Seasonally adjusted for app use

I’ve missed the last few Seasonally Effecteds, so I thought I’d mosey on up  this month and catch up with all the lovely people who frequent Dot Cafe (last Wednesday in the month, varies occasionally, check before leaving), as well as try my hand with the Splice app again.

Another excellent mix of folks took to the mic; here’s a video snapshot:

The reason for laughter at the end? Roy was too quick for me and we did a little stop-start dance before we got the final take!

In order of appearance: Tendayi Sutherland; Thomas Kelly; Toby Marsh; Sam Rapp; Gavin Alexander; Nigel Adams; Lionesse X; Mike Orvis; Razz Saunders; Rachel Lowrie.

Visit – email Roy if you want a slot at the next one.

18 tips to extend your Facebook reach

With Facebook throttling the organic reach of posts so that very few (approx. 15%) of those who’ve liked a page will actually see them, are paid ads the only way to go?


There are certain benefits:

  • they practically guarantee many more visits and likes
  • they allow you to target your audience more thoroughly
  • the comparative cost of a Facebook ad is much lower than traditional methods

You do need to spend money to be widely discovered – but then you need to bear in mind that the more ‘likes’ your page has (50k plus) the more FB will throttle, bizarrely.

So promote to a specific and targeted audience, define your goals and approach, and remember, quality not quantity, always. (And don’t forget to end the campaign – Facebook will continue to collect payment!)

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Is your small business on-line yet? If not, why not?

SMEs, charities and community groups today require a digital mindset if not to be left behind by the competition.

Digital marketing wordcloud

Everyone is on the internet nowadays, aren’t they? Open 24/7, 365 days a year, it’s hard to avoid.

But you’ve been putting off creating your own on-line presence. Why? Time? Money? You don’t see the point of social media – why would you want to know what other people had for breakfast? Trust me, it’s so much more than that!

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The People’s Strictly Blub-Fest

The People’s Strictly kicked off last night – and shares in Kleenex must have soared!


With an audience potentially split between this, The Brits and Wolf Hall, it quickly became clear that for depth of character, drama, passion and all round life affirming goodness, BBC1 was the place to be.

This wasn’t just any emotional rollercoaster. This was us being more emotionally rollercoastered than ever before, as we met three of the deserving Strictly Come Dancing fans being given their chance to shine in the Strictly ballroom.

Michael, Cassidy and Heather are three of the most inspiring people you’ll ever meet. Their selflessness in the face of shattering adversity in their own lives just serves to remind us how powerful the human spirit really is. Read all about them below, along with Trishna, Anna and Phil, who we’ll be introduced to next week and whose stories are just as incredible.


From left to right of the above image (top row and then bottom):

The couples will compete for the People’s Glitter Ball in a live show on March 11, hosted by Tess and Claudia. We’ll vote for our winner, who’ll be crowned The People’s Strictly champion during Comic Relief on March 13.

The Twitter timeline was awash with virtual tears and tributes to these amazing people. Here’s a selection (to prove it wasn’t only me sobbing my heart out!)

The Three Heroes (click to read the quotes) 


The Heartbreaking One

photo 3







The Men Sobbing










The Competitive Edge










The Unashamed Tributes (a fraction)



































The Last Words











Official images courtesy BBC

Back in the day (Under 30s, look away now)

There was a time, some 40ish – odd years ago, when the conveniences and gadgets and way of life taken granted for now, simply didn’t exist. We call them the good old days. I’m not entirely sure why …

photo (72)

Telephones: If you look closely at the top right corner in the photo above, you’ll see the nearest thing we had to mobile phones. And the nearest thing to mobile public toilets. Which is why public phone boxes aren’t actually boxes anymore (I assume). And yes, that’s us celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee – the Silver one, ’77. Roll necks under a shirt was the height of fashion. Stop laughing.

Banking: 24/7, 365 days a year, on tap via the internet? No. Back in the day, if you needed anything* from your bank, you had to take time off work or forget lunch: openings times were 9.30am – 3.30pm. And, no, there were no annoying call centres either. You could try phoning the branch, but at your lunchtime when you do, half the staff are having their lunch and the other half are on the tills, coping with the mega queue of people spending their lunch break with them .

*Including cash, since only some branches had the quaintly termed ‘hole-in-the-wall’ machine, there was no such thing as cash back, and not everyone qualified for a cheque guarantee card.


The Pub: Those lovely, family friendly pubs you have now, that you can stop at for a bite to eat on the way home from a day out? Didn’t exist. Kids were not allowed in to pubs, so we’d be left outside in the garden (if we were lucky; car park if not), given a packet of crisps and a small glass bottle of Coke and a straw, while the mums and dads  disappeared for a couple of bevvies. If were were extra lucky, they’d bring us another round at some point.

And they closed at 11pm. 10.30pm on Sundays, and between the lunchtime and the evening session. End of. 

Buffering was not a word we were familiar with. When we did hear it for the first time we thought someone was polishing something. Or acting as a intermediary between two warring factions.

Power cuts. A regular thing, along with the three day week (not the odd one due to the weather.) Actually, since we didn’t have any gadgets except for perhaps a record player and a black and white portable TV, we just did what we normally did but in the dark: Read a book (by candlelight) and listened to a battery powered radio.

power cut

Shopping: As with banks, shops did not have 24/7 365 days a year availability  either. You shopped between 9am – 5.30pm only, for everything, with half day closing on Thursday and no opening at all on a Sunday (except Petticoat Lane and the newsagents. And the Jewish baker ). And the only things we got delivered were milk and newspapers, or a large piece of furniture. You think Christmas queuing is bad now?


Put your dancing shoes on and enjoy the Macarena, Gangnan Style, Slide.etc. We had The Slosh (a kind of generic line dance that went with any pop song of the time – I’m gobsmacked it’s still being done!) and Y Viva Espana (you be the bull, I’ll be the Matador). Oh, we did also have the original Locomotion, I suppose. I sadly just enjoyed listening to the whole of Y Viva Espana again. Tapped my toes and everything. I even started shaping my arms and let a few appels creep in. Dammit Strictly, you have a lot to answer for.

Homework: It’s off to the library with you – forget virtual, it was all about reality back in the day. Thumbing through a table full of books to find that one key point. Then doing it all again for the next …

Owning your own home: You didn’t, unless you were rich. Interest rates were 17%. So if you got married, you lived with your parents until your name came up on the council house waiting list.

For Sale

Meeting up with your mates meant calling them on your home phone and telling them you’d get the next bus. So they’d give it a few minutes then go to the bus stop. From that vantage point, they could see you waving frantically from the front row of the top deck to let you know: This one, get on this one!

Taking offence: We didn’t, so much, back in those very, very un-PC days. There’s an awful lot of offence taken now at stuff that’s meant to be light hearted banter, or was just a tad insensitive. We did take offence if it was insulting or belittling or bullying. There is a difference – it’s all about intent. Only the timelines on Twitter hashtags assure me that the Great British Humour is refusing to be dumbed down.

Winkle man

The Winkle Man, Poplar. Photo courtesy of the Emms family

But, there was some terrific stuff we had then that we don’t now …  Space Hoppers (I regularly space hopped my way to the shops) and Choppers. Texans and Spangles. The Corona lorry and the winkle man (left). Red Bus Rovers and adjustable metal roller skates with wheels at each corner. HR Puf’n’Stuf and Banana Splits (which I somehow managed to miss out of my TV themes post) and of course, … Star Wars, the original 1977 version on the big screen. We were there. You can never take that away from us.


Top pic: My own

Other Images: Pixabay/Canva

Rochester LitFest: Six Ways to Wellbeing Swale

An innovative new collaboration between Ideas Test, Swale CVS and ourselves is set to help teenagers in Swale boost their wellbeing.

6 Ways to Wellbeing Swale logos

Ideas Test and Swale CVS will be offering an exciting programme of free taster sessions and workshops through autumn as part of Kent County Council’s Six Ways to Wellbeing campaign. The events will explore how getting involved with something creative can improve health and wellbeing. If you’re a young person (age 13-19 or 25 SEN) this is your chance to have fun with poetry and spoken word, both writing and performing.

We’re delighted that the brilliant and exuberant Dan Simpson will be with us to run poetry and spoken word sessions, which will culminate in a short performance at a finale of the whole project. He’ll be kicking off the entire Ideas Test Six Ways project by crowdsourcing a poem from 10am on Monday morning, finishing on Friday 24th October. The finished result will be recorded for broadcast at the finale event. Read more about the poem here or join in on Twitter with #wellbeingpoem

The first of the LitFest hosted sessions is Capturing Stories – a digital storytelling workshop by Jaye to make the most of smart phones or tablets when attending events. Covering the basics of Twitter, Vine, Audio Boom and Storify, this session will help the participants capture and document their activities across all the different sessions they take part in, aiding them in their quest to obtain a Bronze Arts Award by having an easily accessible digital archive. Blogging will also be covered. (This and ‘Captured Stories’ are also available for those not doing an Arts Award or taking part in other sessions).

The workshop dates are as follows:

Saturday 25/10 12 – 4pm Capturing Stories. Pulse Cafe, Sittingbourne
Tuesday 4/11 6.30pm – 9pm Poetry/Spoken Word. Sheerness County Youth Centre
Thursday 13/11 6pm – 8.30pm Poetry/Spoken Word. New House Sports and Youth Centre, Sittingbourne
Saturday 15/11 11am – 3pm Poetry/Spoken Word. Sheerness County Youth Centre
Monday 17/11 5pm – 7.30pm Poetry/Spoken Word West Faversham Community Centre (disability group/all welcome)
Saturday 29/11 11am – 4pm Poetry/Spoken Word. Phoenix House, Sittingbourne (open workshop and final rehearsal)
Saturday 6/12 6pm – 8pm Finale Performance Avenue Theatre, Sittingbourne
Saturday 13/12 12noon – 2pm Captured Stories. Pulse Café, Sittingbourne
The finale performance will include activity from the other partners in the project overall. See the Ideas Test website for more information.

The ‘Captured Stories’ session on 13/12 will bring together and share all the media surrounding the project.

All sessions are completely free to attend and you can book on line here or by calling 07713 865955. Cassy will be delighted to send you all the information you need to know. Please note that photography and other media will be shared on line and in promotional material.

The Six Ways to Wellbeing are all about doing more of the things you enjoy, with research showing that this can help improve your moods, strengthen your relationships and even add seven years to your life! It can be something as small as having a dance around, meeting a new person or learning a new skill.

The Six Ways are:

Connect – with family, friends, colleagues, neighbours
Be active – walk, run, garden, dance
Take notice – be curious, reflect on experiences
Keep learning – try something new
Give – doing something for others
Grow your world – planet care for its sustainability
You can find ourselves, Ideas Test, Swale CVS and Six Ways to Wellbeing on Twitter @RochLitFest @IdeasTest @SwaleCVS and @liveitwelluk, all of whom will be tweeting about the project under #sixwaystowellbeing. Six Ways to Wellbeing is also on Facebook, please search for ‘liveitwellkent’.

Find out more about the Six Ways to Wellbeing at

This programme of arts events is being funded jointly by Kent County Council, Artswork and The Royal Opera House Bridge.