A Brick That Stores More Carbon Than It Takes To Make It

I love clever people. Here are some bricks from England, made by some very clever people. From the article in FastCompany, these bricks are described as:

The “carbon buster” is made of recycled wood and sequestered incinerator fumes. They aren’t pretty, but you can build a house with it.

I’m somewhat saddened by the 5% premium they’re going to charge for their clever carbon sucking creation over traditional bricks. In my mind, unless ‘sustainable’ is cheaper than the status quo, you’re always going to have an uphill battle convincing the majority of the market,to invest.

Posted by Barrie Bramley on October 9th, 2013 .
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Now That You’re Gone



Aunty Dot.

Granny Dot.






To me….. you were Dot


The world breathes a sigh of relief,

We can eat what we want to now

The world mourns,

Who will challenge us and keep us on our toes?


I never really knew from where you came?

Triomph, in ‘va souf’?

Your’s was a difficult start,

You didn’t ever talk much to me about it.

And while I didn’t know where you came from,

I knew where you were going….

And nothing, and nobody was ever going to stop you.


You were a force. A gigantic force.To be reckoned with.

To be crossed at one’s peril.

For a little old granny,

There was no mistake…. Dot Bramley was in the house


Growing up you embarrassed me

I wore the clothes you made for me

Matched and designed in your style

I don’t dress to match today

I never again want to feel and look like I did growing up


There isn’t a snotty nose you encountered,

Who didn’t get a sermon on the benefits of giving up dairy products.

There wasn’t a verkrampte National Party supporter in your circle of friends,

Who dared open their mouth to express a view

Except Uncle Jack….

Uncle Jack and you, ………. an entertaining relationship, to say the least 🙂


You meddled in my life

You always had a view, and you let me know

Letting it go, and leaving it alone

This was not your style


I still don’t agree with at least half of your philosophies

You were an extremist, with no middle ground

Pragmatic to a fault

With views that came from way, way, way over there

At the edge


But these are not the memories of you that will live with me

These were just the annoying vignettes

That colour my story of you


You gave me permission to be different

To take a road less travelled

To take a view, make it my own and hold on tight

How to go to war for what I believe

And still get a good nights sleep


You showed me that what I believe defines who I am

And that compromising my beliefs,

Leaves the world poorer

Because debate, belief and curiosity takes us forward together,

And ultimately makes us better human beings


You showed generosity in the extreme

And there are people here tonight, who know that, even better than I

The many street vendors you woke up early to make sandwiches for every working day,

2 loaves of brown bread. Cheese. Tomato. Lettuce. Who does that?

You did that Dot.

Without fan fair, no great cause to belong to, no Green Peace T-Shirt


You taught me to drive

You put that little book about boys, pimples and sex under my pillow

It was you who disciplined me. Well, you and fucking Dr Watson!

You got me into University and out of the army


That’s right, Dot Bramley in the house!


13 years ago your Fuzzy, our Fuzzy, left

He left you suddenly, and he left you heartbroken

You were brave and strong, but we watched you break

Slowly, and sometimes quickly, over time, you broke, and you broke and you broke some more.


You kept breaking until last Wednesday,

When your breaking ended.

You’ve left us in body.

But Dottie, you live on in each one of us,

You have left us, never again to be the same


Woolies will miss you. (PS I still can’t bring myself to buy clothes from there)

Your family will miss you

Your grandchildren will miss you

Your friends will miss you

And there’s a whole community of people, who had very little,

But they had you. They’ll surely miss you as well


And I’m certain you’re smiling at me tonight

Because the Warrioress I describe, is so evident in who I am

I am you, and you are me. Your entire spectrum (give or take a tweak here and there).


You did not die last week. You live on. You live on in each and every one of us

We will keep meeting you, in ourselves and in others, for years to come

Every time we have snot sikte, every time we encounter a hungry person

Where we see injustice, and whenever we meet anyone with the surname ‘Karalis’


And when we go, you will still be here.

In our children and in our children’s children

You taught us how to live, and how to eat, and how to help, and how to be brave, how to stand strong, and how to never, ever give up.


And so you’re gone. It’s time for me to step up

To stand on my own

To ask, from time to time, what would Dot do?

Sometimes I’ll do that, and sometimes I wont.

You are with me, and I am with you

Posted by Barrie Bramley on June 4th, 2013 .
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Dot Bramley 1934 – 2013 :-(


Posted by Barrie Bramley on May 31st, 2013 .
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For all moms and dads. Too beautiful, too true, too funny : )

Just got this from my mate Duncan. It’s too beautiful, too true, too funny : )


Posted by Barrie Bramley on November 22nd, 2012 .
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There are secrets that we two know and no one else

“I have no words, no questions,” Penelope proclaims after seeing her husband, Odysseus, for the first time in 20 years, after he has made his way home from fighting in the Trojan War. “If it really is Odysseus, and he is home, we will recognize each other well enough; there are secrets that we two know and no one else.”


Posted by Barrie Bramley on November 19th, 2012 .
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Ensuring your child and their school are the correct match for each other

As Jordi gets closer and closer to High School, and although she’s chosen the school she’d like to go to, I have a growing feeling of discomfort that the school she’s chosen may not be the best school for her. How do I know this? Easy, it’s a gut feeling. That makes me even more uneasy, that I’m currently only working off of my gut. But I plan to change that. Starting today.

While I’m aware that schools house a vast array of different human beings within them, I do think it’s naive to assume that schools cater for every type of child, and that a child can thrive at any school. It doesn’t work like that in the rest of our lives. I’ve watched people break in large amazing companies. I’ve seen friends and family become ‘less than’ in what should have been loving nurturing lifelong relationships. We don’t fit every situation, and every situation isn’t going to fit us.

So where to start? Google of course. I jumped on expecting to find that someone had thought this one through, written it up, created some sort of assessment, and was offering it for a few bucks online somewhere. Google would know. Google always knows. Sadly, on this one particular topic of interest, Google still has yet to find that person online (or the 14 different search strings I tried were the wrong 14).

Where to now? I guess I’m going to have to speak to a real life human being (deep sigh, how old school). I think I’ll start with those educators I trust to think. Not necessarily think like me, just think. An often rare activity in today’s busy world.

While I acknowledge I may not have come up with the correct Google search string, I am a little amazed that I didn’t find anyone, anywhere who’s done any work that speaks to categorizing a school. Describing it’s culture and it’s philosophy objectively, and suggesting what type of child, and perhaps even what type of parent might be a ‘best fit’.

I’ll keep reporting back, and should you know something I don’t, please let me know.

Posted by Barrie Bramley on November 9th, 2012 .
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The Glory of Being Stuck

I’m not going to go into detail on this one. Except to say that Mike Yaconelli was a large influence in my life, through a monthly article he wrote under the meta-title of ‘The Back Door’. Month after month I’d work, sometimes painfully, through an entire magazine to get to what I thought of as spiritual pudding…. Mike’s closing thoughts.

Last night, as I read a friend’s Facebook status update, I was reminded of an article Mike once wrote, titled, ‘The Glory of Being Stuck‘. A quick Google search, and I’d found it. Many many many years later. Still as powerful. Mike was great then, he was still great now : )

Being stuck is a great moment. It may be characterized by frustration, loneliness, or detachment, but those things are only the vocabulary of our souls telling us we are in danger. It is the cry of our souls craving for more. It is our longings and yearnings trying to get our attention. It is a summons, a call from within. It is the glorious music of disaffection and dissatisfaction with where we are now. It is the anguish of our interior life pleading with us—not to give up, but to give in. It is the Holy Spirit stopping us dead in our tracks so we can read the words that God has written on our hearts—surrender.

I’m certain, sadly, it won’t be for everyone. For those it’s good for, take a read. As I said somewhere above, Mike was great then, he’s still great now : )

Posted by Barrie Bramley on October 16th, 2012 .
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A Great Reason To Do The 94.7

I know of nobody who is purely autistic, or purely neurotypical. Even God has some autistic moments, which is why the planets spin.”

Jerry Newport, Your Life is Not a Label

In 7 weeks this averagely fit human being will join thousands of cyclists to complete the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge. This year I’m not riding for a ‘best time’. In fact this year I may not even finish. This year I’m riding with a bunch of people, some of whom aren’t in the best shape to be doing this cycle event, to raise money for a school for Autistic children (The Key School) that’s having to close down at the end of November because of a lack of funds. When this cycle-group was put together by Shaun Murphy, it was to keep the doors open. Sadly in just a month it’s turned into helping the school close with dignity and ensure that a group of dedicated educators gets paid in December.

My interest in The Key School is via a 7 year old boy named Nicholas. He’s the son of Shaun and Leigh Murphy, and in the last few months Nicholas has had a profound impact on myself and my two daughters, Jordi and Carli. I can’t explain Nicholas to anyone. I’ve watched Jordi and Carli try, and they’re as lost for appropriate words as I am. I could sit and tell you of the moments we’ve spent with Nicholas, but to be honest they don’t sound very exceptional at all. I suppose the closest I can get is to ask you if you believe in magic? Yeah I know, magic? That’s what Nicholas has contributed to our lives, in small, but profound ways. When you spend time with Nicholas, he turns the ordinary into extra-ordinary, the invisible becomes visible, and a sheep grazing becomes an awesome adventure.

Nicholas isn’t a ‘Rain Man’. Dustin Hoffman has imprinted a very narrow and one-dimensional view of autism onto the minds of people who’ve never experienced someone with autism. Nicholas is simply Nicholas. A beautiful human being who has introduced us to a world we’ve long forgotten existed.

The other day I asked Carli what it was about Nicholas that she liked? She explained how she loved the way he does what he feels like doing. If he wants to play with something he plays with it. If he wants to roll in the grass he rolls. And when he doesn’t want to do something he doesn’t. As I listened to Carli I realised that through Nicholas she had recognised the social pressures that bare down on her constantly, to do the right thing, say the appropriate thing, and often be someone she didn’t want to be. What an amazing insight to get from a 7 year old. Go Nicholas : )

If you’d like to join the auSOMEtism squad and ride the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge for a good reason, then join us. Join us in helping The Key School close with dignity at the end of 2012.

It’s simple. Here’s how you go about it….

  • Enter the ride – www.cyclechallenge.co.za
  • Go to the auSOMEtism Facebook page
  • Enter your details on the ‘tab‘ for the Cycle Challenge
  • Pledge at least R500
  • Shaun will contact you to arrange payment of your pledge (the details are on the FB page)
  • Meet us on the morning of the Cycle Challenge. We’re leaving at 08:32
  • For those that are shooting for a better time, and want to ride with their batch, you can still pledge your money and know that you’re riding for a great reason.

Posted by Barrie Bramley on September 16th, 2012 .
Filed under: Cycling, Fun, Road | No Comments »

That Beautiful Noise

This morning, as I lay in bed, preparing for a day of Mentor Facilitation, I was reading some Parker Palmer to help get me into the space I felt I should be in. It’s little gems of his like this,

“I want to learn how to hold the paradoxical poles of my identity together, to embrace the profoundly opposite truths that my sense of self is deeply dependent on others dancing with me and that I still have a sense of self when no one wants to dance.” 

…. that move me into a space I wouldn’t easily go on a full and busy Tuesday morning.

As I got up and entered into the busy routine of things that must get done in order to be at school on time, I became aware of the ‘noise’ of my two daughters as they too were doing what had to be done to be ready for school.

Last night I was scanning through my Facebook feed and came accross this….

It seemed an attractive invitation last night at the end of a busy day, but this morning I didn’t see it in the same way. This morning as I heard my two girls giggling and faffing about plats and shoes and other things, I wanted to be in their ‘noise’ for the entire day.

I’m a single dad (I’m other things as well), who has the privilege of being a full time dad for an entire week, every second week. It’s not the norm for many divorced dads, and I feel like I’m the luckiest guy in the world that I’m able to to have that. During the week that my daughters are with their mom, it’s a very quiet and often lonely home I live in (I share it with a cat and a bird), and I don’t easily do quiet and alone.

But on ‘my week’ it’s a noisy, busy, laughing, shouting, exploring, exciting, frustrating, schooling, gyming, Wii playing, cooking, cleaning, crying, negotiating, loving, hugging, playing, baking, homeworking, full and satisfying week.

Ignore the noise? I shall not. Dance with my daughters at every opportunity? You damn right!!!!!

: )

Posted by Barrie Bramley on September 11th, 2012 .
Filed under: Family | 1 Comment »


Posted by Barrie Bramley on August 23rd, 2012 .
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