I’ve missed you….

For those thinking this is the first line of a romantic monologue, prepare to be (slightly) dissapointed.The object of my affection here is Parkrun. I know I have written about this before here (do click and have a read if you have a minute) and indeed for those for whom even the thought of spending the first 30 minutes or so of their weekend running around a park is not a pleasant prospect, I wholeheartedly apologise.However for the thousands (actually tens of thousands) who do this in the length and breadth of the UK and much beyond, I really have missed your company, friendship and motivation.
I have had a 3 month hiatus (sounds very medical, but I just mean interlude!) for a whole variety of reasons not for discussion now, but culminating in a long abscence.
Anyway last Saturday was great, Spring Like weather, a park starting to wake up from the lashings of winter, and friendly faces not seen for months.So here we are on Friday evening again, it’s not too late for anyone to find their nearest Park run (or equivalent) dig out those trainers and a tee shirt and start the rest of your life .…I’ve yet to meet someone who has not started and been overwhelmed by the camaraderie, friendship and personal improvement that will transpire.
Happy Friday! See you in the morning…..  got to walk the dog? No problem, they are welcome too!
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Will you join me for lunch?

In the uk, the concept of having lunch in terms of a sit down meal is a dying tradition in the workplace.Yes, people will go and meet friends at lunchtime for food and drink but this is not what I mean. The concepts of colleagues stopping work and having food together with each other is a fast declining activity. The pressures of work whether generated by a true over burdening workload or an individual need to measure their importance and wave a flag of ‘ no time for lunch’ as a badge of honour are more and more the norm. Services such as Deliveroo and Uber eats have fuelled the lunch at your desk trend to an all time high.But none of this is good – at one time 70% of us used to meet our future life partners at work…ok some of this from water cooler liaisons, but often from a chat in the staff canteen where Brian from Accounts gets to make small talk with Julie from Dispatch.From a personal space point of view, in an open plan office do you really want fumes from your colleagues Miso soup wafting across your desk. And nothing is more soul destroying (from every aspect) than watching your neighbour splosh through their curried vegetable pot noodle as they flick through Facebook on their phone aimlessly.So what is the alternative? I have just returned from working most of the week in my company’s German HQ, stopping for lunch and going with your colleagues (and visitors) to the staff canteen is the norm not an exception. And not always there, sometimes to a small cafe/restaurant and sometimes to fast food truck/caravan. But akways some unwritten golden rules, we talk to each other, and ideally not on work matters and most definitely no use of phones.Everyone is a winner…social interaction, a true break from work…and actually some nice simple, wholesome food!

All you need is love

As a child growing up in the 60’s and 70’s we really didn’t know much about recycling or indeed any kind of care for the planet.

Thanks to the Fab Four, we were told all you need is love, but they forgot to mention that we needed to love the planet as well as each other.

Back then, for anybody not already wearing a kaftan and burning incense, any hint of being too focused on the environment immediately cast you as a future hippy!

To put things a bit in perspective though consumerism was not at the pace of today partly because of the cost of things and just an attitude of mind. Britain then still had a ‘make do and mend’ culture even. It should be noted that Brit’s still had food rationing until 1954! so for my parents generation this was strongly etched in their memory and there really was not the sheer volume of consumer goods, clothing and food & drink purchasing that goes through the front doors of the average house on a daily basis today.

But even so, when things were no longer required the end was simple…they were put in the dustbin.

So now for me as an adult of the 2000’s or a Baby Boomer we see today’s environmentally focused life style for a chance to try to put right the mistakes of our generation.

Monday was a UK public holiday with uncharacteristiclly good weather resulting in numerous garden projects, clearing of garages etc. ready for a symbolic restart of the academic and work year now that summer is nearly over.

The following day, I went to the tip (….now called the household waste recycling centre)….there were 26 cars in the queue ahead of me!

Back home, in addition to what had gone to the tip, as declutter frenzy further consumed our house, we had a box full of goods for the local food bank, bags of clothes for the charity shop and some items that we knew family and friends would use.

But are we really getting the point? …if we bought less, wasted less and shared more, we really could change the world.

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Carpe Diem

To the non Latin speaker, this is probably a fancy fish restaurant in a trendy part of town, but to those who have learnt a few such useful phrases of this ancient language, it of course means seize the day. To regular readers of my blog, I am a big exponent of grab it while you can…for anything in life ….as we never know what’s around the corner in terms of health, opportunity or just ‘stuff’ that can throw a wobble into life.

What is ‘it’?…’it’ is doing things that enriches your life and hopefully others as well….and that doesn’t always involve spending money. Unless you live in a hermits cabin, generally there are things out there in the world that are waiting for you! Be that volunteering, walking around in your countryside or city, trying new foods, feeding the ducks,or just engaging with different people.

I do realise I am very fortunate in that I have a job that takes me to different places (..and not many people have that opportunity) This week work took me to the UAE and it gave me the opportunity to catch up with a friend and former colleague recently relocated and living there. Now if I had to nominate a role model for my philosophy of life….. it is her! She is already one of the most well travelled people I know, and in this new geographic position she can weekend in India, take a short trip to Nepal or even get to the Far East…which becomes not so far east anymore! From updates I have already had when she first moved it seems she really is grabbing every opportunity not just to travel, but to explore the new city she lives in, make new friends and that’s four legged as well as two legged as she has found a dogs home that wants volunteer walkers! So already now she has just about every weekend and holidays allocated to something new. Anyway we managed to find time to meet up between work and her travels. So research was done to find somewhere new to go. Where did we find ourselves? …on Happiness Street…which I think says it all!

Lost hope for the art of the picnic?

In the world of Enid Blyton children’s books, which were essentially stories of middle class children solving crimes that the police couldn’t, being at jolly good fun boarding schools where there was not a hint of bullying (or indeed anything of an unsavoury nature) and other stories of children having a unrealistically good life in middle class families, picnics were just part of that daily life.

The Famous five, the Secret 7 or the head girl at Mallory Towers would never have been seen with a takeaway burger or a milkshake. For them it was always potted meat sandwiches washed down with lashings of Ginger beer. If you are not from a country where these books were part of your upbringing, my apologies for baffling you. But it is worth reading one – even for me as a child from a relatively well off family, but growing up in a city in the troubled early 1970’s, these books (and they were a big part of my reading) were an anathema to my normal life.

So back to picnics…I think there is a comeback..partly driven by economic necessity, partly by a drive to reduce plastic and also driven by a desire to eat more healthily and do things together as groups of friends or family. They really do change behaviours….for example you will see far fewer people using phones for messaging or social media updates when outside picnicing compared to in a restaurant situation. Result!

And the downside…just occasionally, nature wants to barge in!

A quick visit to this story of a recent family event of ours is a reminder of that! Salsa with cows

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Forty today!

I started writing my blog just for fun a few weeks ago. And was somewhat intrigued this morning to see I have just had my fortyieth follower today…..not the dog in the photo (I only count the human ones😁)

For the serious bloggers out there (and I have the greatest respect for you) having achieved forty followers might be more pitied than celebrated! But for me, who thought nobody might read my words it’s a very pleasant surprise .

Anyway to the forty of you, I hope in some tiny way, I enrich your lives 3 days a week.

To numbers 41, 42 etc. looking forward to you joining in too.

Please do comment , share and like if you enjoy it. If it’s not for you I understand…as the saying goes ‘better to have loved and lost than never to have loved before’

With my best wishes to you all…….

Why this blog? Click to find out why I wite these