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Laura Corin

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Laura Corin last won the day on July 6 2014

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About Laura Corin

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    She who plants flowers for bees

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    Fife, Scotland

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    Fife, Scotland
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    Administrator at a University

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  1. I think it's more that the religious aspects are casually mixed into secular situations, for example celebrations organised by local government, state schools etc. , rather than being kept separate. UK secular Christmas is actually less secular and that's not a problem. Both atheists and Christians are relaxed about the whole issue.
  2. In UK terms it would be odd if they didn't celebrate Christmas, I think. Christmas is so much part of secular culture. My atheist parents celebrated Christmas, as do I with my sons. I do think that because we have no formal separation of church and state to be policed, there is not so much angst about boundaries. I posted this long ago as an exaggerated but nevertheless recognisable example of a nativity play in a State Primary School (Public Elementary School) - a mixture of popular culture, Bible story and whatever will please the kids:
  3. Not quite the case. I sing religious music (Bach, Mozart, etc) in a choir that chooses those pieces because they are extraordinary music, but we sing in a concert hall and are not affiliated with a church. I see it as a form of acting. I try to embody the composer's emotion, just as I would a playwright's. A CofE choir might welcome me, it's a very broad church, but personally, as an atheist, I wouldn't choose to join.
  4. Calorie quality makes all the difference. I pair whole carbs (veg, wholegrains, whole fruit) with healthy fats and proteins. I stay full longer and have more energy. FWIW I've lost around 15 lbs since January.
  5. This week we have had baked chicken thighs with lemon, garlic, fresh tomatoes and olives; pan fried salmon fillets; veg and beef stew with pearl barley. We make extra for lunches. I also make a lot of vegetarian and low-meat dishes. This guy is good
  6. As far as I know, independent (private) schools have to welcome disabled students by law, but the I don't think that they necessarily have to provide special services for learning difficulties. State (public) schools have to accommodate children with learning difficulties. This is the statement for Scotland: Rights of people with additional support needs By law, education authorities must identify, provide and review the additional support needs of their pupils which can arise in the short or long term as a result of the learning environment, family circumstances, health, wellbeing needs or a disability.
  7. That all sounds awful. For a contrasting view, I had no problems with home educating in the UK - nothing from doctors or from our Member of Parliament when we went to talk to him about home education (he was happy to support a motion in parliament to keep low-level regulation). My boys' experience in school was also totally different; the school was also very positive about the boys' previous home education, saying that they had had really good experience with previously-home-educated pupils. I can't bear Janet Street-Porter.
  8. I don't have curfews for my young adult sons (18 and 22) when they are home. When they go out, I go to bed with the expectation that they might stay over at a friend's house. My phone is set to receive their calls, or repeated calls from another phone, so they can contact me if they need to. They are adults.
  9. As mentioned, the motorways are reasonably fast, so long as you allow Google Maps to choose your routes. It's once you get off those motorways that things get slow. It could take a while from the motorway to a place you might want to stay in one of the national parks. I regularly drive from southern Scotland to Oxford, so it's definitely doable. From Pitlochry to Braemar, however (both good sized towns in the near Highlands) takes at least an hour for under forty miles. From Edinburgh to my favourite place in the Highlands takes five hours. All the places you mentioned have great hiking, so it's hard to pick. Early June is a good time as the schools won't have finished. You should be fine getting parking for hikes, particularly if you don't choose the absolutely most famous ones, arrive before 10am and avoid weekends. In June, you could get any weather except for snow. I'd look at some weather site averages and ranges. June is drier in Scotland than August, so it's a good choice. It will be a few degrees cooler in Scotland than in southern England, rarely above 20 degrees C outside the cities.
  10. This Rick Steves page would be a good place to start to think about itineraries. For efficiency, I would do the Peak District rather than Exmoor. The roads down to the South West get very congested and you will waste a lot of time getting down there. The Lake District is chockablock in summer, with tour buses trying to get down tiny roads, but June is a good time to go, as most schools won't have finished. In general, I'd try to stick to June and not push your trip into July or August. I would choose one or two out of Peak/Lake/Northumberland. Things to remember: - the weather is entirely unpredictable. Don't bring more than one pair of shorts - better still, bring a pair of trousers that converts into shorts if necessary. My standard travelling outfit in summer would be: waterproof shoes (Gore-Tex or similar), chinos, short sleeved tops, cardigans, waterproof jacket (covering my bottom) with hood. If planning on hiking, I would add waterproof over-trousers. Don't worry too much about blending in with the locals - you will probably be an obvious tourist anyway. - consider taking day trips by bus/coach to Bath and the Cotswolds. Parking can be horrendous, and particularly with the Cotswolds, that way you get to look out of the window the whole time, rather than coping with busy traffic and parking spaces. - if you are renting a car, go for something marked as 'compact' unless you have a strong reason for a larger car. Many roads are tiny and parking spaces are smaller too. Consider not renting in central London. Instead, take public transport out to the airports (Luton Airport, for example, is an hour by train from London Bridge station and will get you well on your way out of London and heading north for the rest of your trip - I haven't been to LA, but it's an example) - although GB looks tiny, it's a congested island. The reason that there are such lovely areas of countryside to visit is that the planning regulations (zoning) are fierce, with each town/city contained within a 'green belt'. That means lots of people in densely packed cities, and more people than you would expect (given all the green space) using the roads. Google maps will give you a good idea of travelling times for major roads (A roads and M roads) but for B roads it tends to assume that you can travel the speed limit (60) whereas single-track B roads with wandering sheep have to be taken slowly. I would put your entire itinerary into Maps and see what the times are actually like. Then add in extra breaks if you are not used to the driving. Have fun!
  11. I've been enjoying the books of Diana Athill. Not from a Christian perspective, but reflections on a life fully lived. Not sugar-coated but I found them optimistic: either Somewhere Towards the End or Alive, Alive Oh. For a beautiful meditation on landscape, again with no specific religious content, The Living Mountain, by Nan Shepherd, is captivating.
  12. We take out third party insurance on rental cars. Much cheaper than using the rental company's. Martin Lewis in the attached article is a reliable adviser on finance
  13. @Donna good idea about car size. I live near a tourist town in Scotland and once had to move my car so that a hapless overseas tourist could manage to park his oversized rental car. It's quite common to see people struggling with the narrow medieval streets.
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