Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

I have been married twenty-one years; I have two teenage daughters, and I am fifty years of age this year.

I wish to spend my fiftieth birthday in a log cabin, by a lake full of trout, with fishing tackle and a boat; with enough food essential’s to last a week. No Internet, nor TV, but a few good books. And did I mention on my own? Well yes on my own. 

If this makes me selfish, well so be it. Because I won’t enjoy my fiftieth any other way.

However, as I live in the UK this isn’t going to happen as I’d like.

So I guess I won’t enjoy it.


skeletal-debateThe conviction of the “Oxford child paedophile gang” has been widely reported in the media and the prosecutions a welcome outcome. However, a lack of action against individuals in positions of authority within organisations responsible for protecting vulnerable members of society, places a stain on the whole event.

It would appear that highly paid individuals within public sector organisations are immune from paying the ultimate cost for their failings. Reported in the Independent newspaper the Chief Executive of Oxfordshire County Council suggested, “”her gut feeling” is she will not resign” over the case.

Ms Simons, who has been the council’s chief executive since 2005, added: “There is going to be an independent serious case review which will look at the actions of all the agencies concerned… [but] my gut feeling is that I’m not going to resign because my determination is that we need to do all that we can to take action to stamp this out.”

It shouldn’t be the case of Ms Simons resigning, falling on ones sword to appease the baying crowds is not what one should do in such a position. In my opinion, failing these children is a failing of Ms Simons in her duty of care; to satisfactorily undertake her roles and responsibilities identified within the Oxfordshire County Council Chief Executive job description. This should ultimately result in her sacking. Could one trust Ms Simons now to undertake a fair and frank investigation, independent or not?

Ms Simons rightly points out though, that many agencies failed these children not just Oxfordshire County Council. And where there have been clear failings in expectations demonstrated, justice meted out to all concerned.

In my opinion the public sector would be far better managed if the “Mancini Principle” was adopted.

Roberto Mancini is sacked…” (14th May 2013).

Mancini had been the manager of Manchester City Football Club (MCFC) since 2009: his “greatest” accolade being in 2012; as their manager he successfully lead the team to the final of the Barclays Premier League, where they beat Manchester United ultimately on goal difference. This was a huge achievement for the club.

However, on 14th May 2013 for failing to achieve any of the clubs targets he was sacked.

Unfortunately, it is not often we hear about such decisive action being taken when there are failings in the public sector. This, one could suggest, is why there is so little trust or respect for those in positions of authority.

Let us not forget that current-events events in Oxford are not the first, and they most certainly won’t be the last; and it certainly is not something that is particular to twenty-first century culture. It is a world wide concern. Children have always been part of the most vulnerable groups in society, and probably the most mismanaged, for want of a better word. We have a duty of care, as parents, to all children. However, when agencies are tasked with managing that care for whatever reason, society should expect nothing less; as difficult as that might be to achieve.

Friday April 6, 2012…

“Good Friday”, when Christians the world over remember Christ’s crucifixion on Calvary; and His raising from the dead on the third day.

It wasn’t a good Friday for me, as I discovered that the brother of my very good friend had died of a cerebral haemorrhage earlier that day.

As difficult as it is to reconcile the death of anybody at any time: the loss of a parent as hard as it is, is certainly for me easier to come to terms with than the loss of a child (of any age) by a parent, or a sibling by a brother or sister, or a husband by a wife.

I had the pleasure of knowing Tim since a very early age; Tim was the younger brother of Nick, with who I started primary school with and have never lost touch since.

The untimely, unfair theft of Tim’s life has and will continue leave devastation across not only those dear to Tim remaining, his mum and dad, brother and wife, but all those who had the privilege of knowing him.

I have titled this “a dichotomy through loss” because a “dichotomy” is a separation into two divisions that differ widely from or contradict each other.

And where can these widely differing and contradictory divisions be seen if not with the loss of a friend, a brother, a husband, and a son: by way of the grief, the anger, the bewilderment, the sense of awesome loss felt; set against memories of  childhood holidays shared, silly arguments passed, marriage, achievements in life, the positive effects on the lives Tim touched, a pint shared in the pub, and in Tim’s case the lives he will touch in death through his unselfish gift of organ donation.

Tim will continue to live on through our memories and through others…

R.I.P Tim

Hi Guys

Thanks for following my posts “shot from the pocket:picture from the phone”, on

I have decided to move my future pictures to a new site to separate my rather diverse blog subjects.

The new site for future “Shot from the pocket” posts will be

I do hope you will continue to enjoy my photo blogs on this new site.



Where I am right now,                                                                                                   Begs no questions to be asked.                                                                       As to how and why I find myself,                                                                   Where I am right now.

I do not know the outcome,                                                                                           I can plan but for the worst.                                                                         There is no point in guessing,                                                                         They all know the outcome.

I have support from where it counts,                                                                       The foundation of my strength.                                                                     To keep me going, for how long?                                                                   Support from where it counts.

To a friend, work colleague, and an all round good guy. You set off to live your dream, in a country that you loved; learning new talents to develop yourself and others.


We shall not forget.

Gareth Dickens

Thailand 15/02/2011

There is gross understatement of the positive contributions youth of today bring in to society; demonstrated through the broadest of interpretations of “Pareto’s Principle“. The principle suggests, in context, that more time spent managing negative contributions means less time available for the positive. In the last four week’s I have had the pleasure of witnessing approximately 450 members of society ranging from eight years to late ‘teens produce some magnificent work. Which would not otherwise get a mention.

A local voluntary group called “Vision” came to the local church to deliver the service and to pass on details of the work they have been doing in the area. They come around every year, as we are on the periphery of the area they cover. “Vision” provide a community led youth service with the underlying theme of teaching about the Bible and Christianity. The majority of the team are gap year students who spend their time organising concert’s, youth clubs, and pro-actively going into secondary schools and organising lessons etcetera (fully supported by the schools). The enthusiasm in the way in which they go about their tasks and the faith and belief in what they are trying to achieve was a pleasure to witness, in such a young group.

At the beginning of July I went to see “The Wreck of The Titanic” by David Bedford. This was a new composition by one of Britain’s leading composers; a musical portrayal of the legend that was the Titanic. I went to see my daughter as she was a member of the senior choir. This magnificent evening, performed by three hundred young singers and instrumentalists; from schools and colleges across Lancashire, supported by The Lancashire Sinfonietta and the Lancashire Youth Symphony Orchestra and the musical director was Richard Laing. This was a spectacular evening, where I am sure I was not the only proud parent in the audience.

Then last night, although not on such a grand a scale, was the school play. The last for daughter number one before she starts secondary school. “Hoodwinked” a tale loosely based on that of Robin Hood ( a great deal of artistic licence, thrown in). Performed by approximately one hundred and twenty children in the last three years of school, at the local theatre. Not only did they represent their school magnificently but they all did themselves proud as well.

So, to all those out there who like to spend 80% of their time chasing the 20% who contribute little to society; I like to think I have helped to put the shoe on the other foot.