Mutterings and musings

An obtuse title for obtuse posts

The sticky issue of charities and wages explained

Warning… This may be a controversial post so do not read if you suffer from high blood pressure, are expecting a child, own a cricket bat and know where I live.

You’ve run a marathon, you’ve done a bake sale, you’ve shaved your hair off and you’ve pestered people with donation pots. Now you send all that hard earned money into the charity of your choice and sit back knowing that your effort has gone directly to cleaning water, providing shelter, getting girls into education or, my own favourite, looking after donkeys.

As a professional writer I have a variety of clients, law firms, estate agents, surf websites, newspapers, myself… of course, and charities. Now, here is the interesting thing when you say:

“I volunteer for a charity.”

This suggests you do things out of the kindness of your heart, a sweet and generous person who puts themselves before others, a veritable hero and in some lights, that might just be a halo hovering over your head.


“I work for A charity and get paid.”

This suggests that you’re a cold hearted bastard who is trying to steal food out of children’s mouths, rip shirts from refugees backs and piddle in the only well in the village, just for shits and gigs and, in certain lights, are they not horns poking from under your fringe?

Well… I work for a charity and I get paid.

I can hear you gasping from here. What? Kind and sweet Olz, the timid adventurer? The jester from Leicester?
It’s true, all of it… Well, I don’t actually have a fringe. This blog article deals with the rather sticky issue of being paid to work for a charity and, I do have to point out, these are merely my views and I’m very open to yours so please comment after you’ve finished reading.

Take a shiny pound coin. ideally that little nugget would be pushed into a little hole and, somewhere in the world, a wonderful thing would happen. It would rain, the blind would see again, the ravages of war would vanish and donkeys would be one sterling pound happier.

And this is what, as charities, we have to make you believe. It’s a fairytale we sell. We want you to believe that every drop of sweat you shed, every relative you annoyed and every singed eyebrow from that bake sale has been £100 percent effective in solving the issue you care about.

Take our pound. It was put in a pot. It was cashed in and went into the charities bank account, where, please look away if you get upset easily, it seased to exist, it dissolved into the mass. All of it’s pennies sloshing together with all the other pennies.

Now what? well this is the thing, and you’re not going to like this… Charities are businesses. I know, it sounds horrible. Business is run by fat cats and charity is done by sweet giving people. As, with most things in this world, the truth is somewhere in between.

The difference between a ‘for profit’ business and a ‘not for profit’ is purpose. A ‘for profit’ might sell you a gadget, food, clothes or maybe a life sized model of a t-rex. A ’not for profit’ business will sell a solution. It will see a problem and it will generate revenue to solve that problem.

They are both still businesses and, as such, businesses have to run and therefore they need staff who, yes, we’ve come to the point of this blog, need to be paid. As lovely as the feeling of ‘doing good’ is, it doesn’t put a roof over your head, food on the table or any of the other things that you expect to be able to afford from working in any job.

Yes, people could work for free but, you know what? The charity would fail. Volunteering is escentail for any charity, don’t get me wrong, but a volunteer can screw up, they can sleep in, they can quit and they are not accountable to anyone apart from their own conscience. You pay a member of staff and they can do none of those things. It ensures the longevity of the charity, it means it can run like a business and continue to provide the solution and continue to help people in what ever way that charity’s mission statement says.

So please continue to volunteer, make a difference. Support causes close to your heart because they are important, they change the world.

Such industrious machines need managing and maintaining and that takes time, it takes a lot of time. Be comforted that when the limelight fades, the hordes of volunteers scurry away to the next fashionable cause, we’re still here, we’re still doing good work and fighting the fight because it’s our job..

What are your views? Is it okay for people to be given a wage when working in a charity? Under what conditions should this be allowed?


I still have, Flappy bird, on my iPhone. jel?

As I was poking through my lack of messages, emails, tweets, snapchats, whatsaps, audio boo and Facebook notifications… I found the recently demised game, flappy bird. Naturally, I can’t play it and it was utterly pointless in my downloading it. The only benefit I can see is to invite friends over for a big flappy bird party where they all squint at a tiny screen while I smile benevolently at my dear, bribed peers. Who’s keen?

As it’s Friday, I’ve made one of my stories free on kindle. Hit it up here. A little twisted piece about death and mini cheddars. As you will guess from the title, I just killed a man, it is about a man who just killed another man. You see how clever I am with these titles? In his final hours of freedom he worries that he won’t have mini shedders in prison. I’m not sure why I chose mini cheddars, I don’t particularly like them but I also don’t have a taste for killing people, currently.
What would you miss most should your liberty be removed? A pet? Your space hopper? Flappy bird?

Tin can roulette… For the gamer who’s played everything

I have it! Bored office workers and flustered parents rejoice. Tin can roulette.

If I am honest with you, it isn’t a new invention of mine, rather a revisited thought as I sat on my sofa wondering about lunch, as I often do, unless it’s the afternoon when I am contemplating dinner.

The concept is simple, tare off the labels from your tinned goods, mix them up and select. By this method one can come up with such delights as peaches on toast, fish chips and soup, a pint of Frankfurters. If you are feeling a little devil may care, why not open two cans at once? The fun is endless.

As I sit here eating my way through a tin of chopped tomatoes, I chuckle with glee. I don’t need to write, I’ve invented a game that will make me millions.


I as with most things in life, have a great advantage over you mere mortals. Being a face feeler, (blind), I can get straight to it, I don’t even have to remove the labels thereby creating instant fun.

Sunday afternoons will never be the same again.

Have you got any great household games? Obviously they might not be so high octane but you can still drop me a line in the comments. I won’t judge.

Now onto dessert… It’s… Oh, spaghetti hoops.


Yo, pull up a beanbag, toadstool, space hopper or sleeping coworker. Jam with me… Jam with me about truth… Well, when I say ‘jam’, I actually mean sit there and listen… Comments come afterwards.

The thing is ‘truth’ is something that is instilled into us from a young age. tell the truth, the truth will out and other such instructions of high moral fibre. The problem is, for me at least, I learned those lessons and, worst of all, believed them and as a consequence felt a little short changed when I reached adulthood and that shield of ‘truth’ turned out to be made of nothing more than hopes and cobwebs.

The other consequence of this is that I am a truly dreadful liar, I mean I’m abysmal. I blush, I stutter and I know, to my core, that the target of my lie knows it to be what it is. You know what? I wish I could lie. I wish I could stand in front of a big crowd of people and tell a big fat porky pie and that they would all believe me.

Obviously I do lie. I tell stories for one thing, but they are truths draped in shadows, they tell a truth. Maybe, as in my next short story, vampires don’t drive night buses, and priests don’t carry around suitcases with bombs in them, but the things that drive these characters are real, desire, need, fear, wanting… They are all truths.

This leads me to wonder if there is such thing as a lie. everything must originate from a truth, a need and desire within us, so how, with truth as the source, can something become a lie? We can create a story to achieve what we want, but the truth is the core of that story, it has to be.

Obviously, as you will be thinking as you sip on your ambrosia, tea, pint or wizards pipe, the trouble arises with the recipient of the lie. They are induced to do something that they wouldn’t normal do. They have been manipulated, handled, guided to a conclusion that is, subjectively, not true. Is that always bad?

We lie to ourselves every day because our subjectivity changes, what was true yesterday may not be true today in which case the temporal lie is created. To say that it is raining, that you are hungry, that you love someone, could all be true, will be and have been, but they may also be non-truths, but for any of these things to be said they must have been true at least once, to know what rain is, to know the pang of hunger, to feel the abject wonder of love.

In a rambling and round about conclusion, dear reader, I put to you that truth, both subjectively and objectively, if that is indeed possible, is the father to tales. Lies, as nasty and ugly as they may be, do contain the DNA of truth buried deep in their repulsive hearts. The truth is what is and accepting that, well we’ll all be a lot happier, we can go home and eat ice cream.

I will finish with a quote. It is not by anyone famous, anyone wealthy or anyone holy. It is from a friend, and that is the truth too.

“It is what it is.” – Phil Dreadlocks Williams

He said he made it up… I don’t believe him.