an immediate search of each site for you: