Monday, 20 June 2011

12 days of twitter

I have been dabbling sporadically with twitter for a while and wasn't really sure why. I blog on here about a variety of things and had attracted a respectable number of followers on twitter and hits to the website but for reasons that seemed unclear many were in US, India and Australia and so unlikely to actually need my homeopathic services. The vast majority of people who come to see me for a consultation come via word of mouth recommendations and many of them don't do the internet at all. Locally there don't seem to be many people in the twittersphere and so I wasn't sure whether it was worth bothering with.

When a friend told me that Leeds based company Reach Further were offering a free 12 days of twitter course I thought I might as well sign up and see what happened - it was a revelation. I was pondering what to write on here about my experiences but Pete Stevens (@petejabber) beat me to it and I agree with pretty much everything he says. I am certainly no expert but do have much more of an idea about how it works and have more of an understanding about some of the tools like, buffer and klout which can be extremely useful.

There is still much conversing, learning and networking going on amongst us '12dot-ters' and we're having a tweetmeet in Leeds next month so can actually meet up in person.

I generally tweet about homeopathy, health in general, local stuff, gardening, eco issues, festivals, mental health and other random things like radio programmes that I liked that might interest others. Sometimes a tweet or a reply can spread like wildfire.

@treehugger tweets about sustainabilty and the other evening asked ' What is the best/worst/craziest thing you've seen/read/watched today?' I had just been looking at the Ecologist website and was shocked by an article about Monsanto being aware that Roundup causes birth defects so tweeted that.

I also replied with a bizarre story I'd seen on the BBC website about research on the social life of badgers which amused me. I must confess to having 'badger interests' - a friend Matty is in a band called Biscuithead and the Biscuit Badgers @biscuitbadgers and so they are always entertained by any badger related stories (see my recent festival blog for more on them)

Much to my bewilderment both stories got retweeted by loads of people and my klout rating shot up overnight. So I think the lesson is - you never know quite what might appeal to people, but it's almost certainly not what you'd expect!

A huge thank you to all at Reach Further and especially Liz Cable who guided us through the learning process. I can highly recommend them. They do a lot of on line courses for businesses using social media and also seminars and workshops in the Leeds area.

And if you're interested in my twitter musings Follow homeojo on Twitter

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Festival fun, frolics and nostalgia

I lived in Bristol as a teenager and so Glastonbury was an annual pilgrimage for me and my chums. I first went in 1986 and have been most years ever since, and for nostalgia's sake here was the line up of 86! It was much, much smaller then and there were only 2 stages and 2 big tents.. a very different experience these days.

For myself and many other homeopaths, festival season means helping out with the Travelling Homeopaths Collective. This was set up by Marcus Christo and they have been providing low cost homeopathy treatment at festivals since 1990. This year there will be a homeopathy clinic at 20 festivals all over the country starting with Wychwood in Cheltenham this weekend and finishing in September with The End Of The Road in Dorset– see here for the full list of THC festivals for 2011.

The sort of things people come to see us about include hangovers, dodgy tummies, urine infections, sunburn, bites and stings but over 60% of the people we see come to us about hayfever. Last year, Glastonbury was (unusually) very hot and dusty and many people who had never previously been affected were suffering really badly with hayfever symptoms.

We can only treat simple first aid or acute illnesses at festivals. It is not appropriate to treat long term physical or emotional problems in a festival environment, however, if people want to explore the possibility of using homeopathy for those sort of conditions then we can put them in touch with a qualified homeopath in their area.

This year there are lots more family friendly festivals popping up. Within about 15 miles of home there will be four this year, unfortunately, I can't go to all of them but I'll give them a plug!

First of all Rough Beats coming up very soon on 10-12th June, small and perfectly formed – it’s a great atmosphere and very close to the lovely village of Clapham in the Yorkshire Dales. In their own words it is 'Yorkshire's best and most independent music festival, for a guaranteed mix of great music, late bars and the best crowd in the north, this is the summer event not to be missed.' Lots of local support for this one which has been going for ten years and just gets better. Loads of great stuff including the excellent Craig Charles who is bringing his funk and soul DJ set to the countryside.

Beatherder is held near Gisburn in the Ribble Valley on 1st-3rd July and also has some great stuff. The Lancashire Hot Pots, Utah Saints, Mr Scruff, Simian Mobile Disco, Leftfield to name a few. Another brilliant local festival with 3 days of beats and barminess. Loads of quirky stuff going on, and not many festivals can boast a working men's club stuck in a 70's time warp! They are doing a Willy Wonka style golden ticket so 5 lucky punters will be met on the gate and get loads of Beat Herding goodies and drinks tokens which I'm sure will make it a particularly memorable weekend!

The Magic Loungeabout is an other family friendly one at the end of July held in the impressive grounds of Broughton Hall just outside Skipton. They say it is 'a festival like no other with an emphasis on a refined unwind and the best in electronic pop and acoustic music.' Some of the bands and other acts on show include Badly Drawn Boy, Human League, New Young Pony Club but also folk like Annie Nightingale and Howard Marks as well as loads of entertainment, games and cinema. Looks considerably posher than your average festival and there are four camping areas depending on how quiet or loud you want your festival to be. Luxury camping in bell tents, yurts and tipis is also available. The kids area will have cool things like zorbing, antique games and the Gruffalo! For those of you who find the whole festival experience a little too taxing there will be day tents available (with comfy furniture and waitresses), a proper sit down restaurant and even a spa where you can have a massage.

Beacons Festival is another small and friendly festival just outside Skipton at Heslaker Farm on 12-14th August. Described as 'a boutique arts festival for music fans and families in the wonderful Yorkshire Dales.' Loads of great stuff including yummy food stalls, local ales, a vintage fair and even a farmer's market. The Ladybird collective will be entertaining the children with lots of free workshops and entertainment, and they will even have a beach - with beach huts! This is from the people behind the Moors Music Festival and the line up is pretty impressive. Amongst others music will be from Jamie Woon, Mr Scruff, Jamie XX, The Fantastic Mr Fox and Willy Mason.

And now for a plug for our friend Matty and his band Biscuithead and the Biscuit Badgers. Due to the imminent arrival of twins (hooray for Matty and Helen!) the band will be not doing as many festivals as usual this summer but you can catch them at various venues around Leeds and Manchester and Liverpool and hopefully at Solfest. The have featured in a variety of magazines and have been described as ‘a moustache-powered tuba cabaret marvel’.. bizarre but hugely entertaining. They have a fantastic website and check out the piece about Prince Charles in the 'scrap book'.. excellent!


Biscuithead and the Biscuit Badgers 'Cheese'

I will definitely be doing the Travelling Homeopaths clincs at Glastonbury, Beatherder and possibly Beacons and Solfest.. so pop in for a chat and a cuppa if you want to meet me in the flesh!

For those tweeters amongst you @wychwoodfest, @EOTR, @roughbeats, @beaconsfest, @beatherder, @thelounger, @glastofest, @solfest and @biscuitbadgers

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Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Videos of the strange behaviour of water

The main area of controversy in homeopathy is around the issue of dilutions, but many people do not realise that there is a great deal about water we still do not understand. I have mentioned this in previous blogs, see Weirdness of Water and Avogadro for more info and I won't go into it all again here. John Benneth has also talked about dilutions on his blog and has reviewed the research which has been done for over a century to try and understand why homeopathically prepared dilutions are still measurable and have an effect on cells, bacteria, plants, animals and humans.

I came across a video on Oasis HD which shows how unexpectedly water can behave. The same sample of water can produce different images when handled by different people, or can be affected by a flower.

On a similar theme, here is a short video of some of Dr Emoto's work on ice crystals.

A much longer video about Dr Emoto and his work can be found here.

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