Posted in Random Ideas!

Inspiring Humans – My Grandpa and The Older Generation

We all have people we look up to, follow by example and live in awe of. I’d like to share a few famous faces (and some less so) who I am inspired by. I’d love to know who you’re inspired by – leave them in the comments below!

Ok, so bear with me on this one. It’s easy to forget how awesome the ‘Older’ generation are. That they haven’t always been old, slightly grumpy, a little forgetful and useless at technology! I’d like to use my Grandpa as an example (he won’t mind!), but no doubt it will be the same for your elder relatives and members of your family, even the old woman crossing your road or holding up the queue in the supermarket.

I realise I’m using the word ‘old’ a lot, but that’s what society tends to do – write a large proportion of the world off because they are getting on. And then we are shocked when they prove us wrong, reveal that they had quite an extraordinary life, or excel far beyond our ability.

I was stunned to silence when my Grandpa told me about the Patrician. I knew that he’d served in the Merchant Navy, but I’d never thought much beyond that. I’d never thought that his story went further than that.

He had been serving as Fourth Engineer on the ship, SS The Patrician, sailing on the Straits of Gibraltar. After over a year on the sea, he was on his second voyage on the Patrician when it hit an American ship (the Santa Emily). In the thick fog, he ended up in the water, attempting to swim towards the life boats and to safety.

When I asked him about that night, my Grandpa’s response was something that has stayed with me, and will do for some time. He asked me about my faith in a higher being. He said that his belief in a Superior Being was rooted firmly to that night. Because he felt the side of the ship with his foot and knew for certain that he would be pulled under with it to a watery grave. That he couldn’t outswim the suction from the ship.

He lost three birthday presents from his 21st birthday on the Patrician when she sank. Three officers lost their lives in the Straits of Gibraltar. Not only is this a story of how precious and short life is, but how the most unlikely of stories can be part of the most unlikely of characters. We keep saying, “Never judge a book by its cover”, but we are all guilty of it sometimes.

My Grandpa is an inspiring gentleman, who would make you (a stranger he’d never met) smile because that’s what he does. You would never know the life he’s lived as he crosses the road.

Posted in Random Ideas!, Space & All Things Science

Inspiring Humans – Piers Sellers

We all have people we look up to, follow by example and live in awe of. I’d like to share a few famous faces (and some less so) who I am inspired by. I’d love to know who you’re inspired by – leave them in the comments below!

I’ll be honest – I only found out about Piers Seller after watching Leonardo Di Caprio’s documentary, Before The Flood, in a Geography lesson about Climate Change a couple of months ago. The documentary itself was good, apart from the carbon footprint Di Caprio clocked up shooting a documentary about reducing your carbon footprint to save the Earth!

Anyway, Piers was interviewed by Di Caprio about NASA’s stance on Global Warming. Watch the interview with Leonardo. Watch any of his talks. Because what Piers says is more powerful than anything I could write.

That particular interview rings emotional bells for me because a) I’m an environmentalist at heart and b) because I’m human. And any human can see the selflessness and beautiful kindness that is demonstrated by a dying man whose only wish is to save our dying planet. Despite the fact that he will never see the changed planet he’s fought so hard to save.

Piers died on 23rd December 2016 from Pancreatic Cancer. I think we all have a lot to learn from the veteran astronaut of three missions and six spacewalks who spent his final days fighting to save the world that we take for granted.

Posted in Random Ideas!

Inspiring Humans – Malala Yousafzai

We all have people we look up to, follow by example and live in awe of. I’d like to share a few famous faces (and some less so) who I am inspired by. I’d love to know who you’re inspired by – leave them in the comments below!

Malala is someone I’m not ashamed to be in utter awe of. On 9th October 2012, she was shot in the head by The Taliban on her way from school. All because she’s female, she has a passion for education for all and she was not silenced by the rule of The Taliban over her valley.

What makes her story even more incredible is that she survived a gun shot to the head. Not even a bullet could stop her from fighting the injustices of the world, and she is still fighting to this day.

I have her book – it’s certainly worth a read. I find her story so powerful because it is so relevant. Think about how many countries give their female population the right to education. Now compare that to how many don’t. Isn’t it scary that fewer countries give all their girls the chance to be educated, to earn the life that they would like to live. Because of war, a lack of wealth, culture & religion, or terrorist organisations.

Within the book, there is a verse that says

Farewell Music.Even your sweetest tunes must be kept silent

The Taliban on the edge of the village have stilled all lips.

The talk about education for all should not be stilled. If young girls like Malala can continue to fight whilst living at constant threat of being killed, then we can do the same.


Posted in Random Ideas!, Revision & School

Owl Online – Memrise

Language. I’m going to try to avoid starting the debate about the importance of learning languages. About the ability to communicate in a person’s mother tongue rather than assuming they can speak yours. It’s developing a respect for others and their culture. It’s also a wonderful skill to develop.

But rant over (sorry – I said I wasn’t going to!). Whether you’re learning a foreign language for business, to travel or because you have to (cue exam-related huff!), I have found an app to help!

I love Memrise. I’ll be honest; I found out about Memrise a couple of weeks before my french exam. However, I have continued my french studies past GCSE and I couldn’t think of a better way to learn a language. Whatever your reason, learning a language is SO HARD and there is a mountain of content that takes you a year to cover before you can say a sentence. No need. Everyone’s lives are far too busy to properly sit down and take on extra work. Instead, simply download the Memrise app and complete five minutes of new words, revision of old content, extra help when you’re stuck and speed reviews. Select the topic to learn or work through it all – you’ll cover the breadth of a language in no time!

I only have one complaint. For languages dependant on characters rather than letters – such as Japanese Kanji – Memrise isn’t brilliant. OK, you learn to identify the characters and what they stand for in English, but you don’t practice writing them yourself.

Overall, Memrise is great. It’s about investing your time early to improve your grade, widen your world and develop your character. Let me know what you think!

Posted in Random Ideas!, Revision & School

Stressed Out

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ! Sorry. It’s mock season and I’ve got too much work and too little time. It really is no wonder that at least 1 in 10 teenagers suffer from anxiety, mental health issues or depression – we are all under so much pressure. So – like I hope you do – I have turned to my stressed out play list to calm me down. Not got one? Maybe it’s time to make one to combat the stress and tension of everyday life. Here are my suggestions if you’re stuck for awesome stress-free music:

  • Tom Odell. Full Stop. Any of his music is beautiful and bound to chill you out.
  • Lianne La Havas – songs like Green & Gold and Unstoppable make you feel light.
  • The 1975 – Not all of their music is stress-relieving, but pretty songs like Paris and She Lays Down are just… well, pretty!
  • Elbow – I’m very much into my Indie, so I love Elbow. Not to mention they are from my home turf! Try ‘Magnificent (She Said)’ if you’d like to give them a listen!
  • Mumford & Sons. What can’t be solved without a banjo?!? My favourites include: Roll Away Your Stone, Lover of the light & Below my Feet.

I hope you are all well and aren’t too stressed. I’d love to know what you listen to to relax! Love, The Clever Owl

Posted in Random Ideas!

A small stretch of land…

Isn’t it funny how attached we become to such small and insignificant things in our everyday lives? For some, it’s some battered highlighters that are getting them through their exam revision. For others, it’s a broken or tattered belonging left behind by a loved one. For me, I’ve had the revelation that a stretch of road means quite a lot to me.

My stretch of land is a motorway. An insignificant 5 minute drive that can be a misery for some or a breeze for others. It’s only two junctions worth of road, but it’s a second home to me. Any time we drive along it, I either know I’m heading to Trafford or heading home. Both are equally as good.

I’ve travelled along it all my life. I might be heading to visit family, shopping at the Trafford Centre, heading to cubs or going to my Mum’s dance club: it’s all there. My second life.

I could tell you everything that it runs past. A football grounds, two dilapidated billboards  (they haven’t changed for years), the sewage plant, the AJ bell Stadium (both a pain!).

I could tell you everything I oversee. Manchester City Centre on the way there. Winter Hill on the way back. Roadworks – there and back. The bustling Trafford Park on the way there. The quaint, peaceful cemetery on the way back.

My life is very much entangled to this stretch of road. Whether it’s choked with traffic or a blissful sail back home, it will always mean something to me.

What about you? Where or what in the world means a lot to you? (No people included – of course my family means more to me than the M60!!) I’d love to know xx