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…..ย  got to walk the dog? No problem, they are welcome too!
Enjoying this blog? I hope so, please do comment, share and like.

Glass half full

The country singer Lee Ann Womack probably isn’t on any of my itunes playlists. However fate, a.k.a. music shuffle, determined that I would listen to her ‘signature’ hit “Dance” the other day.

When I am travelling by air, I end up listening to a lot of my music that I have amassed in iTunes.

The lyrics are powerful with the underlying message of grasp opportunities that present themselves and never fail to be in awe of the world!

November in northern europe can be a very grey and dreary month and just as Lee Ann was telling me ‘if I get the choice to sit it out or dance ‘, that I have to take the ‘dance option’ , I was presented with the most beautiful sunset from the aircraft window.

So lesson 1 noted, enjoy the world!

And of course you don’t need to be at 30,000 feet in the sky for such opportunties. Every park or garden offers us the chance to appreciate autumn colours and the changes in nature around us as it prepares for winter.

But this was just a mere pre cursor to what happened the next day.

I witnessed for the first time in my life, someone responding to a heart attack victim …I know both the responder and the person having the heart attack….someone you would not categorise as high risk..a young Mum, healthy eating, healthy living, non smoking…… but sometimes these unexpected incidents do happen. Fate, or God (and I have the greatest and equality of respect for those who share my faith, or have none) decided that this first aider was there and had the courage and training and strength to give both CPR and use the defibrillator (that again thankfully was nearby) to bring her back to life, and keep her alive for some 15 minutes until the ambulance arrived.

I am in awe of that man and what he did.

And my New Year’s resolution (but effective now..) is to get expert training and develop those same skills myself.

Not the usual content for my blog but a very positive outcome and a lesson learned that we are all vulnerable.

Enjoying this blog? …please like and comment…and share!

Time for an embrace…..

My daughter has many words of wisdom, but one of my favourites of hers is ’embrace the seasons’. We all too quickly lament the ending of summer, or the onset of winter but as sure as night follows day, the seasons will arrive and we need to accept what they bring. I think with her tuition I have been taught to love each season for what it brings and enjoy a new calendar page always.For those of us in the Northern hemisphere, we are in autumn now (I appreciate I have some southern hemisphere readers who for them, ‘autumn was just so last year darling…’ ) I also have some North America ‘cousins’ reading this who of course use the term fall, rather than autumn. Anyway, having got those disclaimers out of the way it is autumn in the UK and to be honest it has been wet. Not just a little wet but depressingly downpouringly wet for a lot of it so far. In fact yesterday we had several days of rain in just one hour alone. So I have to say I really have struggled to embrace autumn…I couldn’t manage a hug, just a little soggy peck on the cheek kind of kiss, that you give your dreaded and scary great auntie Flo when you are a child …and you are instructed to kiss great Auntie Flo as she arrives on a bi annual visit. If you as children, didn’t have relatives like this making an occasional state visit to your home, then all I can say is you have been incredibly lucky.Today, however autumn was here in full glory….blue skies, falling leaves and nature showing all the tell tale signs of…”its time for me to rest a little, and move in to the next phase of what I do so now here are some wonderfully coloured leaves and here is some food I have prepared to keep the birds fed over winter”.In a village I lived in some years ago, they had a church social club called the Autumn club – it was for senior citizens and had the usual array of activites for mind, body and soul. I was always struck by the positivity of that name of club for those moving into the autumn of their life .Thankfully, I have got some time time to go before I join that group, but meantime I plan to keep embracing seasons as they come along…. for sure they have their challenges and whether it the cold of winter or heat of summer …these can be issue for those in poor physical health (..or indeed financial health) but in general each season gives us opportunity to enjoy nature and the traditions that abound within our calendar.Enjoying this blog…I hope so? Its only ever intended as a quick read for you and an outlet for me to share my random thoughts.Please click like …if you like it, and comment it you want to say anything good or bad…I can take it! If you think others would enjoy this, please do share on your social media platforms. Thanks for reading……..

The biggest gift, the lowest price

This is not my first post about Parkrun, and normally I might be a little wary about focussing on this personal interest of mine too frequently ..but for this particular post..I make no apologies.

Parkrun, for those not in the know is a weekly timed run in literally hundreds of locations across the UK and beyond where those of every ability from first timer to experienced athlete can walk or run a 5k timed event in their local park and measure their personal progress week on week. It also has a huge band of volunteers and provides a unique opportunity for particiption and social interaction. Unlike a race which has only one winner, in this event everyone achieves from it.

My local Parkrun in Huddersfield, Yorkshire also from time to time acts as a platform for other organisations to spread the word on what they do. Yesterday my own running club were providing volunteers for the event

and we were joined by a group from Organ Donation who help promote this vital service.

This wasn’t a PR person doing a recruitment campaign..we were honoured to have several people with first hand experience of how life changing organ donation is.

We had the personal story of Lydia Beckett. Lydia shared with us how a literally life changing decision made by somebody else changed her life and that of her family.

Click on the hyperlink highlighted to read her story..but don’t just read it, please commit to being an organ donor and most importantly tell your family. The UK moves to an opt out system from 2020 so this means it is even more important to make your family aware of your wishes to ensure these are fulfilled.

The greatest gift anyone can give is life…I sincerely hope that none of you reading this will end life prematurely….but one day for all of us life will end, and before this happens we can commit ‘at no cost to us’ to give the greatest gift of all when our time is over.

If you only ever share or repost one of my blogs…please make it this one. Not for its artistic style, prose or any such reason, but that this one single action could change somebody’s life. See links to social media at the bottom of the page.

Your action in encouraging others to sign up could change a life. Now how wonderful a thing is that to be able to do today!

Click here for UK info.

I appreciate that many readers are from outside the UK, so please check on the internet for how you can pledge in your country.

Thanks for reading my blog…

How to be a breakfast chef – use your mobile

I am sure I am not alone in my frustration with seeing couples or sometimes entire families at tables in restaurants all deeply engrossed in their phones. To me it seems a real waste of time to share and engage with others.

Now don’t get me wrong…I am a big user of my phone with a blog to write (!), friends to be kept in contact with, places to find and a desire to know what is going on in the world. But I do choose my moments – train journeys, waiting in airports, coffee stops (if I am alone) all provide good opportunities to do the electronic conversations!

So true to my word, last week I was in a hotel walking down to breakfast and decided to use that moment to quickly respond to a What’s App message. Well as most women know, men and multi-tasking aren’t always found in the same place ….and that sure applies to me. Walking purposely into the hotel’s restaurant, a place I am familiar with having stayed several times before, I was a bit too purposeful and instead of making a sharp left as I entered as I should have, I just kept walking. Now this is quite a sizeable and modern restaurant with an open kitchen but behind counters which the customers can see, but are separated from the various chefs and kitchen staff as they prep the food and prepare customers special order breakfast items .

I suddenly found myself amongst chefs supervising pans of frying eggs, juicers squeezing fruit and everything else needed for the delivery of this hotels impressive buffet.

Bemused faces everywhere…bearing in mind my attire – suit, laptop bag and phone in my hand they may have thought this was a dawn raid from the International Scrambled Eggs Standards body or some other such authority!

This event took place in Muscat, and as anyone who has visited will know, the Omani people and their guest workers are polite, friendly and welcoming people….so no screams of get out of my kitchen…just smiles, good morning greetings and best wishes for good breakfast.

And just for the record it was!!!

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!

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 ones๐Ÿ˜)

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

Shorts story

A week or so ago it was Dog Awareness week in the UK. Somewhat ironically you may not have been aware of that fact unless you live in the UK and received mail that week that actually had postage stamps that had needed franking. Were you to have received such mail you would have seen the declaration of ‘Dog Awareness week’ proudly stamped on your envelope.

So what is it all about? Obviously its more than just ‘be aware there are such things as dogs’ Most of us have got the hang of that. Dog Awareness week is promoted by the UK’s Royal Mail to remind householders particularly during school summer holidays and better weather (not that these always coincide!) to be cognisant of the danger of loose dogs in gardens or yards. Seemingly innocuous behaviour in the eyes of the householder with a secure and dog safe area. Well yes, until a visitor calls by. Every year countless postman and postwoman receive injuries from dogs defending their properties. As is so often the case…it’s not the dog at fault but just a thoughtless owner .

And an added risk…..UK postman have a shorts wearing season that can extend from January to December so usually the dogs success rate for being on target of teeth meeting leg is very high.

Longer trousers may have to make a comeback……

So actually it’s not the dogs at fault or the postman’s attire but the owners of the dogs. Regrettably ‘Thoughtless Pet Owners Week’ is too big a slogan to fit on most envelopes.

Why this blog? Click to find out more. Enjoyed it, please share……

A tale on the trail

When I say I am a member of a running club, you may have visions of this superbly toned, lean and hyper fit athlete. I think it is fair to say I have a little way to go on that front. But what is amazing is my running club. It is totally inclusive, warmly welcoming and embraces the abilities of all. It had fairly humble beginnings and now meets on several days per week affording lots of running opportunities. Like any organisation it relies on all to play their part in different ways and tonight I volunteered to be tail runner on our trail run. One of the joys of where we are located in West Yorkshire is that within minutes of starting from our club room we can be on rural paths, beside reservoirs, running on canal towpaths and farm land tracks.

As tail runner i.e. making sure no one is left behind, one of the benefits of this task is that you get to talk with and meet with more of your fellow runners than you normally would. Tonight was no exception and in fact proved to be an education as our run leader shared a lot of local history with me that as a ‘comer in’ (as one is described in Yorkshire when not being a local) I was unaware of. My club is actually located in a largish town, but if you move into a smaller village from outside…you can be a ‘comer in’ even after 20 years residence!

Tonight was also a first for me as tail runner as safety related duties are normally associated with keeping runners and traffic apart. We came across a very young hedgehog meandering across a road with seemingly no knowledge of the green cross code or whatever should apply to hedgehogs.

A swift bit of encouragement into some undergrowth was required and hopefully an accident avoided!

Why this blog? Click to find out more.

The Lighthouse family…..well that’s a misnomer

For those not encyclopedic of their musical knowledge of the 1980’s, the Lighthouse family were actually a very successful music act.

So successful that now some 30 years later they are just embarking on another tour. And for other reasons as well completely, stuck in my head.

They are however quite a misnomer. Not a family at all, just two guys who happened to be working in the same bar in Newcastle (England) and then formed a duo. To be a family it helps to be related ….just ask the Jackson’s, Osmond’s or even the Adam’s.

Oh yes one other point, they don’t live in a lighthouse either .

So what brings them to mind….well sadly the fact I just cannot get one of their songs out of my mind.

I was using my local mini-cab company to take me to the station. For the benefit of those from outside the UK, a mini-cab is a non fully regulated taxi that has to be booked in advance and cannot be hailed . Not one of these…………….

In reality sometimes these mini-cabs are often old and scruffy, and more often than not very, very old and very scruffy!

Now my local mini-cab company are in all honesty totally reliable. The only time a journey failed for me was one time when said car arrived outside my house in very good time, I jump in and immediately engaged with the driver in some weather related topic as we British people tend to do. He didn’t get a word in as I complained about the rain, sun, wind, snow and fog we had endured all in one day. After some 10 minutes I did challenge his unusual route to my destination…. oops… it seems my neighbour had booked using the same company for five minutes earlier to a very different destination! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ๐Ÿ˜ฏ๐Ÿ˜ฏ…and I had hijacked his car…..

Anyway back to the journey in question…. the taxi arrives and from the driver just a mere grunt of a hello. Contrary to most trips where there is a series of standard questions. Questions? Yes, a bit in a way like hairdressers have standard questions: 1. have you been to work today ? 2. Are you going out tonight? 3. Are you going on holiday soon? In the mini cab world, there are also some old faithfuls:

1. Going to the station sir? (slightly worrying as we have already set off, and that was what was agreed when I made the booking and is actually showing on his display!)

2. Going to London sir? A very standard question and always one that leads to drivers sharing views on London traffic, the price of everything in London and the people of London.

3. Going to work sir? Again slightly of concern as I don’t normally spend my holidays wearing a suit, carrying a laptop and reading meeting agendas on the journey.

Anyway, no chat this time…just a sudden burst of music, not just any music but the Lighthouse family. Ah…the radio I thought. But after 4 minutes, no radio chatter but another 1980’s Hit from the same wonder duo, 4 minutes more and another and so on. With some traffic and roadworks on the way we managed to squeeze in a whole greatest hits cd worth of Lighthouse family..with Ocean Drive getting not one but two plays!

Now one other thing worth mentioning is that unlike a taxi in Germany where you get a smart Mercedes, Sweden where you get a Volvo…in the UK, a mini-cab invariably means a battered Skoda that is well past retirement date. This car was no exception. In fact it would be most unusual for one of these cars not to have at least one warning light showing, an unexplained rattle and threadbare seats. On this journey I hit top score with warning light bingo: Engine management warning light, oil pressure, and three others I couldn’t determine and in fact was rather glad not to.

And the “icing on the cake ” a sixth one flickering on and off in tune with the Lighthouse boys as they belted out Ocean Drive!

Anyway, journey finally over I won’t say I kissed the ground as I exited the vehicle but it was certainly a relief to be on a terra firma.

But the music lives on, staying with me. Three days later I find myself still humming the tune.

The song was actually written about the drive from Sunderland to South Shields along the English North Sea coast (yes, not an Ocean I know, but bracing wild seashore…yes) Worth a visit if you find yourself nearby.

What do I get …..no such visions of wild nature. Just permanent flashbacks of a distinctly dodgy taxi ride!

Youtube has the video..search for it if you dare but the melody will stay with you for ever.

Why this blog? Click to find out why?