Sunday, 27 April 2014

20th Donation

The NHS have recently updated their blood donation website.

For some reason some of the earlier donation records are no longer shown, but the site does show the date that I first joined (7th October 2006) and records my total number of donations.

The records also show my brief attendances at the platelet donation centre in Bristol.  I'd like to have another go at platelet donation, but the centres are quite a long distance away and therefore it's not ideal for frequent donations every couple of weeks.

On 1st August 2014 I'll reach my 20th blood donation.

What's my target for total number of donations? Let's just say that I have a number in mind and I haven't hit it yet.


Helen and I have been volunteer litter pickers since early February.  We're registered as Frog End Litter Action (FELA) at

We generally go out litter picking on Sunday mornings. There's always plenty to do.  As of today we've just reached 20.5 bin sacks (rubbish and recycling) and contributed 15 hours and 30 minutes of community service.

Friday, 4 April 2014

So much to say

Some time ago, Helen asked me to write a blog on Buddhism. I've been unsure where to start because it's a large topic.  These days I feel comfortable declaring that I am Buddhist,  I certainly spend more time practicing Buddhism than anyone I know who subscribes to a theistic religion spends pursuing their beliefs.

I don't know when I finally became Buddhist, but for quite some time I have been following the five precepts:

1. Refrain from harming living creatures
2. Refrain from taking that which is not freely given (stealing)
3. Refrain from sexual misconduct
4. Refrain from speaking mistruths
5. Refrain from taking intoxicants

I've experienced that following the precepts leads to a clearer mind and reduces mental suffering. My early experimentations with being a vegan stemmed from the first precept (although I have many other reasons for being a vegan), and the move from occasionally drinking alcohol to completely abstaining also emerged from following the precepts.

Although I feel that my following of the precepts in general is going well,  I find the fourth precept to be the most difficult, and I doubt a day goes by when I don't break it.  It is sometimes written:

4. Refrain from lying, harsh speech, idle speech and slander

I believe that the best route to achieving the fourth precept is through cultivating Loving Kindness (mettā)