Posts Tagged karen strunks

Cairo calling

I got an incredibly pleasant surprise yesterday afternoon – Karen Strunks called me to say she’d just been offered a last-minute press trip to Cairo and very kindly asked me to be her plus one! I leave very early Saturday morning and get back next Tuesday night.

News of the press trip, organised by Fly BMI, has had me squealing with excitement for the past 24 hours, much to Carl’s chagrin. ¬†Getting away at a couple of days’ notice took a bit of sorting but there are certain things you just don’t say no to, and a free trip to Cairo is one of them. I’ve never been to the Middle East before so it’ll be a totally new experience and I feel flying there business class and staying in the Four Seasons Hotel is definitely the way to do it first time! ūüėČ

As well as a spa, the Four Seasons also has WiFi, which Karen and I will use to tweet about our aventures using the hashtag #bmicairo. ¬†I’ll also be attempting a bit of photography with Carl’s Canon Eos 400D camera, which he’s kindly agreed to lend me.

We’re also hoping to meet up with Noha Atef whilst we’re out there, who we’ve come to know through her work on the BCU MA Social Media course – it will be lovely to see a familiar face in a foreign land.

Have a great weekend folks. I’m hoping mine will rock!


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Where are the kids?

I?m going to to start this post off with a story of something that happened to me. In December 2009 my Dad and I, enticed by my talk about local work with the Kington Blackboard, went to the Kington Christmas fair to take a look around the town, sample what the markets had to offer and watch the Christmas lights switch-on. It was a lovely weekend of good shopping, good food, good drink and very good company from our hospitable bed and breakfast landlady. At the end of the weekend, my Dad dropped me off at the nearest train station in Knighton to catch a train back to Birmingham whilst he drove home to Caerphilly.

A couple of days later I was delivering a talk about local training session when I started to feel my mobile vibrate silently in my pocket with numerous phone calls, texts and voicemail messages. I checked it during a break to find many appeals from my family to contact them straight away. Psyching myself up for bad news of some sort, I phoned my Mum.

?Where are you?? Mum asked

?I?m at a training session.?

?Oh. Well Dad said he?d dropped you off at the station on Sunday and you didn?t call him to say that you?d gotten home  safely.? Oh dear.

?Ah. Sorry about that.?

?And then I checked your Digbeth website and you?ve not updated that since Sunday either.?

?No I haven?t?

?Well, why not??

?Er…..I?ve been busy….?

The conversation ended with me telling Mum to check my Twitter profile before panicking next time and one big realization – my parents check up on me by looking at what I?ve been saying online. Not in a weird stalker-ish way – just to see if I?m alright, what I?m getting up to and what?s new in my life. It?s fine and dandy by me – it?s all stuff I?ve consciously put into the public domain, they?re more than used to my strange and sweary ways and it?s nice to know they care. It seems to be one of the main reasons my Dad switches on his laptop and goes online at all and definitely the reason Mum progressed from looking at my tweets to creating a Twitter account for herself.

Karen Strunks has experienced the same phenonemmon – her mum @createdineire?s tweets started off with mainly messages to Karen but has grown to include the highlights of her day and conversations with Karen?s friends that have prompted her to paint pictures of raccoons.

When people talk of the benefits of learning how to use the internet they do talk about how great it is for keeping in touch with loved ones but they don?t tend to highlight to that it?s also a great way to gain a new insight into their lives and eavesdrop on their conversations.  It would be great to see a digital inclusion campaign/project that exploited parents? desire for this as an incentive for getting online.

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My 4am project: Tommy Cooper in Caerphilly

Caerphilly to Cardiff Tommy Cooper style

I spent the Easter weekend in South Wales visiting my family, which meant I was at my Dad’s house in Caerphilly for the 4am project on Sunday 4th April.¬† Now on recent visits to Caerphilly I’ve noticed an increasing amount of Tom Cooper’s dotted around the town, where he was born.¬† It seems we have the Caerphilly-based Tommy Cooper Society to thank for this – they are capitalising on the connection despite the fact that his family moved to Exeter when he was three.

Scary Tommy Cooper

The Tommy Coper Society raised the funds for a Tommy Cooper statue in the town centre, which is what I made a beeline for at 4am.  His big, beaming face grinning down at me looked downright sinister in the darkness of night.  It was kind of scary.

Tommy Cooper's bunny

But it wasn’t as scary as the bunny that stands at the foot of the sculpture, which was trying to crush The Courthouse pub down the road with its giant paw.

Cat on doorstep

Tommy’s bunny wasn’t the only animal I came across. I met this very cold-looking cat sitting on a front doorstep.

No 108

The other beasts I saw were on bins.¬† There seems to be a trend in Caerphilly of people decorating their wheelie bins with squirrels and the like, it’s very odd.

Bin squirrels

Those that didn’t pimp up their bins indicated the house number in the normal way with paint, but even that could look quite funky in a distressed sort of way.

No 74

This is what I love about the 4am project, it really makes you notice things in your surroundings that you just don’t tend to see in the hustle and bustle of daytime life.

74 Van Rd

The big 4am project date is barely over, but organiser Karen Strunks isn’t resting on her laurels.¬† She’s just announced an extra special 4am outing to the Birmingham Museum Collections Centre this Saturday, an Aladdin’s cave of historical treasures in Nechells.¬† Who knows what you might notice there in the dark and quiet of night?

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