Sliding Doors…..

My favourite movie of all time is ‘Sliding Doors’ …now I know that is quite a rash statement to make…but I have thought about this a lot and that is my final answer!

So to answer the obvious question of why? Well first of all, if you haven’t seen it, its one of these parallel time movies where one set of things really happens and one doesn’t and actually what this is there to demonstrate is how one simple event in your life can totally transform it.

In the case of this story, set in London, its all about a girl (Gwneth Paltrow) who was cheated on by her partner and only found out about it as she just caught a tube train (hence the name, Sliding Doors) with seconds to spare.

In the parallel instance she just misses the train and doesn’t find out about his infidelity and life takes on a completely different path.

I think this is a wonderful demonstration how for many of us our lives will take on a completely tangential trajectory from one (or in reality numerous) sliding door moments of our own …I realise this is probably stating the obvious but I think in some ways its a real ‘wake up and smell the coffee moment’ that we all think we are so clever controlling and planning our destinies but actually they are outside our grasp. Ask anybody how they met their partner, got their ideal job, etc. and it will often be from a sliding door moment. Depending on your spiritual beliefs or none, you may see this as coming from an external source – whether a believer in those influences or just fate, the results are still the same.

If you haven’t seen the movie, you should (on Netflicks I think now) as its a surprisingly feel good film and very funny in parts..even to the point where John Hannah (the new love interest), is traveling on the tube and ‘breaking all convention for London’ and talking to people!

Look forward to your comments and anybody willing to share their ‘sliding door moments’ …I’ve got a couple of them of my own (but for the avoidance of doubt, not like the one in this film!) and they will appear in a future blog post

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A few of my favourite things…?

A subjective question and of course answered in song by Maria in the classic movie, The Sound of Music.

There was no Google back then to answer this question (assuming she had been asked such a question, or had just decided to tell people her favourite things anyway!)

If there had been such electronic guidance, the answers might have been more noble or momentous… like the wheel, the internal combustion engine, the internet, penicillin rather than Brown paper parcels tied up with string etc.

Meanwhile back in the more materialistic non Von Trapp family world………….

for me white chocolate magnums have to be right up there at the top of the list, beating anything with marzipan by a mere whisker and pushing smart phone taxi apps which have been a game changer for me, just into 3rd place.

Yes, I know a big focus on food here but the said ice creams are totally a perfect blend of two loves in my life…vanilla ice cream and white chocolate (with all due respect to my human and doggie loves) and marzipan has always played a big part in my life (ditto with due respect to my wife, children, friends and dogs).

And what even took me down this alley of thoughts? On the subject of dogs, it seems that they too can now enter this world of ice cream admiration!

So why taxi apps such as Uber or Lyft…?

I travel a lot internationally in my job and have had my fair few moments of challenging taxi journeys (especially one lost taxi in Athens…yes it really was, click to read the story!) so anything to ease that is good!

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Work to live and love your work

Everyone is familiar with the expression ‘work to live , don’t live to work’.

Healthy, sound advice as there is far more (or at least should be) far more in our lives than what we do for 40 out of the 168 hours in every week. I know 50 or so hours are occupied sleeping, but even so I think you get my point.

However if we like or even love what we do in our work time that is a real bonus.

And of course work not only provides income, but social interaction, personal and professional development and in some cases a sense of family ..either an additional work family or perhaps for those estranged or otherwise separated, their only opportunity to belong.

This week saw the demise of Thomas Cook group.

There is enough being said on the internet at the moment about the causes, level of governmental support required etc. that I won’t add to that here but what is heart warming is how others in the aviation and travel industry at both a personal level and corporate level are reacting and endeavouring to support their wider travel industry family. I worked for two companies that ultimately (way after my employment with them) became part of Thomas Cook group so I do know many individuals involved now affected and I am overwhelmed by the loss people are sensing from the cessation of this family as well as the more basic impacts of lost income etc.

A less high profile example also this last week is the administration of Wright bus, makers of next generation jump on, jump off iconic London buses.

In the same way that TC workers were proud to see their logo and product worldwide, Wright bus employees would have too .

They manufacture in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, but they are the main stay of London’s bus transport system and supply similar products worldwide. It’s not an industry I come from but as I understand it, it is small, specialised and in the UK there is only one other company similarly engaged in this business, Alexander Dennis based in Falkirk, Scotland. It is distressing for those in that declining industry to see one of their few counterparts disappearing. Cynics will say the competition (in either of the above) will relish this departure of the weakest but the reality is the humans with soul will see the pain and hurt for their counterparts and think ‘ there but for the grace of God go I’.

So appreciate and enjoy your work family if you have one and remember that family’s grow, change and widen..and sadly have breakups and separate at times.

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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Healthy looks and the hunt for the perfect partner

For my generation, as spotty, gawky, awkward adolescents eager to charm the unnatainable crush at school (Anne-Marie, for the record its taken 40+ years for me to get over you….) our parents, aunties, big sisters etc. always came out with helpful suggestions to try to counter our insecurities.

We would be told ” beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, or “looks don’t last”, or the old chestnut..”well its the inner beauty that counts”.

Actually all totally true, but all totally pointless to a lovestruck 13 year old….

Anyway, I recently wrote a blog titled Looking for love, eat more fruit about how striving for a healthy diet will help you find love. After a quick read (click on the link) it will be evident to you that I was referencing opportunities to meet people rather than the nutrition in itself!

Anyway, a reader however has kindly taken me to task on this and pointed out that some recent research has identified that people with rosier or yellower skin are subconsciously determined to be more attractive – it seems that these colours denote a diet high in fruit or protein and therefore meaning you are a healthier and more desireable mate!

So it seems eating more fruit IS the answer.

Looks like I should have listened to my parents and not shunned the apple for a packet of crisps!

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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…….

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Time for an embrace…take #2

We had dogs visiting and I had time for an early morning walk prior to setting off on a work trip.

Our local reservoir is a mirror of the season and looking in the mirror what I saw was waves on the water whipped up by the stiff breeze, a hint of brown on some of the leaves and a little chill in the air.

Now it’s only August, but here in the UK as we encounter global warming we see a shift with warm weather spells from as early as April or May so in some way it’s no surprise in August to get a hint of the autumn that is waiting for us when we turn the calendar page at the end of the month.

My natural response to this is to bemoan the end of summer but on this walk accompanied by my daughter I was reminded to embrace the seasons for what they are….so true, and indeed we in the UK are fortunate to live in the land of distinct seasons…even though occasionally we experience all four in one day!

Enjoy each day for what it is.

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Looking for love? …then eat more fruit

In the 1960’s and 1970’s in Britain there was a well used ‘to the point’ advertising strapline of eat more fruit adorning any self respecting greengrocers shop and delivery van. I imagine some civil servant back in the day from the Department of Health had hastily drafted a memo with this suggestion for the well being of the country and hey presto,job done. These days it would require the services of a top marketing company, some focus groups and a campaign project team on a few ‘away days’ to come up with the same…for a mere 1000 times the cost of the 1960′ version.

However put this thought (and strapline) just to the side for one moment……..

A friend of mine has just confided in me her despair with on line dating. Despite signing up with two well known services, she is not happy with the quality. She keeps being sent frogs but not princes. It seems that although it’s accepted you have to kiss a few frogs before you meet your prince, she is not impressed by the ratio of 23 to zero.

Working on the basis of ‘maybe it’s me’ that is wrong, she went on an eat well, look healthy, feel good regime and signed up to daily fruit & veg boxes from a local deli.

Well, it has worked, but not in the way you might think. The deli employs a selection of strapping young men to deliver and for my friend, she has never had so many princes ringing her door bell as of late. No quality issues there and the cost of the fruit and veg works out cheaper than the dating website.

And I can inform you at least one date has transpired…and not of the edible kind of a Moroccan palm tree!