All About Me

Dated in the future so that it stays at the top of my journal, I am going to do a general 'about me', because it has been pointed out that there are some people on my friends-list who don't know as much as they might like to about me.  My info page gives you an outline, but here is something more 'meaty'.

Personal Life:  I am lucky enough to be...

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For my birthday, I always like to throw a birthday-bash, over the end of August bank holiday weekend.  People generally turn up early afternoon on the Saturday, and set up tents to camp overnight. This used to be in my garden, but I shall have to rethink that now I am in Chorlton with more of a yard than a garden - perhaps people can camp in Longford Park down the road?!  Anyway, I provide a buffet etc on the Saturday evening, and there is usually a pub lunch on the Sunday.  In recent years there has also been some live music (varying from pop to jazz) provided by a group of friends on the Saturday night, and then random musical entertainment provided by anyone who fancies blowing, hitting or plucking something.  It's great fun, and probably the most chilled-out weekend in my year.  Anyone who knows me is welcome - I see it as my chance to do something nice for all the people in my life, to show how much I appreciate you all.  And I certainly don't expect presents, though I don't get offended if anyone wants to buy me one.  So, if you are a recently added friend reading this, do please add the last weekend in August to your diary, and I'll see you then!

NOTE - for 2012 there was no big birthday bash, due to 'life-stuff', but it returns to the usual bank holiday date for 2013, which will be my 40th, so I hope to do something special :-)   -  The date for your diaries is: Sat 24th - Mon 26th August 2013.

Other ways to find me online:

And my Google calendar is here: Google Calendar

And finally my amazon wish-list is here, in case you are determined to buy me a birthday/christmas/whatever present for some reason:

And there I shall stop....  Anything else you want to know? Just ask.

Mary x

PS You may have come across me online previously going by the name "SaintMaryUK", or "AFPSaintMary".  In Summer 2010 I changed over to using "MaryRPerkins" as my online handle, and more recently "MaryRCrumpton", because I would rather put my real name on what I write.  Also because, although the nickname "SaintMary" was one given to me rather than one I chose myself, it still felt rather egotistical to use it!


#BBCProms Google Calendar 2014

Afternoon folks!

Having checked with the BBC in 2011 that no Google Calendar listing the Proms already exists, I spent a few hours creating one and listing all the Proms in it.  I did the same in 2012, 2013 and here we are in 2014 and there is still no official Google calendar.... So again this year, with some very much appreciated assistance from Tim (in fact he did it all this year), my Proms calendar is available for your use.

I have made it public so that anyone that wants to can view it, add it to their chosen calendar/feed program or whatever.

Click on whichever link below suits you best :-)

There is basic information for each prom in the 'description' of each calendar event.  But don't forget, the BBC have produced a rather lovely Proms guide, available from all good newsagents and book shops, which contains far more information, so do go buy a copy.

If anyone spots any errors in the calendar then do please drop me a tweet to let me know, to @PromsCalendar or @MaryRCrumpton (or send an email to me via BBCPromsCalendar AT gmail DOT com)

The addresses below can be used to access my BBC Proms Calendar online.


Just click on the following website address to view the Proms Google calendar in any web browser:


The address below can be used to access this BBC Proms Calendar from other calendar applications. You can copy and paste this address into any calendar product that supports the ical format.


And the address below can be used to access this BBC Proms Calendar from other applications. You can copy and paste this into any feed reader.

Enjoy :-)

#BBCProms Google Calendar

Afternoon folks!

Having checked with the BBC in 2011 that no Google Calendar listing the Proms already exists, I spent a few hours creating one and listing all the Proms in it.  I did the same in 2012, and here we are in 2013 and there is still no official Google calendar.... So again this year, with some very much appreciated assistance from Tim, my Proms calendar is available for your use.
I have made it public so that anyone that wants to can view it, add it to their chosen calendar/feed program or whatever.
Click on whichever link below suits you best :-)

I have put in basic information for each prom, in the 'description' of each calendar event.  But don't forget, the BBC have produced a rather lovely Proms guide, available from all good newsagents and book shops, which contains far more information than I will ever manage to type in, so do go buy a copy.
If anyone spots any errors in the calendar then do please drop me a tweet to let me know, to @PromsCalendar or @MaryRCrumpton (or send an email to me via BBCPromsCalendar AT gmail DOT com)

The links you need:

HTML - Website Address:

The address below can be used to access my BBC Proms Calendar online.
Just click on the following website address to view the Proms Google calendar in any web browser:


The address below can be used to access this BBC Proms Calendar from other calendar applications. You can copy and paste this address into any calendar product that supports the ical format.


And the address below can be used to access this BBC Proms Calendar from other applications. You can copy and paste this into any feed reader.

I'm now a 'proper' member of #Chorlton Unitarian Church (Atheists welcome!)

Today I took part in a lovely, and moving, service at Chorlton Unitarian Church.  At this "Membership Service", myself and 2 others were formally accepted as members of the church.

Some of the congregation choose to be members, some do not, but I felt that it was a step I wanted to take.

I said a few words, as did the other new members, about why we had chosen to take this step.  I thought I would share with you what I remember of what I said:

I thanked the church for accepting me as a member, and I told them what had led me there - in a nutshell it is that they are willing to let me in, with total acceptance and non-judgement, where most places of reflection/worship will not.

First stumbling block: I don't believe in God.  I cannot believe in the Christian God, a conscious omnipresent being.   I have been to services run by many different denominations of the Christian church, and they all seemed to regard belief in their God, and acceptance of Christ, as a pre-requisite for joining - I respect and understand this - but it isn't me.  And it seemed to be the story across the board - theistic churches/temples/mosques don't really welcome atheistic agnostics with open arms.

And then I found the Unitarians.  They will let anyone in!  Well, that's not quite true, you need to support their aims or "objects".  But there is no dogma.  No requirement to believe anything in particular.  Simply to respect and understand that the other members of the church are each "fellow travellers", engaged in individual and collective journeys in search of "truth and meaning".  Some Unitarians would call themselves Christians (the movement arose out of "free thinking Christians" who believed in God but not the trinity.  But Unitarians seem to include all types of theists, atheists, humanists, philosophers, theosophers, Buddhists, pagans, spiritual and non-spiritual people.  All coming to reflect, together, on what it means to be human, and how best to live out our time on this planet.

After reading excitedly about Unitarianism, the first Unitarian church I went to, in Altrincham, disappointed me a bit  I loved the idea of Unitarianism, but the format of the Dunham Road church's Unitarian service seemed very Christian, with quite traditional prayers and hymns, and not much of a nod to other belief systems.  Yes, there was the odd reading that wasn't Christian, so I was pleased at the hint of acceptance of other paths, but I didn't feel it was a place where I could totally be at home. I intended to go back, but somehow couldn't find the motivation.....

But then, about a year ago when I moved back to Chorlton, I tried out Chorlton Unitarian Church.  It was like coming home!   The services sometimes include Christian texts, but seemed equally likely to include readings from any other religious/spiritual  tradition, or philosophical text, or from anything that the leader of the service considers to be thought-provoking and meaningful.  I heard a quote from Winne the Pooh during one service!  
There are 'hymns' but not in the way you might think: these are often meditations or poetry set to music, or otherwise thought-provoking songs, as well as more traditional hymns.  
And although the word 'God' does come up from time to time, we are each free to choose to interpret that loaded word in any way we wish.  One fellow-church go-er told me that whenever she hears the word 'God', she mentally replaces it with the word 'nature' and that works for her.  
There are 'prayers' too - and some people do treat them as a prayer to their supreme being, but others treat them more as a 'meditation' or a 'reflection' that speaks instead to their heart/mind, or to their subconscious or something.  I am very much in the latter category!

So, at last I found a place that wouldn't ask me to believe in God, or ask me to believe in anything in particular.  No dogma.  Free-thinking.  But still a place I can come to a couple of times a month (weekly if I choose to) to reflect on life, how I want to live it, and what it is all about.

Second Stumbling block: Polyamory.  This is another 'test' that any place of spirituality had to pass.  As I explained to the congregation this morning, I am polyamorous.  For me, romantic love is not a limited resource.  I have a lovely fiancé Tim, who I will marry in February.  We have an open relationship.  I also have a boyfriend John.  And I may have other partners as well in the future, who may include women, as I am also bisexual.
Everywhere else I have been to has been unable to deal with this.  Responses from other people in congregations (including worship-leaders) have ranged from "sorry but what you are doing is wrong, against God's law, and you will burn in hell" through to the more tactful but equally un-accepting "I respect your decisions but I am sorry to tell you that what you are doing is wrong - how can you possibly love 2 people.....?"  
Cautiously I confided in one Chorlton Unitarian church member that I loved more than one person.  I was so relieved when his response was pretty much "whatever".  And I added a couple of other church members on facebook - neither of them said "what's this weird thing you do then?" ;-)  Don't misunderstand - I have no problem with people being curious and asking questions - it is nice to be asked about it, in a non-judgemental way, by people who are genuinely interested and curious.  I just don't like feeling I have to justify it to people!
I can't tell you how liberating it felt to be amongst people who didn't pass some kind of judgement on my polyamorous way of being.  Who wouldn't tell me, however respectfully, that their God thought it was wrong.  

I could tell that here, finally, I had found a welcoming group of people who shared my desire to reflect on life, and accepted my atheistic polyamorous nature without any judgement of it.  

I am very grateful to all the people at Chorlton Unitarian church for making me so welcome, first as part of the congregation, and now as a full member of the church.  I am sure I will be a member for many years to come, and I would encourage anyone who can get to Chorlton to come along to a couple of Sunday services and give them a try!

Website for more info is here: 

And the facebook page is here:

Do hop over and give the facebook page a *like*

The service is 10.30am - 11.30am-ish, with tea & coffee afterwards.  And the church is behind a block of flats on Wilbraham road, between Sibson Road and Maidstone Avenue, (a large green sign in front of the flats makes it easier to spot, as you can't see the church from the road).  The address is: Chorlton Unitarian Chapel, (Behind Regency Court Flats, 548B), Wilbraham Road, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester, M21 9LB

And finally.....

To celebrate becoming a member of the church, I sadly won't be drinking champagne, as I am participating in the Dryathlon.  
So instead of drinking a toast with me to celebrate my membership, do please instead donate the price of a couple of glasses of wine to my Dryathlon sponsorship page here:

Oh, if you haven't found me on facebook yet, you can 'friend' me here:

Thanks for reading, and in doing so sharing my special day with me.

13 Resolutions for 2013 - tell me what you think of them?

I reviewed my life-plan over the new year, but I have been too busy sorting wedding stuff since then to post on LJ about it.
(I have a wedding dress now, and a wedding ring, and we will have flowers - go me!)
Anyway, I  thought I would share some of my personal New Year resolutions with you....
(I also have goals for my businesses but I won't bore you with those!)

In 2013 I resolve to....  
  1. Adopt a mostly vegetarian lifestyle (This is motivated by both environmental considerations and reducing animal cruelty).  I will *only* eat meat/fish either on special occasions or when I am a guest somewhere (a situation where I feel it right to gratefully accept whatever my host provides, unless of course it is raw tomatoes – yuck!)
  2. Raise at least £300 for Cancer Research UK:  Become a ‘ Dry-athlete’ - get sponsored to go without alcohol for a month (January) by participating in Cancer Research’s ‘Dryathlon’.
  3. Adopt a healthier lifestyle so that by Christmas 2013 I will weigh at least 2 stone less than I do now:  December 2010 weight was 21 stone 10 pounds (my heaviest ever); December 2012 weight was 18 stone 10 pounds (so that’s 3 stone dropped so far).  So I will aim to lose an average of at least a pound a fortnight this year, in order to weigh less than 16 stone 10 pounds by Christmas 2013.  I would like to lose more, but I am making this goal one that I *know* that I can achieve.  To do this I will choose healthier foods, eat smaller portions and go for walks at least twice a week, for at least 15 minutes each time, i.e. do at least 104 walks this year.  
  4. Finish future-proofing my financial arrangements:  This year I signed up to a funeral plan to make sure my funeral costs are covered when I die.  In 2013 I will make sure I am adequately prepared for retirement/death by sorting out a will, retirement/pension-plan(s) and a sensible savings plan for the unexpected.
  5. Get some house re-decoration done - at least two of the following:  Replace front of house sash windows with double-glazed ones, investigate improving loft insulation, re-paint study, re-paint lounge, re-paint kitchen.
  6. Read at least 26 books this year, by setting aside regular reading time in order to finish about one book a fortnight.  
  7. Write at least 50 proper hand-written letters to people during the year (i.e. about one a week) - I managed one a fortnight in 2012, so I am aiming to double that.
  8. For my neighbours:  Set-up a neighbourhood watch scheme for the people on my street.
  9. For Chorlton: Get more involved with Chorlton Civic Society by doing at least one of: attending some of their regular meetings, writing something for their newsletter, joining Chorlton Traders, promoting the Society to local friends etc.
  10. Live a more compassionate life by adopting at least 2 new habits that result in me behaving more compassionately (towards myself and/or others).  To achieve this I will finish reading “12 steps to compassion” and then decide on 2 new behaviours that will make a difference.
  11. Look properly at setting-up the charity that I have had an idea about: finish doing my research and either go do it, or abandon the idea if it is not sensible / viable.
  12. Finish writing the first draft of my first book.
  13. Be well-prepared for the 2013 festive season, to make it as lovely as possible for everyone I am connected with:  Organise cards/presents in plenty of time; hold 2 great parties (one for the whole street, and one for friends/family); help-out with community/charity events, etc.  
So, what do you think?  Do they look good?  Will I do them all?  ;-)

Oh, I did sign up for the Dryathlon (resolution 2), and I have been without drink for 5 days now..... do please sponsor me to continue?  Every little helps, and seeing donations coming in really spurs me on (finding the old vino hard to resist!) and your money will go to a great cause - research to find treatments for cancer.  Please donate now by clicking this link:          Thank you!  :-)

Oh, and best of luck with any new year resolutions you may have made.  I know a great life-coach if you need help achieving them ;-)

2013 Meme - 20 good things about 2012, 13 things to look forward to in 2013

20 good things about 2012:
  1. My wonderful partners, friends and family,  who bring so much joy to my life.
  2. Teaching Physics/Science/Maths/English - really rewarding work.
  3. Being a Happiness Coach - more really rewarding work.
  4. Running a local group for the charity “Action for Happiness”, and facilitating the "Manchester Coaching Circle".
  5. The electric car being on the road at last.
  6. Managing to acquire gluten-free haggis and give Stuart a 'proper' Burns night - he hadn't had haggis for about 10 years!
  7. Having a lovely time at QED con with John
  8. Having my Dad to stay, and see the new house, over Easter
  9. Running my first "Happiness Workshop" in Chorlton, and it going really well.
  10. Walking 9 miles for the first time in over 10 years whilst raising money for Charity.
  11. Tim's bladder cancer being removed and him getting the all clear (will have annual check-ups)
  12. Setting up Manchester Armchair Philosophers, and it being a huge success.
  13. Starting my Coaching Supervision diploma - loving the course, learning lots.
  14. Doing lovely things for my birthday - the grand picnic in Longford Park was awesome!
  15. Going on an Autumn holiday with Tim to a converted mill at Chipping village, near Longridge (Lancashire)
  16. Dad's kidney (with gigantic cancerous tumour attached) being removed.  And after a lengthy recovery period, although he will possibly need further drugs, he is loads better.  It had been a very worrying few months. So relieved!
  17. Being Santa's helper at the Chorlton Christmas lights switch-on
  18. My cousin Tim having a baby (my first cousin once removed?) Abigail, born in December.
  19. Two lovely Christmas parties at my house: The first for friends, including singing carols round the (electric) piano.  And the second, inviting the whole of my street to a Christmas gathering, and getting to know some of the neighbours properly.
  20. A relaxing and happy first Christmas in Chorlton-cum-hardy, and John being there too.
13 things I look forward to in 2013:
  1. Special times with partners, friends and family throughout the year.
  2. Getting involved with my local community via continuing work for the “Action for Happiness” charity, the Manchester Armchair Philosophers, and also getting more involved with Chorlton Civic Society.
  3. Continuing to walk more (as soon as the weather warms up).
  4. Dinner somewhere nice with Tim to celebrate being together for 9 years.
  5. Getting married at the Manchester University Museum, under a T-Rex skeleton, on February 23rd, and the honeymoon.
  6. Doing something nice with John to celebrate being together for 2 years on March 6th.
  7. Going to QED Con with John in April (for his birthday).
  8. Doing something nice for Stuart for his birthday in May (but I can't say what, as I haven't told him yet).
  9. Completing my NLP Coaching Diploma and Coaching Supervision Diploma, both in June.
  10. Going to Dad's Summer Party, on Sunday 14th July.
  11. Celebrating my 40th birthday (and Dad's 70th) - over the August bank holiday weekend (24th - 26th August) - will probably be a camping / B&B-ing event - please keep the date free :-)
  12. September: Going to the Science Festival (an annual event organised by the British Science Association) at the University of Newcastle.
  13. Getting some of the house re-decorated - can't kid myself for much longer that it's OK as we have only just moved in!
So what would your 20 and 13 things be?

My 2012 NY Resolutions - How Did I Do with them?

So, the things I resolved to do in 2012, with my comments on how far I achieved them, are:
  1. Review and re-write my life-plan (and goals) for each area of my life. -  10/10 - DONE
  2. Finish unpacking paperwork and get good system in place; and get the rest of the house more organised and presentable. - 7/10 - The house is MUCH more presentable than it was a year ago when we had recently moved in. And I am developing a good system for paperwork, but there is still room for improvement.
  3. Lose at least 3 stone in weight. - 0/10 - My weight has been up and down this year.  On the plus side, I haven't put any weight on - the 3 stone I lost in 2011 has stayed off - and to be honest, with all the challenges that have come my way this year, I think I can be happy not to have put on any weight!  I would like to see me build on the good work I started in 2011 though, and lose another big chunk of weight in 2013.  
  4. Feel more financially secure for the long-term, with savings & retirement plan, wills, etc - 5/10 - Have made steps towards this, but various things were planned to be put in place after the wedding, which had to be postponed, so this one will have to get ticked off in 2013.
  5. Organise our wedding and marry Tim (on October 27th). - 8/10 - All organised, but date had to be rescheduled (due to cancer stuff) to Feb 23rd 2013.  Invitations going out by email shortly.  So this one is a "nearly done!" :-)
  6. Complete 2 Coaching diplomas (NLP and Coaching Supervision); And achieve "Master Coach" level. - 6/10 - Have done all the coursework for the NLP diploma, but had to miss the qualification weekend (came when Tim was having his cancer stuff) so I hope to qualify in June 2013 instead.  As for the Supervision one: I changed my mind about who to do the diploma with, which meant the course start-date was later in the year - I am all set to get this one in June 2013.
  7. Raise at least …£250 for charity by walking 10 miles; and also set-up the charity I want to start. - 7/10 - Raised more than my target, but haven't set up the charity yet (though I have done some research).
  8. Finish writing my first book. - 0/10 - not even started LOL.
  9. Sing with a decent choir again, and perform in at least one concert. - 8/10 - Did some singing, with a decent choir, but I wasn't really up to the physical demands of singing and standing to perform etc (blasted M.E.), or to consistently attending rehearsals, so didn't manage a concert in the end, but at least I gave it a go as planned :-)   It actually made me think about whether it is something I really want to do when I am fit, and I am not sure.  Weird wanting something for so long, then when you might be getting to the point that you can do it, you have moved on, and perhaps other things have taken its place.  Will have to think about this.  One good outcome - Tim is now singing with the choir regularly as he joined when I went along.  And he really enjoys it.
  10. Read at least 50 books (about one a week). - 7/10 - I read about 30 in the end.  Must do better to catch up with the book back-log I have.  In fairness, I have read an awful lot of other stuff on-line, studying for my courses etc.
  11. Have dinner with friends at least once a month. - 10/10 - DONE :-)
  12. Write at least 24 proper hand-written letters (i.e. 2 a month). - 10/10 - DONE :-)
So, out of a possible 120 points, I have scored myself 78.  That's about 7/10 overall.  Not too bad I reckon.

Now I need to decide what my resolutions for 2013 will be.  I have one so far.  I will post a list sometime in the next few days.

@02 won't replace your faulty phone if you are disabled?

I had cause to speak to two different o2 reps online today.  Before complaining about the second one I should say that the first one, Scott, was excellent: he resolved my problem with the friends and family bolt on immediately (at least I think he did - awaiting an SMS to confirm a new number has been added to my group).  So, thank you to Scott for being great :-)

However, the conversation I just had with a second online 02 customer service rep has left me gobsmacked.
To summarise: my phone has an intermittent fault.  I asked Dev to please send me a replacement and I would send the faulty one back (something they quite happily did with a phone I had from them about 10 years ago).  
Despite explaining that I couldn't get to the 02 shop (my legs aren't up to public transport this week and Tim is away), Dev told me that going to the shop was my only option!!  Really?!  

I cannot accept that anyone who can't get to an 02 shop cannot have a replacement phone - I am paying monthly on a contract for this phone, so, do they expect me to continue to pay for a faulty phone until May 2013 when I am due my next upgrade?!


Transcript of conversation is below.  I would welcome suggestions on what I do next.  I filled in their feedback form and asked them to telephone me urgently to resolve this - I will keep you posted!

Such a shame - up until today I have been a huge o2 evangelist, and told everyone who would listen how great I think they are.  In the past they have been really very good and fixed any issues I have had very quickly.  Several of my friends are on 02 now because I recommended them so highly.  

I hope a manager reviews my feedback form (and the conversation) and takes action promptly, to restore my faith in them.  At this point I think they have made such a cock-up that they should just offer to upgrade me early and send me a brand new phone of my choice right now!  :-(

I shall keep my fingers crossed - believe the best - perhaps they will phone me shortly,to apologise, and to do just that.

EDIT:  Amazingly, despite having been made aware of this issue at 11am (I pointed them at this LJ post via Twitter), nothing has been done, and it is now 5pm.  A tweet asking me to email them with my mobile number and twitter ID (what?  the twitter ID you just tweeted at?!) but nothing else.  They haven't phoned me, or seemingly done anything to resolve the issue or let me know they think their agent has behaved badly.

Also, the other issue I had, which I thought Scott had fixed  and said how good he was?  - Looks like he hadn't fixed it - I just wanted to add a friend's number to my 'friends and family' group bolt-on, but, checking the website just now the number still hasn't been added to the group, despite Scott promising me it would be done in half an hour, and then when I contacted them to query it another agent, Alan, promising it would be done in 2 hours (that was at noon).  So now there are two things needing sorting :-(

Since they seem incapable of phoning me, I have just emailed them......  *sigh*
I tried calling but gave up.

Chat Transcript
info: Welcome to O2. Someone will be with you soon.
info: You're through to O2 : Dev.
Mary R Perkins: Hi there Dev
O2 : Dev: Hi I'm O2 : Dev. How can I help?
Mary R Perkins: My phone, a Samsung Galaxy S2, keeps turning itself off. I love the phone, but this is happening enough that it is really starting to wind me up. Can you send me a replacement please?
Mary R Perkins: Or alternatively, can you upgrade me early?
O2 : Dev: I'm sorry to know that Mary 
O2 : Dev: For that you need to visit the Store .
Mary R Perkins: Really? I chose 02 because you do everything online and by post - I have mobility issues. Can you please post me a replacement phone instead?
Mary R Perkins: (This happened once before, with a phone I had from you about ten years ago - you sent me a replacement in the post, and when it arrived I posted the faulty one back to you as you had sent me a returns sticker etc)
O2 : Dev: I do understand that Mary but i'm sorry to say my tools are not working 
Mary R Perkins: your tools are not working? 
O2 : Dev: Yes Mary 
Mary R Perkins: Um. So, how are we going to sort this? I can't get to the O2 shop. So...
O2 : Dev: The Shop is the only option as of now mary 
O2 : Dev: I have checked all the options for you ./
Mary R Perkins: OK. 
Mary R Perkins: Bye

  • Current Mood
    surprised surprised

Fancy a weekend away, meeting lovely people, including Terry Pratchett?

Due to unforeseen circumstances I find myself unable to attend this year's Discworld Convention (The Eighnnnnnn Convention) at the Hilton Metropole at the NEC in Birmingham over the August Bank holiday weekend.  
Would anyone like my convention ticket?  
It is a full attending membership and includes entry to the entire convention (except the Gala Dinner which was ticketed separately).  
I paid about £50 for the ticket, but I am open to any reasonable offer - I would rather see the ticket get used than be wasted.  
The membership on offer is MemberID: A322 (Membership type: Full attending).
Please comment here, or drop me an email to or text/phone me on 07751 696 055 to express interest.
Hope someone can make use of it.

Con info here: