My top five tips on #personalsafety #staysafe

My Top Five Tips on Personal Safety

Following the report that a rapist has been caught in Derby, but bearing in mind that a member of Ripley Running Club has been assaulted on Cromford Canal, here are my top personal safety tips. I am in no way victim blaming here. The best way to stay safe is to make sure everyone grows up with respect for others.

1. Nights out: Plan a night out with friends. If your friends ever leave you, they are not your friends.

  • Hide some money in your purse for a taxi/the bus.
  • Use only black cabs or cabs from an office if you are travelling on your own.
  • Take a picture of the number plate/taxi number when using a black cab. If they have a problem with this, get out.
  • If you do end up walking home, walk the bus route.
  • Tonic water always looks like it has vodka in it.

2. Internet dating: No matter how nice he seems from social media/that meeting you went to/internet dating/the supermarket observe him closely. Ask him who he lives with. You might be surprised. If someone invites you to the cinema for a first date, be wary. If the first date is at their flat, don’t go.

3. Running: never run in headphones. You need to be aware at all times. If you don’t like this, you might be better off running in the gym.

4. If you find yourself in a dodgy situation (ie you or someone else is being sexually assaulted or at risk of being sexually assaulted) stay calm, move, talk to a friend and engineer a way out. Report it if you can.

5. Remember that some men (and women) are actually nice. I know. Hard to believe sometimes!

© Rebecca Deans 2017

 

 

 

 

 

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My first publication in 17 years This is My Refuge in @womensdayderby magazine #herstory

I am proud to announce that one of my poems has been published in Women’s Day Derby’s magazine. This year, alongside the programme of event, they published a selection of poems, blogs, thoughts and biographies to inspire. They also provided a safe space to read, so I sang my song, ‘These Streets’ a capella and read ‘Fragment of a Folk Song’ and a new version of ‘Shred’.

Here is the poem again for your perusal, or you can check out all the works at https://womensdayderby.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/iwd-magazine-2017-printed-mercia-version.pdf (though the text is not currently showing). There will be a longer version published later in the month.

 

This is my refuge

All is calm and white and open. Nothing

Is perched, ready to fall. Surfaces

Are clear and useful. Bookshelves

 

Empty. Words

Drip onto the page but never stick.

 

There are too many changes to track

too many tracks to change

and you never listen.

 

Dreams run on emptiness.

 

You held me down so long

I came out of the other side.

Now watch me fly.

(c) Rebecca Deans 2015

 

 

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Guilty #internationalwomensday #amwriting

Guilty

Feel guilty for Lent

Feel guilty for the war

Pack your bags, have a tab

And get drowned in it all.

 

Feel guilty for sunrise

Feel guilty for cloud

You’re a mother, like no other

Don’t be quiet, be loud

 

Feel guilty for chocolate

though it gives you energy

We need to eat, we need to breathe

Food is not the enemy

 

So break your high heels girl

And make your own track

Find your voice, make your choice

There is no going back.

 

I’m not sure this is finished, but here’s my first offering for International Women’s Day 2017.

And if anyone has a rhyme for haemoglobin, can they give me a heads-up?

(C) Rebecca Deans/Becky Deans 2017

 

 

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Why planning policy is like #WW1 #LestWeForget

Why planning policy is like #WW1 #LestWeForget

 

I like to read Twitter. It’s a great source of news. Better than Facebook, which is very inward looking and often tries to guess what you’re thinking. You do, to some extent, get news from Twitter, though it’s best to find and follow the right people.

 

A hashtag I often see at the moment is #WorseThanBeeching. Now Beeching was the analyst type that carved up the railways. He’s very famous. But I think we’re talking about social engineering here.

 

I may have watched completely the wrong history programme here, but I understand he was a bean counter who would see how many people were waiting for a train and then record it. Like a secret shopper perhaps. And if he went to the wrong station at the wrong time, poof. Like a secret shopper on acid if he didn’t get to you at the right time.

 

We’re still trying to correct the mistakes of Beeching. Building a new station at Ilkeston, for example.

 

Places with train stations have become terribly genteel, it seems, unless you’re in London and that’s a whole different ball game.

 

Belper, for example, is a victim of Beeching. It has a train station and I believe you can mosey up to Matlock or even get to London, if you change at Derby. I’ve never tried it. Have you ever tried to drive to Belper? It goes on for ever. I only go there midday.

 

For me, Belper is interesting. Really really cutesy centre, lots of Chelsea tractors and backward facing car seats. (I didn’t even realise that was a thing.) Signs saying you can’t wee in the coffee shop unless you buy a coffee. You can do baby sign and baby step and baby karate and everything there. (I may have made that bit up.)

 

But it’s also a sprawling mess of planning. It’s gradually being joined up to places like Heage, Bargate and Kilburn because it’s a victim of its own success: it has a train station. It has become desirable, because of this Beeching chappy we’re talking about.

 

When I started campaigning, the cries from the Tories were all about ‘well what about Belper?’ Yeah. Right I get you. I found the centre of Heage a couple of weeks ago trying to get from Belper School to my IT tech. It’s a planning disaster.

 

But why, you say, is planning policy like #WW1?

 

Because they are building on our green lungs (so people are dying due to traffic pollution)

Because they are building on our fields where children used to play (they are now more likely to be kept inside – lack of Vitamin D etc etc)

Because they are making other areas flooded…or just building on a flood plain and going ‘flood plain? Really? Oops.’ (Then someone has a nightmare to sort out – generally the public sector.)

 

Which land will you sacrifice for your children and your children’s children? I’m guessing it’s not your back garden unless you’re desperate.

So developers:

 

  1. Make sure all your brownfield sites are built on first – this includes you supermarkets.
  2. Make sure all empty houses are filled.
  3. Old people sometimes need to live in smaller homes so build some bungalows too.
  4. Make sure your ‘social housing’ is big enough to swing a cat in.
  5. Insulate your homes properly.
  6. And stop making gardens smaller and smaller and smaller until they’re no bigger than a postage stamp, or a back yard, unless you’re rich and can get round planning legislation.

 

 

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Another Grandma Poem – Queen of Cakes –#amwriting

002I am currently very interested in the therapeutic aspects of creative writing, which is a good thing as I’ve been selected by Derbyshire County Council for an Arts Council and DCC funded project to deliver writing sessions in the community. Called writing ambitions: Derbyshire Residencies, the scheme includes five training sessions and mentoring. I am really looking forward to exploring therapeutic writing (though all writing is, of course, therapeutic) and helping my chosen community group to find their voice.

Here’s a poem that came out of a writing session at Ripley Writers’ Group, though I had already done some prep work for it. It was using things that remind you of people as a stimulus, so I chose my grandma’s button box. I do not think that this is finished, but it shows what can happen with a good creative exercise.

 

Queen of Cakes

Who knew when you weren’t baking

You were knitting together your family?

Captive every Saturday morning for the market then the Co-op,

Sunday for cakes, scones and your life story.

Melting moments.

 

Cousins under the dining table

Trying to find patterns, matches

From buttons harvested from clothes over years.

 

Queen of cardigans

Your dress code was sweater.

Your currency buttons

You knew what to press.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Journey To Publication by Elli Woollard – this is brilliant! 

Publication, publication; that’s your final destination. Think of words you want to say, then stare at Twitter half the day. Publication, publication. Leave aside procrastination! Write your socks …

Source: The Journey To Publication by Elli Woollard

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Review of Lost on Mars by Paul Magrs

img_0004I can’t wait to read the second instalment of this trilogy. I am still thinking about the characters and the hard life they led on Mars, trying to grow enough to eat, like early settlers in the United States. And then their journey away from their initial homestead and all that happens there.
I felt unsettled and spooked out early on reading this – it seemed fitting to finish it on Halloween. It wasn’t a cosy read, though it seemed to get cosier when I understood more about what was happening in the world. Because of this, it’s not a YA book I would introduce to a middle grade reader or younger, but I would be pleased to recommend it to readers aged 12 or older. It’s an interesting and thought-provoking read about the nature of people, academia and civilisation itself.
I own many of Paul Magrs’s books and I think this is one of the best. I’m excited by the potential of the YA space novel and wonder what new level Paul will take it to, a pioneer in this genre as the settlers are pioneers on Mars.

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