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I am self-publishing a children’s book!

Maya in the Rubbish Sea by Lucy Munday

About the book:

Maya is a magical little girl, who loves swimming in the sea and spending time with her talking friend Finn, a parrot fish. Together, Maya and Finn seek out underwater adventures and help out their new pals along the way.

Illustrations for the book by Simona De Leo

In 2015 I started working on a book about ocean pollution after having lived in Bali, in 2014, where the coast is badly polluted with waste that washes up on shores, wraps around your arms as you try to surf and drifts aimlessly before coming to rest on reefs.

Bali is such a beautiful place and it’s such a shame that there is so much rubbish around the area. Of course, that is the problem of being in an island archepelago with limited waste services.

Ocean pollution comes in many forms and it poses a threat to life in the sea and on land, including to humans. Of course this is quite heavy for a children’s story! So, how to make it engaging for young readers?

I wanted to write a story for children about this kind of issue, that wouldn’t just be the usual ‘don’t do this’ formula. I have various feelings about the way climate change and conservation is communicated, so I was conscious about trying to do things differently.

There is a lot of magic and adventure running through this book and some people may feel the story doesn’t offer enough reality. Again, I would say that there are a lot of books like that on the shelves. I want to encourage, inspire and empower children (and their parents) with exciting stories that allow the reader to ask questions and come to their own conclusions. After all, that is the point of fiction writing.

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Featured

Climate poetry: Insect Storm

My poem, Insect Storm, written for the book #climatestories back in 2018, in collaboration with University of Exeter and the Met office.

Insect Storm written by Lucy Munday, 2018, features in the book Climate Stories

The book is a mix of stories, poems, lyrics and artworks and was a wonderful opportunity to marry the arts and sciences to help get this critical issue into our imaginations to help galvanise action from individuals to institutions.

My self-published children’s book also coming this Christmas. Stay tuned! 🤞

#kidswriter #creativewriter #climatechange #stories #naturewriting #poetry

The book was published with the support of the Institute of Physics, NERC , the Royal Meteorological Society and Weather Art Music. It was printed by Double Elephant.

12 Years to Save the Planet?

 

In 2018 I wrote a piece on the IPCC report that warned humanity has just 12 years (and counting) to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees mean temperature rise and save the planet. In this article I explain what that means and discuss how helpful it may be to frame the issue in this way. Click here to read it!

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The Tide Retreats, Porthminster Beach Cornwall. Lucy Munday

News and Travel

Begging for a Chance.

Nick Hopkins
Express and Echo. Nick Hopkins, Exeter street beggar, is begging for a chance at a better life.

A previously homeless man has said that he feels discriminated against in his attempts to better his life.

Nick Hopkins had previously been living on the streets for 8 months solid and gained gained a flat through the Council in April 2014. He had been on a waiting list for social housing for two years.

Nick said that despite being on Employment Support Allowance and housing benefit, he still struggles to pay his bills. He said that when he was on Job Seeker’s Allowance he found it extremely difficult to find paid work and felt that a culture of discrimination surrounded him.

“When I first moved in to the flat I saw a light at the end of the tunnel, but my faith is slowly fading. Trying to get accommodation in Exeter is so hard, and once you’ve been out of work for so long it’s very difficult to get out of being unemployed.

“I was on job seeker’s at one point but I feel like no one wants to know. I’m a qualified level 1 plasterer and I’ve got a CRB certificate. Maybe I’m being paranoid ‘cos I’ll think ‘do they recognise me from the street, am I presentable enough?’ But it seems there’s one rule for one person and another rule for someone else”, he said.

Mr Hopkins also noted that lack of funds and access to modern communication methods such as a phone or computer, had negatively impacted his ability to find work.

He said, “I don’t have a computer or a phone because of the cost and it’s a five mile walk in to town every day to the Job Centre so there’s a big chance I could miss any offers if I don’t respond in time.”

Housing Justice put on an awareness event in June this year “in the context of cuts to services and welfare benefits, and a hardening of public opinion against needy people in the local community.”

Alison Gelder of Housing Justice said, “Being homeless really knocks your self-confidence and it’s made even worse when people judge you harshly or expect you to be unreliable or an addict because of your history.”

Ms Gelder also said that the practicalities of looking for work presented further challenges to those currently or only recently living on the streets either past or present. She said,

“Access to electricity to charge phones, as well as the money to pay for them is a big problem. Some charities help with money for haircuts as well as ‘interview clothes’. Keeping track of time is another one – if you switch your phone off to save the battery and you don’t have a watch it can be difficult to find out the time, or to set alarms. Sleeping bags in the street don’t come with alarm calls.”

 

Mr Hopkins is currently begging to help pay off mounting debts from bills. He is assisted in this by Sanctuary Housing. He is actively looking for work.

“Some people don’t even give you the time of day and others yell abuse. My aim is to get a job. I just want an opportunity. I want something to get up for every day”, said Nick.

 

Article originally appeared on Express and Echo website.

Read more: http://www.exeterexpressandecho.co.uk/8216-just-want-opportunity-8217-interview-Exeter/story-27694399-detail/story.html#ixzz48AhpHf1N
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News and travel

“I don’t need you tell me how f***ing good my coffee is.”  A little break to Nijmegen, that’s Ni-meh-khen, Holland.

first things first cafe web

A sign above a cafe next to the river Waal, tells me, somewhat hostilely, that my approval isn’t needed. I enter, expecting to be treated with contempt by the hipsters within and am immediately greeted warmly in Dutch, only to be apologised to seconds later for not having been spoken to in English first and offer me an open topped cheese sandwich. They clearly aren’t committing to the sign.

There are many things that Dutch people love. Among them is cheese. And beer. This may be stopping short of the glaringly obvious regarding the Netherlands, but I never knew how much that gave away their character.

It’s not in the way that us English like beer or cheese. Not the Brits on tour – stag weekend in Amsterdam kind of way. It’s a relaxed Continental kind of way, not akin to Amsterdam.

As the city is only 30 km from Dusseldorf, and only an hour and half by train from Schipol (that’s ski-pole) airport, Nijmegen is an accessible treat. Pronounced with a rolling G, Nijmegen, is home from home, full of chilled out people chattering away on bicycles.

Cheese is in everything in Holland. They have it on bread for breakfast with an egg. It’s in every salad and sandwich in various forms. And for dinner, well why not sprinkle your chips and mayonnaise with cheese, or your waffles, or kroketten? Nijmegen’s oldest café is Café in de Blaauwe Hand on Grote Markt behind the Hoofdwacht (or guardroom). It translates as ‘in the blue hand’ and they serve among other wonderful treats, Flammkuchen- a German inspired pizza from across the border, with yes, lots of cheese.

In world war two, the city was bombed by friendly fire and now has pockets of pre-fab 1960s buildings mixing with typically Dutch architecture. It makes St Peter’s church, the oldest and largest Roman Catholic gothic style church in Nijmegen, look obscure but refreshing. Like an oasis of complicated architecture with it’s ornate Renaissance tower standing above the city skyline like a beacon in a sea of 1960s concrete.

That said, Nijmegen is not an ugly town. Like Amsterdam, Nijmegen is full of art, old brew- houses and that general Dutch relaxed attitude to everything. But unlike Amsterdam I found no on-display tourist attraction red light district, or large cafes full of cannabis smoking tourists.

 

I have tried for years to understand the more European attitudes to food and beer, the way they know when they’ve had enough and over the top binge drinking seems a far cry from many of our towns on a Saturday night. Maybe it’s the efficient trains with their live journey screens in every carriage? Or maybe it’s Viking culture passed down through generations of English heritage that differentiates us from our Dutch cousins? Either way I think in Nijmegen I found the explanation.

It’s not about restriction, but comfort. Being comfortable, or enlightened, about all manner of matters, whether that’s, food, beer, drugs, politics, work or sex, seems to bring about that typically Dutch calm over everything, and overdoing it for the sake of itself seems just a little bit silly.

Time is slower in Nijmegen, just fast enough to get you in to gear, just slow enough not to break a sweat.

 

cheese platter stoom bar web