-- Business blog now available --

A quick note to say that I've set up my Business blog, to be able to speak with a clear voice on both personal and work issues (i.e. by having separate blogs).

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Where we live

WAH - my Office ;-)I wanted to write a brief paean to where we live, as we have enjoyed it so much.
Unfortunately we are moving when our lease expires in July because of circumstances beyond our control. So I thought I’d post whilst the going was good.
You’ll find a fair few photos of the countryside around where we live via my Flickr account.
My home office
We used to live in North Shields, so to move out into the lovely Northumbrian countryside has been a literal and metaphorical / metaphysical breath of fresh air. :-D
Other plus points is that where we live:
  • It’s not too far from Newcastle upon Tyne: about 30 mins from the Metrocentre & central Newcastle
  • It’s good for mountain biking
    • I can hit the country roads and green lanes from straight out the back door
    • It’s closer to Kielder forest, where there is all manner of cross country mayhem courtesy of Kielder Trail Reavers
  • There’s a brewery half a mile away, which we can drink at the the Black Bull
  • It’s nice and quiet and it gets pretty dark in the evenings (if the light from Newcastle & Gateshead doesn’t reflect off the clouds)
  • Towards the North West, the sky at night is very clear and it’s possible to see some amazing stars (and a few shooting ones)
  • There is a varied slew of wildlife out and about, including:
    • Deer
    • Bats
    • Cows / Sheep
    • Kestrel
    • Badgers
    • Foxes
    • Mice
    • Song birds
    • Toads
    • Sundry insects
    • Rats
    • Feral cats
    • All manner of birds
    • There’s a few horses knocking about, too
More of Jarvis' garden ;-)Jarvis, our dog, loves it as he chases the pheasants, partridges etc. that lurk in the cover around and about. We get to walk him in various places, which keeps us fit, too.
There *are* downsides:
  • Winter can lasts for 4-5 months, can we windy, wet & snowy; it can be expensive to run an oil-fired central heating system
  • Broadband is pretty hopeless – we’re at the end of a 9km line, at the limit of usability really
  • The pigs being reared next door can get a bit smelly!
So that’s it. We’re hoping to move down the road, so watch this space.
UPDATE: This is new house [ok, so it’s the garden at the top-left corner, but you get the drift ;-)]

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Schizophrenia – disambiguation

I have a long-term interested in Psychology, having graduated in 1992 as a Bachelor of Science from the University of Bristol.

The point of this post is to say that (IMHO) it is wrong to view Schizophrenia as being synonymous with split personality, as the quotes from Wikipedia (below) attest.

I get frustrated when the word schizophrenia is used when ‘split-personality’ would be more appropriate.

Schizophrenia is defined by Wikipedia [accessed 25/5/09] as:

“Schizophrenia (pronounced /ˌskɪtsəˈfrɛniə/ or pronounced /ˌskɪtsəˈfriːniə/), from the Greek roots skhizein (σχίζειν, "to split") and phrēn, phren- (φρήν, φρεν-, "mind") is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a mental disorder characterized by abnormalities in the perception or expression of reality.

Distortions in perception may affect all five senses, including sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch, but most commonly manifests as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking with significant social or occupational dysfunction.

Onset of symptoms typically occurs in young adulthood,[1] with approximately 0.4–0.6%[2][3] of the population affected.

Diagnosis is based on the patient's self-reported experiences and observed behavior.

No laboratory test for schizophrenia currently exists.[4]

The entry continues:

“Despite its etymology, schizophrenia is not synonymous with dissociative identity disorder, previously known as multiple personality disorder or split personality; in popular culture the two are often confused.”

Wiktionary defines it thus [accessed 25/5/09], and thereby shows there is an informal use of the term:



  1. (pathology) A psychiatric diagnosis denoting a persistent, often chronic, mental illness variously affecting behavior, thinking, and emotion
  2. (informal) Any condition in which disparate or mutually exclusive activities coexist

For the purposes of balance, I am including the Wikipedia entry on Dissociative Identity Disorder [again, accessed 25/5/09]:

Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a condition in which a single person displays multiple distinct identities or personalities (known as alter egos or alters), each with its own pattern of perceiving and interacting with the environment.”

I realise this is probably a hopeless cause, but nonetheless worthwhile!