Friday, November 30, 2012

70% - good but not good enough #NaNoWriMo

The challenge from National Novel Writing Month was to write a 50,000 word novel within the month of November.

I knew it would be hard because let's face it, I don't exactly sit around on my arse all day long. I am a Liverpool City councillor, a self-employed business woman at Local Marketing Liverpool, a school governor at St Hilda's, a school about to take part in the Mayor's Plan B for Building Schools for the Future since the coalition government scrapped the original scheme, and the vice-chair of Venture Housing Association. I facilitated a week long residential on community leadership for local government leaders across the country from all parties last week and I have also accepted an offer on my house this month, found one to buy, made an offer, applied for a mortgage, updated my will and sent the surveyor round.

What can I say? I like to keep busy and I thrive on deadlines.

Like most everyone else, I thought I might have a novel in me, we all believe that, and I thought that the best way it was ever going to happen would be if I joined a challenge like NaNoWriMo.

I wasn't sure I would make the 50,000 words but I did recognise that I work best when I work to deadlines, so I thought it was worth a go.

And I can tell you now, with around 2 hours to go before close of play that I have got to 35350 words. 70% of my target.

However, I am not downhearted at having failed to write 50000 words during November, just as the men who have been growing moustaches for Movember will not be downhearted if they could not produce a full Terry Thomas in the time allowed.

I am delighted to have written so much in such time constrained circumstances, and I have set a new target for myself to have completed 85000 words which is the new average for a UK novel by the end of January. I will then need to spend February having it copy edited and tidied up ready to present it to agents or to decide to self-publish.

I am grateful to all my friends, particularly those on Facebook and Twitter who have supported me thus far and helped to find appropriate names for some of my characters and a few plot suggestions, particularly around chapter 7.

I hope that they will approve of the final novel when it becomes available.

In the meantime, I continue to work hard at all of my community and business responsibilities and to use my spare time to either write novels or read them.

The advice from NaNoWriMo was to tell everyone about your attempt so that you would feel obliged to work at it, that was very sage and I thank them and you for keeping me focussed.

Please get ready to place orders for The Chain (or whatever title I finally decide upon) for Christmas gifts next year!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Local crime update from Kensington, Fairfield and Tuebrook police

E5 beat Homewatch newsletter for November

E5 - The Local Picture 1st October to 1st November

Theft from motor vehicle – 16 Offences.  Most Occurred afternoon through to evening in the Shiel Rd/ Fairfield area, and the Lower Breck Rd through to Clubmoor side of West Derby Road.  Force was used in most of the incidents to gain access to vehicle contents.  Don’t leave Items on display.  Take them with you.  Leave glove boxes open and empty.

Burglaries – 27  Offences. Burglaries committed afternoon through evening and overnight predominantly in the Fairfield and Tuebrook/Lower Breck areas.  Its worth noting that whilst force was used in most of the offences, there were a number of incidents where the door (front or rear) had been left insecure, a window left open, or the front UPVC door had not been locked on the key allowing it to easily be forced.  Simple measures like making sure the doors and windows are locked, might have significantly reduced the number of offences.

Robberies - 5 Offences.  2 occurred in the morning, 2 afternoon/evening, and 1 in the early hours. 2 in Kensington, 2 in Wavertree, and 1 in Clubmoor.  Personal property including mobile phones and cash taken.  If you have to use your phone in the street, don’t use it for long, and don’t wander blindly along texting oblivious to what or who is around you!

For Further advice on crime prevention matters please contact the Liverpool North Crime Prevention Officer at St Anne’s Street Police Station on 0151 777 4869

If you have any information about individuals committing crime in your area and wish to inform police anonymously, please call the CrimeStoppers number below.  

Some brilliant stuff from our local police about combatting new technology crime

Police Home Watch monthly newsletter for Kensington, Fairfield and Tuebrook

Dear all,

Welcome to the re launch of the Home Watch monthly newsletter.  You will notice that this is coming to you by way of an attachment rather than the link previously used.  We hope this will make it more accessible, quicker to load, and avoid all the problems associated with computer security settings.
The idea of the newsletter is to keep you informed about crime in your area, trends, and advice on preventing crime.  It links Home Watches, partner agencies, and residents together, and is designed to be a quick read of only 3 to 4 pages.  We hope you find the content useful.  

New Technology

Embracing new technology can be a daunting process, particularly as you get older, and it can be difficult sometimes to see the value of it.  Well, I’d like you to consider a couple of ideas for preventing, and recovering stolen mobile phones, laptop computers, and hopefully putting a few thieves behind bars.


Prey lets you keep track of your laptop, phone or tablet whenever stolen or missing. It's a lightweight, FREE open source piece of software that gives you full remote control of your laptop or mobile phone, 24/7.  Copy and paste the web address above and have a look at how Prey can help. 
Basically a tiny agent is installed in your PC or phone, which silently waits for a remote signal to activate the software on the computer or mobile phone. This signal is sent either from the Internet or through an SMS message, and allows you to gather information regarding the device's location, hardware and network status, and optionally trigger specific actions on it. Some of the key features of Prey include:

  • 100% Geo location aware.  Prey uses either the device's GPS or the nearest WiFi hotspots to triangulate and grab a fix on its location.
  • Wifi auto connect. If enabled, Prey will attempt to hook onto to the nearest open WiFi hotspot when no Internet connection is found.
  • Know your enemy.  Take a picture of the thief with your laptop's webcam so you know what he looks like and where he's hiding.
  • Watch their movements.  Grab a screenshot of the active session. If you're lucky you may catch the guy logged into his email or Facebook account!
  • Keep your data safe.  Hide your Outlook or Thunderbird data and optionally remove your stored passwords, so no one will be able to look into your stuff.
  • No unauthorized access.  Fully lock down your Laptop making it unusable unless a specific password is entered. The guy won't be able to do a thing!

Mobile Phone Security


Available for iPhone, Androids & Blackberrys. To use InstaMapper, you create a FREE account. Registration takes only a minute or two and all you need to provide are a username, password, and a valid email address. Next, you install a small application on your GPS-enabled phone. When you run the application, it periodically sends your GPS location to InstaMappers own servers
Login to your InstaMapper account and you will see the current location of your phone plotted on an interactive Google map. With InstaMapper, the object you track is a moving dot on a map. Positions are updated depending on how often you ask the application to report your phones position. The map updates automatically every few seconds. The beauty of this system … and where it beats Apples “findmyiphone” application for the older generation phones is that it plots and saves the route of a phone.  The advantage of this is that the known route can be checked for local CCTV. For a demo, copy and paste the above link into your browser.

Google Latitude   

Download and install the Google Latitude app. This is free software from Google that assists you in locating your phone or members of your family and friends using the Internet or your mobile phone. It uses WIFI and GPS (global positioning system) plus location data to track or locate people. It can be turned on or off giving you the option whether you want be seen or not, and you could also choose the people who could see you.
To avail of their services, you need to register. After the Google Latitude app is installed, those using their PCs and laptops can start by going to the Latitude official site and follow the instructions to install it. Mobile phones that do not contain any GPS chips can still enjoy the services of this program since it will access any Wifi points. The program uses three different types of signals namely 2G-4G mobile, GPS and WiFi. Your device will use any of these signals to work out your location.

Find My iPhone
If you misplace your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac, the Find My iPhone app will let you use another iOS device to find it and protect your data. Simply install this free app on another iOS device, open it, and sign in with your Apple ID. Find My iPhone will help you locate your missing device on a map, play a sound, display a message, remotely lock your device or erase all the data on it.
If the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch you want to locate is running iOS 6, Find My iPhone also includes Lost Mode. Lost Mode locks your missing device with a 4-digit passcode and can display a contact phone number right on the lock screen. While in Lost Mode, your device will keep track of where it has been and display its recent location history when you check in with the Find My iPhone app. Please note that Find My iPhone must be enabled in the iCloud settings on your device for you to locate it with this app.  So you will also need to create an iCloud account if you havent already done so. 

Remember, if you act quickly and provide the tracking system you use, the username, and password to police…. There is a chance we can do something about it.


Immobilise is the world's largest FREE register of possession ownership details and together with its sister sites the Police's NMPR and CheckMEND forms a very effective tool in helping to reduce crime and repatriate recovered personal property to its rightful owners.
Immobilise can be used by members of the public and businesses to register their valued possessions or company assets, and exclusive to Immobilise, account holders registered items and ownership details are viewable on the Police national property database NMPR. This online checking service is used by all UK Police forces to trace owners of lost and stolen property. In addition Immobilise is checked daily by a range of recovery agencies and lost property offices.

As a direct result of Immobilise there is over 250 cases a week where property is returned or information collected that assists the Police in investigating criminal activity involving stolen goods.

Consider this…A Police patrol spot an individual acting suspiciously near a carpark often targeted by thieves. They perform a stop and search on the individual and find him to be carrying several mobile phones and MP3 players. They radio through the serial numbers of the devices to their control-room that search the numbers on the NMPR. The results come back instantly; two of the phones were reported as stolen via Immobilise only a few hours earlier. The suspect is arrested and taken to the station for interview. The possession of the stolen phones gives reasonable grounds for the Police to search the suspect's home where they find numerous items, which again are checked on the NMPR

If it’s not registered … how are you going to get it back!

Vehicle Crime

So you’ve started the Christmas shopping, arrived back at your car, loaded it onto the back seat, and headed off to get something to eat.. You’re now sitting in the restaurant waiting for food to arrive and thinking … 

Did I park the car in a secure enough location?    Err …no, you never gave it a thought …or didn’t want to pay! Finding somewhere to park can be difficult. Try to park in secure well-lit car parks, or those covered by CCTV

Did I see anyone hanging around where I parked?    Err …no; you didn’t consider the group of youths watching you. Perhaps you could have moved your vehicle.
Did I check to see if the car locked securely on the remote keyfob?    Err …no; you just assumed it did as you walked away.  Although not prevalent at the moment it is possible to buy a device for as little as £40 that blocks or drowns the signal from a key fob used to secure and alarm your car, when used by an offender within a certain distance.  Merseyside Police have already arrested one individual caught in possession of such a device.   

Did I hide the presents from view?    Err …no, you put them on the back seat, remember.  Ensuring valuables are stored away from view is the easiest way not to attract attention.  Consider taking Sat Navs and iPods with you, and never leave a mobile phone on display.  Consider leaving the glove box open, and wipe telltale accessory sucker marks off the windscreen.

For lovers of Klezmer music

A new CD from Cathy, Martin and Simon 

Please see a recent email I have received from one of the performers at the 2011 Kensington Remembers Holocaust Memorial Day event. 

Dear friends,

Martin and I have just recorded a collection of klezmer tunes with our dear friend Simon from Edinburgh.

The CD comprises 13 traditional tunes. Most of them are played as a trio (clarinet, mandolin,
tuba), but we were joined by four amazing musicians/friends on the project (tsimbl, poyk,trumpet and double bass).

The CD is now ready priced £8

Some people wanted to have a listen before they buy it, so here's a little YouTube video which hopefully will give you an idea of our music. We do not have a Website so this is all we can do!

You can also find it by typing in "Cathy Martin Simon" in the YouTube search box.

Love to you all,

PS If you like the video and want to buy the CD please email me and I will give you Cathy's contact details, rather than put them on here.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Huge congratulations to Gosia McKane for her wonderful award

I was sent this press release a day or so ago, what wonderful news for Gosia and her team.
I asked for a photograph, and here it is.
Kensington and Fairfield Councillors have always been delighted to work with Merseyside Polonia and of course with the lovely Gosia who works so hard to promote good relations between Liverpool people and their new Polish neighbours. 
 Merseyside Polonia Team would like to congratulate the Founder of the organisation Gosia McKane on being awarded a Polish Civil State Award: Silver Cross of Merit by the President of the Republic of Poland Mr. Bronislaw Komorowski.

At last night's event celebrating Polish Independence Day, Gosia received the Order from the Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Manchester Mr. Lukasz Lutostanski for her work with the Polish Community in Liverpool.

"I would like to thank Mr. President for such honor" - Gosia McKane said after being decorated - "and it's a great privilege to receive it in the presence of so many great war heroes. I'm very happy that the work we do with Merseyside Polonia has been recognised and I accept it on behalf of the whole Merseyside Polonia team."

Merseyside Polonia is a Charitable organisation developing positive relations between the Polish Community and local residents. Started in 2008 as a Project to help the new Polish arrivals to Liverpool as well as raise awareness among the local community. 

It's a great news for Merseyside Polonia, Polish Community and Liverpool!

Developing positive relations between the Polish Community and local residents

Liverpool - Sefton - Wirral - Knowsley - St Helens